When Kelsie Garlic’s wife, Nicci, a special education teacher, called to let him know that she had left school and was on her way to urgent care, he was concerned.
“Nicci and I don’t go the doctor unless it’s something major,” Kelsie, 33, told TODAY Parents. “We thought she had a kidney stone or appendicitis.”
Kelsie, who was home with their two foster children, ages 4 and 6, made Nicci, 34, promise she’d call right after her appointment.
A few hours later, the phone rang.
“She’s like, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but I’m pregnant,’” Kelsie recalled. “And not only am I pregnant, but I’m 34 weeks pregnant.’”
But how could that be? After more than eight years of struggling with infertility, the Garlics were told by specialists that IVF was their only option. It was an option they couldn’t afford.
“It took a long time and a lot of therapy for Nicci to come to terms with not being able to have a kid. She was heartbroken,” Kelsie said. ‘That’s how we we got into fostering.”
Kelsie sobbed the whole way to Northern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. It was a mix of nerves and joy.
“Against all the odds, this miracle happened,” he said. “I was overwhelmed.”
At the hospital, Kelsie learned that Nicci had severe preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related high blood pressure disorder, and would need an emergency C-section. Severe preeclampsia can lead to stroke and is associated with an increased risk of maternal death. (Kelsie started a GoFundMe to help with medical bills.)
“They were very concerned she was going to have a stroke,” Kelsie said. “I was afraid she was going die.
But on Feb. 2, just hours after learning she was pregnant, Nicci delivered a premature but otherwise healthy 5 pound, 3 ounce, baby boy named Charlie.
“As soon as I heard his little cry I knew everything would be OK,” Kelsie said. “The nurses brought him over to me for a second, and he looked up at me with these huge eyes. That was one of the best moments of my life.”
Kelsie and Nicci have made it clear to their foster children, who have been with them since 2019, that they are not being replaced. “We have always told them, ‘We’re not going anywhere,'” Kelsie said.
He noted that they plan to adopt the biological brothers if reunification with their biological parents isn’t possible.
“We love those boys,” Kelsie said. “They call me Kelsie, but when they’re talking about me to their friends they say, ‘My dad,’ and oh my God, I love hearing that.’”
He added that the boys are already treating Charlie like their brother.
“It’s kind of a fight over who gets to hold him,” Kelsie said.
Pregnancies in which the mother doesn’t know she is pregnant, called cryptic pregnancies, are rare, about 1 and 2,500 births, according to Dr Christine Greves, an OB-GYN at the center for Obstetrics and Gynecology at Orlando Health.
Kelsie said that Nicci didn’t gain weight and hasn’t had a period in years.
“Just because you’re not having a period regularly doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant,” Greves previously told TODAY Parents.
She added that this is a reminder to have annual exams with an OB-GYN and other providers.