Most men get several months to wrap their heads around becoming a father. For Mike Innes, it was more like several seconds.
The B.C. resident and his girlfriend, Ashley Zezula, welcomed a 7 lb. 7 oz. baby boy into the world on Jan. 4. They had no idea they were expecting.
WATCH BELOW: Ashley Zezula describes how she went approximately eight months without realizing she was pregnant
“Even Mike at night, he would wrap his arm around me. He couldn’t feel any indication that there was a body inside me.”
Zezula started to feel cramping on their trip home from Saskatoon earlier that evening. The discomfort intensified as they arrived in Vancouver and made the two-hour drive to Mission, B.C. in rush hour traffic. By the time they got home, Zezula was hovering over the toilet in pain. She was in labour with a breech baby.
“I was like, ‘Michael there’s something in me! Oh my God!’ I’m screaming and he’s like, ‘it’s probably just something you ate.’ And I was like, ‘no. I don’t know if it’s a tumour! I don’t know what’s happening!'”
Zezula used a mirror from her eyeshadow pallet to determine something, or someone, was there.
“Shout-out to makeup to being there for a birth!” Zezula said with a laugh.
WATCH BELOW: Ashley Zezula explains how she delivered a surprise, breech baby on her own
Paramedics arrived and the family was transported to the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre. Baby Raymond, named after Innes’ grandfather, was jaundice but healthy.
Edmonton obstetrician Dr. Jonathan Tankel says in his 30 years on the job he has seen only one case of a pregnancy that’s discovered during labour.
“That was in a person that had not been having periods because of a medical condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome which is a common condition that five to 10 per cent of women had,” Tankel said. “That would be to my mind, with only having dealt with that once, the most common scenario.”
A 2002 German study had researchers scour through hospital data in Berlin to find that in a single year, 25 women had pregnancies “diagnosed” while they were in labour.
“Deliveries in which the woman has not been aware of her pregnancy until going into labour occur about three times more often than triplets,” the paper read.
Innes and Zezula join a growing group of Canadian parents who share stories of delivering surprise babies. In May 2015, Victoria couple Ada Guan and Wesley Branch welcomed their daughter, Chloe, on board an Air Canada flight headed to Tokyo.
“She told me, ‘something fell out of me.’ I lifted up her pants and I saw a head and then I heard, ‘Wah,’” Branch told Global News.
Zezula and Innes planned to have a family but a couple years down the road. While Raymond was a surprise, he’s a welcome one. Zezula calls him a “miracle.”
– with files from Carmen Chai, Erika Tucker & David Shum