Maybe Mum

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Unplanned Motherhood: Terrible Stomach Pain Turns Out to Be Labor

Unplanned Motherhood: Terrible Stomach Pain Turns Out to Be Labor

“Due to a terrible stomach pain attack, I went to my general practitioner in the morning. He immediately referred me to the hospital. Something was seriously wrong. Barely half an hour later, I unexpectedly gave birth to a healthy daughter,” 21-year-old Nancy tells her story.

‘No idea I was pregnant’

“For nine months, I had no idea I was pregnant. I still lived at home with my parents and sister. I didn’t experience any of the typical pregnancy symptoms that other women often talk about, like fatigue and nausea. I was menstruating as usual the whole time. Looking back now, I might have noticed a slight decrease in bleeding during those months, but it wasn’t enough to worry me. Why would it? I was on birth control pills.

‘Didn’t pay attention to signs’

Thinking back to those months, there were signs that I could have been pregnant, but I didn’t pay any attention to them. I had lost eight kilos, and I did notice a bit of weight gain afterward, but I thought it was just the yo-yo effect. The amount of weight I gained wasn’t alarming enough to make me worry. I could still fit into my clothes just fine. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that things started feeling tighter. Although I had to hear it from others. I didn’t notice it myself. Those kilos had gradually piled on. Acquaintances who hadn’t seen me in a while noticed. ‘You’re getting a really big belly,’ some of them said. Friends also mentioned it in the final weeks. They joked at those moments: ‘You must be pregnant.’ I laughed along because I never once thought about pregnancy. I practiced safe sex and lived my life as usual with my nursing studies, a job at the local butcher, horseback riding, and going out.

‘Pain in my lower back’

My hamstring had been bothering me for a few months, and my feet seemed a bit swollen at the end of the day, but I didn’t think much of it. Even when I started experiencing more back pain, especially while horseback riding, I didn’t find it strange at all. My horse could be quite rebellious at times, just like the week before the birth. I caught his bucking with my back. I didn’t hesitate for a moment and assumed that was also the cause of the pain in my lower back.

‘Stomach cramps’

The night before my delivery, I had gotten Chinese takeout because I was home alone. And just like before when I ate Asian dishes, I had stomach cramps and diarrhea this time too. Only the pain didn’t go away, and I spent the whole night on the toilet. My parents, who were back home by then, heard me, and my mother asked what was wrong. She advised me to crawl into bed with a hot water bottle against my stomach.

‘Something else…’

When she went to work the next morning, I was back on the toilet. My stomach felt very hard at that moment. I found that so strange. Your stomach isn’t supposed to be that hard, right? I asked my mom the same thing. She felt it and immediately knew it wasn’t just a stomach bug, but something else. She called the doctor’s office right away, and I was able to get an appointment almost immediately. Maybe she already suspected I was pregnant at that point, but she never indicated it.

Something with stomach or pregnant…

My mother accompanied me to the doctor, who immediately saw that something was wrong. I could hardly move because of the terrible stomach pain. He couldn’t pinpoint the cause with certainty. He had two suspicions: a pregnancy or something with my stomach. Because he was so uncertain, he called the hospital to have both a gynecology and surgery team ready for my arrival. The pain was so intense that I didn’t even realize what he was actually saying at that moment. I think I even said that a pregnancy was impossible. After all, I hadn’t noticed my amniotic fluid breaking. Although that was probably more because I was so shocked by the news. I experienced that morning, just like the ride to the hospital, in a daze. However, I was glad it didn’t start a few hours earlier because then I would have been home alone. What would I have done then?

‘The pain was terrible’

In the hospital, before I could be helped, I had to get a patient wristband made. Those minutes seemed like hours. The pain was terrible. Fortunately, the midwife was already there to perform an ultrasound. It all happened so fast that I didn’t even realize when she said that she could only see feet. Then, when she felt how far along I was, she could already feel the baby’s head with her fingers. That moment was so unreal. Pregnant? Had there been a baby growing in my stomach all those months? That couldn’t be possible, right?

‘Ik was afraid’

It wasn’t until the little girl was lying on my stomach less than ten minutes later that I could believe it. Although I couldn’t calmly digest the news because Carolien was taken away immediately. Her heartbeat was slightly low during labor, and there was even some meconium in the amniotic fluid. That didn’t turn out to be good, but of course, I didn’t know anything about it. I was afraid something might be wrong and shared that fear with my mother, who had been with me the whole time. She was also shocked, but she immediately said she would be there for me and Carolien. It was very reassuring to hear.

‘I hadn’t changed my lifestyle during my pregnancy’

That fear for my girl’s health wasn’t unfounded. I hadn’t changed my lifestyle during my pregnancy. Other pregnant women, for example, stop horseback riding, drinking, and going out in smoky environments. I did all of this during those months. At the times I thought about it, I was a little scared. Those warnings, that you shouldn’t drink during pregnancy and should avoid certain products, are there for a reason. Perhaps she would be handicapped or have a defect. All those thoughts went through my mind until the doctor reassured me.

‘I loved her from the first minute’

After all the examinations, Carolien was placed in an incubator. They always do this just to be sure if it’s not clear how long a pregnancy has actually lasted. This really passed by me in a haze. I was still so dazed from the delivery, but slowly it dawned on me that I had become a mother that morning. I saw her lying in the incubator on the TV screen in my room. That helped me get used to the idea. But I never doubted, I loved her from the first minute. Even though I never had a real desire to have children. I am so happy with my little Carolien.

The father couldn’t believe it

For the father, the news was, of course, also unreal. He couldn’t believe it, but when he had let the news sink in, he came by immediately. It was so strange. Karel and I had just broken up a few weeks earlier, after a five-year relationship. He was my first great love, but it just wasn’t working out. So we decided to go our separate ways, and then you suddenly have a daughter together. After careful consideration, we decided that I would raise our daughter alone. He remains her father and visits her occasionally, but I have all the responsibilities. Carolien also has my last name. That was certainly not the idea I had about having children before. I don’t mind being so young. I always said: if it happens, it happens! But in my mind, I would have been completely settled down with

Interview: Patricia de Ryck. Photo Pexels: foto/close-up-van-handen-met-babyvoeten-325690/ – pexels-rene-asmussen-325690.jpg – My English is not very good, so Iā€™m translating this with the help of Google Translate and ChatGPT.