Kiwi NRL star Benji Marshall and wife Zoe have confirmed the safe arrival of their “miracle baby” son Fox.
Recalling Zoe’s difficult 10-hour labour three weeks ago, Marshall told Woman’s Day he did all he could to help her through the painful contractions.
"The doctor said the cord was wrapped about the baby’s neck, so I told Zoe she had to push. It was as if I was giving a talk to the boys on the field…
"Then after he was born, the doctor said I’d have to grab him really tightly because he’d feel like a wet footy.
“I squeezed him so hard - he was going nowhere!”
The couple revealed last September that they were expecting their first child, but have only just confirmed his birth and name because of an exclusive deal with the women’s magazine.
Marshall, who revealed a week ago that he decided to switch to rugby union after discovering the Wests Tigers no longer wanted him, said he was crying and “hysterical” after holding his son for the first time, but described the moment he cut the umbilical cord as “the best feeling ever”.
Zoe, 33, said she is “so grateful” for her son, having worried that she would not be able to conceive naturally.
The TV and radio presenter struggled to get pregnant for two years after a lengthy battle with stage-four endometriosis. The couple were considering IVF until Zoe fell pregnant within six months of seeing Chinese medical practitioner Dr Shuquan Liu.
Liu, who opened his first New Zealand clinic in Auckland’s Epsom earlier this month, had put Zoe on his radical 101 Wellbeing and fertility programmes.
“I can’t give him enough gratitude or praise,” she told the magazine.
“This is our miracle baby. I just didn’t know if it was going to happen. I was open to having IVF, but I wanted to try everything else first.”
“I’ve never been so proud in my whole life.”
The new arrival’s name, Benjamin Fox (Fox for short), is a nod to the fact the couple have referred to each other as their Arctic fox throughout their relationship - Arctic foxes mate for life.
It is also a tribute to Marshall’s uncle, who is also named Benjamin, and to Zoe’s late mother Jan, who had planned to call her Benjamin if she was a boy.
“With Benji not having his dad, me losing my mum and then him losing his adopted dad, it’s a nice feeling to have our own family,” Zoe said.
“This is our only priority in the world. Nothing else matters.”