Hollyoaks star confirms tragic baby story for Leela

This article covers topic of baby loss. Hollyoaks spoilers follow.

Hollyoaks will explore a heartbreaking baby loss storyline for Leela Lomax, incorporating soap star Kirsty-Leigh Porter's real-life experience.

In scenes airing next week, Leela calls the midwife after realising she hasn't felt the baby move for several hours. She's told to wait to see whether anything changes. When nothing does, she heads to hospital without waking Joel.

There, Leela is put on a fetal heart monitor. Initial results are unclear, and she's referred to a consultant for further tests. When an ultrasound doesn't find a heartbeat, the doctor tells Leela that her and Joel's baby has died.

leela lomax and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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In December 2018, Porter was 29 weeks and 3 days pregnant when she was told her daughter Penny-Leigh had died.

"I'm not the Kirsty I was before Penny-Leigh," the soap star told OK! magazine. "My soul left for a little bit after Penny-Leigh. Everything flips upside down."

Porter, who has been playing Leela since 2013, has tapped into the complicated feelings she had to deal with when losing her daughter for the storyline, hoping to help pregnant people notice worrying signs and act promptly.

leela lomax and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

"It's trying not to scare people, but I want to show that it's normal to feel reduced movements – as long as you notice it and you do something about it," she said.

"People watching this who are pregnant might instantly put their hand to their tummy. Even if we get that, that's brilliant, that's a job done because that's exactly what we want.

"It could save a life. That's the goal."

Leela and Joel will be able to spend some time with their baby after the birth thanks to a specially cooled cuddle cot, similar to the one Porter used after the birth of Penny-Leigh.

leela lomax and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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"It was unbelievably precious," she said. "We spent a couple of days with Penny-Leigh and it was so valuable."

Porter, who had daughter Nala Rai in 2020 with partner Paul Barber, further reflected on losing Penny-Leigh, emphasising the need to shed the stigma and loneliness still attached to baby loss.

leela lomax and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

"It's such a lonely, dark place. You feel like you're the only woman in the world who's just lost a baby," Porter said.

"Then you realise that there's this whole secret community that is just waiting full of strength and support for you."

Organisations including Sands and Tommy's are able to offer help and support to anyone affected by baby loss.

Hollyoaks streams first online via Channel 4 each weekday at 7.30pm. Episodes then air on E4 the following day, before getting their YouTube premiere a week after that.

Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.

Read more Hollyoaks spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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