One Born Every Minute
Forty cameras inside a bustling maternity hospital observe the dramatic and often funny moments that happen when new life comes into this world.
S01:E01 - Tracy & Lisa
Tracy is 37 years old and is in labour with her fourth child. Accompanied by her husband Steve – who is in a jovial mood – and her middle son Liam, who’s 18, Tract is calm and upbeat about her labour until the heart rate of her baby slows and the midwife need to deliver her baby quickly. Suddenly the humour of the situation is gone, Tracy is exhausted and a much more serious Steve becomes the labour coach as the midwife races to get the baby out. As the staff cope with an increasingly busy shirt, 22-year-old Lisa is also in labour, with her first child. Despite the calm words of the midwife, Lisa’s nervousness quickly turns to fear when she learns the baby must be delivered by caesarean section. As she is taken into theatre to give birth, Lisa and her partner are told that once their baby is born it will be taken immediately to an incubator. The first few days of its life are going to be critical.
S01:E02 - Sam & Joy
Sam is in labour with her first child and is finding the pain too much to bear. Her boyfriend Ed, mum and the midwife team are doing everything they can to make her more comfortable, but she becomes increasingly upset. Ed is feeling the pressure too: he knows he has some real responsibilities to face once the baby is born and is worried about their finances. When the doctor decides that Sam needs a caesarean, Ed’s nerves get the better of him and, although he wants to be with Sam in theatre, he decides her mum will be of more help. Another mum-to-be, Joy is bored as she waits to go into labour. A diabetic she has been induced but has been in hospital for four days and it’s a slow process. She’s hungry, tired and sick of waiting, and her frustration is heightened when her lunch doesn’t arrive on time. The idea of a piece of chocolate cheers her up although her husband Fabio would prefer she had a banana. Conversation turns to their garden, which distracts Joy for a bit, but she is soon feeling frustrated again and starts to wonder whether motherhood really is for her. ‘I love my independence’, she says. Meanwhile, Sister Kay Duggan - one of the midwives - is pondering her career after learning that she delivered Ed many years earlier. ‘There are many moments of pure joy in midwifery and many moments of absolute stress… I find work is the most important part of my life’.
S01:E03 - Sarah & Lisa
Lisa’s baby Jack has been born with his bowel outside his body. The first few days of his life are critical as he faces serious medical procedures. Lisa is forced to cope with waiting weeks before she can take him home, and confesses to feeling jealous of the nurses who are feeding him before she can even hold him. Meanwhile, Sarah is expecting her second child. Midwife Dominique does everything she can to make sure she can have the natural birth she always wanted. Sarah’s first labour was very difficult and she had to have a caesarean. But as she finally goes into labour and the hours start to drag by, Sarah and dad Darren begin to worry that it will be the same as last time, and Darren feels impotent, thinking that no-one’s listening to him and there’s no point in him being there. And 25-year-old Andreia comes in to the hospital for a water birth, with the cameras catching her baby’s breathtaking entrance to the world.
S01:E04 - Kelly & Joy
Kelly comes in to have her fifth baby, while Joy is waiting to have her first. Babies have always come easily for Kelly: her last one was delivered three minutes after her waters broke. Joy, on the other hand, has had to undergo five years of IVF, and after days of waiting in hospital, there’s still no sign of Baby. Joy and her husband Fabio have been together for 20 years since they met at language college, where they were both studying English. Fabio says: “We have achieved a lot in these last 20 years together, but once you have material things they don’t really mean much to you anymore. Without family it loses its meaning.” But, although Joy’s having contractions, she is dilating very slowly, and it doesn’t look like her waters are ready to break naturally. And although Joy wants to have a natural birth, it looks like she’ll eventually have to decide whether to have a caesarean. At least the long wait gives them a chance to try and agree on names for their long-awaited baby… Meanwhile, Kelly has brought her husband Jon, her mum Liz and her sister Lisa into the birthing room with her. Kelly and Lisa’s brother died recently, and Lisa says: “Because the pregnancy was a wonderful distraction it became a focus for the whole family, and probably helped us to work through our emotions.” Midwife Lorraine, who’s new to the hospital, where she’s yet to deliver a baby, is looking after Kelly, who certainly knows what she wants: gas and air, and plenty of it…
S01:E05 - Leoni & Abbie
In this episode, two young mums-to-be come in to the hospital at the end of unexpected pregnancies. And for their mothers it’s time to let go of their daughters. Abbie and Ross are both 17 and have been together for three years. Abbie says: “We were careful, but things happen, and things happen for a reason.” Her mum Donna, an ambulance technician, has delivered 15 babies, but that can’t prepare her for the emotional wrench of her baby having a baby. As Donna says: “She’s not my little girl any more. She’s going to be somebody’s mummy.” Twenty-three-year-old self-confessed free spirit Leoni had only been with her baby’s father for a short time when she fell pregnant. She only wanted to be a mother if she could be there for her child. With the support of her family, she decided to go through with the pregnancy. But Leoni is eight days overdue and her pregnancy isn’t progressing. And the hospital staff are worried about the baby’s heartbeat before Leoni’s even in labour.
S01:E06 - Shelagh & Penny
In this episode, two mothers are about to give birth to their first babies while two fathers are trying to work out their role in the birthing process. For Shelagh’s baby son it is a dramatic start with an ambulance journey to the hospital and a quick turn around caesarean when his heart rate dips during labour. The birth is very poignant for Richard as Shelagh is having another man’s baby, having fallen pregnant during a break in their relationship. It’s not what he had planned for their relationship but he is determined to be the best dad he can be after a career in the army meant he was not always around for his own children. Penny is also excited about her new arrival but when labour starts her husband Ben finds it difficult to see her in so much pain. They have deliberately avoided finding out the sex of the baby and a special moment ensues when the baby arrives. Meanwhile, the midwives on the night shift are reminiscing over the extraordinary and wonderful births they have been part of over the years.
S01:E07 - Neonatal - Emma & Dorit, Charlie & Dan
Episode 7 observes the remarkable and often uplifting situations that occur every day in the neonatal unit. The stories of the babies so premature or poorly they need extra care. One in 10 babies born will spend time being looked after by neonatal staff and sometimes their parents must wait weeks or even months before they find out when they can take their babies home. Dan and Charlie’s twins were born at only 23 weeks, 17 weeks premature. Sadly, Mia didn’t survive but her sister Izzie is a fighter and her first cuddle with Mum Charlie outside of the incubator is an emotional moment. The initial hours after Izzie’s birth were critical and despite a few setbacks, each day she gets stronger. Dan and Charlie are desperate to take her home. William is a triplet – both his brothers are doing well at home – but William has problems with his lungs meaning he needs on-going specialist care. His prognosis is unknown which is very distressing for his Mums Emma and Dorit but they remain astoundingly positive and hopeful about his future. Nobody expects that their baby will need to spend time in the neonatal unit but as neonatal nurse Sister Fiona Lawson says: “Some of the babies we have are pretty close to the edge sometimes ... but more than the sad stories you get the good stories … we have a lot of happy endings”
S01:E08 - Steff, Kerry & Becky
Every mother hopes their birth goes to plan but in this final episode the staff are prepared for the unexpected, whether it’s an emergency, managing a mother’s pain or just a very big baby. Steff, 19, has come into hospital with her boyfriend Matt. She never expected to get pregnant after being diagnosed with cysts on her ovaries but is looking forward to being a mum. During labour, her baby’s heart rate dips dramatically and the doctor decides she needs a category-one emergency caesarean or forceps delivery, which means she needs to go under general anaesthetic. Katrina and John met on the internet and John was only 18 when he found out he was going to be a dad. Katrina is induced early and knows her labour is going to be tough because she’s terrified of needles. But she eventually agrees to an epidural as she starts to find the pain almost too much to bear. Lesbian couple Becky and Annie are having their second child. Annie carried the first one, while Becky is having this one, and both are from the same sperm donor. After a long few days at home in labour, both women are exhausted, so much so that, to Becky’s dismay, Annie keeps falling asleep. The medical staff know the baby is going to be big, and with the pain Becky is in, they decide to broach the idea of an epidural. And the midwives talk about why they love their jobs so much and why helping to bring a new life into the world is one of the most wonderful things one could ever experience.