Monica Thompson, 46, welcomed her son, Jayden Anthony Willie Edwin Ratliff, into the world just one day after a blood test revealed she was expecting.
She believed she couldn’t have children after struggling to conceive with her late husband, Kevin Thompson, for 16 years before his death in 2016. Thus when Monica, of Las Vegas, Nevada, met her partner Jason Ratliff in 2017, she had already made peace with the idea that she’d never be a mother.
Monica, a cook, said: “My husband Kevin and I tried to have children but it just never happened for us.
“We did everything we could but we weren’t in a financial position to try IVF. When I turned 40 I became content with being a dog mother.
“I figured they could be my babies. I have a niece also and she’s really special to me. When Kevin died in 2016, I put having a family out of my mind completely.
“I met Jason when we matched on an app and we really hit it off.
“We moved in together in October 2017 so it was really quick but we didn’t consider the idea of becoming pregnant.”
Monica thought she was entering menopause when she began to experience what she believed to be incontinence in September 2018, a symptom of the life change. She was still menstruating each month but said her periods were lighter and more erratic than usual.
When Monica began to experience nausea and cramping on Oct. 5, 2018, she left work early to visit her local urgent care center and was shocked when a blood test revealed she was pregnant.
Monica said, “I’m a cook so when I started throwing up, I knew I had to go home. My fiance picked me up and he drove me to the urgent care center.
“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.
“They did some blood work and they came back and told me I was pregnant. I was shocked and in disbelief. I thought I couldn’t have babies.”
She further continued: “Looking at me you would never have known, I wasn’t showing at all.
“They did something called the finger test and estimated that I was about six months pregnant.
“They told me I urgently needed to book an ultrasound with an OBGYN, but as it was the weekend, the best I could do was on Monday.”
Monica then returned to work the next day but immediately began experiencing cramps and bleeding.
At the end of the shift, Monica rushed to University Medical Center, Las Vegas, where doctors quickly discovered she was 5 centimeters dilated and in labor.
“I was shocked to learn I had been in labor all day.
“The doctor told me I was dilated about five centimeters and I started freaking out. Not even 24 hours before I was told I was pregnant and here I was already in labor.
“They told me I needed an emergency C-section which was frightening.”
Doctors safely delivered Monica’s son Jayden, who weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces (approx. 1.6 kg), in the early hours of Oct. 7, 2018, and he was immediately rushed to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Using a ballard test, Jayden’s physicians estimated the baby was born at 30 weeks, which meant Monica was pregnant for seven and a half months without realizing.
“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.”
The new mom said it was difficult to look at her son in the NICU and worried that if she had known of her pregnancy, things may have been different.
Monica had recently taken up a new fitness regime and diet and dropped 20 pounds (approx. 9 kg) during her pregnancy, which doctors said made a difference.
She added: “I felt so bad because I wondered if I had known about the pregnancy, maybe he wouldn’t have been in danger.
“But the doctors said I took very good care of myself during that time and not to worry so much.
“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 heartbeat.”
Monica and Jason, who is currently her fiance, said they will always be grateful for the kindness of those around them after welcoming their unexpected baby.
“Luckily, Jason’s brother had a baby one year before, so they were kind enough to give us all the baby clothes and a bunch of toys,” Monica said. “Everyone at my work was so kind, donating wipes and diapers. They were so supportive. They couldn’t believe I was that pregnant, it was shocking to everyone.”
Monica also said when she shared the news with her boss he couldn’t believe that she had delivered a baby.
Monica said Jayden, who is now 14 months old, is the happiest baby and she feels blessed to experience motherhood for the first time at age 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.”
She also added: “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.”