‘She took us all by sur­prise’

Prima (UK) - - Let’s Celebrate -

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.’

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