Oh how the gods laugh when we tell them our plans.
Marni’s arrival was a little overdue but this was not unusual for a first birth and the extra time would give Corey a bit more time to finish off the renovations that he was doing in preparation for the big day. And of course the extra time would enable the plans to be fine tuned, living forty minutes away from the hospital did require an alertness and readiness to move quickly. But Corey always prided himself on his planning and project management skills.
So there was little concern from this end of the country when Samara phoned Ava on Saturday afternoon to muse whether she would actually know when the baby was about to be born. She felt she had a high pain tolerance and was concerned that she may not be actually aware when the baby was on its way. ‘Chuckle, chuckle; oh don’t worry about that, you will know, chuckle, chuckle.’ But we were on standby.
Corey called me a little later in the evening to update on the plans for the birth. With the updated intel to hand, the bubs ETA would be by Sunday thirteen hundred hours; suggested we should make our personal transport plans for rendezvous late Sunday / early Monday. Check.
Then at twenty one thirty the phone rings. It’s Corey: “ahhh… I think it’s happening.”
“Are you off to the hospital already?” I asked, incredulous that they were preempting the schedule by hours.
Corey: “aaahhh too late, its happening… aaah here…. aaah now, midwife’s on her way…. aah yeah, gotta go.” click.
An unscheduled home-birth! No standing at the shallow end of the pool with his floaties on now. They were in the deep end, sink or swim. But then the bad news. For some reason Corey had only just begun to start the house renovations, or more accurately, house demolition, a few days ago and the house was in ‘a bit of a state’. Don’t worry, it will be all sorted So out came a black plastic sheet onto what can only be called a building site to serve as the delivery suite. And so it came to pass that our little angel arrived into our world at 12:28am on 17th April in the most humble of environs. Mother and baby both well. Both true survivors.
When do you really, really know that a new life has arrived? When you see it in her eyes. These are brand new eyes, unclouded by life’s experiences. They are as pure and deep as an alpine lake. They radiate the absolute trust of innocence yet pierce your soul as though it is judgement day. We understand the organic structure of the body, but where did the life in those eyes come from? Pre-natal classes may prepare you for the mechanics of the birth process, but nothing can prepare you for that first look into her eyes. Oh no, am I getting all soppy again? But look at that photo, taken just minutes after her birth. That is an old soul in a brand new body asking her dad, the first man she ever laid eyes on, a very searching question.
So, at just four hours old, this little baby was all rugged up and off on her first family drive en route to the nearest medical support. Beside her is her brand new mum, who has just gone through a traumatic birthing process and, at the wheel, her brand new dad who suddenly realises the responsibility of such precious cargo. First destination is the Kapiti medical centre, maternity unit. “Sorry, no room at the inn,” they said. But they made up a temporary stopover in a temporary maternity suite before they managed to find a more appropriate location for the care that such an angel deserved. And so this resilient new baby was off again. This time to Kenepuru hospital for a two-day stay, that the staff were persuaded to turn into a three-day stay, in a good hospital with very good staff, to give Corey a few days to get the house tidied up back into liveable condition. So our little angel had two car rides and three addresses in the first twenty-four hours of her life. And on the third day she rode again and was on her way back to her official birthplace, her home. How cool is that? And yet none of it went according to plan.
Just look at those eyes.
Footnote: 17 April and Mars moves into retrograde. As above, so below.