Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


May 17, 2013

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

So if you follow me on instagram, you might know that I welcomed a little boy into this world just over a month ago.  I thought I would share what it is like to have a pregnancy during a pandemic here in New Zealand.

Even though there is a pandemic raging around the world, 2020 was still full of miracles and magic…the proof is in my little pudding here.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

I kept my pregnancy very quiet for numerous reasons…I didn’t mention that I was pregnant on the blog and also I kept it quiet from family and friends (a small number of people did know)…my pregnancy was deemed high risk for various reasons; my age, my uterus has severe scarring and previous surgeries.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

I won’t be sharing who the father is and I won’t be sharing my sons name either so please respect my privacy by not asking for more details (if I have told you the name, can you please keep it to yourself…thank you)…I have nicknamed our little family, Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Bubba Bear.  You might see the occasional photo here and there of my little Bubba Bear (a lot of pregnancy photos coming your way of me in this post!) but I am aware that crazy people exist online and also offline so protecting him is my priority.

My son is half Kiwi, half Spanish.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Spain is popping up everywhere in New Zealand at the moment…at the Cherry Blossom festival!

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – When Did I Found Out

I found out I was pregnant the day before New Zealand entered Level 4 lockdown where medical treatment was almost non existent as they cleared the way for Covid cases (which wasn’t needed as the elimination strategy worked thankfully).

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^34 weeks pregnant in Taupo…wasn’t too sure if you could tell from the photo I had added to the blog post here.

Level 4 lockdown meant each house is one bubble and no mixing of bubbles, work from home unless you work for an essential service like transportation or police etc, no takeaways, no online shopping (trade me which is like eBay was shut down and you couldn’t buy items online), no construction…only supermarkets and medical services were open.  You could exercise from your home only and keeping a 2 metre distance when walking around the streets from other people.  No schools were open.  Our border were firmly shut and still is.  Basically no movement…it was severe and it lasted 5 weeks.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^In Raglan after dropping Papa Bear off for a hike…a few weeks to B Day!  I was all bump…genetics are a wonderful thing and I have lost all my pregnancy weight in 3 weeks…thank you mama for the wonderful genes.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic -Working While Pregnant

In total I worked from home for 11 weeks as I was pregnant and at the time, this fell into the vulnerable category under the NZ government Covid guidance for the first lockdown plus I had low iron right before the lockdown and I had a bowel condition that was playing up.  Keeping me wrapped up in cotton wool was the only solution as we didn’t know what we were dealing with.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Cherry Blossoms are wonderful for hiding a pregnancy

I hated having my freedom and independence ripped away from me but in hindsight I appreciate that it was so I had a healthy full term baby at the end.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Why take boring pregnancy photos…my bump at around 30 weeks.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic -Partner, Family and Friend Support at Appointments

My family were amazing during my whole pregnancy…I couldn’t have asked for more support especially as Papa Bear didn’t get back from Spain and out of quarantine till mid August.  My pappy really did take one for Spain as I was full of Spanish fury especially in the first trimester.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy during a pandemic is a scary mix especially when you can’t have any support at appointments (level 1 and 2 you’re allowed a support person…we are currently in Level 1 in New Zealand).  My GP thought I had miscarried twice during the first trimester (went to my appointments alone), they thought I had DVT in my leg during my second trimester plus I had two bleeds (once again…all alone) and a low lying placenta that decided to move thankfully.

There were a lot of ultrasounds and appointments with my obstetricians and even though I went private due to the lack of health care on the public system, they were great at listening to all my concerns and explaining issues as they arose.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^ Went for a walk along the beach as we waited for my appointment about my second potential miscarriage.

They found 3 fibroids (generally non cancerous muscular tumours) inside my uterus at my 20 week growth scan and I’m forever grateful that my mama was holding my hand at that appointment as I was so disappointed with my body; I felt that my body had failed me once again.  Thankfully the fibroids didn’t cause any issues with my pregnancy and now we are playing a waiting game to see where they end up as my uterus shrinks back to size.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^ A week to go, waiting for Papa Bear who went Paragliding.

At 16 weeks pregnant, I had a mini colonoscopy (50 cms into the colon) to check things out…I had this with no pain relief and I left the hospital without knowing if my son was alive or not…it was a potential risk and I was so scared that I had made the wrong decision to proceed with colonoscopy.  Thankfully I had felt him move from 11 weeks…silver lining from having the tumours, I could feel him a lot sooner than most mums.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Selfie from my colonoscopy…going to have another one shortly to check if everything is clear as I have aggressive cancer cells in my colon and they are caught early in my yearly sweep.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Was It an Easy Pregnancy?

I won’t say I had an easy pregnancy as it wasn’t…I was told in the first weeks of pregnancy by my GP via telephone that my pregnancy would most likely miscarry or I would have a very small premature baby as my body wouldn’t be able to feed the baby.  If I’m honest, this knocked the wind right out of my sails and made me so nervous the whole way through the pregnancy…I had thought that I would either miscarry or give birth to a healthy baby.  SPOILER ALERT…I gave birth to a healthy baby at 40 weeks + 2 days…I started to relax around the 36 week mark.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Visiting Tiritiri Matangi Island with 6 weeks to go…someone suggested that I let the dolphins who were playing in the water to birth me…after that I was scared to get into the water.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Was I Scared?

The one thing I really hated about being pregnant during a pandemic was the yo-yoing of the lockdown levels as you would just get your support person back and then they would be ripped away from you.  Many medical establishments interpreted the lockdown levels in their own way…so while you could have a support person at one medical establishment, you couldn’t at another even though you were within the same bubble.

I was petrified that I would have to give birth by myself like my cousins wife in Croatia had to do a few weeks prior to my due date.

Overall, I was extremely lucky…yes I paid $6,000 out for private medical care but I wasn’t going to risk my life or that of my son.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Did I Find Out of the Sex of the Baby?

Yes we did, I had a blood test at 10.5 weeks to check for chromosome issues and this also told us the sex.  I was adamant that if I was ever to have a baby that I wouldn’t find out the sex but alas Mama and Papa Bear were both too impatient (let us blame the lockdown in New Zealand and Spain…at least we knew his name from the start)…I knew it was a boy before the results were in.  My body changed and I was taking on some very strong Papa Bear qualities…including his taste buds which were very heavily based on meat!

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Strange Cravings?

I’ve never eaten BBQ Pork ribs in my life before but oh my goodness, the craving was crazy…Papa Bear loves Ribs.  Other than that my cravings were all healthy related…avocados (Papa Bear was great at making me guacamole every few days), apples (they had to be crunchy!), orange juice (my Home Grown brand orange juice craving cost me approx $50 a week!) and bread…it had to be proper bread , like the Spanish have.

My sweet tooth went very savoury.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Exercise

Thankfully we could exercise from our home during the first lockdown here in New Zealand so I used to do some short walks around the street during the day to get some sunlight.

Once we were back to Level 1 and 2, I would do longer walks at the beach or Regional Parks in Auckland.  Sometimes doing 2 x 1-3 hour walks each weekend.

I found if I didn’t walk then I felt very out of sorts.

Pilates and Yoga was uncomfortable from the beginning as I had a little nausea and also blocked sinuses from the pregnancy hormones which made breathing a little impossible at the times.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Labour

When it came to delivering the baby…I was open to everything bar the IV induction.  At 35 weeks, Bubba Bear was so low, that when I turned up for my 36 week birth talk my obstetrician smiled and said, I didn’t expect to see you today for this talk.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Pulling faces for a laugh!

Bubba Bear had decided to go transverse at 35 weeks for 4 days and man it was uncomfortable for both of us.  Lying on your side with a transverse baby at 35 weeks pregnancy…I had very limited sleep for those 4 nights as I had arms and legs going everywhere when lying down on my side.  He eventually came to his senses and realised he had to go head down again.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^When Papa Bear calls Mama Bear, Gordita one too many times!  Gordita = Chubby!  Now Bubba Bear is called Gordito

I was induced using the Balloon…honestly, it is like having a giant willy inside you and I took that thing for a walk around the hospital and outside…I managed to get to 3 cms dilated over a period of 12 hours.  Next up was the IV induction meds but this didn’t do anything…I asked for an epidural to help speed up the dilation….it didn’t!

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^ Went for Afternoon Tea at the Grand Windsor Hotel in Auckland…was just showing…or was it the scones?!?

Bubba Bear had moved up and I could feel him back up in my rib cage during the tightenings…and his little heart beat would drop but then recover quickly.  I knew he wasn’t going to come out naturally…I felt more uncomfortable from his movements struggling inside me than the tightenings / contractions.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^I had purchased these maternity jeans when I had my first operation to remove the fibroids in 2017; who knew I would be needing them for a pregnancy a few years later.

There was no yelling or screaming in the delivery suite…I was laughing and smiling with my midwife…so much so that the midwife and obstetrician kept increasing my IV induction meds as I was smiling too much.  We kicked Papa Bear out for lunch and a walk plus he had a siesta…it was all pretty relaxed looking back.

I had read the Positive Birth Book back in August and knew that my body could do it…labour doesn’t have to be crazy like in the movies.

I didn’t like the epidural (I wasn’t smiling then and said to the midwife as the woman left who administered the epidural, she was a bitch right?!?! Yes) and I ended up with the shakes as a consequence of the epidural which can happen and this continued as we went in for the C section.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Half way through and I thought I was huge…can I ask what the f*ck is up with maternity clothes in New Zealand…Farmers had the best options and they were not maternity clothes…I’m going to write a blog post on where to find the best maternity clothes.

Due to my age and complications, they bought in another obstetrician to deliver Bubba Bear by C section plus it was a super busy 24 hours in Delivery (I delivered just before the huge influx of Covid Lockdown babies were due to be delivered over the festive period here in New Zealand)…they didn’t want my C section to turn into an emergency so it was very calm delivery which is exactly what I wanted.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^I was going to the supermarket looking like this when Papa Bear asked if I was really thinking of leaving the house looking like this…yes I was and yes I did!  And yes they were PJ’s bottoms…and I wore them to work once.

I did panic as they got me prepared for the C section as people don’t tell you that your arms are out straight and you’re tilted on the operating table…I don’t like surprises.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Blowing the cobwebs away at Muriwai

I was in such a position that I only caught a quick glimpse of Bubba Bear, it was so fleeting and I was in a daze (I may have gassed myself during the epidural and that was the only time I touched the gas)…watching Papa Bear’s face as he saw his son for the first time is a moment that I’ll never forget…that is what I focused on.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Smiling even though the carrot was smaller than me!

I’m so grateful that Papa Bear was there with me during the delivery…I wanted to make sure he had that bond hence why I fought to get him back into New Zealand.  I’m also extremely grateful that my parents and sister could come and visit me in hospital every day.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Current Covid Restrictions in New Zealand

While I’m extremely lucky to have a lot of freedom here in New Zealand at present unlike others over the festive period; many of us are also suffering or have suffered in New Zealand…we don’t need to be in a lockdown to be suffering.  Our borders are closed for visitors.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^5.5 weeks to go and we walked to Huka Falls…1.5 hour round trip.

My son’s Spanish family can’t enter New Zealand and we can’t leave to introduce him to his family on the other side of the world…all contact is done via video call like many others.  This could be for another year…or even longer…I don’t pin my hopes on the vaccine allowing movement any time in the near future.  It is heart breaking.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Shopping with mama

I had to fight to get Papa Bear into New Zealand prior to the birth with New Zealand Immigration…it took me two attempts to gain a humanitarian visa.  It is easier to get a boyfriend / girlfriend into New Zealand who have been together for three months than a foreign father with a child who is a New Zealand citizen…some fathers have not seen their children for almost a year.  The parent and grandparent visa that many use to gain entry to New Zealand has disappeared due to Covid.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Heading off to see the obstetrician and as I was leaving my appointment I received an email from NZ Immigration stating that our application was approved…took over 4 months!

Pregnancy During a Pandemic – Mental Health

The obstetricians office told me that many expectant mothers dip over June – August here in New Zealand due to the winter months and then start bounce back around August however they weren’t seeing the bounce back this year…we entered our second lockdown here in August and the uncertainty of the pandemic and lockdowns were starting to show on expectant mothers.  My mental health suffering greatly due to this.

Guilt is something I lived with during my pregnancy…I was one of the lucky ones to be granted a humanitarian visa as at the time only 10% of applications were approved.  I was in a facebook group that had so many pregnancy women who couldn’t get their partners back into New Zealand including one pregnant with triplets; I felt guilty that I was granted a visa and it left me feeling so emotional for the women who were constantly declined by NZ Immigration.

I also felt guilty that Papa Bear didn’t experience the first part of the pregnancy and that his family won’t be able to meet their first grandchild / nephew in person until god knows when.  So many people are being robbed of magical experiences…if only people would stop moving to stop the spread…yes we all deserve a beach holiday but suck it up buttercup and stay at home!

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^First day of Maternity Leave…had morning tea with mama at Winona Forever

If you think New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic is amazing…there are a number of major issues that are not highlighted in the international press…families are separated and New Zealand is a huge melting pot of nationalities with families spread far and wide.  I wish that Papa Bear had support himself in New Zealand from Spain.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^5.5 weeks to B Day and went for a 2 hour walk to Taranaki Falls by myself…Papa Bear walked from Whakapapa to the Desert Road…I was asked by a random stranger if I was going to give birth on the track, I asked if he intended to do the same…I was so fit from doing walks by myself at the start and then with Papa Bear when he arrived from Spain…I loved feeling active during the pregnancy.

How to Help an Expecting Family During Covid

If you’re in a country with Covid currently, stay at home and stop the spread.  Don’t just do it for the elderly, do it for a family that is expecting a child…do it for everyone., you need to work as a team to eradicate.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Rotorua Road Trip…when I looked like I had just a Covid lockdown belly like the rest of New Zealand!

For the Kiwis, please use the covid tracking app.  I use this all the time as I knew I would be going into hospital to give birth and I didn’t want to put other mothers at risk or hospital staff in case of an outbreak.

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

Pregnancy During a Pandemic: New Zealand Edition

^^Papa Bear realises now that Mama Bear is clumsy as f*ck…we had a giggle over the Keep Clear sign

So that’s all the gossip here…(Oh yes…I’ve grown my hair out as well!)

After all my issues with my uterus…my son is a little miracle baby and he is adored by all his family, far and wide.  Miracles can happen…even during a pandemic.


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