Nermina Pieters-Mekic and husband Erik introduce baby Alaya-Rose and share post-labour scare: ‘We’re so in love with her’

Former Real Housewives Of Cheshire star Nermina Pieters-Mekic and her footballer husband Erik Pieters have welcomed their darling baby girl into the world, with an exclusive shoot and interview for OK! VIP members.

Here, Nermina, 30, and Erik, 32 – who also share four dogs – introduce Alaya-Rose and open up about raising her to be bilingual, Nermina’s post-labour scare and why her arrival was all the sweeter following a miscarriage in 2019…

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Alaya-Rose Pieters timed her arrival perfectly, coming into the world eight days early when the football season was on a four-day international break and putting Erik’s fears that he may miss the birth of his first child to rest.

“Once Erik told me there was an ideal time to have the baby, I manifested that I was going to have her a bit early,” says Bosnian-Dutch singer and horse rider Nermina. “I was worried I could be at a game a four-hour drive away. I was so pleased I was there, because it was beautiful,” smiles Erik, who plays for Premier League side Burnley FC.

Alaya-Rose was born on 29 March at 10.09am weighing 6lbs 2.5oz. But while her arrival was a serene and peaceful experience, Nermina ended up suffering from post-labour complications which resulted in her needing a blood transfusion and stitches.

Congratulations to both of you. How have your first few weeks as parents been?

Nermina: We’ve been so in love with her since day one. It’s been amazing, but it is hard. You don’t know until you have children how difficult it is, but at the same time it’s the best thing ever. I’m with her 24/7 at the moment and I’m breastfeeding. Erik has his games and training, but I don’t mind at all because I love every second I spend with her. I wouldn’t change it for anything. My mum is here, which has been amazing, as I need someone around when Erik is away.

Erik: I can’t wait to come home after a game and be with my little family. If I have a home game,
I sleep in a separate room the night before, but I will wake up at 5am and be like, “Where is the baby?” Of course I want to sleep next to my wife and the little one, but my work is also one of the priorities.

Nermina: It’s not nice for me when he’s away at a game as it’s reassuring to have him here. As a mum, I panic a little bit when she cries and I want to help her as quickly as possible, whereas Erik is calmer, so she always falls asleep very quickly with him. The other day it took me two hours of trying to get her to sleep. Erik came home and within 10 minutes she was asleep.

Erik: I have magic hands!

Tell us about the birth…

Nermina: We went to bed around 1am as we’d had a busy day. We cleaned the whole house and I went to see my horses, so I probably did a bit too much. I couldn’t get comfortable and Erik couldn’t sleep because of me tossing and turning.

Erik: Nermina woke up and said she had cramp and I said, “Go to sleep, it’ll be fine in the morning.” Five minutes later she said, “I think my waters have broken!” It was 3am by this time and all I could think was, “I should’ve got more sleep!”

Nermina: I said to Erik, “You need to get some towels!”

Erik: I jumped up and put towels all over the floor. Around 4am, I thought, “Shall I put in the car seat?” I had to put it together and
I had no clue what to do. Thankfully, it only took me 15 minutes!

Nermina: We arrived at the hospital at 5.30am and she was born at 10.09am! I only had time for gas and air. I only remember Erik’s voice. I focused on my breathing and I went into a different state in my mind. We did hypnobirthing classes together online and Erik knew my birth plan. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. I felt like we did it together, rather than me shouting at him like you see in the movies.

Erik: I’m not going to lie, I cried a little bit when I saw her for the first time. I also cut the cord. The experience was magical. I’m really proud of Nermina. She was so strong during the whole process.

Nermina: That moment when she arrived was the most beautiful, surreal thing. I was overwhelmed with emotions. The labour went so smoothly, but unfortunately I had some internal bleeding. I was in quite a bit of pain and I had to go to theatre for some stitches and a blood transfusion. I stayed in hospital for four days.

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That must have been scary…

Erik: Yeah, it was really tough. Hearing Nermina had to go to theatre, and not having control, was the hardest part for me. I felt hopeless – I couldn’t do anything.

Nermina: I’d stayed so calm the whole labour, but I was in real pain and all I could think was, “We need to do something now,” and that’s when I went into theatre. I think that was the scary part for Erik, as he knows my pain threshold is quite good and I was really
asking for help in that moment.

Erik: I had the little one in my arms and I didn’t know what to do. I was asking the nurses to help my wife out as soon as possible. I was just walking around nervous as hell when she was in theatre. I couldn’t take the pain away – if I could I would have.

Nermina: They handled it really quickly and I had time to recover in hospital. I’m still recovering now. The positive I take from it
is that I learned so much from the midwives about the baby. When I did come home, I didn’t feel insecure to have the baby around me. I said to Erik, “Imagine if I had to go home the same day? I wouldn’t know what to do with the baby and how to change the nappies.” It’s quite overwhelming. But Erik had to change all the nappies in the beginning because I couldn’t walk for a few days.

Erik: I don’t mind, I love changing nappies. It’s bonding time for me.

Nermina: It hasn’t put me off having more children in the future. I’d do it all over again. I’m happy I had the complications rather than the baby, because I know I’ll recover from it.

How does it feel now Alaya-Rose is here after your miscarriage in 2019?

Nermina: I think if anything you appreciate things a bit more. She is the apple of our eyes. I think the miscarriage made me worry a bit more. I was careful during the whole pregnancy and only got confident once I was 20 weeks – that’s when I relaxed into it and then I didn’t stop. I kept riding my horse until late in my pregnancy.

Erik: Loads of people go through miscarriages and it’s really painful, but then having a healthy little one after is a blessing.

How did you pick her name?

Erik: We’ve always liked the name Rose,but because so many people are called Rose we wanted to make it more special. We went on Instagram, Google, everywhere searching for a name.

Nermina: I found Alaya online and I asked Erik about it and he said he loved it and then he said, “What about Alaya-Rose?” And we looked at each other and said, “That’s the one.” We kept it to ourselves.

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How has breastfeeding been, Nermina?

Nermina: I know I’m very lucky I can breastfeed, but it’s not easy. It takes a lot of energy and time, but it’s been amazing bonding. When Erik isn’t playing I will feed her and then he will burp her and change her nappies in the night. That’s the deal!

Erik: It’s a team effort. But if I could breastfeed I would do it, so I could help.

Have your parents met her yet, Erik?

Erik: No. I haven’t seen my parents for over a year now because of Covid-19. They didn’t even see Nermina pregnant. We’re trying to get them over here as soon as possible. It will be really special, as it’s their first grandchild. We’re trying to speak in multiple languages to her from a young age. Nermina and her mum are speaking Bosnian to her and I’m speaking Dutch.

Nermina, have you heard from your former Real Housewives co-stars?

Nermina: Yes, I’ve had some flowers. The girls have been amazing. Dawn [Ward], Seema [Malhotra] and Stacey [Forsey] have all messaged. They’re so happy for me and can’t wait for me to meet her. We’ve been overwhelmed with flowers and clothes.
I’m still in maternity leggings every day, but this little one has five outfit changes a day! She has the best wardrobe of us all.

Finally, tell us about her nursery…

Nermina: We didn’t want too much pink. We really wanted to go for a classic touch, so we worked with Silver Cross and they have this amazing range of classic white furniture. A lady called Abby from Ginger Nest Interiors came up with some ideas for the nursery. I found this amazing wallpaper and Erik found a beautiful chair and bought her a little rocking horse.
Her first pony!

Erik: First and last, otherwise it’s bankruptcy [laughs]! I might just buy her a big horse now and she can grow into it!

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