A COFFEE shop worker who rushed to hospital with agonising period pains was shocked to be told she was already in labour, with a baby who was a week overdue.
Holly Henton, from Market Harborough, Leics, had been having regular periods and had no pregnancy symptoms - so she had been going out drinking and smoking every weekend.
The 23-year-old started experiencing painful cramps back in March, and her worried mum called an ambulance when Holly collapsed hours later.
When they got to hospital, the shocked pair were told Holly was 41 weeks pregnant and moments away from giving birth.
Holly said: “I was still getting my periods as normal and there was nothing unusual going on.
“I’d put on a little bit of weight but it was just after Christmas and nothing that you would make you think I was having a baby.
"I'd put on a couple of pounds but it was around my bum and thighs so I thought it was just from overindulging on chocolate over the festive break.
"I hadn't had any of the normal symptoms, no cravings, sickness or nausea either.
“When they told me I was 41 weeks pregnant I went into shock.
“I knew I wanted kids one day but further down the line when I was in a happy healthy relationship and older.
"I was 22 and had no idea I was pregnant so I had still been smoking and going out drinking every weekend with my friends.
"I used to cover the early shift at Costa so I would get there for 5am and have four coffees before we'd even opened and another two or three during the day.
"I wouldn't have done any of that had I known."
Stunned Holly was rushed into theatre where her son Theo was born weighing 7lb 14oz by emergency C-section.
Now a proud mum to seven-month-old Theo, Holly says she cant imagine her life without him.
She said: "Luckily Theo was still perfectly healthy.
“It’s been emotional and stressful but it’s also been amazing watching him grow and seeing my bond and connection grow with him everyday, I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”
I had no idea I was pregnant so I had still been smoking and going out drinking every weekend with my friends. I was drinking up to 7 coffees a day tooHolly Henton
Despite putting on a few pounds, Holly had no common symptoms and was having regular periods until the day she was rushed to hospital.
A barista at Costa Coffee, she had just helped to shut up her shop for lockdown when she started getting cramps, but dismissed them as pre-menstrual pains.
Normal painkillers did nothing and when she collapsed in the toilet in the early hours of the morning, Holly's worried mum Joanna, 54, decided to ring an ambulance.
She was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for initial checks and then Leicester General, where a gynaecologist confirmed she was 41 weeks pregnant.
As Holly's waters hadn't broken, she was given an emergency C-section.
She said: “I started getting pains but I was due on my period so I thought it was just cramps and took some paracetamol.
“That didn’t touch it and the pain was getting steadily worse.
“I woke up at 5am in excruciating pain and went to the toilet but I couldn’t get back up, the pain was so bad.
“When I got to the hospital they were asking about my periods but they said it was probably just water retention.
“They did a physical exam and said they felt something weird, so they did an ultrasound and noticed a mass.
“When I saw the gynaecologist he told me I was pregnant but I was just stunned, I didn’t even believe him at first.
“After that it was all kind of a blur, it didn’t even feel real, everyone was rushing around me and I just remember shaking and feeling like I was going to pass out because I was so scared.
“When they took the baby out and passed him to my mum that’s when it hit me.
“I broke down in tears and said 'I’m not ready for this, I’m going to be a single mum, how are we going to manage?'
“There wasn’t that instant connection you have when you’re planning to have a baby and looking forward to it, but I told myself I needed to get on with it and look after this baby.”
Although Holly was able to have her mum there for the birth, she was forced to spend the majority of her four days in hospital alone, because of coronavirus restrictions, struggling to process what she had been through.
But after a few weeks, with the support of her mum and friends, the new mum started developing a special bond with her little boy.
Holly split with Theo's dad in August last year but reached out to him with the news, and the pair are now raising their surprise son together.
She said: “I didn’t tell people for a few weeks because I was still coming to terms with it myself, but when I did tell people everyone was amazing, they were coming round with nappies, clothes and all sorts for Theo.
“My mum was amazing, she was running around getting everything ready for us coming home and was teaching me and showing me how to do things.
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“After a while I started to feel like I was falling in love with him because he was always so happy and content.
“I would pick him up and he would start smiling and I realised maybe this baby is exactly what I need.
“I’m so happy now, I can’t imagine my life being any different.”