Perth woman Ashlee Wilson was home alone when she experienced terrible stomach pain that just wouldn’t go away. The cramping and pain started around 5pm and by 2am, they were so intense she thought she could be “dying”.
At 4am she contacted Triple 0 while sitting on the toilet, screaming in pain.
“Im just sitting on the toilet because it feels like something’s trying to come out but there’s nothing there and it hurts,” she told the Triple 0 operator through the screams.
Soon after the call, a paramedic, Melissa Gardiner arrived. Six minutes after this, Ashlee very unexpectedly gave birth to a little girl in the middle of her lounge room.
She had no idea she was pregnant.
An unexpected baby surprise
Ashlee’s daughter, Marley Rae was born healthy and happy on 6th May 2023. It’s likely she was conceived in August 2022, but Ashlee didn’t even consider she could be pregnant until she was literally holding her daughter in her arms.
“I was in shock when I was told I was in labour,” she told news.com.au. “I kept denying that it could be a baby. I kept saying there was no way I could be pregnant.
Then when they [put] my daughter on to my chest I just thought, ‘Oh my god, it’s a bloody baby!’
No preparation at all
Most women have nine months to process the thought of having a baby. Despite not having any warning – and we mean, NONE, Ashlee, 34, and her partner, Justin, 32 have embraced their new life with open arms.
“As weird as it sounds, when I was holding her it actually melted my heart and I came to tears. My mind was scrambling at the fact that for nine months I didn’t know this little soul was inside me,” she said.
“Processing she was born took a lot of time and it took me a few days to adjust to motherhood. But now it feels so natural and I’ve just embraced everything.”
Looking back at the previous nine months, Ashlee tells Sunrise that, physically, it was next to impossible to tell she was pregnant. However, she did experience some bloating which she went to the GP about, and was told to “drink more water and eat more peanuts”.
Ashlee, who is a delivery truck driver also noticed her periods stopped but she thought it was menopause.
“I didn’t know much about menopause, and I didn’t tell anyone that they’d stopped. I also got hot flushes, so my mind was like, ‘Oh cool, no more periods, it’s just menopause.
Looking back, there were clues. My ankles would randomly swell and I felt some movement in my stomach, but I thought it was my body rejecting foods I was eating.”
No idea what was happening
The day before Ashlee went into labour – which she didn’t realise was labour – she had worked a normal day doing deliveries. However, she had felt a bit off since the day before.
“I wasn’t eating properly, my sleep was restless and I had a constant need to go to the bathroom,” she said.
Around 5pm she started to experience painful cramps and stomach pain.
“I had no idea what was happening. At 2am the next morning, I thought I was dying.”
Around 2am they became unbearable and at 4am she called an ambulance.
St John’s ambulance paramedic Melissa Gardiner arrived at Ashlee’s house and told her she was about to have a baby. Ashlee didn’t believe her but just minutes later, she gave birth to Marley Rae.
Ashlee and Marley were transported to the hospital and Ashlee’s partner, Justin, was informed that he was a dad. The new family received an influx of items from friends and family, who came together to find a cot, clothing and other baby essentials.
The couple is now relishing in their unexpected newborn bubble.
“I am so incredibly happy. Happier than I’ve been in a long time. She has lit up my life. I’m so happy she chose me to be her mum. I cannot wait to tell her the story of how she came into the world one day.”
Incredibly enough, Ashlee isn’t the first mum who didn’t know she was pregnant until she gave birth. Having an unexpected baby happens a lot more often than we thought and there’s a name for it – cryptic pregnancy.
According to Medical News Today, around 1 in 2,500 pregnancies are considered cryptic pregnancies with the woman not realising she is pregnant until labour occurs.
What to read next
We’ve shared a few stories of cryptic pregnancies in the past including: