Charlotte Church’s Waterbirth
Ruby Megan Henson
September 18, 2007
6lb, 12 oz
Celebrity Baby Blog
Original Article at Celebrity Baby Blog
In the latest issue of the U.K. version of OK! magazine, singer Charlotte Church, 21, and rugby player boyfriend Gavin Henson, 25, introduce their newborn daughter, Ruby Megan, now 2 weeks.
Gavin and Charlotte, who planned (and succeeded in having) a home water birth, describe her labor and delivery, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, how they chose their daughter’s name, baby weight, parenting thus far, and more.
On Charlotte leaving her hard-partying past behind:
I hadn’t really smoked for a year before I got pregnant. I decided to give it up for a New Year’s resolution. I went cold turkey on a stinking hangover. Then after a while, every time I went out I would have a [smoke], but then I got pregnant, so that stopped straight away.
I never liked the taste of alcohol anyway, so it was just to go out and get drunk and be ridiculous and then talk about how funny it was the next day. Or not!
[I missed it a] bit in the summer when I saw people in beer gardens, and I thought I could have a glass of wine, but apart from a glass of champagne on my birthday, I didn’t drink at all because I don’t think you should when you’re pregnant. You’re growing a person inside you and I think it’s selfish to. You know it’s bad, so just don’t do it.
On the pregnancy:
I actually loved being pregnant. I moaned my ass off: ‘Ooh my hips, my heartburn’ — but I loved it.
On the labor:
I was meant to be leaving for a game, but Charlotte was 9 days overdue, so we had a couple of little trips up and down the bumpy roadleading up to our house and I think that started it off!
She started having contractions when we were outside B&Q [a UK Home Depot-type store].
Charlotte laughs at the memory.
He’d accidentally locked me in the car and the alarm was going off, so people were coming out of B&Q hearing the alarm and looking at thecar, and then seeing it’s Charlotte Church in there. I was just trying to hide but couldn’t — just sitting there having contractions!
I wanted to go for a meal at Toby Carvery, but the contractionswere every 5 minutes, so we came back.
I got in the birthing pool, and Gavin was trying to submerge these bean bags.
I thought beforehand if she was sitting in the pool for a while, it would be uncomfortable.
We were told we could get a couple of beanbags and chuck them in. So we fell for that one and we tried to submerge them, but it’s polystyrene, so we couldn’t push them down!
I was in pain with these bean bags floating past me! I was so anxious before, thinking, ‘Is it really going to hurt that much?’ And it really does hurt that muchand ten million times more! The pain is outrageous!
[During the labor] theWales v Japan World Cup game was on, so we watched that. I was on gas and air [Entonox; a gas made up of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrousoxide] by that point, so I wasn’t really concentrating. Gavin was steaming some salmon [to have something to eat].
On the birth:
You hear stories about women calling their blokes every name under thesun, but she wasn’t like that at all. We were squeezing each others’ hands.
I was telling you I loved you, wasn’t I? Saying ‘I loveyou, but I can’t do this!’ You were brilliant, you kept saying, ‘Just get through this one.’
The midwives said a lot of men panic and get stressed with their partners, but Gavin was as cool as a cucumber andthey were well impressed with him.
Then I had a shot of pethidine [Demorol] in my leg, and Ruby was born an hour later.
If you knew it was only going to be an hour you wouldn’t have had that shot, would you?
Yes, I absolutely would have! If there was an anesthetist there who said ‘Would you like an epidural?’ I would have!
You have to be in hospital to have one, so I’m glad it wasn’t an option, because not having one made my recovery so much better — because you can feel everything when you’re pushing, and I think you don’t do yourself as much damage.
It did bother me that [Gavin saw me at my most vulnerable]. I was saying, ‘Don’t look at what’s going on down there, look at my face!’
I had a quick look. I recommend it! The midwife called me when the baby was just coming out and to see that was amazing. You don’t know what people are talking about unless you’ve been a part of it.
I had so much more respect and so much more love for Charlotte after what she’d just been through.
Meeting their daughter:
I cut the cord. Charlotte didn’t speak for about ten minutes. She was in proper shock! I was just so relieved that the baby looked really healthy. I checked everything and she looked beautiful! Not a mark on her — noteven any mucus on her, nothing. She just looked stunning.
It was 10:35 pm on Thursday and we had her for an hour and a half to ourselves. Then our parents came at about midnight.
She was wide awake — quiet, looking around. They cleaned her up and weighed her — 6 lbs 12 oz, same as me when I was born — and me and Gav were sitting there on the kitchen floor.
Afterwards [someone] made me six pieces of toast and a cup of tea and we had my mum and dad and Gav’s mum and dad there. It was perfect.
How Charlotte and Gavin chose the name:
We had names before she was born — Renée, Jasmine, Ella — but shejust didn’t look like any of them. We were saying she had lush redlips, ruby-red lips and then said: ‘Let’s call her Ruby.’
Megan is her middle name after Gavin’s grandmother. She’s passed away now, but everyone spoke about her with such love.
The midwives, Julia Sanders and Mary Coakley, were amazing — they put everything in the wash, put me in the shower and put my pajamas on me,then me and Gav got into bed and they brought the baby to us in bed, and said now we can phone everyone.
I’m feeling really great actually — a little bit tired come six in the evening, but in general it’s all going really well. You hear all these things, like it turns your life upside down and it doesn’t bring you closer together, it drives you apart.
Gavin interjects, ‘But really, it’s the complete opposite.‘
I’m really shocked by how I feel. It’s just instant massive amounts of love towards her. And it’s like she’s always been here.
I felt a bit weepy the other day because I looked at her, and she looked so lush and I thought about the birth and it was so perfect, so it was just with happiness, which sounds a bit sickening!
I said to Gav:’ I feel a bit weepy’ and he said ‘Why don’t you have a good cry?’ And I said ‘I can’t — I’d never stop!’ So I didn’t bother.
Who Ruby looks like:
When I first saw her I thought she looked exactly like me, but now that Ilook at her, she’s got Gavin’s bum [cleft] chin and his feet. When she opens hereyes in the morning, I can see Gavin there too.
If she does look like me, I can’t see it. I hope she looks more like Charlotte.
Yes, [I’m nursing]. I can’t imagine not breastfeeding. I’m not going to preach about it, but it’s better for the baby and the mother, and it’s such a bonding thing as well.
I also love the fact that she’s so dependent on me. I think if you can [nurse] and you don’t, it’s ridiculous.
She was in a Moses basket in our room, but the last two nights she’s been in our bed. The baby’s in front of me and Gavin’s cuddled up behind me, because that’s the only way I can sleep. Sometimes I’m so wired, but if he cuddles up to me and I’m nice and warm, then I can sleep.
Gavin was worried about me rolling over and smothering her, but I think it’s instinctual that I wouldn’t. He actually said, ‘If you smother her I’ll kill you!’ At the start, Gavin was like, ‘Watch what you’re doing with her. Stop throwing her around!’ I was like, ‘It’s fine, I know whatI’m doing.’
We’re both quite relaxed though. I think it’s really important not to be neurotic. It’s easy to fall into that and it’s a constant effort to not be like that, but I think it’s better for everyone.
Also sometimes after I feed her and [rock] her, she’s quite awake and looking at me, so I just can’t not look at her, because she looks so lush — I have to stay awake and look back at her.
I wouldn’t want to sleep anywhere else. We’ve been going to bed about 8 pm because we know we’ll be up for an hour or two in the night!
An hour or two?! Try five!
Gavin’s good, though — he’s changed a couple of hideous middle-of-the-night [diapers] already! I’m like all sing-song: ‘Oh, she’s done a little poo!’ It’s so sad and embarrassing, but I can’t stop myself!
I’ve got a weak stomach, but because it’s your own baby it’s different. I don’t find it as amusing as Charlotte finds it though!
On the qualities they hope Ruby receives from each other:
I really hope she gets Charlotte’s smile and intelligence. I hope she’s as easy going as you are. The way you can talk about your feelings and the way you’re open. I hope she’s not a closed book.
I hope she has Gavin’s calmness, his sense of humor — which is a bit off the wall but I love it — and everything physically about him because he’s lush.
On getting a nanny:
No! Definitely not. I can hardly bear to part with her when I hand her to one of her grandmothers! No way. No matter how hard it gets.
Taking time off from work:
I haven’t got a clue [how long a maternity leave I’ll take]. At the moment, I just want to stay in my little world. I feel like I would never want to be away from her or miss anything. So she will just have to come everywhere with me.
I love singing and I love doing ‘The Charlotte Church Show,’ so I don’t know how that’s all going to work out.
On losing the baby weight:
I’m just taking everything as it comes. Gavin’s got a state-of-the-art gym here, so maybe I can use that — maybe I won’t, because I’m really just not that bothered.
I think it’s sad when people get obsessed with all of that. I’m pretty happy with the way I am — and I bagged Gavin, so I can’t be doing that badly, can I?!
On the relationship Charlotte wants to have with her daughter:
[As a young mom] obviously you want a close relationship, but I think you have to have some boundaries where you’re the disciplinarian and you’re teaching them morals. I think it’s impossible to be friends with your mother until you’ve grown up a bit – at least until you’re my age, I’d say.
It’s a nice thought and I suppose it’s what every mother strives to have, but I think that should hopefully come a lot later.
On Ruby’s future:
I wouldn’t like it [if Ruby went into showbusiness]. I made a lot of money and I’m set for life and don’t regret anything, but it’s hard — it makes life more complicated. I think you have to be such a strong person to get through it.
When you look at the percentage of people who are messed up who are famous, it’s huge. I’d say at least 80%. Then there’s like only 20% of us who are still fairly normal, leading fairly normal lives.
I really like Charlotte’s voice — I can’t sing a note — so hopefully Ruby will inherit that and be able to play the piano and sing, but not really the showbusiness side — not after seeing what it’s like first-hand.
[My grandmother Megan] had nine children, so I had loads of cousins growing up and it wasreally nice, so I want me and Charlotte to try and beat her!
Definitely! [A rugby team of 15] might be a few too many — let’s say ten. I think I’ll enjoy Ruby first and see how I feel, because it’s a massive strain on your body. I don’t want to leave it too long though.
There’s 18 months between me and my sister and that’s quite nice, so maybe we’ll wait another nine months and then go again.