A New Apprentice

updated 04/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/03/2006 01:00AM

On The Apprentice, everyone plays by Donald Trump's rules, but in real life, nature sometimes trumps The Donald. "The baby was supposed to be due in a week and a half," Trump told PEOPLE a few hours after his third wife, melania, gave birth to their first child, barron william, on March 20. "So I felt it was safe to go to Mar-a-Lago [March 18]. I had to be there for Elton." Sir Elton John was giving a Saturday night concert at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. Still, luck was on the Donald's side. Three hours after Trump, 59, returned to the Fifth Avenue penthouse he shares with Melania, 35, she began having contractions. "I think it's time," she told him.

At 11 p.m. the couple headed off to the hospital, where, after a six-hour labor that the real-estate mogul says "really went smoothly," 8½-lb. Barron William joined the family. ("We just liked the names," notes his proud pop, who has four children by his previous wives.) There was, however, one surprise: Trump, who hadn't planned to be in the delivery room —"I think it's easier for Melania if I'm not there," he told PEOPLE last January—now says, "I was in the room back and forth." On her Web site, Melania said she will be giving her baby "all the TLC he needs and then I will get back to work [modeling]." All in all, Trump declares Barron's entry into the world a job well done. Says Trump: "[The timing] was very convenient, and the baby is beautiful, and Melania's a beautiful mother."

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