‘She took us all by surprise’
For Katherine Lawrenson, 30, from Dartford, Kent, and her husband, Graeme, an unexpected present last year gave them all the more reason to celebrate.
‘We’d tucked into turkey and all the trimmings and were now eating mounds of gorgeous rich fruit pudding. Suddenly, I felt a painful twinge in my stomach. I tried to hide my grimace and shifted awkwardly in my seat. It was Christmas Day and my husband, Graeme, and I were visiting his parents for a late-afternoon Christmas lunch. We were all having such fun and I didn’t want to ruin things. Anyway, at 34 weeks pregnant,
I was bound to feel a bit uncomfortable, wasn’t I?
But as I went to get the last spoonful of pudding, I felt another stab of pain. Making my excuses, I went upstairs to the bathroom. I told myself I’d just eaten too much, only then, glancing down, I realised my waters had broken. I gasped, terrified. I wasn’t supposed to be having my baby for another two months – and certainly not here in my in-laws’ bathroom! I took a deep breath to
steady myself. Graeme and I had been married three years and this was my first baby. We were so excited but I didn’t know what to expect. After a few minutes, I realised there were no other pains so I assumed I couldn’t possibly be going into labour.
Heading downstairs, everyone was getting ready for an evening in front of the TV. Grabbing Graeme, I pulled him to one side and told him what had happened. “I think we need to get home,” I said. He looked worried, but we decided not to tell his parents what was happening; we didn’t want to panic them unnecessarily. Instead, we made our excuses and left.
BOXING DAY BONUS
Only outside, as we headed to the car, Graeme stopped and stared at me. “I can’t drive,” he said. “I’ve been drinking.” I groaned and grabbed the keys from him. I had no choice but to drive now. Easing my bump behind the steering wheel, we set off. It was only a 20-minute drive and arriving back, we decided to head to bed.
The discomfort had eased and I told Graeme we’d give it until the morning to see if I should see a doctor. In no time, he was fast asleep, but as I lay beside him in bed, I felt another twinge. Finally, at 2am, I nudged Graeme awake. “I think I need to go to hospital after all,” I said.
An ambulance arrived and I was taken straight to the maternity unit, where a scan revealed my baby – a girl – was lying in the breech position. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain shoot through my stomach. I clutched Graeme’s hand as the nurse came over to check on me. “You’re in labour,” she said.
Everything happened so fast after that. I was rushed into the delivery suite and after just 80 minutes, our darling daughter, Imogen, arrived. It was 10.53am on Boxing Day and, as I held her in my arms, I couldn’t believe that she was here. She weighed just 4lb 11oz and needed to go to the special care baby unit, but as soon as I was strong enough, I was wheeled over to see her. I stared at her incubator and felt such love for my little girl. She was never supposed to have arrived at Christmas, but she’d taken us all by surprise – the greatest gift of all.
Imogen progressed well, and after two weeks, she was finally strong enough to come home. It was such a magical moment for Graeme and me and, although there were no presents for our little girl because we’d never expected her to be here, I vowed that we’d always make Christmas her very special time.
So this year, as Imogen turns one, there will be a double celebration.
She is the first grandchild in our family and adored by everyone. She loves us clapping our hands in front of her and has the biggest smile. The day after Boxing Day this year, we’ll hold a big birthday party to celebrate. Just like the song, Imogen really is our very own Santa Baby.’