Today marks a year since Northlanders were thrust into the country's first lockdown as a national response to the Covid 19 pandemic unfolding around the world. As a nod to this historic moment, the Advocate spoke to a family with a special member who is living a life considered completely normal to them.
Rides in a car seat and hugs from extended family were out-of-this-world experiences for Whangārei baby Ted Morrison.
The 11-month-old was born on April 1 last year during the country's level 4 lockdown, his mum Cheree Morrison says.
"He hated the car seat because he never went in it for the first six weeks of his life. He also couldn't have hugs from other people so he didn't really want to go to anyone at first when we finally came out of lockdown."
Morrison, 32, said it's weird to think the pandemic will be Ted's norm - especially when so many lives were disrupted as a result.
"Everyone sacrificed something in 2020 - jobs or coming home from overseas or, like us, being able to share your newborn with others," Morrison said. "So it's strange to think of when Ted will get to high school and learn about the pandemic and can say, 'I was born in the middle of that'."
The client services manager for Bayleys Real Estate said she and her husband, Dan Morrison, found it fitting that Ted was unexpectedly born three weeks early on April Fool's Day, given the year 2020 turned out to be.
The couple had already experienced trying times during Morrison's second pregnancy even before the pandemic affected Kiwis.
Morrison said Ted was an active baby who, at 20 weeks gestation, was diagnosed with an unusual measurement in his brain that required monthly scans at Whangārei Hospital. Then, at 34 weeks, he went breech.
Things came to a head on March 25 when the country entered its first lockdown after an announcement two days earlier by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
"That was the day I lost it," Morrison said.
At 4am on the first day of lockdown she read an email from her midwife, Tracey Manning, that outlined the changes to their protocols. These included no longer having the same access to midwives, antenatal and postnatal.
Morrison said she experienced her first panic attack at the thought of managing their 3-year-old daughter, Imogen, at a time when you could not mix household bubbles.
Her anxieties were amplified by the possibility of not having anyone at the birth who had been with her during her pregnancy as "there was a risk of not having your partner there", she said.
But she said they had a "godsend" of a midwife with Manning, who did her best to support them where there was no playbook for what was happening.
However, when April 1 rolled around Morrison was able to deliver a "healthy and happy" 9.5lb baby boy with Dan at her side.
But even after Ted's arrival the couple had to navigate strange new challenges brought on by lockdown.
"I had the anxiety of what to do if Ted's clothes didn't fit him – we couldn't just go to a shop and get new ones," Morrison said.
Midwife and Plunket visits to check the baby's weight and temperature were highly restricted under alert level 4, so the couple had to take the reins.
"We had to monitor his temperature but couldn't even get a thermometer as all the pharmacies had sold out."
Kind Hands – a respite care facility for children under 6 with a disability and/or who are medically fragile – provided the Morrisons with three different types of thermometers.
Despite the circumstances a big silver lining for the couple was their ability to enjoy time together.
"We're grateful that we could hunker down and be a family. It was really lucky that Dan was able to be at home and still working."
However, Morrison said there was an intense emotional toll at not being able to share Ted with close family and friends.
"My auntie met him through a window," she said. "We always wanted our kids to be close to family."
But a year later, with Kiwis able to be close to one another once again, the Morrisons are planning to celebrate Ted's first birthday with a classic backyard barbecue filled with their loved ones.
"We're making a point of doing all the things we couldn't, now that the country is more open again," Morrison said.