Esperance Peneha: A Birth Story

Meet Esperance and his parents Mekayla and Moroni. Another surprise arrival! I love how they’ve expressed so much of the Maori culture throughout this story, especially in the choosing of his name. I LOVE the inspiration behind his name. And Mekayla’s pain tolerance was cracking me up. Read another great birth story here.


My story starts on Saturday the 8th of February, even though our sons due date was supposed to be due 4th March 2014.

I live in Hamilton and my mum wanted to throw a baby shower up home in Whirinaki/Opononi, (5 hours north, google it guys, it’s a pretty place) for the whaanau that couldn’t attend the one in Hamilton, a couple of weeks previously. After all the celebrations, fun and games, I was having a chat with a family/church friend, who is an Osteopath. I told her that my back was out and I was having trouble sleeping. She did an adjustment and I felt instant relief. My back felt amazing and everyone was saying that baby had dropped heaps. I wasn’t too phased by that because I felt sooo good. Poor Huia, after she adjusted me, everyone else wanted to be adjusted too lol.

Around 4.30pm, I was dying to go for a swim at the river, which is just down the road. This was my first swim whilst being pregnant, so I was hanging out, hated carrying during summer, so floating in the river like a big fat whale, was pure bliss. I remember swimming for like 10mins and then I felt this leaking, trickling feeling “down there”. I told my husband and we weren’t at all alarmed, I wasn’t feeling pains or anything. We decided we’d just go home and ask my mum. So side note, I’m the oldest of 10 kids, so I consider my mum to be “THEE master” at giving birth, since she’s done it like 10 times and all. All of her births have been natural with no complications, no tear, nothing. How lucky huh? So anyways, we headed home and I told my mum what was happening. Her response; “oh sometimes when you’re loose down there bub, when you go for a swim, water can tend to get up there”. Me being none the wiser was like; “ok, that’s gross and weird, but ok, you would know”.

We didn’t plan on going back to Hamilton until the 9th Feb after church, so we just went about our plans as per normal, I had a shower and what not, but I was still leaking/trickling or whatever, for the remainder of the night and was wearing a sanitary pad too. (TMI? Soz). Nothing else was happening, no pain, nothing.

The next day was Sunday. We loaded up our car and planned to leave for Hamilton straight after church. Whilst at church, still the same, little trickles here and there, no pain and me not knowing the “labour signs”, I wasn’t worried at all. Everyone was talking about how low baby had dropped, that I must be due soon. But I was quick to tell everyone, “no, he’s not coming until another 4 weeks”, which was really my way of saying: “no, he’s not coming, we’re not ready yet, I haven’t packed his bag or mine or anything, I still have 4 weeks to do all of that!!!”

We left Whirinaki to head back to Hamilton around 2pm and the car ride home was pretty sweet. The leakage had subsided (maybe cause I was just sitting for a whole 5 hours lol) and everything was good, not a care in the world. It wasn’t until we got home (which was like around 7pm), I stood up out of the car and felt a heavier flow come out of me, but not too crazy that it saturated everything. I remained calm though, called my midwife, told her what was happening and that I think my waters had broken. She wasn’t too alarmed and said that it might just be discharge, but said that if I wanted too, we could go to Waikato Hospital (which was 2mins up the road) and get checked out. I was like heck yes, I wanted peace of mind, I mean, wouldn’t you?

We got up to the Waikato Hospital at around 7.30pm that night, our midwife met us up there and we had an ultrasound. Baby looked fine, but they said there wasn’t much fluid surrounding baby. They did an internal examination (which I hated), which made a big gush of liquid come out and that confirmed it for them, that my waters had broken. They then said that if I didn’t go into labour naturally, that they would induce me on Tuesday 11th Feb, so that no infections occur. Now things were starting to get real and all I was thinking was, “if I go into labour naturally or if I am induced, either way, we’re going to have a baby this week”. They told me to go home and get some rest (like I could rest when thousands of different things were going through my mind), and that they would call us to the next morning for a follow up check, to make sure everything was alright. I remember calling my mum and she was freaking out, because she lives 5 hours away. I told her that we were going to get induced on Tues so she can come down tomorrow (Monday). Moroni (my husband doing bombs off the bank a couple of paragraphs back) also called his parents to let them know what was happening.

Didn’t get too much sleep that night.

The next morning at around 9am, the hospital called and asked if I could go up asap. I started feeling really faint pains. I just thought it was a tummy ache or something, I mean, it couldn’t have been labour because the pains were bearable. In regards to research about child birth, labour and all that jazz, I was probably the most unprepared person ever. But, for the next kid I have, at least I’ll know what to expect lol We went up to the hospital around 9.30am, in the same clothes that I slept in (that’s how anxious I was) and we had mapped out our day, go for a check-up, go home, tidy up, get dressed, then quickly do last minute shopping for the bits and bobs that we needed for baby. Faint pains were still in and out, but I wasn’t timing them or anything. We were in the waiting room at the hospital for what seemed like forever (15mins) and in this time, a lady had come through, who was well into labour. This was a little off putting and I was hoping that this poor woman would get a room soon.

Around 10am, I was finally seen to. They propped me on a bed, put these straps around my puku (stomach) with this machine attached to it and monitored me. Nurses came in and out for the next 1-2 hours and by this point I was wondering what was up. In this time I called mum and she was getting ready to leave the north. Around 11.30am, Moroni ducked out to get some lunch and pack a bag for me and baby just in case, (poor guy, can I say he did a mean as job man, packing everything and buying what he thought I would need). I was looking at the monitor and noticed that when these little pains would start, the numbers on the machine would increase. There was also this page, recording graphs and the same time when I got pains, with the numbers increasing, one of the graph lines would drop quite significantly. Some of the pains, I had to breathe through a little, but still to me, I couldn’t be in labour (what a clueless girl Mekayla lol).

A nurse came back in and I asked her when would I be able to leave, as I had so much to do before I got induced the next day. She told me that I wouldn’t be leaving and was shocked that I didn’t know what was going on. The numbers that were rising when I felt pain meant I was in labour, baby’s heart rate was dropping with every contraction and to make things even more glorious, my contractions were 4mins apart. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?!! I was going to have a baby. My midwife came just after the big announcement that the baby was coming. She had to put a lure in one of my veins on my hand, in case I needed it after I had baby. I texted Moroni and told him what was up, by now the time was 12.30pm. He came back to the hospital at about 1pm and by this moment we were both in shock, but super excited at the same time. He called my mum and let her know what was happening, as well as his parents.

Around 2.30pm I wanted to have a shower and get out of the clothes that I slept in the night before. My husband helped me shower, he was definitely my rock through this whole entire process. In the shower, that’s when pains started getting stronger and longer. I had like a 5 min shower and in that time, had about 3 contractions.

Straight after my shower, we were moved to the birthing unit and from then until baby came, pains had shot up quite a lot. I remember shedding a few tears, telling my husband that it hurt, but knowing I had a job to do, so I had to suck up the pain and harden up. My midwife told me that gas was there to help relieve the pain. I had one puff and if anything for me, it just made everything worse and made me super dizzy. I initially wanted to have a water birth, but they don’t offer this at the hospital. My midwife felt up there to feel how close baby was and she put this little tab on his head (as she could feel it), just to monitor him. His heartbeat was still dropping with each contraction.

Around 3pm I went into transitional labour, pains were long and strong. I found being on my knees, with my hands holding on to the bed head and swaying my hips from side to side, really helped to relax me. My mum always told me that best way to have a baby is on your knees, let gravity help with the process. I remember holding my husband’s hand and squeezing it so hard with every contraction but he didn’t make a peep or sound. My mum arrived to the birthing suite at 3.10pm, just in the nick of time too. Initially, I just wanted it to be me and my husband at the birth of our son, oh and the midwife. But that all changed when I saw her. I was on my knees in the middle of a contraction, when I saw her walk into the room and after the contraction all I could say was “hi mum”, I was so relieved to see her.

With my mum on my left and Moroni on my right, around 3.15pm, my midwife said that it was time to push. I experienced that burning ring of fire, sheepers, ouch. I started pushing and listening intently to my midwife, who was “down there”, telling me to push, and then pant, then push again. I have a low blood pressure, so there was time where I was starting to black out and my mum and Moroni were telling the midwife, “she’s going, she’s going”. I was adamant during pregnancy that I wasn’t going to be one of those women that scream whilst giving birth. But I did let out a little yell, not because of the pain, but more so to get me back into that present moment and remind myself that I had a job to do, to get this baby out and no one else can do it but me. I was listening to my body, pushing with each contraction and resting in between, well as much as you can get when you’re in that stage of labour. With the last contraction I started pushing and my midwife told me to stop, but to still bare down, his head was there, nearly out. She told me to do one big push and with one push, not only did his head come out, but his entire body.

At 3.23pm, 10th February 2014. Weighing 5lb 9oz, our tamaiti puurotu (beautiful son) was finally here, Esperance Waimatua Ramirez Peneha.


Because I had him on my knees, I just scooped him up from between my legs. When I saw him, oh man, I knew I already loved him, but having him in my arms, I couldn’t help but cry. I looked at my husband and in that moment, fell more in love with him. I looked at my mum who was bawling her eyes out and I cheekily said, “oh yea, I just had a baby!… how the heck did you do this 10 times?”.

We set his name in concrete on his 2nd day of life.

Esperance: Esperance is a place in Western Australia where Moroni served quite a long period of his mission. Esperance means “hope” in French, which is pretty appropriate for our little man, considering he was a small baby.

Waimatua: We got this name from my dad, who txt it to me a couple of hours after we had him, along with the explanation. Waimatua is the old Maaori name for my waters that broke. The old people would say, “kua taka te koongahungahu, kua whati te Waimatua”, which translated means; “the life formed inside has dropped to a lower, or earthly realm, no longer sheltered by the Waimatua that gave it its heavenly haven”. I loved this meaning, especially since “water” or that little trickle feeling on the Saturday previously, was the first sign that he was on his way and he was lapping up his last precious moments with our Heavenly Father, before meeting us in this early life.

Ramirez: On your mission, if you train a missionary, it’s like they become your son and you become their dad, because you’re teaching him everything he needs to know for their mission, just like a father would teach his son everything he needs to know about life. Elder Ramirez (Chris Ramirez) was Moronis “first born” on his mission, just like how our baby is the first born of our little family.


Ka kore teenei puna aroha e mimiti ana, moohau raa e taku tamaiti puurotu Ox (This pool of love that I have for you my beautiful son will never run dry)


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