Napier flooding: House of Pirimai welcomes flood baby Arya


The House of Pirimai has welcomed flood baby Arya.

As the floodwaters rose outside her Napier home on Monday, mum-to-be Emma Watson had extra reason to be anxious.

Home alone, with partner Jayden Jellyman wading waist deep through floodwaters toward Pirimai, Watson was in labour with her first child.

Jellyman had just finished his final shift as a chef in Ahuriri – he was due to start leave ahead of the baby’s due date on November 15 – and was headed home on Monday night.

At the same time, the worst storm in more than 100 years was hitting Napier.

He was two thirds of the way there when surface flooding made it impossible to drive,so he made the decision to abandon his vehicle on a side street and walk the final kilometre home to Pirimai in waist-deep water.

“I was walking on the road so I wasn’t tripping on the footpath.

“I was feeling pretty tired and cold.”

It had already been an eventful day for Mason.

“The day before on Sunday I’d been having cramps on and off but they finished at 6pm that night.”

She said they started up again when Jellyman left for work, but Mason didn’t want to “stress him out”, thinking they were just Braxton Hicks or false labour contractions.

When Jellyman finally arrived home, he said they had “no intentions of leaving”.

But after speaking with a friend who had come to collect a neighbour in a 4 x 4, they made the call to get out of the quickly flooding suburbs, as a precaution.

It was a good call.

The mate’s four-wheel drive got them to Mason’s parents place in Taradale about 8pm and it became apparent that Mason was having real contractions.

They called for an ambulance but Napier was in the middle of a state of emergency.

Paramedics were too busy to assist with what seemed like a regulation birth.

So the Pirimai couple started preparing for a home birth, but dad-to-be Jellyman was keen on the safe option of Hawke’s Bay Hospital.

“I said ‘that’s not going to happen’,” Jellyman said, of a home birth.

Midwife Lisa Skews stepped in and organised for a team from Civil Defence to take the couple to hospital.

About two hours later, at 12.49am on Tuesday, baby Arya Jellyman-Mason was born, weighing 7.11 pounds (3.22kg)

“It was very tiring but I’m so happy. It’s amazing,” Mason said of her firstborn.

Jellyman has an 11-year-old son who is eager to meet his little sister for the first time, he said.

A massive Game of Thrones fan, Mason said she decided to name her daughter after the famous character from House Stark, early on in the pregnancy.

Mason and Jellyman are settling well into life with a newborn, and preparing to head home on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the proud dad had already been back to Pirimai to grab a few items and was glad to find there was no major damage inside their house and that his car a few streets down was fine.

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