Here, Sophie Fredericks, 34, tells the story in her own words.
C￼urled up on the sofa in pain, I was at the end of my tether.
For years, I’d suffered with erratic menstrual cycles.
Having polycystic ovarian syndrome, all contraception - from the pill to the IUD - messed with my hormones, leaving me depressed.
‘I’m thinking of having my fallopian tubes removed,’ I told my husband Fred, 43.
‘If you’re sure then it’s fine by me,’ he said. ‘I’m sure,’ I replied.
With our three gorgeous children, Henry, nine, Daina, seven, and Nicholas, five, our family was complete. So I booked in for the surgery.
As per normal practice, the hospital ran a pregnancy test before surgery, which came back negative. Then I was wheeled in for the operation.
‘Everything went well,’ the surgeon said afterwards. ‘You’re sterile. No need for a follow-up check.’
Relieved it was all over, I went home to recover. The next day, I went into work as normal, in my job as a hospital nurse. But I was surprised by the feeling overwhelming me – grief. I can’t believe I’ll have no more babies, I thought. I loved babies! It was just so final.
‘Do you think you should have had another?’ my friend asked when I told her. ‘No, three’s enough,’ I replied sadly. ‘Now Nicholas has started school, I’ve increased my work to four days a week. I couldn’t manage another child.’ But underneath, I felt undeniable sorrow.
I was also feeling incredibly tired all the time. I’d get home from a shift, have a nap, eat dinner with the family, then flop into bed, exhausted. What’s wrong with me? I thought.
So, nine weeks after the op, on the spur of the moment, I did a pregnancy test to rule it out. To my shock, it was positive! That can’t be right, I thought. After all, I didn’t even have fallopian tubes!
Doing some research, I found out that one of the possible reasons for the result was cancer, as it produces the pregnancy hormone hcG. Oh no, I thought, scared.
Another possible scenario was that it was a fake or ‘molar’ pregnancy, which occurs when a sperm fertilises an empty egg.
Worried, I went to see my GP. ‘I doubt it’s cancer,’ he said, when I told him my fears. ‘I think it’s a fake pregnancy.’
He arranged for me to have an ultrasound to see what was going on. I didn’t want to worry Fred until I knew the result, so I took along my friend Brooke for the scan.
She sat at the end of the bed so she could see the monitor while the sonographer screened my belly. Suddenly Brooke’s eyes widened.‘Oh my God,’ she said. ‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘There’s a baby in there!’ she exclaimed. ‘What? You’re kidding!’ I said.
‘She’s right,’ the sonographer said. ‘I can see the baby’s heartbeat. You’re 10 weeks’ pregnant.’
‘I don’t believe it!’ I cried. ‘How could I possibly be pregnant?’
When I told Fred the news, he was as stunned as I was.
‘This is amazing,’ he said. ‘But you know what? I’m happy about it!’ ‘Are you? So am I,’ I laughed.
The next day, my GP rang the surgeon. He confirmed that the hospital had run a pregnancy test before my op, and it had been negative. So they concluded that at the time of the surgery, the fertilised egg had left my fallopian tube but hadn’t yet embedded itself in my uterus.
‘The fertilised egg must’ve been in transit during the operation,’ the doctor said, incredulous. ‘It’s astonishing.’
Somehow, the baby had survived surgery, a general anaesthetic, painkillers I took post-op – and copious amounts of caffeine I drank to get me through my night shifts as a nurse!
None of our friends and family could believe our news but everyone was so happy for us.
We’d given away all our baby things, but our wonderful community came together and donated a cot, bassinet and baby clothes. Then we reconfigured our home to create a nursery for the new addition to our family.
On July 3, at 3.37pm, our son, Benjamin Teddie, was born weighing 3.5 kilos.
‘He’s beautiful,’ said Fred. ‘Absolute perfection,’ I smiled.
Today Benjamin is six months old and a happy, chilled-out little soul. The kids absolutely adore him. We feel so blessed that despite all odds, he’s here. He truly is a miracle baby.
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.