Danni recently caught up with two mums who didn’t know they were pregnant until labour, yes I kid you not! Sharon, mum to Harvey (now 4), was 43 and Mackenzie, mum to Cooper (now 5), was just 17 at the time.
Hello ladies, thank you both for chatting with me about your amazing stories. I guess I should start with the most obvious question, you really had absolutely no idea you were pregnant? What about your periods? Other pregnancy symptoms, like sore boobs, weight gain or feeling the baby move?
Sharon: I really had no idea! My periods continued as normal and I only gained 5lb in weight. There was no clue whatsoever, I didn’t feel any different.
Mackenzie: I was just a typical 17-year-old, going to parties and gigging a lot of the time. I’d lost over two stone as I was going to Florida with my boyfriend’s family. As it turned out I’d lost weight in the first half of the pregnancy. I still had what I thought were periods, my cycle had never been regular and still isn’t.
So, the first you both knew of your pregnancies was when you went to the doctors/hospital in pain? How long did it take them to work out what was wrong?
Sharon: I had terrible pain in my stomach, it felt like bad period pain but it continued to get worse. Glen my partner phoned for an ambulance, we were told it would be an hour wait, I got a call back from a doctor she told me to make our way to the hospital ourselves. They checked me over when we got there, by this time it was approx 1am. It was about 10 mins later that they told me I was pregnant and was actually in labour.
Mackenzie: I’d been to the doctors with back pain and was sent to the hospital for an ultrasound of which I didn’t get until much later that evening. When they said ‘you’re having a baby….now’ I just froze. They initially thought I was 32 weeks and in premature labour but when finally getting the ultrasound they assumed I was 39 weeks. I had no water surrounding the baby so the concern of having a premature baby changed to worry of the fact there was no waters meaning he could’ve been open to infection for a long time.
Baby Cooper (Mackenzie’s son)
What were your initial thoughts when they told you?
Sharon: Both Glen and I were in complete and utter shock! I didn’t really know what to expect but in all honesty, I didn’t get a chance to think about anything really as it all just happened so quickly.
Mackenzie: Everything was just so hectic! It was all a blur and I didn’t have a chance to process what was going on at all. I cried a lot, mostly from fear of the unknown and shock.
Were there any complications with the birth or baby given that you’d carried the baby without knowing you were pregnant?
Sharon: Thankfully everything was straightforward and an hour later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 38 weeks. I was very lucky.
Mackenzie: I was prepared for the worst. Cooper could have been extremely ill, I may have needed to be rushed for a C-Section, anything. I had a trauma team waiting on me in case something went very wrong which was also due to having no prenatal care. I was told I probably wouldn’t see the baby when he was born and that he would probably be taken straight to NICU. As it happens, he was born naturally with the help of an episiotomy. I birthed the placenta shortly after and it was quite black and dysfunctional. They think that he was extremely late due to the state of the placenta and how wrinkly and shrivelled up he was. I am very lucky to have given birth to a healthy baby considering the circumstances.
Glen, Sharon and baby Harvey
How did those around you react to the news?
Sharon: I had to be very careful because my mum had a heart attack a week earlier. I went up to the ward she was on in the hospital, my dad and auntie were visiting her at the time. My mum said, “what have you bloody done to yourself?” I told them all that I have just given birth to a healthy baby boy. My auntie said, “pull the other one it’s got bells on it.” They honestly didn’t believe and had to ask the nurse that was accompanying me if it was true. Even the rest of the family could not believe it either. I guess it must have been a shock for them too. It was a lot for Glen and I to take in.
Mackenzie: My mum was with me at the moment we found out, she was my rock. She didn’t leave my side for one minute and hasn’t since. She phoned everyone who needed to know and broke the news. Both my sister and my Dad, who is my idol, were amazingly supportive too. As I live at home with my parents, Cooper has an amazing bond now with my family. Oh, and Tom my then boyfriend is now my husband! One question a lot of people ask is that if he is Cooper’s father and it fills me with such pride when I say yes!
Mackenzie on her wedding day with son Cooper
You obviously had nothing prepared, hadn’t bought anything for the baby? Did you receive support given your circumstances?
Sharon: My family were great and really supportive. They all went out and bought lots of stuff for Harvey and I. It’s amazing how people rally around when you need them most. I’ll be forever grateful.
Mackenzie: Like Sharon, my family and friends were incredible. My Mum went out and bought pretty much everything both Cooper and I needed. My sister gave me lots of her baby stuff including a car seat so we could get him home.
Sharon and Harvey
How did you feel afterwards? Not only had you just gone through a shock to the system, quite literally with giving birth but now you had a little baby in your arms? Did you instantly bond with the baby? Did you struggle at all with the whole situation?
Sharon: I felt happy, but totally in shock that I had this little baby now. Glen had three teenage children from a previous relationship, although I’d always wanted children we not planning on having any together. In a moment all of that had changed, however, we just got on with being a little family really.
Mackenzie: It was all very surreal. Becoming a mum can be a struggle anyway let alone only having 17 hours to deal with the fact your life is changing forever. I was very lucky that my maternal ways just took over and that Mumma Bear mode kicked in. I fell in love with him. He was mine. I’ve always loved kids and knew I would have children when I grew up, I just didn’t realise I was destined to be a mum so young. It helped that I was already an auntie and played a big role in my nephew’s life.
Mackenzie, Tom and baby Cooper
What advice would you give to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation?
Sharon: I tend to look at things very matter of factly, so firstly there is not a lot you can do about it, it’s happened so you just have to get on with it. Just be happy and blessed that the little one is happy and healthy.
Mackenzie: Don’t listen to irrelevant people. Everyone will have an opinion on what’s just happened and the majority will be negative. Keep your head up and block out what you don’t need. Turn to your family or friends!! They love you so much and will help you as long and you let them. There is no right or wrong way to be a mum, find your own groove. You’ve not failed, you’ve just done it a little differently. Play the cards you the been dealt and rise to the game. That seems to be my motto in life.
Sharon: That’s a great motto to have Mackenzie!
Interview by Danni, Mummy Social Team