I thought I’d pulled a muscle when I suffered agonising back pain. Then something incredible happened…
By Jackie Owings, 22, from Bolton
Striking a sultry pose in a skimpy, red-and-white striped, size-8 bikini, Jackie Owings, 22, smiled at her slinky, tanned reflection.
As she snapped the sexy selfie she knew it would make her boyfriend, Jack Ince, 23, go weak at the knees. But what Jackie didn’t know was that at the time, she was five months pregnant.
Just months later, on 12th September 2015, Jackie gave birth to a 6lb 3oz baby boy, despite being completely clueless she had been expecting.
Jackie, a full-time mum, from Bolton says: “I couldn’t believe it when little Edward was born. As I was pushing I thought, ‘I can’t have a baby, I’m just a young girl!’ But as soon as he was in my arms, I felt that bond. I was in love.”
Jackie was on a three-week to Magaluf in May 2015, visiting her mates Mel Kelway, 22, and Lily Pugh, 21 who were working there as ‘shot girls’ – selling shots to party people – when she took the bikini selfie.
“I did a week’s promo work, then I partied hard with the girls for a fortnight,” Jackie says. ‘I was downing Jagerbombs and every shot going. I had a brilliant time!”
Back at home, she returned to the house she shared with her parents, Jacqueline, 53, and Steven, 52, and enjoyed spending time with boyfriend, Jack, who she had been with on and off for three years.
Jack works as a chef at The Tavern Fayre restaurant in Bolton and Jackie had met him while working as a waitress there in December 2012.
Jackie says: “A couple of months after I got back from Magaluf, in July, I noticed my boobs spilling out of my bras. When I asked Jack if they were bigger he nodded, and grinned. He certainly wasn’t complaining!
“I’d gone from a B- to a D-cup but I didn’t think too much of it. I put it down to gaining a few pounds after partying that summer.”
The following month, in August, Jackie got a job as a live-in barmaid at The New Inn hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. A two-hour drive away from her parents’ home in Bolton, she relished the adventure.
“Jack and I weren’t serious, it was an off-on relationship, and he supported my new venture. He promised to visit me though,” Jackie says.
That September, Steven drove his daughter and her three bulging suitcases to the hotel in North Yorkshire, where the manager showed Jackie the ropes.
Two days later, on 12th September 2015, Jackie had been on her feet all day after a long shift of lugging beer barrels and serving customers.
Jackie says: “I had a horrible headache when I clocked off that night at 6pm. I went to bed but it felt like an electric drill was driving into my spine.
“I assumed I’d pulled a muscle lifting a barrel or something but soon, the pain had got worse.”
When Jackie heard her manager, a woman in her 50s outside her bedroom door, she yelled at her to come in and explained the pain.
“She told me she’d get some ice and dashed out,” Jackie adds. “But just seconds later, I felt a sudden gush of liquid burst from between my legs.
“I couldn’t believe it – I’d wet myself! In front of my new manager too! It was mortifying… but then she said she thought I was having a baby.”
Stunned, Jackie’s mind raced. It didn’t make sense. She had no bump and her periods had been regular. Besides, she’d been on the Pill.
Jackie says: “But then I remembered. I’d been prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection nine months earlier. I panicked when I realised they must have stopped the Pill working.”
Jackie’s manager called an ambulance and ten minutes later, a paramedic arrived to examine her. When she confirmed Jackie was indeed in labour, she was helped into the waiting ambulance.
“I was terrified,” Jackie says. “I had no idea what was happening but when the paramedic asked if I needed to push I told her I did.
“The ambulance was hurtling round country lanes and I could feel my baby coming, so we pulled over at the roadside.”
Seconds later, a loud cry filled the ambulance when Jackie gave birth to a son at 9.05pm. The pair were then taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary where they were checked over and given a clean bill of health.
Jackie says: “I was given tablets for low iron, but that was it. I obviously didn’t have any baby clothes either, and the midwives had dressed my boy in a yellow, knitted cardigan and hat from clothes donated to the hospital.”
Jackie was stunned when the midwife revealed she was around 37 weeks gone when she’d given birth. She explained that the placenta is usually at the top of the womb, but if it’s in front, women can’t always feel any movement.
“I still couldn’t believe it. How could I have had a baby without knowing I was pregnant? It was crazy! I tried calling Jack but he didn’t answer. I rang my mum then and when she didn’t pick up either, I fell asleep, exhausted,” Jackie says.
At 6.30am, she woke with her son sleeping soundly in a cot beside her.
Jackie says: “I realised then, it wasn’t a dream. I was a mum! I sent Jack a text to tell him I’d had a baby and he replied is this a wind-up?
“I do often play pranks on him, so I couldn’t blame him for thinking it was a joke but when I sent a selfie of me and our boy he knew I was serious. He rang me then and told me he was on his way.”
Jack drove to the hospital, and brought both their mums for the surprise visit. After the initial shock had subsided, everyone was smitten with the tiny tot, especially proud new dad, Jack.
Jackie says: “As we cradled our boy, who we named Edward, Jack and I talked and agreed we would make things official between us.
“We wanted to make a proper go of things and be a family together and so, three days later, when we were discharged we moved in with Jack’s mum, Maureen.”
Friends and family chipped in, buying baby clothes and equipment for their new bundle, but Jackie’s best mate, Emma Holmes, 22, couldn’t believe she’d had no clue.
“I told her that I’d honestly had no idea. Apart from going up a dress size and my boobs getting bigger there hadn’t been any signs,” Jackie says.
“I did feel guilty about that wild girls’ holiday in Magaluf though. I’d had an amazing time but obviously I’d had no idea I was pregnant. Thankfully, doctors confirmed no harm had been done.”
Now, at ten months old, Edward is a healthy, smiley and chilled-out little boy. And although Jackie says she had always wanted children, she admits he arrived sooner than she expected.
She says: “Jack is a brilliant dad, he loves Edward so much. He’s already mentioned having another baby. I want a break now but next time, at least I’ll be fully prepared!”
Jack says: “At first I thought it was a wind-up. Then, when I saw the photo of Jackie with the baby, instinct kicked in. We’re young but we’re determined to be a family. It’s sooner than we’d have planned, but it’s meant to be. Jackie’s a fantastic mum.”