Presenter Emma Willis on returning to the wards to complete her training as a maternity care assistant
Presenter Emma Willis is flashing her famous smile while chatting about her favourite subject: babies.
Not only is she a devoted mum-of-three, but she’s also completing her training to qualify as a maternity care assistant for W reality series Delivering Babies, which returns for a new eight-part run on Monday.
The first series saw her cleaning beds, mopping floors and taking blood, but this time, Emma is allowed more independence, working across high-risk wards and in theatre as she supports midwives at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Essex.
The first episode follows Vicky, who’s expecting twins and undergoes an emergency C-section five weeks early, while Paige has been induced after her baby’s movements have reduced.
Elsewhere, Josie is in the final stages of labour and needs Emma’s assistance during her water birth.
Here, Emma Willis, 43, tells us more about her very special deliveries…
Hi, Emma! How did it feel to return to the maternity ward?
Emma Willis: “Amazing! The first series was really emotional for me and I wondered whether that would wear off the more times you see a birth, but it doesn’t. It’s still overwhelming because witnessing a baby come into the world is incredible.”
Did you remember your training from the first series?
EW: “Not really! I learnt so much during the first series, but when it came to taking blood again, I couldn’t just stab somebody! When you’re doing it day in day out, it becomes automatic. When you haven’t done it for a while, you suddenly panic.”
What was the biggest challenge for you this time?
EW: “I worked on the neonatal unit, which I didn’t do last time, and had to learn to insert an NG [nasogastric] tube so babies could be tube-fed. I was told to put the tube up the baby’s nose and then it should go down into its tummy. It’s not that simple! My daughter also had to have a tube inserted after birth and watching somebody do it was hard. So for me to have to do it to another child was all sorts of wrong!”
You were thrown back in at the deep end, then?
EW: “I spent a couple of weeks with an MCA brushing up, so they made sure I was up to speed before they let me go solo. I also got to do a lot more theatre running this time, but I was desperate to see a water birth, as it was the only thing I hadn’t ticked off last series, and it happened on my third day when Josie came into the hospital.”
Were the mums surprised to see a TV star on the ward?
EW: “They were more surprised to see me doing the job rather than me pretending for telly. A couple of women saw me mopping the floor and said, ‘Oh, you’re actually doing it!’ I also found a big bowl of vomit in one woman’s room, and when I told her to give it to me, she was like, ‘Er, really?’”
Your mum, Cathy, was an auxiliary nurse, what does she think of the series?
EW: “She loves it, and she’s been really supportive. After filming, I would come home and say, ‘I put an NG tube in today,’ and she would be shocked because the role has changed so much since she did it. We discussed it a lot, and she would say, ‘I do know! I did the job for 20 years!’”
Would you do the job full-time?
EW: “It could be my back-up plan! I love that environment, especially in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, but it’s hard work. A lot of it is cleaning beds and answering buzzers, but I enjoy that. In fact, I will do anything, including cleaning up puke!”
If someone went into labour now, would you know what to do?
EW: “I’d be able to assist, yes, but deliver a baby? No! I’d like to think I would be cool as a cucumber, but I may just go into a blind panic. I would know how to pick up a phone and dial 999!”
Emma Willis: Delivering Babies returns on Monday 5th August at 10pm on W.