Pregnancy Birth

Laura and Martin Guptill introduce gorgeous baby Harley

Her birth wasn't without its fair share of drama though.

It takes a lot to distract Martin Guptill from cricket. Inside the Auckland home he shares with his wife, sports presenter Laura McGoldrick, the first test match of the summer is blaring on the telly, with the injured Blackcap resigned to the couch to watch on as his teammates slug it out on the field.

But for once, the Kiwi batting legend is not paying a smidgeon of attention to the action on the pitch, instead, he's solely focused on his gorgeous wee daughter, Harley Louise Guptill.

However, there is one little head that keeps spinning in the direction of the TV, much to the proud new dad's delight.

"She's hooked already," laughs Martin. "Poor girl!"

It's been a chaotic, crazy and wonderful 10 weeks for Martin, 31, and Laura, 28, since they welcomed their precious girl – and Laura already can't remember what life was like before she arrived.

"What did we do with all of our time before she came along?" Laura muses. "It's been such an incredible few weeks – and very eye-opening!"

After a long, tiresome pregnancy plagued with morning sickness, Laura and her athlete beau finally got to hold Harley four days beyond her due date. Yet this delivery was anything but smooth for the cricket-loving couple.

"She was taking her time to come out, so I ended up having to have an emergency Caesarean," explains Laura.

"I thought I'd be able to have her out naturally, but after 16 hours, the doctors realised she'd got herself into a position where I wouldn't be able to."

While Martin tried to remain composed as his wife was prepped for surgery, Laura admits to freaking out when she was wheeled into the operating theatre.

"It gave me a fright because I wasn't prepared for it," she confesses.

"Everything had indicated she'd be fine and I'd have a natural birth, so I hadn't done any research or preparation for that."

Martin adds, "I tried to stay calm because Laura was panicking. I just tried to tell her it was going to be all right. It did fall on deaf ears a little bit."

Laura nods. "I'm lucky he was so calm – I couldn't have coped otherwise."

After a textbook procedure, however, the couple finally met their little girl and, as Martin tells, instantly fell in love.
"I just looked at this little bundle of joy and thought, 'Woah, you're actually mine!'" he says with a soft smile. "It got really real very quickly."

"It's a love like you've never known," adds Laura. "Obviously, I love Guppy and, actually, I didn't realise that I could love him even more, but I do when I watch him as a dad. But as soon as I saw her, I was like, I don't know why or how, but I know that I love you with every fibre of my being and I'll do anything for you."

The couple had already decided on her name – Laura's mother Leanne had suggested Harley years previously – while Louise is both Laura and her nana's middle name. And wee Harley is proving she takes after her mum, with the entire McGoldrick family stunned at how much the sweet bub looks like Laura.

"My dad said that when he held her for the first time, it was like a physical shock because she looked so much like me when I came out," recalls Laura. "She's got the long Guptill legs, though, which is something I'd love to have! And she's got Guppy's ears."

"Glad I could contribute something!" laughs Martin. So far, Harley has been a remarkably calm and content baby, her proud parents say – except, of course, the day Woman's Day is due around to take photos!

"She's usually so much more chilled!" Laura laughs as she takes an upset Harley off the couch to finish feeding her.

"She's been a dream baby really, so calm. Maybe it's because we're both quite calm. Well, actually, maybe I'm not all the time! She's really nosy too. She loves looking around – she doesn't want to miss anything. I don't know where she gets it from."

"I do," Martin chimes in, grinning. It's clear that Harley and Martin already have a special bond – remarkable, as he had
to leave to play cricket in India just a week after she was born. While it wasn't an ideal situation, Martin shrugs it off
as part of the job, although he admits that leaving for the airport was especially hard.

"It's just the way it is," he concedes.

"It was tough, but at the end of the day, I sort of just had to get on with it. [Fellow Blackcap] Ross Taylor came to pick me up for the airport and he'd just had a baby about four weeks before Harley was born, so he was going through the same thing."

It was a long three-and-a-half weeks away, Martin tells, and he couldn't believe how much his precious girl had grown by the time he got back. Having injured his hamstring shortly after his return to New Zealand, Martin has managed to squeeze in plenty of daddy-daughter bonding time.

"I mean, it's never a good time to get an injury, but I guess it's a silver lining!" he admits.

The relationship between Harley and Martin has left Laura in awe. The vivacious blonde – who starred in Three's Westside – says she has been astounded by Martin's parenting skills.

"I knew he'd be good, but I didn't think he'd be this good," she gushes. "I was scared with him going away that he wouldn't get a chance to bond with her, but that's definitely not the case. She adores him – and he gets most of the smiles, actually.

"He's such a hands-on dad. He's more than happy to get up at 4am for the nappy change! He's amazing. I'm so lucky."

Watching his two girls pose for a photo, Martin smiles and adds, "I've always known Laura would be a good mum – I've seen her plenty of times with other people's kids and they just love her straight away. I knew from the get-go she'd be amazing and she is!"

With a mum who loves to shop and a dad who can't get enough of his little girl, it's no surprise Harley is already rather spoilt. But Laura insists it's actually Martin who's done the bulk of the spending!

"When I was pregnant, he'd come home with two little outfits because he didn't know what size to get, so he just got both," she grins. "He's a very good shopper. He's so excited and it's been so cool to see him like this."

However, there's one item of clothing still missing from Harley's wardrobe – a Blackcaps onesie, which will be essential as the country's youngest cricket fan will be joining her parents on the road during the summer when Martin plays and Laura reports on cricket matches for Sky Sport.

And adorably, Harley even has her own little media accreditation, Laura reveals. "It's on a little lanyard and everything," she laughs. "Mine says 'Roving Reporter' – hers says 'Roving Baby'!"