Surprise baby deliveries are the stuff of urban legend and tabloids, right? We’ve all heard the occasional anecdote about women suddenly and spontaneously giving birth without even having realized they were pregnant — but those stories are just crazy, right?
Listen, as difficult as it is to believe, this story is totally true.
As told to Disney Dads by Alex Ciejek, a stay-at-home dad in western Massachusetts, it happened to his own wife. And, it happened while Alex was some 1400 miles away from her, on vacation, with their 8 year old son Daniel in tow — and at Walt Disney World in Florida no less!
Alex and Daniel found out, via text message, that wife/mom Lisa had just delivered a baby girl. Nobody — herself included — even knew she was expecting.
“Come on, no way!” is what you’re probably thinking. And furthermore, you’re probably also thinking — “Are these people, like, regular sane and intelligent functioning adults?”
Alex and Lisa, both around 40, met each other as teenagers when they attended the same boarding school. They didn’t get around to marrying until years and years later.
Alex has been a stay-at-home dad since Daniel was about one. “Actually, my official title is ‘homemaker,’ according to our tax returns” he says, laughing. He said his wife was the one with the better job, and even though he worked a little when Daniel was a baby, he and Lisa found that it worked best for them to have Alex be the primary caregiver. “The best part about it is wearing the aprons,” he says, laughing.
In all seriousness, Alex and Lisa seem like a couple who has things on the ball — probably more than most of us. Says Alex, affectionately “Lisa really helps me with this. We work really well together. She’s the one who is on top of all the little details that keep me organized. She plans ahead. She makes me look like I’m really on the ball, but I wouldn’t be without her.”
So how does an upstanding, intelligent, adorably close couple like this wind up not realizing they were expecting a second child?
According to both of them, Lisa hadn’t been feeling well for a while. She did realize she was gaining some weight. But there had been some dramatic things happening in their lives over the course of the unknown pregnancy that had distracted them quite a bit.
Alex had had a health crisis related to his heart, and was having some ongoing issues over the course of a few months. Because he was bedridden for a time, and Lisa was juggling her full-time job with picking up the slack while Alex recovered, she wasn’t very surprised at feeling sluggish, slightly nauseous, and somewhat run down. It was a stressful time — even putting on a little weight didn’t seem alarming under the circumstances.
Alex admitted he had also noticed that she hadn’t gotten her period in a while. But again, chalked it up to the fact that they were going through a crisis of sorts. “I noticed, but didn’t think much of it,” he says.
Once Alex was recovered, he planned the trip to Florida as a fun thing to do on Daniel’s school break. Lisa stayed behind because she was needed at work.
So a few days into the trip, Alex and Daniel were at Epcot Center. They were having a great time — and were sending mom all sorts of random and cute pictures — for 6 ½ hours to be exact — to keep her in the loop. But she wasn’t responding. Lisa not responding to pictures of Daniel looking cute at Epcot Center? It was unheard of. Alex was slightly concerned, but only mildly. He was caught up in the adventure of navigating Epcot with Daniel.
Finally, at 8:30 Alex received a text from Lisa.
8:30pm Lisa: Call me when you get back to the hotel!
Time passed. He received another text.
8:41pm Lisa: Is the Don asleep yet?
8:41pm Alex: Just came in from the pool. 3 1/2 hours at the pool.
8:41: Lisa: Is it warm? Did you have dinner there?
8:41: Alex: Warm. Getting room service.
8:41: Lisa: BIG DAY.
At this point, Alex got distracted with the business of feeding Daniel dinner and then getting him ready for bed and tucking him in for the night. More time passed. Then came this message:
9:49: Lisa: Call me please!
Finally, Alex called her. He recalls she said “Are you sitting down?” and then “Tell Daniel he has a baby sister.”
“First thing I thought,” said Alex, “was that she bought a dog. I even said that to her.”
Lisa responded “No, I gave birth.”
Alex remembers little else from that phone call. He knows he spoke with Lisa for about an hour. They hung up. Lisa snapped the photo of the baby pictured above, and texted it to him. The next text message on his phone was his response back:
10:59 Alex: Love you, sorry we are not there, she’s beautiful.
After getting over the shock, mom and dad named their new daughter Hanne — also referred to sometimes simply as “miracle baby.” Hanne is a happy and healthy baby.