Woman who was told six times by doctors that her swollen tummy and missed periods were due to a car crash was PREGNANT
Medics said Gemma Cleghorn's periods had stopped because of the trauma from crash'I kept thinking it was a dream. How could this baby be mine'
11:25 GMT, 16 July 2012
Unexpected arrival: Gemma with her partner David Phillips and their surprise son Alexander
A woman who was told her aches and pains were due to injuries from a car crash was astonished when she gave birth to a baby.
Gemma Cleghorn, 25, said she had no idea she was pregnant until she was rushed to hospital with suspected internal bleeding five months after a motorway prang – only to be told she was actually in labour.
The former NVQ assessor visited doctors six times after the accident, complaining of a bad back and swollen stomach. However, each time the medics put her symptoms down to the bump she had on a slip-road.
Now weeks after giving birth Gemma still can’t believe she’s a mother.
She said: 'Every time I went to see my GP they put my symptoms down the crash. Even when my periods stopped they said it had been caused by the stress and trauma of the crash.
'I was terrified I would die of internal bleeding when I was rushed to hospital so at first I was relieved when they said I was actually pregnant. Then they said I was in labour and it hit me that I was about to give birth to a baby.
'I went into shock again. My partner just went white. We couldn’t believe it was happening, especially given the amount of time I’d spent in the GPs surgery.'
Her partner, Dave, 25, said: 'Earlier that night Gemma had posted a status on Facebook complaining of a stomach ache. I had to go and tell everybody why. At first they didn’t believe me at first.'
Hours later their son was born and they called the 7lb 3oz baby boy Alexander.
Gemma said: 'It's a miracle he survived the accident and then went unnoticed by all those doctors so many times. I was worried about all the drugs I had taken. But he’s perfect and I love being a mum.
'I always wanted a baby one day but I never thought it would happen like this.'
Gemma, from Sunderland, was on her way to work in January this year when she tried to get on the motorway but with no gaps in the traffic came to a halt on the slip road.
Her vehicle was struck from behind by another car at 70 miles per hour and her car was a write off.
She said: 'The police and an ambulance came but it wasn’t until the next day when I woke in agony that I realised I’d even been hurt.'
Daddy's boy: David with his son shortly after the birth
Gemma was diagnosed with bruising and whiplash. But despite being prescribed painkillers, as the weeks passed, her injuries seemed to get worse rather than better.
She said: 'I went back to work two weeks later. The bruising had started to fade but my back was aching and I couldn’t stand for long.'
The damaged car after the accident
Gemma went back to her GP and was prescribed painkillers for discomfort associated with whiplash.
But over the next few weeks she visited several more times complaining of more backache and irregular periods.
'They said that was also due to the crash because stress and trauma can stop your cycle. It made sense so I didn’t question it,' she said.
Gemma was also putting on weight but put that down to being unable to exercise due to her injuries.
'My weight has always fluctuated and again it made sense because I hadn’t been very active since the crash.'
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Nice to meet you: Gemma went to the doctors six times but her pregnancy wasn't noticed
Then on 23rd May this year Gemma, who had started a new job as nursery nurse, got a stomach ache at work. Soon after what she thought was her period started.
'I was pleased it was a sign of things getting back to normal,' she said.
But back at home the cramps got worse and at 3am her worried student boyfriend called an ambulance.
'I told them about the crash and the pain I had been in ever since. Their immediate concern was internal bleeding. I was terrified. I thought I might die the pain was that bad.'
She was rushed to hospital where an A&E doctor examined her stomach and ordered scan that revealed she was in fact pregnant.
'It was like it was happening to someone else. Things like that don’t happen in real life.'
But before the astonished couple had time for the news to sink in, doctors dropped the bombshell that not only was Gemma pregnant – but she was full term and needed to push.
'I looked at Dave and could see he was struggling to take it in too. I told him to call my mum and they wheeled me straight to the maternity ward to give birth.’
Their son was born two hours later at 6.23 am that morning.
David, pictured with Gemma before her pregnancy, said friends and family didn't believe them at first after they announced the birth of their son
Gemma with her son Alexander. Doctors told her that an earlier car crash was responsible for her pregnancy pains
She said: 'When I held him I kept thinking it was a dream. How could this baby be mine
'Thank God after all he'd been through he was perfect and we can’t believe how lucky we are to have him.
'And as soon as I gave birth all the crash ‘symptoms’ stopped straight away.
'I think if they had examined me more thouroughly they would have found out I was pregnant and I would have worked it out had they not kept telling me everything was due to the crash.'
She added: 'I was on the pill. The last thing in the world I expected was a baby.
'But I’m just lucky that were both well and so proud to be a mummy.’