An Ohio high school cheerleading coach got the surprise of her life one day in December 2016 when she woke up feeling normal and then became a mother hours later.
In an essay to Love What Matters, 23-year-old Cleveland resident Ally Opfer shared her story of becoming a mother, which she didn’t realize would happen until 30 minutes before she gave birth.
On Dec. 21, 2016, a couple hours after waking up, Opfer started to feel some mild cramping, but she just “brushed it off as nothing,” she wrote. The cramps gradually became more painful, and she started bleeding as well, but she went about her day.
Opfer had a busy day of coaching that day, so she couldn’t let a bit of discomfort get in her way, she said. Five hours later, she went home and attempted to go to sleep with the aid of a heating pad and some ibuprofen.
Even though she was still in pain the next day, she helped her father move a couch from the family’s basement to their upstairs living room, “ignoring what turned out to be some serious contractions,” she said.
“My mom made me dinner and I stood in the kitchen crying and screaming between eat bite I took when a ‘cramp’ would hit,” she said. “We decided I’d take a pregnancy test just to be sure, and it came back negative.”
Opfer experienced passing “cramps” for the next few hours.
“Then another ‘cramp’ hit. I looked at my mom and said, ‘We need to go. Something is seriously wrong here,’ until the cramp was over, and I then I was fine and said we didn’t need to go,” she said, adding that she didn’t “know what was happening.”
After a terrible car ride to the hospital, Opfer made a dramatic entrance into the emergency room, screaming at the counter as she “desperately” tried to write her name on the sign-in sheet.
“The lady at the check in desk asked me what my symptoms were as I was trying my very best to not scream as loud as I could,” she said.
Sensing something serious was going on, hospital staff took Opfer into examination right away.
“They probably had seen plenty of women in labor and knew what was really going on with me,” she said. “Obviously, I did not.”
After some tests, nurses and doctors told Opfer that her white blood count was high, meaning that she had some sort of infection, and hypothesized that she was experiencing the passing of kidney stones.
An ultrasound revealed something different.
But as Opfer lay in her hospital bed, awaiting the doctor to tell her what was wrong, she assumed that mass in her abdomen was cancer and that she was dying.
“Then, all of a sudden, not only did my doctor come flying in the room, but so did literally 10 other people who I had yet to see that night,” she said. “As all these doctors and nurses filled my room, I was preparing myself for the worst news possible, that I was dying.”
The doctor then told her she was 38 weeks pregnant, 10 centimeters dilated and in the middle of “full-blown labor.”
Not only did Opfer not know she was in her third trimester of pregnancy, she didn’t even show. A photo taken on the day she coached cheerleading for five hours while experiencing labor pains shows no sign of a baby bump.
As she awaited the delivery of her first child, the soon-to-be mother hadn’t come to terms with the fact that a baby was on the way.
“The whole time, I was just laying there on the OR table in denial,” she said. “There’s no way I was actually pregnant. It just couldn’t be real.”
At 3:31 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2016, Oliver David Opfer, whom his mother described as an “unexpected, magical gift,” was born.
“He’s the most amazing Christmas gift I could ever receive,” she wrote.
But the story doesn’t end there. Opfer had zero time to prepare and needed everything from a car seat, diapers, clothes, and the rest of the essentials – on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day, baby Oliver made his debut to the social media world.
“The overwhelming response of love and support meant the world to me and still does,” she said. “So many people reached out to me and offered to get Oliver and I all the baby stuff we’d need as we had nothing. I’ll forever be thankful for everything everyone has done for us.”
More than a year later, Opfer described her son as the “happiest little guy” and thanked her loved ones for their support through the unexpected journey.
(H/T: Love What Matters)