A woman gave birth to a healthy 10-pound baby girl on Wednesday, an event that might have passed unremarked upon if Katherine Kropas hadn’t discovered that she was pregnant just an hour before her daughter was delivered.

Kropas, 23, was on birth control, had a menstrual cycle and generally felt fine in the months leading up to the delivery. She had no morning sickness, only slightly swollen feet, which she attributed to being on her feet almost constantly in her catering job over the holidays.

But on Tuesday, Kropas started experiencing stomach and back pain so intense that she took at day off of her job to go to the hospital.

“Tuesday morning I woke up and I had crazy lower back pain,” Kropas told Boston’s CBS affiliate. “I thought I had put on some Christmas season weight, but I never thought I was pregnant. Never.”


Late that night, she learned what was really happening: Her full-term daughter was ready to come into the world.

Her boyfriend of 2 1/2 years, Dan Keefe, called her parents, Richard and Karen Kropas.

“I almost fell out of the chair,” her father said, noting that Katherine’s mother started to scream when she heard the news, according to Boston’s ABC station.

“I’ve heard these stories over and over. You hear them and think, ‘Oh my God, how did somebody not know,’ and this and that, but I can tell you, this is real and true and it happens,” Karen Kropas said to NECN.

At 11:06 p.m., one hour after doctors told Kropas she was pregnant, the baby was delivered by Caesarean section. Kropas named her Ellie, after her grandmother who drove her to the hospital.


Surprise pregnancies, also known as “cryptic” pregnancies, are rare; but they are more common than many people might think. There’s even a (newly formed) support group on Facebook for women who missed all signs that they were pregnant until nearly the very end.


And TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” reality show dramatizes the experience of some of women.

At South Shore Hospital, where Kropas gave birth, her case is probably one of several they will see this year, as they do nearly every year, according to WBZ, the CBS station:

Dr. Kim Dever is chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology at South Shore Hospital. She said it is not the only time the hospital has seen a similar birth.
“We do about 3,500 births a year, and we probably see this a few times a year,” said Dever.
It happens when a woman is overweight or has irregular periods, and she may not feel much baby movement because of where the placenta is positioned, the doctor said.
“Very often, especially in your first pregnancy, you’re  really not aware of what you’re feeling and we often have women joke and say they’re feeling gas pains or they can attribute it to other natural conditions,” Dever said.

For now, Kropas and her family have a lot of catching up to do, including getting all the baby supplies they didn’t know they needed.

“We’re having a lot of fun so far, and I think this is just the beginning,” Kropas said.