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Erin Simpson and Zac Franich’s baby joy: ‘We’re finally having a baby!’

After heartbreak and hesitation, there's a little one on the way for the TV lovebirds
Sally Tagg

Two years after tying the knot, following health scares and fertility worries, Erin Simpson and Zac Franich are finally fulfilling their pregnancy dream, with the TV stars expecting their first child together in June.

When Woman’s Day catches up with the couple at their home in Auckland, the news that they’re making a little human hasn’t quite sunk in.

“I couldn’t tell Zac for a good week – I had to get my head around it first!” shares Erin, her face still a picture of awe and disbelief.

But after two home pregnancy tests and confirmation from a doctor, the former children’s TV presenter, 39, finally broke the news to her hunky hubby, best known as the leading man of the third season of

The Bachelor NZ in 2017.

“I’m excited for the pram!” laughs Zac, 33. “I’m going to be the pram dad. I might even be the running pram dad. Sign me up – I can’t wait!”

But while the surf lifesaving coach is brimming with excitement, Erin admits she’s been plagued by self-doubt and fears of miscarriage since learning she’s going to become a mum. The entrepreneur

and events planner explains, “While it’s great that so many people are talking about miscarriage these days and lifting that taboo, the flipside is that I wake up every day worried I’m going to have one!”

Her concerns are understandable given the couple’s rocky road to pregnancy, with Erin having a flurry of medical issues when the pair decided to start trying. It all began when she went to get her hormonal IUD removed and the doctors couldn’t find it.

The couple were keen to stat trying for a baby after their 2019 wedding

An MRI to locate the birth-control device led to a discovery of growths on her ovaries. Luckily, after a few weeks of nervous waiting, they were found to be benign, but the ensuing surgery and the prospect of a painful retrieval of the device rattled Erin. Finally, last April, it was finally removed, giving her and Zac the green light to start trying for a baby.

“That whole experience was quite challenging,” admits Zac. “But we came through it in one piece, so we’re starting to feel grateful, lucky and excited for the next stage.”

Nodding, Erin admits she naively expected to feel “Wonder Woman strength” while pregnant, however, nerves and morning sickness clouded the first trimester, stifling her usual bubbly and energetic nature.

“My excitement might come a few months down the track,” she laughs. “Even though I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, I’ve never been so sick in my life! It’s been three months of relentless sickness.”

But keen to break the news to friends in the pages of her favourite magazine, Erin has had to keep her nausea under wraps, along with the fact she’s avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

“I don’t know how people haven’t noticed I’m not drinking tea!” laughs Erin, who usually downs about 10 cups per day. “Also, during lockdown drinks, nobody realised that Zac was picking up my glass and drinking my Champagne. After two hours, he’d be hammered because he was drinking for two!”

While battling through morning sickness, the mum-to-be has been taking each day and pregnancy milestone as it comes.

“At first, all I could think about was the next 12 months ahead of us, then I started thinking about the next five years, but it all got too much, so I’m back to focusing on the present day and maybe the due date. As a planner, I can’t help visualising what’s going to happen.”

Making it to that crucial 12-week mark was a big relief, Erin admits – and finally telling her family in person gave her the “huge boost” she needed. The day Auckland’s border lifted last month, she and Zac drove down to her parents’ home in Te Kauwhata, just north of Hamilton, to break the news.

Never one to pick the boring option, Erin’s big reveal came in the form of an “unboxing video”, something the influencer often shares on social media and which her mum Sue enjoys helping her with.

“I put a together a package of baby booties and a positive pregnancy test, and I handed it to her like any other normal cosmetic box she likes to open,” grins Erin. “I told the rest of the family to gather around to watch it as this one was going to be funny. When Mum opened the box, she burst into tears.”

The doting couple have decided to figure out parenting as they go along.

After the emotional reveal, the couple headed back north, to Zac’s family home in Orewa. He recalls, “We pretended that we had finally received a delayed birthday present for Mum and wanted to give it to her. But it was really a drawing Erin had done of my entire family as stick-figure characters, including Mum and Dad’s beloved pet dog, and my brother on the barbecue. I was holding a surfboard and Erin was next to me, holding a baby.”

Zac says it was hilarious watching his family try to figure out the drawing. “When Mum opened it, both her and Dad loved it immediately, but as they were looking more closely over all the family members, they got to our figures and Mum said, ‘Excuse me, I have a question!’

“We spent the rest of the night showing the picture to the whole family as they all live on the same block. They’re so excited for me to become a dad. My brother’s reaction was definitely the best – he couldn’t stop dancing around the room with excitement for the new addition to the family.”

Erin says telling her family has made everything more “real” and helped calm her pregnancy nerves, although Zac has been her “rock” during her most difficult days.

“He’s been amazing. The amount of vomiting has been unbelievable, but Zac’s always there at the door with a big glass of water and a cuddle.”

As for what sort of parents they’ll be, Erin reckons Zac will be a “stern” dad and says, “I’ll be the fun one!”

Already a “fun auntie”, she adds, “I have a really close relationship with all my nieces and nephews, so if motherhood is anything like it, there will definitely be lots of arts, crafts, music and dance.”

While Zac is keen to build the same close bond he has with his parents, he admits he’s seen a lot of difficult behaviour from children in his surf-lifesaving work. “Parents often have rose-tinted glasses on when it comes to their kids,” he grins. “I’ll probably be the same! Our kid will be our most precious thing ever. I know that I’ll get them in the water as soon as I can.”

As talk of parenting continues, Erin laughs nervously and says she still needs to read “lots of books” on the subject. When Zac questions why, she replies.

“I dunno. To learn how to raise a human?”

To which her husband swiftly puts an arm around her and reassures her with some pearls of wisdom for any new parents to cling to: “We’ll make it work. We’ll figure it out.”

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