Lisburn couple welcome birth of first child on what should have been their first wedding anniversary

A Lisburn couple who married in lockdown have welcomed the birth of their first child on what should have been their first wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 3:22 pm
Sarahlou Bradford and husband Darren wed on 12 September, after their initial date of 4 April was postponed due to lockdown. Credit: Ewan Harkness Photography

Doting new parents Sarahlou Bradford, a self-employed hairdresser, alongside husband Darren, a workshop manager from Maghaberry, were delighted when little William Andrew Bradford made his arrival, one day early, on April 4 weighing in at a healthy 8lb 2.50z.

Sarahlou, who is from Lisburn and has lived here her entire life, said she could not believe the coincidence, remarking that it was typical of the ‘’crazy whirlwind year this has been.

‘’We should have got married 4 April 2020 but 10 days before our wedding, lockdown commenced.

Lisburn couple Darren and Sarahlou Bradford's firstborn, William Andrew Bradford, was born on 4 April, which should have been their first year anniversary

‘’We lost everything except our wedding venue, The Tullyglass Hotel and our photographer, Ewan Harkness Photography.’’

Unfortunately, Sarahlou and Darren had already paid for the wedding and therefore lost a large amount of money because their wedding insurance did not cover a pandemic.

‘’We decided to work with the venue and booked the next available Saturday, which was September 12, 2020. We had to replan an entire wedding within 24 hours to try and secure our new date.’’

And things went from bad to worse, as Sarahlou, a self-employed hairdresser, unfortunately found herself out of work due to the pandemic.

Sarahlou Bradford and husband Darren wed on 12 September, after their initial date of 4 April was postponed due to lockdown. Credit: Ewan Harkness Photography

‘’ In the space of just four days, I had no wedding, no work and no honeymoon. It was the most stressful and soul-destroying time, but we made the most of our day.

‘’If we could have got married on our original date, we would have but we were in full lockdown with no weddings being permitted at that stage.

‘’ We decided regardless of the restrictions we just wanted to be husband and wife, if it meant only the two of us being there, we would just go with it. We had a lot of restrictions and uncertainty right up until our new wedding date.

‘’We had reduced numbers, no evening guests, no outside wedding suppliers, and no wedding band or singers. We had the best day with the closest people around us.

The delighted couple celebrated news of their impending arrival on their new wedding date. Credit: Ewan Harkness Photography

‘’Unfortunately those from Canada and Australia were of course unable to make it, but they sent their well wishes to the hotel which made it all the more special.

‘’We certainly didn’t have have the day we originally planned for two years but we wouldn’t change our wedding for the world, it was just perfect.

‘’Covid didn’t stop us and I hope it encourages others who are nervous or apprehensive to follow their hearts, their day is about them and no one else.’’

And having to wait until September meant the couple actually tied the knot as a family of three, as Sarahlou and Darren were delighted to discover before their new wedding day that Sarahlou was pregnant with their first child together, choosing to keep William’s gender a surprise for them both until he was born.

The couple’s firstborn, William Andrew Bradford, was born on 4 April, which should have been their first year anniversary

But being pregnant throughout lockdown has not been without its complications. Sarahlou explains: ‘’It has been extremely difficult being pregnant with the lockdown and restrictions.

‘’The most difficult part for us was trying to actually get ready for William’s arrival.

‘’We had to make a rush decision on ordering a pram from a local baby shop in Lisburn Square, where the staff were amazing. But due to time pressure it meant we couldn’t shop about or even get to see what we were buying physically.

‘’We ordered our pram just two days before the lockdown commenced again. We ordered our pram, car seat and a next to me crib mattress from the store. Unfortunately, the nursery stores have also had a knock on effect not only with the lockdown but with receiving goods from their suppliers, as we experienced not being able to receive goods that had been ordered 14 weeks in advance, due to not getting delivery to Northern Ireland due to Brexit.

It was extremely stressful as a lot of the local nursery stores were so backlogged with orders, that we had the possibility of not receiving essentials in time for baby’s arrival.

‘’Eventually we managed to source nursery furniture but with a long, nervous wait. All of our baby goods have all been ordered online as nowhere has been open.

Credit: Ewan Harkness Photography

‘’As we didn't know if we were having a girl or a boy, getting baby clothes was a struggle as we couldn’t get any newborn or small sizes.

However, our family have been amazing through everything.’’

And whilst Darren was able to attend the 12 and 20 week scans, in keeping with the restrictions at the time Sarahlou had to attend the remaining maternity appointments alone, something she describes as ‘’nerve-wrecking’’ as first-time parents.

The couple were also unable to meet fellow first-time parents, as all antenatal classes online in keeping with the restrictions. However, Sarahlou praised maternity staff who were able to recommend parenting apps which helped put Sarahlou’s mind at ease.

‘’It has been a rollercoaster of a year, especially with not being able to work through the process to prepare for being off with our baby,’’ Sarahlou explains.

‘’Hopefully the hair and beauty salons will get a date to return soon. The whole year has been a whirlwind but we have been so grateful to have got through it all.

‘’‘‘We had William in the Home from Home at the Ulster Hospital and the staff were absolutely fantastic, even given all the Covid restrictions.’’