Brooke Vincent has introduced her newborn son Monroe and opened up about his "complicated" birth which saw her go into labour before her planned C-section.
The Coronation Street actress speaks candidly in a brand new OK! interview – accompanied by a beautiful shoot and video. You can sign up for free as an OK! VIP to find out about how her eldest son Mexx is getting on as a big brother, why suffering from mum guilt has been her "biggest fear" and how she and footballer boyfriend Kean Bryan are adjusting to life as a family of four.
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They say having two under two can be hectic, but when OK! catches up with Brooke Vincent following the birth of her second child, the actress appears to have the whole thing nailed.
Chatting to us over Zoom while feeding her newborn son Monroe, the Coronation Street star is multi-tasking like a pro and showing no signs of the effects of sleepless nights.
“I might not look it, but I’m actually alright!” laughs Brooke, 28. “Thankfully he’s very chilled,” she adds of Monroe, who already has a full head of dark hair.
Brooke welcomed Monroe S J Bryan into the world on 4 May at 8.14am – the exact same time as his 18-month-old big brother Mexx – via C-section weighing 8lbs 1oz at St Mary’s Hospital.
Her partner, Sheffield United footballer Kean Bryan, was by her side.
The star was booked in for an elective caesarean due to complications from her birth with Mexx. But after going into labour nine hours before she was scheduled for theatre, her plan went out the window!
Here, Brooke, who’s played Sophie Webster in the soap on and off since the age of 11, tells OK! about Monroe’s “scary” arrival, and a moment shared with Mexx that moved her to tears…
Congratulations, Brooke! How does it feel to be a mum-of-two?
It’s quite surreal, but he’s slotted right in. We’re adapting to being a family of four. The other day Mexx was teething and he was really poorly and they were waking each other up crying.
Me and Kean just looked at each other like, “Oh my God! What do we do?” Usually I love having everything tidy but it’s not happening with two.
The bedding is covered in baby sick! If you want nice bedding and chilled-out days, don’t have two children!
Tell us about the birth…
My birth was a little bit more complicated this time. The reason I ended up having a C-section with Mexx was because I didn’t fully dilate and he tried to come down the birth canal and that inflamed my cervix.
They said the same would probably happen this time, so I was booked in for an elective C-section because I didn’t want to get to that point again and then it be an emergency. Although in the end it was kind of an emergency!
I was booked in for 11am on May 4 and I’d planned to take Mexx to nursery, but I went into labour at 2am. I didn’t really know if I was in labour or not.
Because I wasn’t meant to go in until the morning I didn’t want to inconvenience people, so I didn’t want to call my mum or midwife. But all of a sudden I was like, “Oh my God, I’m definitely in labour!”
What happened next?
We got to the hospital but somebody was already in the theatre because, of course, my appointment for a section wasn’t until later.
But I’d gone into labour so I was panicking I would have the same complications as my first birth, before my slot, and I was just hoping they could get me in as soon as possible.
This is essentially what happened to me last time I was in labour and I’m not good with pain, I’m a right drama queen!
I only had gas and air at this point but I was saying, “Is there anything else you can give me? Can’t you just give me the injection now?”
My waters also broke in the hospital naturally, whereas last time they had to break them. The whole thing was like a comedy sketch! I was like, “What is that?!” It definitely wasn’t the plan, but then, what ever goes to plan?
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Did everything go smoothly with your C-section?
After my caesarean with Mexx I didn’t really rest and it led to me getting a keloid scar.
Because of this and my previous scar tissue, they found it hard to get him out and it took them a while.
There was something wrong, but Kean was amazing and kept telling me, “It’s okay,” and was trying to distract me from what was going on.
At one point they used forceps and I was thinking, “Forceps for a C-section?” It was so surreal. When he came out he swallowed some fluid so they were worried about his breathing.
They had to take him off straight away to check him over, so I didn’t hold him for an hour. Thankfully he was okay and I finally got to hold him when I was in recovery.
Was it hard not being able to hold him?
It was more an out-of-body experience. You’re so tired and out of it. I knew something was going on but I also knew I was in the best place and the staff were amazing.
With Mexx we both cried but I think with Monroe we were in a bit of shock.
Giving birth is a really hard and daunting experience, but it’s also beautiful. When I’m in a situation like that where I’m a bit scared, Kean is really good with me.
How did you pick Monroe’s name?
As a girl, I always had a list of baby names. With Mexx we waited over a day to name him because we didn’t know whether to call him Mexx or Monroe.
Then when we found out we were having another boy Kean was like, “We can call him Monroe.”
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Is there any meaning behind it?
No personal meaning, but he also has the same middle name as Mexx which is the initials of our granddads, which I think is really cute.
We loved the fact that it was two Ms but we didn’t set out to do that, we just really liked those two names.
We also really liked the name Rudy and we used to say to Mexx, “Do you want to call him, Rudy or Monroe?” and because he knows Row, Row, Row Your Boat he’d always choose Monroe.
What’s Mexx like as a big brother?
As the days have gone on he’s making more of a friendship with him. He’s the first person he asks to see in the morning and he calls him, “Roe Roe”.
But I have caught him trying to pinch him, so don’t take that as gospel! At first, when we came home, he was like, “Why is my mum with this baby?” but now he’s realised he’s not going anywhere he is embracing the big-brother role. I love that they’ll always have each other.
You previously told us the thought of watching Mexx with a sibling could make you cry. Have you had any emotional moments?
Oh my God, my hormones! I can’t believe I’m crying thinking about this. I’m an emotional wreck when it comes to the boys.
The night I went into labour I was putting Mexx to bed and I said, “Tomorrow mummy is going to hospital and I’m going to have a baby and you’ll become a big brother.”
I started welling up and he cuddled me as if to say, “It’s going to be okay” and then tapped my back.
I just had this moment of, “Oh my God, I’m going to have two children.” I just sat on the landing and cried.
Aww! So what’s it been like with two under two?
Well, Mexx is still technically a baby and because I can’t pick him up yet he really struggled with that at first.
He was like, “Why isn’t my mum doing stuff with me?” Once I’m back in the swing of things and I’ve got myself into a routine with them both, it will be better.
I’ve had such mum guilt at times where I’m like, “Can I love them both the same? How am I going to split the love I have for Mexx?” It’s bizarre the things you go through and you don’t know what’s normal to feel.
My biggest fear is mum guilt and no one really mentions that to you when you’re having your second. I’ve been so worried about how it would affect Mexx as I didn’t want him to be sat at home bored.
But Kean has been amazing and he’s done everything while still going to football.
I was in bed for a good week and a half. I said to my midwife, “Cheryl, there’s not a chance I’ll be in that bed for a week!” and I came home and I actually couldn’t move.
Are you doing anything to help your body recover?
I’ve got a C-Section Correction kit which I’m really hoping will help my caesarean scar heal well. I didn’t look after my scar the first time around with Mexx and that was one of the reasons I had another section.
I’ve heard loads about CSection Correction on Instagram and how it’s helped other women recover – I just can’t wait to try it now, but I need to wait eight weeks post-birth.
So how does it work?
You get a little kit of different products to help with the healing, like coconut oil and a support that you can wear under your clothes to help with the swelling. You even get an eye mask which I’ll definitely be using with two kids [laughs].
Have you been breastfeeding?
I’m doing all bottle. I like the night feeds as it’s just our time. Mexx isn’t around so I don’t feel guilty that I’m giving all my attention to Monroe.
Breastfeeding was never something that came into it for me. I think a lot of people try to and then feel really deflated if they can’t, so I’ve always bottle fed.
With breastfeeding I always feel people need to explain why they’re not and so many people make excuses about why they’ve stopped, like they’re guilty.
Helen [Flanagan] breastfeeds and in public and I think it’s important to show both sides.
There’s a bit of judgement behind not breastfeeding from people, but I’m at that stage in my life where I know what I like and we have to do what’s best for us and ignore opinions.
It’s up to you how you parent your child. The most important thing is the baby is fed.
Definitely! How is Helen getting on following the birth of her son Charlie?
Now she’s got three I don’t know how the heck she is doing it. I’ve got two and I’ve not even washed my hair! We’ve both had boys which is lovely and we’ll meet up when we can.
Have you had any gifts from your Corrie co-stars?
I’m really close with Antony Cotton and his partner Peter Eccleston. When I went to their house they had one of those Neom diffusers and I joked, “We’ll have one of them!” and they got us one.
Sally Ann Matthews has also been to see me and Sally Dynevor is coming tomorrow.
What do you think of Sally’s daughter Phoebe Dynevor’s rise to fame in Bridgerton?
It’s amazing. I absolutely loved the show. When I last saw Phoebe I was talking to her about it. I was saying how it’s so bizarre in this industry as I think people just presumed Bridgerton was her first job, but she’s always been so talented.
Would you like to go back to Corrie at some point?
It depends. I love Corrie and it will always be my home, but it’s a very demanding job and quite restrictive as you have to be based near Manchester.
I’ve been doing it since age 11 and that’s been my priority, but now I have the boys they’re my priority. Maybe when they get to a certain age – if they’ll have me back that is – I’ll be saying, “Please give me my job back!”
Is marriage on the cards for you and Kean?
If I’m being truthful, we have a mortgage and two children together, the commitment of what essentially marriage is, we’ve got. It doesn’t make any difference to me whether there’s a ring on my finger or not. We’re not going to love each other any less.
For more information, visit csectioncorrection.com.
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