Essex mum who didn’t know she was pregnant gives birth at home after ‘negative tests’

Toni Brown, 42, went through labour at her home in Stansted Mountfitchet after no-one realised she was pregnant, she claims.

The mum-of-three says both over-the-counter pregnancy tests and medics missed that she was with child.

Toni, who works as a food and beverage supervisor, originally thought she was suffering from a genetic thyroid problem.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Family - Toni and Gary Brown with their three children, including newborn son TheoFamily – Toni and Gary Brown with their three children, including newborn son Theo (Image: SWNS)

But examinations and blood tests came back negative, as did multiple pregnancy tests.

Toni then gave birth to baby Theo late last month, with the baby a month premature at 34 weeks.

Mum and baby are now doing well.

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Toni said: “I was constantly in pain after the original symptoms started.

“I felt like I was bloated – it was a lump in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. I did pregnancy tests but they were all negative.

“That’s why I think when I went to the GP I changed my diet in the hope it would fix the problem – but the lump in my stomach was still really painful.

“In the end they misdiagnosed me with fecal impaction and gave me laxatives.”

At the end of October, Toni admitted herself to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow because she was in so much pain.

Her sister drove her to A&E in the hope doctors would run further tests to identify the issue.

But after a long wait and a brief examination Toni was sent home after having an enema – an injection to cause the intestines to empty.

That evening, Toni’s husband, Gary Brown, 41, heard her screaming in the bathroom.

He opened the door, and his wife was sprawled across the tiles covered in blood and placenta, with a baby boy lying next to her.

Instead of finally being able to go to the toilet, she’d gone into labour and had Theo.

Gary, an air conditioning installation engineer, said the ordeal was “traumatising” and he is still not over the shock of fathering a third child in such circumstances.

He said: “I had to scoop Theo up and wrap him in a towel. I was so taken aback at what was happening.

“I called the ambulance who took Theo to hospital and it turned out he was born six weeks early. He was very premature at 3lbs 7oz.

“Neither me, Toni or any of the doctors we saw at the GP or the hospital had any idea she was pregnant.

“Her stomach was slightly raised but we thought it was just swelling from her stomach problems.

“Thankfully Theo is doing well now and he is out of the incubator. There have been no complications and we expect to have him home in a week.

“But I can’t get my head around how this was missed and how dangerous this could have been. All she needed was a scan, and that was never offered or suggested.

“Nonetheless, we love Theo very much, and he’s part of our family now.”

Sharon McNally, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, congratulated the couple on the birth of their son.

“We are unable to comment on individual cases and encourage Ms Brown to contact our patient experience team for further support,” she added.


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