Celebrity News

Erin and Zac ‘Harrison’s the best present ever’

His arrival was hasty, but the celebrity couple couldn’t be happier with their new bub

Erin Simpson had always imagined ringing in her 40th birthday in Las Vegas. There’d be Champagne, dancing, and all her friends and family. As it turned out, her milestone day couldn’t have been more different – she and husband Zac Franich were instead quietly settling into life as a family of three after welcoming their bonny baby boy Harrison Trevor several days earlier.

“My 40th was very different to what I’d imagined when I was younger, but totally lovely because I got the most epic present ever,” beams Erin, her baby sleeping in her arms. “I wouldn’t have called myself maternal before, but the love I have for this little guy has just blown me away. It’s incredible.”

Harrison Trevor Franich

Born 10 June 2022

Weight 3.2kg

Harrison was born at Auckland’s Waitākere Hospital at 7.30pm on 10 June. The couple, who met after Zac, 33, found fame on The Bachelor NZ back in 2017, smile as they tell their birth story, both still slightly amazed by their little man’s hasty arrival. While influencer and broadcaster Erin had been happy waiting for her baby to come in his own time, a scan at 40 weeks detected a reduction in amniotic fluid.

“I remember the radiographer saying, ‘Things are going to happen quite quickly now,” recalls Zac. “I started to panic a bit.”

Erin was told to go to hospital the following morning to be induced. They were thrilled to learn that under COVID restrictions, Erin’s mum Suzie was able to be at the birth too, so the trio converged on the labour wing the next morning, full of excitement that they would soon meet the newest member of the whānau. After taking the first few doses of induction medication, nothing happened for several hours, but by late afternoon, Erin was experiencing contractions. Although when she tried to tell Zac she was in labour, he didn’t believe her!

Tells Zac, “The only experience I had of labour was from TV and movies, so I thought she’d be screaming and yelling! She was totally calm, so I was like, ‘Nah, you’re not in labour!'”

But when he and Waikato-based Suzie went out to get Indian takeaways for dinner, they returned to find Erin in a far different state to how they left her. Contractions were ramping up and Erin was in agony. “I was pretty much upside down on the bed,”

she tells. “I told Zac to start listening to me and go and find someone fast because it felt like the baby was coming.”

Erin had planned to have an epidural, but by the time she arrived in the delivery suite, her midwife said there was no time because things were happening so fast!

“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I thought I had hours and hours ahead of me. I was relieved because I don’t think I could have managed the intensity for too much longer.”

With Zac in position ready to catch their baby – whose sex they’d chosen not to find out – Erin gave three almighty pushes and their little boy was born straight into his proud dad’s hands. “I was in shock, Mum was crying and Zac was smiling so hard,” shares Erin. “He passed him up on to my chest and it was an amazing feeling. Instant love.”

Zac is full of praise for his wife’s bravery. “What struck me was how calm, strong and composed she was. She was incredible; she nailed it.”

After a two-night stay at a local postnatal facility, Erin and Zac were thrilled to take their baby home. It was a whirlwind few days as they learned the ropes of new parenthood, made even more busy with the purchase of a new home! They’re hugely grateful for the support from family and friends, as well as their social media community, says Erin, who has over 50,000 online followers.

“There are so many amazing parents out there who have opened up and shared their experiences with me – often at 2am when we’re all up feeding. It’s pretty awesome.”

But there’s no doubt it’s her husband she’s most grateful for. The pair, who married in 2019, say this is by far their greatest achievement together.

“Zac has been incredible,” says Erin. “Every time I’ve felt I didn’t know what I was doing, even though he had no idea either, he made me feel strong and confident. He’s very supportive and I’m so glad he finally gets to be a dad after waiting so long.”

But Erin and Zac laugh as they recall their indecision around choosing their son’s name, admitting it took over three weeks to settle on Harrison Trevor. While they had a long list of possible monikers before his birth, all those went out the window when their olive-skinned, blue-eyed little boy arrived.

“He didn’t suit any of the names we thought we liked!” tells Erin. After a while, they started calling him “hedgehog” after his snuffly little noises, and when someone mentioned the French word for hedgehog is hérisson, one thing led to another. “Hérrison became Harrison and we realised we really liked that name. We tried it out for a few days and it was perfect for him,” smiles Erin.

The middle name, Trevor, is Erin’s father’s name. “He was so touched, he’s promised to leave his beaten-up old Land Cruiser farm vehicle to Harrison,” laughs Erin. “It’s old and covered in cow s**t, but it’s Dad’s pride and joy.”

Erin is full of praise for supportive Zac. “I’m so glad he finally gets to be a dad after waiting so long.”

While new parenthood has been largely positive so far, the pair were dealt a curveball in the form of COVID when Harrison was four weeks old. “It was stressful at the start because I was so worried Harrison would get sick,” tells Erin. “But he was fine, thank goodness.”

And more recently, Harrison came down with bronchitis, which required a stint of hospital visits. Seeing their baby unwell for the first time was a terrifying experience. “We felt really helpless,” says Zac. “But he’s on the mend.”

While Erin’s the first to admit she never thought of herself as a particularly maternal person, she has been amazed by her depth of feeling for this little person, and she is excited to watch him grow.

“I’m a walking example that women are born with a natural instinct for their babies. I knew nothing about being a mother, or about how to take care of a baby, but I’ve realised it comes naturally from the moment they’re born.

“I have such a connection to him. I know what he wants and what he needs, and I love it. I know I should feel tired because we’re up all night with him, but I actually feel more alert than ever. He deserves every part of me right now.”

As for Zac, who’s always wanted to be a dad, fatherhood is everything he dreamed of and more.

Wee Harrison always has a ready smile for his doting parents.

“Having a baby is hard to describe because from the moment that baby arrives, your life is so different,” he muses. “I’m an entirely different person now to who I was before Harrison. I have an entirely new reason for being and a new sense of purpose. I feel incredibly lucky.”

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