Twelve hundred babies are born a week in New Zealand. But this past week, one for me was extra special: I get to bring her home.
I felt I already knew our new baby well before she was born. At her 20-week ultrasound scan the doctors saw that the tubes running from her kidneys to her bladder were dilated.
They kept an extra close eye on her development, which meant regular scans, building to a scan every two weeks. We got to see and know her each fortnight, long before she finally arrived in this world.
The initial plan was to induce early on September 7. We planned accordingly. But as that date approached further discussion with the doctor and midwife led us all to conclude that it was best to wait awhile. The dilation was not getting any better. But it wasn't getting any worse. And baby was doing well.
We waited. We did odd things as we started each day, thinking this would be the day. Louise began baking. And didn't stop. The odd thing about the baking is that neither of us eats biscuits or cake.
I ripped up the veranda that runs across the front of our house and down the side. That wasn't the smartest thing to do as heavily pregnant Louise and toddler Liberty had to negotiate mud, planks, tools, wheelbarrows and wood to get in and out of the house. I spent the days digging holes and concreting new piles.
I had to wait for the tongue-and-groove to be milled for the veranda deck so I started landscaping the section. Late Friday afternoon I dug a trench and hit the water supply.
It's truly surprising how quickly your front yard can become a muddy lake. But that was the least of my worries. I was imagining baby arriving and a weekend with no running water. I rang the plumber and shouted, "The water's burst!"
Geoffrey is from Australia: "Maaate, I'm a plumber. Ring the bloody hospital!"
We were scheduled for the induction on Monday. It was terrifically exciting as we got settled in the birth room to await our baby's arrival.
We were there a couple of hours when the midwife explained the birthing unit had become busy and would we mind coming back on Wednesday.
We jumped at the opportunity. We figured that Louise had a good chance of going into labour naturally, and my tongue-and-groove had arrived.
Late Tuesday night Louise went into labour. I didn't panic. We had everything planned. Bags were packed and I knew the best route given any time of day. Plus we had already had a dummy run on Monday.
Would you believe it? My car wouldn't start! It has never, ever, played up. It was totally dead. Panic.
I rang AA. The mechanical voice at the call centre went through all my options. There were a lot. It seemed to be taking forever. They didn't have an option for, "Baby coming! Hurry!" But the AA man was there quicker than a cab and we were on our way. The last thing the AA man said to me was to not panic.
We were pleased the birth had got under way naturally as we figured that would make things a little easier and reduce the need for subsequent intervention. Our only disappointment was that our previous midwife's shift didn't start until morning. She was wonderful and we would now have to meet a new midwife.
So we were delighted to be greeted by Verity's big smile when we arrived at the hospital at 11pm. She had driven to work specially to look after us.
Our baby was born just as the sun rose on Wednesday morning. I got to catch her and welcome our new little girl to the world.
If there is a more wonderful thing than a baby being born I don't know what it is.
The most likely cause of baby's dilation is that her ureters enter her bladder at right angles. They normally enter obliquely. When the bladder squeezes, the bladder wall ordinarily close the ureters off. With our baby, they stay open. That means the urine pushes back into the kidney. It's a very common condition.
It often corrects itself in utero or as a baby.
The concern is infection of the kidneys.
As I write our little baby is in the neo-natal unit while the doctors run tests. She was scanned again and tomorrow they will put dye into her system to determine the cause of the dilation. She has been started on low-dose antibiotics to counter any risk of infection.
She is wonderfully healthy and happy.
And now the veranda floor is down just awaiting mum and little Grace.By Rodney Hide