Television presenter Julia Bradbury is supporting a charity appeal at the hospital where she gave birth to all three of her children.
The 45-year-old had twin daughters Xanthe and Zena in March this year and son Zephyr four years earlier at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital.
Julia was so impressed by the care she received there that she is backing Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s £500,000 appeal to expand and renovate the birth centre at the West London hospital, which is now in its final stages with only £50,000 left to raise to reach its target.
“I have given birth to all my children at Queen Charlotte’s so I have first-hand experience of the wonderful staff there,” she said.
“Queen Charlotte’s is regarded very much as one of the best hospitals you can have your children because of the staff and the level of experience that exists within the team. I’m very keen that it maintains that reputation, which is why I’m supporting the appeal.”
Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises money for equipment, research and training at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s five hospitals, including Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital.
The charity’s Birth Centre Appeal aims to create a new birth room and birthing pool, new antenatal consultation rooms, and to install air into every birth room for resuscitation cabinets.
Before Julia had her first child, she was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful womb condition that can affect fertility.
Despite this, she and partner Gerard Cunningham went on to become parents to their son, Zephyr, now four, after a 33 hour labour at Queen Charlotte’s.
The former Countryfile presenter went through five rounds of IVF before she became pregnant again last year, and she was keen to have another natural birth.
“That’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do with twins,” she said.
“Baby number one was delivered after 11 hours, but then things got a bit interesting. I was losing a lot of blood and they were monitoring the second baby’s heart rate. They said they needed to get the baby out.
“I looked up and saw more medics had come in. It was a scary 45 minutes and the staff were brilliant. When you’re in that situation you don’t really realise exactly what’s happening. The atmosphere in the room had changed but when I asked what was wrong they said it was all under control.
“I know now that she wasn’t breech but she was facing the wrong way and they needed forceps to get her the right way round. It became urgent and I lost about two litres of blood.
“I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Queen Charlotte’s – they are so dedicated and hard working.”
Julia has returned to work and says the twins are doing well.
“The best way to describe them is bonny. They are absolutely beautiful – they’re very happy and smiley babies and they’re doing a lot of bouncing. They’ve just started to flip themselves over so they’re on the move,” she said.
“Zeph is a great big brother. He kisses them lots and tells them they’re lovely.”
You can support the Birth Centre Appeal online by visiting www.imperialcharity.org.uk/birth-centre, by texting BORN16 £10 to 70070, or by sending a cheque made payable to Imperial College Healthcare Charity (4406) to Imperial College Healthcare Charity, Ground Floor, Clarence Memorial Wing, St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, London, W2 1NY.