Denise Lewis has introduced her ten-week-old baby son Troy in an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine. "At the age of 46, I'm a mum of four," she said. "When I look at my family I just go, 'Wow!' It feels like starting out all over again. My energy levels are as high as ever and I’ve got even more to give. I'm certainly more patient and relaxed than when I was a younger mum. I didn’t think I could love so much again. He's just adorable and I'm totally immersed in everything he does. It's a magical time for us; we’re blissfully happy and feel blessed to have him."
Denise became a mum of four at the age of 46
"My first reaction when Mum told me we'd be welcoming a new baby was, 'How is this happening?'" remembered Lauryn. "I thought she meant we were adopting. But when she explained she was pregnant, I couldn't have been more surprised. I knew there were risks involved having a baby at Mum's age, and I was fearful of that. I was also very excited at the thought of having another little brother or sister – I'd been too young to appreciate that when Ryan and Kane were born." The two boisterous brothers, who sporadically dash off to kick a ball around the landscaped garden, watched intently by their labrador/ lurcher cross Bailey, are brimming with plans to entertain the new addition. "We're going to teach him how to play football as soon as he can walk," asserted sports-loving Ryan, adding with a cheeky grin: "At first I thought Troy would be like Kane – quite annoying – but he's really cute." "Kane's super-excited that he’s no longer the baby of the family," laughed property developer Steve, 54. "There's a ten-year age gap between him and Troy, which makes him feel very grown up."
The athletics champion sadly lost a baby in 2015
While many parents with three children would be relieved to survive the mountain of nappies and never- ending feeds that come with a new arrival, Denise and Steve were eager to embrace the routine again. Denise said: "I love babies; there was a need in me for one more."
"We'd talked about wanting baby number four a few years ago," said Steve. "But after Denise had a mis- carriage, we were unsure whether it would ever happen." The athletics champion lost a baby in 2015 when she was 12 weeks pregnant, so when she discovered she was expecting again last year, she waited cautiously until the five- month mark before announcing the happy news. "I wanted this baby so badly," she recalled. "During my pregnancy I ate healthily, stayed fit and carried well. My bump was neat and high, exactly as it had been when I was expecting Kane."
Denise had her fourth baby at the age of 46
However, to avoid medical complications because of her age, Denise's birth plan was completely different to those put in place for her other children. Instead of waiting for her to give birth naturally at 40 weeks, a doctor performed a sweep – a procedure that can release a contraction- inducing hormone – a week before her due date.
Within 24 hours Denise was in hospital and, under expert medical supervision and with Steve by her side, she started going into labour. "Although I couldn’t have a water birth, as with Ryan and Kane, I chose a birth plan with no epidural and minimal intervention," said Denise. "But I'd forgotten how painful delivering a baby can be and thought, 'Oh my God, I hope I can dothis again.' Although I was trying to focus and trust that my body knew what to do, it turned into a bit of a terrifying ordeal."
During labour the baby's heart rate dropped so dramatically that an emergency was called. The umbilical cord had wrapped itself around his arm, and every time Denise had a contraction, it was squeezing the cord. "I'd carried our baby for nearly nine months and didn't want to take any chances," recalled Denise. "But when I asked for a C-section, I was told no, our baby was ready to be born. That's when the focus I'd learned during my athletics career kicked in and I brought him into the world naturally – with Steve filming the final wonderful moment."
Weighing in at 6lb 9oz, Troy was born at 1.40pm on 14 December. "He was tiny, our smallest baby, and wanted to feed straight away," said Denise. "When the midwife placed him on my chest, he was like a little homing pigeon, wriggling up my body to suckle." Although she and Steve had decided not to find out in advance if they were expecting a girl or a boy, proud dad Steve – who now has five sons, including two from a previous relationship – says that deep down he already knew.
"I seem to be good at making boys," he grinned. "But I was convinced it was another boy because – and this may be medically inaccurate – during the pregnancy there seemed to be signs of more of the male hormone testosterone influencing Denise's behaviour. She's very organised and insists on everything being done properly, and while she was pregnant she was like this more than ever!"
The family are now a family of six
When proud parents Denise and Steve took Troy home, they were greeted by a touching sight. "The kids were excitedly waiting for us by the front door," recalled Denise. "And they'd made decorations saying: 'Welcome home Troy.' It was so moving; they absolutely adore their little brother and helped choose his name, which means 'strength'." With only days to go before Christmas, there was no time for new mum Denise to plan presents or decorations but, she said: "Troy was the most precious Christmas gift to us all."
Since then she has been settling him into a routine, while Steve holds the fort on kitchen and childcare duties. "As well as ferrying the kids to and from school and to their sports clubs, he's turning into a bit of a master chef," smiled Denise. "The kitchen is now his domain – and he has been showing Lauryn how to cook, serving up dishes of delicious salmon, chicken and sauces. Troy’s definitely brought a new dynamic into the family. I’m totally in love with him. Now that I know he’s our last baby, I savour every second and want time to stand still. He's changed our lives completely. Whenever we go out, we'll need to bring a car seat and tons of baby paraphernalia. In fact we're going to need a bigger car. As a family of six, we’ll probably need a truck!"
She added: "Troy's definitely brought a new dynamic into the family. I'm totally in love with him. Now that I know he's our last baby, I savour every second and want time to stand still. He's changed our lives completely."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.