It was my first day in my new job and I wanted to make a good impression. Then this happened…
By Klara Dollan, 23, from Cricklewood, London
I clutched my stomach in pain and pushed back the duvet. Pulling myself up onto my elbows, my eyes blinked into the darkness.
04:00, the digital figures of my alarm clock flashed back at me. I groaned as I grabbed a pillow and rolled back over. But the stomach cramps weren’t going away.
It must be period pains, I told myself, as I winced with the pain. A couple of weeks earlier, I’d stopped taking the contraceptive pill.
I’d been on it continuously because I suffered painful periods and I liked to swim. Besides, I’d broken up with my boyfriend of two years, Kris, nine months earlier.
I hadn’t been interested in dating and I thought I’d give my body a break from the pill. But now these cramps were warm and intense.
‘Mum, I feel awful,’ I whispered, as I padded into her bedroom in the flat we shared in Cricklewood, London.
It was 5am but she was already awake. She works as a criminal prosecutor and wakes early most days.
‘Take a couple of paracetomol,’ she told me, handing me the little tablets with a glass of water. ‘I really think you ought to go into the office, Klara. It’s your first day.’
I groaned as I clutched my belly. I’d landed a new job in a direct marketing firm and today was my first day. I needed to be in the office for 7.15am and was desperate not to pass up the opportunity.
‘You’re right,’ I said, heading to the bathroom. ‘I need to make a good impression.’ I jumped in the shower, then pulled on my smart suit.
‘Good luck, love,’ Mum said as she waved me goodbye. ‘Have a good day.’
I headed to the tube station and made the journey to Waterloo. The stomach cramps were still there, but they weren’t constant.
I can handle this, I told myself as I introduced myself to my new team leader. We were led into a big conference room, where we stood for a meeting.
The minutes turned to hours and although I tried to listen, the pain was distracting. I put my hand to my forehead and realised I was dripping with sweat – and the room wasn’t even warm.
When I broke my pen in my mouth in a bid not to squeal with the agony, I knew I had to get out of there.
‘I’m so sorry, but I have to go,’ I turned to the girl next to me, when the meeting finally ended after two hours.
I grabbed my bag and legged it back to the tube station. I was home within 20 minutes but as I rummaged around in my handbag for my keys, my heart sank.
They weren’t there… I’d left them inside the flat. My mind raced. Mum was working in Brighton and no one had spare keys.
I feebly kicked at the door, but it wasn’t budging. By now, the pains were longer and more frequent, and I really needed to go to the bathroom.
Frantic, I pulled my phone from my bag and Googled ‘locksmiths’.
‘No problem, we’ll be with you in 20-40 minutes,’ said the voice at the other end of the line, when I found a nearby company.
Two hours later, there was still no sign of anyone. I’d been pacing up and down the stairs of the communal hallway and going outside for fresh air.
I’d even had time to pop to the shops to get some water, because I was still clammy with sweat. It was agony – all I wanted was to get inside, get out of my suit and into the bathroom.
‘There you are, all done,’ smiled the locksmith, when he’d finally arrived and broken his way in. ‘That’ll be £160 please.’
I begrudgingly paid the money before dashing inside. I pulled my pyjamas on and instantly relaxed as I lied down in the safe cocoon of my bed.
But ten minutes later, the cramps came back and my bowels opened. I flung the duvet back and ran to the bathroom.
For a few weeks, I’d noticed the top of my stomach had been really hard. I’d never got round to going to the doctors about it though, and now I wondered if it was just a case of constipation.
But as I stood up, I realised I was bleeding… a lot. Oh my God… what’s happening to me?
I was terrified – and alone. After I’d spent an hour on the toilet, I was desperate and began frantically screaming.
‘Oh my God, help me!’ I yelled to anybody who could hear me. ‘Please, somebody help me!’
After a while, I heard a knock at the door and somehow, I pulled myself up from the bloodbath and managed to answer it.
It was the caretaker for the building. ‘Umm, I’m a bit squeamish,’ he said sheepishly. ‘Especially around blood and screaming women. I think your neighbour is in though – I’ll get her.’
Before I knew it, he’d fetched the lady from across the hall and this virtual stranger was standing in my bathroom.
‘There’s a lot of blood,’ I panted at her. ‘I think I need an ambulance.’ I had no clue what was happening to me.
My mind raced with horror stories of deadly tumours and bowel blockages. For a fleeting moment, I even wondered if I was having a miscarriage.
Quickly, I did the maths. I hadn’t been with anyone since Kris – and we’d last slept together nine months earlier. It couldn’t be a miscarriage now… so what was it?
My neighbour dashed into the kitchen where I heard her on the phone to the ambulance. Then, all of a sudden, I felt this instinctive urge to push.
As I squatted down, hovering over the toilet, I gave one long, hard, almighty push and I felt something rush out of me.
‘Oh my God, it’s a baby!’ I cried as I caught the slithery little bundle. ‘It’s a baby!’
My neighbour rushed back in from the kitchen and the look on her face said it all. The umbilical cord was wrapped around my leg and I’d grabbed a towel to cradle the baby in.
‘Umm, don’t worry, try to stay calm. The ambulance is on its way.’
I was anything my calm. My mum’s going to kill me… Have I really just had a baby?… I want my old life back… Surely I won’t be allowed to keep it?… I’m not prepared!
Within minutes the paramedics arrived and I just sobbed as one of them held me. The umbilical cord was cut and a couple of other paramedics took the baby away to clean her up.
‘It’s a little girl,’ they smiled as they came back into the bathroom a few minutes later. She looked the spitting image of me and in that moment, my heart swelled with love.
I knew instantly I was going to call her Amelia. I’d always longed for a little girl called Amelia.
At the hospital, we were cleaned up and both given a completely clean bill of health. Despite everything, Amelia was a healthy 7lb 2oz and I felt like I’d lost two stone.
But now, I had to tell people. First, it had to be Mum. I didn’t know how she’d react and my heart hammered in my chest as I picked up the phone.
‘I’m ok, don’t worry – but can you come to the hospital?’ I started. ‘Of course, but where are you – where am I going?’ Mum replied.
I took a deep breath. ‘Umm, the maternity ward. I’ve had a little girl.’ MF
My words hung heavy in the air as the pause on the end of the line seemed to go on forever.
‘But how can that be?’ Mum said eventually. ‘I saw you this morning. You weren’t pregnant then.’
40 minutes later, she’d arrived and I explained everything. Doctors said I’d had what’s known as a cryptic pregnancy.
‘I’d put on some weight, about a couple of stone,’ I told her. ‘But I’d gained weight everywhere.’
I was used to my weight fluctuating and at 5’ 11” I could afford for my weight to go up and down. I thought it’d just been down to comfort eating after my split from Kris.
‘I wasn’t having periods because I was on the pill continuously, my nipples didn’t get darker, there was no bump – I didn’t know, Mum. Honestly, I didn’t know.’
Mum was thrilled though. I was worried she’d be mad – that she wouldn’t believe I could have been so clueless – but when she saw little Amelia, she melted.
I waited a week to tell Kris though. I’d still barely got my head around what had happened, how would he take it?
Is this a sick joke? He text me, an hour after our phone conversation. When he saw the beautiful bundle in my arms the next morning though, Kris knew I wasn’t joking.
‘She’s beautiful,’ he cooed over our daughter’s tiny, perfect features. Although we haven’t got back together, he’s a great dad and does what he can to help me.
I decided to tell my friends in one go and invited them over to mine for a party. They all arrived with bottles of wine – then stopped in their tracks when they spotted the Moses basket in the corner.
‘I’ve never seen so many crying girls in one room,’ I laughed, as they burst into tears one after the other, cradling little Amelia.
Now, three months on, I’m trying to enjoy the moment. I was voted ‘The Last Person to Ever Have a Child,’ at college, and now here I am, a mum to a gorgeous little girl.
All plans for a career and travelling have been put on hold but I’m enjoying being a mummy. Amelia’s arrival was quite a surprise but now, I really couldn’t imagine life without her.