Snnuggling up to their gorgeous baby daughter Remy in the middle of a citrus orchard in sunny Kerikeri, Siobhan Marshall and Millen Baird are the very picture of parental bliss.
As they kiss and cuddle their wee cherub in an effort to get her to smile for our photographer, it's a scene that's as sweet as the mandarin juice the actress' mum makes here.
"Remy's a real giggler, but sometimes she can be very serious," admits Siobhan. "She's quite focused – we can put a book in front of her and she'll stare at it for ages. I reckon she'll grow up to be something to do with language or literature. Maybe a librarian!"
Laughing, proud dad Millen adds, "We've got no idea where she gets the seriousness from as we're both very silly. Sometimes she looks seriously unimpressed with us, like, 'Where is the consistency?!' But she's a real character."
The Kiwi acting duo, who moved to Los Angeles after tying the knot in 2016, are excited to be back in Aotearoa for summer, crisscrossing the nation to show Remy off to friends and family, before they start filming a second season of their comedy series Darryl: An Outward Bound Story.
Right now, the little family is nesting in a cabin on Siobhan's mother Audrey's orchard, Northland's Keri Grove, feasting on the plentiful home-grown avocados and frequently popping to the local market for a feed of mussel fritters.
Taking in all the greenery, the former Outrageous Fortune actress, 35, tells Woman's Day, "It's pretty where we live in Newport Beach, but it's so refreshing to be back here in nature. It's such a beautiful country – and the food is amazing. And it's really nice introducing Remy to the family because she looks so much like them."
Nodding, Step Dave and 800 Words actor Millen, 45, continues, "Every day, from every different angle, she looks like someone else. Today she looks like my dad and yesterday she looked like Vorny's mum. It's quite funny."
Indeed, the family's first photo shoot is full of laughs and it's clear the stars are overjoyed to finally be parents after undergoing IVF treatment due to Millen's infertility.
But it hasn't been all smiles getting to this stage, with Remy arriving into the world in a dramatic fashion and her mum struggling with health problems for months afterwards.
It all kicked off a week before the due date, when Siobhan visited her local doctor in LA for a routine check-up.
Millen recalls, "We were just popping in for a quick trip to the clinic before having a coffee, but we never got that coffee."
Siobhan explains, "We thought it was all going swimmingly, but the doctor said I had high blood pressure and sent me to the hospital for a test, where it turned out I had pre-eclampsia, which is really, really high blood pressure.
"The nurses were very professional, but we found out later that they were freaking out because it was really bad and it can kill you. Fortunately, they caught it early enough, but the only way to treat it is to have the baby, so they induced me right then and there. It was suddenly all go and we didn't have any of the things we'd packedfor the hospital."
Siobhan's labour was initially very swift and it looked like the baby would be delivered any moment just 90 minutes after the induction, but then the pain got too much and Siobhan's blood pressure skyrocketed, so she was given an epidural, which slowed everything down. Further complicating matters, the baby was facing the wrong way.
"She was a stargazer," the Auckland-born actress tells. "She was looking up instead of looking down. In the States, they call it sunny side up. Fortunately, we had this cool doctor who was 83 years old and really keen for us not to have a Caesarean, so we were able to get her out of there. And Mills was a really good coach!"
But the Taranaki bloke insists, "I was no help at all. I was just using rugby terms, like, 'Drive it!' which made her burst out laughing. I felt pretty helpless because I could see the concern on the nurses' faces, but Vorny was a machine.
"When I saw that little head pop out, I was in shock. I hadn't really processed it. The whole room turned into this blur of psychedelic colours."
Remy Rose Audrey Baird finally arrived on August 3, just over 13 hours after her mother was induced. Siobhan recalls, "Because she was up the wrong way and sat really low when I was pregnant, she came out with a massive cone head and a squashed face. It was so cute. They put the hospital beanie on her and because of the shape of her head, she filled it up completely."
Millen, who cut the cord, quips, "I thought, 'Hell, she looks nothing like me – they put the wrong embryo in!'"
Exhausted, Siobhan doesn't recall crying at all through the process. She says, "It was a really intense 13 hours and I hadn't slept the night before because I was up watching My Kitchen Rules, so I just felt tired and weird.
"A lot of people say, 'I felt overwhelmed with love for this little creature,' but that didn't happen to me. It was more like, 'Woah, that happened!' Suddenly there was this little human. It was just so surreal."
When it came to naming their precious daughter, Millen confesses, "We were scrambling. Two days before she arrived, we were toying with two different ones, Teddy and Remy, but we'd been told by some Americans that we shouldn't call her Teddy because it sounds like 'titty' with our accents. Fortunately, when she came out, she looked like a Remy!"
Meanwhile, the drama wasn't over for Siobhan, who had to be fitted with a catheter for 10 days after the birth.
She explains, "Because of the epidural and how she came up the wrong way, everything got banged up and I couldn't work out how to pee. It wasn't fun."
Also not so enjoyable was the anaemia that meant the new mum couldn't muster the energy to stand up and saw her back in hospital just two days after the birth.
And to make matters worse, Siobhan also got an infection, her blood pressure was still high and her breast milk didn't come in until five days after Remy's birth, meaning she had a very hungry baby who was crying all night.
"I was just trying to survive at that point," admits Siobhan. "I was so wiped out and thinking, 'Is this what being a mum is going to be like?'
It took me ages to get back together, but Mills and my mum were amazing."
"She was great," nods Millen, who was kept busy picking up prescriptions, and driving to and from hospital. "Every battle needs a general and Audrey was that general. She cooked for us and gave emotional support, and when Siobhan needed a burger, she made sure she got one."
It's no surprise then that Siobhan confesses, "It took me a good three months to start enjoying motherhood because there was so much going on and I got really homesick. I just wanted to be with my friends and family, which is why we're here now. I was so sick and it was so hard."
Four months in, however, Remy is a "really good sleeper" and Siobhan is feeling back to her old bubbly self. Millen marvels, "I always knew she was pretty awesome, but after the past few months, I'm super-impressed. Vorny's such a natural mummy and she's very nurturing. I could stare at the two of them for hours – it's the best live theatre I've ever seen!"
As for how being parents has changed them, the actor replies, "I remember Russell Brand saying, after he had his kid, that he finally understood his purpose. I thought that sounded a bit airy-fairy and flowery, but it's about right. This is the closest we'll ever get to growing up."
Laughing, Siobhan explains, "There's a lot more organising. We've gone from having no structure in our lives to being people who plan what we're doing every 10 minutes. It's like a military regime!"
Asked if she'll be adding to her army, she says, "I don't really want to talk about it for another few months, when the memories fade and I might feel like I want to go through it again, but we do have seven more embryos sitting around in Petri dishes …"
Grinning as he tickles their gorgeous girl, Millen jokes, "We could bethe new Von Trapp family.We just need to learn howto make baby clothes outof curtains!"
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