Byline: LESTER MIDDLEHURST
LORRAINE ASHBOURNE, 36, stars in two major BBC1 drama series. She plays Geraldine Powell in Playing The Field and Sgt Yvonne Mackey in City Central. She has lived with actor Andy Serkis for eight years and the couple have a daughter, Ruby, who was born last October.
THE day Ruby was born was so dramatic and wonderful that I am almost still in mourning for it. It's as if I want to relive it every day of my life.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, all I could think about was the day that Ruby was due: October 22.
went into labour on that very date, although she wasn't born until the day after.
I had her in a birthing pool. I think they should be given to every pregnant woman by law. I hired mine from the Active Birth Centre, which is a superb place for women, both before and after they give birth.
The centre encourages women to take more control of their pregnancy and to be empowered by birth instead of seeing as handing yourself over to a hospital because you are ill.
I got the biggest pool I could find because I thought I might want Andy to be in it with me. But, when it came to the day, I decided I wasn't going to share it with anyone.
It was oval-shaped, a bit like a paddling pool, and the water was quite deep. I lay there, in my kitchen, surrounded by candlelight and felt so relaxed.
My labour was extremely painful and long -- about 20 hours. I didn't want any pain relief because I needed to be in control. I had some gas and air right at the end, which helped. And when the midwife told me I could push, it was like winning the Lottery.
Ruby was born straight into the water.
The temperature of the pool is the same as the fluid in the amniotic sac, so when the baby comes out it has an easier transition from the womb to the open air.
They say it makes for a quieter baby and she certainly hasn't been any trouble.
We had three midwives there just in case anything went wrong. In fact, I had textbook birth.
Andy was there throughout. I thought would be calling him every name under the sun, but I didn't. He was my emotional rock. He guided me through the experience and I think he really enjoyed it.
I must have squeezed his hand for about 12 hours as he willed me to be patient and strong. The idea that men are useless at birth because they don't know what to do certainly
didn't apply to Andy - he wanted to be involved right from the outset.
MY CHARACTER in Playing The Field is expecting and I was six months pregnant when I had to film the scene where she gives birth.
I did a lot of research for the role - I frightened myself to death watching videos of women in labour but, in some ways, it made me feel slightly closer to my …