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And baby makes three?

Mitch and Rose welcome a baby girl, but tragedy threatens when Rose suffers postnatal complications.

It's been a case of life imitating art for All Saints' Joy Smithers. As her character wed the handsome Dr Mitch Stevens (Erik Thomson), Joy, who plays physiotherapist Rose Carlton, married long-term partner Tony Haines.

And just six weeks after giving birth to baby daughter Phoebe, Joy's on-screen persona was seen in the delivery room about to give birth to a baby girl.

"It's really strange," Joy laughs. "I mean Rose even lost her engagement ring before the wedding—something that I did, too."

Filming the scenes while she was seven months pregnant, Joy says her character's labour shocked her into realising that she would be going through the same thing for real in just a few weeks.


"It actually scared me," says Joy, who also has an eight-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. "I didn't remember what labour was like, and going through the All Saints paces knowing that I was just two months off doing it for real frightened me. It forced me to remember what it was like."

While Joy's real-life labour went relatively smoothly, Rose's labour is more dramatic. After giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Rose is rushed from the birthing room after suffering from post-partum haemorrhaging.

"I really felt for Rose then, because essentially she is still suffering from bipolar mood disorder (the mental illness affecting Rose)," Joy says. "She's elated from the birth then suddenly she's a bit drowsy from the loss of blood, and as it's her first baby she doesn't know it's not normal. Then she's wheeled away and Mitch isn't going with her, so the whole separation is really frightening—more so when you're a bit unstable."

While Rose's bleeding sends the midwife into a spin, Mitch is more concerned about the effect that being rushed away will have on his wife.

"He's a doctor, so he knows that bleeding sometimes happens after labour. Besides, she's in a hospital and will be safe," says Erik.

So rather than wanting to take part in stopping the bleeding, Erik says Mitch takes on a support role rather than a medical one.

"He slips into a support role because he knows it must be frightening for Rose to be taken away from him and the baby," Erik says. "And he's worried about other things—particularly the bipolar disorder."


According to Joy, shooting the labour scenes were the most demanding and challenging she has filmed since joining the popular Seven Network drama.

"Because the director was so committed to realism, she really made me question myself personally. It was full on. I think having all the pregnancy hormones going through my system helped me be calm, because it was very challenging. But I have a lot of trust and I really like the crew that we work with, and they knew how difficult it was for me. In the end, I actually had a really good couple of days filming."

Not surprisingly, when the delivery scenes were finished and the newborn baby was placed on Rose's stomach, Joy admits to feeling excited about her own arrival.

"The reaction I had seeing this little baby, knowing that I would be holding my own baby soon, made me realise just how incredibly beautiful little babies are," Joy says. "It made me feel so excited."

However, she admits that she wasn't the cluckiest cast member. According to Joy, the one besotted by the babies was Erik.

"Everything was about the babies," she says, smiling. "He wouldn't leave them alone. When they were in the green room, he was always in there playing with them."

By Erin Craven
Photos: Steve Brack
Week of Nov 13, 2000
TV Week