Last Night’s TV – One Born Every Minute

by Lynn Connolly

The miracle of birth is, let’s face it, ugly. There’s goo, there’s pain, and for one long-suffering mum, Tracy, there was a toolend of a husband to put up with as well.

This new Channel 4 series follows the goings on on a labour ward – and no, it’s not where Tony Blair went to recover from being ousted – and the less than magical process of birthing.

That the babies are beautiful there’s no question, but as miracles and beauty go, the acquisition of them is a rough road. And as I mentioned, for Tracy, there was policeman/comedian husband Steve to contend with.

We heard how, after four children, one vasectomy, one polyp and one round of IVF, Tracy and Steve were expecting baby boy Finlay. We watched as Tracy’s contractions revved up to that point where you just want to die…

Mums everywhere will have recognised it and probably winced in horror at those long, long times when the pain is so intense, you can’t think of anything else and panic sets in.

And Steve decided that while Tracy was in agony, it might be a bit of a lark to ‘stroke’ her back with an inflated surgical glove, try to lock her in the loo when she needed to make a rapid exit to get to her gas and air, and generally laugh his cods off every time she made a sound.

Had I been Tracy, Steve would have been most definitely unable to ever have another child after his ‘antics’.

But things began to get frighteningly serious – even for Stand Up Steve – when the baby became distressed and the midwife had to bully Tracy into pushing ever harder to deliver the baby.

It was horribly tense and I was on the edge of my seat until little Finlay finally put in an appearance and bawled.

A similarly tense moment came for young first time mum Lisa whose baby had been diagnosed as having a relatively rare condition in which his bowel had grown outside his body rather than being safely enclosed within.

The decision was made to give Lisa a caesarian section and while she anxiously awaited it – with her apparently mute partner – we saw footage of Lisa running down the list of new-parent worries. How familiar it was to hear her worrying about her unborn son, right from his birth to who’ll take care of him in his dotage. It was genuinely touching.

Similarly, the moment that Lisa’s baby took his first lungful of air and cried and his mum did likewise, I was moved to shed a tear myself. But I felt desperately sorry for Lisa because of course her son had to be taken away to a SCBU and she wasn’t able to see him for six hours. And no amount of pleading, getting angry or insisting would compel any of the staff to take her to see him. She must’ve physically ached for him.

And I’m sure if she could’ve she’d have just gone anyway, but as she’d had an epidural, she was numb from the waist down, and people may have noticed her dragging herself along floors…

This was a truly fascinating programme and I’m hooked already. I can’t wait to see next week’s offering!

What did you think of it?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.