Gave Birth Two Days After Finding Out She Was Pregnant

Looking at her one year old son, mum April reflected back to the time she found out she was pregnant, which was just two days before he was born.

April Branum at that time weighed 420 pounds and being so large the mum-to-be and everybody else was unaware that she was pregnant.

When severe stomach pains persisted April went to her local emergency room in Garden Grove in Los Angeles.  X-rays taken of her stomach revealed she was carrying a full-term foetus and she was actually in labour.

"I remember when the doctor told me what was going on," Branum recalled. "I just looked up at the ceiling and thought, don't pass out, don't pass out."

April was referred to her UCI Medical Centre for prenatal testing where thankfully no defects were detected. 

Two days later baby Branum made his entrance by caesarean section weighting in at a healthy 7lb 7oz and was given the name Walter Scott Edwards III.

April’s weight was not the primary reason why the pregnancy went undetected for so long.  Early menopause is a condition that runs in her family and when her periods stopped 2 years previously, along with visits to her doctor for symptoms such as backaches, tender breasts and hardening of her stomach, all was put down to the onset of menopause. 

Baby Was in Folds of Fat

An unsuccessful gastric bypass surgery seven years previously resulted in a loss of weight which produced a lot of sagging skin around her tummy.  "That's exactly where the baby was hanging out. He was in the skin and that is why I didn't feel him," she said. 

Doctor’s said the many layers of fat around her belly insulated the baby’s movements.  "When she moved or laid down, she had so much weight of her own that the tiny movements of the baby didn't register as well," said an obstetrician-gynaecologist.

With no morning sickness or movement of the baby felt, April carried on believing her body changes were due to the menopause – what she did not realise was the outcome was going to change her life!

April, 39 and her fiancé Walter Edwards II, 46 had given up hope of having any children of their own years ago.  She started babysitting at aged 14 for neighbours and became a professional babysitter in later years. 

Hate Mail

News of the surprise birth catapulted them into the media spotlight and while some people were supportive and encouraging, others were vicious in their condemnation of the type of parents the Branum’s’ would be. 

They received hate mail and hundreds of anonymously postings on OCRegister.com saying such things as ‘grossly obese,’ ‘disgusting,’ a mother who ‘can't even take care of herself.’

"I just glanced at the comments, and I was, like, 'whatever,' "Branum, 39, said in a recent interview. ”Being big all your life, you expect it. I'm sure there are more people who think it but just don't say it."

New dad Edward contacted The Orange County Register to complain about the hateful, uncensored comments being posted about his fiancé and the mother of his newly born son.  "If I could reach through my computer and strangle them, I would," Edwards said. "It just isn't working right. The Register is a news company. That is not news."

Even the local church while accepting donations on behalf of the newborn’s unprepared parents received hate male!  Bubba Lisscomb who is senior pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Orange intercepted some of the letters and said "I just felt sorry for them that they had to express their bitterness and hatred for a total stranger.  If they knew April, they would see she's not the person they envisioned in their minds. She's a jolly person”.

One year on and April spends the day with her son while babysitting three children after school.  Walter is now 29 inches tall and weighs 20 pounds.  With three teeth and saying ‘dada’ he is getting ready to take his first steps.

Unaware of Being Pregnant

News of the Women who fail to realise they are pregnant until the later stages may not be as rare as is commonly assumed.  Researchers from Humboldt University wrote in the British Medical Journal, "The common view that denied pregnancies are exotic and rare events is not valid.

"Deliveries in which the woman has not been aware of her pregnancy until going into labour occur about three times more often than triplets."

Mary Newburn, director of policy for the National Childbirth Trust, told BBC News Online that it was possible that some people simply refused to admit to themselves that they were pregnant.

In some cases it might also be possible that younger women were not aware of the significance of the changes occurring to their bodies.

She said: "Most of us put on two or three stone (28-42lbs) while we are pregnant and by the end of pregnancy feel very much as though it is dominating our entire being, so it is difficult to imagine how anybody could get to the later stages of pregnancy and not realise it.

"But pregnancies do vary enormously, and particularly for bigger women the amount of weight they put on is less proportionately."

Women worldwide regardless of their weight have been shocked to find out they are about to give birth while never knowing they were even pregnant.  Babies born with no medical checks on their oblivious mummies have thankfully been health.  Mother Nature is indeed wonderful and a true miracle.