EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS INTRODUCING HER BEAUTIFUL BABY DAUGHTER ASHLEY JAMES REVEALS THE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ADA ISABELLA BLUE’S NAME
Cradl ing her peaceful ly sleeping daughter in her arms, with her partner Tommy Andrews and their two-year-old son Alfie by her side, Ashley James is the picture of maternal bliss. As the new family of four pose for their first photographs together inside their beautiful Essex home, DJ and podcaster Ashley cannot contain her joy at being a mother to a son and now a daughter – who, OKUK can exclusively reveal, is called Ada Isabella Blue. “It feels as though Ada was the missing piece in our family. She’s slotted in perfectly and it’s been really nice to watch Alfie become a big brother,” Ashley says. At less than two weeks old, Ada is already going with the flow. “She’s really good,” the new mother of two tells us. “She’s a very happy, chilled baby who just sleeps and eats. As far as the newborn bubble goes, it’s been kind of perfect.”
Explaining themeaning behind her daughter’s name, Ashley, 35, says: “We thought Ada was a really beautiful name and I was also inspired by Ada Lovelace, who was a famous mathematician and scientist. She was hailed as having invented computer programming and Tommy works in tech, so we liked that link. The name Isabella is after my gran, who is an amazing woman, and we chose Blue because Alfie’s middle name is Rivers and I love water references.”
Alfie was introduced to his little sister just hours after she was born, when he was brought to London’s St Thomas’ Hospital for a visit, and took to his new role immediately. “Alfie has been amazing – a lot better than we thought he would be, because typically he prefers older kids,” Ashley says. “He’ll give her lots of cuddles and kisses and keeps saying ‘baby sister’. We have to be a bit careful because he’s quite overenthusiastic, but he has shown her so much love.” Ada’s arrival, weighing 7lb 9oz, on 4 March was calm, with Ashley and her partner of three and a half years able to plan her delivery in advance – even picking the exact music to play as their daughter arrived in the world.
The former Made in Chelsea star was advised to have a planned Caesarean delivery, partly for medical reasons but also because she was still dealing with the trauma of Alfie’s difficult birth in January 2021. “I’m actually glad I had a C-section, because I feel that I finally got the positive birth I wanted,” she tells us. “But it wasn’t without complications – the doctors had to use forceps because Ada was stuck underneath my placenta and her umbilical cord was around her neck. More likely than not, it would have resulted in an emergency C-section anyway. “Even though I knew there was a bit of panic in the room when they were using forceps, it felt very controlled and I was kept in the loop all the time. It was a really beautiful experience.”
The birth was planned for the day that Ashley’s pregnancy reached 39 weeks, and she and Tommy checked into a hotel near the hospital the night before, enjoying a final date-night before arriving at St Thomas’ at 7am. At 9.04am, Ada made her way into the world. “It was really calm,” Ashley recalls. “I got to pick my own music playlist and they said to me: ‘If you want a specific song for the birth, you can put it on now as she’ll be born in the next minute.’ It was really emotional. I was crying because I was thinking: ‘I have waited so long for this.’”
As George Ezra’s song Hold My Girl played, Tommy started to cry, and then, when London’s Song by Matt Hartke came on, Ada was born. “Seeing her for the first time was surreal. And I definitely did have that ‘love at first sight’ feeling, which I didn’t have with Alfie, probably because of how traumatic it was. I was very excited but mainly just grateful that she was okay,” Ashley says. Tommy, who cut the cord, was as moved as his partner. “We both felt emotional,” says Ashley. “She was crying, but the moment they put her on my chest, she stopped, so it was like: ‘Oh, she recognises her mummy.’” Planning the birth took the fear out of the process for Ashley, who embarked on a birth-preparation course to go through all her options. “It enabled me to see it as a new experience,” she says. “I ended up looking forward to the birth, which is amazing given that when I found out I was pregnant, I realised how much trauma I had because I kept crying at the thought of the delivery.”
After two nights in the hospital, the couple and Ada left for home. Tommy’s mother has moved in to help and Ashley is enjoying taking her time to recover. An advocate for body posi t ivi ty, she is determined not to bow to any pressure to snap back to her prepregnancy self. “We’ve all grown up with unrealistic beauty standards, but it’s important to be kind to yourself and to remind yourself that everyone’s different in how they recover,” she says. “I just do what I can and listen to my body. I’m not putting pressure on myself.” Ashley plans to address these issues in her Mum’s the Word podcast when she is ready to return to work, which includes her role as an ambassador for Sainsbury’s Tu clothing line. In the meantime, she is revelling in the quiet before the storm, ahead of her children growing older and becoming more rambunctious. “I’m under no illusion that there aren’t challenges ahead, but that’s what I signed up for when we decided we wanted another one,” Ashley says. “We’re a good team.”