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'Phantom' pregnancy leaves father-to-be brokenhearted
January 5, 2017
Paul Servat, 35, and his girlfriend Barbara Bienvenue, 37, were expecting quintuplets, but the doctor had some devastating news for the excited father-to-be — despite having pregnancy symptoms, Bienvenue was not actually with children.
Servat tells QMI Agency that the couple met in the summer of 2014 and Bienvenue announced her pregnancy to him in September of that year. The father-to-be was overjoyed, and tells reporters "we were so happy ... even my parents, they were so looking forward to having grandchildren." Bienvenue reportedly told Servat to come up with names as she informed him that they were expecting twins, then triplets, then quadruplets, then finally quintuplets.
The London Free Press reports that a friend of the couple's set up a Facebook page so that family and members of their community in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, could stay informed about the coming quintuplets, and that friend "used my personal and professional contacts to get her sponsorships. Others gave her all sorts of clothes or furniture." In fact, the QMI interview was conducted "in the baby room filled with five colourfully adorned cribs that lie empty."
During her supposed pregnancy, Bienvenue befriended Geneviève Laflamme, a mother of triplets who had valuable advice to share. She tells CTV News, "I gave her tips on how to handle it, where to get financial support, where to get sponsors for diapers.”
The truth was finally exposed on delivery day when the couple arrived at the hospital. Servat recounts to QMI that the hospital staff could not find any paperwork on file about Bienvenue's pregnancy, and a nurse showed him Bienvenue's blood test results to definitively say that she was not with children.
Servat mentions that the doctors said Bienvenue may have experienced a "phantom pregnancy," a medical phenomenon called pseudocyesis. WebMD lists some symptoms of pseudocyesis as "interruption of the menstrual period, swollen belly, enlarged and tender breasts, changes in the nipples, and possibly milk production, feeling of fetal movements, nausea and vomiting, weight gain," and even labor pains.
A relative of Bienvenue came forward after the ordeal and revealed to QMI (published on the London Free Press) that this was not an isolated incident. This relative claims: "This isn't the first time she's done it. But honestly, we never would have thought she was sick enough to do it again."
In tears, Servat tells QMI, "I lost everything, it was my whole life." Despite the devastation he has experienced, Servat has pledged to return all of the donated goods or pass them along to charity, stating "I'm a good person and I have nothing to do with these lies."