This proud Michigan mom would give anything for her family. Still, one brush with disaster years earlier made her fear for their future. After one rude awakening, she grappled with symptoms that neither her husband nor her doctor knew what to make of — until they were beyond the point of no return.
On one summer night in 2018, Kelly Yakich awoke in a scream of pain. She whirled around to survey her bedroom, but didn’t spot any kind of imminent threat. Still, her body throbbed.
Kelly’s shriek naturally roused her husband, John, as well. The Michigan couple had stuck by each other for years, though this outburst seemed different from all the other tribulations they faced before. Once his wife settled down, John checked on the kids.
Fortunately, Kelly and John had three deep sleepers on their hands. The children slept through the ear-piercing scream, which was good news for everybody. Hopeful that he would soon return to sleep, John ambled back down the hall.
Kelly rationalized that there were many possible reasons for her pain. Maybe it was a cramp or just a little bit of gas. But as she lay back down next to her husband, she felt like she was resting on a bed of nails.
After a visit to the bathroom, Kelly tried her best to doze off. She could only stare at her alarm clock as her side pounded harder and harder. Clutching her ribs, Kelly feared a past medical scare had returned to haunt them.
About four years prior, Kelly went through a surprise pregnancy. Unaware that she was expecting, she went through a harrowing delivery. Though her son Beau developed in an unusual position, he entered the world healthy and happy.
Still, the traumatic experience was one Kelly never wanted to face again. The 41-year-old adhered to a strict regimen of contraceptive shots, so there was no chance of another surprise baby. But she wondered if the shock pregnancy left behind permanent damage.
Neither Kelly nor John knew quite what to do, but one development made the decision for them. She started bleeding — quite a lot. Just a few hours before 5 a.m., the couple rushed to the emergency room.
Once the medical staff stemmed the bleeding, they said they’d have to perform an ultrasound. That was the best bet of figuring out what was going on inside Kelly. Trembling, the mother of three prepared for the worst.
Within minutes, the doctors shared a positive development. Kelly wasn’t suffering from any kind of life-threatening internal injury. What shocked her and John, however, was the news that she was pregnant — very pregnant.
Kelly stammered that this was impossible. The experienced mom hadn’t exhibited any symptoms of pregnancy. Not showing off any baby bump whatsoever, she was still wearing all of her regular clothes!
When Kelly asked when she was due, the doctor couldn’t do much more than shake his head. He told the worried couple to prepare themselves because Kelly was already going into labor.
The delivery would have to happen right at that hospital, which posed more than a few problems. Not a full-fledged medical center, the site didn’t even have a maternity ward. Kelly’s doctor admitted he’d only helped deliver five babies during his long career.
Despite his inexperience, Kelly’s pregnancy ended surprisingly seamlessly. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy and felt a huge wave of relief wash over her. Her long, painful night finally came to an end.
As John held his newborn son for the first time, he and Kelly beamed at each other. They didn’t expect to have a new addition to the family overnight! Still, the whole experience seemed to provide more questions than answers.
It wasn’t just that Kelly found out she was pregnant a bit late. She carried a baby to full term without experiencing any side effects until a few hours prior. How was this possible?
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a gynecologist at the Yale School of Medicine, explained that this turn of events was rare, but entirely possible. First off, Kelly’s contraceptive injections allowed for a small chance of pregnancy. Then there was her medical history.
Both of Kelly’s surprise babies developed in an unusual position that was “behind her ribs, up against her back.” This prevented many of the usual pregnancy triggers from being set off and allowed the baby to hide as he grew.
Once the shock wore off, Kelly and John were overjoyed to welcome their new child, Gunnar, to the family. As they sat down for dinner the next night, they joyfully dragged over one more chair to the table.
Kelly learned firsthand that few pregnancies go exactly as planned. Through support groups, she was able to connect with other women who’d experienced something extremely traumatic. When a fellow mom shared her story about a surrogate pregnancy gone wrong, Kelly couldn’t help but feel her own pregnancy was smooth sailing in comparison.
See that surrogate mom was California resident and proud mom of two, Jessica Allen. She carried both of her own children, so she knew all the nitty-gritty details of bringing kids into the world. And if being a surrogate meant helping out another family, Jessica would gladly carry a child again. “What’s the worst that could happen?” she reasoned.
Jessica signed up to become a surrogate, all in hopes of helping a family in need while making a few bucks. She thought she found the perfect couple, who were simply desperate to create a child from their own DNA. Their struggle touched Jessica’s heart.
The couple was from China, but since surrogacy isn’t yet legal in their country, they trekked it to the United States to find their miracle surrogate. In 2016, Jessica agreed to house their unborn child.
With the help of San Diego-based Omega Family Global, it was a done deal. In April 2016, the couple’s male embryo was implanted in Jessica’s uterus via in-vitro fertilization. Everyone had their fingers crossed.
To “prepare her womb” (which sounds oddly ritualistic), Jessica took estrogen and progestogen as instructed. She followed her IVF doctor’s orders to a T to ensure that the pregnancy would go smoothly. The embryo took, and everything went swell… up until the six-week mark.
Jessica was told she was carrying twins. One. Two. She thought there was only one baby refusing to pay rent in her uterus, so you could imagine the shock of the situation. The couple didn’t know what hit them.
The doctor explained it’s not often that a singular embryo will split, but it does happen. While Jessica was originally paid a whopping $30,000 plus expenses to carry the Chinese couple’s offspring, after they discovered she was hosting twins, she received an additional $5,000 a month.
Moving forward, all was well with the babies. On December 12, 2016, 38 weeks into the pregnancy, Jessica gave birth to two healthy babies via c-section. Directly after the birth, doctors darted away with the babies, Jessica not even getting a mere glance at them.
According to Jessica, she signed a contractual agreement that allowed her to spend an hour after the birth with the children she nurtured and cultivated for nine months. So the fact that they were immediately rushed away from her was… suspicious.
Later that night, Jessica was shown a photo of the newborns, who doctors insisted were identical twins. When Jessica took a close look at the picture, however, something seemed very off.
Unless the definition of the word “identical” recently changed, Jessica just knew those little ones were not identical twins. “One, his skin tone was much fairer than the other. One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese,” Jessica told People.
“It was very clear that they were not identical … but I didn’t ask questions,” she continued. Jessica was undoubtedly troubled by the situation, but a case worker with the surrogacy agency guaranteed that the children were identical twins despite their polarizing physical features.
After the birth, Jessica and her hubby, Wardell Jasper, used the hefty chunk of cash they received from the surrogacy to help pay for a new house. Just as they were prepared to move into their dream home, there was an interruption.
Weeks after the birth, Jessica received a text from the intended mother with photos of the newborns. She was clearly having doubts regarding who the babies belonged to, as she probed Jessica, asking her if she noticed “that they look different.”
After much speculation, the babies got a DNA test, and it turned out they were 100%… not related. See, one of the infants belonged to Jessica and her husband. But how was this possible?
Jessica and her husband followed the doctor’s orders, as they waited to have sex until after she was confirmed pregnant with the couple’s embryo. Well, the rare (and inconvenient) medical phenomenon superfetation had something to do with it.
Superfetation happens when a woman continues to ovulate after becoming pregnant. Understandably, Jessica had no idea this would be an issue, as the phenomenon only affects approximately 0.3% of women.
Jessica and her husband were wallowing in the most intense level of panic mode. They desperately wanted their new son home, who they named Malachi, but the Chinese couple weren’t handing over that infant until Jessica and Wardell handed over $22,000.
“My husband and I were panicking. We had no idea how this came about and we had no idea how we were going to prepare for a child over night. We just moved into a new house, we didn’t have any more money,” Jessica said.
If Jessica didn’t give the couple that wad of cash soon, the intended mother threatened to put little Malachi up for adoption. “They wanted me to buy or adopt my own child,” Jessica told People.
Believe it or not, Jessica Allen wasn’t angry with the intended mother, as Jessica thought she may have been manipulated. “It’s not her fault … The agency put it in her head that I was going to try to sue her. I never said those words,” she explained.
Things got worse once the Chinese intended mother started sending Jessica “all kinds of text messages” out of fear that she’d get sued. “We tried to get him three different times and they just kept giving us an excuse,” Jessica said. It was messy.
“We tried to get him on numerous occasions, but one excuse they gave us was the intended parents didn’t want to sign over the power of attorney, so we didn’t get him,” Jessica disclosed. But in February 2017, Jessica and Wardell finally retrieved Malachi.
You’d think since reuniting with their son they’d be enjoying their completed family, but the emotional and financial stress of the situation made bliss a distant concept for Jessica and Wardell. The unlikely happening sadly put them in debt.
“We’re barely getting by right now and it stressed me out emotionally because this agency turned their backs on me,” Jessica said, clearly jaded. Naturally, Jessica vowed she’d never be a surrogate again.
The ordeal also involved ugly battles with lawyers and a brooding waiting game for Malachi’s birth certificate and social security card. The only upside of all of this was that Jessica gained a beautiful son.
Though she and her husband were heartbroken that Malachi had to spend his first 10 months in the hands of flaky strangers, Jessica relayed that watching the “little man” grow has eased some of that pain and guilt.
What also helped the Allens cope was the knowledge that, in the grand scheme of things, they could’ve been separated from Malachi for much longer. Though they still have to sort out their financial situation, for the moment, they are just so happy to be together.