Ava born during lockdown

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By Toni Williams

Ashburton author Rachel Nixon and her husband, children’s librarian Jonathan Nixon, have welcomed a new addition to their family.

Ada Haley Nixon was born on March 28 at Christchurch Women’s Hospital weighing 2.75kg (five pound 9oz). It was day three of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

a wee dot,Nixon said.

Ada, named after a character in the Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House, has the middle name of Mrs Nixon’s 93-year-old grandmother’s maiden name. She lives in Auckland.

Back at home in Ashburton now, Mrs Nixon and Ada are doing well.

But, like any good story, Ada’s arrival has been full of interesting twists with a birth experience nothing like when they had son Caleb, two and a half years ago.

Mr Nixon said the plan to birth at Ashburton Hospital was scuppered because of concern around Ada’s limited weight gain.

A plan was made to be induced at Christchurch Women’s Hospital but, during lockdown, that meant tight restrictions on access.

a huge amount of stress added around Covid-19.

Mr Nixon had to be registered as birthing partner and could not be unwell in any form to attend.

They had Mr Nixon’s sister, in Christchurch, who has no children yet, lined up as a backup to step in as support if he got sick.

He thought she was probably quite happy not to be needed in the end.

The Nixons had a clear run to Christchurch for the planned induction, but their midwife was stopped twice by police checking on her reason for travelling during lockdown.

She missed the birth by one minute.

a quick birth,Mrs Nixon said.

really good with after (birth) support.

At the hospital no visitors are allowed except during the birth. Mr Nixon was not allowed in the maternity ward.

Once the birth was over he had to leave.

Mrs Nixon, in the maternity ward for two and a half days, said it was a different experience, from arrival to leaving.

They were greeted at the hospital entrance by staff with hand sanitiser and had to register the birth partner all the while practising social distancing. Some staff wore masks, some did not.

allowed into the maternity ward at all (but) the midwives were really, really good.

Jonnie, there but that’s the way this goes.

Now home, the couple and son Caleb, have the added support of Mr Nixon’s mother Vivian, who arrived from Christchurch for the lockdown. Mrs Nixon’s mother, in Auckland, was unable to come.

Regular home visits from the midwife also have a strict process to follow to minimalize touching contact and any Covid-19 risk for the family, and their midwife.

Mrs Nixon said the only time a midwife had touched Ada was for the initial testing at birth. Breastfeeding support is being done online with a lactation consultant via the video platform Zoom.

The silver lining is having Jonathan home during the lockdown, Mrs Nixon said.