'The bridesmaid's giving birth!'
Hannah's baby tried to steal the show by making an appearance on his auntie’s big day - and I spoke to her and Francesca to get their story published in the Mirror. Talk about a wedding crasher!
A new mum who gave birth on her sister’s wedding day wanted to be at the ceremony so badly, she was about to leave for church while in active labour.
Contractions started for Hannah Newell, 26, the night before the wedding and she went into labour at her sister’s house the following morning, while getting glammed up to be bridesmaid.
As she breathed through her contractions and put on a brave face through the pain, her family encouraged her to go to hospital. But Hannah refused. It was only when bride Francesca Cox, 30, told her heavily pregnant sister to go that she finally agreed to leave.
She was rushed to hospital by her partner Lee and gave birth to son Alfie at 7:09pm on the day of the wedding.
Hannah had spent the last nine months hoping that her baby would arrive on his due date. She said: “My due date was just five days before my sister Francesca’s wedding. After trying for a baby for some time, I was thrilled to be pregnant, but I knew it was a case of bad timing.”
“On the morning of the wedding, I got into my bridesmaid dress, had my hair done and did my make-up, but had to keep stopping every few minutes because of the painful contractions. I also had a ‘show’ that morning, so I knew birth was imminent.”
“My parents and two other sisters who were also bridesmaids kept telling me to go to hospital, but I really didn’t want to miss Francesca’s special day. I had assured her throughout my pregnancy that I would be there and I didn’t want to let her down.”
“But when Francesca agreed I should leave too, I admitted defeat. During the drive to hospital, I kept asking Lee to slow down on the bumpy parts, and the next minute I was asking him to speed up!”
Hannah arrived at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford in her bridesmaid dress with her partner Lee Goodacre, 31, in his suit.
She said: “It was strange walking onto the maternity unit all glammed up and a midwife said that me and Lee were the best dressed couple they’d had there! When I was examined, I was four centimetres dilated.”
While Hannah was in hospital, Francesca made her way to the church and married her husband Phillip Cox, 31.
Francesca said: “I was gutted Hannah wasn’t there to see me get married. It wasn’t the same without her. Before we left for the church her contractions were coming thick and fast. I knew she wouldn’t make it, no matter how much she wanted to.”
“Minutes after Hannah gave birth, my mum announced to all of the guests that she’d had the baby and everyone cheered. It was a lovely moment and a relief to know everything had gone well.”
It was while Francesca had been planning her wedding that Hannah first discovered she was pregnant.
Hannah said: “In June 2017, Francesca came to mine with a balloon full of confetti and when I popped it, a small scroll fell out. It read, Will you be my bridesmaid? I was thrilled to be asked and honoured I was going to be part of her special day.”
“Four months later, I found out I was pregnant. When I discovered my due date was 11th June 2018, just five days before my sister’s wedding, I have to admit I was worried.”
“I announced my pregnancy to my family, leaving Francesca until last because I was nervous of her reaction. When I told her, she was happy. Then she said, ‘You better not give birth on the day!’”
Francesca said: “It was such good news to hear Hannah was pregnant, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit annoyed - I just wished she could have been due a month earlier or later, because I didn’t want her to miss out on the day.”
“Right from the start, I was convinced she would give birth on the wedding day. And I was right!”
Hannah had started to worry when her due date arrived with no signs of labour. That day, she had a sweep to try and get the baby to arrive before the wedding.
She said: “After my sweep, I kept on walking around to try and get labour started. I also got down on my hands and knees to clean out the kitchen cupboards, as I’d been told it could help hurry things along.”
The night before the wedding, Hannah knew it wouldn’t be long before she had her baby when she realised her Braxton Hicks were actually contractions.
“On the Friday night at the wedding rehearsal, my contractions were getting more and more frequent. I didn’t get any sleep that night as they continued to pick up speed.”
“In the morning I texted Francesca: I don’t want to ring you, I’m too scared, but I had no sleep last night… Then I went to her house and we both burst into tears. She knew exactly what was happening, but I assured her I was going to make it. Little did I know my baby had other ideas.”
Now Hannah is enjoying motherhood with Alfie who is 21 weeks old.
She said: “On the morning of the wedding, Francesca couldn’t find her something blue, so we decided Alfie could be her ‘blue’. I was surprised he was a boy, because I’d thought I was going to have a girl all along.”
Francesca said: “I went to meet my new nephew the day after I got married and enjoyed giving him a cuddle. Alfie will always be known as the baby that crashed the wedding and I’ll be sure to tell him all about it when he’s older. In fact, I won’t let him forget it!”