Newborn Holds Failed IUD in Epic Baby Announcement Photo

baby holds IUD

When we use birth control, we expect it to work. But, given the fact that around 45 percent of all pregnancies in the US are unintended, it's safe to say that's not always what happens. In fact, because of a birth control failure, I am a member of a very exclusive club: women who've gotten pregnant despite using an IUD. And that club apparently has a new member. Mom Lucy Hellein shared a viral photo of her newborn son clutching the IUD that utterly failed at keeping her from getting pregnant.


"Mirena fail," Hellein wrote in the caption on her photo. Her son, Dexter, was born on April 27, and she says doctors later found her Mirena IUD hidden behind her placenta. For the record, her baby was not born clutching the IUD -- it was placed in his hands afterward to score this hilarious photo:

baby holding IUD

Dexter, who was born about a week shy of his due date, weighs 9 pounds and is perfectly healthy, which is why some -- including Hellein and her doctors -- are calling the little guy a miracle baby. IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are about 99.9 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. But, if you do get pregnant, it can be risky for you and the baby.

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Dr. Samuel Molloy, a physician registered by the UK's General Medical Council who shares his medical expertise on, says pregnancies like Hellein's are very rare because IUDs increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy -- where a fertilized egg implants in your fallopian tubes instead of your uterus. "The chances of an ectopic pregnancy as a result of an IUD being in place can vary from around 15 percent to around 50 percent," he explained, and those pregnancies must be terminated to save the life of the mother.

If you do have a viable pregnancy with an IUD in place and you decide to stay pregnant, most doctors will try to remove the IUD as soon as possible. That's what happened when I found out I was pregnant with my son a little over two years ago. My doctor told me I'd have about a 25 percent higher risk of miscarriage as a result of having my IUD removed. In circumstances where the IUD can't be safely removed, you can still have a successful pregnancy -- as evidenced by Hellein's photo -- but you do have an increased risk of miscarriage or preterm labor.

No matter how the cookie crumbles, getting pregnant with an IUD is a scary thing. Not only is it usually completely unexpected, but you also have to contend with so many medical risks and unknowns. I was nervous throughout my entire pregnancy with my son, even though it was textbook and we were both completely healthy. It's such a stressful situation, you barely have time to acknowledge the unexpected nature of your pregnancy or the unbelievable fact that you basically had less than 1 percent chance of conceiving and somehow still managed to do it.

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That's part of the reason why I identify so much with this mom's photo. Once the baby arrives and you see that he's healthy, it's like you finally get your first chance to exhale in nine long, scary months. You laugh, you cry, you crack jokes about your IUD baby. It finally hits you that, holy sh-t, this kid really is one in a million.

Luckily, for moms like Hellein and me, IUDs don't pose any risks to babies once they're born. "If the pregnancy is successful ... there's no evidence to suggest that the IUD will impact the baby's health in the future," Dr. Molloy says. 

Little Dexter should go on to lead a totally normal life -- though not completely normal. After all, he's already proven he was born to beat the odds.

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