LOCUST GROVE, GA — When Shaun Jude Jaegers grows up, he’ll have a heck of a story to tell about his birth.
Not only was he a “surprise” baby, but his mom at first thought he was just a kidney stone.
Last week his mother, Stephanie Jaegers of Locust Grove, Georgia, was suffering significant stomach pain. She figured it was kidney stones, so she went to a local hospital.
While she was being evaluated, a technician asked her how far along she was in her pregnancy. Jaegers shot him an “evil look” and told him not only was she not pregnant but she was on her period.
So imagine her surprise when she ended up in emergency surgery, with a doctor ordering up an ultrasound.
“I was pretty much in shock,” Jaegers told CNN.
Her husband was dumbfounded by the turn of events as well.
“I went from googling “kidney stone treatments” to a panic attack over the fact that not only were we pregnant, but the baby was coming within the hour,” Michael Jaegers wrote on Facebook. “Most parents have a good 9+ months to plan for such a blessing, we had 30 minutes’ notice.”
Stephanie Jaegers was worried because she hadn’t had any prenatal care. But that wasn’t the only thing : the baby was in trouble.
“He was breech. He was sitting and his feet were up by his head,” she told CNN affiliate WGCL.
About an hour after all that, Shaun was born.
It was a crazy, unbelievable couple of hours, but when Stephanie first held Shaun in her arms, everything was OK, she said.
“At that point all the fear went away, and you’re thinking this is how it was meant to be. This is right,” she told CNN.
When Michael Jaegers found he was going to be a father for the fourth time, he didn’t know what to think.
“What was my reaction? I had about seven or eight of them,” he told CNN. “There was a little bit of doubt, definitely fear.”
Jaegers said he and his wife began running through their minds everything she had done the past couple of months, wondering if they had done anything to jeopardize a baby they didn’t even know was coming. Had she eaten the wrong things? A few months ago she broke her ankle and had an X-ray taken. Could that have hurt the baby?
“We had been to Six Flags, and she rode on a couple of roller coasters,” Michael Jaegers said. Not exactly standard activity for a pregnant woman.
Their fears were heightened by the fact that Stephanie Jaegers had complications when their daughter was born a couple of years ago.
But it turns out their fears were for naught. Shaun is a perfectly healthy boy, weighing 7 pounds and 3 ounces. Michael Jaegers said of the four births he and his wife have experienced, Shaun is the healthiest baby of the bunch.
“He’s alert; he’s even trying to raise his head up,” he said.
You didn’t know?
Michael Jaegers then addressed the first question everyone asks when they hear his family’s story: How could they not know she was pregnant?
“We were asking the same question. We’ve been called stupid and dumb and ignorant, but until it happens to you, you can’t really grasp it,” he said. “She knows the symptoms; she knows the signs. There were zero. It was a miracle.”
During the past couple of months, his wife often complained of feeling bloated, and that’s probably because little Shaun was “folded up in half the whole time” under a rib, which could explain why mom never had a protruding belly during the pregnancy.
And about a year ago, Stephanie Jaegers was told she was premenopausal and probably wouldn’t be able to have any more children, which might explain her hormone imbalances.
A new reality
So how does this work now, going from a family of five to a family of six, all in the blink of an eye?
It’s not easy. Stephanie Jaegers is still dealing with her broken ankle, limiting her mobility.
After Shaun’s birth, Michael took three days off – he works in Atlanta’s film and TV industry as a production coordinator – and was back on the job by the weekend. So his mom has flown in to help out for the next couple of days.
Shaun’s getting great backup from his siblings as well. At least from his two big brothers, Jacob, 16, and Dylan, 11.
“My two boys have been great. They’ve really stepped up,” Michael Jaegers said.
His 2-year-old daughter Sadie, on the other hand – not so much.
“She’s not quite ready to give up the spotlight. She still wants the attention.”
A network of other family and friends has pitched in as well as the Jaegers try to figure out the basics of their new reality – like sleeping arrangements. Michael Jaegers notes they didn’t exactly have an extra bedroom lying around to put a newborn baby in.
And they need to get stuff. They had already gotten rid of almost all baby clothes, except for six baby boy outfits Stephanie had saved. So they have that – and a car seat.
“I was selling all the baby stuff, because we were done,” she said, laughing.
“We have the basics,” Michael Jaegers said, but they are in need of things like formula and diapers.
And there’s media to deal with too.
Kelly Ripa mentioned the birth on her show. The syndicated daytime show “The Doctors” has called. They’ve gotten congratulations from as far away as South Africa.
It’s all exhausting, but Michael and Stephanie don’t mind.
“We want to show all of this to Shaun when he’s older,” Michael Jaegers said.
Stephanie Jaegers wants to “do some type of scrapbook for him.”
He’ll need it. Otherwise no one will believe that incredible story he’ll get to tell.