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The brother of TV broadcaster and Celebrity Treasure Island host Matt Chisholm has become a father for the first time - of triplets, no less.
Nick Chisholm, who has lived with locked-in syndrome for 20 years, and his wife Nicola welcomed babies Dakota, Ruby-Soo and Loki to the world on March 26, the first day of lockdown in New Zealand.
Proud brother Matt returned to TVNZ last night for a segment documenting his brother's life as a new dad.
It took Nick and Nicola Chisholm about five years and $100,000 spent on IVF treatments. They had nearly given up hope when the good news came that Nicola was pregnant.
Nick Chisholm, 47, suffered a series of mini-strokes while playing rugby nearly 20 years ago. The mini-strokes culminated in a brain-stem stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome, also referred to as pseudocoma.The syndrome left Nick unable to move any part of his body, despite being fully aware. All he could move were his eyes. His brain was simply just not connected to his body any more.
With all cognitive functions intact, but a paralysed body and all verbal communication skills gone, Nick could never have imagined he would one day get married and become a father.
"He can't walk or talk so he isn't going to be a hands-on dad, but I think he's going to add a lot of value. He's a wise, sage, middle-aged man who's got a great outlook," his brother Matt said, quoted by Stuff.
Matt, who has always considered brother Nick his "hero", moved to Central Otago last year to be closer to him and the rest of the family.
"Going on and becoming a dad is a really beautiful thing for me to see, but it's going to give him purpose outside the gym and teach him there are more important things than him," he added.
Despite his condition, Nick is a six-time New Zealand body-building champion. He can't use his muscles in his hands but can move big muscle groups.
He communicates with those around him using a Perspex board with the alphabet on it, held between his eyes so he can spell out words by looking at each letter.He met his wife online in 2009 when she still lived in England. Nicola packed up her life and moved to New Zealand to be with Nick and the couple married in 2013.
"Nicola is an absolute angel," the proud brother-in-law said.
The couple did eight rounds of IVF in San Diego, in the US. Going overseas was complicated for someone like Nick but the alternative was a two-year wait for an egg donor in New Zealand.
Matt explains on tonight's edition of the current affairs show "Sunday" on TVNZ how he witness the "heartbreak" of his brother and sister-in-law with every failed round of IVF.
Nicola gave birth to the triplets on March 26, the first day of New Zealand's lockdown.
Nick was able to be there for the delivery but had to leave soon after as he wasn't allowed to stay in the hospital beyond that because of the level 4 Covid-19 restrictions.
The birth didn't go without incident: Nicola suffered blood clots on her lungs and severe bleeding. It took three surgeries for her to recover.
It all seems like a distant memory now as the family adjusts to life with the triplets.