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Rebekah Randell’s little angel: ‘we’re so in love’

After a heartbreaking loss, the former Shortland Street actress and her husband Bevan are in a blissful bubble with baby Isla
Photography: Robert Trathen

When former Shortland Street star Rebekah Randell and her husband Bevan need help with their precious new daughter Isla Anne Randall, they won’t have to look far. Bevan’s brother, The Edge radio host Clint Randell, and his wife Jaime have a savvy daughter who’s already drawn up a childcare business plan.

“Clint’s daughter Cameron and son Ty are obsessed – they constantly want to hold her,” says Bevan, 36. “Cammy’s already given us her babysitting costs!”

Bevan chuckles that he hopes Cameron’s rates withstand inflation since he’s stashing them for when four-month-old Isla’s older. After all, given their long and heartbreaking journey to parenthood, right now, the couple want to spend every moment they can caring for their wee girl themselves.

Rebekah, 30, previously penned a moving piece for Woman’s Day, detailing how thrilled she was to become pregnant following a devastating miscarriage in 2022.

“I lost a part of myself that I’ve struggled to get back,” she wrote about the loss. “No matter how hard I tried to move forward, it felt like a hole in my heart constantly tortured me.”

Nine months on, as she cuddles Isla on the couch, the pair wearing matching green outfits, the Ferndale favourite finally feels healed.

“I knew the only thing that would heal my broken heart was finally having our little baby and Isla’s absolutely done that,” Rebekah says. “I still think about our first baby and what could’ve been, but without losing that baby, we wouldn’t have Isla. We’re so in love with her. I can’t imagine life without her.”

All eyes on Isla! “She’s constantly doing new things.”

While conceiving after the miscarriage was difficult, the couple sought help from holistic healthcare clinic Mother-Well and cried with joy seeing a positive pregnancy test. However, Rebekah faced a nerve-wracking 19-hour labour due to Isla flipping into posterior position.

“Every few minutes, someone was checking the monitor and my stomach,” tells Rebekah. “Isla’s heart rate wasn’t what it should’ve been and my temperature was rising, even with antibiotics. But the staff weren’t freaking out, so we didn’t.”

It wasn’t until Isla still wouldn’t flip into the right position and Rebekah was being wheeled into an operating room for an emergency Caesarean that she began panicking.

Bevan recalls, “She looked at me and went, ‘I’m freaking out.’”

Rebekah explains, “I’ve never been in hospital my whole life. The most hospital experience I’ve had is Shortland Street! So ending up in theatre, wide awake and about to be cut open, was scary.”

Despite playing Dawn on Shorty, the star had never spent time in hospital.

Rebekah credits the medical staff for keeping her calm and she even got some laughs in with the anaesthetic’s assistant, who recognised her from portraying nurse Dawn Robinson on Shorty.

Taking a peek as Isla emerged, Bevan cut the cord and instantly fell in love. He laughs, “No matter how squashed and munched up your baby is, you’re still like, ‘Wow! She’s beautiful.’”

Rebekah will never forget the moment Bevan turned to her and said, “It’s a girl!” Weighing 3kg, they named her Isla – thanks to an app where the parents-to-be swiped names they liked, with Isla being their only “match” – and chose Anne as a middle name to honour Rebekah’s late grandmother.

Meanwhile, Rebekah’s mum was honoured in a different way – becoming a grandmother on her birthday!

Bevan is an amazing dad. “He looks after his girls,” says the new mum.

Though Rebekah and builder Bevan were stoked to bring Isla home to the dream house the couple built during lockdown, the following weeks were strenuous as the new mum recovered from her Caesarean while Isla suffered colic, “crying from 5pm to midnight most nights”.

Rebekah recalls, “It became this vicious cycle of not being able to feed her and crying. We took her to cranial osteo, gave her gripe water and everything else you could think of, but nothing helped. The best advice was to stop trying to fix things. Things got easier once we realised we weren’t doing anything wrong, and that we just had to cuddle her and keep her comfortable.

“I remember saying to Bev in week eight, ‘I’ve had the best week,’ because I started seeing windows of this smiley little girl and thought, ‘Phew! There’s a happy baby in there somewhere.’”

Rebekah adds that Bevan was a saviour during those difficult weeks. While Clint had always tried to get Bevan’s help with changing nappies, Bevan declared, “Not until it’s my own kid!” and once that time came, he embraced daddy duties.

The couple wed in 2020… and now Cameron (left) and Ty are cousins!

“He was our everything,” says Rebekah. “For a guy who’d never changed a nappy, he aced it, which was amazing because I couldn’t walk [post-Caesarean] and Isla didn’t sleep, so we were wiped out. After working all day, Bev was up with me until Isla slept or taking her off me so I could sleep. We were in the trenches for three months, but he looked after his girls.

“And after the journey to having her and wanting a baby so badly, it made everything easier because although she had colic, I knew I’d rather have a crying baby than no baby at all. It was hard, but
now we’re on the other side, she’s the happiest little girl – expressive and animated, like me!”

Meanwhile, the baby they lost remains in their hearts and thoughts. Rebekah’s parents planted a kōwhai tree at their Whangamatā farm in honour of their grandchild and the actress tears up thinking about explaining the tree to Isla someday. “We planted Isla’s placenta next to the tree over Christmas Day, which was so special,” she says.

The trio also spent the holidays in Tauranga and Northland, with Isla proving a “trooper” with road-tripping.

While Rebekah’s now relishing being an at-home mum, Bevan admits juggling work with fatherhood can be challenging.

“In the beginning, I’d come home at 5pm excited to see her and she’d be screaming until 11pm,” he says. “But it’s extra-exciting coming home and I look forward to weekends. She’s constantly doing new things.”

Isla’s latest skill? Giggling, which she demonstrates at her first photoshoot. Flashing endless smiles down the lens, by the end of it, she’s still grinning mid-yawn. “She’s done so well!” Rebekah beams.

The cutie is accustomed to entertaining visitors, with Clint popping in for after-work cuddles, while Rebekah’s Shorty bestie Courtenay Louise makes a beeline for Isla on filming breaks. “Courtney was amazing in the early days,” Rebekah says. “She’d pop over and hold Isla so I could shower.”

Reflecting on life as a family of three, Rebekah says Isla has brought her and Bevan closer. They recently spent their fourth wedding anniversary happily enjoying Uber Eats at home while Isla slept.

“Life’s no longer go-go-go, but we were so ready and wanted it so much,” smiles Rebekah. “We’re content with our slower-paced family bubble.”

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