*Warning: Contains spoilers for tonight's EastEnders episode (16th May 2024), currently available on BBC iPlayer.*

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Life changed forever for Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) in Thursday 16th May's edition of EastEnders, while a ticking time bomb waited just around the corner.

Whitney's labour pains had begun while she remained trapped in step-mum Bianca Jackson's (Patsy Palmer) van with Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa).

While Whit panicked that history was about to repeat itself with her baby girl, the oblivious Penny Branning (Kitty Castledine) lied to stop Bianca searching for Whitney, thinking she was helping Whit and Lauren make up after a row.

Groom Zack Hudson (James Farrar) was also none the wiser, as a drunk Callum Highway (Tony Clay) accosted him and Bianca over being Whitney's "Mr Wrong".

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Zack then found himself covered in whipped cream by a stripper at the 'Sten do', leading big sister Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) to escort drunken Zack upstairs where he told Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) that he'd once "had sex on that sofa".

Lauren bangs on van door as Whitney clutches her stomach in EastEnders
Lauren bangs on van door as Whitney clutches her stomach in EastEnders BBC

Meanwhile, a fed up Bianca grabbed a bottle from The Vic and left the party, and outside, she heard Whitney's screams from inside the van. Breaking down the door, Bi allowed Whit and Lauren to escape, and Britney Wainwright (Lola Campbell) smashed the window with a brick so they could get the spare keys and get the expectant mum to hospital.

What followed was a masterclass performance from star McGarty, with Whitney worried sick that she was going to lose her little girl just as she lost baby Peach, who was diagnosed with Edwards' syndrome, last year.

When Lynsey (Kathryn Bond) appeared, Whit recognised her as the same nurse who helped her deliver Peach. Having been through a similar loss herself, Lynsey was also pregnant with a baby she never thought she would have, and Whitney admitted that she thought Lynsey's presence was a bad omen.

Bianca and Lauren were on hand to support Whitney, while Chelsea Fox (Zaraah Abrahams) alerted the pub, and Sharon delivered a new classic line to Zack: "Get your knickers on, you're having a baby!" It was was left to Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) to race Zack to the hospital.

Whitney's emotions got the better of her as she feared the worst, but Britney prevented her from blaming herself as she told Whit she was "the best thing in my life".

Lynsey and the doctor assured Whitney that her baby was well, and Bianca delivered a pep talk, reminding viewers of the time she had to cope with Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) as a midwife!

Shona McGarty as Whitney Dean wearing white as an image of Zack and Whitney embracing is projected onto her and the wall behind her for EastEnders.
Whitney Dean's exit from EastEnders looms - will she get her happy ending? BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Bianca then gave a touching speech about how much she loved Whit, with Whitney replying "I love you too, Mum".

Before long, Whitney had welcomed her baby into the world, and after a tense few seconds of silence, the little one let out a perfect, healthy cry just as Zack arrived.

In the corridor, guilt-ridden Lauren struggled to hold herself together over her fling with Zack, but the pair ultimately agreed to take their betrayal to the grave. Unfortunately for them, Britney overheard their conversation.

Zack ran after her, but before he could try and intervene, the group were pulled into a photo with Whitney and baby Dolly Dean-Hudson, as Britney glared furiously at Zack!

While you'll have to wait until next week to find out how that particular drama unfolds, this episode marked a moving milestone for Whitney, who has endured far too much trauma in her time in Walford. Will she get her happy ever after?

You can read more about Edwards' syndrome on the NHS website, or visit SOFT UK and Antenatal Results and Choices for help and support.

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EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.

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