Published on: 15 October 2021

Meet Tommy – the baby delivered after his parents rushed back from a wedding on the other side of the country so he could be born with the help of his home town maternity team.

Alex Payton, 33, walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid at her brother Bret’s ceremony on Sunday, with her waters breaking shortly after as she got up the next morning.

Her partner Mark Robson, 32, and her mum Diane Legg quickly packed up their things at the Belsfield Hotel in Windermere and the couple headed straight to South Tyneside District Hospital’s Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre, with Alex in full labour by the time she walked through its doors.

Alex, a practice manager at a dental surgery, had received all her appointments and checks through the unit’s Continuity of Care Team, which provides mums-to-be appointments with the same midwives throughout their pregnancy. She was determined to have local midwives by her side as they welcomed their boy into the world.

Tommy, their first child, was born at 4.37pm weighing 7lb 13.5 ounces just the day before his due date and the couple are now at home in South Shields, while Bret and wife Cassie, nee Moyse, both 31, are due to jet off on their honeymoon.

Alex and Mark were supported through their pregnancy by midwife Stacey McFarlane, while unit manager Jacqui Ramshaw worked alongside midwife Janette Tisseman to help deliver Tommy.

He became baby number 448 to be born in the unit following its opening in August 2019.

Alex, who had her hospital bag packed in the car, said: “Bret’s my only brother and we’re really close.

 “I was bridesmaid and had been hoping Tommy was going to be here early, but I think it was the dancing that did it in the end.

“I was fine after the wedding and went to bed and woke at 9am, went to the toilet and then five minutes later, my waters broke, but I wasn’t in any pain.

“Mark and my mam started packing everything up and we got ready to go.

“I felt OK on the way, but was thinking because I was having our first, I didn’t know what it was going to feel like or when I would need to start pushing.

“I had my phone in my hand on the way, looking for the nearest hospital, but I really wanted to come back to South Shields.

“I was just trying to keep calm, but once we got here that was when the intensity really started, but Jacqui was there at the door and told me it would all be alright.

“I was thinking ‘You’re in the right place now’. Tommy’s lush, he’s going to be spoilt rotten.

“I was a Continuity of Care patient and Stacey had been my midwife the whole way through and coming here, they’ve been so much more relaxed.

 “They were all so amazing and I would always say, come to South Shields, definitely.

“I love it here and I’ve been coming here for all my appointments, I feel comfortable and knew half of them already when I came through the door.

“I’d also done my labour classes and they had talked me through different pain relief options and I’d been shown around a couple of the rooms.”

Mark added: “Alex was absolutely brilliant and the staff were all fantastic.

“Having Tommy with us now still doesn’t feel real to tell the truth.”

Midwife Joanna Wylie, of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The fact that Alex and Mark came back to the midwifery-led unit shows how much they love it and how valued it is by women.

“We wish them and their baby well as they head home.”

Anyone preparing to become parents and would like to find out more about the midwifery-led birthing centre, including a tour of the unit, can contact it on 0191 404 1033.