16 and pregnant

In this post, I will be talking pregnancy and labour with my eldest daughter, Orla.

I got pregnant at 16.

I got pregnant in June 2013, I was 16, 17 in August. I was taking the contraception mini-pill at the time so it was more than a shock to say the least. I was taking part in a summer camp when I fell pregnant, I was doing cliff diving, ab sailing, kayaking, a lot of outdoor activities. It got to August and I had realised I had not had a period in 2 months, I put it down to the pill as it does effect periods. I left it. About a week later, I was being sick, every day for about 2 weeks. I then decided to take a pregnancy test which immediately shown the positive line. I did not buy an expensive test so in denial, I put it down to the test being cheap and thought it may be a false positive. I then put it to the back of my mind. It got to my 17th birthday in August, I had my friends and family round at my house, I was offered a few alcoholic drinks but I couldn’t bring myself to drink anything even though I was in denial that I may be pregnant. I spoke to a few of my friends about it and they said to take another test, so I did, again, positive. I had been being sick every day now for about 4 weeks. I lived with my mum at the time, she evidently knew what was going on but I would not tell her, I was far too scared, scared of letting her down, scared of admitting what was going on. It got to mid August and I was going to V-Festival with a bunch of friends from school. I had not told any of these friends what was going on. I did not take any alcohol with me, telling them I had been feeling poorly and that the journey down to Staffordshire had made me feel worse. I kept getting offered drinks but turning them down, I don’t know how they did not get the hint! At this point I was over 12 weeks pregnant, still hadn’t spoke to my mum, still hadn’t spoke to any health professional, still putting it off. On the plus side, Orla was there when I seen Beyonce!!!

It got to September, I was back in college, I told the rest of my group of friends what was going on and they kept telling me to speak to my mum, I was going to start showing soon. I felt so embarrassed and felt my mum would be disappointed in me. I was in college 5 full days a week and did a day of placement so it was good as I was there keeping busy, getting my mind off it but I was so obviously fatigued with it. I tried time and time again to speak to my mum at home but just could not push myself enough to do it. I ended up texting her when I was in college, I got a phone call back straight away with the words “I already know and it is fine”. That was a HUGE weight off my shoulders but then the dread of going home to see her and explain everything hit me. I did not have a boyfriend, I was going to be a single mum at the age of 17. I got home and everything was calm and surprisingly okay. I explained the situation with my mum about how I felt. That evening I went to the doctors to be referred onto the maternity service. I got scan date for the following week. At the scan, it was confirmed that I was 16 weeks pregnant. I felt so happy but so sad that I had left it this long, I could have seen my baby before this! But on the plus side, I only had to wait 4 weeks for my 20 week scan where I could see my baby again and find out the sex. The 20 week scan came, baby was all healthy and I found out I was having a girl! It started to feel a little bit more real now but I still hadn’t got my head round the fact I was having a baby.

My pregnancy was quite good with Orla, the only issues I had were sickness throughout (still unsure why it’s called MORNING sickness when it is ALL DAY sickness) and heartburn towards the end of my pregnancy.

My due date came along without a baby. It got to 40 weeks 1 day, 40 weeks 2 days, 40 weeks 3 days, I just thought I was going to go 2 weeks over as literally all the women in my family have gone 2 weeks over, maybe 1 or 2 went before 42 weeks but none on or before their due date. I was going on walks, eating curries, bouncing on the birthing ball, walking up and down the stairs! Everything! I started to give up. Then 40 weeks 4 days, I was just finishing my takeaway and watching Friday night TV and started to get a twinge at 9pm, I hadn’t had Braxton Hicks at all during the pregnancy so I thought it might have been them. I went up to bed and by 11pm I was so unsettled, walking all around my bedroom, unable to sit down whenever I got a ‘pain’. I couldn’t sleep. I decided to go downstairs, sit on the ball and watch a film. I told my mum what was happening and she contacted our Labour and Maternity Unit, all they said was ‘get a warm bath’ ‘take some paracetamol’. I know it is their job and there is not much they can do to help when someone is at home but getting told to take paracetamol when someone is in that much pain is just as good as telling them to drink a strawberry milkshake! It does not help.

It got to around 9:30am the following morning, I had been up all night with contractions, they had got to 2-3 minutes apart lasting around 60 seconds, plus I had lost the mucus plug. We contacted the Labour Unit who told us to come up. I had my bag packed and ready so we headed up to the hospital as soon as we were told. By the time we got there and I got examined, I was 6cm! I couldn’t believe it. I still hadn’t got my head round the fact I was pregnant, never mind about to give birth. I had my mum as my birth partner. I asked for a water birth, the midwife took us to the birthing pool room and we settled in. It wasn’t long until the pain was, not unbearable but bloody hard. I was offered paracetamol, which I felt obliged to take. I was then offered gas and air but I did not agree with it, it made me feel so sick so I just took the nozzle off and kept biting it with every contraction. I then asked if I could go into the pool as the pain was getting worse. The midwives started to fill up the pool and as it was finished, they asked to do an exam prior to me going in. Just to my luck, the baby had turned so we were back to back and she had also done a POO! There was my water birth out of the window!!! I know they say not to have a birth plan as it is likely it will change which I did not mind but it just knocked me down a bit. The pain of the baby back to back was horrific. I then had to WALK to another room down a corridor where there was more equipment (‘just in case’ the midwives said, unsure on what they meant), by the time I got to the room I had the urge to push. They put me on the bed and examined me again, I was 10cm! (still couldn’t believe what I was about to do). During the exam, they told me baby had turned so her back was against my bump, thank God! I was still chewing that nozzle. Unsure on how long I was pushing for but I remember the midwife saying ‘If the baby is not here by 20 past 5, we will have to go to theatre and try forceps’. Hmmm, I’d rather not thank you. I was determined that I was not leaving this labour room without a baby! Orla was then born at 5:04pm. Placed straight on my chest, she was here! There was no denying it now!

I definitely did not think I would have my own child at the age of 17, I was a child myself and now I had this little bundle of human-ness to look after.

Now this little bundle of human-ness is 4 next week. I say 4, it’s more 4 going on 14!

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Erin X x

5 thoughts on “16 and pregnant

  1. Nicole says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Erin. It really resonated with me – I became pregnant with my first son at 17. Even though he is now 24, I can still remember how I felt when I told my parents. There as so much shame – I thought I’d let everyone down. Teenage pregnancy has the power to ruin lives, but it doesn’t have to – not if we talk about it and get rid of the stigma. Congrats on your beautiful daughter 🙂


  2. Kirsten Carr says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. It sounds like you did a wonderful job! I got pregnant at 19 and had my son at 20, which I know is not that close to being 16/17. But I still felt I was pretty young. He was the best thing to happen to me. I love your daughters name. She is adorable!


  3. Cha says:

    You’re brave to share this and I’m feeling proud for you. Its not easy to be a parent and of course to be a single parent. Congratulations for having a beautiful daughter and awesome supportive parents.


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