Easter weekend saw the met service (that is the Meteorological service – in NZ we call it the met service, and it is our go-to source for all things weather related) spreading gloom throughout our island paradise by telling us all that it was going to be a grey and rainy long weekend.
This prospect didn’t bother me a bit, as we had planned to head up to our cozy off-grid holiday home high up in the Matakana hills just north of Auckland. There’s a warm fire, big fluffy blankets, amazing local produce right on the doorstep, magnificent Matakana markets, and the children even survive without the Internet for a few days. They play in the clay, clamber up hills, skin their knees, climb trees, make forts, sharpen sticks, fight, laugh, cry, scream, yell and carry on like feral little creatures. It is absolutely wonderful!
Happily, it turned out that there were only scattered showers, and the whole weekend was absolutely gorgeous, and warm but crisp, and the night skies were clear and beautiful and the stars twinkled over us just our of reach of our fingertips it seemed.
Sadly, we arrived to a less than perfectly presented property. The last time we had been up was the re-wedding. We left without tidying up, and our guests also vacated in a very big hurry, so it was left in a less than pristine state.
We’d planned several times to get up and tidy up after the event, but kept getting side-tracked. So after 8 weeks had passed and we had finally made it to the property, it was in a less than welcoming state and required a phenomenal amount of scrubbing and disinfecting and general faffing to get it to the standard we are now comfortable with.
As it was Easter weekend, we had the whole family join us for a big Easter dinner, some cribbage, some chaos, and everyone got stuck in and helped with some cleaning as well.
Grumpy and I had discussed the plan for the week, which included the rather large inconvenience of having to give birth to our fourth child on the 25th of April (ANZAC day).
He’s been very busy inventing a new product for the EV (Electric Vehicle) market that we will be shipping in the next month or so if all goes according to plan. He had set himself up a make-shift station to get on with his soldering and fashioning for the prototypes and circuit boards he’s been working on. So he was quite happy to work quietly away while I waddled around the house cleaning, scrubbing and nesting like a small, round, madwoman.
I simply MUST share some of the after pics of upstairs with you…
I suggested that he should just head back down in the Leaf and work till the wee small hours of morning as he has been prone to do most nights over the last month or more of R&D (Research and Development).
“I’ll just come down tomorrow after I’ve taken some pictures of the house as neat as a pin. It will take me all morning to get it up to scratch anyway.” I had told him.
And that was almost what happened.
I managed to get the master suite looking ship-shape and had just been taking pictures of the results when I started to get stronger and more noticeably painful “tightenings” as they are sometimes referred to. I passed it off as nothing, just some Braxton Hicks, and carried on with my cleaning and ran a bath.
Before jumping briefly into the bathtub, I mentioned the pains to Grumpy. Now, he is not renowned for his intuition, but he looked me up and down, put down his soldering iron, and started to pack up the car.
“I think you’re having a baby, baby.” He said quite calmly and matter of factly to me as I waddled my way up the stairs and into the bath.
“Meh, we’ll see. Google said these BH things happen mostly at night and can get quite strong for days or weeks before labour, but yeah, lets head back to be on the safe side. Shall I drive the Leaf and you take the van?” I suggested nonchalantly to him.
“Okay.” Was his equally nonplussed response.
However. After emerging from my nice warm bath, I realized that driving may be a less than brilliant idea.
He messaged Anna, we texted our LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) and headed down to Auckland just before midnight.
Arrived at the maternity ward to a mean and matronly old battle ax that was standing guard at the desk and ripped shreds off of us for not calling ahead.
So, me, being me, handled the whole ordeal in an undeniably and embarrassingly Canadian way.
I apologized for not calling ahead. I apologized for showing up in the middle of the night. I apologized for having gestational diabetes. I apologized for my midwife being off-call. I apologized for over-reacting and suggested perhaps I should just head straight home, as surely it was nothing, just some false labour nonsense, and I really felt quite genuinely terrible for being such a bother at this time of night. And then, I apologized for erring on the side of caution, but explained that I labour and give birth very quickly indeed, and due to my poor health and history, thought it best I just pop in, if nothing else, for some monitoring.
Looking back now, I proper want to take a time machine and rip some shreds off that matronly old meat ax. What on earth is she doing working in a maternity ward and making women feel like they are a terrible inconvenience for showing up at hospital, very possibly to give birth? Grrrr.
So Grumpy called Anna. They chatted. He handed me the phone. I continued to spit out apologies and said I was terribly sorry for bothering her so late, and would be fine to just go home. But apparently, nobody there could do an internal and she’d had to drag her tired self out of bed to check me out anyway.
I felt terrible. I knew she had to work in the morning. I now feel terrible for feeling terrible. Terrible isn’t it.
It was at around this point I got a flash-bulb image that coincided with a very strong contraction that said: 3:33. I’ll be here by 3:33. It looked like a red digital alarm clock face on the inside of my eyelids. Not sure how or where that stemmed from, but it was very vivid, and it turned out to be absolutely accurate. Weird or what right?
Shortly after Anna arrived, she plugged in the Nitrous Oxide, I gratefully sucked away and spent the next two hours in an almost out-of-body state that I am sure I can’t accurately describe, so I won’t even try.
James arrived at 3:24am.
I bid farewell to our dear friend Anna and my bedraggled husband just before 6:00am.
I got a very welcome visit from a dear online friend of mine, Mel. We chatted and laughed. I swore like a sailor, she snuggled with James. We laughed and bonded and I felt very pleased indeed to know that good people like her were all over the place, and my prolific social media meanderings have been a vehicle through which to find wonderful, quirky and kind souls to connect with. Thanks Melanie.
To be continued…