PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator

Hello, I am having a bit of a frustrating problem.
I'm working on graphics for a large project, and I have to get some of my files from InDesign into Illustrator (they are both CS5) for our printer.
I would have normally designed them in Illustrator but ALL my graphics are in InDesign and we just found out once we started on production that he needs AI and needs our trim path set up for our irregular shapes. 
For MOST of the documents, its been pretty easy (exporting to PDF > opening in illustrator and making a cut path > saving as AI) however I have this one file that is making me lose my mind.
When I export it as PDF, it opens perfectly and looks normal in acrobat, and I also check it out in preview as well. The background shows up and everything. However when I open the PDF in illustrator it completely loses the background. I noticed it doing this before for a couple graphics, but I assumed that was because they had gradients drop shadows and transparencies and all that. This file has nothing weird except for a gradient grey background.
Help? I'm including some screenshots of whats happening in the hopes that you guys can help solve it.
So here we have me saving it, then opening it in Acrobat to check stuff out.
Now here is what happens when I open it in Illustrator:

Hi, Brie. I have been running into this issue for quite some time now. I also received the same response as you did. "Stop opening exported PDFs in Illustrator." This is an unsatisfactory answer for someone that works in the large format print industry that needs to preflight directly in the Illustrator program. I've done a ton of research and have been racking my brain for the last 2 years and have finally found sufficient workarounds for this issue. The downfall with these workarounds: all spot colors located in the gradients will convert to CMYK mixes. I'm still researching to see if there is a way to keep spot colors intact in these areas.
A little back story: InDesign is converting the gradients into something called NChannel. It enables more accurate handling of color blending by including additional dot gain and color mixing info. Both InDesign and Acrobat have the ability to display these elements whereas Illustrator, from what I’m finding, does not. Which is why we’re seeing gradient elements drop out when opened in Illustrator.
Workaround for CMYK Gradients
Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat
Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors
Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)
Color Type: DeviceCMYK
Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)
Expand Document Colors on the right and Select DeviceCMYK in Color Spaces then click ok
Save the PDF
Workaround for 1 Spot Color in Gradients (Converts Spot Color located in Gradient to CMYK – all other Spots stay intact)
Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat
Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors
Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)
Color Type: Spot Color
Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)
Expand Document Colors on the right and Select the Spot that is located in the Gradient in Color Spaces then click ok
Save the PDF
Workaround for 2 Spot Colors in Gradients (Converts Spot Colors located in Gradient to CMYK – all other Spots stay intact)
Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat
Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors
Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)
Color Type: Spot Color
Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)
Expand Document Colors on the right and Select the DeviceN spot color that is located in the Gradient in Color Spaces then click ok
Save the PDF
Please try this and let me know if you have any questions! I'm always looking for new problems to solve! Good luck!
- Jenny

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