When Juanita Stead complained of shooting pains in her lower back on New Year’s Eve, she thought she was passing a kidney stone.
Instead, she was giving birth to a baby boy.
The eastern Newfoundland woman says she didn’t realize she was pregnant until she was rushed to Carbonear General Hospital that night and an X-ray didn’t turn up any kidney stones.
“When I went back to emerg, the doctor was waiting for me and he said, ‘It’s no kidney stone.’ He said, ‘You’ve got a baby ready to be born,’ ” said the 36-year-old Stead.
“I said, ‘No, that can’t happen’ . . . I told him he had the wrong X-ray file.”
Six minutes later, seven-pound, 12-ounce Nicholas was born breech at 12:31 a.m. local time on New Year’s Day, making him among the first babies born in Canada for 2009.
“He came out bum first,” Stead said Wednesday, cradling the one-week-old child.
Doctors weren’t able to carry out a caesarean section because of Nicholas’s quick entry into the world, she said.
Hours before the sudden birth, Stead and her husband Terry, 35, went to her sister’s house for a New Year’s Eve family gathering.
As she explained her symptoms to Terry and her brother-in-law – who owns an ambulance service – the two men became increasingly convinced she was experiencing a kidney stone attack.
“Honest to God, I just don’t have words to explain it,” Terry said.
The Steads, who live in a two-storey home in the small outport of Port de Grave, N.L., say they had no reason to think Juanita was pregnant because she didn’t experience the usual telltale signs, such as morning sickness and kicking from the womb. She says her menstrual cycle remained regular throughout her pregnancy.
“People have been saying to me, same as I’ve been saying, ‘How could you not know you was pregnant?’ ” she said.
“Everyone is still in shock I think.”
This isn’t the first time a pregnancy caught the Steads off-guard.
Two-year-old Cameron was born six weeks premature in July 2006 in their home bathroom, weighing three pounds and 11 ounces. His birth was marred by complications and last September he underwent a bowel, liver and pancreas transplant at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
But the toddler now appears as rambunctious as any his age, running around inside the house and playing with his toys.
Nicholas is faring well also, sleeping and eating regularly despite growing attention from families, friends and the public, his mother said.
“Two little miracles meant to be.”
Friends and family have provided them with toys and clothing for the new baby, because they discarded Cameron’s old belongings months before Nicholas’s birth, she said.