Dereham woman’s shock as she goes into labour without knowing she was pregnant
- Credit: Ian Burt
Life is full of surprises. But when Emily Wackett arrived at work for her first night shift at a care home, she could never have imagined that hours later she would be giving birth in an ambulance on the A47.
With no morning sickness or baby bump, the 21-year-old was completely unaware that she had been pregnant for the last nine months.
Her only clue - some weight gain - had been put down to normal over-indulgence over the Christmas season.
And while she felt mild discomfort when she arrived for work at Nightingale Care Home in Welborne, near Dereham, she didn't think too much of it.
The baby, not yet named, was born at 3.18am on January 31 in an ambulance on the A47 near Costessey on its way to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and weighed just under seven pounds. Miss Wackett had been in labour for just over an hour.
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About half an hour earlier, 120 miles away, her boyfriend of two years Matthew Charles, 20, a banking and finance student at Middlesex University, was woken by a phone call.
The voice on the other end, which came from Emily's sister's boyfriend, Tim Baxter, 29, said: 'I don't want to alarm you mate, but we think Emily is having contractions.'
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Miss Wackett, who lives with her parents Alan and Lea Wackett and sister Vicky Wackett, at Wallace Close, Dereham, said: 'I suddenly felt a lot of pain in my stomach. I didn't know what was wrong. I know someone who had appendix problems recently so thought maybe that was it.
'I called home. My sister answered and I told her I was in pain and needed help.'
Miss Wackett's sister and mother rushed to the care home and then called an ambulance. A paramedic confirmed she was pregnant.
Vicky Wackett said: 'With the ambulance rushing to the hospital, I had to hold up the paramedic while Emily was giving birth. Mum couldn't breathe in the panic and had to be treated in the hospital herself.'
During these frenzied moments, Mr Charles was on a £170 taxi journey from London to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
He said: 'I was in shock. My immediate concern was for the health of Emily and the baby.
'I just wanted to get there as quickly as possible. I spoke to Emily on the phone on the way up and was just so relieved to hear that everything was okay.
'When I first saw her and my baby in the hospital I didn't know what to say. It was incredibly emotional.
'We didn't plan this but we are so happy. We thought we might have a child one day, when we're a bit older, but hadn't talked about it seriously.'
Emily Wackett said: 'Everything hasn't sunk in yet, but we're really happy. Our baby is really beautiful and it is so quiet and well behaved.
'I've got a lot of support around me and we're adapting really well.'
The Wackett family remains mystified as to how Emily had been pregnant for nine months without knowing it.
Lea Wackett, who works with Emily, said: 'We've been told that the baby may have been kicking the placenta, which is why she didn't feel any kicking.
She added: 'When she came into work that day I just thought she had the hump about having to do a night shift. I think it will put her off doing night shifts from now on.'
Meanwhile, Alan and Lea Wackett, who turned 60 on the day the baby was born, were expecting to become grandparents this year, although not in these circumstances.
Vicky is, herself, 11 weeks pregnant.
Did you give birth in an unusual way? Email health correspondent Nick Carding on firstname.lastname@example.org