Festive babies make Christmas extra special for Wiltshire families

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Chantelle Chapman with Kai Chapman, and Carl Holt with new arrival Lily-Anne Holt Chantelle Chapman with Kai Chapman, and Carl Holt with new arrival Lily-Anne Holt

This year’s Christmas Day was extra special for Chantelle Chapman, 21, of Neeld Crescent, Chippenham, who gave birth to her second child Lilly-Anne at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

Miss Chapman and her partner Carl Holt, a lorry loader for Wiltshire Council, took Lilly-Anne home to meet the family shortly after her arrival at 3.29am on Christmas morning.

She weighed 71b 9oz at birth and arrived ten days after the original due date.

Miss Chapman said: “She was due on December 15 but she held on until December 25. The way I see it she was hanging on because she wanted to be a Christmas baby.

“I had her at 3.29am and I was out by 7am - it was a bit of a rush. When I got home and I looked at everything I thought ‘it’s Christmas’. It didn’t seem real until I got home.

“I got back for my Christmas dinner so that was good. I said to my partner ‘if I go in on Christmas day you had better bring my Christmas dinner in’, so he came back and cooked the dinner.

“Everyone was taking their dinner slowly, but I had to have two platefuls because I was so hungry. It’s been the best Christmas ever.”

Lilly-Anne’s arrival was also special for her 18-month-old brother Kai, who spent Christmas getting to know his new sister and unwrapping his Christmas presents.

Miss Chapman said: “He was a bit wary of the little one being around at first.

“As soon as I got back I sat down with him and I spoke to him. He’s done really well and he’s got used to going up to her and touching her.”

And Peter and Stephanie Gillingham had a Christmas to remember when their second child, Lucas, arrived on Christmas Day.

Lucas was due on December 29 but Mrs Gillingham attended the Royal United Hospital, Bath, on December 23 where her waters were broken.

On Christmas Day, after letting their other son, 20-month-old George, open his presents and taking him to his grandparents, the couple went back to the RUH for Mrs Gillingham to be induced.

The couple were served a turkey lunch in hospital and Lucas arrived at 4.55pm, weighing 7lb 3oz.

Mrs Gillingham and Lucas returned home to Westbrook, near Bromham, on Boxing Day and had their family Christmas celebration with a turkey dinner on December 27.

Mrs Gillingham, 39, who is head of talent and development at phone network EE, said: “We were going to be spending the day with my husband’s parents in Chippenham, but Lucas decided he was going to come early.”

Lucas follows George in being born on a significant date, as George was born on Easter Monday in 2012.

Mr Gillingham, 40, an electrical engineer, has family members with birthdays close to Christmas Day and, as a Star Wars fan, was delighted when his wife suggested the name Lucas, which means both sons share the name of the Star Wars films director.

Meanwhile, Great Western Hospital was also busy helping new families make it a Christmas to remember.

On Christmas day a total of six new babies were born, five boys and one girl. It was a quieter day than normal for the midwives but extra special for the families involved.

The first baby to arrive at the GWH on the 25th was Alice Heyman, weighing 8lbs 10oz at 4.17am.

“It’s the best present we could have got and we’re both so happy,” said mum Philippa, 34, of Marlborough, alongside proud dad David, 33, for whom Alice was their first child.

“She was due on December 18 so it was a bit of waiting game but it’s made Christmas. I think Christmas is going to be extra special from now on, especially next year.”

Although for the midwives on duty it is another working day, every effort is made to make the mums and families on the ward feel as festive as possible.

Each new family is given a gift of a blanket, knitted by volunteers, and visiting hours are eased to allow excited families to meet the new member.

Ursula O’Dowd, a midwifery sister, said: “I think there is always a bit of a special atmosphere on the ward on Christmas Day.

“We try to make it as festive as possible for the nurses as well. Everyone bought in something and one of the consultants is from Egypt and his wife made a big lamb dish for everyone.

“It’s a special day anyway when a new baby is born but I think it means something extra when it is at Christmas.”

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