By peoplestaff225
Updated July 27, 2009 02:00 PM
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Model Jools Oliver always knew she wanted a family, but also suspected it would not be as simple as it sounded. “Even when I was 17, I thought there might be a problem and that I’d have trouble conceiving because my periods were irregular,” notes Jools, now mom to daughters Poppy Honey, 7, Daisy Boo, 6, and Petal Blossom Rainbow, 3 ½ months.

After Jools married celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in 2000, the couple started trying for a baby without success. Soon after, the pair decided to have testing done to see what the problem was. “I was quite quickly diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which meant that I wasn’t ovulating each month like normal,” she explains. Despite the diagnosis, Jools was unfazed by the road ahead.

Jools made the decision to take the drug Clomid, which stimulates ovulation. “I had all the side effects,” she remembers. “Dizziness, panic attacks, blurred vision.” However, she was “determined to get the thing done. It was awful, but I just thought: ‘Keep going.’ I’m sure any couple that has been through fertility treatment understands what I’m saying.”

Even more paralyzing than the side effects was the fear that Clomid wouldn’t work. “I think I spent lots of time panicking and that made the effects of the drug worse,” she admits. “It was a hard few months and there was so much pressure on us both. It was especially tough for Jamie because he was working. It’s not a nice way to try to get a baby really.”

After months of trying, the couple learned that a baby was on the way. An overjoyed Jools “fell in love” with the doctor that helped her and Jamie achieve their dream. “I suppose I’m just another patient to him,” she muses, “but if I go back to the hospital for a check-up and see him, I always think about what he did for me. He probably does it every day, but for me it was a miracle.”

Click below to read about Petal’s arrival, the girls schedule and if more kids will be on the way.

Four months after Poppy’s arrival in March 2002, Jools found herself expecting again — naturally, this time. “That was such a shock,” Jools remembers. “But after about a week, I thought: ‘This is great.'” After taking a break to recover from having two children so close together, Jaime and Jools decided to try for a third child — only to find that her periods had stopped. “When I wanted another baby, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to. I feared I’d waited too long to try for another, so I had to use Clomid again,” she explains.

The side effects returned, although Jools didn’t put two and two together at first. “I thought I was going mad or that I had a tumor,” she recalls. “My doctor even sent me for a brain scan. Jamie said to me: ‘This is ridiculous. What are you doing to yourself?’ In the end, my results were fine. The doctor did tell me I had to calm down though or the treatment wasn’t going to work.”

Three months after the arrival of Petal, Jools is back to her pre-pregnancy shape, but don’t ask her for any tips on losing weight — “I haven’t got any!” The model admits that she has yet to exercise since the birth, crediting breastfeeding and “never getting the chance to sit down” for her trim body.

“During the week I don’t put Jamie in the mix at all. I get up at 6 a.m. and I do the girls’ breakfast, get them dressed and ready, then I feed Petal while we hang out in the house,” explains Jools. “My nanny comes at 8 a.m. to take the girls to school and then I’m at home with the baby all day.” Once the older girls come home from school around 3 p.m., “it’s like a whirlwind” at home.

Jools and the girls are excited for the weekends when they meet up with Jamie at the family home in Essex and dad takes over! “I spend time with Petal, and he does boy things with the girls,” which makes Jools more than a little nervous. “I’m quite controlling and I wasn’t happy that he’d taught them to climb up trees,” she admits. “The next day Poppy was out and scraped her tummy. But I shouldn’t complain because Jamie’s excellent at the weekends, anything I ask him to do, he’d do it.”

Now that the couple has the schedule all worked out, would they add a fourth child to the family? Jamie “would like a boy, but he loves his girls,” Jools notes. “When they arrive, you can’t imagine them any other way.” Although Jools “thinks Jamie’s done,” she feels she has “one more left … like I’m not done yet.”

— Angela