tess-daly

Strictly's Tess Daly recounts the births of daughters Phoebe and Amber

The TV presenter had two very different labours…

Sophie Hamilton

Strictly host Tess Daly dazzles us on the ballroom dancing show every weekend – we just adore watching her present the glitzy competition with Claudia Winkleman and are more than envious of her glamorous dress collection.

In her home life, Tess, 51, is wife to fellow TV presenter Vernon Kay and mum to their two daughters Phoebe, 16, and Amber, 11.

We're always fascinated by hearing celebrities recount their birth stories and Tess wrote about hers back in 2010 following the arrival of her second child. In her book, The Baby Diaries: Memories, Milestones and Misadventures, the star opened up about both of her labours and the emotions she experienced during the births.

Here we look back at Tess' two births…

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Tess Daly's daughter… Phoebe Kay

Phoebe Elizabeth Kay was born on 17 October 2004 at a London hospital – the same year Tess began hosting Strictly.

In her book, Tess revealed she had a caesarean birth with Phoebe due to having abnormal cells (on her cervix, which were treated after the birth). She had been desperate to have a natural birth but after consulting three doctors, was advised to have a C-section.

Tess recalled: "The sensation of having a caesarean, of the doctor feeling around to pull our baby into the world, was like having a builder with huge boots on inside me, pulling at random bits from the wall of my womb as he stomped about." She said she didn't know how Vernon didn't faint watching it.

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Tess with Phoebe and Amber

The pair were overjoyed when Phoebe was born and they discovered they had a little girl. Tess tells of the moment when Vernon asked the doctor: "What is it?" and he replied, "It's a pink one." But joy quickly turned to worry though, as their daughter didn't cry when she was born.

Tess had a little cuddle but then Phoebe was taken to have her passages cleared and to be observed. Naturally, Tess panicked, but fortunately, all was well.

"Phoebe was brought to my room over an hour after I had her," remembers Tess. "I was so happy to finally have my baby in my arms and to be able to cradle and hold her next to my skin. Having her here just felt like the most natural thing in the world."

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Tess Daly's daughter… Amber Kay 

Amber Isabella Kay was born on 30 May 2009, also in a London hospital, like her big sister. Amber weighed 7lb 15oz, with Vernon telling the Sunday Mirror at the time: "She is absolutely beautiful and I am thrilled."

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Vernon, Phoebe, Amber and Tess

In her later stages of pregnancy with Amber, Tess recalled how she was extremely nervous about the birth.

In an interview with the website Made for Mums, she said: "With Amber, I was terrified. I was scared about when and where I’d go into labour – what if it was while I was driving on the M40? I wanted a natural birth but was scared of going through hours of labour and still having to have an emergency C section for some reason.

"My birth plan was pretty loose but I was definitely up for pain relief. I had an epidural and it was fabulous. And the reality of giving birth was so much better than I’d imagined."

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Tess and Vernon's girls on the beach

Tess gave more details of her birth with Amber in her book The Baby Diaries. We love how she prepared for labour – in true Strictly style!

She wrote: "Before Amber’s I tried to remember my breathing techniques. But I did something else too. I had my roots done and, wait for it, a pedicure! It might sound like madness, but I thought that while I might come out of it looking like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards, I certainly wasn’t going in there looking that way."

Many mums will identify with this. It's great to look good for those first mummy photos after the birth, even if you are exhausted.

Tess also spoke of how supportive Vernon had been, reassuring her and giving her Tutti Frutti sweets. The star even sent her husband to watch the Cup Final in the pub over the road during her labour!

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Tess' labour was quick: she went from 7cm to 10cm dilated in just over an hour and the midwife called Vernon back from the pub. Whilst many women like their partner to be at their bedside, Tess said she preferred to get on with the labour by herself and Vernon waited outside her room.

Talking of pushing during her labour, Tess said she felt like a force of nature came over her:

"I let go and shouted and screamed like a primitive woman. I pushed so hard, again and again, under the instruction of the midwife and obstetrician. 'One more push,' the midwife said. It was a white lie – she ended up saying it three times."

Then, after one more push, Amber was born. Tess says she flopped on the bed, shattered, while Amber was placed on her chest and unlike with Phoebe, her baby cried straight away. The couple were ecstatic at their new arrival and even more special was when Amber seemed to instantly recognise Vernon.

"We looked at one another, it was such a special moment – she was minutes old and yet innately knew her daddy," writes Tess.