Actress Julie Graham talks coping with her premature baby's arrival: 'I was overwhelmed'

Julie Graham, star of ‘The Bletchley Circle’ and pictured last year, talks about her struggle with a premature birth on ‘White Wine Question Time’. [Photo: Getty]

When ‘The Bletchley Circle’ actress Julie Graham, 53, gave birth to her daughter, Edie – her first child with late husband Joseph Bennett, who died from suicide in 2015 – prematurely in 2004, it was a 95-year-old stranger who helped her deal with the experience.

She reveals this in conversation with Kate Thornton, chatting on new podcast ‘White Wine Question Time’, produced by Kate in association with Yahoo.

In a discussion about kindness, Julie revealed the elderly lady, whom she met during her time in the maternity ward, consoled her through the scary experience of premature birth.

She explained: “An act of kindness which really stayed with me is when Edie was born, she was six weeks premature.

“I went into hospital, I said: ‘I’m constipated and I have back pain.’ They said: ‘No you are five centimetres dilated, so you’re having your baby now.’

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“It freaked me out because I wasn’t prepared. Edie was born and luckily she was fine, she was four and a half pounds which is tiny, but big for a premature baby. She was fine, she just needed to be in an incubator for 10 days.

“My milk came in, I was having the baby blues. I was overwhelmed, and I was on my own, and this very old lady came up to me and touched me arm.

Julie Graham as Jean McBrian in ITV drama ‘The Bletchley Circle’ [Photo: Getty]

“She said to me: ‘I’m 95. I was born in Ireland to farmers and I was 1.5 pounds when I was born. My mum and dad put me in a box and fed me with a pipette. And put me under the Aga in the kitchen to keep me warm. And I’m here and I’m strong. She’ll be fine.'”

Julie added: “It was amazing the way she just sought me out.”

Premature babies are defined as those born before 37 weeks after the first day of the mother’s last period before she falls pregnant.

In the UK, some 8% of babies are born prematurely, and more than one in 10 worldwide.

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