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‘Truth about my shock pregnancy’

Monkstown author Melissa Hill got a surprise when told she was five months pregnant with her beautiful baby daughter, Carrie, who was born in April.

The chick-lit author --whose books have sold more than a million copies worldwide and who is tipped to become the new Patricia Cornwell after landing a six-figure deal to write a series of thrillers -- had no idea she was expecting. after 10 years of marriage, She was about to become a first-time mum

My husband Kevin figured that something was up when I'd gone off Mexican food. We would normally eat something spicy three or four times a week, but every time he suggested it, I just wasn't bothered. "Very weird; a bit like pregnancy aversions," he teased, and although I knew he was joking, I did start to wonder.

Kevin and I have been together 14 years, and we celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary in June this year. Throughout that time we've been busy enjoying life; travelling the world, setting up businesses and building our respective careers.

For us, having children was something to think about 'some day' when we had the time, yet life was always so busy we never could get round to making any concrete decisions. So while we weren't actively trying for a baby, having been together for so long, we weren't being especially diligent on the contraception front either.

CONSEQUENCES

I'd just delivered my novel, The Truth About You,

to my publisher, a story of how three different women deal with the consequences of unexpected pregnancy, when Kevin pointed out the food aversion. No way, I thought. Surely if I was pregnant, I would know?

I hadn't gained weight, been sick, hormonal or experienced any of the so-called textbook symptoms. Or indeed missed a period. Had I?

The weeks immediately before a book deadline are always frenetic and tend to run into each other, so I couldn't remember when (or if) I had my last period. Anyway, I'd just finished writing a story all about pregnancy tests, morning sickness, ultrasound scans and suchlike, so surely it couldn't be a case of life imitating art?

In any case, while I was convinced that there was simply no way I could be pregnant and not know it, the chilli aversion set me thinking, so I decided to take a pregnancy test. To my complete surprise the result immediately came up positive. I didn't even need to wait the requisite two minutes; the little white stick practically exploded in my hand.

I was a fully grown adult and a (supposedly) intelligent woman who should know her body inside out. How could I not have realised?

SCAN

There seemed little room for doubt, but just to be sure I had it confirmed by my GP, who suggested I book a dating scan seeing as I couldn't be sure of my dates. But given that I hadn't been sick/gained weight etc, I figured I really couldn't be more than a few weeks at the most.

My first reaction (besides complete and utter shock) was incredible guilt. To think that all along this tiny little person had been growing inside me, and I hadn't been taking the requisite care of it, or indeed myself.

COCKTAILS

I cringed when I thought about those cocktails I'd enjoyed on a recent holiday in the sun, the bottles of wine I'd shared with the girls, that hot-tub Jacuzzi bath on a spa weekend, not to mention all the 'danger' foods I'd been eating all throughout.

But my obstetrician was quick to reassure me that baby seemed perfect and, despite her clueless mother, was doing well. It seemed that my recent aversion to all things chilli (apparently this speeds up the body's metabolism, which, during pregnancy, needs to slow down) was the only signal of her existence and, luckily for us, Kevin paid attention -- if it were up to me, I might have ended up in the labour ward before I realised it!

It was only once the shock and guilt had worn off that we were able to think seriously about what it all meant. In four short months we would be parents, and for a couple who were as footloose and fancy free as we'd always been, this meant big changes. Gone would be the lastminute weekend trips to New York or long-haul holidays in exotic destinations. I had no experience at all with babies; in fact, I'd never even changed a nappy.

But we were also sure that of all the adventures we'd had throughout our time together, this would without doubt be the greatest of them all.

At the next ultrasound we found out that we were having a little girl, which made everything feel so much more real, and really helped us get used to the idea. We tentatively began picking out names and referring to baby as 'she' instead of 'it'. Throughout the remaining four months of pregnancy, I didn't suffer so much as a headache, had a barely visible bump, and (once I knew that baby was healthy) felt absolutely great.

The following week was my birthday, and we booked a night away in the Ritz-Carlton Enniskerry to celebrate this and mark what could well be our last time away as a twosome. How right we were -- baby decided to announce her impending arrival in style when, in the early hours of the morning, I went into labour at the hotel.

Although I'd thought I'd prepared myself as best I could for the practical side of motherhood, I was completely unprepared for how quickly and easily my little daughter stole my heart.


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