A couple who met on Married At First Sight have made show history by announcing the birth of their beautiful baby daughter following a whirlwind romance.
However, Ally Acklan, 35, and Paul Todd, 33, are not known to fans of the Channel 4 show as Covid-19 meant their story never made it to air, but a year later they’ve announced their new arrival.
It's the first MAFS UK baby and the news comes as the show is set to return to our screens later this year.
The happy couple from Weston-Super-Mare introduced their "precious cargo", adorable baby Penelope Carol Todd, to the world on their Instagram account and filmed a YouTube video sharing their experiences last month.
Little Penelope was seven days overdue and her arrival into the world was not without difficulty with Paul fearing he may lose Ally after she became seriously ill during a "traumatic" labour.
Speaking in their YouTube video, Ally says: "The birth wasn’t easy, but it was a million times worth it…
"After being induced we went to the delivery suite. I was contracting like the clappers apparently. I had a trauma with the cannula.
"My heart rate was going up and had an emergency forceps delivery with an episiotomy. Sadly I had an infection, they weren't sure if it was sepsis, I went downhill really quickly. That was the scary part for Paul."
Paul added: "I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was something wasn't right. I was really worried. I was thinking, I can’t cope with a baby on my own. I didn’t want to lose the love of my life."
But despite his fears Ally and newborn Penelope pulled through thanks to the incredible staff at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol who the family have described as a "blessing".
Just over a year earlier the couple went through the rigorous process for the C4 show, only to heartbreakingly have their big day fall at the final hurdle.
Their nuptials were cancelled at the eleventh hour thanks to the Covid pandemic, but they didn't want their journey to end there.
They asked TV producers to put them in touch anyway, and proceeded to fall in love over video calls.
On their Instagram and YouTube page called The Unseen Couple, Ally and Paul share their eventual journey to happiness.
In the video where Penelope is presented to the world, the adorable newborn wriggles around in her mum's arms, as Ally says: "She’s asleep at the moment. This is our precious cargo. This is Penelope!"
"We’re one hundred million per cent in love with her. I’ve lost so many hours looking at her," gushed dad Paul.
"We’re definitely enjoying being parents. We have a very happy, content little angel, we’ve had a few nights where she’s cried a lot but we’re doing well," added Ally.
One of the MAF's experts, Paul Brunson, regularly comments about his joy that their matchmaking was such a success.
Paul raved: "I love watching you both together! The insight from this video series is great, especially for anyone who wants to go through the MAFS process."
The pair regularly share snaps and posts about their life together. On July 14 they shared an adorable family snap at the beach, and captioned it: "We are both proud and excited to introduce you all to our Penelope Carol Todd who was registered today!
"We went on a lovely beach stroll followed by drinks to toast the occasion."
They also shared a trip to Dunster Castle with their cute dog in tow, writing: "Family days out. Yesterday we went to Dunster Castle with our babies. It was a great day and Penelope was just amazing. So lucky with our good girl and boy."
The pair got engaged in June, sharing a cute selfie as Ally showed off the ring. "A day at the beach turned into something special. Paul: 'I liked it so I put a ring on it'. Ally: 'I said yes and I cried.'"
After announcing Ally was pregnant on Instagram, the couple then shared pictures of the nursery in the run up to their baby's arrival, showing off brightly coloured walls and a shelf laden with stuffed toys, and a banner of rainbow hearts spelling out Penelope's name.
They have promised fans to keep them updated with every step Penelope takes.
Paul joked: "I wanted a boy but she’s already got me around her finger. Anything she wants you can have it, apart from a boyfriend."
Congratulations to the happy couple!
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