Proudly Introducing Baby Boy Bowie
'Buster's Obsessed With Bowie - He's Already Changed His Nappy'
'Emmerdale' stars Charley Webb and Matthew Wolfenden tell OK!'s Kirsty Hatcher about their son's delayed arrival, how Buster loves being a big brother and why the name Bowie wasn't a tribute
When OK! arrives at our exclusive shoot with Emmerdale stars Charley Webb and Matthew Wolfenden, we can hardly believe the actress gave birth in December! Glowing as she has her make-up applied, the 28 year old is modest about her post-pregnancy figure and tells us when we say she looks amazing: "Thank you, but it doesn't feel like that underneath my clothes!'
Her partner Matthew – who plays David Metcalfe in the ITV Soap - soon arrives and is full of energy despite a busy morning on the Emmerdale set and a newborn baby to contend with! With us all eager to meet the new arrival, it's not long before Bowie Grey Wolfenden arrives with his adorable big brother Buster, five, and his nanny Claire. The couple welcomed Bowie into the world on December 19 at 6:34pm at Halifax's Calderdale Royal Hospital. Weighing 8lb 10oz, the bundle of joy took his time to arrive and kept his mum and dad waiting for ten whole days. "Those last few days felt longer than the whole pregnancy!' laughs Charley, who plays Debbie Dingle on the Yorkshire Dales.
The star ended up having to be induced using a hormone drip after her waters broke on December 18 and she failed to go into labour. This meant the water birth the couple were hoping for went out the window. But even though he took his time to arrive into the world, Bowie certainly didn't make his first few weeks easy for his parents.
Suffering from 'extreme' reflux, the tot would bring up all of his milk after a feed and was failing to put on weight. Causing no end of worry for the stars, Charley says of that time: "I've never been more stressed or worried in my life.' Since then, however, Bowie's condition has thankfully improved and he's full of smiles for the OK! team.
When it came to naming their second son, Charley and Matthew have always been adamant that they weren't going to choose a boring name – and they certainly didn't! While Buster - who, despite feeling under the weather, is doting on his little brother and soon perks up when we start shooting - was desperate to call him John Lewis, his parents had other ideas and had been set on Bowie for months. But contrary to what people might think, the adorable tot was not named after late music legend David Bowie. Matthew, 35, explains: 'I'm a fan of David Bowie but that wasn't why we chose the name. We just both loved it! But then he died three weeks later and we couldn't believe the coincidence.'
Talk soon turns to whether there will be another, and it's safe to say both Matthew and Charley are keen. "I'd love a little girl, but as long as they're healthy that's all that matters,' says Matthew.
Here, the couple - who got engaged in 2009 - tell OK! all about Bowie's emotional arrival, their fears when he wasn't putting on weight and why they're eager for a third...
Congratulations to you both! Tell us about the birth...
Matthew: It all happened very quickly...
Charley: It might have felt quick to you! I ended Up being ten days late. I'm late for everything anyway so it made perfect sense. In terms of labour, though, it was very quick.
How long were you in labour for, Charley?
Just under five hours. My Waters broke on the Friday [December 18] at 11am. I was due to be induced on the 19th anyway, which was ten days after my due date, but nothing happened after my waters broke. If nothing happens after 24 hours then they have to induce you, because the baby is out of water and there's a high risk of infection. My water birth went straight out the window!
Did you go straight to the hospital after your waters broke?
Yes, we were actually in the car on the way to Mothercare when it happened! I'm so glad I wasn't in the shop! I started freaking out that I could have gone into labour when we were shopping so I was in some weird stress.
Matthew: I drove us and we spent a good few hours there. Once the waters break you expect to go straight into labour, but Charley's contractions still hadn't started so they said we might as well go home.
Charley: I wanted to go home anyway because I felt like there was no point in being there if nothing was happening.
Matthew: They said if Charley did go into labour to bring her in, but it still didn't happen that night.
How were you feeling that night, Charley?
I was ready for him to come out but I wasn't too uncomfortable. He was clearly too comfortable in there!
What happened next?
Matthew: It was getting close to the 24 hours since Charley's waters had broken and we were out having a coffee with my mum and dad so we weren't too far away from the hospital. We rang the hospital but the maternity ward was really busy so we had to ring back every hour.
Charley: Eventually they had to get me in because they couldn't leave it any longer! It was quite a weird experience.
What time did you go back to the hospital?
Matthew: We arrived at 2pm and Charley was hooked up to the hormone drip to induce the labour by 2.30pm.
How disappointed were you that you couldn't have a water birth, Charley?
When I first realised I was going to have to be induced, I was really upset. I was thinking, this is not how I wanted it to be. I didn't like the thought of an induced labour because it's just not natural.
Matthew: Once your waters have broken, if your contractions don't start during a certain amount of time, then you physically can't have a water birth because it's too dangerous. I'm hoping we can have one next time. I was quite looking forward to getting into the birthing pool with Charley!
Charley: Absolutely not [laughs]! I like to be in my own little world when I'm giving birth and being induced was a totally different experience to natural labour. I was a bit worried at first but by the end I actually quite enjoyed it. I'm a bit of a control freak, so I liked the fact that I knew when was going to go into labour.
Did being induced make your birth more painful, Charley?
Definitely. The contractions are much stronger. was having continual contractions, which were horrendous. I didn't have any pain relief, though. I don't know why but I'm really funny about painkillers, and any time I get ill I never take them unless it's really severe. I like to know what level of pain I'm at and they mask it, so it's a control thing. I did have gas and air, though.
How were you during the birth, Matthew?
As Charley was so calm, it made me feel calm, too. It was just us and the midwives in the room. I didn't think a birth could be any more laid back than Buster's was, and I think this one was twice as good! Charley was amazing.
Charley: Apparently I didn't make a sound, even when Bowie came out. We were chatting most of the way through it. Matthew kept going on about getting coffee.
Matthew: We'd been there for about four hours and I was just about to go and get a coffee when the midwife suddenly said: 'You might want to stay here!' The next thing we knew, we had a baby in our arms 20 minutes later. Thank God I didn't go and get a coffee because I probably would have missed the birth!
How did you both feel when you saw Bowie for the first time?
Charley: I was really emotional. My first thought was whether he was okay. He was crying so much and Buster didn't cry at all, so I was really panicking. He seemed really distressed but he was completely fine. He went straight onto my chest and all I could see was this little head and him screaming away. I thought, oh God, it's started already
Were you emotional, Matthew?
I was, yeah, but I was with Buster, too. I'm a big softie really! We were just so happy he was healthy and I think we felt a mixture of emotion and relief that it was a boy. I got to cut the cord again, too, which was nice, and we did delayed cord clamping. It's where they leave the placenta attached for five or ten minutes before they clamp it. We'd read so many good things about it and it's meant to give them a healthy blood volume.
Buster was desperate for a brother. How happy was he?
Charley: He was beside himself. It really offends me when so many people say: 'Are you desperate for a girl?' When I actually really wanted a boy.
Matthew: Because Buster was desperate for a brother we'd set our hearts on it being a boy, so we were over the moon when we found out. The first thing we said to each other was: "Buster is going to be so pleased'.
Charley: I think he thought that we had control over it somehow. He kept saying: "Just make it a boy!"
When did he come to see hinn?
Charley: A few hours later. He was the first person to meet him. We didn't tell him we'd had a boy until he arrived. He got a bit emotional actually and he did cry a bit! Then he did a little victory dance!
Matthew: He came straight from his Christmas street dance show - still in his Santa outfit - and my parents brought him. He walked into the room and gasped! I was supposed to play Santa in the show but because the baby was on its way, my dad had to step in.
How did you feel afterwards, Charley?
I actually enjoyed both labours more than the pregnancies, but I felt really ill straight after the birth. I felt horrendous and I thought I was going to faint. I also had really bad stomach pains. They call them second child pains and it's almost like having contractions again.
Matthew: Because of the induction there's a risk of bleeding afterwards, so Charley had to have an injection to ensure she didn't lose too much blood. They said the mixture of the injection and the hormone drip can be pretty horrible.
Charley: There was nothing they could give me for the sickness so I just had to let it pass. It was only for a few hours. We had to stay in for 24 hours because he'd been out of water so they had to keep checking him before they could let us go.
Who does Bowie look more like?
Charley: Everyone says he looks like Matthew, apart from his mum!
Matthew: Everyone we meet says he's the spitting image of me.
Charley: Buster looks like me. Buster had a full head of dark hair when he arrived and Bowie had hardly any. I was like, where is all his hair?
Matthew: Buster and Bowie are completely different in looks and temperament. Bowie seems a lot calmer than Buster.
Charley: Bowie has an all-or-nothing personality. He's either screaming or completely chilled out. He's definitely kept us on our toes so far!
So tell us, did you call him Bowie after David Bowie?
Charley: No! We just really loved the name.
Matthew: Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of David Bowie but that wasn't why we chose the name. We just both loved it. Charley's sister Cassie [Lomas] texted the name to us a few months before he was born and straight away we both loved it. We'd chosen the name before he was born and named him straight away, and then David Bowie died three weeks later...
Charley: It was so strange and such a coincidence.
Matthew: I got a news update on my phone saying he had died and it made my heart sink. couldn't stop thinking about how sad and weird it was. People have said to me: "Did you know David Bowie was ill and that's why you've called your son Bowie?' But of course we didn't! Why would we have known he was ill?
Have people assumed you've called him Bowie in tribute to David Bowie?
Matthew: Oh yeah, loads of people! People have mainly assumed it's because one of us is a massive David Bowie fan. We've had to do quite a lot of explaining.
Has that been annoying?
Charley: It is slightly annoying. I think once we'd said it, it wasn't until we'd definitely decided on it and then sent it to our friends and family that we went, oh God, everyone is going to be asking about it and wondering how to pronounce it! didn't want him and Buster to have the same initial because then everyone assumes you've done it for that reason, but we did just really like that name.
Did you think about changing his name after David Bowie's death?
Charley: At first I did think it was strange because he'd passed away, but in reality we wouldn't have changed it. He was nearly a month old by the time it happened so we'd already been calling him it for weeks.
Matthew: Then Howard [Donald] from Take That called his little boy Bowie in tribute to him. So people probably think we've copied Howard from Take That!
Tell us about his middle name...
Matthew: We chose Grey because we thought Bowie Grey has a really nice ring to it. We chose it the day after he was born.
Have you been breastfeeding, Charley?
Yes, I did for the first five weeks and then we switched to formula. Buster didn't take to breastfeeding at all but it worked really well with Bowie at first and I really enjoyed it. But then he started having problems and we were both getting really stressed out. He was bringing up all of his feed. It didn't seem normal; it was like extreme reflux. He was projectile vomiting!
Matthew: We didn't know what was wrong with him. They thought he might be lactose intolerant.
How was that time for you?
Charley: It was awful. I was reading things on Google and when you don't know what's going on it's not very nice at all. We were in hospital quite a lot for the first few weeks seeing paediatricians. Then my milk just started drying Up, probably from the stress, so he wasn't getting enough feed. He was bringing it all back up and I wasn't filling up quick enough to give him another feed. It was a bit of a nightmare. It was actually a paediatrician who suggested we start on the formula because he wasn't satisfied and he wasn't putting on weight.
Were they able to give him anything for the reflux?
Charley: We had started him on this medication but I just decided one day to take everything away from what we were doing and start from the beginning.
Matthew: On a feed we were giving him baby Gaviscon, ranitidine, which you had to drip into his milk, and this other stuff that we dripped into his mouth with a syringe before each feed. So at one point we were giving him about three or four other things before even giving him his milk. We thought, let's just knock it all on the head and start him from scratch.
Charley: We didn't even know what was working and what wasn't. There was no pattern to his sickness and I really didn't want to be pUtting a load of medication into our baby when he was so tiny. It didn't feel right and he was still throwing Up anyway so it seemed pointless. He wasn't distressed from throwing up, it was his constant tummy ache and the wind from the reflux that was bothering him.
Did his reflux get better once you were just feeding him formula?
Charley: Yes. It has got so much better over time. Bowie lost a lot of weight when he was first born, which was the biggest worry. He kept losing it for the first two weeks. It was horrible. I've never been more stressed or worried in my life. Especially as a new mum when you've just given birth and you've got all those hormones going on. I couldn't stop thinking about it. That was probably another reason why I wasn't giving him enough milk, because I was so stressed.
When did he start putting weight on?
Charley: After a few weeks, and he's doing so much better now. Reflux can last up to a year but I can't even describe how much better he is now compared to when he was first born. It could have taken so much longer to improve. He does still bring up his milk a bit sometimes, but before he was bringing up the whole bottle.
How is he sleeping?
Matthew: He's been really good. We're only getting up about once each a night and sometimes he sleeps through for five hours. At first he was waking up every two hours.
Charley: He's been sleeping in a SnuzPod in our room and he'll be in there for the first year. With Buster we didn't have any routine when he was first born and it was chaos, so I was adamant with Bowie that we'd have a bedtime routine.
Matthew: Charley has been absolutely brilliant with that. He gets put to bed the same way every night and at the same time. He goes down awake at about 7.30pm. One of us will put Buster to bed and read him a story and the other will sort Bowie. He soothes himself to sleep.
How have you both been feeling?
Charley: The first six weeks were just exhausting. We couldn't really function. I think we'd forgotten how hard it is!
Matthew: It took me a few attempts to remember how to change a nappy! It's amazing how much you forget. But I've been really lucky with filming because my storylines have been pretty quiet since I went on paternity leave in December. If I could have taken more time I would have. I've had quite a few days off so I've been able to be at home, but I've got a big storyline coming up so that's all about to changel I can't tell you anything about it because it won't be on screen for another month or so.
Have your families been helping you out?
Charley: Cassie has, and Matthew's mum and dad have been really good.
Matthew: Their nanny Claire will also be able to help out when we need her. Over Christmas Charley's mum stayed at ours for a few days – it was good to have Grandma on hand when he was only a few days old!
Was Christmas stressful?
Charley: It was actually really nice. We had our families staying with us, but obviously we weren't very prepared because of Bowie's arrival!
Matthew: I was supposed to be cooking for everyone but Bowie arrived six days before, so I managed to get us in somewhere for lunch.
The last time we spoke, you were looking for a new house and now you're in. Are you settled?
Charley: Yes, we are. We're only 20 minutes from the Emmerdale set in Leeds. We got the keys a few months before the baby arrived so it was nice to feel settled and prepared. There's definitely room for more children, too!
So a third baby is on the cards?
Charley: I really do hope so! Having this one has made us decide we definitely want another. If we do have another I'd like to breastfeed for longer.
Matthew: I would love to have a girl eventually. I think all lads would like a girl.
Charley: I've always said I want two boys and a girl, but since having two boys I would be really happy with three boys.
Matthew: It'd be nice to be able to experience both, but as long as they're healthy that's all that matters. Can you imagine if we do have a third and it's a boy? We'll be overwhelmed!
Do you want to leave a similar age gap?
Charley: Not really. Because there's almost a six-year gap between Buster and Bowie, it would be nice to experience having two at a similar age. We've both said we won't leave it as long next time!
Matthew: After such a rough couple of weeks with Bowie losing weight, Charley was saying: 'I don't think I can do this again, and then about two weeks ago she said: 'I think we should try for another quite soon!' If it is another boy, despite what Charley says, I think she'd be like, let's try again and see if we can get a girl. She loves her boys but I would like to try again for a girl!
So how many would you like altogether?
Charley: I don't know, we can't decide. Matthew: A lot of people said to us once you have two it will probably put you off having three, but it really hasn't! So we're definitely up for three. But I've always said I want four kids because I love the idea of a house full.
Has having another baby brought you closer together?
Matthew: I don't know about closer together, not saying that we're not close anyway, but think it makes you feel more of a family unit.
Charley: I remember Charlotte Bellamy [who plays Laurel Thomas in Emmerdale] saying to me: 'Having one is lovely but when you have two you feel more of pack,' and you do instantly. We feel like a proper family unit.
Have the two of you talked any more about getting married?
Charley: No, not really. I'm sure we will do eventually, but it's just getting the right time. Everything seems to take over with life. We're not people who are desperate to get married so the kids are the priority at the moment.
Matthew: The wedding will have to wait and we'll keep having kids instead! We want it be abroad so it will take a lot of planning.
You had your first night away from Bowie at the Broadcast Awards last month, Charley. How was that?
Charley: I really missed him. It felt a little soon but it was nice that Emmerdale won Best Soap. It was good to get home, though.
Matthew: I had the two boys through the night for the first time by myself. It was very tiring! I don't know how people do it on their own.
How has Buster adjusted to being a big brother?
Charley: He absolutely loves it. He's obsessed with him.
Matthew: I think because he's that little bit older, he feels quite responsible for him. There's no jealously there even though a newborn baby takes up all of your time. He changed his first nappy last week!
Charley: He won't do it if it's really dirty, though!
Matthew: He's been great. If Bowie's being sick he'll run and fetch a muslin cloth.
Charley: The other day he said: 'I haven't seen Bowie this morning. Can you please bring him to me immediately?' And whenever We suggest doing something with him, he says: 'And Bowie!'
Matthew: From a couple of weeks old, Buster was one of the only ones Bowie would respond to.
Did you get Buster a present from Bowie?
Charley: Bowie got him two goldfish. He wanted us to call the baby John Lewis or James Bond. He was absolutely set on John Lewis, though, so when ue told him we'd called him Bowie he was quite upset. We had to be quite strict about it in the end because he was obsessed with it.
Matthew: He said: 'I think I'm still going to call him John Lewis, so now he has two goldfish, one called John Lewis and one called James Bond!
Charley: The goldfish changed his life. Once we gave those to him he started calling Bowie his proper name.
Did he want to call him John Lewis after the department store?
Charley: No, he says he's a singer who has died. don't know where he got it from!
Matthew: He also said he wanted to change his uwn name to Tony, too, so he and the baby could be Tony and John Lewis! He's a funny one.
Do you know how long you're taking off work, Charley?
I haven't even thought about it yet. I've just been consumed with baby sick!
Have you taken him to the Emmerdale set yet?
No, but I think pretty much the whole cast and crew has been to see him!
Matthew: Jeff Hordley [who plays Cain Dingle] and Zoe Henry [who plays Rhona Goskirk] have two kids and they're really into their music so they gave us a CD of David Bowie's songs that have been turned into lullaby music!
Charley: Sheree [Murphy, Charley's best friend and former co-star] has spoilt him rotten, too. She's like the baby whisperer. He went through a stage where nothing would comfort him but he'd instantly settle with her.
Matthew: We also got this gorgeous handcarved toy box from my agent and friend Jorg [Betts]. It says 'Bowie Wolfenden – Since 2015' on the front and it's beautiful. It's in his nursery.
You're in amazing shape, Charley...
Thank you. I didn't put masses of weight on. You can't really exercise properly for six weeks after anyway, but I wasn't like, I need to get back in the gym immediately! I've just done a bit of yoga.
How often have you been doing that?
I haven't done much so far. Roxy [Shahidi, who plays Leyla Harding] has been coming round to teach me and I'm going to do more and more sessions. She's been doing baby yoga with Bowie, too.
Have you suffered from the baby blues?
Not at all, I've really enjoyed it. I'm just obsessed with him and you take everything in much more the second time.