Birth unit first as baby Billy takes bow

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Billy Conners was born just after midnight yesterday, and was welcomed by midwives who have keenly awaited the £3 million facility’s debut delivery.

Two more births were due to take place overnight, signalling the beginning of a busy period for the Royal Infirmary unit, which expects 1500 births a year.

Midwives had 25-year-old Amanda Davidson in mind for being the centre’s first delivery, given she was deemed a low-risk pregnancy,

“I had no idea I was going to be the first,” she said. “It wasn’t really the main thing on my mind, but it was brilliant and went really well.

“I would never have considered giving birth in a pool, but because there was one in the room I thought I’d give it a go and I’m glad I did.” She and partner Steven Conners, 22, a pipe fitter, said they were “emotional” after the birth, and paid tribute to the midwives at the centre, which was officially opened last week.

“We didn’t know the gender beforehand,” she added. “We agreed that Steven would choose the name if it was a boy, and I’d choose if it was a girl, so we woke up this morning and decided on Billy.” Amanda’s mother, Shirley Davidson, 48, from Penicuik, compared her daughter’s labour experience to her own a quarter of a century before.

“This place is just amazing,” she said. “I remember giving birth to Amanda and I was strapped down on a bed and not allowed to move. Thinking back now, it’s like a parallel universe. In here it’s completely different, it’s been so fantastic and exciting.

“I had no idea we were going to be in here, but the staff have just been so supportive.”

The arrival of the centre has been long-awaited, especially given the rising birth rate across the Lothians.

That has put pressure on resources at the Little France maternity department, with some mothers having to travel to St John’s Hospital in Livingston if they were set to have a straightforward birth.

However, those scenarios should be a thing of the past, with the unit set to take on around 15 per cent of the Lothians’ 10,000 annual births.

Midwife Sheonagh Brook-Smith was on duty during the eight-hour labour.

She said: “She [Amanda] phoned in after getting contractions and we were all ready and waiting. We’ve been waiting for this moment, and it all went without a hitch.”