Meet Katie Smith, your average mid-twenty-year-old girl. Well, if you consider this situation average. When Ms. Smith was just 24 years old something starting unbelievable began growing inside of her and doctors couldn’t figure out what it was.
Katie’s stomach expanded so large and so fast that she seemed pregnant! The weird part, she wasn’t pregnant at all. Every pregnancy test that she took said negative but her doctors continued to dismiss her overwhelming concerns.
Smith is 28 years old and from Swansea in Wales. Back in 2014, she began gaining weight, and within just a few years she resembled someone nine months pregnant. She told BBC that she never was super skinny, but gradually she developed a belly like this
Katie lived a healthy life and was very conscious of keeping her figure. She loved her curves and spent a lot of time at the gym. This is why her progressive weight gain was so infuriating. Unfortunately, the mystery was left unsolved.
Not As It Seems
At this time Katie thought her biggest problem was whether she would be able to go to work Christmas party because she felt insecure in her outfit. At this time, Katie felt she was not thin enough.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Katie tried everything but her stomach wouldn’t stop growing. As she said ” “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger. There’s nothing worse than keeping a healthy lifestyle but still gaining an excessive amount of weight.
What Was Going On?
It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber.” Regardless of how much she worked out or maintained a strict diet, she was still gaining an enormous amount of weight.
Not Just Growing
At this point, she couldn’t ignore her excessive weight gain. She began to notice that all the weight she was gaining was going directly to her stomach, and it felt different too. How would she proceed?
Her stomach started to feel hard and uncomfortable to touch. However, she stayed positive and was hopeful that this would go away with time…. but some things don’t always work out the way we want.
There’s Only One Explanation
Her dress size was increasing at rapid speed and she was now a size eight. But still, she was too afraid to see a doctor. She grew up with her father as a doctor and this made her a bit apprehensive.
Her Gut Feeling
Little did she know that bigger concerns were approaching. At this point, Katie could only think of one explanation. She wasn’t sure she wanted to believe it, however. What was she thinking it was?
When considering all the components Katie decided there was only one possible reasoning for this, and that was pregnancy. Her belly was growing and she was gaining weight, she was always exhausted, and had a serious boyfriend.
When looking at all the factors, all things pointed to a bun in the oven! This possibility made Katie and her boyfriend nervous. If she was pregnant, then it was surely unplanned. However, given her situation, this was a possibility.
Soon To Be Parents
Katie and her boyfriend Jamie Gibbons had been together for 10 years already and they did consider the possibility that she was pregnant. Although they weren’t ready for it, they knew they had to at least check.
The Blue Stripe
When the couple saw that the pregnancy test was negative, they were both surprised. They figured the test was incorrect, so she immediately took a second one. But it only showed the same result once again!
Getting Really Worried
They were surprised and decided it was time to see a doctor. What exactly was going on here? Was she sick? Did she have a miscarriage? A million dreaded things were popping into her head and really scaring her.
Facing Her Fears
Katie had no options left and it was time to finally see a doctor. Unfortunately, she did not receive the answer she was expecting or hoping for. The doctor simply told her that she was “merely fat.” At this point, she saw no way out.
Following Her Instincts
Although the doctors dismissed her worries, Katie felt something was wrong. She ignored it though because it didn’t impact her daily routine. Still, she couldn’t understand what was going on.
She couldn’t stop wondering why she wasn’t pregnant. It seemed she was pregnant, so what was the deal? She didn’t fully trust the doctors and their thoughts. But, they were professionals so she should trust them, right?
If she were pregnant, at least the problem would disappear once she gave birth. Unfortunately, her stomach continued growing for a full two years. Every month it just kept getting larger and larger until something awful happened at work.
She Didn’t Feel Well
It was just a normal day on the job when all of a sudden Katie felt light-headed and nauseous. That’s when she collapsed. She was told by her coworkers that she had fainted.
A Difficult Period
After this, Katie realized she needed to see a doctor right away. She said “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress.” She had no other explanation and just had to continue her life like she was living it before.
All From Stress?
Is it possible to pass out simply from being too stressed out? Katie wasn’t too convinced. But her doctor tried to reassure her that nothing major was going on, and that she definitely wasn’t pregnant.
Not What It Appears
It was impossible to avoid unwanted questions regarding her “pregnancy.” People noticed her growing belly and there was no trying to ignore it. She had to explain herself repeatedly.
No End In Sight
Katie always answered with the same response day in and day out, ” The doctors say I am just overweight.” Although she was annoyed with the situation, she also saw no end approaching.
She said people were always asking her when the baby was due, and after a while, she began to lie to spare them the embarrassment. So instead she just told them she is overweight, because this is what she believed.
Katie was waddling around with a giant belly and she started to feel embarrassed about her appearance. She even started to shop in the maternity section because nothing fit her.
“I remember trying to shop for clothes in December 2016 and nothing would fit. I was skin and bone on top, then this massive lump and normal legs. The only thing that was going to fit was maternity wear.”
Katie was stubborn about getting help. Only after several blackouts at work, difficulties breathing, and excessive weight gain that interfered with her life, did she seek assistance.
And this still wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her coworkers who insisted she get checked out. Many people wonder why Katie didn’t take care of herself more. Something was clearly off, so why was it taking her so long to seek help?
A New Explanation
Katie was going about her life trying to avoid her situation. But enough was enough when she passed out four times! This time the doctor reasoned her exhaustion by blaming her acne medication but she refused to accept this response.
Time To Stand Up
It seemed like the doctors weren’t taking her symptoms or situation seriously. They continued to blame other causes and things going on in Katie’s life. She decided it was finally time to put her foot down.
Enough Was Enough
She had stopped taking it for several months before and insisted there had to be another explanation. She consulted a second doctor who also said she had to be pregnant. He did numerous blood tests that all came back with no results.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Her GP concluded that the only explanation was pregnancy, regardless of the blood test results and no further examination. So, he ordered a second ultrasound. At this point even walking was a difficult task for Katie and she was having difficulty breathing.
The Truth At Last
The doctor who saw her requested that they immediately check if she was pregnant. Was she finally going to get to the bottom of this? Well, it certainly opened an entirely new can of worms that she was not expecting.
Katie watched the doctor as she did the ultrasound. When she saw her expression it was clear something was wrong. Her eyes were enlarged and she had a look of fear come over her.
The doctor requested a consultant and Katie became paralyzed. Her boyfriend Jamie tried to console her but there was no stopping the panic she felt at that moment. What was really going on inside of her stomach?
The ultrasound screen was blank, and it was clear that Katie was not pregnant. However, there was something still going on inside her stomach. All they knew for sure was that her life was in danger.
The possibilities were endless, regardless they needed a CT to find out. Katie was understandably scared and extremely worried for what was to come. Her mind went to a number of possibilities.
The blank ultrasound led to an immediate request for a CT scan that revealed astonishing news. The doctors prepared Katie for what they were about to tell her. Katie and her boyfriend sat hand in hand waiting for the big news.
Definitely Not Pregnant
Katie definitely wasn’t pregnant. The reason for her large belly was actually the result of a huge ovarian mass. At this point, Katie’s whole world came crashing down, as the doctor could not confirm exactly what he was dealing with.
To The Skin
It wasn’t your average cyst and was 24 centimeters thick and attached to her stomach. This finally explained her gaining weight, but her life remained in danger. Measures had to be taken immediately.
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
Essentially a cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop on a woman’s ovary. They are extremely common and usually don’t cause harm, and most often disappear on their own. But, not for Katie.
The only situations where a cyst can interfere with a person’s life is when it ruptures, blocks the blood supply to the ovaries, or in this case, is very large. Katie’s was really large, no…extremely large!
Exploring Her Options
One month later, Katie was speaking to a specialist who went over the options available for her. The image of the consultant’s face is still ingrained in her brain. He was in utter shock at her belly.
Although he calmly explained to her that she had a large ovarian mass, his face revealed the truth. He was completely shocked. No one could have expected the size of the cyst, even the specialist.
That’s Not All
The doctor said it was possible that there were multiple cysts, and that they could be attached to organs. Katie couldn’t believe it, and yet, she knew that at this point the only option was surgery.
Although they had ruled out the other explanations, they still were unclear the effect the cyst had on her body. She definitely had side effects, and of course, they had nothing to do with being pregnant.
Although the doctor was unsure of what/how big the cyst was, he decided that there was something that had to be done. He couldn’t believe all of Katie’s other doctors had turned her away with a “you’re fine” response.
One Thing For Certain
One thing her doctor was certain of was that she would lose one ovary. In addition, depending on the location of the cyst, she may be hospitalized for longer. Katie felt like she was signing her life away.
Katie’s mother lives in Australia so she decided not to tell her about this whole situation, not to worry her. But since the mystery was finally solved, she felt it was time to let the family know.
At this point, it was too much for her to go through this alone so she called her mom and her sisters to be by her side. Katie had battled alone for the majority of this medical situation, but she felt it was enough.
Ready To Go
Within two days her mother arrived, but unfortunately, her dad had to stay back in Australia. Even with the time difference, he was always just a phone call away. She had all the support she needed and was ready for the dreadful day.
The doctor informed Katie that in 4 weeks’ time she would be set for surgery. The time finally arrived and Katie was ready for surgery. In the short time between her initial consultation and surgery, her stomach grew another five inches.
The high-risk obstetrics consultant she was referred to said surgery was a must and that he was going to cut her open from her chest bone down to her pelvic bone, like an old fashion C-section. Those were some comforting words!
March 9th, 2017
The day finally came in a blink of an eye. Katie was handed a surgery gown and a pair of socks. She put them on and was taken by the nurse. Her body was paralyzed knowing that at any minute a giant needle would be stabbed into her body.
Katie was so uneasy and difficult that she needed to be held down by two nurses. She wouldn’t stop moving and they needed to put the needle inside her. She says she really felt like she was dying.
And The Wait Continues
The doctors expected the surgery would only take an hour or so. But it took five! Her family patiently awaited the end, fearing for Katie’s life. However, the doctors managed to remove the cyst.
Back To Normal
The cyst was enormous, but the weight blew everyone away. Finally, this ginormous thing was removed from Katie’s body. She couldn’t wait to be back to her normal self again!
Minutes To Hours
She was extremely terrified but knew this was the way to get back to her old life. The surgery was supposed to last 90 minutes, but hours passed by before she was finished. Her friends and family waited in angst.
The cyst came out to 60 pounds! If you struggle with understanding how much 60 pounds is, then it’s equivalent to seven babies! Katie woke from surgery surrounded by the hospital staff showing her pictures of what was inside her for so many months.
Treated Like A Celebrity
Katie was overwhelmed and confused when she woke up from surgery. “I remember still being groggy from the anesthetic as they wheeled me back to the ward and excited hospital staff was shoving photos in front of me,” said Katie.
The cyst accounted for one-third of Katie’s body weight and she began to realize the impact it had on her life. She couldn’t do the things that were once so normal for her. It was a real burden on her life.
Losing The Cyst
Once she was lacking this excess weight she noticed that it was making easy tasks in her life seem difficult, like driving a car or walking upstairs. Losing this cyst essentially brought her back to life.
She was in utter disbelief that she was carrying so much weight around! After seeing the photos she said that “It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy!”
The doctors were blown away by the size of Katie’s cyst. She was a true medical phenomenon! She along with the entire medical staff could not believe what was living inside her for so long.
Katie was released four days later and had the support of her mother and boyfriend. Although she was dreading this process, the after effect made it all worthwhile. Smith doesn’t even remember life without an extra 60 kg!
Katie has a 30- centimeter scar that extends from her sternum to her pelvis from the surgery. Not long after the procedure, she was already able to walk around easily. She couldn’t wait to start her new life with all the changes it brought. One drawback of the surgery was that Katie lost her right ovary, but the doctors informed her that this wouldn’t affect her having children.
Aside from her scar, Katie’s stomach is also covered in stretch marks, which are daily reminders of this experience. Regardless, Katie prefers the stretch marks to a 60-pound lump growing in her stomach.
A New Katie
Katie’s family came to visit her soon after the surgery and they were shocked to see her new appearance. She was so thin, basically half the woman she was before the surgery! Katie was so happy to be back to herself.
Katie recollects on her recover and says it has been more or less smooth sailing, with some hiccups along the way. She says that her health is definitely much better than last year, both physically and mentally.
She has singled out her family, friends, and coworkers to say thank you for all their help during her recovery. Katie says she doesn’t think she could have done this without them and tells herself how lucky she is every day for her support network.
A year ago, Katie would never have shared her story. However, since then she has only grown more comfortable in her body. She is now sharing her story and is a true inspiration to us all!
Despite going through this difficult experience and the reminder from her scar and stretch marks, Smith finally has her life back and has been reassured she will still be able to have children without her right ovary. She is so thankful for her surgeon.
Alexandra & Antonin
Alexandra Kinova and her husband Antonin Kroscen had plans to create a family and they were unprepared for what was about to happen. They figured they had some time before starting their family together, but then they discovered that she was pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, one doctor’s visit revealed something unexpected…
Happy To Be Expecting
Alexandra and her partner Antonin, a couple from the Czech republic were very excited when they heard that they were expecting a child. This is normal for any couple, but they were unprepared for what was coming for them.
Ready For Parenthood
Although she was only 23, she wasn’t afraid of the future. Since she was already the mother of her child, she knew what to expect going forward. Little did she know that she was completely unprepared for what life had in store.
She Thought It Was Under Control
She figured her second pregnancy would be easy since she had already done it once before. Unfortunately, after visiting the doctor, she realized that this couldn’t be further from the truth. But what did they tell her?
More Than She Thought
While she was ready to have one child, she soon learned that she was having twins. It wasn’t that having twins was such an unusual concept, but this birth alone was about to be legendary and nobody knew at the time.
The possibilities were endless. Was she pregnant with an alien? Was Antonin not the father? The truth could be anything, but at least the ultrasound would help her understand in some way what was going on.
The first ultrasound was just like any other and Kinova simply saw that she was pregnant. The doctors were pleased that she was healthy and had no impression that something unsettling would be found in the second one.
Even The Doctors Didn’t Know
Kinova visited the doctor once more and this time she learned some new information and within several weeks they found a heartbeat. But not just one.. this was not what they were planning for.
Double The Fun
After Kinova had her ultrasound she learned she had twins in her belly. The couple was in complete shock. They were already parents of 1 and now they were about to be the parents of three. They had no clue what was coming.
They spent the upcoming months planning and preparing for their twins. They purchased baby clothes and furniture to keep their babies comfortable. While they thought they were doing everything right, they were completely unaware of what was to come.
Unaware Of The Truth
In between her check-ups, everything seemed to be going as planned and Kinova did not expect anything out of the ordinary. While she was having twins, this still wasn’t unheard of to happen to a mother.
Something’s Not Right
She was getting deeper into her pregnancy and she could sense that something wasn’t completely right. She waited anxiously for her next appointment and told herself that she would be okay in the meantime.
Finally The Truth
When it came time for her next doctor’s appointment, they looked at her records and also at Kimova and were a bit confused. There was something about her that seemed slightly off. They decided to order a second ultrasound to get to the bottom of it.
Her Husband Was Completely Lost
Her partner was with her through everything and was present at all doctor’s appointments. He certainly could have never predicted what to find in the ultrasound nor for his new responsibilities.
Kinova’s doctor and husband were becoming more concerned about her, despite this, she always remained calm and collective. She had been taking good care of herself ever since she found out she was pregnant and never missed a chance to take her vitamins. While she did not doubt that her babies would be healthy, her doctor made her think the opposite.
The Doctor’s Would Say Differently
Kinova was brought to the hospital for her doctor’s visit and she listened as doctors spoke in quite tons about her pregnancy. She didn’t understand the secrecy and the fact that they didn’t notice she was standing right there.
Concerned For Her Newborns
Her doctors’ faces said it all and gave her cause for panic. She was trying her best to stay positive but the moment she stepped into the doctor’s office that all chance. After her check-up that day she would understand why her doctor was becoming concerned about her.
The Opposite Of What They Thought
Going for an ultrasound was normal for an expecting mother but the reason the doctors were so concerned was because of how much her stomach had grown in such a short time. Finally, the doctors broke the news and the couple could not believe their ears.
Expecting The Worst
The doctors broke the news that she was not carrying twins so she immediately assumed that one of the babies passed away. It happens sometimes where one twin eats the other but, that was not what happened in her situation.
Looking For The Answers
Now she knew she wasn’t expecting twins, but what was it that she was expecting? She was starting to think that she wasn’t pregnant and maybe she just had a strange tumor that couldn’t stop growing. What they found hadn’t been seen in over 500 years.
Fearing For Her Future
Kinova wasn’t sure what exactly was going on and she was getting more concerned about her health. She was following everything exactly how she was supposed to and was eating correctly. She was so upset to think that she may lose her babies.
The Doctors Couldn’t Believe It
By taking one look the doctors could tell that Kinova’s pregnancy wasn’t the norm for a woman expecting twins. Her stomach was increasing at an unusual speed that wasn’t even normal for a woman expecting triplets. The ultrasound offered some help but they still didn’t have all the answers they were hoping for.
Just More Questions
It was hard to tell what exactly was going from the ultrasound. It was clear she was not just expecting twins, but they were still not entirely just how many children she was going to have. Wow, that must have been unsettling for Kinova.
The doctors broke the news that she wasn’t having twins and her heart sank to her stomach. This is the worst news to hear when your expecting twins, it makes a mother feel like they are no longer carrying a child. However, the truth was completely the opposite.
No Official Number
The doctors informed her that she wasn’t having twins or triplets. This seemed confusing, especially since she had not gone through any type of fertility treatment and so she wasn’t likely of having multiple births. It seemed that anything was possible at this point.
The Party Is Coming
The doctors confirmed amongst themselves and then confirmed with Kinova that she was having quadruplets. She was baffled by this, especially since she was already surprised to hear she was having twins! Now they were about to have a full house with 5 children! Finally, the surprises were over… or that’s what they thought.
More To Come
The couple rushed back to the store to buy more items for their new babies. Now they had everything they needed for four babies. However, when they went in for another checkup, the ultrasound revealed something entirely.
Another One Joins The Party
Alexandra and her husband Antonin were getting used to the idea of having four babies when they saw something in the ultrasound. Now they weren’t just having two babies or four, but instead, they were having five!
One Was Hiding
The doctors did not see the fifth baby right away because of all the fetuses in Kinova’s belly. They were all moving around and it was difficult to get a clear picture. Suddenly they noticed something else in the scan… Was it possible that there was a sixth baby?
Although she wasn’t expecting sixth babies, now that she was ready for it she still wanted to know if they would be boys or girls. She needed to know what she should be prepared in terms of outfits and colors, but the doctors could not give her those answers just yet.
The Big Day
Kinova was going to have to wait for the day to find out the genders of her babies. Kinova went into labor and 40 people were waiting in the waiting room for her and the quintuplets. It was clear that a lot could go wrong with so many babies involved but maybe her life was being threatened as well.
Calling For Help
The hospital staff and doctors on call were not used to so many births at once and they needed all the hands they could have. They even asked a cameraman to come in to capture the experience on film. There was barely room for Kinova’s own family or husband!
All Hands On Deck
As soon as they popped out, each baby was looked after by two nurses. They had to check their vitals and make sure everything was running smoothly since there were so many births at once. All nurses were called in to monitor the babies.
Safety Comes First
Given her situation, Kinova was forced to have a C-section. She was told that this would be the most responsible and secure method to make the babies were delivered in the safest way possible, without any problems.
The Little One
All of the babies required attention, but the littlest one needed a bit of extra support. Kinova and her babies spent several days in the hospital until they were taken home and ready to start a new life together.
A Family Of Five
All of the births went smoothly and they now had a big happy family of five. The real question was now how many boys and how many girls the couple ended up having! Truthfully, as long as they all came out safely is really what we care about.
Their house was about to get a bit fuller with 5 babies in addition to Kinova’s mother and her husband’s mother. They came to help the parents bring the babies home from the hospital but also moved into their home to offer further assistance. That’s not all they did, but they also asked the government for assistance since the babies soon became national news.
Alexandra and Antonin were so happy with their family of eight had four boys, who were named Daniel, Alex, and Martin. The fifth was the only girl named Terezka. Turns out she even broke a record.
Alena Makarova was an obstetrician in the room and she did some research after the birth and discovered that this birth story was part of history. It was obvious that giving birth to 5 babies was a big deal, yet it wasn’t clear what it was that made them so special.
The obstetrician was interviewed by the Telegraph and she explained that there had never been a mention of quintuplets, and she had all the records since 1949. Essentially, Kinova was the first mother to give birth to five children in the whole area.
Quadruplets Are Just As Rare
In the Czech Republic, it has been found that quintuplets are born only once every 480 years. The chances of giving birth to quadruplets here are one in seven million. They decided to look at these statistics around the world.
Giving birth to quintuplets is usually rare and is due to fertility treatment like In Virto Fertilization. However, Kinova conceived these babies naturally and the answer is probably found in her genes.
Kinova and Kroscen both explained that twins are common in their families. Since they run in both of their families, it is not completely surprising that they gave birth to quintuplets. Wow, five babies, that most be tiring!
Their family was receiving many donations and helping hands for their large family. Aside from financial support, they also had their family and friends who were willing to lend a hand wherever they could.
As soon as people started to hear about the quints’ birth, people from around the world wanted to help any way that they could, including with donations. This type of news is pretty rare and everyone was interested in helping raise money any way that they could.
Help From The Government
Unfortunately, the family couldn’t access outside donations because the government agreed to prove the family with assistance. They sent them a nanny, but over time they would see that this was not sufficient with 6 children.
The system had never experienced a situation like Kinova and her family before so they denied providing extra government assistance. The Czech Social Affairs Ministry announced a statement saying “Simply put, our system is not prepared for such multiple instances of ‘good luck.’”
Although the family has gone through many obstacles they are still extremely happy to be raising their children and are excited to celebrate each birthday and celebration that their family of five shares together.
Too Much For Her
While it was certainly difficult taking care of five babies, Kinova and her husband have shown that you achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it. Given the condition, they were born in to, these babies have a 95% chance of growing up healthy and every day live the risk.
Five years later and Kinova is still as energetic and loving as she was when the quintuplets were born. She is also motivated because her situation is extremely uncommon. The likelihood of conceiving quintuplets is one in 48 million pregnancies. There around 800 quintuplets around the world and 130 were conceived randomly.
Big Happy Family
Time has passed since Alexandra learned that she was going to give birth to quintuplets and she didn’t ever foresee a life with so much love and happiness. All she knows for sure is that she has no plans having more children, despite her immense love for her children.