Woman, 24, reveals her shock pregnancy
Woman, 24, with no bump and regular periods didn’t know she pregnant until she went into labour with 10lb baby – and thought her ‘bad back’ was due to lifting heavy deliveries at work
- Ceira Sutherland, 24, was rushed to A&E with crippling stomach and rib pains
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A pet shop worker who thought her bad back was caused by lifting heavy deliveries discovered the excruciating pain was actually caused by going into labour.
Ceira Sutherland, from Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, had no idea she was pregnant before she dramatically gave birth to her daughter last November.
The 24-year-old rushed to A&E with crippling stomach and rib pains and then gave birth to the 10lb baby.
Ceira says she had a period six weeks before giving birth, had no baby bump, suffered no morning sickness and used condoms every time she had sex with her partner.
Oblivious to being pregnant, the mum continued to party and drink and enjoyed a boozy night out with shots and spirits just weeks before giving birth to Amelia Aitken.
Pet shop worker Ceira and her partner Andrew Aitken, a butcher, with Amelia at four months old
Amelia made her surprise arrival in November 2022, weighing 10lbs
It was even more of a surprise for Ceira and her partner, Andrew Aitken, 27, as she had been told that conceiving would be difficult due to her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
She describes how butcher Andrew was so stunned he stood ‘silently in shock’ for a while.
Ceira said: ‘We hadn’t even thought about having children yet.
‘I have PCOS so I was told quite young that I might not even be able to have children so this was a complete surprise.
‘We were using condoms every time so it was an even bigger surprise.
‘Kids were something we both wanted but not for a while.’
Two days before Amelia’s arrival, Ceira did an 11-hour shift at work when she began experiencing excruciating back pain.
Unsuspecting Ceira went home to her partner’s house when her symptoms worsened and she decided to head to A&E.
Ceira said: ‘At work, I have to pull in big deliveries and it never bothered me before but my back felt so sore that I had to go sit down and put a hot pack on it.
The couple bath baby Amelia when she was one-week-old
Ceira Sutherland, 24, was stunned when her ‘bad back’ turned out to be a baby. Pictured at seven months pregnant
‘I finished my shift and went to my partner’s house.
How common are cryptic pregnancies?
One in 450 pregnant women in the UK don’t know they are going to have a baby until week 20 of their pregnancy (half-way through), and one in 2,500 women are oblivious to the fact until they go into labour.
It’s a phenomenon known as cryptic pregnancy – also referred to as ‘pregnancy denial’.
Cryptic pregnancies typically affect either young women, who have never experienced a pregnancy, or women who believe they’ve gone through the menopause and who choose not to use contraception.
Women with erratic menstrual cycles are also more likely to miss signs they are expecting. This is especially true among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), where small cysts grow on the ovaries; the hormone imbalance often leads to irregular or non-existent periods.
Yet there are some women who will continue to have monthly bleeds throughout their pregnancy. In this case, a scan at the local GP may be the only method of confirmation.
Women may simply not expect to find they are pregnant if they are taking the Pill – but then those taking it religiously can still become pregnant.
Eight in 100 women can get pregnant while on the Pill – usually not because of problems with the Pill, but with the taker, either because they’ve missed the Pill, thrown up or had diarrhoea.
‘I felt really sick and my back was sore, I just went for a nap.
‘I woke up and started to get rib pains but thought nothing of it.
‘When it was about 11pm that night I thought ‘something is not right’ and I decided to go to A&E.’
Doctors sent Ceira home with painkillers but she was forced to return three hours later after the pain intensified.
Medics believed there could be something wrong with Ceira’s gallbladder – but were confused over the level of pain she was experiencing.
After a urine sample was taken, Ceira was told it was positive but she believed it was a false positive due to her PCOS.
Ceira said: ‘I didn’t even know they were doing a pregnancy test on my urine sample until she said they’ve both come back positive.
‘I thought it could be a false positive because of my PCOS or, if I was, I was only a few weeks along.
‘I was more concerned about the pain I was in.’
Further tests left doctors baffled over the cause of Ceira’s pain.
Eventually it was confirmed the retail worker was definitely pregnant, but Ceira was told the baby was 20 weeks at most due to her recent period.
Ceira said: ‘Looking back now it’s so obvious it was contractions because it was intense shooting pain every five minutes but I was never thinking ‘I’m in labour’.
‘Doctors couldn’t understand why I was in so much pain.
‘They said it was definitely a cyst. I was getting pain relief but it wasn’t even taking the edge off the pain.’
The next day a nurse went to swab Ceira for one final test when she spotted the baby’s head emerging.
Ceira said: ‘As the nurse went to swab me, I just heard an ‘oh’. I said ‘is that a bad oh?’
‘She said “you’re pregnant, the head’s there, you’re in labour”.’
Ceira and Andrew, from Scotland, show off Amelia when she was six days old
Ceira is pictured hours after giving birth to Amelia on 27 November 2022
Amelia, who is turning one on 27 November, was a complete surprise to her parents
‘Then it was a mad rush to take me to the labour unit. There were loads of doctors waiting in this room for me.
‘I thought it would be a teeny baby and I didn’t know if it was a survivable age.
‘Once I started labour and her head was out, they said “this is clearly not a 20-week old baby”.’
Just hours after finding out she was pregnant, Ceira gave birth to baby Amelia, born at 7pm on 27 November, weighing 9lb and 13oz.
However, Ceira was concerned over the health of her new arrival after admitting to drinking alcohol during her pregnancy.
Ceira said: ‘When she came, I thought “whose baby is this?” I don’t think it kicked in until a week later that this is our baby.
Unexpected baby Amelia wears a bunny printed onesie and wooly hat at nine months old
Ceira said Amelia is ‘a really happy baby’, pictured at ten months old
Proud dad Andrew Aitken holds his daughter Amelia two days after she was born
Ceira pictured at eight months pregnant – without knowing
‘Andrew was silent and stood there in shock. He didn’t know what to do or say, he took it quite well though.
‘I had been on nights out and I had drunk. I think I had been on a night out in mid-October not knowing I was eight months pregnant.
What is PCOS? Causes, symptoms and treatment explained…
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.
Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels.
Symptoms include menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity.
Fertility may also be affected.
While the exact cause of PCOS isn’t known, insulin resistance caused by a highly refined and processed diet is believed to be one of the biggest triggers.
PCOS can be managed through diet, the contraceptive pill and other oral medications.
Source: Mayo Clinic
‘I was quite drunk, there were spirits and shots, it was a big night out.
‘I felt a lot of guilt when she was born. When I found out I was definitely pregnant, I thought “I’ve drunk and what am I going to give birth to right now?”.
‘I was so relieved when they said she was completely fine.’
Despite delivering a full-term baby, Ceira had no idea she was ever pregnant due to having periods and showing none of the obvious signs.
Ceira said: ‘With my PCOS my periods are quite irregular anyway, I had one six weeks before she was born.
‘I’d gone over a year without a period before so this wasn’t unusual for me.
‘I never took a pregnancy test, I had no morning sickness.
‘There was no change in my stomach at all and no pains until I was in labour.
‘Being pregnant hadn’t crossed my mind at all over the nine months.
‘Every doctor said this is such a miracle because I’d been told I couldn’t have kids because of my PCOS.’
Now mum to a near one-year-old, Ceira reflected on her daughter’s ‘crazy’ arrival into the world.
Ceira said: ‘She’s honestly the easiest baby ever. From a week old, she’s slept 12 hours a night.
‘She’s a really happy baby. It’s crazy a year ago we didn’t even know about her.’
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