Pregnancy & Birth

There's something in the water at Mediaworks with four Newshub babies on the way

Sam Hayes, Melissa Chan-Green, Janika ter Ellen and Susie Nordqvist can barely contain their excitement.

By Sophie Neville
When Newshub star Samantha Hayes announced her pregnancy earlier this year, it seemed to create something of a domino effect among her fellow presenters. Prime News host Janika ter Ellen was the next to share her happy news, closely followed by Melissa Chan-Green and Susie Nordqvist.
"I felt quite lucky that I got in first," laughs Sam, as she joins the mums-to-be at our Woman's Day photo shoot. "I could just sit back and watch the bosses' reactions as one full-time presenter after another announced their news."
Comparing bump sizes and pregnancy stories, shrieks of laughter ring out across the newsroom during the shoot in the Newshub studio. There's something quite joyful about a roomful of excited expectant mothers and these four can barely contain their excitement.
"People must walk in here and wonder what on earth's going on," says Susie about the number of baby bumps in the newsroom.
"There have been a lot of questions about what's in the water," adds Sam.
And spare a thought for stylist Sarah Stuart, who's tasked with dressing the rapidly expanding presenters each night. Melissa jokes that Sarah must have snapped up every "news-appropriate maternity dress" in the world.
"She's done an amazing job," she says. "We're growing out of things as quickly as she finds them!"
From left, Sam Hayes, Susie Nordqvist, Melissa Chan-Green and Janika ter Ellen.
While the baby boom means bosses will have to do some serious juggling to ensure they have enough people to fill the newsreading seats when all four head off on maternity leave, there's no doubt having others to share the ride with has been a joy for Sam, Susie, Melissa and Janika.
"It's lovely to wander around the newsroom and see other bumps," says Melissa. "You don't feel alone when others are going through it at the same time. We're able to compare stories and talk about how we're feeling without having to inflict that on non-pregnant people!"
And Sam says the best thing about the baby boom is that they'll have a readymade coffee group once the little ones make their appearances.
"It's going to be amazing all getting together when the babies are born, I'm so excited about that."

Sam Hayes

With just a few weeks left before she meets her baby boy, Newshub presenter Sam is feeling as ready as she'll ever be for motherhood.
The nursery is all set up, antenatal classes are underway and excitement is high. But Sam's adventure-loving partner Jeroen "Jay" Blaauw has one last thing to tick off before their baby boy can make his appearance.
"He's got one last mountain to climb," laughs Sam, who discovered she was pregnant soon after their epic adventure in the Andes earlier this year.
"We got permission from the obstetrician first, who said there was only a one in 80 chance the baby might come early. So it's highly unlikely I'll go into labour, but I'll have a friend on standby just in case!"
Watch: Sam talks about her pregnancy live on TV. Article continues below.
After a difficult first trimester, Sam, 35, is over the worst of her migraines and morning sickness and is feeling great as she heads towards her spring due date. She plans to stay on air for as long as possible and is open to returning just a few months later to help cover the shortage of newsreaders.
"I said to the bosses that if they desperately need someone after I've had the baby, they should give me a call and I'll pop in for the day," she says. "And someone came up to me in the street recently and suggested I should take the baby on air with me, so there's an idea too!"
While she knows a lot will depend on how those first few weeks of motherhood go, Sam says it's been hugely encouraging seeing how many MediaWorks mums are juggling work and family.
"I've talked to lots of women in the office who are making it work. I've asked what they thought about the idea of coming back to work when you have a baby at home and everyone has said, 'Of course you can!' That's so encouraging, just knowing it's doable."
Seeing second-timer Susie so "calm and settled" as she approaches baby number two has also been great. And Sam can't help but giggle at the fact she and Janika – who shared media studies classes at Victoria University – are experiencing pregnancy at the same time.
"If you'd told us back then we'd be going through this together, we wouldn't have believed it," she tells. "But it's so lovely to be able to swap stories and check in with each other to see that what you're going through is normal."
With a hand resting lovingly on her baby bump, she adds, "It's hilarious looking around and seeing all these gorgeous pregnant tummies everywhere.
But it's also been so nice to have the other girls as a little knowledge pool, where we can talk about our experiences and compare notes. I feel lucky we've had each other."

Susie Nordqvist

As mum to three-year-old Arlo, Susie is seen as something of a font of knowledge to the first-timers around her. But other than tips on pregnancy pillows and bassinets, she says the best approach with a newborn is simply to take each day one at a time.
"I've definitely learnt along the way that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to babies," says the Newshub Live at 4.30pm presenter. "If you could tell me in advance the temperament of this little one, it would be much easier to plan!"
But Canterbury-raised Susie, 36, who lives in Auckland with husband Graham Wright, 39, is delighted to be expecting a girl this time.
"It was a huge surprise to us because I always thought I'd end up with a house full of boys," she says. "Every pregnancy is a blessing, but it does feel very special to get one of each."
And little Arlo can't wait to meet his sister, Susie says. "He's over the moon. He talks to the bump every day and seems to be shaping up to be a model big brother."
While Susie and Graham have always wanted another brother or sister for Arlo and were delighted to discover baby number two was on the way, the day of their 12-week scan wasn't quite as joyful as they'd imagined. As they sat in the waiting room on March 15, news alerts of the Christchurch mosque attacks began popping up on Susie's phone.
"It felt very bittersweet. We should've been celebrating a healthy baby, but all I could think about were those poor people who lost their lives."
All going to plan, Susie hopes to return to work sometime next year. With Arlo, she freelanced during her year of maternity leave, before returning full-time after a year. She hopes to do the same, but is realistic that she'll have to see how different life is with two kids.
"It's a little daunting, but I think I'll probably trust my instincts a bit more this time around."

Janika ter Ellen

When Prime News presenter Janika and her sports reporter husband Ross Karl first began thinking about starting a family, they knew they'd need to make sure their baby was due either side of the Rugby World Cup.
Newshub journalist Ross has spent the past four years building up to the event, kicking off next month in Japan, and there was no way he wanted to miss it. But somewhere along the way, the couple – who shared their wedding with Woman's Day back in 2016 – got a little muddled with their timing and are now expecting the pitter-patter of tiny feet smack bang in the middle of, you guessed it, the Rugby World Cup!
"We just had to laugh," says Janika, with a smile. "We'd barely even begun trying when we decided to hold off because of the rugby. But by then it was too late – this little guy obviously had other ideas!"
While the timing isn't ideal, it's clear that Janika, 32, is over the moon at the prospect of becoming a mum. Her little boy is due on October 15, which means Ross, 37, will be able to cover the early part of the tournament, before returning home for his son's birth. All going well, he'll head back to Japan in time for the semi-finals and the final.
"Our happiness about having a baby definitely outweighs the fact we got the timings wrong. We're both so stoked."
While Janika is feeling great now, she admits the first 20 weeks were hard going and she had to take time off work because she was so sick.
"I could barely function. I was at home all day just lying on the couch. It calmed down a little bit after 12 weeks, so I went back to work. But there were still about three vomiting episodes per day.
It was horrible."
Her hunger never subsided, though, she laughs. "I'd eat toast, throw it up and then just eat more toast. It was all about the carbs."
Janika says it's been wonderful sharing the experience with her fellow pregnant presenters.
"I'm really good friends with Susie, I read the news with Melissa on the weekends so we're always hanging out, and Sam and I have known each other for years," she explains. "We seem to be experiencing stuff all at the same time – reflux, tiredness, aches and pains. It's been really nice to have others to turn to for advice and reassurance."
Mum-of-one Susie has been a particularly good sounding board, she says.
"She's just so practical. She said not to buy too much maternity wear since you can only fit it for a few weeks."
Now, with less than two months to go, Janika just can't wait to meet her baby.
"We're both really excited to be having a boy, but Ross especially. And if his kicks are anything to go by, I'm pretty sure he's going to be into rugby!"

Melissa Chan-Green

When Melissa married Caspar Green on Waiheke Island in March, she hoped they wouldn't have to wait too long before their dream of parenthood came true.
But she knew that, at 36, falling pregnant could take time and she was prepared for a long wait.
So you can imagine her surprise when she discovered she was pregnant soon after arriving back from their Maldives honeymoon.
"It did happen quickly and I was definitely a bit surprised, but also really, really excited!" says Melissa, who met Caspar in London four years ago.
"I actually found out I was pregnant the day before my sister's wedding, so the hardest thing was explaining why I wasn't drinking the champagne. I was the MC, so I told everyone I was too nervous to drink. Looking back, it was a silly excuse because everyone who knows me knows I don't get nervous about that kind of thing."
Melissa tells us she's had a straightforward pregnancy so far, apart from the fact her "morning sickness" hits every evening at about 6.30pm – not ideal considering she's on air from 6-7pm!
"Thankfully it's only nausea and nothing worse," she laughs.
She and her quizmaster husband Caspar, 39, have decided to keep the gender of their baby a surprise, but it's been a test of her willpower.
"It's been tempting, but so far we've avoided it. I honestly don't have a preference for what we get. My sister has just had a little boy, so it would be lovely if I had a boy and they can play together. But equally, it would be amazing to have a little girl."

She isn't sure yet what kind of mum she'll be.
"I like to think I'll be one of those chilled-out mothers. But I've probably worked in news for too long not to worry about all the things that could happen in life," she admits. "I'm naturally quite a cautious person; I'm not a big risk taker. But Caspar is the opposite, so hopefully we'll balance each other out."
The former European correspondent tells us she's always wanted children, but forging her journalism career came first until now. She laughs when explaining she recently found a box of mementos from her childhood, which included a letter written to herself at age 12.
"It said I wouldn't mind having kids, but I'd wait 'til later in life, perhaps when I'm about 24!"
She's loved having others to share the experience with at work, particularly Janika, who she gets ready with on weekends before reading the news alongside Tom McRae.
"Janika and I were both in changing rooms at the same time the other day, laughing because neither of us could fit anything. It's been lovely having someone to share that with."
Melissa hopes to return to work after her baby is born later this year and counts herself lucky that Caspar's quiz business means he'll be able to be a hands-on dad.
"We're both so excited. It's all starting to feel very real now!"

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