Introducing Ruby Megan Henson
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.
Click below for all the photo and interview highlights.
I hadn’t really smoked for a year before I got pregnant. I decided togive it up for a New Year’s resolution. I went cold turkey on a stinkinghangover. 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 likedthe taste of alcohol anyway, so it was just to go out and get drunk andbe 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 Icould have a glass of wine, but apart from a glass of champagne on mybirthday, I didn’t drink at all because I don’t think you should whenyou’re pregnant. You’re growing a person inside you and I think it’sselfish to. You know it’s bad, so just don’t do it.
On the pregnancy:
I actually loved beingpregnant. I moaned my ass off: ‘Ooh my hips, my heartburn’ — but Iloved it.
On the labor:
I was meant to be leaving for a game, but Charlotte was 9 daysoverdue, 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 startedhaving contractions when we were outside B&Q [a UK Home Depot-type store].
Charlotte laughs at the memory.
He’daccidentally locked me in the car and the alarm was going off, sopeople 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 tryingto 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 thebirthing pool, and Gavin was trying to submerge these bean bags.
I thought beforehand if she was sitting in the pool for a while, itwould 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 tosubmerge 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 ongas 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].
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, ‘Justget through this one.’
The midwives said a lot of men panic and getstressed 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 myleg, 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 whosaid ‘Would you like an epidural?’ I would have!
You have to be inhospital to have one, so I’m glad it wasn’t an option, because not havingone made my recovery so much better — because you can feel everythingwhen 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 babywas just coming out and to see that was amazing. You don’t know whatpeople are talking about unless you’ve been a part of it.
I had so muchmore respect and so much more love for Charlotte after what she’d justbeen through.
I cut the cord. Charlotte didn’t speak for about ten minutes. She was in propershock! I was just so relieved that the baby looked really healthy. Ichecked 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.
Shewas wide awake — quiet, looking around. They cleaned her up and weighedher — 6 lbs 12 oz, same as me when I was born — and me and Gav were sittingthere on the kitchen floor.
Afterwards [someone] made me six pieces of toast and a cup of tea and wehad my mum and dad and Gav’s mum and dad there. It was perfect.
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 hermiddle name after Gavin’s grandmother. She’s passed away now, buteveryone spoke about her with such love.
The midwives, Julia Sanders and Mary Coakley, were amazing — they puteverything 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, andsaid now we can phone everyone.
I’m feeling really great actually — a little bit tired comesix in the evening, but in general it’s all going really well. You hearall these things, like it turns your life upside down and it doesn’tbring 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 amountsof 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 shelooked so lush and I thought about the birth and it was so perfect, soit 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?’ AndI said ‘I can’t — I’d never stop!’ So I didn’t bother.
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 aboutit, but it’s better for the baby and the mother, and it’s such a bondingthing as well.
I also love the fact that she’s so dependent on me. Ithink 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, becausethat’s the only way I can sleep. Sometimes I’m so wired, but if hecuddles up to me and I’m nice and warm, then I can sleep.
Gavin was worried about me rolling over and smothering her, but Ithink it’s instinctual that I wouldn’t. He actually said, ‘If yousmother her I’ll kill you!’ At the start, Gavin was like, ‘Watch what you’re doingwith her. Stop throwing her around!’ I was like, ‘It’s fine, I know whatI’m doing.’
We’re both quite relaxed though. I thinkit’s really important not to be neurotic. It’s easy to fall into thatand it’s a constant effort to not be like that, but I think it’s betterfor everyone.
Also sometimesafter I feed her and [rock] her, she’s quite awake and looking at me, so Ijust can’t not look at her, because she looks so lush — I have to stayawake and look back at her.
I wouldn’t want to sleep anywhereelse. We’ve been going to bed about 8 pm because we know we’ll be up foran 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’sdifferent. I don’t find it as amusing as Charlotte finds it though!
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 abit off the wall but I love it — and everything physically about himbecause he’s lush.
On getting a nanny:
No! Definitely not. I can hardly bear to part with her when I hand herto one of her grandmothers! No way. No matter how hard it gets.
I haven’t got a clue [how long a maternity leave I'll take]. At the moment, I just want to stay in my littleworld. I feel like I would never want to be away from her or missanything. So she will just have to come everywhere with me.
I lovesinging and I love doing ‘The Charlotte Church Show,’ so I don’t know howthat’s all going to work out.
On losing the baby weight:
I’m just taking everything as it comes. Gavin’s got astate-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 peopleget obsessed with all of that. I’m pretty happy with the way I am — and Ibagged 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 aclose relationship, but I think you have to have some boundaries whereyou’re the disciplinarian and you’re teaching them morals. I think it’simpossible 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 Isuppose it’s what every mother strives to have, but I think that shouldhopefully come a lot later.
I wouldn’t like it [if Ruby went into showbusiness]. I made a lot of money and I’m set for life anddon’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 youlook at the percentage of people who are messed up who are famous, it’shuge. 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 hopefullyRuby will inherit that and be able to play the piano and sing, but notreally 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 amassive 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.
Thanks to CBB reader Chloe for the transcript and scans!