When you are due to give birth any day, probably some of the last words you want to hear are “Covid-19” and “Level 4”.
But after recovering from the initial shock that their baby would be born during a nationwide lockdown, Oamaru couple Helen Reeves and Paul Odell took the news in their stride.
“I told Paul, and he thought I was joking,” Ms Reeves said.
It had always been a possibility in the back of their minds, but they knew it was something out of their control.
“There are people in a lot worse situations than we were being put in.”
As the date drew closer, the couple just tried to focus on preparing for their new arrival and not the lockdown, she said.
A healthy Makaela May Odell arrived on the morning of Friday, August 20, via Caesarean section at Dunedin Hospital, weighing 3720gm (8lb 2oz).
Ms Reeves said they were grateful Mr Odell was allowed to be there for the birth, but he had to leave an hour later.
He squeezed in as many cuddles as he could with Makaela before having to leave.”
Mother and baby were no longer able to transfer back to Oamaru following the birth and the family had to keep in touch via video calls and by sending photos and videos back and forth.
Although it was not the same as her family being there in person, Ms Reeves said it was still “very much a positive experience”.
“All the hospital staff were amazing, and they hated the circumstances just as much as we did and were very compassionate.”
After-care at the hospital was also different, but Ms Reeves felt well supported and knew any concerns she had would be addressed.
She stayed for the minimum time possible after a C-section – two days – because she wanted to get home to her family.
Back at home, baby Makaela is being well looked after by her “super proud” older brothers Angus Reeves (9) and Levi Odell (8) and her “very chuffed” big sister Bryar Reeves (7).
“They are very hands-on and helping out with cuddles and dirty nappies,” Ms Reeves said.
The family was choosing to see the lockdown as a positive thing.
“The kids are loving holding their new wee sister and learning what you do with a newborn.
“There is no rushing to get ready for school, so the pressure is off there, and so that means we can all enjoy our new member of the family and treasure this special time more.”