A Canadian man who thought his girlfriend was pregnant with quintuplets was devastated on delivery day, when a Montreal hospital told him she wasn’t even pregnant.
Paul Servat, 35, furnished a nursery in his home with five cribs and had picked out names for all the babies. Most of the baby items were donated to the family after they set up a Facebook page about the pregnancy.
"I lost everything, it was my whole life,” Servat said.
His girlfriend, Barbara Bienvenue, 37, lied to him for 34 weeks. But Bienvenue was actually convinced she was pregnant. Bienvenue’s belly swelled and her breasts began lactating, a condition known as false pregnancy.
She told Servate in September that she was expecting.
"We were so happy," he said. "Even my parents, they were so looking forward to having grandchildren."
Over time, Bienvenue told Servat she was having twins, then triplets, then quadruplets and finally said she was expecting quintuplets.
On Wednesday, her self-imposed delivery date, Servat took her to a hospital, where staff said there was no file for the pregnancy.
A nurse eventually took him aside and explained that a blood test showed Bienvenue wasn’t pregnant.
Doctors kept her for psychiatric evaluation.
"The doctors told me it was a phantom pregnancy," said Servat.
Apparently, Bienvenue believed so strongly that she was pregnant that her belly grew and her breasts lactated as if she was. Phantom pregnancy, also known as false pregnancy or pseudocyesis, can last weeks, months or even years. Symptoms include all the same symptoms of a real pregnancy.
Bienvenue, who met Servat online last summer, never had the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor.
"I'll return all these things to people who sent them or give them (away)," Servat said of the baby items. "I'm a good person and I have nothing to do with these lies."