After going through a tough three-year journey to welcome their first child together, it is little wonder Brian McFadden and fiancée Danielle Parkinson don’t want to take their eyes off her. Conceived after IVF treatment following two miscarriages, Ruby Jean McFadden was born at 1:44am on 8 May via emergency C-section, weighing exactly 7lb.
And the blissed-out couple admit it’s “the best feeling in the world” to finally hold their longed-for child in their arms. The couple have shared exclusive pictures of their new baby with OK! VIP members and talk about their journey to having their miracle baby and open up about the birth in a brand new interview.
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“We just couldn’t believe she was here,” teacher Dani, 39, says of the emotional moment she arrived. “We don’t put her down, we’re just constantly looking at her,” Brian adds.
The adorable tot made her appearance a little early, after Dani’s waters broke two days before she was booked in for a Caesarean. But while most mums-to-be would be putting their feet up at home, keen golfer Dani was actually putting when she went into labour.
“We were playing golf and her waters broke on the 15th hole!” laughs former Westlife singer Brian, 41, who now makes up one half of Boyzlife with Boyzone singer Keith Duffy.
“She made the winning putt while in labour – it was amazing!”
Here, Brian – who is also dad to Molly, 19, and Lilly-Sue, 18, with ex-wife Kerry Katona – and Dani tell OK! all about Ruby’s arrival, adding to their brood and wedding plans…
Congratulations to both of you! How are you feeling?
Dani: It’s been a whirlwind. The lack of sleep is hard but it’s all worth it because it’s amazing.
Brian: We’ve just been obsessed with her. We don’t put her down, we’re just constantly looking at her. She’s amazing.
How did you pick her name?
Dani: We went round the houses with a name. We had a long list and then the day before I went into labour we were looking through a baby book and I just said “Ruby”, and we both went, “Yes!” We both really liked it and thought it would transcend from a baby to an elderly lady.
Brian: I think because we always knew the second name would be Jean, it made it easier. We had Taylor Jean and Roxy Jean, but Ruby was the one we loved the most.
Dani: Jean has quite a lot of meaning to us, as both my grandparents were Jean and a few of Brian’s family.
Brian: My grandad was Jean and my uncle, who died 10 years ago, so we have four family members who have all passed who were called Jean.
What a lovely tribute. Tell us about the birth…
Dani: I was booked in for a C-section on 9 May because she was breech. A fortnight before, I started doing different things to help, like swimming, and I had an ECV – which is a manipulation where the doctors try to move her – as I would have preferred a natural birth, but that didn’t work. I ended up going into labour two days before my C-section and having an emergency one. I don’t know if because of everything I was trying, I ended up inducing labour!
Brian: [To Dani] Explain what you were doing when you went into labour [laughs]
Where were you at the time, Dani?
Dani: I was playing golf!
Brian: She wasn’t just playing golf, she was playing in a golf competition! She made the winning putt while in labour – it was amazing. Her waters broke on the 15th hole.
Dani: I gave up playing at 37 weeks but there was a friendly competition at the golf club. We always enter mixed competitions and we just thought if we get this competition in now, if we get through, then by the time I’m recovered, hopefully I’ll be ready for the second round [of the competition].
I thought, “I’ll play a few holes and if I don’t feel like it I’ll rest” but I ended up playing the full 18 holes, plus another one as we were tied at the end! My waters broke but it wasn’t a dramatic thing, it was just a trickle. I said to Brian, “Something doesn’t feel right!” It happened again three or four times but we carried on playing because I wasn’t in any pain.
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What happened next?
Dani: We went home and at 8pm I started having weird pains, and by 10pm they were intense, so we went to the hospital. There was a queue for the theatre, so I was having to go through these contractions, which were horrific. I was in so much pain and desperate for any pain relief.
I got seen and I was only 1cm dilated. But then, it sounds disgusting, she pooed inside me and that means they’re in a bit of distress, so they took me straight to the emergency bit. I was kind of thankful she’d done that as the contractions were the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. We’d read loads about hypnobirthing and breathing through it, but gas and air didn’t touch the sides. I was in agony. I said, “If we do this again I’m having an epidural and I will take all the pain relief!”
Brian: I knew that was going to happen. When we were doing the pre-natal classes online, they were talking about the different pain relief and Dani said, “I don’t like that, I’m going to do it as naturally as possible.” Then when we were in the waiting room at the hospital Dani was like, “Just give me the drugs!”
Did everything go smoothly with the C-section?
Brian: Yeah, the biggest surprise of the day was how quick it all happened. I went up beside Dani’s head and they said we could put some music on, so I started to play a song by The Killers. The song hadn’t even got to the first chorus and the next moment Ruby was just there looking over the little curtain they had up! It was crazy.
Dani: It was so surreal. I didn’t even cry, I think I was just so happy she was here and was healthy because you have so many worries going into it.
Did you cut the cord, Brian?
Brian: Yes, I cut the one end. When they were stitching Dani up I went into a room and it was just me and Ruby. I was like, “Is someone not going to remind me what you’re supposed to do? There’s no instruction booklet!” [Laughs] When they said we could go home we both looked at each other like, “Are we ready? We don’t really know what to do yet.” The first few days, every little move she did we were like, “Is she okay?” Even if she sneezes, you think something is wrong.
So there wasn’t any muscle memory from when Molly and Lilly were babies, Brian?
Brian: Not at all, which was the weird thing! It all felt brand new. I did think, “It’ll be grand, I’ve done this before.” But no. I also think because I’m older, you get even more scared at this age. And because of everything we’ve gone through for Ruby, to get here and then to have a C-section, you’re always just thinking something is wrong and in a panic. We’re still like that, but we’ve got better! The first couple of nights I don’t think either of us slept because we were just staring at her.
After everything you’ve been through, how does it feel now she’s here?
Dani: It does feel extra-special. The process feels like a lifetime but it’s been three years from the start to having her, so to finally get a baby after all that is
the best feeling in the world. I never knew how I would feel until I got her. I obviously knew I would love her and be so happy but the love that you feel and the way you want to protect them is indescribable.
Brian: She’s been doing little smiles and every time she does that it just breaks your heart. The worst is when she cries, it just tears you up and you want to do anything to make sure she’s okay.
Dani: We actually fight over who gets to change her nappy and push her pram. We’re like, “No, you did the last one!” At the moment I’m exclusively breastfeeding. I’ve loved the whole experience of breastfeeding but it’s intense because you have no time for yourself.
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Do you think she’s brought you closer together?
Dani: I would say so. I’ve been very lucky Brian has been at home and you can work it out together, but you also have moments where you disagree on stuff as new parents, but you muddle through. Now we’ve been through this whole time together, from starting IVF to getting her, it’s pretty amazing. You do forget about each other when you’ve got a newborn though. You have to remember to give each other a kiss while giving her a kiss.
Would you like to have more children?
Dani: I think we’re going to try again. We’d like to. When you’ve had a C-section they advise you not to get pregnant for 12 months, so we’ll give it at least a year. If it happens naturally, then great, but if not we’ve got a really strong egg left, the last one left in the freezer, so we can always give that a go as well.
Brian: Yeah. I think we just want to enjoy having Ruby for at least a year before we think about it.
Your daughter Lilly met Ruby recently, Brian. Was she as obsessed with her as you are?
Brian: She was. She had a cuddle and was amazed at how small she is, because she’s tiny. Molly has been bogged down with college work, so she hasn’t been able to get
over from Ireland yet, but we’re hoping in June or July she will, as we haven’t seen her or my parents since Christmas [Molly lives with Brian’s parents in Ireland, where she studies].
My parents are dying to meet Ruby. Molly’s had all her auditions to get into university to study acting, so she’s just waiting to find out where she’s going to go. We’re hoping she’s going to Trinity College. She’s always had a talent for acting but it’s good she’s now going to get the proper training.
Has Kerry sent you any gifts for Ruby?
Dani: She sent us some clothes quite a way into my pregnancy, once we knew everything was okay. She’s also sent us some lovely messages and said how happy she is for us and been really lovely.
Are you going to take up TOWIE star Gemma Collins’ offer to babysit?
Brian: Not likely [laughs]!
Dani: She might take her on a nice shopping trips to Harrods though, you know what she’s like! She’ll get spoiled.
Brian: I think if Gemma was going to be looking after the baby, you’d need someone to look after the both of them! She’s been lovely and told us how delighted she is for us.
You’re also friends with Zara and Mike Tindall. How are they getting on with baby boy Lucas?
Brian: They’re really good. They’re also delighted for us and sent us a lovely message, and we’ve spoken since both of the babies were born. We’re just so thankful that they put us in touch with [expert nutritionist] Simone, who put us on the diet which helped us get pregnant.
Will they be invited to your wedding?
Brian: Of course. Gemma will also be invited. Then Keith [Duffy] is my best man. We’re supposed to be on tour in September and I know it’s going to be so hard to leave Ruby.
What’s the latest with your wedding plans?
Brian: We’ve moved it again. We were meant to get married in South Africa this coming January but with Covid and Ruby only being nine months old, it could be difficult. So we’ve put it back another year to 2023. Ruby will be walking by then and hopefully the world will be in a different state, and people won’t have to worry about testing and isolating – as we’re having 50 guests.
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