The Real Reason This Pregnant-Looking Woman’s Belly Was Growing Is Unbelievable
Keely Favell was a young woman in her twenties who should have been in the prime of her life. Instead, she found herself in the middle of a medical mystery that would consume her life for years.
When Keely first noticed her belly was getting bigger, she thought she was pregnant. So she did what any young woman would do and took some over-the-counter pregnancy tests. But when the tests continued to come back negative, she grew more concerned as to why her belly was growing.
Keely's Mysterious Weight Gain Begins
Hailing from Swansea, Wales, Keely was a relatively healthy woman until about 2014. That year, she began to gain weight. While she told BBC that she had never really considered herself “skinny,” she had never experienced her stomach being this large.
After a few months of continually gaining weight, she perpetually looked pregnant. Even though she described herself as naturally curvy, Keely maintained her figure by working out and eating healthy. Thus, she felt increasingly defeated when, despite her hard work, the scale kept going up.
She's Embarrassed To Go Out
As her stomach continued to grow, Keely became more and more concerned. Everything she wore seemed to accentuate her swollen stomach. It was becoming harder for her to hide her weight gain.
It didn’t matter how much she worked out or how healthy she ate, Keely continued to gain weight — but only in her stomach area. She felt overwhelmed with her body and needed to find the root cause.
Her Worry Sets In, So She Begins Searching For Answers
The situation was becoming unbearable. It was clear to Keely that gaining weight wasn’t the only problem she was facing. As her stomach grew, she began to feel abnormal and different. Something definitely wasn’t right.
By now, Keely’s stomach felt more solid than it had before. This wasn’t normal weight gain. Her stomach was also sensitive to touch. Keely knew it was time to find out what was really going on.
Her Gut Feeling Tells Her Something Isn't Right
Keely had grown to a size 8, which was larger than she had ever been in her life. She had a gut feeling about what might be going on, but she didn’t want to believe it was true.
Keely believed that she must be pregnant. It was the only thing that made sense. Even though she and her longtime boyfriend were not planning for a child, she believed it was time to start expecting one.
Keely Tells Her Boyfriend & Takes The Test
Keely and her boyfriend, Jamie Gibbons, had been together for a decade. She told him that there was a possibility she was pregnant which would explain her growing belly. Even though they were both scared of being parents, they needed to know what was happening so they could prepare.
Again, Keely took a pregnancy test, but this time, Jamie was with her. They held their breaths waiting for the results — and were stunned to see that it was negative. Confused by the results, she took another test to be sure. But that one also came back negative.
Well, It's Back To The Drawing Board
If Keely wasn’t pregnant, then what was causing her stomach to grow? She and Jamie decided that it was time to seek professional help. They wondered if she had a miscarriage — or if something more serious was behind her expanding stomach.
Keely was fed up with not knowing what was going on with her body. She wanted answers, and was sure a doctor could give them to her. But the doctor she visited with Jamie examined her and found nothing wrong. He told her she was just “chubby.”
Keely Feels Defeated By The Diagnosis
Keely was distraught by the doctor’s diagnosis and lack of help. She knew there was something else at play but felt like there was nowhere else to turn. Feeling defeated, she lived her life as normally as she could, despite her continued weight gain and growing fatigue.
Even though the tests were negative and the doctor said she was fine, Keely believed she was with child. It was the only thing that made sense in her mind. She had trusted medical professionals her entire life. Her dad was even a doctor. But still, her gut was telling her that something wasn’t right.
She Was Enduring Something That Lasted Longer Than A Pregnancy
If Keely’s gut feeling was right, and she was pregnant, then everything would go away once the baby was born. Right? Thus, it became increasingly more concerning when her stomach grew larger and larger over the next few years rather than simply nine months.
One day, her illness caught up to her while she was at work. These additional symptoms would lead her on a wild medical journey she would never forget.
An Incident At Work Caused Her To Seek Medical Attention
In addition to having a growing belly, Keely was also experiencing a lot of fatigue and stomach pain. One day, while at work, she began to feel sick, and within a few minutes, she fainted. When she came to, her co-workers told her she had just passed out.
Once again, Keely went to the doctor for help. Because she mentioned that her workload was high, the doctor told her that it was probably stress that caused her to faint, and offered no other explanation.
But, She Still Looked Pregnant
Even though she wasn’t expecting, Keely got asked if she was pregnant all the time. People just couldn’t believe that a woman with a stomach that was so enlarged could not be pregnant. It was an exhausting position for her to be in.
Friends, strangers, and co-workers would always ask Keely about her “baby.” They wanted to know the gender and when it was due. Keely would have to continuously say that she wasn’t pregnant and tried to spare their feelings by blaming it all on weight gain. She explained her situation so much that she was starting to believe it herself.
No Regular Clothing Fit Her And Began Buying Maternity Clothes
As her stomach grew, Keely was no longer able to fit into any of her old clothes. Her large belly was getting in the way of her life. Even though she was embarrassed by her size and how pregnant she looked, she could only fit into clothes from the maternity section.
In 2016, Keely decided to get all new clothes. Since her stomach was huge, but her legs and upper body were the same size they had always been, her weight gain was disproportionate. Because her proportions were similar to that of a pregnant woman, she was forced to wear maternity clothing.
Keely Experiences Another Fainting Spell At Work
Keely had more than one fainting spell at work. Eventually, she had trouble breathing and constantly felt sick. It reached a point where she could no longer trust the doctors that continuously told her nothing was wrong. She needed specialized medical opinions. Something was clearly not right.
Her loved ones and co-workers were all concerned. They told her she needed to take better care of herself and seek the advice of a specialist. They wondered why she waited so long, and Keely told them that other doctors made her feel like nothing was wrong. But by this point, it was clear they had been wrong.
It Was Time To Get Help
Finally, Keely decided to seek help after she fainted for a fourth time at work. She set up an appointment with a local specialist. After the doctor examined her, he told her that her acne medication was causing her to pass out and feel constantly fatigued.
However, Keely had a gut feeling that this was yet again another incorrect diagnosis. After everything Keely had been through, having the problem be her acne medication seemed way too simple of an explanation.
Enough Is Enough
It took a few years, but Keely finally realized that the doctors she had seen were not taking her health seriously. She could barely walk or breathe normally, and something had to change. Constantly fainting and living in fear about the cause of her growing stomach was no way to live.
Keely was ready to take control of the situation and get the help—and answers—she needed. She came to this empowering conclusion because she had stopped taking the acne medication months ago that the doctor was blaming the fainting episodes on.
This Led To More Testing
After standing up for herself, the doctor agreed to do more testing. The focus shifted back to a possible pregnancy being the cause. He then took a blood sample to confirm it.
The results from the blood test once again came back negative. Keely wasn’t pregnant. The doctor, however, was not convinced. He ordered an ultrasound so he could confirm once and for all whether or not she was with child.
The Ultrasound That Changed Everything
With the ultrasound underway, Keely was hopeful to finally have some answers. The doctor told the technician to let him know the results immediately. Neither he nor Keely could expect the complicated issue the technician was about to find.
As the technician conducted the ultrasound and moved the machine across her belly, Keely noticed her expression change. The technician’s face became increasingly concerned as she stared at the screen.
Nervous Feelings Arise For Keely
It’s probably pretty strange having an ultrasound for the first time. The experience of having a cold gel rubbed on your stomach and seeing what’s inside of you is a bit crazy.
Naturally, Keely felt that nervousness during her ultrasound appointment. And, the results would change her life.
The Ultrasound Results...Are In
The technician excused herself to check in with the doctor, who told Keely he was requesting a second opinion from another specialist. This alarmed her and her mind started spiraling with fears of what the results might bring up.
The doctor told Keely that the ultrasound confirmed what she knew all along: she wasn’t pregnant. But the test had picked up another issue—one that could be fatal.
Yes, There Was An Answer But Still More Questions
Though the ultrasound didn’t give the doctor an exact answer, he said the test found something else growing in Keely’s belly.
It could be something as benign as a cyst or something more severe like a tumor or an abnormality on her uterus. Even though she was closer to the truth, there were still so many questions left to answer.
Keely Went Through Even More Tests
The doctor ordered a CT scan for Keely to learn more about what was growing inside her. The hospital staff attempted to keep her spirits up while her boyfriend and family waited an excruciatingly long time for the results.
The CT scan had confirmed that Keely’s growing stomach was caused by a massive lump in her ovaries. The doctors had no idea what stage the lump was at or if it could be fatal.
Anxiously Taking In The News
Upon hearing this news, Keely felt her world fall apart. She wanted answers, but she never thought this would be the answer she would get. After countless months of pain and confusion, her persistence paid off, but at the same time, the news was quite scary.
She was lucky to have the medical team by her side as they could immediately begin planning out a treatment plan for its removal. Keely was also feeling at ease knowing she had her boyfriend and family with her to help her digest the news and support her through the process.
The Gigantic Lump Revealed...
After more tests, doctors determined that Keely’s lump was a 24-centimeter broad ovarian cyst. It had attached to her stomach, which caused it to rapidly increase in size. She finally had a true explanation for her mysterious weight gain.
The medical staff told her that if the cyst ruptured, it could kill her. This was truly a life or death situation. She required medical attention immediately.
That Keely Had A Rare Cyst
Ovarian cysts are usually not fatal. In fact, they’re pretty common and often don’t cause any additional health issues attached to them.
Keely’s cyst, however, was different and needed to be removed immediately. Her rare condition was affecting the entire functioning of her body as the cyst’s placement and size created a dangerous combination.
Yes, Size Does Matter In This Case
Ovarian cysts don’t often burst, and if they do, it’s because they’re abnormally big. If an abnormally big cyst bursts, it can block blood from getting to the ovaries, which can put the woman at risk of dying.
This is what made Keely’s cyst potentially fatal. It’s no wonder why the doctors were concerned for Keely’s life. They needed to act quickly and carefully.
The Next Step Was To Seek Treatment Options
A month later, Keely saw a specialist who gave her multiple options for treatment. The specialist was shocked by the size of her stomach, and to this day, Keely says she’ll never forget his face as he first examined her.
The doctor confirmed that it was a cyst growing inside her, and even told Keely that he had never seen one as large as hers. Though he tried to be professional, she could tell that he was stunned.
Yet, There Was So Much Still Unknown
Even though the specialist could confirm the cyst, he couldn’t confirm if there were more—and if they could be attached to her internal organs. If that was the case, she would have to undergo multiple operations to remove multiple cysts.
After meeting with the specialist, Keely learned that she needed an operation to determine how big the cyst was. It was disheartening for the specialist to hear that Keely had been told she was fine so many times by so many doctors when she was in such a dangerous condition now.
Luckily, Keely Received Some Good News
Thankfully, the specialist was able to tell her that they would only have to remove one ovary instead of two. That meant there was still a possibility that she could have a child one day in the future.
Still, he wasn’t sure how long she would need to stay in the hospital after surgery. Keely was told to prepare for the long haul.
Keely Told Her Family What Was Going On
Keely’s mom lived in Australia, and wasn’t fully aware of what was going on. Keely had told her of some of the problems, but didn’t want her to worry. Now that she had answers, she knew her family needed to be aware of the entire situation. Plus, she wanted them by her side.
Even though she had fought most of this battle solo, it was time for her to call her loved ones for support. She wanted her mom and her sisters by her side. After telling her mom the news, she flew in from Australia just in time for the operation. Her dad had to stay at home, but told her that she could call him any time, despite the large time difference.
The Big O - Operation Day
With her family by her side, Keely waited a month for her operation. Thankfully, time quickly passed, but her belly continued to expand. By the day she arrived at the hospital, it had grown another five inches.
The specialist called in a high-risk obstetrician to help him with the operation, which needed to happen as fast as possible. He explained that he would have to cut Keely from her breast bone to her pelvic bone in order to remove the large cyst.
The Time Had Finally Arrived
After a lot of anticipation, the day of Keely’s operation was here. She put on her hospital gown and socks and followed the nurse to the operating room. She went numb after the nurse showed her the large needle she was about to be injected with.
Keely started to panic and said that laying in that operating room, she started to fear like it was her last day on earth. Two nurses were able to restrain her and hold her still long enough to administer the needle and begin surgery.
Keely And Family Nervously Waited for the Results
The specialist had originally told Keely’s family that surgery would last an hour — but now five hours had passed and they were getting concerned. At any point, many things could have gone wrong.
Keely and her family were terrified of what could happen during the surgery. With so many unanswered questions, the anxiety built up while they were waiting for her to come out of the operation room.
Anticipating Keely To Wake Up
Finally, the doctor emerged from the operating room and told the family that they were able to remove the mass. Keely would be alright!
Now, they were all crowding around her just waiting for her to wake up and feel normal again. After years of living with it, the abnormally large cyst was finally out of Keely’s body. Once she recovered, she could get back to her life and move on from this awful chapter.
So, How Large Was The Cyst?
After Keely woke up from the anesthetic, the doctor showed her photos of the cyst. The image below is an unbelievable photo to look at. Simply imagining that unnatural lump within one’s body is enough to cause nightmares.
Keely was just as shocked at its size. What’s even more crazy is that the cyst weighed a total of 60 pounds. That’s certainly much more than just a little pregnancy weight. This mass was the equivalent of carrying seven babies all at once.
Ultimately, Keely Felt Grateful
Keely was understandably groggy after surgery and didn’t fully comprehend what had happened. Still, the nurses continued to show her pictures and marvel at the size of the cyst, which was a third of her body weight.
Prior to her operation, Keely could barely walk upstairs or even drive her car! After surgery she was 60 pounds lighter and ready to take on the world again. She was incredibly grateful for the team of nurses and surgeons who helped save her life.
The Cyst Was Given A Humorous Nickname
With the operation behind her, Keely once again found her sense of humor. When she saw pictures of the cyst, she thought it looked like a huge scoop of ice cream. So she decided to name it “Mr. Whippy.”
While she was incredibly relieved to see “Mr. Whippy” officially removed, she would certainly never forget the rough few years she had leading up to the discovery and fast-paced surgery.
Her Cyst Was A Record Size And Also A Medical Anomoly
Unsurprisingly, the size of Keely’s cyst was uncommon, and its weight made her a medical oddity. Even today, her family, friends and the doctors who operated on her can’t believe she lived with it for as long as she did.
Doctors everywhere soon heard news of this uncommon case and Keely’s story quickly began to spread. Keely no longer had to live in embarrassment, but instead proudly embraced the fact that she listened to her body and demanded secondary opinions until her rare cyst was discovered.
Post-Surgery and Back At Home
Keely only had to spend four days in the hospital recovering before she was discharged to her home, where her boyfriend and mother were there to take care of her.
All that fear she had surrounding the operation was worth it now that she was resting comfortably at home. She could finally breathe a sigh of relief, knowing she was on the road to recovery. Her fainting spells, constant fatigue, and growing belly were all now concerns of the past.
Keely Is Left With A Permanent Reminder Of Her Battle
The surgery left Keely with a very large scar that will always remind her of what happened. It’s 30 centimeters long and runs from her breast bone down to her pubic bone. While the scar will continue to heal and improve over the years, it will always be a faint reminder of her medical journey.
Despite the overwhelming operation and the large scar, she was able to get out of her hospital bed pretty soon after her operation and start walking around. She was without a doubt ready to start the next chapter of her life.
Anything Is Better Than A Cyst
In addition to the scar, Keely also has some stretch marks along her tummy. Afterall, she did have a 60 pound mass that her growing stomach had to account for. But the marks don’t bother her.
She said she would take a few marks and scars over the large cyst any day. We definitely agree and wish Keely a successful recovery as she continues to heal and adapt to her new lifestyle.
She's Ready To Get Back To Normal
In the days following the surgery, Keely reflected on how much the cyst had impacted her life over the past few years. She wasn’t able to do some things she loved, and she couldn’t wait to start living life fully again.
Keely was finally feeling free and able to start enjoying her life once more. She couldn’t believe just how much lighter she felt after the cyst was removed. It truly was weight off her shoulders (or shall we say stomach).
After Everything, Keely Has A New Lease On Life
Since her surgery, Keely’s family says she has become a whole new person. She started feeling better physically and emotionally almost immediately after surgery.
Not only was she now half the size she had become, but she was also much happier and healthier. She was absolutely ready to take the world by storm and make up for those lost years when she felt confused and unwell.
She Will Never Forget What She Endured
Keely also says that she can’t thank the doctors enough for finally listening to her. Her journey to find answers may have been a lengthy one, but she was incredibly grateful for the doctors who finally listened to her concerns and got her the help she needed.
Furthermore, she credits the speediness of her recovery to the support of her family, friends, and co-workers. Their support throughout the process helped her to lead the healthier and happier lifestyle she currently enjoys.
Keely Openly Shares Her Story
In the years following her surgery, Keely began to regain confidence in her body. So much so that she has started sharing her story with the public. It’s her hope that anyone going through something similar will find solace and inspiration in her tale.
Keely stresses that it’s all about knowing yourself and your body and ensuring the doctors and specialists take your concerns seriously when you know something isn’t right. While medical abnormalities like this are rare, they do happen. Jemily Brown from England shares a similar tale.
Jemily Brown Went Through Something Similar
Hailing from England, Jemily Brown was 35 years old when her confusing medical condition began. She was already a mother, but due to her growing stomach, she was constantly believed to be pregnant with another child.
While out and about, she would continuously get asked when her due date was. Telling people she actually wasn’t pregnant was a constantly embarrassing interaction for both her and the individual asking the question. Jemily quickly got used to these awkward interactions and now they don’t bother her as much.
How Did It Begin?
Jemily’s strange symptoms first began in April of 2017. She started feeling nauseous and would vomit multiple times in a given day. She felt constantly tired and noticed that her abdomen was growing.
When she initially went to the doctors to discover what was wrong, they began treating Jemily for a potential pulmonary embolism. However, the rapidly expanding abdomen was not typically a symptom of this medical condition, which confused the doctors. So, why was her stomach growing?
Starting Off With An Abdomen Scan
After five months of experiencing a growing stomach, doctors finally decided to order an abdomen scan. The scan clearly showed that fluid was filling up her abdomen. The next step would be immediate cytoreduction surgery in order to remove the tumors around her abdominal cavity.
The doctors working on her treatment referred to the procedure as “the mother of all surgeries.” After the surgery, she would then have to receive HIPEC, which is chemotherapy directed on the abdomen. Her diagnosis surprised her as it was an incredibly rare condition.
Jemily's Official Diagnosis Is...?
In September of 2017, Jemily was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Around two in one million people get this disease each year. The disease typically begins as a polyp within the appendix.
The diseased cells then expand to the abdominal cavity and produce excess amounts of something known as mucin which is a jelly-like fluid. The accumulation of the mucin is what caused Jemily’s stomach to grow, making her appear pregnant.
Alas, The Pregnancy Rumors Continue
Before her upcoming operation to correct her “Jelly Belly”, Jemily’s husband Tim took her to pick out a new wedding ring to wear so her real wedding ring wouldn’t get damaged while in the hospital. Since Jemily’s stomach looked the way it did and the couple was together picking out a wedding ring, the jewelry assistant asked if they were getting married because they were expecting a baby together.
The audacious question left the couple speechless. Jemily replied saying, “It’s a tumor and it’s coming out on Tuesday.” That surely halted the pregnancy rumor pretty quickly. These types of interactions were simply the norm for the couple and they were hopeful the surgery would change that.
Surgery Would Hopefully Take Care Of The "Jelly Belly"
In an attempt to rid Jemily of her “Jelly Belly,” she went through 12 hours worth of surgery. This operation occurred only one month after her initial diagnosis. During this process, the surgeons removed 1.3 gallons worth of the mucin fluid from her body.
They also removed eight different non-vital organs to help with her treatment. With a lengthy recovery ahead of her, Jemily unfortunately had to quit her administrator job to focus on her well-being.
After The Surgery, Jemily Felt Amazing
Following the major surgery, Jemily was happy to show off her new transformation. With the removal of 1.3 gallons of fluid and 8 non-vital organs, Jemily of course looked and felt much slimmer. She was hopeful that her Jelly Belly would be a thing of the past.
Initially the operation seemed to be a success. Unfortunately, a year later the tumor returned. On a more positive note, Jemily stated that, “the initial surgery took a lot away from me but was worth doing for the 14 months I had afterwards.” Despite its return, Jemily was grateful that the procedure had changed her life for the better for a span of 14 months.
But, There Were More Steps
In March of 2019, Jemily met with a specialist to discuss other options after the tumor’s return. The specialist informed her that an alternative option would be a multi-organ transplant to help resolve her extremely rare condition.
This type of transplant had only been performed 14 other times in the world. It would be an experimental procedure that could help extend Jemily’s life. Knowing it was worth taking the chances, Jemily is now on a waiting list at Oxford University Hospitals for this procedure that would require eight weeks in the hospital and six months of home recovery.
Throughout It All, Jemily Stayed Positive
In spite of everything Jemily has gone through, she constantly radiates positivity. The hospital staff find her constant smile to be infectious. Jemily even says that these hard circumstances have made her family closer.
Her husband and daughter are always there to support Jemily throughout her procedures. They appreciate her positivity and use the situation to recognize the importance of family and their time spent together. While Jemily is still on the waiting list for her next big procedure, we wish her and her family the absolute best and hope that her story can inspire others going through similar rare circumstances.
Next Up - Shayna and Zona Have Looked Pregnant For Over 1 Year
Our next story involves two women who mysteriously have looked pregnant for longer than a 9 month period and aren’t sure of the cause. Shayna and Zona are two women who both appeared on Dr. Phil’s TV show to discuss their unique situation.
Both women have had a growing belly for over a year and show other symptoms that align with pregnancy, leaving both women to believe they are in fact pregnant. Dr. Phil brought them in to discuss other issues that may be the root cause of their symptoms.
Zona’s 3-Year and 7-Month Pregnancy
The first guest on Dr. Phil’s show was Zona who is 40 years old and claims she has been pregnant for three years and seven months. Zona tells Dr. Phil that her stomach has been continuously growing in that time period at a relatively slow rate.
Along with her growing stomach, Zona claims to experience constant mood swings and other common symptoms of pregnancy despite having had her tubes tied at the age of 20. Although multiple doctors have told Zona she is not pregnant, her pregnant-looking appearance makes Zona dismiss these doctor’s opinions.
Zona’s Daughter Thinks She’s Seeking Attention
Zona’s own daughter, Sabrina, claims that her mother is simply an “attention seeker.” Despite the fact that Zona herself doesn’t believe the doctors, Sabrina sides with the professionals and has tried to convince her mom that she truly isn’t pregnant.
Zona however insists that she constantly feels movement inside her stomach as if there are kicks from a baby. Dr. Phil gets Zona to agree that her situation is strikingly unusual, but Zona still believes she is pregnant despite what all the experts and even her own family tells her. She told Dr. Phil, “I don’t care what medical degree they have. I am 1,000% certain that I am pregnant.”
Shayna Claims To Be Pregnant For Over 1 Year
The next guest, Shayna, has been going through a similar situation as she insists she is pregnant after having a baby bump for over one year. Despite blood tests, urine samples, and ultrasounds returning back a negative pregnancy result, Shayna does not believe it.
In fact, the woman has even spent hundreds of dollars on at-home pregnancy tests that all came back negative due to her disbelief of her situation. Dr. Phil brought in Dr. Thais Aliabadi, a reputable OB/GYN to reassure Shayna that she was in fact not pregnant.
Shayna’s Response and Theory
After constantly being told she is not pregnant despite appearing pregnant, Shayna has come up with her own theories about what she is experiencing. When Dr. Phil asked her if she was surprised or changed her mindset after nine months without a baby delivered, Shayna agreed it was strange and that she even tried to make herself believe she was not pregnant but just couldn’t.
Shayna argues that she is experiencing a “cryptic pregnancy” that just isn’t showing on any medical tests. However, medically a cryptic pregnancy refers to the opposite case in which women don’t realize they’re pregnant and show little to no signs of it. So what’s the real reason behind Zona and Shayna’s situation?
Explaining Shayna’s Condition
Dr. Thais Aliabadi explains to Shayna that through testing she discovered that she suffers from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is a hormonal disorder that causes many women to believe they are pregnant as insulin resistance makes these patients gain weight.
While Shayna might not take Dr. Aliabadi’s word for it, this medical condition does provide a proper explanation to what Shayna has been experiencing over the years she believed she was pregnant. Now, let’s move on to Zona’s interesting diagnosis.
Zona’s Potential Diagnosis
As for Zona, since no child or heartbeat was found after countless ultrasounds, it is likely she suffers from pseudocyesis, which is a rare condition in which women show signs of pregnancy but truly aren’t pregnant. The body works in fascinating ways and simply the constant belief that she has been pregnant for almost four years has created a psychological response in the body which oddly enough causes her to appear pregnant.
While these women both believed they were having a “cryptic pregnancy,” such a term actually describes the opposite circumstance in which women don’t look or feel pregnant, yet they are. Such a case went viral on TikTok earlier this year of a college senior who unexpectedly gave birth out of the blue.
Teagan Brill’s Senior Year of College
Teagan Brill was experiencing a normal senior year, attending classes, hanging out with friends, and preparing for graduation. However, one night in February of 2021, she was feeling unwell and knew she wouldn’t be able to attend class.
Her stomach pain came out of nowhere and turned into intense cramps that made her unable to stand up or even move. Teagan began panicking, calling up to her roommates for help.
A Week Earlier, Everything Seemed Normal
Before this strange medical situation came to be, Teagan realized she had gained a small amount of weight, just a week before. Curious about whether it was due to eating habits or a potential pregnancy, Teagan took a test.
The pregnancy test came back positive. However, at the time, her and her boyfriend, Mitchell Brill were in a long-distance relationship, leaving Teagan to estimate that she was either one or three months pregnant.
The 9-1-1 Call That Signaled Teagan's Condition Wasn't Normal
Flash forward one week. It was early in the morning and all her roommates were sound asleep, unable to hear Teagan’s calls. Without help around, Teagan made an emergency phone call for medical help. She thought it might be related to a miscarriage.
The pain the college student was experiencing wasn’t your typical stomach cramps, it was in fact contractions. While on the phone with 9-1-1, Teagan ended up giving birth to a baby boy. But how could she be nine months pregnant with barely a single symptom?
Cryptic Pregnancies...Teagan Had No Signs
Cryptic pregnancies are rare occurrences in which the standard signs of a pregnancy simply do not show throughout all or most of the gestation period.
Even at seven and eight months, Teagan showed no signs of pregnancy. She barely had a traditional baby bump at all up until a week before giving birth when she noticed slight weight gain.
Explaining Teagan’s Situation
Many women who experience cryptic pregnancies have them due to psychological factors in which they are in denial about their symptoms or situation. This phenomenon of denial convinces their body they aren’t pregnant, and physically they end up looking like their normal selves.
As for Teagan, a nurse explained that her circumstances may be due to her tall stature. Because she is six-feet tall, her developing son likely hid behind her ribs during the pregnancy which explains why she did not form the traditional rounded belly that is the tell-tale sign of pregnancy.
The High-Risk Birth Associated With Cryptic Pregnancies
Overall, cryptic pregnancies are already high risk births. Since these mothers did not know they were pregnant, they weren’t able to take the necessary precautions when it comes to caring for the child before birth, including taking necessary supplements and having regular doctor check-ups.
For a college senior this is especially true as Teagan, who recently turned 21, would party with her friends from time to time and consume alcohol. Immediately after her son’s birth, the doctors ran tests to check for fetal alcohol syndrome and other complications in the newborn. Thankfully, they discerned that the child was healthy.
Teagan Broke The News To Her Parents
As Teagan herself was in absolute shock at giving birth to a child she didn’t even know she was pregnant with, sharing the news with her parents was of course going to be another surprising interaction.
She called her mother to tell her she was a grandma. While her mom originally assumed this was a pregnancy announcement with nine months to plan for a child, her mother was increasingly shocked to learn that her daughter actually gave birth that morning.
And, She's Still Processing The New Life Update
While her mom was understandably shocked, she was relieved to learn that both Teagan and the baby were doing well. Tegan’s mother then delivered the news to her father who was equally speechless. Teagan’s roommate delivered the news to her boyfriend Mitchell, who was so in shock that he simply responded that he had to go to work then hung up.
Upon hearing the news, Mitchell’s father started shoveling snow off his driveway to help process everything. One of Teagan’s friends would cry in shock every time she saw her new friend’s child. As for Teagan herself she simply held her surprising newborn and referred to him as a miracle.
Mitchell Finally Meets His Son
Due to their long-distance relationship, Mitchell wasn’t able to meet his new son the same day he was born. Two days later, he flew out to Michigan and met him for the first time. He recalls how holding him for the first time made everything finally feel real after a few days of FaceTiming him and Teagan.
As for the new family of three, they weren’t quite prepared for this new journey of parenthood and spent the next few days learning how to change diapers, care for a newborn, and of course think of a baby name.
The Happy Little Guy Is Named Owen Louis Brill
After Googling baby names, Teagan and Mitchell decided on the name Owne Louis Brill. Louis as the middle name was an homage to Teagan’s late grandfather who had passed away from COVID-19 just two months before.
Teagan, Mitchell, and Owen moved into her parents’ basement where her whole family was supportive of helping the couple raise their son while ensuring Teagan could still finish her degree. With living in a small town, news of the rare pregnancy quickly spread and Owen became a celebrity amid the community.
Teagan and Mitchell's Major Milestones
In the span of six months, Teagan was experiencing major milestones in life. In February she became a mother. In May she became a college graduate. Then a few months later she and Mitchell got married with baby Owen present as an adorable usher.
A year later, the couple moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and is grateful for the beginning of their little family. After a year of processing the new lifestyle changes, Teagan shared her rare story on TikTok and soon became a viral sensation.
Teagan Receives Support And Learns She’s Not Alone
Teagan’s TikTok rapidly gained popularity as people were shocked that she could be pregnant without any signs. She began addressing the public’s comments in various videos to further explain her situation and how she truly had no baby bump.
Other commenters revealed that Teagan is in fact not alone as other women with cryptic pregnancies began sharing their similar stories in the comment section of her videos. While such a situation is without a doubt both traumatic and miraculous, Teagan found solace in knowing others share this experience, and she hopes she can be a voice for others going through the same wild journey.