Gisele Bundchen Gained “30 Pounds” During Pregnancy, “Felt Like E.T.”

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 Courtesy of Vogue

In April's Vogue, Gisele Bundchen opens up about giving birth to baby Benjamin.

Benjamin — her son with husband Tom Brady — was born at their Boston penthouse last December, in warm water in a deep bathtub that overlooks the Charles River.

"I wanted to experience the transformation," Bundchen, 29, explains, squashing rumors that she gave birth at a Boston-area hospital.

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A friend from Brazil served as a mid-wife, and both her mother and Brady, 31, were present.

Through the birth, she says she meditated.

"It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body," she says. "And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!"

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Initially, she says she and Brady bickered over the baby's name.

"I wanted him to be called River because I wanted something always flowing, immortal," she says. "My husband said, 'There's no way we're going to call him River.' But my father's name is Reinoldo, so it's a homage to him. And it's like water."

During her pregnancy, she says she "gained only 30 pounds."

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She says it wasn't hard to get her pre-baby body back, especially since she exercised regularly right up until she gave birth. "I did kung fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was born, and yoga three days a week," she says.

Bundchen also says she was "mindful" about what she ate.

Says the model: "I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals."

While expecting, Bundchen says she purposely stayed out of the public eye. "I felt like my pregnancy was a sacred moment for me … I didn't work apart from the contracts I have, and then I only let them use my face."

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When she recently posed for one of her advertising clients, "I got to the studio and I felt like I was E.T. — whoa, what's going on? Hair and makeup? I hadn't looked at myself in a mirror for a month-and-a-half," she says. "I'd been in my house, in a cocoon with my kids, my husband, my dogs. Usually, as I walk through the door into that atmosphere, I already feel different. There's a button that goes On and I'm On. And when I go On, there is almost no me; there is just a character who is doing all this. This time it wasn't like that. I've been really inside with my husband and my baby, and everything is changed. But the client still deserves respect and professionalism, and I got a little bit concerned because I wasn't feeling it. Makeup was done, hair was done, and I looked in the mirror and I still wasn't seeing the person who's a model."

Says Bundchen, "For the first time, I think I actually saw me — the inside — instead of the persona."

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