Family

Megan and Andrew Papas’ family joy

The radio star and hubby Andrew have Hit the jackpot with baby Aiya

The day before her son’s first birthday party, popular radio personality Megan Papas had a strong inkling she might be pregnant again. But after struggling through two years of fertility issues to finally conceive Bastian, The Hits’ weekday host questioned whether it could be this easy.

Nevertheless, she decided to take a pregnancy test while musician husband Andrew was out picking up her parents from the airport. Two blue lines quickly appeared on the stick, confirming her suspicions.

“I remember walking around the house vacuuming, just going, ‘Oh, my God!’ over and over,” recalls the 38-year-old. “Then I had to go to work knowing this crazy secret. I was wondering how I was going to have a special moment telling Andrew when everyone was staying with us for the party.

“The next day, while the others were all busy blowing up balloons, I quietly said to him, ‘Let’s go into the bedroom and film a cool video message for Bastian that he can look back on.’ Andrew was like, ‘Do we have to do it now?’ But he did it anyway.

“At the end of the video message, I said, ‘And soon you’re going to be the best big brother ever!'”

Thanks to a sleep coach, baby Aiya sleeps for 12 hours!

At first, Andrew, 29, was confused, then “genuinely shocked”. They decided to tell family several weeks later at Easter, via a cryptic treasure hunt that ended with a hot cross bun in the oven.

“My niece and nephew were disappointed, saying, ‘Oh, it’s just a bun!'” tells Andrew. “But my sister screamed, ‘There’s a bun in the oven!'”

The bubbly couple laugh at the memory, while talking with the Weekly from their living room at home in Auckland.

It’s lunchtime on a Saturday and gorgeous toddler Bastian (aka “Wreck-it Ralph”) is taking advantage of his parents being interviewed to open the freezer and show our photographer where the berry yoghurt ice blocks are kept.

Once secured in a high chair, he happily entertains everyone singing “Ee-ii-ee-ii-ooo” and pretends to beep a car horn while imitating his favourite TV ad personality – Tina from Turners.

When his beautiful wee five-month-old sister Aiya is brought out after her nap, Bastian proudly points at her.

Big brother Bastian loves his new role.

The hardest part of having two under two is how busy life has become, concedes Megan, who is back on-air weekdays from 9am-3pm.

Singer Andrew, usually the stay-at-home parent, is about to head to Australia to begin rehearsals for musical ensemble The Ten Tenors.

While he’s away on tour for eight weeks, both sets of doting grandparents are stepping in to help.

“We could not do it without them – it really does take a village,” says Megan, holding her smiley, green-eyed bundle. “And sometimes we bite off more than we can chew.

“Andrew left to go on tour with Madagascar the Musical when Aiya was four weeks old, which we thought would be fine because Bastian had been a really chill baby and slept well. But Aiya had silent reflux, so from a month old, right after Andrew left, she cried all the time. I couldn’t put her down, she wouldn’t go in the front pack and I just had to keep her upright on me. It was really tough. It took us about two months to figure out what was wrong.

“Now that she’s not in pain, she’s just the most gentle, little sweetheart and so happy.”

The journey to parenthood wasn’t an easy one for the couple, who also co-own online baby children’s boutique BeYouBaby.co.nz.

After Bastian was born, they knew they would love to give him a sibling, but decided that if it didn’t happen naturally, the Papas would be a one-child family.

“We had started trying for a baby at the end of 2018, and after a year, we tried four rounds of fertility drug Clomiphene, which gave me headaches and made me feel sick,” shares Megan candidly.

“Every month when I got my period, it’d be the most devastating thing in the world. I’d go to the bathroom at work – in the middle of the breakfast radio show I was on at the time – and I’d have to take some deep breaths, try not to break down and then go back in the studio acting all upbeat. It was the worst.”

They worked through other options before their doctor advised that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) was the next step.

“We literally had the IVF drugs and had learnt how to administer the injections when the next day Covid lockdown happened, and we were told our IVF had to be put on hold,” remembers Andrew.

Adds Megan, “Amazingly, though, two months later, I had conceived naturally. It was such a shock. I checked that little test stick so many times.

“For anyone who has gone through fertility issues, you get pregnant and then your mindset goes to ‘We’re going to lose it, it’s not going to stick.’ Although I never said it out loud. Every time I went to the bathroom, I prepared myself to see blood. I googled every little pain. The fear and anxiety consumes you.”

Her pregnancy with Aiya was more emotionally relaxed but plagued with sickness. Rather than being a magical time, Megan remembers constantly smelling plugholes and gagging.

“Even the smell of dishwashing liquid made her throw up, so I was washing all the dishes,” says Andrew.

“I was like, ‘Are you just milking this thing?'” he laughs.

At 22 weeks pregnant, Megan then began experiencing crippling stomach pains at work and drove herself to North Shore Hospital. Doctors initially thought it was appendicitis.

“I was nil by mouth because they were prepping me for surgery,” she tells. “It was pretty scary and I could only take a small amount of morphine because of the pregnancy.

Hospitalised at 22-weeks with severe stomach pain, Megan was scared for the rest of her pregnancy.

“However, once I did all the tests, the symptoms calmed down and I ended up being discharged after three days with a ‘failure to diagnose’. It did give me some anxiety for the rest of the pregnancy.”

Covid followed, as did two bouts of a gastroenteritis bug for the young family – “I thought I was going to give birth out of my mouth!” – and it was hard to believe labour could be much worse.

After being induced at 40 weeks because of reduced foetal movement, Megan’s contractions kicked in. She managed to get to 8cm dilated before Aiya’s heart rate dropped dramatically and the call was made for an emergency Caesarean delivery.

“I had really wanted a natural birth, just to see if I could do it, because Bastian was also born via emergency C-section,” says Megan. “So I was disappointed, but we just needed to get her out and for her to be okay.

“With Bastian’s birth, I’d had a spinal tap and was drugged up on pethidine, so the moment when they put him on my chest, I didn’t actually remember it.

“But second time around, I didn’t have all those drugs, so it was a lot more calm and emotional. When Aiya came out and I got a cuddle, I cried.

“Mummy’s dream come true!”

“And I was ugly crying like I couldn’t get my breath,” says Andrew, giving an animated re-enactment.

The fun-loving couple first met when Nelson-bred Megan was working at The Edge radio station and South African-born Andrew successfully auditioned for the station’s boy band Titanium. They married in January 2018.

“I was 28 when we met and he was 18,” says Megan. “I told him, ‘I want to have babies in a few years. I’m not into this if you’re not serious.’

“I also feel like no one cares about our age gap any more. I’ve always been a little bit immature because of my job and he’s always had a granddad vibe. So we’ve met somewhere in the middle.”

Adds Andrew, “We really want to still keep our identities of what we were before parenthood, too – that’s why we’re both still working. Performing on stage and touring makes me really happy, rather than just dancing to the Wiggles every day!” he smiles.

“I think it’s important to show your children you have dreams and passions and determination. Of course, it’s still really hard being away from the kids…”

“Ah, just the kids?” questions Megan, after a couple of forced coughs.

“Oh, sorry, it’s hard being away from you, too!” he quickly corrects. “But I can still talk to you all the time when I’m away.”

One thing Andrew doesn’t have to worry about when he heads across the Tasman is whether their two children will sleep through the night for his wife. Early on, the family got “a lot of help” from Early Parenting sleep consultant Victoria Newport and now both tots are sleeping 12 hours from 7pm to 7am.

“It’s been life-changing!” they both beam. “Victoria is a genius who knows all the science behind sleep scheduling.

“Aiya now does a little excited dance on her back when you wake her up in the morning,” says Megan, scooping her adorable girl in for a kiss.

“We just feel so lucky. Sometimes I whisper to her, ‘You made Mummy’s dreams come true.'”

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