Contractions are coming four minutes apart as we hurtle down the road. We’re about to hit rush hour traffic - I hope I don’t give birth on the side of the road! Luckily, the drive’s fine until just before the bridge where we are penned by lanes of heavy traffic. I realise there’s no way to pull over to the side now. And there’s no way to give birth jammed in the front seat of the car…or in the back with two child car seats taking up all the room. We’d better make it to the hospital!
After one stressful wrong turn, we smile and grimace as we whip into the hospital car park. We’re here!
Walking and contracting at the same time is strange. My body is confused and starts to slow things down, but I waddle and wince my way to the elevators and up to the birthing unit. We are shown to a room with windows looking out over the city. The sky looks cloudy and dark.
Soon, our midwife arrives. It takes a little while for my body to pick up where it left off, but before long, the contractions are coming at regular intervals again. As I pace the room stopping for each surge of pain, we notice the moon forcing its way out between clouds.
My midwife tells us it’s the night of a special moon - the super blue blood moon. The full moon is as close as it gets to the earth during its orbit (that’s called a supermoon); there have been two full moons in the same month (that’s a blue moon); and the earth has come between the sun and the moon in a total lunar eclipse (that’s a blood moon). All three of us stop intermittently to gaze out at the sky and wonder, but the moon slips behind the clouds.
Well, especially for New Zealand, this is a celestial once-in-150 -years type of event and my partner supports me through it like a space hero. We are both amazed that everything is going to plan so far and that our wonderful midwife is with us already. Last time, my water broke early but the midwife was busy delivering other babies and my body wasn’t busy enough with contractions; I ended up being induced.
Now I am ten days overdue. I feel like I’ve waited an interstellar age for something to happen in the hot and humid summer weather. But this little one has been waiting for an auspicious night to arrive. She is determined to make it out before the end of the day.
We arrive at the hospital at 6pm, and five hours later, under the super blue moon, twisting in agony, I push a baby girl into the world.
Our baby! Is she ok? Is she healthy? Is she actually a girl?
Yes, yes, yes! And -
“She’s a record!” declares the midwife, “She’s so long, she‘s off the chart!”
She’s a lengthy 58.5cm and a fairly weighty 4.28 kgs (9.4 pounds). I am astounded that I had an extra tall baby but then again, to someone who’s not used to seeing newborns all the time, she’s just a tiny, gorgeous, wrinkly cherub.
She immediately cries for milk and is straight on to feed. I look down at her round face and think, oh, our little moonfaced darling, brought to us on a moonbeam, and through blood, sweat and a whole lot of earthly exertion too - you are here at last! Welcome to the world!