What was it like filming the birth scenes?
“There is this sound that comes from the depths of you when you’re having a baby. I wanted to make those sounds during the scene, but I was told not to! In real-life, I made so much noise. Jeff (Zoe’s real-life husband, who plays Cain) looked like he was going to pass out.”
What happens in Emmerdale?
“She’s 37 weeks’ pregnant, so the baby’s not due for three weeks – although I actually had Violet at 37 weeks. She’s in the pub clearing tables and gets knocked over when Adam and Aaron have an altercation. Labour comes on fast, 10 minutes later. Paddy is nowhere to be seen, so Marlon goes with Rhona to the hospital and when she panics during the birth, he holds her hand and says ‘Look at me’, and she gets strength from him. They are both in tears when she’s handed her baby boy. Mark Charnock’s a dad, so he remembers how emotional it is. It’s an extraordinary moment when you hold and kiss your child for the first time.”
How does Paddy take missing the birth? “
“I think seeing Marlon with Rhona really hurts him. He may be the love of her life, but he is not the father of that baby.”
What were your own births (Violet, six and Stanle,y three) like?
“I was terrified of going into hospital, so chose to have my babies at home. I did have a bit of a wobble a week before I had Violet, thinking: ,What if something goes wrong? What if I need a C section? What if this baby dies?’ But my midwives assured me that nature would tell them if anything was going wrong, well in advance. I had water births. They were amazing, although Jeff was a bit rabbit-in-the-headlights first time round. Second time, I laboured through the night and he went to bed for a bit, but we won’t dwell on that!”
How does Rhona react after the birth?
“She falls in love with Leo the moment she lays eyes on him. She realises that it was so the right decision to have him. He’s beautiful and healthier than they could have imagined.”
What would you have done if either of your children had tested positive for Down’s syndrome?
“I would have had the children regardless of the results. I understand why somebody would terminate. It’s a very personal decision and you cannot judge another person. I had the test very late with Violet because I didn’t want to do anything with the information if it was positive. I didn’t want that responsibility. With Stanley, I had the test because I wanted to be prepared as I had another child. Jeff and I lost a baby in between Violet and Stanley. It happens to a lot of people and it’s not something I get hung up about, but it only served to remind me that if we had a baby with Down’s, it would be our lot. It would be something that was meant to be.”