With her big brown eyes and cherubic smile, it's easy to see why little Emiliana Tikao is the apple of her parents' eyes. It's been a year since Coast Night Show host Jason Tikao and wife Amy welcomed their "bubs", as they affectionately call her, and although the road to parenthood wasn't easy, it was worth every moment.
"For me, being a mum is what I was meant to do with life," Amy enthuses. "I love being a little person's whole world. It's hard but it's just so rewarding."
When the Weekly arrives at the family's home on Auckland's North Shore, the proud parents are surprised when Emiliana becomes suddenly shy. But after a cuddle with Mum and a bit of food, the toddler quickly charms the whole team.
In fact, with her confident nature, Jason is convinced he's raising a "radio baby", despite his best efforts.
"I get the feeling she's going to see a studio and be like, 'Oh, that's fun.' And she does love to chat. She's going to be a performer of some kind," he laughs.
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise because radio is in Emiliana's blood. Not only is her dad a broadcaster, but both of Amy's parents also work in the industry – and it's the reason Jason and Amy met.
"Amy's mum was a station manager at one of the radio stations where I used to work," explains Jason. "I used to always go into her office and hang out with her. And then Amy came in one day and I was like, 'Ooh, hello.'"
The pair worked on a few promos together and Jason's interest in Amy only grew. But when they eventually went on a date, he thought that was the end of things.
"I actually thought nothing was going to happen," confesses Jason.
"He thought I didn't like him!" laughs Amy.
But with her mum's seal of approval, Amy, 32, knew he was the one for her and they've been inseparable for almost a decade.
Despite their 12-year age gap, Jason, 44, says they perfectly balance each other out. "I'm 12 years older but we meet in the middle because I'm really immature and she's really mature."
Not long after their romantic Queenstown wedding in 2017, the couple started trying for a baby. After a year and a half with no luck, they started to wonder if it would ever happen, but with the help of a gynaecologist, who boldly declared he would get them pregnant, they finally got the news they longed for.
"After four rounds of fertility medication, I was pregnant and it was quite surreal," shares Amy, who works as an academics services coordinator in the Faculty of Law at Auckland University. "The first few months, I didn't feel like it was a thing. It took me ages to get comfortable with it."
Adds Jason, "We didn't believe it until she started showing and we could feel her kicking."
Then, in March last year, just as Amy was about to go on maternity leave, the country went into nationwide lockdown.
"I remember the day so clearly because as soon as Jacinda said we're going into lockdown, I burst into tears. I called Jason and was like, 'I don't know what I'm going to do.' I didn't feel prepared."
The stress was so much that a few days into lockdown, the expectant mum ended up in hospital after the baby became disturbingly still.
"She'd stopped moving because my anxiety was so high, I'd basically paralysed her," tells Amy. "As soon as we got into the hospital, she started moving again. The doctor said they'd had quite a few pregnant women through because of the stress."
When Amy was induced at almost 42 weeks, the country had moved to alert level three. It was only due to Amy's determination that Jason was allowed to be by her side for the birth.
"When we got to the hospital, they immediately said, 'He can't come with you.' I stood there and said, 'He's coming with me.' I was prepared to walk out those doors. I was not going up there without him."
After 16 hours of pushing to no avail, the doctors told Amy it was time for them to step in. But after everything else in her birth plan had gone awry, she was determined to do it on her own.
Jason explains, "Amy was absolutely exhausted – she basically couldn't carry on and the doctors said, 'You've got one last push. After that, we're taking over.'"
It turned out that one more push was all she needed and Emiliana made her grand entrance into the world.
"She is one determined lady," smiles Jason proudly at his wife.
With their beautiful baby happy and healthy, Jason and Amy are hopeful they will be able to add to their brood sometime in the near future. But for now, Jason is delighted watching the cherished connection between his girls.
"Watching Emiliana grow and watching her with Amy has been incredible. Their bond is one of the most beautiful things to me – it's very special."