Shortly after getting married in 1995, Udona and Chuck Hebert were told they would never have children. Doctors informed the newlyweds that Udona’s body “naturally aborted embryos” and that kids “just weren’t in the cards” for the Kaplan, Louisiana, couple.
So when Udona began having stomach pains, dizziness and cramps in January 2016, she feared they were symptoms of cancer. Never “in a million, million years,” did Udona think she was pregnant – let alone four weeks away from her due date.
“It was unexpected, because we tried for 20 years,” Udona, 40, tells PEOPLE. “But it was the best surprise we could have ever gotten.”
The parents consider Brooks Major Hebert, now 7 weeks old, their “miracle baby.”
Struggles with Infertility
It took Chuck and Udona years to finally accept that they would never have kids, but eventually the couple had come to terms with the fact.
“We were both really bummed, of course,” says Udona. “Chuck was so good with kids and I knew he would be amazing as a dad, so it has always upset me.”
They filled the void by hosting exchange students in their home for a year at a time.
“We just had so much love to give and we wanted to share that with somebody,” says Udona. “We would also babysit and hang out with nieces and nephews.”
“I had always wanted children, but we moved on with life in our own way” Chuck, 40, tells PEOPLE. “We get along and love each other, of course, but it always felt like there was something missing from our lives.”
A Shocking Surprise
Udona began experiencing “fluttering” feelings in her stomach around Thanksgiving 2015.
“It sounds silly, but I thought I had some form of cancer or infection,” she says. “I didn’t tell anyone about my ailment because I didn’t want Chuck to make a fuss over me. I prayed every night, in silent prayer, that I would get better.”
She adds, “It never even crossed my mind that I was pregnant. We had tried for over 20 years to get pregnant and nothing ever happened.”
Two months later, Udona began having stomach aches and morning nausea. She finally consulted with her mother and friends, who suggested she take a pregnancy test – just in case.
“And boy, were they right!” says Udona with a laugh. “I took two and immediately FaceTimed Chuck when they both came out positive.”
Chuck thought he was being pranked when he received the call on January 15.
“I figured it was one of Udona’s friends pulling a practical joke on me,” he says. “In my head, I was thinking there was no way we were being blessed with a child!”
Chuck and Udona confirmed the surprise pregnancy with several doctors in Louisiana.
“We found out we were 33 weeks, give or take, pregnant,” says Udona. “And I was four weeks away from my due date.”
The couple immediately dove into preparing for their baby. They read dozens of maternity books, arranged for last-minute prenatal care and set up high-risk doctor consultations.
Lafayette maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Paul Dibbs, treated Udona during her last weeks of pregnancy.
“Unfortunately, when she found out she was pregnant, she was on medicine for high blood pressure that typically causes the kidneys to shut down in babies and can lead to the loss of an unborn baby,” Dr. Dibbs tells PEOPLE. “She was very lucky, though.”
The doctor explains that Udona’s case is “very rare.”
“Here she was, some 20 years later, and she gets pregnant,” he says. “Every now and then I see someone that has struggled with fertility for years and by the grace of God they get pregnant. It’s hard to explain.”
Brooks Major Hebert was born on February 15, exactly four weeks after Udona took her pregnancy test.
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The baby, who suffered from lung issues shortly after delivery, stayed in the neonatal intensive-care unit for nine days, but today, he is “doing great,” the proud mom says.
“God had a plan for us – a longterm plan – but a plan nonetheless!” says Udona.
“I don’t let him out of my sight,” adds Chuck. “It’s hard to describe this feeling – this love I have. The love for my child is something I hadn’t known and now I’m so glad I do.”