Family Adventure Project and
Family on a Bike e-newsletter
Welcome to our
October 2005 update
Read it online at: http://www.familyonabike.org/Newsletters/NewsOctober2005.htm
Well, a lot can happen in a year. Only last
October we were packing our bikes, covering them in cling film,
subjecting the boys to a scary selection of jabs and teaching
them basic Samoan. Now our family adventure is complete with the
arrival of Hannah Louise, a baby girl, born in the water, not
on a bike.
pain free,censored version of how a Family on a Bike just got
It was both the hardest and the most beautiful
part of the 2005 Wickes family adventure. Hannah entered our world
at eleven o'clock, floating calmly and peacefully up out of the
water while the full moon shone brightly outside. When I'd jokingly
said 'she'll probably come out pedalling,' the midwife must have
thought I said "she'll probably come out paddling" and
put me down for a water birth.
Welcome to our world baby Hannah
After the trauma and speed of Cameron's arrival
three years ago, the midwifery team had been on standby all day
with the birthing pool ready. Everyone who came in to the labour
suite, including the auxiliary nurse in charge of refreshments,
seemed to have read my notes from last time, and were expecting
to have to catch the baby as it shot out. But while last time
it was a trolley dash and a wheelchair, this birth was chilled
out and happy, much like the temperament of our new daughter.
Stuart managed to read the entire instructions
of the tens machine while we lounged around in the hospital labour
suite waiting for the process to speed up. "It says here 'Do not
put electrical pads over your eyes.' Who the hell did that? Someone
must have done it or it wouldn't be on the leaflet. Oh my God,
look at this one. 'Do not put pads on the heads of children under
twelve.' So children over twelve are fine then? Perhaps we can
use this on the boys when they're teenagers." I was only half
listening, as I was too busy wrenching the arm off the hospital
rocking chair as contractions finally got underway.
"You have a high threshold for pain," said the
midwife as she held her hand against my stomach to assess the
strength of the contractions. "You have no idea," I answered,
remembering some of the tougher moments of the last year; the
windy gravel nightmare of Jack's Pass, the dull incessant grind
of the Lindis Pass, the mental challenge of learning to sail in
two days, and the merciless attacks by sandflies and mosquitos.
"This baby was conceived on a bike," I informed the midwife between
contractions. "I guess you must have a tandem then," she said
helping me over to the pool.
"Hey Stuart, it's a girl," I commented as the
baby floated up and past me in the water. A second later I was
splashing around trying to get a second look at her. "Did someone
just say it was a girl?" asked Stuart, white with shock. "Are
you sure? Can you fish her out for a look?" The news was confirmed
and the baby continued to relax in the water, her little blue
body floating happily around and gradually turning pink as if
to confirm the diagnosis.
"What shall we call her then?" Stuart sat on
the rocking chair with the baby, trying to balance himself and
the newborn with only one wooden armrest. We racked our brains
to try and remember our shortlist for girls' names. We were so
sure it would be a boy that we hadn't chosen one this time. While
I got high on gas to avoid the pain of the midwife's embroidery
needle we brainstormed some new and old favourites. "Well Cameron
wanted Pig Maisy, and Matthew was keen on calling it Bubble. Although
we could still go with Snooko, the original favourite." I squealed
with laughter and greedily sucked in more gas and air.
Dad, why is this baby so pink?
We settled on Hannah, who came home with us
to a joyful welcome from the boys, delighted they have a 'brother
who's a girl.' As I lie her down in her crib to sleep, I think
back to the last action-filled twelve months of biking, sand duning,
sailing, swimming, camping, lugeing, and campervanning. Nothing
(not even bungy jumping) could match the high of holding this
soft, burping, milk guzzling bundle. When we started out last
November, we never dreamed our family adventure would both end
and begin again this way. Yes, a lot can happen in a year.