‘I’m shattered,’ I sighed, as I wrapped my dressing gown around me and slumped onto the sofa.
It was finally the Easter holidays so I was at home with my mum Sharon, 47, in Blackpool, Lancashire, on a much needed break from my job as a dinner lady at the local school.
But I’d been struck down with what I thought was a stomach bug.
‘Oh mum I really feel rotten,’ I said, clutching my stomach.
The pain had got a lot worse and the thought of food was making my stomach somersault.
‘Probably best if you just have an early night and you’ll feel right as rain in the morning,’ mum said.
But waking up at 5am the next morning, I knew it was more than a stomach bug.
My eyes were sore, the corners of my mouth were peeling and I couldn’t stop being sick.
‘Let’s get you to A&E,’ mum said popping her head round the bathroom door, woken by the sound of me heaving into the toilet.
Piling me into the car in my dressing gown and slippers, mum sped to Blackpool Victoria Hospital first thing in the morning on April 12th 2018.
By this time I was fading in and out of consciousness, the pain becoming too much for my body to handle.
The lights were flashing above me as I was transferred from a wheelchair to a hospital bed, completely out of it but vaguely aware of the doctors and nurses rushing around me.
My consciousness continued to slip as my worried mum watched on, and before she knew it I was out for the count.
She watched as I was wheeled away to be examined and waited for news on what was wrong with me.
‘Please take good care of her,’ she called after the medics as tears rolled down her cheeks.
She said that time seemed to stop as she waited for an update on my condition, and she was expecting the worst – but she never expected what they came back and told her.
‘Your daughter’s pregnant Mrs Davey,’ the doctor said.
‘What? No you must have the wrong woman,’ she said looking around her.
‘No we mean you, your daughter is Lisa, yes?’ they continued.
‘We don’t believe she knew she was pregnant, and her reaction is due to a rare pregnancy condition called HELLP syndrome.
‘She’s very lucky she was staying with you at the time and you brought her in when you did.’
At first they’d thought it was an abdominal infection, but an ultrasound revealed I was 26 weeks pregnant.
The condition, which causes pregnancy complications due to elevated liver enzymes, had also caused some of my organs to start to fail and my health was rapidly deteriorating.
They discovered I had also contracted sepsis so the surgeons performed an emergency caesarean to save both me and my baby, and unbeknown to me, my daughter was born at 3.23pm on April 12th 2018, weighing a tiny 2lbs 3ozs.
I was still unconscious, but luckily my little girl had survived the trauma on my body.
She was still very weak as she was 14 weeks premature, so doctors insisted on transferring her to the Neonatal Unit at Royal Preston Hospital, Lancashire, where they could care for her properly.
‘We’re sorry to have to separate her from you and your daughter,’ the nurse explained to my mum. ‘But this is her best chance of getting a healthy start in life.’
I remained unconscious – in an induced coma – with mum at my bedside for another day or two, in intensive care and under the watchful eye of worried doctors.
When I woke up, I began to ask questions about what had happened – and not once could I have guessed what had happened in the last 48 hours.
‘You’ve had a baby girl,’ mum smiled, taking my hand.
‘I’ve what?’ I questioned. How was it possible to have a baby without ever being pregnant?
‘Do you remember feeling ill and being rushed to hospital?’ she explained.
‘That was due to a rare condition that occurs in pregnant women, so they had to perform an emergency caesarean, but your little girl is doing great.’
I couldn’t understand how my stomach had been flat as a pancake but secretly I was pregnant.
Along with the help of a nurse, they explained that I had suffered from HELLP syndrome – a rare liver and blood clotting disorder which affects pregnant women.
They explained that my daughter had been rushed to Preston after the emergency caesarean section as they had better facilities to care for her, and although I was happy she was being looked after, the nurse told me I wouldn’t be able to see her yet.
‘I’m afraid you’re just not well enough to travel,’ she sighed as tears flooded my eyes.
It was horrible not being able to meet her straight away, all I wanted was to hold her and give her her first cuddle.
‘We’ll make sure you’re the first to meet her, love,’ my mum said, as the rest of the family promised not to make a visit until I was well enough to.
The days were endless as I willed myself to get better, unable to think of anything but my little girl all alone in an incubator 17 miles away.
My mum was with me whenever she could be which helped, but I found it hard to speak of anything other than how much I wanted to meet my precious baby.
Another huge support was my nurse Danielle, 33.
She would spend huge periods of the day chatting to me about life to take my mind off everything, and would even pop up to see me when I wasn’t scheduled on her shift.
‘I just want to make sure you’re having a good afternoon and that you feel a little better every day,’ she said when I thanked her for coming to see me.
Considering how busy nurses are, I was astonished that someone could have that level of compassion and dedication to their job when they were working so hard.
Danielle became a friend as well as a nurse while I was in hospital, chatting to mum and me about work and life in general.
I told her how I’d been working two jobs without knowing I was pregnant – one in the kitchen at the local school, cooking and serving food to the kids, and another doing shifts in the café at Morrison’s to earn some extra money.
It meant I was working up to 80 hours a week, lifting boxes, constantly on my feet and all while I had a baby growing inside me.
Looking back I remembered feeling tired all the time, but just passed it off as the amount of work I was doing.
We also chatted about my little girl’s dad, who was just as surprised as I was when I told him but didn’t want to be involved.
It wasn’t until a week later that I was well enough to make the journey from Blackpool to Preston to meet her for the first time.
I’d been thinking of names in my head but didn’t want to tell anyone until I’d met her – but I was pretty sure I knew the perfect name for my surprise baby.
Walking towards her incubator, I couldn’t see for the tears that clouded my vision.
‘Here she is,’ the nurse said, as I was lead to a little girl, wrapped in pink – I couldn’t get over how tiny she was.
‘Hi, little one,’ I smiled as I reached through the incubator sides. ‘I’m sorry it’s taken me a week to see you, but I’m your Mummy.’
I named her Danielle after my wonderful nurse – I couldn’t think of a more appropriate name or someone more fitting to name her after.
When I told my nurse Danielle she broke into tears and gave me the biggest hug.
‘What an honour,’ she smiled. ‘This is definitely the highlight of my career.’
It was a few weeks until I was allowed to take her home, but that feeling was the best feeling ever.
Although I hadn’t planned to have a baby, I realised my life had been missing something without one.
In October 2018, little Danielle and I moved out of mum’s house and into our own flat just the two of us.
Our little family was definitely a surprise but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can’t wait to see little Danielle grow up, and if she’s anything like her name-sake, I know she’s going to make me a very proud mum indeed.