Mother delivers surprise “miracle baby”
Published: November 3, 2006 | 5001st good news item since 2003
If nothing else, you could say Amanda Brisendine had an easy pregnancy.
It was so effortless, in fact, that she didn’t even notice it — until doctors broke the news Saturday that she was 37 weeks along and ready for delivery.
On Tuesday, the stunned mother held her healthy, newborn boy as the glare of news crews surrounded her bed at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue.
The media asked the same questions she’d asked: How could this happen? How could a woman carry a baby for nine months, not knowing, not feeling a new life budding inside her?
To the skeptical reporters who crowded around her hospital room, she could only offer up what she knew — the story of what she called her “miracle baby.”
With microphones clipped to the neck of her nightgown and cradling Alexander Joseph Britt in her arms, Brisendine explained how the normal warning signs never showed up.
She had what she thought were her periods every month. She’d gained 30 pounds in the past year, but figured that was from quitting cigarettes and eating too much of her grandmother’s buttery cooking.
“I didn’t feel like the brightest person in the world for not knowing,” she said, but she hoped her story would make others realize it could happen to them.
The pain began Wednesday. Brisendine, 26, said she felt a sharp ache in her abdomen. The intensity reminded her of when she had to have ovarian cysts removed five years ago, she said. By Friday, the pain was so bad that she called in sick to her deli job at Albertsons grocery in Eastgate.
She showed up at Group Health Cooperative’s Eastside campus the next morning. After “being poked and prodded,” the doctors gave her a pregnancy test that came back positive, she said.
“I was so shocked, I was nauseous,” she said. “It took me a minute to realize what they were saying.”
When Brisendine was pregnant with her 14-month-old daughter, she’d had morning sickness and cravings. She also felt Melodie kick her constantly, she said.
But with this baby, she couldn’t feel anything. That worried the doctors. Ultrasounds showed there was low amniotic fluid in the placenta and the baby wasn’t moving like he should have been, said Danica Bloomquist, Brisendine’s doctor. She delivered Alexander by C-section on Sunday at 7 pounds, 5 ounces.
“From our assessment, the baby wasn’t doing well in utero,” Bloomquist said. “He needed to come out.”
What happened to Brisendine isn’t unheard of, doctors say.
George Macones, chairman of the OB/GYN department at Washington University in St. Louis, said he’s seen about a dozen cases in his nearly 20-year career. He specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Sometimes, the pregnancy isn’t obvious when a woman is overweight, he said. Or she will have spotting or bleeding during the pregnancy and mistake it for her period, he said.
Brisendine’s boyfriend, Jason Britt, 33, the father of Alexander and Brisendine’s daughter, said he thought Brisendine was lying.
“It was the quickest pregnancy that I’d ever seen,” Britt said.
Brisendine said she will return to her home in Renton today. She’s kept a few things from her last pregnancy that will come in handy, she said. As for marriage plans, Britt and Brisendine said they’ll take that one step at a time.
The couple and their families are still adjusting to what she said was the “biggest and best surprise of my life.”
“We’re in for a really, really big adventure,” Brisendine said.