Real Life

Gym baby – I didn’t know I was pregnant!

Theresa Alova was prepared for a tough gym workout, but giving birth at the end of it was the last thing she could have expected.Believing herself to be infertile, the south Auckland woman dismissed the

Theresa Alova was prepared for a tough gym workout, but giving birth at the end of it was the last thing she could have expected.

Believing herself to be infertile, the south Auckland woman dismissed the severe cramping she experienced at the gym as overdoing it, or a possible case of food poisoning – not that she was going into labour.

After failing to conceive for 14 years, Theresa (31) had grown to accept her infertility – becoming a mother had turned into a distant dream.

“I just assumed at 30 that my time had gone,” she says.

Theresa has been with her current partner for seven years and was also married previously for seven years, and the whole time she’s wanted to have a baby. “I’ve never been on contraception. But throughout both my relationships I’ve never conceived.”

Her doctor told Theresa that her weight, which peaked at 156kg, was preventing her from conceiving, and that slimming down might help.

After Theresa joined Genetics Gym in Manukau at the insistence of her brother, she couldn’t understand why she had stopped losing weight. Little did she know she was already two months pregnant.

“I was 137kg when I started.

I dropped 10kg in my first two weeks. By the third week I was finding it hard to lose weight.

I was keeping to my eating plan and I was in the gym every day, but it just wasn’t working and I was really emotional. I was doing everything by the book, but I wasn’t dropping any more weight and my stomach wasn’t going down.”

Not getting her period didn’t tip her off because she hadn’t menstruated for 18 months.

“I’ve never been regular anyway and I just thought I was getting a little bit older. I wasn’t really worried about it.”

Looking back, Theresa says there were days when she couldn’t do sit-ups properly. on the day she went into labour, Theresa was trying a new machine at the gym to work her abdominal muscles.

“By the time I got home I was in so much pain. It felt like I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me and that I might have overdone it.”

Doubled over with pain that was getting worse, Theresa called an ambulance, and as soon as the paramedics set eyes on her, they suspected she was pregnant. “They kept asking me, ‘Are you sure you’re not pregnant?'”

But a pregnancy test at hospital was negative, so a blood test was ordered, and while Theresa was waiting for

the results, her waters broke. She found herself locked in the bathroom, her condition finally dawning on her.”I was at the point where the baby was ready to come. The nurse came looking for me with the results that I was pregnant.

“By that stage I realised I was pregnant and I was going to have the baby in the toilet on my own. I was hysterically crying and I was in so much pain. The nurse was able to open the door and there were six doctors standing there ready to lift me from the toilet to the bed.

“I was ready to push so I couldn’t make it to the delivery suite and just two pushes and half an hour later, there was a baby. It was all so surreal.”

A short time later, Theresa’s partner arrived at hospital, oblivious to the fact that he was about to greet his new son.

“He was told I was in maternity, but he said, ‘No, she had abdominal pain.’ When he came into the room, our baby was in an incubator.

I said, ‘oeet your son!’ He just broke down,” she says.

The couple named their son – who weighed 2.7kg (6lb Ioz) – Axe after Theresa’s brother, who’s nicknamed Axe and who had urged her to join the gym.

Understandably, Theresa was anxious about her new baby’s health, considering she hadn’t known that she was pregnant.

“I asked the doctor 100 times, ‘Is there anything wrong with him?’ But they assured me he was absolutely healthy.”

Fortunately, Theresa had given up drinking six months earlier as part of her health kick.

“one thing I was doing was smoking. I smoked the whole term not knowing I was affecting someone else,” she says.

Since giving birth, Theresa has lost 24kg and now weighs 112kg. She still pinches herself that her dream came true.

“I’m loving it. I know it’s hard work, but I’m just enjoying every little bit of it,” she says.

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