Family

Shortland Street's Jayden Daniels introduces his adorable baby boy

After a dramatic entrance into the world, broody Jayden can’t wait to give his gorgeous son some siblings.

As they sit on their couch, staring adoringly at their smiling baby boy in his woven flax basket, Shortland Street star Jayden Daniels and his partner Gigi Barclay are so calm, you could be mistaken for thinking these first-time parents had done it all before.

But it's simply that their son Kaewa Bear Maiti is a "cruisy" little lad, the 23-year-old actor tells, adding that the wee guy has only grizzled ever so slightly over the muggy Auckland summer.

The beautiful baby was a "happy surprise" for the couple – as was his name. Make-up artist Gigi, 31, explains, "We knew we wanted him to be adventurous, so we looked up 'explorer' in the Maori dictionary."

They were tossing up between Kaea ("leader" in te reo) and Hiwa (after the wishing star Hiwa-i-te-rangi), but neither was quite right. Then one night, Jayden – who plays lovable rogue Curtis Hannah on Shorty – accidentally mixed them up to make the word "kaewa" ("adventurer") and the pair knew they'd found the one.

"It was a dead mix of the ones we wanted," says Gigi.

"It fit exactly what we were looking for and it meant something – it was just too good not to use."

But while the name came easy, Kaewa's delivery was not so smooth. Three days before her due date, Gigi was called into Waitakere Hospital to be induced as doctors were worried the baby wasn't getting enough food.

Jayden smiles, "We had this romantic idea we'd walk in in the morning, get induced, have a baby by the afternoon, then come home and have a barbecue on the deck."

But that certainly wasn't the case, adds Gigi, who had hoped for a water birth.

"I don't think anything can really prepare you for birth," she says.

"Beforehand, some people told us, 'Having no plan is the best plan,' and that was probably the greatest advice."

Indeed, after more than a day and a half in labour, Kaewa still wasn't coming and his umbilical cord kept getting wrapped around his neck. It was then that doctors finally made the call for an emergency Caesarean.

Kaewa Bear Maiti Daniels
**Born:** November 18, 2017
**Weight:** 3.3kg
Kaewa Bear Maiti Daniels
Born: November 18, 2017
Weight: 3.3kg

While Gigi was apprehensive about the operation, her proud partner tells, "I didn't get scared at any point because we had him in the hospital. If we were here at home and it was happening without doctors, then I would've been worried."

Due to the difficult birth, Gigi and Kaewa had to spend the next few days in hospital, which was unsettling for Gigi as Jayden was not allowed to stay overnight. However, everything fell into place for the new parents when they could bring their newborn home.

"We had all our family and friends around, and I could be back with Jayden," Gigi tells.

"I remember just feeling like this was what it was meant to feel like."

The new family travelled throughout New Zealand to visit family while Shorty was on hiatus over summer and now Jayden is back at work, his baby is a much-loved visitor to the show's set Adorably, the fictional world of Ferndale is where the actor met his girlfriend in 2014, while she was working in the TVNZ 2 soap's make-up department.

"We definitely have a path and purpose now," says Gigi.

"Before, he sat in the make-up chair and we talked about all these ideas that we had. Now it's like we actually have a reason to focus ourselves. It feels like our lives have gone forward rather than just in limbo."

Jayden adds, "I definitely feel like he has made us tighter. It's like the future is clearer."

Asked if he's hinting at an upcoming proposal, Jayden just laughs, "Watch this space."

But he confesses the pair are already discussing expanding their tribe.

"We definitely have plans for more, but we don't necessarily know when exactly," explains Gigi, who wants to wait until Kaewa is a bit older.

"But at least another three, eh, boy?" grins Jayden as his son shoots him a wide-eyed glance and starts to giggle. For now, though, Jayden and Gigi are perfectly content with their baby boy.

"We have been really, really blessed," she smiles.

read more from