A gruelling house renovation on The Block NZ while pregnant was tough enough for Quinn Alexandre, but nothing could prepare the mummy-to-be for childbirth.
“It was horrendous!” says the 27-year-old make-up artist, who squirms in her seat as she recalls an exhausting labour and trying pregnancy. “Obviously, I had no idea what to expect. My God, it was painful!”
But at our exclusive Woman’s Day photo shoot at the couple’s cosy Christchurch home, Quinn’s wriggles turn to smiles as she watches her besotted hubby fussing over their adorable son Cooper. “I’d go through it again and again and again if I had to because the pay-off is without a doubt worth it,” she beams. “Nothing makes me happier than watching my boys together. Neither Ben nor I have really been around babies much, but he’s an absolute natural – so involved and so in love.”
As their six-week-old bundle of joy nods off in Ben’s arms, the doting dad grins, “I seem to have mastered this soothing thing – he likes it when you just bob up and down. But if anyone deserves the real praise, it’s definitely his mum.”
When Quinn went into labour two-and-a-half weeks earlier than expected, Ben, 31, recalls how calm and collected his wife of three years was.
“We had an inkling he was going to come early. There’s this book we’ve kept in the toilet that basically says what should happen at what stage of pregnancy and we noticed everything was kicking off two weeks earlier.
“I got the call from Quinn on my way into work saying her waters broke. She was so relaxed, I was like, ‘OK, should I turn around and come back now?’ She was a little uncomfortable, but I barely heard a peep out of her during her contractions. By midday, we were on our way to the hospital.”
Less than four hours later, much to Quinn’s relief, their bonny, blue-eyed boy arrived happy and healthy.
Labour of love
“It was tough!” recalls Quinn, who is the first to admit she was a terrible pregnant woman. “And I think I even got off lightly. My midwife called it a straightforward nine-to-five birth. I don’t think I made it easy on myself trying to do The Block too, but even once it was over, I hated having my big belly all summer. I hated not having control over my body. Our little guy is certainly better out than in.”
While Quinn’s mood swings and bouts of morning sickness played out for all to see on the hit TV3 reality show – which saw the pair pocket $40,000 after placing last – the young couple kept the sex of their baby a close secret.
“It was nice to have something all to ourselves,” tells Ben, who says they longed to name their first-born in memory of Quinn’s late father David, a master cooper (barrel maker) by trade, who tragically passed away the week before the couple’s wedding in 2012.
“When Dad fell sick, we moved our wedding forward by almost three years,” tells Quinn. “We never expected to get married quite so young, but I knew it would make Dad so happy to be there on the day. Then to have a funeral and a wedding in the same week ... well, it’s all a bit of a blur.”
Ben adds, “We decided then that we’d name our boy Cooper. We wouldn’t have been disappointed at all to have a girl, but in a way, it’s really kind of special we got a boy first up.”
With medication to keep his colic at bay, Cooper’s taken to breastfeeding with ease and is growing by the minute.
“Even though he came early, the doctors said he had big hands and feet, and now he has a big belly to match,” laughs Quinn. “He’s a total guts and absolutely inhales his milk, even making these little piglet noises as he slurps. And he does massive farts just like his dad – he’s a real dude.”
Having put her make-up career on hold while she cares for her son, the proud mother concludes, “I love being a mum. You basically get to hang out with a little buddy all day long. I know not all new mothers have the same luxury of staying home with their children, so I just want to enjoy him for as long as I can. He’ll be a teenage boy one day – he won’t want to hang out with his mum forever!”
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