Olympian Sam Quek revealed the exciting news that she was expecting a baby girl to OK! back in November, and now the sportswoman has exclusively introduced her little one for the very first time.
In this beautifully honest and open interview, only for OK! VIPs, Sam and her husband Thomas Mairs tell how Sam felt she was "failing as a woman" after experiencing a heartbreaking miscarriage earlier last year and needing a C-section to give birth to her daughter.
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Olympic hockey player Sam Quek is used to working hard for the elation of landing a big prize – and they don’t come bigger than motherhood.
The 32-year-old had to call on her athlete’s strength and spirit during a gruelling 27-hour labour as she welcomed her first child with husband Tom Mairs, a girl named Molly Doris Mairs.
The couple revealed their pregnancy to OK! in November and bravely opened up about the heartbreaking miscarriage they had suffered earlier in the year.
And now they are overjoyed to be able to exclusively introduce their little girl to our readers as we catch up for a shoot in their Wirral home. Clearly thrilled to be a mum, Sam says, “I didn’t realise how full of love you’d feel – I’d do anything for her!”
Sam’s labour began 11 days after her due date and it ended in a C-section – with Molly weighing in at a healthy 7lb 14oz on 2 March.
And entrepreneur Tom, 34, says he’s full of admiration for his wife after seeing the way she coped with her ordeal.
“I can’t believe the human body goes through that,” he says. “I’ve seen Sam
play hockey tournaments with broken ribs but, my God, watching a woman going through contractions is harrowing.”
Although the couple are well and truly in their baby bubble, Sam admits the first few weeks as parents were tough and things became harder when she discovered she wasn’t producing enough milk.
Despite her hubby’s support, she admits she felt “bad” and “guilty” that she couldn’t feed Molly the natural way, adding, “There’s so much pressure.”
Here, Sam and Tom discuss how their difficult journey to becoming parents has brought them closer together – and reveal which of her I’m A Celeb co-stars has been lavishing them with baby gifts…
Congratulations, guys! Tell us about Molly…
Sam: We’re both completely besotted and in love. We can’t get enough. She’s already got a little character and she loves her bottle. She’s a really good baby. She only cries when she’s hungry and if she needs her nappy changed.
Tom: She just kicks and kicks. I’m telling you, she’s going to be an international footballer! She’s so strong. She looks very much like Sam. She’s got Sam’s eyes and dark colouring.
Sam: She’s an absolute gem and she’s growing every day.
How have you found the first few weeks as parents?
Sam: They’ve absolutely flown. I’ve loved every minute but it’s been tough. My emotions for the first weeks were all over the place. I’m not one for crying but I was sobbing at the littlest things. She’d grab my finger or look me in the eyes and I’d just burst into tears.
Blame those hormones! Tell us about the birth…
Sam: I was 11 days overdue and I was booked in for an induction. I went in but I was definitely already having contractions and started pre-labour over the weekend.
So we went in on the Monday and they said, “Okay, we’ll break your waters.”
It was bearable and I just had paracetamol and codeine, and I hadn’t started on the gas and air yet. It got more and more intense and I got to about 4cm [dilated] and they put me on the oxytocin drip – and that was a whole new labour for me.
Tom: Sam had been adamant she wanted to do nothing more than gas and air. And Sam’s got a really high pain threshold, being an Olympian. It got to hour number nine and Sam said, “I might just try the pethidine.”
Sam: What I didn’t realise with the drip, because it’s artificial, it apparently makes your contractions more intense.
Tom: I can’t believe the human body goes through that. I’ve seen Sam with broken ribs play hockey tournaments but, my God, watching a woman going through contractions is harrowing. I said to Sam, “We’re not doing this again!” Molly was born in the 28th hour.
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Sam: It didn’t feel that long. We got to 6cm [dilated] at midnight and it went on for hours. The consultant kept coming in and I wasn’t moving from 6cm. She said, “Listen, you’re absolutely shattered. You’ve gone through a lot, your waters have been broken for longer than we’d like.”
Tom: You’ve skipped a bit there! Sam was at 6cm and said she wanted to keep trying, naturally. Another four hours and they said, “What do you want to do?” And then another four hours went past and she said, “I’ve got another four hours in me.”
They checked her at hour 24 and said, “You’re still at 6cm, what do you want to do?” And Sam was like, “It’s time to discuss options.” The baby’s head was starting to swell.
How was the C-section?
Sam: It was incredible. I love efficiency.
Tom: It was about 33 minutes from going in [to the theatre] to getting out. Sam’s
scar is like a work of art. But it was quite traumatic getting Molly out, because Sam’s abdominal muscles are so developed they couldn’t cut through them.
It was quite funny, because Sam was measuring quite small and they estimated Molly would be between 5lb and 6lb – but they got her out and the doctor was like, “She’s massive!”
They put her on the scales and she was 7lb 14oz. It must have been Sam’s abdominals keeping Molly in.
Sam: She came out and made a gurgle. I burst into tears. Tom burst into tears and he lifted her up, and she had this face staring at us, and then she burst into tears.
What an experience…
Tom: Before you have the C-section, the doctor comes in and runs through all the things that can go wrong. Like, one in so many thousand won’t be able to have kids again. And Sam was like, “Can you save one of my eggs?”
They were about to take her down and I was like, “Everyone needs to leave the room. I need to have a word with my wife, here.” And I knelt by Sam, and tried to keep it together.
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I’d just seen 24 hours of this woman climbing Everest with weights on her back. And I got down by her side and said, “I need to know you’ve got this. You’re knackered and have been unreal.” I started crying.
Sam: When I could see Tom looking at me and welling up, I switched into this…
Tom: I could see the face – the Olympic face. When it comes to game time, there’s nothing like it.
Sam: It was like when you’re drunk and you need to be sober and switch.
Tom: She looked me in the eyes and went, “I got this!”
Did you always have the name Molly?
Sam: It was after our 20-week scan we found out it was a girl. We had an app and narrowed it down to three of mine and three of Tom’s. From week 20, we stopped calling the bump Bump and started calling it one of these six names.
Tom: We both liked Molly. But we have two dogs – one called Max and one called Olly – Molly!
Sam: We joked around at first but it just stuck.
Has she got a middle name?
Tom: Doris, after Sam’s grandma, who’s just turned 100!
Sam: She’s 100 but completely with it. She was absolutely over the moon.
Are you breastfeeding, Sam?
Sam: I was originally. People always say, “Breast is best.” There’s a lot of pressure from a mother’s point of view to breastfeed. At the moment I’m expressing, just because of the trouble we had with breastfeeding and latching on. She was getting milk, just not enough milk. So I struggled.
Tom: We had the miscarriage in the January the year before, which was tough on Sam psychologically and she said she felt she let people down.
Then she wanted to give birth to Molly and it turned out it was by C-section. I didn’t realise, but part of Sam thought she’d failed to give birth.
Sam’s then breastfeeding Molly and she ends up slightly dehydrated, because you don’t know how much milk she’s getting. She lost 12% bodyweight and Sam said, “Well, I’ll pump.”
Afterwards, Sam was getting upset and said, “I feel like a letdown. I had a miscarriage, couldn’t give birth naturally, now I can’t breastfeed and I’m not producing enough milk.”
Tom: There was this conversation of, “I feel like I’m failing as a woman!” And I was like, “What planet are you on?
You’ve had surgery and the miscarriage is nothing to do with you. You’re doing what’s best for Molly, by foregoing this amazing bond with breastfeeding. You’re giving that up to make sure Molly is getting enough food. That’s stepping up and really being a mother!”
Sam: You go through this emotional phase and just think, “I’m going to breastfeed.”
You do feel bad that you can’t do that. There’s so much pressure. You’re like, “I feel guilty she’s not got enough milk off me. I feel like a mother who has neglected their child.”
You have to realise there’s so much stuff out of your control.
After everything you went through with your miscarriage, does it make you appreciate Molly even more?
Sam: Definitely. We couldn’t ask for anything more. Tough times bring people together.
Tom: We were tight anyway but, Jesus, it brings you together even more. We feel lucky, because we know people who’ve had multiple miscarriages, or still can’t get pregnant.
Sam: It’s just incredible. The first question you get when you have a baby is, “When
are you having the next one?” And we’ve always wanted a big family.
Have you told any of your I’m A Celeb 2016 co-stars about Molly, Sam?
Sam: Only Carol [Vorderman]. She sent some really lovely presents. Some lovely bears and toy rabbits. We’ve told close family and friends and that’s about it.
Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek gives birth to a baby girl with husband Tom Mairs
Sam Quek reveals the first time she was recognised in public and how she was picked for I’m a Celeb
Will you encourage Molly to have a sporting career like you, Sam?
Sam: Definitely. My best mates come from my hockey teams and it took me around
the world. It helps build character.
Tom: She’s got Sam’s genes as an Olympic gold medallist and she’s going to have an Olympic gold medallist teaching her as well!
Sam: There will be no pressure whatsoever, but I’ll encourage her to play sport as much
Finally, as a former athlete, do you feel sorry for Olympians who have spent the past year in lockdown?
Sam: Massively. The amount of time you spend on the pitch as a team is so important. Individual sport athletes can still work out but they’ve had difficulty getting to their gyms or meeting their trainers. It’s tough. Whoever goes to Tokyo in the summer and does it successfully will be whoever handled lockdown the best.
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