NA­DIA’S SWEET BABY RIVER

The celebrity chef’ s sec­ond son was in a rush to en­ter the world

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - This Week -

When plan­ning for the ar­rival of baby num­ber two, Na­dia Lim had dreamed of wel­com­ing her new bun­dle in the com­fort of her own home.

But the Kiwi foodie’s hopes for a wa­ter birth at the Auck­land abode she shares with hus­band Car­los Ba­grie and tod­dler Bodhi were dashed when the cou­ple

dis­cov­ered their pad sim­ply wasn’t fit for pur­pose.

“It all got a bit hard – we have no cur­tains in the liv­ing room, so pri­vacy was an is­sue and fill­ing up a birthing pool would have been im­pos­si­ble be­cause no hose could stretch far enough!” laughs Na­dia, who de­cided to give birth at ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tal Birth­care in­stead.

But the ex­pec­tant par­ents needn’t have both­ered with a plan B be­cause their lit­tle guy had his own ideas – mak­ing his grand en­trance on their bed­room floor (“in the ex­act spot he was made”) a week be­fore his due date.

“I re­mem­ber think­ing, ‘Oh, well, looks like he’s be­ing born at home af­ter all!’ and be­ing se­cretly happy about it,” says the MasterChef star as she shares her ex­tra­or­di­nary story with Woman’sDay.

With her new baby fast asleep in his Moses bas­ket on the sofa next to her and two-year-old Bodhi down for his day­time nap, Na­dia, 32, tells us it all hap­pened so fast, she didn’t have time to panic. “It wasn’t what we’d planned, but it turned out beau­ti­fully. It was an awe­some birth.”

Na­dia’s sec­ond preg­nancy was a straight­for­ward one, but as she neared her due date of Oc­to­ber 1, she was in­creas­ingly un­com­fort­able and felt very ready to meet her new baby. She’d even been talk­ing to her bump, telling him that once he got to 39 weeks, he was more than wel­come to make his ar­rival. And he must have lis­tened be­cause on the night of Septem­ber 23, af­ter shar­ing a spicy Malaysian din­ner with her ex­tended fam­ily, Na­dia’s wa­ters broke.

“I felt a lit­tle trickle at around 10pm, but I didn’t think too much about it and went to bed. Half an hour later, I woke up to­tally drenched!”

By 4am, with con­trac­tions ramp­ing up, Na­dia called her mum to col­lect Bodhi be­fore she and Car­los, 33, headed to Birth­care, where they ex­pected to meet their new baby soon af­ter.

It was the most amaz­ing mo­ment. I looked at him and had love’ that over­whelm­ing rush of

“We were feel­ing so ex­cited!” she says. But to their sur­prise, the labour slowed down dra­mat­i­cally, and de­spite sev­eral long walks around the park and many hours of wait­ing pa­tiently, it seemed their lit­tle man wasn’t in such a hurry af­ter all. The cou­ple, who are co-founders of meal-de­liv­ery busi­ness My Food Bag, de­cided to head home for the af­ter­noon.

“We were feel­ing re­ally re­laxed. I lay on the couch and Car­los watched com­edy shows,” she re­calls.

But at around 4pm, Na­dia’s con­trac­tions be­came more in­tense. By the time they spoke to the mid­wife, Na­dia re­alised there was no way she could get in the car to make the 15-minute jour­ney back to Birth­care.

“My in­tu­ition told me to stay at home,” she ex­plains. “I just knew I didn’t want to go any­where at that point, so the mid­wives headed to our place in­stead. I was in the shower and Car­los was giv­ing me acu­pres­sure mas­sage to help with the pain, and then all of a sud­den I had the feel­ing that I needed to push.”

Na­dia and Car­los were un­pre­pared when the mid­wives asked if they had plas­tic bags or a tar­pau­lin to pro­tect the bed­room car­pet! For­tu­nately, Car­los re­mem­bered his plas­tic back­pack liner.

“He just threw it down on the floor and chucked a pile of tow­els on top, and be­fore we knew it, the baby popped out! Our stu­dent mid­wife caught him and passed him

straight to me. It was the most amaz­ing mo­ment. I looked at him and had that over­whelm­ing rush of love. Car­los was cry­ing and I was just so happy and over­joyed.”

Na­dia and Car­los, who’d opted not to find out their baby’s gen­der, were de­lighted to see it was a lit­tle brother for Bodhi. But they couldn’t be­lieve how dif­fer­ent he looked to their first­born, who ar­rived with a head full of dark, thick hair.

“I’d pre­sumed he would be ex­actly like Bodhi, but they’re com­pletely dif­fer­ent. River has hardly any hair and much more del­i­cate fea­tures. I think he looks more like Car­los, rather than me this time.”

The name River was cho­sen sim­ply be­cause they love the way it sounds.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful word, with beau­ti­ful con­no­ta­tions,” says Na­dia. “And I think it goes well with Bodhi.”

She ad­mits it’s taken some fam­ily mem­bers a while to get used to it, though!

“When we told Car­los’ mum we’d called him River, she said, ‘Gosh, I thought Bodhi was in­ter­est­ing, but this is even more in­ter­est­ing!’”

While River’s ar­rival on the bed­room floor cer­tainly wasn’t how Na­dia en­vis­aged her sec­ond birth, she’s thrilled that it ended up that way. She spent the first hour af­ter the de­liv­ery tucked up in bed breastfeeding her boy, be­fore cel­e­brat­ing with Car­los and their mid­wives over a glass of red wine and a bowl of soup.

“It felt so re­laxed and nat­u­ral to be at home. It was lovely to wake up the next morn­ing in our own bed and with our lit­tle boy next to us – I feel so grate­ful for that. It’s def­i­nitely given me the con­fi­dence to have a home birth next time.”

Fu­ture prep

While Na­dia and Car­los are clearly smit­ten, the for­mer di­eti­tian ad­mits that so far, Bodhi seems some­what un­fazed by his lit­tle brother. They’ve made a big ef­fort to main­tain their adorable tod­dler’s rou­tines, still all cud­dling up to­gether for his bed­time sto­ries and giv­ing him plenty of at­ten­tion.

“Bodhi says ‘hi baby’ and gives him a pat on the head, but other than that, he’s not su­per-in­ter­ested,” tells Na­dia, who’s just re­lieved there have been no signs of jeal­ousy yet.

De­spite get­ting just a few bro­ken hours of sleep the night be­fore, Na­dia looks as fit and fresh as ever at our photo shoot. And while she plans to work mainly from home for the rest of the year, she’s al­ready busy pro­mot­ing her lat­est cook­book, Fresh

Start, Feel Good. Her ninth book, which is on shelves this week, is packed full of de­li­cious, low-calo­rie recipes de­signed for any­one keen to lose weight or lead a health­ier life­style.

“The first Fresh Start cook­book has been so, so pop­u­lar and ev­ery week, I get mes­sages and emails from peo­ple say­ing how amaz­ing it’s been to fi­nally find a sus­tain­able way to lose weight,” tells Na­dia.

“Re­cently, I was walk­ing near home when a woman out jog­ging stopped me to say that she’d lost about 30kg by us­ing Fresh Start recipes. It’s an in­de­scrib­able feel­ing to know you’ve helped peo­ple like that.”

While Na­dia and Car­los set­tle into life as a fam­ily of four, they’re hop­ing to make the move from Auck­land to Cen­tral Otago in the next cou­ple of years to start a new chap­ter on their farm near Ar­row­town.

Na­dia plans to con­tinue her My Food Bag role and com­mute be­tween the two places but is ex­cited about the prospect of rais­ing their boys away from the rat race. And de­spite River be­ing just a cou­ple of weeks old, there’s no doubt that more ba­bies are on the cards in their grand fu­ture plan.

“Ever since we met 15 years ago, I’ve imag­ined us end­ing up on a farm down south with three or four chil­dren,” Na­dia ex­plains. “I love the idea of liv­ing off the land and be­ing sur­rounded by fam­ily.”

Oh, boy! Baby’s ar­rival sure was un­con­ven­tional, but his mum was “se­cretly happy” he was born at home.

Bodhi still Dad is mak­ing sure like read­ing gets lots of at­ten­tion, to­gether. his favourite books Mum and her mini-me: Na­dia thinks Bodhi re­sem­bles her, while River looks more like Car­los. Na­dia has her hands full now as a mum-of-two and she couldn’t be more de­lighted! The best-sell­ing au­thor is al­ready back to work and busy pro­mot­ing her ninth cook­book.

Sweet River may only be two weeks old, but Na­dia al­ready has plans to ex­tend her fam­ily even more. Left: Time for your nap, bubs!

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