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Renee Wright introduces her new baby

Despite a hasty arrival, the broadcaster couldn’t be happier with her new baby

If you’d asked broadcaster Renee Wright a few years ago about the chances of her adding a fourth child to her already hectic family life, she would’ve burst out laughing.

Fast-forward to today, her baby daughter Lucciana cooing happily on her lap, Renee says she simply can’t imagine a world without this “precious surprise”, who came along when she and husband Charlie Waide least expected it.

“Lucciana really feels like she was meant to be here,” smiles the 42-year-old weather presenter as she introduces her olive-skinned, blue-eyed bundle.

Lucciana Alessandra Waide

Born 27 June 2022

Weight 3.6kg

It’s 9.30 on a Tuesday morning and Renee has just returned from dropping her eldest children, Leonardo, 11, Giselle, nine, and Arabella, six, at school. With Lucciana feeding three-hourly through the night, Renee is the first to admit she’s tired, but with a flat white in hand, she sinks into the sofa at her stunning beachside home on Auckland’s North Shore, attaches a breast pump for milk to store in the freezer and takes a rare moment to reflect on the past few months.

“Coffee is definitely my friend,” she says with a laugh.

“I am really tired, but at the same time, my heart feels full and my life feels full. She is such a precious little thing and she’s just fitted right in.”

Like with the births of her older children, baby Lucciana arrived in a hurry. Renee winces as she recalls waking on a Monday morning in late June with a dull ache at 38 weeks pregnant.

“All my babies have been born around 38 weeks, so I knew it was likely this baby would too,” explains Renee, whose labours have all taken just a couple of hours. After mobilising her parents Marian and Warren to head to her house to take care of the children, she and Charlie, 42, rushed to North Shore Hospital. Despite the fact she’d done it three times before, Renee says she was shocked to find she was more nervous this time around.

“Maybe it’s because I knew exactly what to expect and I could remember how painful it was or perhaps it was the hormones… I was excited to meet her, but I was scared. I walked into the hospital and burst into tears!”

But Renee didn’t have time to waste because just 40 minutes after pulling up in their car, her and Charlie’s baby girl had been born. “I knew it would be quick, but this was next level,” she shares. “I arrived at the hospital at 6.40am and had a baby in my arms at 7.23. It was my worst labour yet – the pain was unbelievable – but I had to be brave. I remember saying to myself, ‘Right, it’s baby time. Let’s do this!’ A couple of pushes later and out she came.”

She’ll never forget the moment her precious daughter, who weighed 3.6kg, was placed on her chest.

“Seeing her for the first time was magical – that’s the only way to describe it. It was pure relief and all those intense happy emotions were flooding over me. Charlie was saying, ‘She’s good, she’s all good,’ and from that moment, we were just obsessed with her. I remember those first few hours just wanting to stare at her forever and take every single part of her in.”

Renee and Charlie, who owns a construction company, chose the name Lucciana because in Italian, it means light. Given she was born at Matariki, this felt extra-special and perfectly right.

“She’s my little wishing star,” says Renee, whose dad is Māori. While Lucciana is usually spelt with one C, Charlie wanted to add one extra to personalise it. “We like long names, and we love Italian and French influences.” Her middle name, Alessandra, was selected simply because it’s pretty and feminine.

With COVID restrictions in place for hospital visits, Leo, Gigi and Arabella had to wait until Renee and Lucciana came home two days later to meet their new baby sister. Excitement levels were through the roof as the three arrived home from school to find baby Lucciana tucked up in her bassinet.

“They were just overwhelmed and in love from the moment they saw her,” tells Renee. “It was the most beautiful thing to watch and it just reminded me how special this bigger age gap is. They’re so aware of how special she is.”

The children have welcomed their baby sister with open arms, says Renee, and she’s loved seeing how nurturing and proud they are. Leo takes his role of big brother seriously, Gigi is a “mother hen” and while Arabella adores her wee sister, she’s been a little more emotional as she comes to terms with not being the baby any more.

Renee with Leo, Gigi (left) and Arabella.

“She has needed a few extra cuddles,” tells Renee. “But she really adores Lucciana – they all do. They love lying down next to her, and making her smile and laugh. They feel proud when she does something new. They’re fascinated by her and I do think it’s so special how they’re truly part of this baby’s life. She has everyone wrapped around her little finger.”

The hardest part of having four children is “the hustle”, admits Renee, whose parents live nearby and are a constant support. “You know, it’s the fact my kids are ‘joiners’. They put their hands up for everything – the school plays, every sport that’s going – so Lucciana has to come along for the ride. I have had to learn to not stress about her sleeps and feed times. We just go with the flow.”

The family even went on holiday to Queenstown when Lucciana was just two weeks old, with Charlie taking the big kids skiing while Renee and her little one stayed home by the fire.

“We could’ve cancelled, but we decided to go for it and I’m so glad we did,” says Renee, who plans to take a year’s maternity leave from her TVNZ weather presenter role. “I think that’s the beauty of a fourth child. I’m just so much more relaxed and that makes Lucciana a fairly chilled-out baby. She’s very bubbly and outgoing. She loves people.”

Showing off their baby sister in Queenstown.

Renee happily admits, however, her littlest love isn’t the greatest sleeper.

“We’re still working on that,” she laughs. “She usually has one or two feeds in the night and she takes a bit of settling because she doesn’t want to miss out on things. If there’s any noise at all, it’s ‘ping!’ wide awake, which isn’t ideal in a house with three noisy kids.”

Being an older mum also means she’s happy staying at home more than the first time around. While she might go for a walk on the beach with a friend or out for a coffee, she’s perfectly happy pottering at home with Lucciana.

“She seems to be growing so much faster and developing more quickly than the others did,” says Renee. “But I think it’s just that I have the time to notice. I enjoy her so much. She’s such a sweet baby. She’s content and happy.”

Squeezing in time with her TVNZ colleagues.

She’s adamant, though, this time she means it when she says her family is complete.

“Oh, yes, four is definitely the magic number. Lucciana has completed the family, and we are well and truly done now. We’re very, very blessed to have her.”

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