Abi Bannatyne is the eldest child of six, to multi-millionaire and star of Dragon Den – Duncan Bannatyne. I recently had a nice cuppa tea with the mother of two to find out all about her life, loves and her new little bundle of joy! I love Abi’s honesty so much and you will be shocked how honest she really is. She gives us a glimpse into what really goes on in the Bannatyne household and what is it really like to be the daughter of a multi-millionaire.
Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your new baby boy! Did you suffer from morning sickness?
Thank you! A old wives tale is that you get really bad morning sickness if you are having a boy, true in my case. I still had morning sickness with my daughter but not half as bad as with my son. I spent the first 4 months sucking ginger biscuits and drinking fizzy drinks, I don’t know why but I found that a nice cold can of lemonade really helped! My husband did all the cooking as I could not stand the smell of food and lived pretty much on cereal, fruit and other plain foods like toast and cheese pizzas!
I went off coffee throughout my whole pregnancy with my son, I could not bear the smell or taste of it but on the day I brought him home from the hospital the first thing I did was go straight to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee, that was the best cup of coffee I have ever had.
I can imagine it must have tasted amazing! How was the whole pregnancy experience second time around?
Both pregnancies were totally different and I have never believed in those old wives tales that dictate what sex your baby is but I have one of each now (Ava is almost 3 and Austin is 4 months) and with my first pregnancy I was huge! I had a girl! Second time around, although I gained more weight but I carried it all up front, I had a massive bump and everyone kept telling me it would be a boy, they were right! My second pregnancy was easier, I knew what to expect and didn’t panic over little things like my belly button popping out. I didn’t enjoy it as much as my first pregnancy, but I think this was mainly due to knowing what was coming.
Did you do anything differently when preparing for the birth of your second child?
I was very scared about giving birth again but I did pregnancy yoga classes during my second pregnancy this time to prepare me for the birth. I followed the breathing techniques during my Sons birth and wow it made such a difference! Second time round was much quicker, much more relaxed but, unfortunately just as painful. The only difference was that I was able to control the pain due to the yoga classes. With my first (my daughter) I was in labour for 32 hours and I had an epidural which was bliss but very upsetting once the baby was born because I could not stand up or move around. I intended not to have an epidural second time around, this was not the case I did have an epidural BUT it did not work, we had lots of issues with it and we never did find out why it did not work so this time around I found the pushing part of labour a lot worse than the first time around but fortunately it only lasted an hour!
Tell us about what happened on the day you gave birth….
With my second labour my waters broke at 3 in the morning and my son was born by 7.40 p.m. so still a long time but my contractions were very weak and irregular until about lunch time and then I went for a long walk. I was taken to the delivery suite at around 2.30 p.m. when my contractions were more regular, longer and painful but I kept using the yoga techniques to get through them.
Who were your birthing partner(s)?
I had my husband and my mum with me. My husband, Anthony, is a professional rugby player and he had a cup final the following day but in order to play he had to train on the day I was in labour. As he only had to train for 2 hours (between 4pm and 6pm) I told him he could go as I was only about 3 cm dilated, meaning I had a long night ahead of me and as I had my mum with me and I was much calmer than first time round
Were you okay when your husband left?
Those 2 hours that Anthony was training were the longest two hours of my life! Not only did my mum faint during these 2 hours (it was very hot and she had not eaten all due to the excitement) but it was during these two hours that they were trying to give me an epidural and the first time they tried my right leg felt really numb. You know that feeling you get in your elbow when you hit your funny bone? It was like that but in my leg so they took it out my back and did it again, we thought everything was fine but I kept on asking when it was going to start working and after 40 minutes the midwife said it really should have started working but there were no anesthetist to come and look at me as the hospital was full! So full they had to start sending women to another nearby hospital!
I was also beginning to feel this insane need to push
when I told the midwife she examined me, it was exactly 6pm and my husband had just rang to say he had finished training and was going to pick up some food to bring to the hospital. I just remember the look on my midwives face when she told me to ring my husband and tell him not to bother with the food and to come back to the hospital ASAP as the baby was on its way.
So a lot happened in those 2 hours your husband was training! Did you manage to keep doing your breathing techniques during labour?
Because I started to panic, I forgot about the breathing techniques. I was in pure agony and I for what felt like an eternity, but was actually only an hour. My son finally arrived by a Ventouse assisted delivery (Vacuum device) at 7.40 p.m. 6th May (2 days early) weighing 8lb 3 oz, at this point I would like to point out my daughter was a whopping 9lb. I was quite shocked, as statistics show that on average you have a bigger baby second time around.
My son did not cry when he was born and I was very scared
as the reason he came out by Ventouse was because his heart beat kept dipping and they had to get him out immediately, there were around 4 or 5 people in the room and it was actually a consultant that delivered the baby over my midwife. As soon as he was born he was whisked of straight away to the corner of the room (but not before I saw his bottom half and screamed out its a boy!) an oxygen mask was placed over his tiny little face and we waited for what seemed like a life time before he finally cried (it was actually only about 3 minutes).
Hearing him cry for the first time after wondering if I would ever hear him cry was the most amazing and emotional experience I have ever gone through, Just thinking about it now brings a tear to my eye.
We’re so happy both mother and baby were fine in the end. Your husband is a rugby player. Are you planning to have a big family the size of a rugby team!?
I’m sad to say my husband is no longer a rugby player he has decided to retire. His last game he played is when I was in labour and guess what? They won! That was a fantastic game for Anthony to end his career on and it was all over the local papers about how well he had played and how he had almost missed the birth of his son in order to play. I have kept all the newspaper cuttings and put them in my Sons baby book.
The answer to your question however is no I don’t want rugby team sized family! I did, before I had my daughter. I am the eldest of 6 kids and we are all extremely close, I really wanted to re create that with my own family but wow kids are expensive! And not to mention the strain they put on your body … Although I might have one more! But don’t tell my husband that!
Hehehe don’t worry we won’t tell him! Your Dad (Duncan Bannatyne) is currently on our screens in Dragons Dens – I would say he’s the toughest Dragon! What’s he really like as a Dad?
My dad and my mum divorced when I was 9 and he was always working very hard which I am very grateful for, as we would not have the life we have now if it was not for that.
In all honestly my dad was not around as much when I was growing up as I would have liked.
I have never complained, but I am definitely a lot closer to my dad now than when I was a child, he was a great dad and still is, we have had our moments like I am sure any father and daughter do but as I am older and more wiser now I can appreciate what he has done for us and of course I can get in the car and go and see him whenever I want which was obviously not the case when I was a kid. Since having my kids my dad has been around even more and he visits regularly. He is a great granddad and the kids love him.
Do you have any funny stories about your Dad?
I once left him in charge of my daughter for 2 hours while I popped out to the shops with my son who was only about 2 weeks old, the house was a tip by the time I got back and my dad was pulling his hair out! But my daughter was laughing so that is what matters. A couple of hours later I walked into the dinning room to find my sons bouncer hidden underneath the table when I asked my dad what it was doing there he replied ‘I cant turn the damn music off’ it turns out my daughter had turned the music button on so my dad decided to hide it so he could not hear the very annoying nursery rhymes over and over again! Bless him!
Haha! I can imagine that happening! Sounds like something my Dad would do! Does he overly spoil his grandchildren? Or is he quite conscious not to?
My dad has never spoilt us he has always been very conscious not to.
We know the value of money we have always worked hard for it and we have never taken anything for granted
We are not spoilt in any way, yes we have had nice holidays and we have lived in nice houses but we never ever expect anything from him. He does however spoil my kids, not with materialist things though. For example we were on holiday a few weeks ago and my daughter wanted to ride on the carrousel so my dad bought her 6 rides! Then he gets her an ice cream and anything else she asked for! I swear if she had asked him to actually buy the carrousel for her to have in our garden he would have!
Your husband goes away quite a lot. How do you cope when he’s not with you?
I find it very difficult when my husband goes away, he does not go away as much as he used to now that he does not play rugby but he has gone from training a few hours each week to working a 40 hour week which is actually normally around 50! When we decided to try for our second child my husband was at home most of the time and then he decided to retire before our son is 24 hr old! So I am at home a lot and I won’t lie, it’s hard.
The soft play centers are my night in shinning armor. My daughter can have fun while I sit back and relax with a magazine and a cup of coffee.
I always have arts and crafts in the house to keep my eldest entertained while I see to the baby. On the days where I find it quite difficult to get out the house (the days when the washing basked is full, the ironing pile is huge and the cream carpet is now actually brown) I put a film on for Ava and I make her a ‘lunch box’ basically a picnic in a box, she loves this and that gives me a few hours to get the housework done. All my family live a 5 hours drive away including my husbands family so I do find it very hard but my I make sure my husband does his fair share when he is at home so I can have a rest, we take it turns to babysit so we can each go out with our friends etc and every once in a while we will pay a babysitter or ask a friend to watch the kids for a few hours so we can have a few hours together without the children. We don’t do his enough though because it is more difficult for us when our families live no where near us and babysitters are not only hard to find but they are expensive.
Even though your children are still young have they shown any interest in sport or business? Do you think they may follow in the footsteps of their Dad or Granddad?
My daughter is very sporty she is full of life and loves getting muddy and kicking a ball about with my husband in the back garden and my son will more than likely grow up playing rugby and football etc, I know my husband is excited about the prospect of this but as far as any future careers are concerned they are still too young although a fortune teller (who predicted that I would have 2 kids, a girl first and then a boy) told me that one of them would have a fantastic career as a model and one of them would have letters before their name.
Wow! By the sounds of things that fortune teller may end up being right! Has your first child adjusted to having a new baby in the house?
Ava loves her brother and is very protective over him but she as definitely had her moments with him, I cant leave them in the same room together not even for a second, even in front of me she has managed to hit him, pinch his cheecks or shout at him to wake him up. She cries a lot more than she ever used to which I think is because we run to Austin when he cries so she thinks she will get what she wants by crying but we ignore it. I have explained to her that Austin is a baby and he cant talk and that is his only way of communicating! Every morning when she wakes up she asks if ‘Baby Austin’ is big enough to play with yet! I can’t wait till he is old enough to chase after her!
A lot of women struggle with their weight after having children. How did you get back into shape?
With my fist the weight came off very slowly and I found it really hard, I tried everything including the cabbage soup diet but nothing worked until one day my husband came back from a very long trip, my daughter was about 15 months, I had a really hard week and as soon as he walked through the door I picked up my I pod and said I needed some space. I ended up running round our estate, I got lost and didn’t have a clue where I was but I didn’t care, I was by myself, alone with my thoughts not speaking gaga, not doing the cleaning or ironing. I ran whenever I could after that and the weight just dropped off.
I was determined not to put another 3 stone on during my second pregnancy so I went swimming regularly. I still ended up gaining 4 stone. I have already lost over 3 stone through running around after the kids and cutting out desserts and chocolate. I have only ran once since my son was born but I intend to get back into it and hopefully loose the last 8lbs that just won’t seem to budge!