Welcome to the World Leila Joy MacCurvin

Leila Joy MacCurvin
Daughter of Claudia and André MacCurvin
Born on the 1st December 2010
at The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead
weighing 6lb 1oz

t was a wintry day when Claudia MacCurvin went into labour, at her home in Primrose Hill. “André had gone to fill the car up with petrol, and my ten-year-old was timing the contractions. Three ambulances arrived – but they didn’t want to take me to hospital because it was snowing!”
Before the dramatic birth, Claudia’s pregnancy had been pretty smooth sailing. Claudia and her husband André, an air traffic controller for the RAF, had known each other, through family, for several years. “Our relationship grew very easily out of a friendship, and the fact that we already knew each other’s families so well was a bonus. It was always in our plans to have children, and we were overjoyed when we discovered that I was pregnant with Leila, though surprised, as I’d had a miscarriage only a few months earlier.”
Claudia, who is a qualified counsellor, was keen to maintain the surprise element, and decided that she didn’t want to find out Leila’s sex before she was born. André, however, was more curious. “André was so accommodating – he clearly had a desire to know, but he went along with my idea until, eventually, I buckled. Hey, he used reverse psychology – that’s my domain!”
Claudia has a ten-year old daughter, Mya, from a previous relationship and so knew what to expect from the pregnancy; André, however, was going through it all for the first time. “André was there every step of the way, but at a cost. Morning, afternoon and early evening sickness made me miserable for the first trimester – well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”
Mya was also enthusiastically involved. “She describes it as an experience she’ll never forget!” says Claudia. “She read all my pregnancy books, and both she and André talked to the bump, read to her, and sang to her. Leila was part of the family long before she was born.
Claudia’s first experience of childbirth had involved a protracted labour, and this time she was determined to stay at home for as long as possible. “I’d been getting mild pains that I thought might be Braxton Hicks. Mya and I went for a stroll along our local high street – it wasn’t obvious to me that labour had started, and I had no intention of phoning André or contacting the hospital. My waters hadn’t broken and the pain was uncomfortable, but not unbearable.”
When André did arrive at the family home he found Claudia in the bath, with Mya timing her contractions. “André decided to go and fill the car up with petrol and, while he was out, things progressed relatively quickly. By the time he got back, I was well aware that this was not false labour and Mya was excitedly sticking her stopwatch under my nose.”
Claudia was still determined not to go into hospital any earlier than necessary, but, when her mother arrived,
20 minutes later, she had to concede that perhaps a trip to hospital might be a good idea. However, by this time it had started to snow, and Claudia’s mother suggested that an ambulance might be a better plan than setting off in the car.
So André called for an ambulance, and when, after some time, no ambulance had arrived, he called again. “Much to our surprise, this resulted in two ambulance crews arriving within five minutes of each other.” Says Claudia. “After assessing the situation, the first crew concluded that it was too risky to move me, as it appeared that I was going to give birth relatively soon. The second crew advised that I should prepare myself for a home birth.”
“The pain was increasing. The second crew had brought gas and air, but had left the inhaler for it in the ambulance. After a number of calls to UCH we were told that they couldn’t get a midwife to me because of the weather and a shortage of staff. An alternative hospital could spare one – but she would have to wait for, you guessed it, an ambulance crew to bring her out!”
The family ended up with three ambulances, six ambulance staff, and one midwife in attendance. “By this time, I was already 9cm dilated and, frankly, ready to give birth absolutely anywhere. The final crew were less apprehensive about the short journey in the snow and, at my insistence, screaming at the top of my voice, I was transported to the Royal Free. Leila Joy MacCurvin was born approximately ten minutes after our arrival, in perfect health.”
“The first sight of your newborn baby is like nothing else in this world. She was perfect in every way, and it was a delight to see her face after nine months. We couldn’t wait to get her home after a night in the hospital – the snow had settled on the ground, and it was cold, but so beautiful. Leila was so small we couldn’t take our eyes off her. A proud father, big sister and grandma were all in awe of her.”
After the excitement of the birth, Leila and her family have settled into a very peaceful routine. “Leila is such a tranquil baby, and it’s been a really easy adjustment, we expected more disruption but it hasn’t been like that at all.”

Be part of our Welcome to the World feature