A Bushey mother received "the best present ever" when she gave birth to the first Christmas day baby at Watford General Hospital.

Sarah Smullen, of The Pantiles, had 7lbs 8oz daughter, Lexi, in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

Mrs Smullen, who went into labour on Christmas Eve at about 12.30pm, said she had a distressing birth with her first daughter, three-year-old Katie.

The 34-year-old’s last birth was "very traumatic" as she had to be induced when Katie was two weeks late.

The IT buyer said she and her husband, Marcus, were "scared" of Lexi’s birth, having gone through one of the "worst weeks of their lives" three years ago.

Mrs Smullen said: "We had a very traumatic birth with Katie. I lost over three litres of blood and was on high dependency for a week. It was the worst time of our lives and, at the end of the day, we were scared.

"But this was the complete opposite to my last birth. It was amazing and for Christmas it was the best present ever."

Lexi arrived four days late, having been due on December 21.

Mrs Smullen’s waters broke at 12.01am on December 25. She was admitted to the Vicarage Road hospital at 12.30am and gave birth to Lexi at 1.36am.

Katie's grandparents looked after her while 36-year-old Mr Smullen took his wife to hospital.

Mrs Smullen said: "My parents stayed with Katie. They were coming over anyway and bringing food, which was lucky, because I didn’t think in a million years that I was going to have the baby on Christmas day."

Due to Katie's difficult birth in 2010, Mrs Smullen sought the help of Dani Diosi, a natal hypnotherapist, to assist with the arrival of Lexi.

Mrs Smullen said: "We couldn’t have done it without her. She was the one holding my hand during the birth."

The "proud" family, who were given a teddy bear and stocking from one of the hospital’s midwives, congratulating them on the birth, were discharged on Christmas day.

Mrs Smullen said: "When we arrived home we took Lexi straight upstairs and brought Katie up to see her. We wanted her to be the first one to meet the new arrival."

She added: "Katie has been great. She keeps holding Lexi’s hand and smothering her in kisses and asking where she is.

"While Christmas day is obviously the one day that no-one wants to have, to us it’ll always be extra special and we’ve renamed it Leximas."