August 21, 2019
In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Claire Roach shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com. I was 14 when I found out I was pregnant. This wasn’t planned, obviously, and I didn’t know until I was six months gone. One afternoon, I felt something move inside me. I never confirmed it with a test, but I knew I was – deep down.
Birth Diaries: I Found Out I Was Pregnant At 14 – And Felt Emotionless When I Gave Birth
I told a friend, but no one else. I was scared shitless. I didn’t know how I’d cope if I knew, 100%, it was true. So I didn’t think about it, talk about it, I didn’t even go to the doctors. For eight weeks, I remained silent. I was a teenager and had no idea what the hell was going to happen, so I just avoided it and hid it. 
This was made easier because I didn’t look pregnant – my baby was the wrong way around, back to back, so my bump was barely visible. I was skinny and didn’t put much weight on. And my periods didn’t stop, either.
It sounds silly now, but I just prayed it would go away. It was Halloween when my parents found out. I had confided in a friend and she, unsurprisingly, told her parents, who then told mine. I was in school at the time and had a call to come to the office. I knew what it was going to be about.
My mum was stood there. “We’re taking you to the doctors,” she said. I got in the car and stayed silent the whole way to hospital. It was obvious she had called ahead and told them. They knew I was coming in, examined me and estimated I was nearly eight months pregnant. I gave birth 28 days later.
During that month, my mum and I didn’t talk about it much at all – but I had already decided I didn’t want to keep the baby once it arrived. I thought that was the right decision and what everyone wanted me to do.
Those weeks were a blur, to be honest. The birth was, too. I went into labour one night at 2am. I was at home in bed and woke up with these intense pains. I hadn’t timed them or anything, but immediately told my mum and we went straight into hospital. There was no waiting around.
I told my mum I didn’t want her in the room when we arrived. I think I wanted to prove I could do it on my own. Sandra, a midwife, stayed with me and helped me through. She was lovely and even let me bend her wedding ring, I was squeezing on to her hand so hard.
My waters didn’t break naturally so I had to have them broken. I spent 36 hours in labour, and did barely anything during that time. There was no Facebook or smartphones back then to waste time, I just remember lying down, drifting in and out of sleep. It was incredibly boring, but I felt detached from it all. I still couldn’t get to grips with the fact I was having a baby. Related... 'I Will Always Be Grateful': 4 Young Women On How Teen Pregnancy Changed Their Lives By the time I was ready to push, I thought it was nearly over – but I was pushing for six hours. And all that time, my mum was still there, waiting for any news.
I didn’t find birth that painful. I’ve given birth four times since and I definitely remember the pain there, but that first time, my mind just went blank. I refused pain relief, probably because I was being stubborn, and remember it was like an out-of-body experience – like it was someone else in that hospital giving birth. 
I distinctly remember being quiet. I didn’t scream or cry – I think I was trying to get through it as calmly as possible. But inside my head, there was so much going on. What was going to happen after she was born? How did I get here? What did people think of me? 
When she was born, I felt emotionless. I was exhausted and had been in labour so long that I didn’t know what was going on. My baby was taken from me – I’d told them I didn’t want to see her – so she was whisked away, and I went home a few hours later. I was told my baby would stay in hospital under social services supervision for 48 hours. 
And thank god she was. The next morning, I told my mum I’d made a mistake. I had been thinking what was for the best and what people expected – but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. We spoke to the health visitor, and my daughter was with me at home within six hours. 
I held her and I melted. It was such a strange feeling, but I knew it was the right one. We’re best of friends now, it’s crazy. I see her every day, she’s 23 and has moved out – she has a great job and a lovely home. And I love her so much. My birth advice?For any teenagers out there – if you are pregnant, just tell someone! You will try and blank it out but don’t delay it. I wish I had said something right at the beginning and been supported from the start. Follow Claire’s money-saving blog here. More Birth Diaries 'I Chose To Have An Active Birth – This Is What That Means' 'My Daughter Was Born In The Back Of A Moving Ambulance' 'I Thought My Husband's Bean Soup Had Given Me Wind – Then My Baby Arrived'
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