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Interview with Tina O'Brien: 'Getting to hospital was a comedy of errors'

Actress Tina O’Brien is used to drama, and thanks to her partner Adam there was plenty of it in her second labour…

Soap star Tina O’Brien, 31, is about to return to Coronation Street 16 years after she first appeared as fresh-faced teen Sarah Louise Platt.

Since leaving the show in 2007 she has appeared in hit dramas Call The Midwife and Waterloo Road. But the role that has kept her busiest is as mum to Scarlett, six, and 3-month-old Beau, the son she had in October 2014 with her partner, fitness trainer Adam Crofts. The pair met in 2010 when Scarlett [her daughter with former Corrie co-star Ryan Thomas] chatted to him in a coffee shop. As Tina tells M&B, Adam turned Beau’s birth into a comedy…

Was Adam nervous about becoming a dad?

It’s something he really wanted and something he was ready for, even though I fell pregnant so quickly after making the decision. He did worry if he was going to be any good at fatherhood and that he’d panic if he didn’t intuitively know something. When I told him about sterilising bottles he said: ‘How do I do that?’ But he soon realised nobody knows how to do these things until they’ve done them once. 

“After all the horror stories he’d heard from friends, he thought I’d be a lot more hormonal during my pregnancy”

How did he cope during your pregnancy?

He was fantastic. There were times when I was a bit irrational and he was really calm and affectionate, and just gave me a big hug. After all the horror stories he’d heard from friends, he thought I’d be a lot more hormonal during my pregnancy. But I knew what to expect so I was a lot kinder to myself than when I was pregnant with Scarlett. 

What happened when you went into labour?

I knew I was going to have a fast labour as Scarlett arrived quickly and second labours can be faster, so my main concern was getting to the hospital on time. I’d been having Braxton Hicks for a few days and I was 11 days overdue. I was uncomfortable and heavy, having put on three stone. My waters broke with a little trickle around 1.30am. 

How did Adam react?

He was in such a daze and panic. It was very funny. We had to wait for my mum to arrive to take care of Scarlett and I had a contraction as I was walking towards the car. Adam had rushed off ahead of me to get the car ready and he started to drive off. I was like: ‘Hold on, I think you’ve forgotten something!’

“He came flying off at the wrong junction and took me to the wrong place – it certainly wasn’t a hospital!”

Did his reaction make you panic? 

No. He’s a really laid-back chilled guy so seeing him in such a state kept my mind off things. It didn’t help that he got lost on the way to Wythenshawe hospital. He was trying his best to get there as quickly as possible while keeping an eye on me. He came flying off at the wrong junction and took me to the wrong place – it certainly wasn’t a hospital!

Did he calm down when you arrived on the ward?

No, the comedy kept on coming! He was so flustered by the time we got there that he rushed ahead to the maternity ward and forgot me while I was having a big contraction. When I did get booked into a room, it didn’t get any better. He kept knocking things over and banging into pieces of equipment. The midwife actually had to calm him down! 

‘I don’t suppose you’ve got two paracetemol, have you? I’ve got a banging headache’

Was the labour itself free of drama? 

I wanted everything very low key in the birthing centre. I had the lights kept low. I didn’t want any pain relief because I wanted to focus on what my body was going through. There was a birthing pool that I used. I can’t recommend it enough. The staff were brilliant. But I had literally just given birth to Beau when Adam turned to the midwife and said, ‘I don’t suppose you’ve got two paracetemol, have you? I’ve got a banging headache.’ I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me! I couldn’t stop laughing!

And how’s Beau been since you got him home?

He’s been smashing, he’s very laid back like Adam. Scarlett wasn’t a great sleeper those first few months. But, touch wood, Beau has been great. He had a few weeks of colic, but if I put him down at 7pm, he wakes once for a feed at 1.30am, and then another at 5.30am, before getting up at 7.30am, so I really can’t complain!

Does Adam help during the night?

Initially I was breastfeeding, but now we’re supplementing with formula so he can help. I’ll take charge during the week, as Adam works long hours. At the weekends he takes over. He’s really good at recognising when I’m tired and sends me off for a rest.

How do you make the most of your family time together?

We love going on trips to the nearby lake. Scarlett and Adam build fires and explore while I sit with Beau in our tent. As much as I love me-time, I’m happiest doing simple things with the kids. 

Has Adam given you a fitness plan to help lose the baby weight?

I’m in no rush to lose it. It’s starting to come off naturally and I’m paying attention to what I eat. He’ll devise a simple exercise plan for me to get back in shape for when I return to Corrie.

Tina is supporting Pears Soap’s Golden Moments campaign that ‘we time’ not ‘me time’ makes mums happiest. 

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Beau

Beau has a relaxed personality like his dad
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Doting Dad Adam with Beau

Adam takes over at weekends
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Scarlett and Beau

Scarlett loves her baby brother
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Adam with Scarlett

Adam and Scarlett enjoy building campfires together
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Tina, proud of her bump

Tina knew she would have a quick birth as Scarlett arrived quickly
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Tina as Sarah Louise in Corrie

Tina left Coronation Street in 2007 – she’s returning this spring [Photo: ITV]

 
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