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Odds & Ends 11/03

Mother delivers baby without knowing she was pregnant
BELLEVUE, Wash. — Amanda Brisendine attributed the 30 pounds she gained in the past year to an abandoned smoking habit and rich food. So when she went to the hospital with sharp stomach pain, she wasn’t expecting to leave with a newborn son.
    ‘‘I don’t know how I didn’t know. I just didn’t know,’’ Brisendine said Tuesday from her bed at Overlake Medical Center’s Birthing Center, where she delivered Alexander Joseph Britt by Caesarean section.
    George Macones, chairman of the OB/GYN department at Washington University in St. Louis, said he’s seen about a dozen cases in his nearly 20-year career in which a woman didn’t know she was pregnant.
    The pregnancy isn’t always obvious when a woman is overweight, or a woman will have spotting or bleeding during the pregnancy and mistake it for menstruation, said Macones, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
    The 26-year-old Renton woman went to Group Health Cooperative’s Eastside campus last Saturday after experiencing several days of abdominal pain so intense that she called in sick from work.
    Doctors examined her and performed a pregnancy test that showed she was nine months pregnant.
    ‘‘I was so shocked. I was nauseous,’’ said Brisendine, whose boyfriend Jason Britt didn’t believe her at first.
    ‘‘I thought she was lying,’’ said Britt, 33.
    Already mother to a 14-month-old daughter, Melodies, Brisendine said she didn’t experience typical pregnancy symptoms, like a missed menstruation, morning sickness, fatigue or food cravings. ‘‘Everything was normal as far as I knew,’’ she said.
    Ultrasounds showed low amniotic fluid in the placenta and the baby wasn’t moving properly, said Brisendine’s doctor, Danica Bloomquist.
    ‘‘From our assessment, the baby wasn’t doing well in utero,’’ Bloomquist said. ‘‘He needed to come out.’’
    After an emergency C-section Sunday, Brisendine delivered 7-pound, 5-ounce Alexander.
    ‘‘We’re in for a really, really big adventure,’’ Brisendine said.

Pageant contestants learn to sink or swim
 
    ASHLAND, Ky. — Manufacturers of clothing steamers might need to update their product warnings to include this: Do not use near building sprinkler systems.
    About 1,000 gallons of water poured into a northeastern Kentucky arts center Saturday when a scholarship pageant contestant attempted to steam out the wrinkles in her dress as it hung from a sprinkler head on the ceiling.
    Firefighters said heat from a steamer triggered the sprinkler system on the second floor of the Paramount Arts Center. About 2 1/2 inches of standing water flooded the center, causing an estimated $30,000 in damage.
    ‘‘There was all this water flowing down from the ceiling and all these pageant contestants standing around, some in curlers, some holding their dresses,’’ said Cindy Collins, director of operations at the Paramount. ‘‘It was pretty crazy.’’
    The contestant who tripped the sprinklers, who wasn’t identified, was ‘‘totally soaked,’’ Collins said.
    She said the arts center probably would place signs in the dressing rooms warning people to not hang garments from the sprinkler heads.
    In showbiz fashion, the center cordoned off the wet spots and the Miss Ashland Area Scholarship Pageant went on.

A whole new meaning to a frightful wedding

   GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The bride dressed in black carried chains, handcuffs and a bouquet of black roses.
    The groom wore a skeleton costume.
    In a frightfully unusual wedding, Sandy Beyer and Keith Vogt exchanged vows in the middle of Elm Street Tuesday night in the company of such guests as Count Dracula, the Statue of Liberty and Paul Revere.
    ‘‘Weddings are generally boring, especially for kids, so we decided to do something fun for the kids,’’ Beyer said. ‘‘Then they could go out trick-or-treating.’’
    Vogt and Beyer said they don’t regret skipping the traditional gown, pomp and circumstance.
    ‘‘I did that the first time around and we are having fun the second time around,’’ Beyer said.
    Reynalda Carpenter, the county official who performed the wedding, said the ceremony was a first but possibly not the last.
    ‘‘I had another couple inquire about getting married on Halloween last week, but they didn’t have time to prepare,’’ she said. ‘‘They said, ’Maybe next year.’’’

Stun guns don't work on "mad cows"  

    JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A Taser stun gun apparently makes for a lousy cattle prod.
    Johnson City police learned that Monday afternoon while trying to force a bull and cow off a city street.
    Officers fired the electric stun gun at the animals after they escaped from a nearby farm and wandered around several major intersections and roadways in the city of about 55,500 people.
    The Taser didn’t budge the bovines, according to a police report.
    The cattle were brought under control after officers used a tranquilizer gun, police said.

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