Made in Chelsea's Victoria Baker-Harber has invited HELLO! into her family's London home to announce that she has welcomed her first child – a daughter.
"Sshh, she's sleeping," Victoria whispers as she ushers us over to the Moses basket. Slumbering peacefully inside is the source of her joy: her four-week-old baby girl Gaia-Grace.
"My world changed the moment Gaia was born," says the 33-year-old former Made in Chelsea star. "Nothing can prepare you for becoming a mother. What I feel for Gaia is more than love; it’s an instinct that takes over. The second I saw her, held her, there was an instantaneous knowing that I will protect her as long as I live."
Victoria's eyes light up as she recalls the moment her baby arrived. The newborn arrived weighing 7lb 6oz at 8.07am on 1 November at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital.
"I had such a great doctor and felt totally at ease," says the first-time mother, who went into labour on 31 October, the day after her due date.
Victoria holding her dour-week-old daughter Gaia-Grace
"I remember thinking: 'This is so hard. How do people do this more than once?' But the second I held Gaia, another wave of emotion swept over me. I felt so humbled, it was as though my ego disappeared. I have never had such a sense of calm. I realised that this creation was more important than anything else in my life. Everything that had concerned me before seemed trivial. The bond between us was instant."
Despite her elation, Victoria's new role as she embarks on motherhood is tinged with heartache. Absent from both their lives and missing out on those milestone moments is Gaia's father, Victoria's American fiancé, Inigo Philbrick.
The 33-year-old art dealer, who ran galleries in London and Miami and brokered multimillion-pound global transactions, was arrested and charged with wire fraud when Victoria was five and a half months pregnant. He was remanded in custody in June, and the couple have not seen each other since then. Inigo is now awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, a process that has taken even longer than expected due to Covid restrictions.
"The first few days after Gaia was born were full of such emotion – highs and lows. Truly tears of joy and moments of sadness thinking about how Inigo wasn't with me. Nothing in the world can prepare you for any of this – becoming a mother changes you in a heartbeat," Victoria reflects.
"What hurt me most was that I was unable to share the joy of Gaia's arrival with him. I couldn't break the news for four days because he's only allowed phone calls on certain days of the week. When I was able to tell him, he was over the moon but full of emotion. I've managed to send him photos of her and I cannot wait for the day he'll finally be able meet her."
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