The living room floor of the small two-room apartment is full of toys. In the corner is the changing table, and on the sofa, Ida Nelson, 29, and Lars Alm, 32, play with their daughter Stella, now nine months old.
Little Stella came out as a complete surprise on Monday in September last year. Ida didn’t know she was pregnant before she released her daughter into the world.
– I was so shocked that I almost didn’t know my name, she says.
It wasn’t the case that Ida and Lars didn’t want to become parents. exactly the contrary. They have tried for many years without success. Even Stella was very welcome when she was born, there is no doubt.
The daughter’s love is immediately noticeable when we meet the newly married parents at home in Happo, north of Jönköping, Sweden. The little girl gargles with joy and seeks eye contact with her mother.
– She’s always happy. Proud father Lars says she is the cutest little daughter imaginable.
I tried for four years
Ida must have gotten pregnant at the end of 2019, but she doesn’t know exactly when. At that time, she gave up her dream of having children.
– Lars and I talked about wanting to have children when we moved in together four years ago, then stopped using birth control, says Ida, a bonus mom to my cohabiting child from a previous relationship.
But nothing happened, and she eventually accepted the fact that she probably wouldn’t become a mother.
Perhaps there was still some kind of bias that made her take a pregnancy test. But when it was negative, I stopped thinking about it.
It didn’t seem to her that she was getting more rounded around her stomach. At least that wasn’t something she or Lars thought about, before a comment came from Ida’s older brother.
– but I suppose it might be because we ate so well during the many barbecue evenings in the summer. The idea of pregnancy did not surprise me. I had menstruation as usual, never been unwell and nausea as it often happens when you are pregnant.
When autumn came, she began to have a slight stomach ache. At first I thought it was because she was nervous and had a lot to do at work, but it got worse.
Since the first week of September, I have started experiencing stomach cramps that I have never had before. I thought I had gastritis.
Ida was in so much pain that Lars had to take her to the hospital emergency room this weekend. Due to coronary artery strictures, he was not allowed to follow them, but had to go home.
Ida writhes in pain. Doctors initially thought she had an advanced urinary tract infection.
But it’s also clear that you routinely do a pregnancy test on women with severe abdominal pain. I couldn’t believe my ears when the nurse told me I was pregnant, she says.
Stomach cramps were painful
Thousands of thoughts flew into her head when she received the message. She had no idea how far she was going.
A vaginal ultrasound was done, but the midwife couldn’t see anything, because something was thought to be a cyst. A new ultrasound was done, and it turned out that Ida was about to give birth. What they thought was a cyst was actually the baby’s head!
– What I thought were stomach cramps, it was the wind. Ida says, the water must have gone without me noticing anything.
The doctor told Ida that she had to call Lars to tell him he was about to become a father. They both laugh well when they point out the slightly silly phone call.
– You have to go back to the hospital, said Ida, because it is clear that we will have children.
– What or what? right Now? He answered in astonishment.
– Yes now!
Completely confused, Lars got into the car and drove back to the hospital.
– I didn’t know what to believe. It was empty in my head. I had a hard time accepting that Ida was about to give birth.
– I felt a little strange
Stella was born by caesarean section at 2:54 pm on the night of Monday, September 7th. A well-built girl weighs 4390 grams and is 53 centimeters tall. When Ida became hooked, it was hard to understand that she had already become a mother. A few hours later, she saw her daughter for the first time.
– I was wheeled to the neonatal ward at six in the morning, and I was able to see my daughter for the first time. It felt unreal. She was lying in an incubator with a lot of snakes attached to her body.
Ida never forgets the feeling when she had to put her daughter on her chest. Three days later, they had to move to their own room in the hospital.
– I felt a little strange as if he was not our child. Some of that feeling was still there when we picked her up from the hospital a week later and went home. It was as if we had kidnapped someone else’s child.
Deprived of time during pregnancy. Ida believes that the feeling came from the fact that she had not had the opportunity to prepare to become a mother.
– I feel deprived of the feeling of being pregnant and of the opportunity to prepare for the fact that I will become a mother, at least mentally. At the same time, I stopped worrying that something was going wrong, or that I might have a miscarriage.
What will the child be called?
– We think Stella was a cool name. She took care of her for us when she arrived, Ida smiles and gives her daughter a rattle.
Stella has also arranged it so that Ida and Lars have to look for a bigger apartment in no time. But they do it with joy.
– When we did not expect it, there were grants in the family. Amazing thing!
It happens more often than you think
It’s rare for a woman to go into labor without finding out she’s pregnant, but it happens more often than one would think.
Very little research has been done in this area, but results from abroad suggest this applies somewhere between 1 in 7,500 and 1 in 1,420 births. Based on Norwegian birth rates, this means that every year between 7 and 37 Norwegian women discover they are pregnant only when they have contractions or when they give birth.
Eileen Blix, professor of midwifery at Oslo Metropolitan University, says there are many reasons why women may not realize they are very pregnant.
Some people suffer from irregular periods and do not respond to the cessation of bleeding for a longer period. Others may have bleeding that they see as menstruation. In a general comment on the See and Hear website, she says that some do not show the usual symptoms of pregnancy such as fatigue and nausea.
Not everyone puts in that much effort during pregnancy, and if you’re also overweight, it may contribute to your not finding out you’re pregnant. She adds that some women may have mental or social problems that make them quit being pregnant.
The little research that exists suggests that women who do not detect pregnancy before giving birth, are not a standardized group. Most of them are normal women, and in the case of Ida and Lars, we can be happy that they fulfilled their desire to have children, and that they got a big, beautiful, well-built girl!