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Lacey Turner is sitting in the kitchen of her Hertfordshire home, chatting, while her husband, Matt Kay, is dancing around the room with their one-year-old daughter, Dusty.

“When you see a man be so amazing with their daughter it makes you love them even more,” the EastEnders actress says as she watches her husband of three years make Dusty giggle with delight.

It’s no surprise, then, that the couple decided to try for another baby – and now they can exclusively reveal to OK! that Lacey is 16 weeks pregnant. “We feel so lucky to be expecting our second baby, as it took so long to get Dusty,” says Lacey, 32, who’s due in February.

The journey to parenthood was a long and heartbreaking one for the couple. Lacey suffered two miscarriages before becoming pregnant with Dusty. Both were at seven weeks.

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Afterwards, Lacey underwent tests to determine any medical issues (there weren’t any) and a period of six months where they didn’t fall pregnant, before having Dusty in July 2019. “We didn’t know if it was going to take years again so it was an amazing surprise,” says barber Matt, also 32.

Following lockdown, EastEnders recently returned to our screens and this week viewers will see Lacey’s character Stacey Slater return to Walford to discover her estranged husband Martin Fowler [James Bye] is in a relationship with her best friend Ruby Allen [Louisa Lytton] and in true Albert Square style, there will be fireworks!

“It’s always so much more fun to play a feisty character,” laughs Lacey, who’s been in the BBC show since she was 16 years old.

Here, Lacey and Matt open up about their excitement at expecting their second child, parenting Dusty and Stacey’s dramatic return to Walford…

Congratulations! How did you feel when you found out you were expecting your second child?

Lacey: I was over the moon. I had an inkling I was pregnant, so I took the test at home and it was positive. We feel so lucky to be expecting our second, as it took so long and there was so much heartache getting Dusty here.

Matt: When Lacey told me, I was so happy. Having Dusty was the best thing that ever happened to us, so to have another baby is only going to be amazing.

Were you trying for long?

Lacey: No, we were lucky. After last time, we learned the best way was to have the attitude of ‘if it happens it happens’ – and then it did! It was a lovely surprise. It took so long with Dusty, but now they’re coming along like buses! After the heartbreak we went through, it’s a miracle to fall pregnant so quickly.

Matt: We didn’t know if it was going to take years again so it was an amazing surprise.

You went through a very traumatic time last time. [Lacey suffered two miscarriages both at seven weeks before falling pregnant with Dusty]. Were you concerned when you started trying?

Lacey: Yes, I was. I didn’t know how long it would take and you worry you may suffer more heartache, but, thankfully, everything’s been fine. I don’t think pregnancy will ever be an exciting experience for me as I always have that worry in the back of my mind, but the further along I go in the pregnancy, the less I worry. Matt’s more positive than me.

Matt: I try not to let any negative energy creep up.

Lacey: I don’t think Matt thinks too deeply about things, whereas I’ll go straight to the worst possible scenario!

It must have been a relief to get past the seven-week point…

Lacey: A huge relief. I still feel nervous but I think I always will. I got past seven weeks, then nine weeks, and so on. They’re all milestones. The 20-week mark is the point I feel like I can breathe a bit easier, as it’s the halfway point. Although I went straight onto progesterone as I think that helped last time.

What does progesterone do?

Lacey: It’s common for women to lose levels of progesterone in the early stages of pregnancy and that can be a big factor of miscarriage. There’s no scientific proof it works, but it works for the majority of people. They give it to people who have IVF but for some reason they don’t offer it when you have recurrent miscarriages. I’ve heard from women who were in the same position as I was; trying and trying and getting nowhere and so many have told me they’ve had successful pregnancies and are now parents because they asked about being put on progesterone early in their pregnancy.

How have your hospital appointments been during the pandemic?

Lacey: All of my midwife appointments have been over the phone, which has been quite nice as you can do it from home! I’ve had all my scans privately because of what happened last time.

Matt: Because we’ve gone privately I’m able to go along to the scans, which has been nice.

You went for about 15 scans when pregnant with Dusty as you wanted reassurance. How many scans have you had this time?

Lacey: I had a scan every two weeks up until 14 weeks. At 14 weeks they do a really detailed scan where they check the baby’s brain, liver and heart. It’s the same scan they do at 20 weeks on the NHS. Now I’ll go once a month. Every time I go for a scan, I fear it’s going to be bad news. After what we went through, it’s reassuring to have scans. When I can’t feel the baby, it’s scary, so they make me feel at ease. When the baby starts kicking, I’m not as worried.

Are you going to find out the gender?

Lacey: We’re not, as there aren’t many surprises in life. I’d love Dusty to have a sister as I have sisters, but then I’d love her to have a brother as I didn’t have brothers.

Matt: It would be nice to have one of each but I don’t really care. It’s a win-win!

When you were pregnant with Dusty, you could only remove your sickness bands to have a bath. How do you feel this time, Lacey?

Lacey: I was so sick last time, so it’s nice to not feel so terrible. I’ve felt nauseous but not actually been sick. I’ve just felt so tired. Although I don’t remember feeling this tired last time. Perhaps it’s because I’m running around after a one-year-old!

Do you plan on having a water birth this time?

Lacey: I hope so. It depends on the Covid-19 rules. I’m thinking of having a home birth because of the virus. I was so lucky with Dusty’s birth so I feel quite relaxed about it. I just hope it goes the same way!

How’s life with Dusty?

Lacey: She’s 14 months old now and it’s my favourite age as she’s got a proper little personality. She’s a real character; a force of nature. God help us when she’s older [laughs]. She’s so funny.

Matt: Being a dad is incredible. There hasn’t been one day when she hasn’t made us laugh.

What type of parents are you?

Lacey: Matt’s definitely calmer than me. Nothing is stressful or too hard for him when it comes to Dusty. Matt does everything I do and more. He’s really hands-on. Although I’m quite a laid-back mum. I don’t really care as long as she’s happy. I don’t care if she eats something she shouldn’t eat, like chocolate or mud!

Matt: Lacey’s a natural. I can’t fault her – she’s a great mum.

How many children would you like?

Lacey: If they were all like Dusty, I’d have loads. She’s been the easiest, happiest baby and being a mum’s better than I thought it would be. I think I’d still like to have four. Matt wants three.

You’re a self-confessed clean freak, Lacey. How’s it going living with a one-year-old?

Lacey: She’s got a mop and a vacuum cleaner! She also loves a microfibre cloth and does bits of cleaning [laughs]. I’m actually more relaxed than I thought I’d be. I was cleaning up the whole time but I quickly realised it’s pointless, so I now let her make a mess and I just clean up once at night.

Natalie Cassidy guessed you were pregnant with Dusty. Did any of your EastEnders co-stars guess this time?

Lacey: I think a few people looked at me and thought I was still carrying my baby weight [laughs]. I’d just had a year off and everyone said how well I looked. I was back about four weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I told James [Bye] and Louisa [Lytton] first of all as I’m closest to them.

EastEnders is back on air and Stacey returns to Walford this week to find her estranged husband Martin and her best friend Ruby are in a relationship. How’s that been to play?

Lacey: It’s always so much more fun to play a feisty character. I love working with those two as we have good banter. We always have a right laugh, although as soon as they say “action” we’re hating each other!

How’s filming going with the Covid-19 restrictions?

Lacey: We were back on set filming at the end of June. It’s hard because what we’re doing at work isn’t what’s happening in the real world. We stay two metres away from each other, whereas in real life you’re a metre apart and you have a mask on. It’s still very strange as you want to hug people you haven’t seen for a long time. Filming-wise, we’ve got it down to a T now. We film far apart but it looks like we’re closer and looks natural, although it makes everything a bit slower, but that’s fine. It’s better to be safe. It was good to be back at work. I love my job and it was nice to see everyone and have adult conversations.

Can you see yourself doing a June Brown and being on the show for 35 years?

Lacey: I’d love to stay there until I’m 90! I just love working there and I love my character. Plus, I manage to have a good work/life balance as we only live down the road from the studio, so I’m usually home for Dusty’s bath and bed.

What’s in store for Stacey?

Lacey: As Martin and Ruby are together, there are a lot of arguments, bitterness and heartache. Stacey is still very much in love with Martin, but he’s now with Ruby.

You’re close to your former co-star Dame Barbara Windsor. Have you been in touch?

Lacey: I haven’t seen her in a while but I speak to Scott [Mitchell, Barbara’s husband] each week. She has a lot of friends at EastEnders who care about her and he fills us in on how she’s doing.

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Your home’s looking lovely. What changes have you made since we were last here?

Lacey: We’ve turned our dressing room, which was attached to our bedroom, into a nursery for the baby and Matt’s given up his man cave, which had blue walls and a bar in it. We’re in the process of turning it into a playroom for the kids.

Matt: I wouldn’t do it for anyone else, I loved that room! [laughs]

You also have a home in Ibiza. Has it been a shame not to be able to visit?

Lacey: We’re gutted. We’ve only been out there for two days since last September. We were planning on spending two months out there before I went back to work but we couldn’t because of Covid. We’ve still got lots to do on the house. I’m planning on taking about six months off work for my next maternity leave and we want to go and live there for a couple of months if we can. Although, when I get out there in the sun after the year we’ve had, I doubt I’ll ever want to leave!

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