ST SAVIOUR’S Church almost ended up with a real baby in its manger when Claire Newbrook went into labour at her daughter’s nativity play.
But instead the lucky 32-year-old became the very first mum to give birth in a new state-of-the-art maternity centre in Portsmouth.
With three-year-old Jessica Newbrook still dressed as an angel the family arrived at the new £18.6m St Mary’s Community Healthcare Campus in Milton yesterday morning.
And after four hours Claire, of Tamworth Road, Copnor, gave birth to baby boy James Matthew Newbrook in a ward which only opened the day before.
‘I feel very relieved,’ she said. ‘And the ward was lovely, really nice and friendly.
‘I had been to Queen Alexandra a lot during the pregnancy and I wasn’t really looking forward to giving birth there.
‘It’s just so big and impersonal.
‘The new ward is really clean and convenient for us, we live just across the road. They even gave us a goodie bag for being their first birth!’
Her 29-year-old husband Chris said they were taken by surprise at the Stamshaw church where his daughter’s Little Sunbeams nursery were performing, because James wasn’t due until Sunday.
‘When Claire told me we had to go to the hospital Jessica was just finishing up on stage,’ he said. ‘I grabbed her before the applause and we rushed straight to hospital.
‘She was still covered in tinsel and dressed as an angel but she didn’t mind.’
The new maternity centre offers a range of clinics and support groups, two ensuite birthing rooms and a water birth pool.
Senior midwife Jackie Luckett worked with student Stephen Jones to deliver Claire’s baby and said: ‘It’s wonderful to have our first baby born here.
‘People like coming to a small, modern unit like this; it can be a bit intimidating going to an enormous super hospital like QA.
‘We hope to have around 300 births a year, but we’d love to have even more.’