- Gemma Armstrong, 19 went to the toilet believing she had food poisoning
- She was shocked to find she started to give birth on the bathroom floor
- The baby, Orla Degan, was delivered by her partner’s mother and his sister
- Miss Armstrong had no idea she was expecting and showed no signs
- Had no bump and even wore a bikini on the beach in Malta a month earlier
- While pregnant she went on rides at Alton Towers and flew overseas
- Orla Degan was born weighing 7lb 9oz on November 19
- ‘Best and most surprising case of food poisoning,’ Miss Armstrong said
Struck by an overwhelming sense of nausea, Gemma Armstrong thought she was suffering a bout of food poisoning.
Returning from work last Monday the 19-year-old made a dash for the bathroom.
But rather than a nasty case of gastroenteritis, the teenager was shocked to be in the early stages of labour.
Miss Armstrong, from Alness, Ross-Shire, Scotland, had no idea she was pregnant.
She developed no tell-tale bump and just a month before giving birth to her surprise daughter Orla, the teenager had worn a bikini on a beach holiday in Malta – where partner Daniel Degan works.
Gemma Armstrong gave birth on the bathroom floor – after having no idea she was pregnant and believing she was suffering from food poisoning. Here, she is pictured with daugher Orla Degan
With her partner Daniel Degan abroad, Miss Armstrong turned to his mother Katrina and sister Eilidh.
The pair delivered their granddaughter and niece on the bathroom floor of their Alness home.
Miss Armstrong said: ‘I had absolutely no idea.
‘I made Sunday dinner the night before and was up all night with sickness and thought I had given myself food poisoning.
‘I went to work on Monday morning, came back at 5pm, went to the toilet and that is when my partner’s mother realised that I was having a baby and she delivered her on the bathroom floor with the help of my partner’s sister.’
Mr Degan flew home immediately after receiving a call to say he had become a father.
HOW WOMEN CAN BE PREGNANT WITHOUT REALISING IT
Ms Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives said although Miss Armstrong’s situation is uncommon, it is not unusual.
She said: ‘Some women just don’t know they are pregnant
‘One lady was serving in Afghanistan and didn’t realise she was pregnant, and we had to send services out there.
‘It might happen for a variety of reasons. It’s different for any women.
‘There are some women with good abdominal muscles and fat and the baby lies flat against the back so they don’t have a bump.
‘Some women won’t have the normal pregnancy symptoms.
‘Some women feel the baby moving inside them, but some don’t.
‘A lot of the symptoms of pregnancy are ‘everyday’ symptoms. So they might not know that having wind is a sign of pregnancy. Especially if they’ve never had a baby.’
‘Not all women are body-conscious. It depends on what’s going on in their life.’
In these cases, the midwife has an important role in supporting the new family, as adjusting to being a parents can be a shock.
She said: ‘The women themselves are totally shocked when it happens to them.
‘A lot of talking and reassurance by the midwife is needed.
‘They need to say the occurrence is unusual but the woman herself is not abnormal.
‘That woman is going to need a lot of help and support adjusting to being a parent.
‘Women with unplanned pregnancies get very upset, so imagine one day you have a normal life and the next you are a parent.
‘The midwife would give that woman a lot more care, watching for signs of post-natal depression or even post-natal unhappiness.’
Miss Armstrong described the two-hour labour as a ‘real family effort’.
Ms Degan helped her throughout, and his sister cut the umbilical cord.
A paramedic team arrived at the Degan’s home for ‘the last little push’, but as far as Miss Armstrong is concerned, Ms Degan was her chief midwife.
Orla, who weighed 7lbs 9oz, was perfectly healthy when she was born. Mother and baby were taken to hospital for a check-up and spent two nights on the maternity ward while experts monitored their progress.
‘The paramedics took us in because it was such a shock for everyone,’ Miss Armstrong said.
‘I did everything you’re not supposed to do when you’re pregnant,’ she explained
Two months before giving birth she enjoyed a trip to Alton Towers Theme Park and flew on holiday just a month before her daughter’s arrival.
‘I had no big bump, I was in a bikini on the beach in Malta a month ago,’ she said.
Although still in shock, Miss Armstrong and partner Mr Degan, 24, have fallen in love with their first child, who they call their ‘little surprise’.
She described her baby as ‘perfect’, adding she just sleeps and eats and only wakes twice in the night.
‘I just sit and stare at her, everyone is so delighted,’ she said.
Miss Armstrong announced the birth of her daughter on her Facebook page as the ‘best and most surprising case of food poisoning in the world. Not the toilet trip I expected’.
Mr Degan had planned to come home from Malta early as a surprise on November 19.
But Miss Armstrong said she got her surprise in first with the arrival of Orla on November 17.
They have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family, they said.
‘She is a little celebrity,’ Miss Armstrong said. ‘Everybody seems to know about Orla and everybody has been so good to us, it’s amazing.
‘We had nothing for a baby as people usually have nine months to prepare and we didn’t even have nine hours, but now we have everything as we have had so many presents.’
Miss Armstrong was lucky enough not to worry about telling her work colleagues that she had to take last-minute maternity leave as her father is the boss of the company.
‘I’m so lucky as I probably would’ve got my P45 anywhere else,’ she quipped.
Miss Armstrong announced the birth of her daughter on her Facebook page as the ‘best and most surprising case of food poisoning in the world’. Here she is pictured, right, with baby Orla, centre her partner Daniel Degan, 24, also centre, and her partner’s mother Katrina Degan, who delivered the baby