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Pregnancy & Birth

Survivor's Matt Chisholm and wife Ellen's terrifying pregnancy scare

Just as they were about to announce they were expecting, Ellen was rushed to hospital with complications.
"I was bracing myself for the worst."

By Ashleigh McEnaney
It was the day that Matt Chisholm and his wife Ellen had been waiting for - they'd finally reached the all-important 12-week mark in their second pregnancy and were ready to share the happy news. In fact, Survivor New Zealand host Matt even had big plans to make the announcement on national TV.
"I was rehearsing to fill in on Seven Sharp with Toni Street when we got to talking about our kids," tells the 41-year-old broadcaster.
"Toni was saying how her little girl was all grown up and heading off to school, and it just felt like the perfect time to tell her that Elle and I were expecting another baby. She was so excited for us and said, 'Let's announce it on air!'"
But in a cruel twist of fate, Matt finished rehearsals and picked up his phone to discover his pregnant wife had been rushed to hospital.
"I'd missed a few calls and texts from Elle, and she was hysterical. 'I'm bleeding,' one said. Imagine opening up your phone to that."
While her hubby of two years was tied up at work, Ellen was undergoing a myriad of tests at North Shore Hospital.
"I was bracing myself for the worst, but the doctors told me I wasn't miscarrying, at least not yet," says the 33-year-old, who had suffered a tear in her placenta.
"I was told everything is fine right now, but if it gets worse, then the lifeline to the baby is gone. They didn't have a scanner, which could detect the heartbeat for a baby at only 12 weeks, so we had to go home that night not really knowing what was going on.
"I don't think either of us slept. It was truly awful. We got KFC drive-thru on the way home - it was a real low point in our lives."
Fast-forward to our exclusive Woman's Day photo shoot, and Matt and Ellen - who's now 21 weeks along with a healthy little brother for their 15-month-old boy Bede - are ready to try that happy announcement again.
"Our little guy is doing really well, thank God - he gave us quite the scare," admits Ellen.
"I've been walking around on eggshells since it happened, but every day and with every scan, I feel more calm and confident. If I ever need any comforting, I have a drink of cold water, lie back on the couch and wait for him to start kicking."
While their unborn baby is thriving now, the couple are taking every precaution to protect his precious life. After her scare, Ellen was on bed rest for two weeks, she gave up exercise and the couple hired a French au pair to help out with Bede.
"We feel a bit silly saying we have an au pair - our parents raised big familes without much help and we're not extravagant people - but we wanted to give our little guy the best shot and Camille really has been the silver lining in all of this," says the Fair Go reporter.
"Elle's not meant to do any heavy lifting, so Camille has been really hands-on and proactive with Bede. She'll go on Pinterest and organise all these great activities, which actually makes his real parents look really poor. Did I mention he's fluent in French now too?"
When Woman's Day meets their chubby cherub, however, he's speaking his native tongue as he roams around the lounge, roaring, "Daddy!"
"I was pretty chuffed when he learnt that," smiles Matt.
"I thought we had a real break-through, but when Camille walked in the room one day, he pointed at her and said, 'Daddy!' He's such a cool kid - he's fearless, independent and a major flirt with the ladies. Bede truly has been such a wonderfully great distraction in all of this."
Indeed, this pregnancy has been a bumpy ride for the couple. Before her scare at three months, Ellen - who became pregnant soon after returning from a family trip in Fiji - worried she could have contracted the Zika virus. And after suffering from post-natal depression after Bede's birth, she admits she fears slipping back into a dark space.
"The Zika stuff definitely killed our buzz a bit, but I was tested and everything was clear," tells Ellen, who says she's really looking forward to being a mum-of-two.
"First time around, simply not knowing what to do and panicking really contributed to my mood. But this time, I know what to expect and I know I have the confidence to handle it. When I hold this little guy in my arms, the ups and downs will all be worth it."
But baby number two will present all-new experiences for Dad, who missed Bede's birth when he was held up filming Survivor in Nicaragua last year.
"I still underestimate just what is involved in giving birth - I've seen some short video, which I found quite horrific," confesses Matt.
While he'll reprise his role as host when the TVNZ 2 reality series is filmed early next year, nothing will keep him from the delivery room. "I'd have to be the unluckiest man on the planet to miss both my boys' births."

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