Emma Willis: Delivering Babies was W's most-watched series of 2018, with almost a million people tuning into the premiere episode and the show subsequently winning a major TV award.
Now she’s back on the ward, and this time the stakes are even higher for the TV presenter and mother-of-three.
Last series, Emma spent 12 weeks working on the frontline of a busy maternity unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, and was praised for her committment to the job.
This time, she’ll be working 40-hour weeks for 16 weeks in order to become a fully qualified Maternity Care Assistant - meaning she could be delivering a baby near you soon.
There’s more intense training, more TV births, more midwives, more new parents and more raw emotion than ever before. Here are our top 3 reasons to watch Emma Willis: Delivering Babies on W channel.
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1. The stakes are even higher for Emma
The first series of Delivering Babies documented Emma's busy training to be a Maternity Care Assistant (MCA), working 10-hour shifts on the ward, cleaning beds, checking on babies, taking blood pressure and offering support.
Emma reprises her training in the same maternity unit where she spent three months last summer. But if she completes this next set of training, she’ll become a fully qualified MCA able to work any hospital in the country.
Accordingly, she’s handed a lot more responsibility and, as time progresses, she’s asked to become a lot more independent, working solo and in high-risk wards.
This time, she’s got no excuse - she’s done it before. But, on her first day back, she’s still feeling the nerves...
“It’s my first day back. I’m slightly terrified!” she says upon her return to the hospital following a nine-month gap. “I’m nervous about what they’re going to expect from me from day one.
“I feel like there’s so much to learn.”
She’ll be the only MCA in theatre during caesarean sections, she’ll need to take blood on her own and be comfortable with assisting in emergency situations.
Emma will also work on the hospital’s Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit, which cares for critically ill babies. Here, she’ll meet parents and their babies who need intensive, high-dependency and special care.
“I know how to do it, but I’m rusty, and it’s not like I’ve had a lot of experience. I’ve had 12 weeks… with a nine-month gap in the middle,” she explains.
“I think the stakes are just as high, if not slightly higher.”
2. The births are as raw and emotional as ever
One of the highlights of the first series was getting to witness births you don't often see on TV.
The cameras were there every step of the way as viewers got a glimpse of a wide range of births, including caesareans and home births.
Emma gets emotional during filming for a home birth in series 1:
Fans of the show will be pleased to know series 2 is just as raw, emotional and unfiltered as the first. In the first episode alone viewers witness a water birth and an emergency caesarean, to name a few.
Emma didn’t get a chance to see a water birth in filming for series 1, but she made up for it in series 2. Within a few days of being back on the ward, Emma witnesses her first ever water birth.
Josie, who is expecting her second child, is in the final stages of labour. Emma assists in the water birth and it's an emotional experience for everyone involved.
Choking back tears, Emma says to her fellow midwife colleague in the room: “Oh my God, how do you do this every day, and not cry?”
She continues: “I just walked out of that room and went ‘Woah!' What have I just witnessed? I witnessed a handful of births last time, but the water birth I didn’t get to witness.
“I’m gonna [cry] again. Watching a baby come into the world is just… [she cries].”
Next up, viewers witness an emergency caesarean in theatre as a mum with pre-eclampsia gives birth to twins five weeks early.
Surrounded by an army of doctors, surgeons and midwives, it’s as graphic as you would expect from an emergency caesarean. There’s no shying away from the seriousness of what you're watching, and the show makes no attempt to hide the surgeons’ incisions as he slices through the mum's skin.
As you would expect from the real-life situation that's being filmed, there’s a lot of blood throughout every episode and there's no hiding from the reality in this series.
Later in the episode, a newborn has yet to give out a cry - which is needed to clear the fluid in baby’s lungs - 10 minutes after being born.
Midwife Kerry concentrates on the baby, but new mum Paige is also bleeding heavily. The situation has become critical, so the emergency buzzer is rung.
You can feel the urgency in the air as a team of midwives work fast to stop Paige hemorrhaging, giving her a cannula and checking there’s no placenta left inside her. It’s all hands on deck.
Some 45 minutes later, after losing a litre of blood, Paige’s haemorrhage has been stemmed - but the baby still hasn’t cried, despite the valiant efforts of the midwives.
An hour after being born, she finally lets out the all-important first cry, and the relief in the room is palpable.
“I have huge admiration for all women anyway, but when you’re in a department like this and you see the whole process of what they go through,” says Emma.
“I think the level of respect for me is just the highest, because we’re just brilliant specimens.”
Elsewhere through the series, viewers will get to witness everything from elective caesarean sections to natural births, complicated theatre procedures to more water births.
3. The midwives’ camaraderie - and the return of Val!
Series 1 of Delivering Babies was as much about the midwives as it was about the expectant mums, and series 2 continues to shine a light on the women delivering the babies - and the camaraderie they share.
Following Emma’s nervous arrival back at the hospital and before she starts her shift, Practice Development Midwife Mandy tells her reassuringly: “You’ll still have hand holding if you need it, and ask as much as you need to, because we’d rather you asked a million times than make a mistake.”
Another one of Emma's colleagues is Tilly, who qualified as a midwife over 25 years ago.
She explains why it’s her dream job: “I was a premature baby, born at 28 weeks. I weighed 900g.
“This is why I always had a passion [for midwifery], as a girl I thought ‘As a grown up, I wanted to look after babies'.”
Later, after discharging a new mum, Tilly says: “I love spending that one-to-one care with a woman. Her journey from start to finish, and safely discharging her from the unit, is the happiest moment of my life.”
It’s clear Emma has made lifelong relationships from her first lot of training on the ward, as she’s greeted like an old friend when she returns.
She bumps into midwife Naghmeh, below, after returning to work. The pair share a hug on the ward before Naghmeh tells Emma: “You’ve really got hooked with us haven’t you? It’s a pleasure to have you back!”
But in series 1, it was cool-headed Val who took Emma under her wing, guiding her through the process of being a maternity care assistant - from cleaning rooms to taking blood.
The clear shared a close bond, and even met up in filming for ‘dream team’ catch-ups. Fans of the show will be thrilled to learn that royal baby obsessive Val, below right with Emma, is back for series 2.
Emma says: “I’ve seen Val a lot since we were here last time. So now, being back, it feels weird seeing Val in a hospital environment.
“She just makes me laugh, she just has no filter but in a good way, not a mean way… She reminds me of my mum a bit!”
As Val scolds Emma for not making a bed up to her standards, Emma quips: “Sorry Val! I’ve missed you!”
Val responds warmly: “When I’m here on my own and I’ve got six beds to do, I say ‘where’s Emma when you need her?!’”
In the midwives’ office, Emma congratulates one of the midwives on her 40-year work anniversary. She’s brought in a cake for the women to graze on between shifts. It’s clear they’re more than just colleagues...
Watch Emma Willis: Delivering Babies if you liked...
One Born Every Minute, Teen Mom UK, 24 Hours in A&E, Call The Midwife, Maternity Ward.
What the fans say about Emma Willis: Delivering Babies season 2...
W channel viewers took to Twitter to share their views on the series, and the delightful Emma Willis:
So glad to see @EmmaWillis delivering babies is back for another season. Amazing show! Amazing woman! ❤️— Jordanne Whiley MBE (@jordannejoyce92) August 7, 2019
This has made my daughters birthday having Emma Willis delivering babies back on this evening. Apparently best birthday present ever. 💕#DeliveringBabies— Louisa Baker (@LouisaBaker) August 5, 2019
Emma Willis: Delivering Babies season 2 continues Mondays at 10pm on W - BT TV channel 311/383 HD.
Images: W channel