Kieran Hayler and fiancée Michelle introduce baby son Apollo Phoenix
Just 72 hours after welcoming their new baby boy, Kieran Hayler and his fiancée Michelle Penticost headed to new! magazine's shoot to show off their adorable new addition, Apollo Phoenix Hayler.
Michelle, 39, who had a planned C-section due to medical reasons, tells us the effort was worth it to celebrate her beautiful new family member. “I was tired,” explains Michelle, who also has an 11-year-old son, Valentino. “But it was just nice to be doing something to show him off.”
And in our exclusive interview for OK! VIP readers Michelle and Kieran reveal all the details of their new arrival and how he is settling in at home . Sign up – for free! – to see all the adorable pictures and read the exclusive first interview.
And for 34-year-old dad Kieran – who shares two children, Jett, eight, and Bunny, seven, with ex-wife Katie Price – the new arrival has really brought their blended household together.
“He’s slotted into our family perfectly, so it’s nice we can grow and move forward together,” he tells us. “He’s just super cute, the perfect little package. We’re completely in a baby bubble, it’s so nice.”
Kieran met Michelle in 2018 through his children’s primary school which Valentino, also attended. The couple got engaged in Spring 2020 and revealed to new earlier this year they were expecting their first child together.
Here, the loved-up parents exclusively introduce their sweet son, tell us about their older children’s reaction to their new brother and give us an update on wedding plans…
Congratulations guys, are you both on cloud nine right now?
Kieran: We are so happy. A bit exhausted, but really happy.
Tell us about his name…
Kieran: He’s called Apollo Phoenix Hayler. I quite like space names and Apollo was a Greek God and I like that it’s a strong character. Phoenix is a constellation of stars and it’s also the bird that keeps being reborn. Like in Harry Potter , the bird dies and then rises from the flames. Together, it hopefully means he’s invincible.
How was your C-section, Michelle?
Michelle: It was planned. I had one with Valentino because I had an accident when I was younger and I had nerve damage. They weren’t too sure whether I’d be able to push so they said it would be better to have a planned C-section than a natural birth and risk having an emergency. I do feel like I missed out on having a natural birth, but it can’t be helped. I wanted to do what was best for me and the baby.
Were you able to prepare and have everything packed?
Kieran: Yeah, it was all very smooth and when we got there everything was organised and set out. It was really relaxed and went well.
Michelle: We arrived at 8am and by 9.30am, everything had been done and we’d seen the anaesthetist. But then an emergency came in so we had to wait. It was all very organised. He was born at 12.49pm.
Was Kieran super supportive?
Michelle: He was very good throughout the whole thing.
Kieran: It was just perfect, there wasn’t anything we’d change.
Michelle: Apart from having four spinals. They had to try four times to get the right place to put the epidural in.
Was the operation straightforward?
Kieran: Yep, he came out and he was just perfect. You’re not allowed to watch but I was able to stand up and look over the screen as he was coming out. It was such a magical experience. We got some good photos!
Michelle: I know everyone is biased about their own children, but he is just perfect.
Did you cut the cord, Kieran?
Kieran: When they took him out, they gave him a quick wipe over and Michelle had skin-to-skin with him. After about two minutes they took him to cut the cord and check him. With a Caesarean, the doctors cut the cord but they do it quite high up and leave quite a lot of it. I could then trim it, so I got a little video of that. I held him after that, which was so lovely.
How did it feel when you held him?
Michelle: It was so emotional and surreal. You are just so elated that he’s healthy. Even though we had all the checks all the way through, you still just want everything to be perfect.
Kieran: We were shocked at how big he was! He was 8lbs 13oz, which is the same as me when I was born. Michelle didn’t put on any weight other than the bump, so when he came out we thought that was quite heavy. He’s a chunky monkey! He had a perfect little nose and chubby cheeks. We were just so happy.
How long were you in hospital?
Michelle: Just one night. With Valentino it was four, so it’s a big difference.
Kieran: I had to leave at 6pm after visiting hours. With Covid, they’d rather you recover at home to reduce transmission. You can have all your medicine at home as long as there is someone to look after you. I’m here being Michelle’s nurse, so it’s fine.
Michelle: I was so tired and had a lot of painkillers, so I just slept and sat staring at him really. It went quickly!
Who does he look like?
Michelle: He’s got Kieran’s button nose.
Kieran: We think he’s got Michelle’s eyes. He’s still so young, he’s changing all the time, but hopefully he’ll be a combination of both of us.
How is your recovery going, Michelle?
Michelle: It’s hard after a Caesarean. I just can’t bend down past the waistline, so Kieran and the kids have been helping out. They [the doctors] want you to move, so I’m pottering about. I’m trying not to do stairs much. I can’t bend or pick up anything heavier than the baby, which is tricky as I’m so independent normally. Every week you can start doing a bit more, but you’ve just got to not push yourself too much and remember you’ve had major abdominal surgery.
Has Kieran been supportive?
Michelle: Yes. I don’t want to say perfect, as I don’t want to give him a big head! But he’s been great with everything. Not just helping me with the shower, but the little things you don’t think about.
Kieran: I even painted her toenails the other day with gel and the nail lamp.
Michelle: He did! I can’t believe how well they came out. I can’t moisturise my legs either, so it’s small things like that he’s been great at.
Has having a child brought your family closer together?
Kieran: Yes, 100%. It feels like it’s completed us as a family.
Were Jett, Bunny and Valentino waiting when you arrived home from hospital?
Kieran: We arrived home alone. I care for my nan, so she was at home and was the first one to see the baby – lucky her! Then about 15 minutes later, my mum came with Jett, Bunny and Valentino as she had them for two nights. Then Michelle’s mum came too. That’s pretty much it at the moment. While Michelle is recovering it’s hard to have people over.
Are the kids over the moon to have a baby brother?
Kieran: They all love him. Bunny is beside herself as she’s got her own little live doll now! They’re all super proud and have been really involved. They’ve all taken to him really well and want to cuddle him.
Have they been helping out?
Kieran: Yeah, they’re really good. If we’re changing the baby and we’ve left something over the other side of the room they’ll get it for us. It’s nice that they all get to do it together as a three – they get to be big brothers and a sister and share that journey all at once.
How is Bunny feeling being the only girl in a gang of boys?
Kieran: We’ve just made her feel really special. I said she’s going to be the only girl and the only princess in this family, so that makes her special. I think she loves being the only girl!
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Will the new baby affect the dynamics of your family?
Kieran: I think he’ll just slot in nicely. People say the best thing to do is not let a baby affect your life – the baby has to fit in. Hopefully that’s what will happen.
How did the kids react to Apollo’s name?
Kieran: They were excited! They had their own opinions on what name to call him. We had suggestions of Bob, Jeff and Justin.
Michelle: The hamster is Bob, so that wasn’t going to happen!
Kieran: We have a Bunny, a Jett and a Valentino, so we can’t really have a Dave!
Ha! Are they enjoying spending time with Apollo?
Kieran: Yeah. Jett and Bunny have gone back to Katie’s now, so they won’t see him for a couple of weeks. He’ll have changed a lot in two weeks. Valentino is with Michelle all the time, so it’s great he can help out.
Michelle: They gave their little teddies to Apollo. And then from Apollo to the kids, we got them a card and a story book. I wrote a little note from Apollo to them inside the cover of the books, so it’s something they can keep. We want them to feel included.
Are you breastfeeding, Michelle?
Michelle: Yes, he latched straight on. I was lucky I was able to breastfeed Valentino, but you just don’t know if it’s going to be the same.
How is Apollo sleeping?
Kieran: What sleep?! Where he’s breastfed, it’s quite demanding on Michelle. So I do all the bits I can do, like changing him. For me, it’s a different experience as we bottle-fed Jett and Bunny, so it was easy for me to grab a bottle and feed them. Whereas I’m constantly apologising to Michelle that she’s awake feeding in the night and I’m laying next to her trying to sleep. Now she’s able to express, I’m hoping I can help with night feeds.
You’ve both had babies before, but has it been different this time?
Kieran: It’s a completely different experience because we’re together, we’re happy and we’re in love. It’s a completely different relationship for both of us.
Have you had help from family and friends?
Kieran: Everyone has been really supportive and nice. I’ve had some time off work, so I’m able to do everything here. We’ve had lots of lovely gifts and Bunny’s friend’s mum dropped us off a chicken pie for dinner.
That’s kind! Has Katie sent a present?
Kieran: What do you think?!
Have you had any messages of congratulations?
Kieran: No, nothing like that. I don’t expect it. She’s got her own life and I’ve got mine. The only thing we share is the children.
Would you send your congratulations if it was the other way around?
Kieran: Oh yes, I think so. Maybe I’m too nice, but if she’s happy, I’m happy. I always say congratulations, even when she got engaged to Carl Woods. For me, there’s no animosity there. I’m not disappointed, it’s just each to their own.
Do you think having a baby has made you and Michelle fall more in love?
Kieran: If that’s even possible, then yes!
What kind of upbringing do you want Apollo to have?
Kieran: We want his upbringing to be as normal as it can be. This world is crazy and you just want to keep them safe and happy. But I’m going to post pictures of him as I’m really proud of him and want to show him off.
What’s Michelle like as a mum, Kieran?
Kieran: She’s just motherly and caring and takes on that motherly role so easily. It’s like a walk in the park, really.
Michelle, you’ve said before you’d consider having another baby, as you were keen for a girl. Is that still the case?
Michelle: I actually said to Kieran yesterday, “I feel done.” I think we’re complete. Some people would want to try for a girl, but Bunny is so great. We’re very lucky and I feel complete now.
Kieran: She is the perfect little girl, so having three perfect boys and a perfect girl has completed it for us.
Have you wet the baby’s head yet, Kieran?
Kieran: Not yet. We’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge, but we’ve been too tired so far!
Michelle: I’ve been drinking my six to eight pints of water a day for breastfeeding though.
What are your plans work-wise, Kieran?
Kieran: I’m going to go back to work at the end of this week. Because I’m a personal trainer and run bootcamps, it’s only a few hours at a time.
Michelle: I’m not on my own, Valentino is old enough to help out when Kieran is gone for a few hours.
Have you thought about plans for your wedding yet?
Michelle: We wouldn’t have got married this year because of Covid, so we’re looking at summer 2022.
Will the kids have roles in your special day?
Kieran: Of course, we’re just not sure what they’d be yet.
Will any of their parents be invited?
Kieran: That’s a conversation for another day, but I’m sure I haven’t got an invite to any weddings in the near future, so I’m also sure we won’t be sending the offer back!
Do you still want to move house?
Kieran: Yep. Again, Covid has put a hold on that. I’ve sold my house now, so we’re in a position where we can move when we find something. But we’re not in any rush, it’s just nice to know that we can be a cash buyer and not have a chain.
And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for Apollo?
Kieran: We just want him to be happy and healthy!
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