Julie Kelly, 38, a contact centre trainer, lives in Corby with her partner James, and daughters Lexi, seven, and Rosie, 10 months.
Finding out last year that I was expecting a baby with my childhood sweetheart was the best feeling ever. James was my first boyfriend back when I was 14. We even spent Christmas together at my mum’s house. But it wasn’t surprising when we split up, as we were so young.
We lost touch over the years. I got married, moved away and had a baby, Lexi, now seven. It didn’t work out, and Lexi and I moved back to Corby. That’s when I met James again. He was in touch with some of my friends on Facebook, so I messaged him, and we met up, only to fall in love all over again. It was wonderful and we had a lovely Christmas back together in 2013.
The next year we moved in together. It was great being a family. We wanted a child, but we weren’t sure it was possible. I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which makes it very difficult to conceive.
But just a few months later, I was pregnant. I could hardly believe it. The baby was due on 10 January. James, Lexi and I could have a proper Christmas in our own home, before the baby arrived. Or so I thought.
>> “I HAD A CHRISTMAS BABY AND WAS BACK IN TIME TO OPEN PRESENTS!”
I did my Christmas shopping well in advance. We put up the decorations and the presents went under the tree early. On 23 December, I realised my waters were leaking. I called the hospital. ‘Come straight in and bring your bag,’ said the midwife. Suddenly, I felt concerned. The midwives didn’t want to take any chances and said I wouldn’t be leaving hospital without my baby.
I was having an internal examination when carol singers arrived on the ward
On Christmas Eve, I was having an internal examination when carol singers arrived on the ward, and belted out Silent Night from behind the curtain. It was so funny and completely took my mind off the discomfort. James and my mum also helped distract me from the pain by chatting and pacing the corridor with me. It hurt, but I felt in control.
The cheeky Santa said I was so noisy I sounded like one of his reindeer
As the clock passed midnight, and Christmas Day arrived, a male midwife dressed as Santa entered the room to say hello. My contractions were thick and fast, but I had to laugh. Santa gave me a present, which James unwrapped while I puffed on gas and air. It was an adorable tiny woollen hat. We’ve kept it for our memory box. The cheeky Santa said I was so noisy I sounded like one of his reindeer. That also made me laugh too, but it didn’t last long. Minutes later, I felt a burning sensation. ‘The head’s coming out!’ I shouted to James. He rushed over, and looked between my legs. His face was priceless.
>> READ MORE REAL BIRTH STORIES
With just a few strong pushes, I felt a massive pressure and the baby’s head came out. At 1.20am I pushed again, and Rosie slid out into the midwife’s hands. She was placed straight on my chest for a cuddle, and James burst into tears.
By 9am on Christmas Day, James, Rosie and I were able to go home. We had planned to go to James’ aunt for lunch, but decided we really needed to be at home. My mum cooked extra, and sent my dad round with plates covered with tin foil, so me, James and our two beautiful girls could eat together as a family.
It felt absolutely brilliant to be having Christmas lunch at home so soon after having our baby.