“It was a freezing cold day in December. Five days before Christmas. My period was late and my boobs were significantly bigger.
My boyfriend of barely 3 months and I joked about me being pregnant. I thought I’d better take a test just in case, even though I was sure I wasn’t pregnant.
I took the test on a McDonald’s toilet. The little blue cross showed up instantly. I started shaking. When I finally managed to get myself off the toilet and back out into McDonald’s, I felt like everyone was staring at me. I said to my boyfriend, ‘I am.’ We were silent for a while.
I was lost and scared, out of my depth. This wasn’t a happy occasion, I was terrified. I had only been out of my teenage years for 2 weeks. I had just dropped out of university and I still lived at home with my parents.
I went to the doctor the next day and I told him I didn’t know what I was going to do, I told him that I wasn’t in the right place emotionally or financially to have a baby right now. I asked him for the number for an abortion clinic even though at the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t going to go through with it.
I’ll never forget what the doctor said. ‘Well, if that’s something you think you can live with. But I know lots of young mothers who have turned out just fine.’ I stared in disbelief, 100% sure he wasn’t supposed to give that kind of opinion. I took the number for the clinic on a little piece of paper and shoved it into my coat pocket.
When I got home, I cried and I told my mom I was pregnant. She sat down calmly and talked me through my options, saying she would be there for me no matter what I decided to do.
For the next few days, I went back and forth on what I wanted to do. I wanted the baby, then the idea of having the baby terrified me. I argued constantly with my boyfriend, who didn’t want to keep the baby at all.
Then, on Christmas Day, something clicked: I was going to have a baby. I was going to have a baby no matter how hard it was. I was going to have a baby whether my boyfriend stuck around or not.
My boyfriend came round, we were both still terrified and in shock, but slowly the idea started to become less and less scary. I started to imagine myself as a mother, something that up until this point in my life I’d never really given a second thought to. My baby grew inside me, and my confidence in myself and my ability to be a good parent grew as well.
Two months after we found out I was pregnant, my boyfriend and I moved into our own house. We had only been together for five months.
We argued, a lot. It was difficult to suddenly live with someone you barely know, with the knowledge that you’re also going to soon become parents lingering in the back of your mind. But we plodded on, we stuck with it. Determined to make it work.
My pregnancy was easy and uncomplicated, I barely even felt pregnant. We found out we were having a little girl, a daughter, and we were overjoyed. I still remember so vividly lying on the bed with cold jelly on my stomach, the ultrasound technician saying, ‘Three little white lines. It’s a girl!’
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. And, suddenly, it was August and our daughter was due.
Three days after my due date, I was hot, fed up, and tired of being pregnant. I had an appointment with the midwife who assessed me and said she thought my baby was likely to make her appearance very soon. I was excited, and desperate to get things moving.
I went for a long walk on my own, it was the middle of summer and a very hot day. When I returned home, I was sweaty and exhausted, and I was starting to feel a few labor pains.
The contractions progressed extremely quickly; they were coming thick and fast, around every 3 minutes. I was confused because I had been told all throughout my pregnancy that they would be mild and further apart at first. Mine were still fairly mild, but getting closer and closer together.
We decided to call the hospital because they were so close together, and they told us to come in.
On the way to the hospital, my contractions became unbearable. I didn’t want to be sitting down and kept trying to sit up in the car, urging my boyfriend to drive faster. I was in extreme discomfort.
When we arrived at the hospital, it was probably around 8pm. The midwife who assessed me seemed grumpy and fed up. I felt like she couldn’t be bothered to deal with me and didn’t believe the level of pain I claimed to be in.
She did an internal assessment and told me I was only 3cm dilated and so therefore not in active labor.
‘Go home,’ She said. ‘And try to calm down. This could go on for days.’
I was beside myself. Days?! I couldn’t cope with even another hour of this pain and discomfort. I started having irrational thoughts, thinking I was going to die and wondering if I could just opt for a C-Section now because I absolutely, categorically, could not cope with this.
Before we left the hospital, I felt the only thing that would relieve the intense pressure would be to sit on the toilet. Looking back, I now know that all of these were signs I was in the transition period of labor right there in front of the midwife. My body was actually starting to push, yet still she sent me home.
I barely remember the car ride home. I was in agony, but even worse than that was the overwhelming urge to push. It was getting stronger and stronger by the minute.
We arrived home around 9:30 p.m. As soon as we pulled our car into the driveway, before my boyfriend had even parked, I ran into the house and upstairs to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and try to relieve the pressure.
By this point, I was absolutely terrified, I had no idea what was going on but I knew it was serious. When I reached down between my legs, I felt the bag of waters. At the time, my brain could not come up with what it was and this just added more confusion and terror to the situation. I now know that, of course, my daughter was well on her way out.
The urge to push was now completely overwhelming me.
‘Call an ambulance!’ I yelled at my confused boyfriend. ‘I’m pushing! My body is pushing and I can’t stop it!’
I was still convinced I wasn’t in active labor and that I needed to try and suppress this urge to push as much as I could. I was terrified I was going to cause serious damage to myself or my baby if I allowed myself to push when I was only 3cm dilated.
The operator on the phone spoke to us calmly. She said to my boyfriend, ‘You’re going to have to deliver the baby.’ Adrenaline shot through my body. This couldn’t be happening. She urged me to get off the toilet, saying the baby was about to be born and I needed to lie down on the floor to start pushing.
Instead of lying on the floor, which felt completely unnatural to me, I squatted on the bathroom floor. ‘You need to push with your contractions,’ the woman on the phone said calmly. I started to scream. I was convinced I was going to die, that I couldn’t do this on my own.
But my body was pushing, and so I had no choice but to go with it. At this point, I felt no pain. Just the pure adrenaline of the situation and it acted as an excellent painkiller.
With the first push, my water broke. With the second, my daughter’s head was out. And with the third, my daughter was born, at 9:54 p.m.
She was screaming and purple, covered in blood. My boyfriend caught her and handed her to me immediately.
I sat there in disbelief, still terrified, and completely overwhelmed. I gave birth to my daughter on a bathroom floor.
Minutes after she was born, the ambulance arrived and took us to the hospital. I sat on the stretcher in the ambulance with my brand new daughter.
I called my mom and I said, ‘Well, I’ve had her! I had her at home!’ I was in a happy bubble, but my mom was beside herself with worry.
When we arrived at the hospital, the same grumpy midwife I had seen before stitched me up and delivered the placenta. She never said a word about what had happened.
My daughter is now a very independent, strong-willed, determined, head-strong little 3-year-old girl. She is absolutely brilliant.
Now that we all know her character, the way she was born makes perfect sense. She wasn’t waiting around for anyone!”
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