LESS than 24 hours after discovering she was pregnant, Monica Thompson gave birth – at seven months.
At 46 years old, and having struggled to conceive for years, she thought she was entering the menopause.
She had no clue she was pregnant, having continued to have periods and showing no signs of a bump.
So when she started feeling sick and suffered cramps in October last year, she went to the local urgent care centre.
When medics asked if she could be pregnant, Monica’s response was, “no way”.
But just a day after a blood test suggested she was pregnant, Monica and her partner Jason Ratliff welcomed their son Jayden Anthony Willie Edwin Ratliff.
“I’m a cook so when I started throwing up, I knew I had to go home,” she said.
“My fiance picked me up and he drove me to the urgent care centre.
“They didn’t have the equipment to do an ultrasound, but they asked me if there was any way I could be pregnant.
“I said, ‘No way’. I believed I was starting menopause because I was having a little trouble with incontinence.
“Or at least I thought I was but actually it ended up being amniotic fluid that was leaking.”
But when a blood test revealed she was expecting the 46-year-old, from Las Vegas, was stunned.
“They came back and told me I was pregnant,” she said.
“I was shocked and in disbelief. I thought I couldn’t have babies.
“Looking at me you would never have known, I wasn’t showing at all.
They asked me if there was any way I could be pregnant. I said, ‘No way’. I believed I was starting menopause because I was having a little trouble with incontinence
“They did something called the finger test and estimated that I was about six months pregnant.”
Doctors told Monica she urgently needed to book an ultrasound but as it was a weekend, she had to wait until the Monday.
Monica returned to work the next day, but immediately suffered more cramps and bleeding.
At the end of her shift she went straight to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas, where doctors found she was in labour – and five centimetres dilated.
“I was shocked to learn I had been in labour all day,” Monica said.
“They did a vaginal exam to discover the source of the bleeding and they determined my amniotic sac had ruptured and I had been leaking fluid.
“In fact, the fluid had been leaking for months and I had mistaken it for urine and incontinence associated with menopause.
“The doctor told me I was dilated about five centimetres and I started freaking out. Not even 24 hours before I was told I was pregnant and here I was already in labour.
“They told me I needed an emergency C-section which was frightening.”
Baby Jayden was safely delivered, weighing 3lbs 9oz in the early hours of October 7, and was immediately rushed to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Tests predicted he had been born at 30 weeks – meaning Monica had been pregnant for seven and a half months without realising.
“I couldn’t see the baby until the next day because of my surgery but when I did see him for the first time he was covered in wires,” said Monica.
“I got to hold him for the first time a week later, and it was surreal. I thought ‘Wow, I’m a mom’. It felt right. I felt complete.”
Monica had embarked on a new fitness regime and diet and dropped 20lbs during her pregnancy – which doctors said was good for her and the baby.
But the mum-of-one said after 16 years of desperately trying for a baby with her late husband Kevin Thompson, she felt robbed of her pregnancy.
After Kevin died, and Monica met her partner Kevin in 2017, she had already made peace with never becoming a mum.
“My husband Kevin and I tried to have children but it just never happened to us,” she said.
“When I turned 40 I became content with being a dog mother. I figured they could be my babies.
“And I have a niece, she’s really special to me.
“I feel a little robbed of my pregnancy. I never felt my baby move and I never got to have that ultrasound moment where I saw his heart beat.”
Monica says Jayden, now nine months, is the happiest baby and says she feels blessed to experience motherhood for the first time at 46.
“He’s crawling and walking and he’s into everything now,” said Monica.
“He’s teething at the moment but usually he is so good. He doesn’t cry unless he is hungry or tired.
“I think it’s extra special to become a mom at this age. Of course I would like to have been younger, but I know more now.
“I just feel very grateful that I have the chance to be a mom when I had given up on that dream.”
It comes just a day after we revealed size 12 mum, Saffron Snow, gave birth to her “surprise” baby 20 minutes after arriving at hospital with “kidney stones” – having had no bump and the contraceptive coil.