How could anyone miss those telltale signs of nausea and exhaustion? Well, if you’re not expecting to be, erm, expecting, it’s easier than you think…
Jade Atkin, 33, an events organiser, lives in North Yorkshire with husband Alex, 50, a car restorer. She’s mum to Fletcher, four, and Tobyn, two.
'Doctors told me getting pregnant would be hard'
I’d had IVF to conceive Fletcher because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which causes irregular periods and stopped me ovulating. We were so happy to have Fletcher, we just didn’t even think about another baby, especially since Alex has two grown-up children from a previous marriage.
'I was exhausted from looking after my toddler'
Fletcher was about 18 months old when I started feeling really tired. I’d take him round to my mum’s house just so I could sleep while she took over. It was only when I drove Fletcher home from swimming one day and felt unable to get us out of the car that alarm bells started to ring.
'It suddenly clicked that I could be pregnant'
Later that day, a friend popped over and said how tired a pregnant friend of hers was feeling. Could I be pregnant too? It was so unlikely. But when I bought a test, I watched as a second blue line appeared. When I broke the news to Alex, he was shocked but very happy. I called the community midwife, who arranged a scan for a few days’ time.
'It turned out I was 20 weeks pregnant'
'I worried about all the piña coladas I’d drunk on holiday three weeks earlier'
Expecting the sonographer to tell me I was a couple of months gone, I was overwhelmed when she told me the baby was nearly 20 weeks old. What concerned me more was all the piña coladas I’d drunk on holiday three weeks earlier. The midwives reassured me that, as I hadn’t drunk much before that, and I didn’t drink for the rest of the pregnancy, everything should be fine.
'It took two weeks for us to come to terms with it'
Another scan shortly afterwards revealed that my placenta was at the front, cushioning the baby’s kicks, which explained why I hadn’t felt any movement. Part of me felt sad that I’d missed half my pregnancy, but I felt happy to be pregnant at all.
'On my due date, I woke up with pains in my stomach'
My contractions became stronger during the day, until mid afternoon when they were five minutes apart and quite painful. When we arrived at the hospital, I was fully dilated.The contractions were intense and painful by now, but the gas and air helped calm my nerves. As I started to push, Alex held my hand and, 15 minutes later, Tobyn arrived. Immediately, he opened his lungs to cry and I gasped with relief.
After our IVF experience, I’m grateful my second pregnancy happened at all. There are times when I do feel a little silly, but more than anything I know I’m just incredibly lucky.
What the expert says:
- Try pregnancy pilates
If you’re trying to boost your fertility, pilates increases circulation to the womb. ‘Fresh, healthy blood flow brings hormones, nutrients and oxygen to the lining of the womb and provides a healthier environment for an egg to implant,’ says fertility expert Clare Blake.
- Find a calming activity
‘Choose a pursuit that relaxes you, such as meditation or yoga, then practise it three or four times a week.’
- Change diet
‘Cut back on sugar, which can unbalance your immune system and have a knock-on effect on your fertility levels.’