Meet little Ted: The baby Leila McKinnon and David Gyngell almost never had

Monday, March 25, 2013
Meet little Ted: The baby Leila McKinnon and David Gyngell almost never had
Leila McKinnon and baby Ted. Photography by Alana Landsberry, styling by Lizzy Shepherd.

After nine years of hoping and dreaming for a child, and five years of IVF, TV journalist Leila McKinnon and her husband, Nine Network supremo David Gyngell, now have a beautiful red-haired baby boy to call their own, writes Michael Sheather.

Leila McKinnon hadn't considered the possibility of children before she met David, but by the time they married in --- in 2004, they both knew that was what they wanted to do.

"Even so, we weren't in any great hurry," she tells The Weekly.

It wasn't until five years later, in 2009, when Leila was 35, that the couple accepted that their dreams of becoming parents might not be as easily realised as they imagined.

They consulted a specialist and received the difficult news that they could not conceive naturally, but may be able to conceive with the help of IVF, but they had no idea how difficult their road would become.

"There were a couple of times when we thought that we had come to the end of the road and we might have to look at other options," recalls Leila.

"But somehow, we always managed to see through to find another way, a little more hope. We didn't seriously discuss donors or surrogacy or adoption because we were always saying, 'Let's just see what happens after this'."

After yet another round of IVF in 2011, instead of the usual disappointment, Leila and David go the news they had hoped for. She was pregnant.

"We thought that was it," says Leila. "We told our families and our closest friends, and we were very excited. We thought we had finally done it."

Yet, at 11 weeks After conception, after a routine examination by their obstetrician, they were told that the baby was dead. "It was like falling off a cliff," says Leila. But a few months after that she began another round. This time, she thought, maybe this time.

Edmund "Ted" McKinnon Gyngell was delivered on October 16, 2012 at 1:48am weight 3.018 kilograms.

Born to an undisputed power couple of parents, his birth, an emotional experience with any baby, came complete with an extra dose of drama spiced with high finance.

As Leila and husband Nine Network boss David Gyngell were about to become parents, the dad-to-be was still deeply enmeshed in one of the most important negotiations of his life, the deal to stop Nine becoming a financial wreck under the weight of crippling debt.

"David was sitting on the sofa in the corner of the birthing suite," says Leila, 40. "There was a lot of swearing, lots of yelling and lots of talk about billions of dollars floating through the air. At one point, I think I heard him say, 'Well, if they're not happy, tell them to go and get f**ked'. It was just a little surreal, but at the same time, very funny for both me and the nurses."

By 2am they had got through the deal and the birth.

"David is such a natural father. He has all these plans to kick a footy with him and take him to the beach," Leila says.

"He is always saying things to me like, ‘Thank you for making such a beautiful child.' He swears black and blue that he knew it would be a boy all along."

"I know I'm not the only person to have a baby and that other couples have problems. I think everyone has a challenge to face when they are having a baby. I was fortunate to have a good birth and to have Ted come perfect healthy," she says.

"So, the way I look at it, I had my battles early. I am so over the moon."

Read more of this story in the April issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.

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