Here, Alex Harvey, 25, tells the story in her own words.
T￼yping out a text, my stomach was in agony. Sorry, I don’t feel well, I messaged my mum, Lee-Anne, 49.
I was due to go around to my brother Nathan’s place for a barbecue, but I must have got a bug. I lived with my dad, Mark, 49, but as he was out, and I was feeling too ill to drive to the doctor, I curled up under my doona.
A few hours later though, the pain ramped up even more. Feeling a strong urge to go to the toilet, I dragged myself to the bathroom.
Then, sitting on the seat, I looked down and saw something between my legs. What the..?! I thought, in absolute disbelief. It was a baby’s head!
Utterly stunned, I reached down and felt it. This was really happening. A baby was coming out of me – and fast!
Standing up, I gently pulled the baby’s shoulders, easing them out. It’s a girl, I thought, numbly, delivering her into my hands. As she cried out, I cradled her, shell-shocked. ‘Zachary!’ I screamed to my 18-year-old brother.
Rushing to the bathroom, his eyes opened wide. ‘Where did you get that from?’ he exclaimed, before running out again in shock. I can’t blame him, I thought. I’d had no inkling I was expecting either.
Single for seven months, I must’ve fallen pregnant before the break-up. Having had infrequent periods for years, I’d stopped tracking them. But I’d had no morning sickness, sore boobs or any other hints. I’d even done heavy lifting at a casual warehouse job.
Most unbelievably of all, I hadn’t had a bump, still comfortably slipping into my size-8 clothes. I had noticed I’d added five kilos to my 50-kilo frame – but I’d just put it down to my love of beer. At that, a wave of horror crept over me.
Just 10 days before, I’d celebrated my birthday with a family meal and a few schooners... But it wasn’t a beer belly I’d got, it was a baby!
Totally overwhelmed, I called Zachary back. ‘Get some scissors!’ I yelled.
When he brought them, I snipped the cord and blood started spraying everywhere. I can’t clamp it! I realised.
Freaking out, I got in the shower with the bub. When my dog had puppies, we checked their airways, I remembered. So I checked her airways too. She was breathing and crying, but as I cleaned her, I felt the urge to push again. Oh God, is there a twin? I thought, rushing back to the toilet. To my relief, it was just the afterbirth. I didn’t want to bother emergency services, so I called a number for patient transport. ‘I just had
a baby on the toilet,’ I explained.
Gobsmacked, the operator told me to hang up and call Triple-0. Telling them what happened, I was asked all about my due date and obstetrician. ‘No,’ I said, wanting them to understand. ‘I wasn’t pregnant!’
In the ambulance, I still struggled to explain it to the paramedics.
Arriving at hospital, the baby – my daughter – was put in a humidicrib to warm her. Weighing 2.4 kilos, she was on the small side.
Around 20 minutes later, Mum arrived with Dad. Zachary had texted her, so she’d announced my news to a dumbfounded Nathan, 21, and his partner, Ally, and left. No-one could believe it. I couldn’t believe it!
I’d read stories in that’s life! about this happening to other women and I never understood how they hadn’t known they were pregnant.
‘We’re here for you,’ my parents assured me. ‘You can do this.’
While Mum and Dad cooed over their new grandchild, I needed more time. Who is this little stranger, I thought, bemused. Am I really her mum?
Lying in bed that night, my mind raced. My entire future looked so different to when I’d woken up that day. Single and living at home, how could I be ready for a baby?
The next morning, I had another shock. Overnight, my almost-flat chest had sprung up into milk-filled double Ds. My body was doing all the right things.My brain just needs to catch up, I realised.
Visiting my bub in the NICU, I took in her precious pink face and shock of brown hair and thought she was so cute. Maybe I could do this after all, I thought, giving my baby a cuddle.
‘You need to give her a name,’ Mum said, gently. Remembering someone said she’d ‘popped’ into the world, I had an idea. ‘Poppy Joan,’ I said, with Joan after my great-grandma. After 10 days, I was able to take Poppy home.
Stopping work, I slowly got used to being a mum.
One day, we were lying on my bed and I was playing Poppy my favourite songs. Suddenly, I felt tearful and my heart wanted to burst. I’ve fallen completely in love with her, I realised. And when she said ‘mama’ at around 12 months, I was overcome with joy.
Now 20 months, Poppy is my beautiful, sassy little dancer who puts a smile on everyone’s face.
She’s changed my life for the better and brought our family even closer as we shower her with love. ‘You came for a reason,’ I tell her.
She might have made a surprise entrance, but I can’t imagine life without her.
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