News, Culture & Society

EastEnders’ Michael Greco reveals week-old son Gianluca is getting ‘stronger and stronger’ in ICU

At the end of last week, EastEnders star Michael Greco announced that his son, Gianluca had been born prematurely on Thursday. 

And a week later, the star – who played Beppe di Marco in the BBC soap from 1998 to 2002 – has emotionally revealed that Gianluca is ‘fighting to live a normal life’ and has become ‘stronger and stronger’ while in ICU. 

Michael, 50, previously explained that the baby – who had to have bowel surgery straight after his birth – weighed just 4.47lbs and came early due to scans failing to pick up birth defects.

Update: Michael that his newborn son Gianluca is ‘fighting to live a normal life’ and has become ‘stronger and stronger’ while in ICU

Alongside a photograph of his son in an incubator, Michael wrote: ‘My boy. My beautiful boy is still in ICU and fighting to live a normal life.

‘He has become stronger and stronger, day by day, and has given himself an incredible chance of a normal life that every new born baby deserves.

‘He’s a true Greco and has made my heart completely full and bursting of love. Much, much more than I ever thought was possible. Daddy is still a ‘tad’ emotional. I love you Gianluca.’ 

On Friday, sharing a picture of Gianluca detailed the arrival of his and girlfriend Helen Harris’ son. 

Emotional: Michael - who played Beppe di Marco in the BBC soap from 1998 to 2002 - explained how his son has made his heart 'completely full and bursting of love' (Pictured in 2016)

Emotional: Michael – who played Beppe di Marco in the BBC soap from 1998 to 2002 – explained how his son has made his heart ‘completely full and bursting of love’ (Pictured in 2016)

Baby boy: EastEnders star Michael announced the birth of his first child last week

Baby boy: EastEnders star Michael announced the birth of his first child last week

Michael penned: ‘Born July 1st 2021. Weighing 4.47lbs. The little man was born prematurely due to the fact that previous scans had failed to pick up his rare birth defect called Gastroschisis…

‘The consultant suggested it was best for him to born early so that he could get the necessary care and attention. He was born at University College of London Hospital…

‘Their staff were extremely professional and Mother and Baby could not have been in better hands. Dad was a ‘tad’ emotional to say the least!…

‘Baby has already had his first operation to replace his bowel where it should belong and is under the worlds best care of Great Ormond Street where he will be in ICU for a while and most probably for up to 6 weeks…

Speaking out: The star revealed that his son, Gianluca Greco was born prematurely last Thursday, weighing 4.47lbs with his early birth due to failure of scans to pick up birth defects

Speaking out: The star revealed that his son, Gianluca Greco was born prematurely last Thursday, weighing 4.47lbs with his early birth due to failure of scans to pick up birth defects

First time dad: Sharing a picture of Gianluca, Michael detailed the arrival of his and girlfriend Helen Harris' son

First time dad: Sharing a picture of Gianluca, Michael detailed the arrival of his and girlfriend Helen Harris’ son

What is gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis is a type of abdominal wall defect. It occurs when a child’s abdomen does not develop fully while in the womb.

Early in all pregnancies, the intestine develops inside the umbilical cord and then usually moves inside the abdomen a few weeks later.

In gastroschisis, the abdominal wall does not form completely so the intestines develop outside and are open to the air when the child is born.

Gastroschisis is immediately recognisable because the child’s intestines are outside of the abdomen. Some areas of the intestines may look darker as they have been in contact with the amniotic fluid inside the womb, which can damage them. The umbilical cord is visible but pushed to the side by the exposed intestines. 

Gastroschisis is a serious condition so needs prompt treatment soon after birth. 

Immediately after birth, doctors will wrap the exposed intestines in a type of ‘cling film’ which reduces the amount of fluids and body heat lost, protects the intestines from further damage and also allows staff to monitor them closely. 

Once stable, the child will have an operation under general anaesthetic to put the intestines back inside the abdomen and close up the abdominal wall. Sometimes this needs to be done in stages, replacing the intestines a bit at a time until they can all be contained within the abdomen.

Occasionally, children have treatment for gastroschisis in the intensive care unit. This involves placing a ready-made mesh sac over the intestines so that are contained and moved back into the abdomen. The sac is put in place on the intensive care unit without anaesthetic but with pain relief. This sac is then suspended above the child so that gravity gradually moves the intestines back inside the abdomen. It is tightened regularly until all the intestine is inside the abdomen, which usually takes a few days.

 

‘My heart is full already and this is by far the best day of my life. I love you Gianluca more than I can ever imagine.’

Gastroschisis is a type of abdominal wall defect. It occurs when a child’s abdomen does not develop fully while in the womb.

Early in all pregnancies, the intestine develops inside the umbilical cord and then usually moves inside the abdomen a few weeks later.

In gastroschisis, the abdominal wall does not form completely so the intestines develop outside and are open to the air when the child is born.

It's a boy! In April, Michael announced that he and Helen were having a baby boy

It’s a boy! In April, Michael announced that he and Helen were having a baby boy

Gastroschisis is immediately recognisable because the child’s intestines are outside of the abdomen. Some areas of the intestines may look darker as they have been in contact with the amniotic fluid inside the womb, which can damage them. The umbilical cord is visible but pushed to the side by the exposed intestines. 

In April, Michael announced that he and Helen were having a baby boy.

At the time he appeared on Loose Women, to reveal the sex of their unborn child, and held up a pair of tiny blue baby socks as he made the announcement. 

He admitted he was so ‘overwhelmed’ when Helen revealed her pregnancy that he burst into tears, as he discussed becoming a dad in his 50s.     

Exciting times: The TV star appeared Loose Women earlier this year to reveal the sex of their unborn child, and held up a pair of tiny blue baby socks as he made the announcement

Exciting times: The TV star appeared Loose Women earlier this year to reveal the sex of their unborn child, and held up a pair of tiny blue baby socks as he made the announcement

As he made the gender reveal, Michael acknowledged:  ‘I am a traditionalist. I know some people aren’t these days of being traditional about blue and pink and blah, blah, blah. But I am.

‘I’m Italian, I’m old-fashioned, I’m a traditionalist. And so the baby’s gender is… a little boy!’ announced Michael, as he held up a pair of blue baby socks, leaving the Loose Women panellists cheering as they congratulated him. 

Earlier, the actor discussed how he felt about finding out he was going to be a father, admitting: ‘I was overwhelmed when my partner told me and I did burst into tears. I didn’t think I would, but I did.

‘It’s funny being a dad in my 50s now. There are no rules in life when you should be a dad and when you shouldn’t. Some people have kids when they’re younger, and some people have them in their older age… What I do know is I’m still fit and strong.’ 

Cheers! Michael also credited former EastEnders co-star Dean Gaffney, 43, with being responsible for his foray into fatherhood

Cheers! Michael also credited former EastEnders co-star Dean Gaffney, 43, with being responsible for his foray into fatherhood

Michael also credited former EastEnders co-star Dean Gaffney, 43, with being responsible for his foray into fatherhood.

He explained: ‘I’m a Surrey boy, born and bred in Surrey and lived in London and Surrey all my life. I had to move out of my home.

‘And until I moved into a new home, Dean said, ‘There’s a spare room in my house in Hertfordshire. Come up and stay with me for a while.’ I stayed with him and I met my beautiful Helen, who I’m having a child with, in a bar very close to Dean’s house.

‘So had I not moved out of that place, I would never have met Helen. So that’s the way it is. It is fate.’

Happy news: Michael shared a picture of the baby scan on social media in February and added: 'My heart is full and I love you more than life itself Baby G. Xxx'

Happy news: Michael shared a picture of the baby scan on social media in February and added: ‘My heart is full and I love you more than life itself Baby G. Xxx’

Former EastEnders star Michael announced in February that he was set to become a father for the first time, with his ‘soulmate’ girlfriend Helen Harris. 

The soap actor wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of a sonogram: ‘Baby Greco. First time daddy at 51! Probably the greatest post I’ve ever shared. 

‘Can’t explain how emotional it was for me to be told that I am to be a father for the very first time, with my absolute soulmate. I’m normally a very private person but I couldn’t help reveal my utter joy and I just want to tell the world! 

‘In these devastating times that we are all facing right now, this is the best news I could ever dream of. My heart is full and I love you more than life itself Baby G. Xxx.’

Happy couple: It's not known how long Michael has been in a relationship with mother-of-two Helen for but he first shared a picture of her on social media last year

Happy couple: It’s not known how long Michael has been in a relationship with mother-of-two Helen for but he first shared a picture of her on social media last year  

He also wrote on Twitter: ‘Am delighted and extremely happy to share the news that I’m going to be a first time daddy at 51! I If it’s good enough for Rod and Mick then it’s good enough for me. I love you Baby Greco!’

It’s not known how long Michael has been in a relationship with mother-of-two Helen for but he first shared a picture of her on social media seven months ago. 

He wrote on one post: ‘Took 50 years to find that special someone but she was definitely worth waiting for. My beautiful girl. I love you. Xxx.’

And on another, he wrote: ‘An incredible weekend in London with my beautiful girl. #coventgarden #lovelondonlights #livelife #stayhealthy #behappy.’

Michael bowed out of EastEnders 18 years ago when he was axed by executive producer John Yorke. 

Soap star: Michael is famed for playing Beppe di Marco in EastEnders (Pictured on set in 2001 with Martin Kemp)

Soap star: Michael is famed for playing Beppe di Marco in EastEnders (Pictured on set in 2001 with Martin Kemp)

In the show, Beppe got fired from the police force for attempting to frame Grant Mitchell, played by Ross Kemp. 

When his mother suddenly died, Beppe sold the E20 nightclub to Sharon Watts and left Walford for good. 

Michael later went to star in Casualty and the Aladdin musical. 

He previously dated Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring, who plays Cindy Cunningham from October 2016 to April 2017, but they split up over his party lifestyle. 

In 1998. he got engaged to glamour model Linsey Dawn McKenzie but they went their separate ways and he was later linked to Lisa Faulkner and Dani Behr.

See you down the Vic: The former poker player loves to upload pictures of his buff body on social media

See you down the Vic: The former poker player loves to upload pictures of his buff body on social media

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk