I’m sure whenever you read a headline like the one above you wonder how its possible. I’m sure you question how a mother doesn’t feel any movements or have any pregnancy symptoms, but it happens, it’s real, it happened to me. I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was in labour. Continue reading to find out more…
It was Easter 2011 and I was enjoying a break away in Cornwall with friends.
I was a size 8, sipping on ice-cold lager, wearing ridiculous heels and staying up till the early hours. I was just 18 years old, fresh out of college and enjoying my youth. Not one thing had changed. I still experienced periods and had no cravings or sickness. I had no reason to believe I was pregnant. I’d recently separated from my long-term boyfriend and I had plans. Big plans for my future. I wanted a family one day, but definitely not at 18.
We were just a few days into our break when the pain began. I’d never felt pain like it and spent over a day laying in bed in agony. Eventually I took some painkillers and headed down to the beach to try to enjoy my holiday as best I could.
I tried so hard to ignore it, but as time went on the pain became endless and excruciating. Concern grew for my health, we all assumed it was my appendix, and an ambulance was called in the early hours of the 18th of April 2011.
A day that changed my life forever.
After the crew had arrived I was examined and loaded into the back of the ambulance to be transported to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. I had never been so scared in my life. I was hundreds of miles from home with no family nearby, I genuinely thought I was going to die. I’ll never forget the words ‘Chloe, you’re in labour, and your 6cm dilated’.
Can you imagine being told your about to have a baby when you had no idea you were even pregnant? I was gob-smacked, petrified, and completely alone. Somehow I found the strength to adjust to my new situation and do what needed to be done. I’ll never know how, but as soon as I heard those words, my world was about my baby.
At 09:11am I pushed a beautiful little girl into the world, she was perfect. I had no pain relief other than paracetamol and thankfully, despite her surprise entrance into the world, she and I were both in perfect health. She weighed 6lb 11oz and she had the finest dark hair. She was like a little doll. I held her in my arms and wept, I think it was a mix of fear and joy, she was mine, I had made her, and I didn’t even know. 48 hours earlier I was a normal teenage girl, now I was a mother. I just couldn’t get my head around it.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds though, I’d not had 9 months to prepare, I didn’t even have a nappy for this precious little bundle I’d been blessed with. I hadn’t experienced the joy of being pregnant. Emotionally I was in tatters, I was in shock.
Thankfully my grandparents were also on holiday in nearby Devon and as soon as they heard the news they made their way to the hospital. I’ve never been so relieved to see my family. 24 hours later my Mum and Step-Dad travelled from Norfolk to collect us whilst everyone at home rallied around to get everything we needed.
The first few weeks were difficult and I struggled to bond with Mia.
I just couldn’t get my head around being a young, free 18-year-old girl one minute and a mother the next. I couldn’t have got through that time without my Mum, she did night feeds, messy nappies, colic, the lot.
Eventually I adjusted, and I loved every minute of being a Mummy. I believe Mia Phoebe was sent to me for a reason. She saved me, and now, 8 years later, she’s my best friend. Mia is Italian for ‘my’ or ‘mine’. Her middle name Phoebe came from my great-grandmother who had passed away several years earlier. I’ll never know why I had no symptoms of being pregnant, why I never had a bump or felt my baby move inside me.
I used to read these stories and think ‘yeah whatever, she must have known’. Now on the rare occasions where a similar story pops up on my Facebook feed my heart leaps. I feel such emotion for the mother’s I read about going through exactly what I did. All of the emotions of those early days come flooding back and I just want to reach out to those going through the same and give them a hug.
Next time you see an article about someone who didn’t know they were pregnant, don’t judge. Only those who have been through it will know how much of an impact a surprise baby has on your life and mental well-being. Try and sympathise rather than question, it’s real, it’s utterly terrifying and far more common than you think.