Baby Rupert steals the show

Proud mum and dad Jenny and Thomas Symons are pictured at home with baby Rupert.

Proud mum and dad Jenny and Thomas Symons are pictured at home with baby Rupert. - Credit: Archant

Labour adds real drama to school nativity play.

WHEN expectant mum Jenny Symons felt a warm feeling while watching a school nativity play, it was nothing to do with the birth of the baby Jesus on stage.

For as chance would have it, her own waters were breaking – signalling the imminent birth of her baby son.

Jenny, 23, from Horwood, had a starring role of her own during the Holywell Primary School performance at Tawstock Village Hall on December 13 – although at just 31 weeks pregnant, she was just as surprised as anyone.

Baby Rupert William was born just 57 minutes later – in the delivery suite at North Devon District Hospital, where thankfully, there was plenty of room at the inn.


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Jenny, a nursery manager at Claire’s Little Bears Nursery in Barnstaple, said: “It was about halfway through the nativity and I just felt my waters burst – it was the weirdest sensation.

“I knew straight away what it was because I could feel myself wanting to push.

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“I thought I was going to give birth in the village hall toilets – that was at 2.07pm and Rupert was born at 3.04pm.

“I’d had a few signs that something was going on, but it was a bit of a shock that it was happening nine weeks early – I think he wanted to get here in time for Christmas.”

Husband Thomas, 22, was working at the family’s dairy farm when he got the call to say Jenny had gone into labour.

“The last thing I said to Jenny before she left that morning was ‘Don’t have the baby during the nativity,’ ” he said.

“I couldn’t believe it when my mum phoned and said ‘The baby’s coming, get here quick!’ It was lucky, as if I hadn’t come home for lunch half an hour late I might not have got the call.

“Fortunately, I managed to catch up with the ambulance at St John’s Chapel and follow it to the hospital.”

Although born weighing just 3lb 12oz, Rupert had a normal birth and didn’t require any resuscitation.

If things had gone to schedule, he would have been born yesterday (Tuesday). Instead, the tiny tot spent four weeks – including his first Christmas – in the hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).

“It was quite a worrying first few weeks, but Rupert’s doing really well and is putting on weight like a trooper,” said Jenny.

“His weight dropped to 3lb 3oz and he lost 16 per cent of his body weight, but he’s done really well to come back up.

“Thomas and I would really like to thank everybody for their kind support.

“The staff at the SCBU, ambulance staff, the ladies who brought me some biscuits to eat at the village hall, and everyone at Holywell school were just brilliant.”

School business manager Heather Flack, who telephoned the ambulance for Jenny, said: “It did pass my mind that the baby would be born on the premises as the young lady was quite well advanced into labour.

“It has been a major talking point at the school – it’s a lovely story, especially as it happened around Christmas time.

“The school is very unique, a bit like an extended family. We already have a special bond with Rupert and we’d like to welcome him back to Holywell any time.”

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