Leaning over the birthing pool for a closer look, I huffed and puffed.
I was the midwife at a home birth, and the mum-to-be’s waters had just broken.
But weighing 30st, I was more like the elephant in the room.
And I felt more exhausted than the expectant mum.
My legs throbbed under the strain as I edged closer to the water.
‘Any sign of the head yet?’ my colleague asked.
‘No,’ I replied, dabbing the drops of sweat trickling down my forehead.
Panic suddenly filled me, as the plastic sheet covering the carpet slipped from
under my feet. Before I had a chance to stop myself, my legs splayed and I plunged face first into the pool.
‘Aarghhh!’ I shrieked, as my stomach slapped into the water.
‘What the…,’ the woman squealed, as a tidal wave splashed over her head.
I felt water rush out from either side of me. Scrambling onto my feet, I stammered: “I’m so sorry!”
I was a 30st, dripping wet, embarrassment.
Then the baby began to show, just in the nick of time. It was the perfect distraction.
Thankfully, the rest of the birth went smoothly and afterwards, I made a quick
At the follow up the next day, the new mum never mentioned it. I crossed my fingers…thinking all was forgiven and forgotten.
I was wrong. A few weeks later my boss called me into his office.
‘We’ve had a complaint made about you,’ he said.
My stomach churned with embarrassment.
I knew exactly what he was talking about. ‘It was an accident,’ I whispered, sheepishly. I couldn’t look him in the eye.
‘I’m sorry. It won’t happen again,’ I assured him. When my colleagues found out they thought it was hilarious.
‘What’s this?’ I asked, spotting the rubber duck they’d hidden in my bag. Although I tried to laugh it off, I felt mortified.
I knew it was time to shift the pounds.
I was constantly out of breath and my joints ached. Working for the NHS, I really ought to have known better.
How had it come to this? I’d tried dieting before, but I could never stick to it.
After giving birth to my son Dan when I was 22, I dropped from eighteen stones to twelve.
It was the lightest I’d ever been. I managed to stay around that weight until Dan was 4 but as time went by, the pounds crept on.
That was the year I started midwifery. After long shifts, I’d want something quick and easy.
I lived on ready meals I could throw in the microwave and pot noodles.
And that was after snacking on chocolate during my long shifts at work.
Every time I walked past Greggs, the smell of sausage rolls and pasties drew me
in. My worst vice of all was bread. I made my own, and consumed an entire loaf most days.
I rolled slices into balls and shove them into my mouth like Maltesers. Even when I tried to be healthy, I’d eat huge portions.
I was a member of a gym, but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d walk on the treadmill for a few minutes, and have a quick glance over at
It wasn’t long before I gave up all together. Before I knew it I was 30-stone and a size 36.
I convinced myself I didn’t care, but I avoided cameras and mirrors.
I hated going on nights out, as I could never find a nice outfit.
So after my birthing pool horror, I knew this time I had to seek professional
I booked an appointment with my GP, and asked about a gastric bypass.
‘You would benefit from one,’ he agreed. ‘But you’re going to have to prove you
can lose weight on your own first.’
‘I will,’ I promised him.
This time, I was determined.
My friend from work went to Slimming World, so I decided to go along with her.
I also took up swimming, and went every day and within a couple of weeks the pounds began falling off.
It pushed me to keep going.
I found the diet easier to stick to than I imagined.
I was able to eat so many meals I thought would be forbidden. I could have cottage pie, pasta and even a full English breakfast.
All I had to do was change the way I cooked them and in only a year, I’d dropped 9 stone.
I couldn’t believe what I’d achieved. In a twist, the surgery almost didn’t go ahead.
‘Your BMI isn’t high enough any more,’ the surgeon said, during my consultation.
‘But I’ve worked so hard for this,’ I pleaded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Luckily, my dietician had a word with the surgeon.
I had a tense four-week wait, for a confirmation letter for the surgery to go ahead.
As I tore open the envelope, my hands were shaking.
My eyes darted quickly across the page. ‘Yes,’ I cheered, jumping up in delight.
The surgery was to go ahead in two months.
In April 2013, I was wheeled into the operating theatre at the Countess of
Chester hospital, Cheshire. The operation lasted five hours in total.
I spent four days in hospital before I was allowed home, but my recovery didn’t
I had to live off puréed food for three months.
But I struggled to keep anything down and my social life dwindled. I couldn’t go out for dinner, because I couldn’t eat anything on the menu.
Most of the time I felt too sick to leave the house. Slowly, I began to pick up.
My weight-loss journey was a struggle, but it’s been worth it.
Now, I’m 13st 6lb and a size 16, and I feel great. I’ve lost 17st altogether so no wonder I’ve got so much more energy.
When I go on a night out, I can wear clothes I never dreamed of and I no longer have to avoid mirrors.
In fact, I quite like looking in them, although I have to pinch myself.
I can’t believe the woman in the reflections is me.
On 1st October I married my fiancée Heather in New York. When I put on my dress, I felt amazing.
‘You look incredible,’ Heather smiled, as we held hands at the altar. ‘I’m so proud of you.’
‘Thank you,’ I blushed.
Now, I’ve bundles of energy especially when I’m working a 12-hour shift at the
hospital. What’s more, I don’t feel terrified of what might happen when I’m around the
I feel like a new woman.
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