December 04, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- Most couples have several months to prepare for a baby.
Matt and Lindsay Bailey had about six hours.
The township couple's son, Joshua Daniel Bailey, was born Nov. 22 with barely any advance notice to his parents, who were unaware Lindsay, 31, was pregnant.
"We will have quite a story to tell him—he was our surprise," said Lindsay.
That story begins on Nov. 21, when Lindsay was suffering stomach pains most of the evening. Shortly before midnight, unable to sleep or get comfortable, she woke her husband, the pastor of Lake Louise Church of the Nazarene.
"It really hurt," said Lindsay. "I thought maybe it was my gallbladder or appendix that was causing the pain. I never thought I was pregnant."
At the Genesys Regional Medical Center emergency room, a doctor asked Lindsay if there was any chance she could be pregnant. Lindsay answered no very confidently. She had begun taking birth control pills not long after the birth of their son Aiden, now 14-months-old. She had not missed a period. She rarely weighs herself, but hadn't noticed any weight gain or change in the way her clothes fit (Lindsay is 5'5" and said she normally weighs around 140 pounds). She never felt any typical pregnancy symptoms such as exhaustion or nausea. Perhaps most surprising, Lindsay says she never felt the baby inside her kick or move at all.
The only symptom she had was tightness and rounding of her belly, but when she took a pregnancy test in September, it was negative. After some research online, Lindsay and Matt passed the symptom off as a possible outcome of having had a C-section with Aiden. They were also busy trying to deal with the stress of learning that Lindsay's job with Chase Bank would be eliminated at the end of December.
An ultrasound in the Genesys ER showed clearly to everyone in the room what had not been revealed for the previous nearly nine months.
"I saw the image on the screen and I freaked," said Lindsay. "At that point, the doctor made the comment, 'You look to have a 20-week-old baby in there.' I just thought, 'I'm not prepared for this, I'm not ready.'"
Matt, 29, also described himself as "freaked out," and before they could even process that they were about to have a second child, they had to figure out what to do with the first. Aiden was at the hospital with his parents, and the nearest family members were an hour away. Matt called their parents to tell them what was going on. Lindsay said her mother would tell her later that after receiving the news that another grandchild was on the way, she sat on the bed for a minute to let it sink in that Lindsay was in labor.
All four grandparents carpooled to the hospital. Meanwhile, Matt and Lindsay were distraught over the health of the baby they'd just learned about and for whom there had been no prenatal care.
"I thought we'd be leaving the hospital without a baby, because it would be stillborn, or something would be wrong with it," said Matt. "I was just processing all the facts."
In labor and delivery, they learned Lindsay was 37 weeks along, basically a full-term pregnancy. She was also dilated to 8 centimeters.
Matt said it didn't seem like the labor and delivery nurses were aware that the Baileys had just learned they were having a baby.
"I said to the nurse, 'Is everything OK? We just found out, we didn't know.' The nurse was like, 'What do you mean you didn't know?'"
Lindsay said the medical staff told her that cases in which women are far into a pregnancy and unaware of it are a more common occurrence than people think and the continuance of her periods, as well as the false pregnancy test could have been caused by taking the birth control pills.
Joshua Daniel Bailey was born at 5:57 a.m., Nov. 22, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, measuring 21 inches long, and completely healthy.
"When they handed him over, he felt like a stranger—it was kind of like The Twilight Zone," said Matt. "I couldn't think of his name the first week. Up until Thanksgiving, it was almost a crisis instead of excitement."
They were not ready with the basics necessary for a new baby in the house—no diapers, no formula, no crib for the baby. But friends and family came through and Matt, who said he is a generally anxious person, but also very organized, unpacked clothes so recently put away when Aiden outgrew them.
"It's sinking in a lot more," said Lindsay. "That instant love feeling is coming back that we had with Aiden. I'm looking forward to watching him grow and seeing his personality come out and see how they (Aiden and Joshua) interact together."
Matt thinks he has adapted and notes Christmas will be crazy. They had decided to do Christmas differently this year—with no giving or receiving of presents, giving money to Nazarene ministries instead.
As Joshua proves, however, plans change—and the Baileys have received the most unexpected, priceless gift of all.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville