When Paul Servat met Barbara Bienvenue through an online dating site, he thought it was love.
So when she announced she was pregnant one month into their relationship, he was thrilled.
The couple happily told family and friends the wonderful news – they were expecting twins.
However, several weeks later Barbara told Paul that it was actually triplets, then she said it was quadruplets.
And strangely then the story changed to quintuplets after she announced that on her last ultrasound they found one more baby.
They set up a Facebook page so friends and family could donate clothing and baby goods.
The whole town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec was excited for them, with front-page articles appearing in the local paper and the community rallying around the unusual pregnancy.
Photos of the donations which poured in appeared on their Facebook page. A range of beautiful baby beanies and home-made knitted blankets. Their nursery set up at home with five bassinets was ready and waiting for the new babies to come home.
But when Barbara was at 34 weeks, things took a turn you could never have imagined.
Paul took Barbara to hospital, expecting his partner to give birth. That’s when he was taken aside by a nurse.
It was a hoax he was told. His partner was not – and had never been – pregnant.
The Daily Mail reports that a post on the ‘Les Quadruplets de St-Jean’ Facebook page speaks of Paul’s devastation.
“This morning, Paul arrived at the hospital believing that he would finally see his four babies and instead there was a team of doctors who waited and did a blood test and told the news to Paul. He is completely torn, he not only lost someone he had fallen in love with but 4 babies who were his reason to live.”
A local woman Geneviève Laflamme, herself a mother of triplets, became friends with Barbara in order to help her navigate the terrifying prospect of life with multiples.
But she began to see through Barbara’s claim to be pregnant.
Laflamme says a week before Barbara’s purported due date, Barbara told her she had undergone another ultrasound that revealed there were actually five babies inside her.