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Renee Wright’s baby surprise

After a difficult 12 months, the TV One presenter is pleased to announce there’s been a break in the weather

When Renee Wright looks back at 2015 it will be as a year of highs and lows – many of them unexpected. The word the One News weather presenter uses to describe the past 12 months is “tumultuous”. It’s been a time when she’s learned a lot about life and herself but now, sitting in the Auckland home she and her husband Charlie Waide have nearly finished renovating, she is heading into the new year with some joyful news – baby number three is on its way!

Not that Renee looks noticeably pregnant. At 25 weeks, there is still only the neatest of baby bumps. But the top button of those pants doesn’t quite fasten, there’s an ache in her back and quite a bit of activity going on in her belly. With two high-energy littlies on their hands – Leo (4) and Giselle (2), who they call “Gigi” – and lots else going on in their lives, Renee admits they weren’t planning on adding to their family so soon.

“It’s a bit of a surprise,” she says. “Just when Giselle is heading off to kindy, and it looked as if we might get some quiet time, number three is going to be joining us in March. Still, I always thought I’d have three children and we’re all pretty excited. “Leo asks me every day what size the baby is now. He likes fruit references – the size of a mango, a banana or whatever. And they both love to feel the baby kicking.” Life is busy and often chaotic, admits Renee (35). “I don’t have the kind of kids that sit nicely and quietly. Mine are fun but they are pretty full-on. Leo is very physical, he loves rough and tumble and poor Gigi gets to be his wrestling partner. She’s tough but she has to be.”

Leo is going through a major Batman phase. “He puts on the costume and you can see he’s loving himself so much in it. He gets his super-hero strut on! Gigi is more into Frozen

and Queen Elsa. She’s pink-obsessed – I’ve not encouraged it in any way, but she loves it.” Renee doesn’t know whether they’re in for a little Wonder Woman or Superman this time round as they’ve opted not to find out whether she’s expecting a boy or girl. “When I had Leo I took pink baby clothes with me to the hospital because I was so convinced he’d be a girl,” she recalls. “With Gigi we found out, as Charlie really wanted to. He’d like that this time too but I’ve said ‘no’ because I love surprises.”

The dedicated TV presenter says she intends to take only a few weeks’ maternity leave before returning to work after baby number three.

For Renee and Charlie (36) it’s been a very busy five years since their beautiful springtime wedding in the Wairarapa. Like most couples they’ve been through good times and bad, but this past year has been an especially tough one. “Charlie and I have been in difficult places at times,” explains Renee. “We got to a point where so much had happened – we’d moved five times in four years, had the children, I was no longer working full time and Charlie had started his own business, plus we were renovating the house. Something had to give.” The couple ended up living separately for a couple of months while they tried to get some perspective on their marriage. “We’re very different personalities, almost opposites,” confides Renee. “Charlie is very assertive – an alpha male – whereas I’m pretty relaxed, possibly gentler and more sensitive.”

Renee has a history of super-speedy deliveries. Young Leo arrived in two hours, while Giselle took only 50 minutes!

“Things are better now – but it’s a work in progress,” she continues. “Nothing is perfect but we’re doing the best we can to try and make this work. That’s not overly romantic, I know, but it’s real. When you’ve got children it’s so complicated. They’re so young, but as long as they’re happy and safe, that’s my focus.” Inevitably she feels changed by what they’ve been through. “I think I had this romantic view of my life and how I wanted things to be,” she reflects.

“My eyes are open now. I’ve stopped projecting so much into the future and instead I’m thinking, ‘It is what it is right now.’ And right now, it’s so nice to have a quiet period without any dramas.” With Renee away at work on weekends and Charlie busy with his construction business during the week, time spent as a family is precious. “On Sunday mornings the kids get into bed with us and then we take our time to make a nice breakfast together – bacon and eggs, and pancakes” says Renee. “If I’m cooking anything, Leo tries to help so we end up with flour everywhere. Cracking eggs is always a fun time.”

They also love to head to the beaches near their North Shore home and whenever she gets a chance Renee enjoys a domestic goddess moment, pulling out her Nigella Lawson cookbook and baking something from it. “That’s always a happy place for me. It’s so peaceful and creative.”

The dedicated TV presenter says she intends to take only a few weeks’ maternity leave before returning to work after baby number three.

Lately, though, she’s been feeling her pregnancy, coping with all-day nausea for the first 16 weeks as well as aches and pains. “I’ve been tired and yucky,” she says. “But I’m pretty lucky, really. So many women are much worse off than me.” Renee also considers herself fortunate when it comes to giving birth. “My births are really fast,” she explains. “There’s no warning; it’s just zero to a hundred, really intense, really quickly. It’s called a silent labour – my mum had the same thing.”

Leo took less than two hours to arrive and Giselle appeared in 50 minutes. “I thought I had a tummy bug and rang my mum who said ‘No, you’re in labour, call your doctor.’ So I did and sure enough one push, and out she came.”

Fast labours can be tough on the mother, and Renee’s body goes into shock for a while afterwards. But she’s pragmatic about it, as she is with most things. “I hear these stories of women who are in labour for so long – days! I don’t think I’d cope with that.” Until now she has kept the news of her pregnancy confined to her close circle of friends and family. But on screen, standing in front of the weather map, it’s going to become obvious very soon. “Normally, my belly pops out significantly from now on. Poor Hawke’s Bay will be blocked again!” she jokes.

During her last two pregnancies Renee received lots of lovely messages from viewers and even some home-knitted toys. Not everyone is so positive about seeing a pregnant woman on screen, however. “Some can be nasty,” admits Renee. “Once I wore a fitted dress and I had an email saying ‘You can see the baby and it’s disgusting.’”

Renee says she’ll be working as her bump grows bigger and is intending to take only a few weeks’ maternity leave. “That’s my plan at the moment. I get weekdays off and Charlie is here on the weekends.” Renee is also blessed to have her parents Marian and Warren Wright living nearby. “We call Mum ‘Supergran’. She helps out a lot.”

Still she’s adamant this is her final pregnancy. “That’s it – the shop is shut,” she laughs. “I have to keep reminding myself that this is the last time and that I should enjoy every moment.” Once the baby is born she’s looking forward to getting back to mummy boot camp, which fellow TVNZ presenter Toni Street introduced her to. “They look after your children while you exercise. It’s with a whole lot of other mums and we yabber away to each other; we’re all really good friends now. I’ve been slack about going since I’ve been feeling a bit off, but I’ll definitely get back to it because it’s kept my head in the right place. When you’re going through stressful times exercise is so good for you.”

With three youngsters on her hands, life is set to get even busier and more chaotic.

Renee and Charlie, who married five years ago, are parents to Leo and Giselle. The couple lived apart for a period this year.

Renee knows there are challenges ahead for her and Charlie – even getting the whole family out of the house and into the car can seem a struggle some days!

“I can’t even pretend I’ve got it all under control,” she laughs. “We’re just going to roll with it and hope for the best. I think that’s what we women do – we deal with it. “I’m not doing anything different to any other mum. We’re all fighting the same battles – to keep the children happy, to work, to keep the house together – all that stuff. Some days are really good and others I fail miserably and think, ‘All right – I’ll try again tomorrow.’”

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