Quake baby’s ‘epic’ birth on night of quake

Marlborough Express - - NEWS - NINA HINDMARSH

Quake baby Maisy Rain was born while the earth shook vi­o­lently around her.

On the an­niver­sary of the mag­ni­tude-7.8 Kaik­oura quake, her mum Katie McRae still can’t be­lieve she gave birth dur­ing the or­deal.

‘‘I can only de­scribe it as epic,’’ she said. ‘‘It wasn’t just the earth­quake, but it was also the flood­ing after­wards as we tried to get home. I won­dered what Mother Earth was throw­ing at us.’’

McRae, her husband and their three chil­dren shifted from Blen­heim to Golden Bay just be­fore the birth of their fourth baby.

She wanted the same mid­wife as her pre­vi­ous birth, so she trav­elled back to Wairau Hos­pi­tal in Blen­heim to be in­duced into labour on the eve of the quake.

McRae said she fell asleep as the first nig­gling labour pains started, but was wo­ken just af­ter mid­night by the vi­o­lent shak­ing.

‘‘I was hold­ing on to ei­ther side of the bed, and I re­mem­ber it be­ing so in­cred­i­bly loud, and it felt like the room was mov­ing a me­tre back-and-forth.’’

She will never for­get the hor­rific sound of the ba­bies in neona­tal unit scream­ing. Just af­ter the quake hit, the con­trac­tions came in full force.

‘‘I re­mem­ber be­ing so des­per­ate for the baby to come out, and the sec­ond the earth­quake hit I thought, I do not want to be in labour right now.’’

They called the mid­wife, Cathy Mid­dle­ton, who left her own fam­ily to at­tend the birth.

Pow­er­ful af­ter­shocks shook the bed in the de­liv­ery room ev­ery 15 min­utes, and the light over her shud­dered.

She could hear res­cue he­li­copters tak­ing off and land­ing con­stantly on the roof.

Amongst the chaos, Maisy Rain was fi­nally born, ex­actly four hours af­ter the quake hit.

She was named af­ter the flood­ing that would en­sue as they des- per­ately tried to get her home to Golden Bay.

They drove through the heavy rain and af­ter­shocks, wa­ter com­pletely over the tyres, all the way to Golden Bay.

‘‘Watch­ing the news it was like ar­maged­don or dooms­day, I felt so far away from our two older girls and I just wanted our whole fam­ily to be safe in one place to­gether,’’ she said. One year on, the mem­ory of Maisy Rain’s birth is still sur­real. ‘‘At the time, I knew I had a job to do, and I knew it was to bring this baby into the world safely on that wild, wild night.’’

‘‘I won­dered what Mother Earth was throw­ing at us.’’ Katie McRae


Katie McRae and her baby, Maisy Rain, born on the ‘‘wild, wild’’ night of the mag­ni­tude-7.8 Novem­ber earth­quake.

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