Mum's second surprise baby: 'Oops... I did it again!'
Suzanne Holdsworth had not one but TWO surprise babies! I got her a deal with Take a Break magazine and MailOnline. Did you not realise you were pregnant until you went into labour? Email email@example.com#sellmystory #surprisebabies #takeabreak
As I reached for a whisk and started beating the cake mix together, four figures appeared in the kitchen.
‘I’m hungry,’ my son Josh said. ‘When will dinner be ready?’
‘Soon,’ I said.
Once he’d traipsed out of the kitchen with his three younger sisters I stopped whisking, put the children’s dinner in the oven and leant against the kitchen side, exhausted.
I was up to my eyes with errands. Three of my kids had summer birthdays so I had parties to organise, presents to buy and cakes to bake, including the four-tier wedding cake I was currently making for my brother-in-law.
Life had been a whirlwind since having my two-year-old Leora. As parents of three children already, my husband Chris and I hadn’t been planning on having any more. But she had taken us by complete surprise and at the time, I shared my story in Take a Break…
It all started in the run-up to mine and Chris’s wedding day. I had been determined to drop a couple of dress sizes and was working out on my cross trainer every day, using the kids as weights and taking tablets to suppress my appetite.
I still loved a glass of wine though and I continued to meet my mum Kathy in the pub a couple of times a week for a tipple, as well as letting my hair down at the weekends with Chris.
Soon the pounds had dropped off and I had my dress taken in.
But on our big day, when I put my dress on, it fell straight back down. I had lost too much weight.
My maid of honour did her best to pin it together and despite the hiccup with the dress, the day was lovely.
Back home, life had resumed as a busy mum-of-three, playing horses with the kids riding on my back, swinging them around in the park and hoisting them onto climbing frames.
But one morning, I came over all funny.
I felt queasy and I had a strange pain in my tummy.
Then I was sick.
Chris had called for an ambulance but when it arrived, not even the paramedics knew what was wrong with me. Until…
I let out an almighty scream and pointed down at my trousers, which a paramedic whipped off for me. Seconds later, he was holding a baby.
It had taken me a second to realise it was mine.
As a shocked silence descended on my bedroom, it dawned on me that I had given birth without even knowing I was pregnant. Instead of gaining weight and a bump, I’d lost more than two stone. I’d also drunk alcohol and exercised like a maniac.
I worked out I would have been six months gone on our wedding day.
Luckily the kids had taken meeting their new little sister in their stride and she was accepted as part of their team.
Now, as I laid out four bowls of spaghetti for my brood, Chris and I smiled at them all as they tucked into their dinner.
‘They know how to keep us busy,’ he said.
‘They do,’ I said. ‘No more kids?’
‘Agreed. No more,’ Chris laughed.
That week, I ran back and forth to the shops to buy all of the ingredients I needed and stepped back to admire the wedding cake. I was relieved it was done. I felt more tired than ever.
Next, I started planning Josh’s birthday in between doing the school run, mountains of laundry, cleaning and cooking.
As the days passed I found myself lagging, so I drank energy drinks and took iron tablets to keep me going.
As summer arrived and the sun made an appearance, I had a bit more get-up-and-go. I spent the weekends putting up the swimming pool for the kids, chasing them around the garden and firing up the barbeque.
Usually when I prepared food for the family, I pinched a bit of what they were having or picked at the leftovers. But now I had lost all interest in snacking. Even grilling a batch of sizzling burgers didn’t make me hungry.
I wasn’t complaining though.
‘I’ve lost a stone,’ I told Chris.
‘How?’ he said.
‘I don’t really know,’ I said. ‘I seem to have lost my appetite.’
Weeks later, I was packing for a family camping trip and held up a blue and white striped bikini I’d bought for the swimming pool there.
‘If it looks hideous it’s going back,’ I said.
I tried it on and looked in the mirror.
‘You look great,’ Chris said.
I had gained a few pounds since my recent weight-loss.
‘It’s alright,’ I said. ‘I’ll keep it.’
Days later, I realised my period was late. I didn’t think much of it until after our camping trip when there was still no sign of it.
Could I be pregnant? I thought.
Chris and I had been using protection so it seemed unlikely, but I bought a pregnancy test just to rule it out.
Later, I did the test and when I saw two pink lines appear side by side on the stick, my heart started thumping.
I grabbed my phone and sent a photo of it to Chris and tapped out: Guess what…
Moments later, he called me.
‘I had a feeling you were pregnant,’ he said.
‘Well I wish you had told me!’ I said.
‘How many weeks are you?’ he asked.
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Maybe four or five.’
We booked a private scan and I lay patiently on the bed while the sonographer moved the scanner over my stomach. Then she leaned in close to the monitor and frowned.
‘You said this was your first scan?’ she said.
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘You’re about seven months pregnant,’ she said.
‘What?’ I said.
I turned to Chris whose face had turned white.
‘How are we going to tell the family?’ he said.
I couldn’t believe it. We already had one surprise baby, but another?
I went over the past few months in my head. I’d felt dog-tired and been off my food, but I hadn’t felt sick, I had no bump, I’d lost a stone and had been getting my periods each month, or so I’d thought. I realised it must have been irregular bleeding. I’d also been drinking alcohol. Luckily the baby appeared healthy.
When we told the kids, Emelye pointed at my stomach.
‘Is the baby in there?’ she asked.
‘Can it see us?’ Poppy said.
After Chris and I got over the initial shock, we were grateful to have two months to prepare this time. We had given away all of our baby bits, so we had to buy everything all over again.
I had an appointment at hospital and my midwife and doctor agreed I was about seven months gone. But they were unable to give me an accurate due date.
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, my stomach ballooned into a very round bump and the kids loved to cuddle, stroke and poke it to try and make the baby move.
At around 38 weeks, I was induced and the labour was far worse than I remembered.
‘I can’t do it,’ I said.
‘Yes you can,’ Chris said.
After more deep breathing, screaming and a big push, I finally gave birth to a girl, weighing 6lb 11oz.
We named her Araya.
I was in absolute awe of her, but I couldn’t quite believe I was now a mum-of-five. It only hit me when I returned home to Wetherby, West Yorkshire, when the kids swarmed around us to meet their new sister.
‘Can I hold her?’ Poppy said.
‘Me me,’ Leora said.
Josh played it cool but the moment he held her, he was besotted.
Now Araya is 12 weeks old and Josh, 13, Emelye, seven, and Poppy, five, all love her. But Leora, three, absolutely worships her baby sister. She helps me to change her nappy, fetches her clothes for me and feeds her with a bottle.
They have such a special bond and seeing as they both made such a shocking entrance into the world, I don’t doubt they will cause more mischief for me in years to come.
Now I’m considering having the coil to prevent another pregnancy. I absolutely adore all five of my children, but I don’t think I could handle another one. No more surprises!
By Julia Sidwell