Booking our trip to Australia was tricky to get the timing right but we lucked out to be there to see ‘Dani and Al’ pregnant and then visit newborn Finn a few hours after his birth. We flew to Tamworth from Sydney where Dot, Al’s Mom lives. Dot hosted our stay as well as drove us down to Scone to see the expectant couple and their new home. The baby was overdue by a week and with the excruciating hot spell in Australia, they were more than anxious to give birth.
The drive back to Tamworth was very scenic in the afternoon sun. We stopped for a ‘walk about’ in a park commemorating British prisoners from long ago, transported to Australian prison camps.
The following day, February 6, we got ‘The Call’ Dani is in labour! A few hours later, we were on our way to Scone Hospital to meet Finn, James McEachern.
In the middle of the night, the unexpected occurred as Finn became jaundiced and his Mom and Dad had to drive him a couple of hours away to a hospital with a larger neonatal unit. Finn spent a number of hours in an incubator and was on a strict feeding regimen.
Dot and Chris and I took a day trip to Uralla where we enjoyed the gorgeous countryside and quaint old town.
Gotta love the Aussie sense of humour in social messages.
Thunderbolt’s Hideout Rock (famous bushranger & criminal)
Sunset from Dot’s Queensland room.
Chris and I drove down and stayed in a hotel to be close to the hospital even though we had very restricted visiting hours. We walked around the town of Morpeth in the record breaking 47 degree temperature. A couple of hours in a movie theatre cooled us down and filled up some of our day while we awaited our next visit with our grandbaby. Finn’s condition improved rapidly and he was able to go home after two day. Although the ordeal was stressful, Dani and Al learned many parenting tips from the excellent midwives there.
The shop with a teapot shaped like any creature or object known to mankind.
Finn goes home!
We moved in to a motel in Scone so that we could visit Finn but let Dani, Al, Finn and dogs Salty and Pretzel get settled as a new family. Everyone we talked to mentioned the insane heat and highest recorded temperatures in over three hundred years. We spent hours in the pool that was a few degrees cooler than the air. Forest fires are always a hazard in Australia but such high winds and temperatures made conditions worse. We watched as smoke rose above the nearby mountains and filled the air with acrid yellow clouds that sullied the sunlight. We watched birds ‘pant’ for their survival. We had never experienced heat like that anywhere before.
We took a fabulous drive in our rental car out into the countryside past equestrian ranches and up towards the mountains.
With Finn more settled at home, Chris and I moved in to the spare room and immersed ourselves in the adventures of new parents and new baby. We cheered the event and our new titles: Grammy and Grandy, with Champagne and a gorgeous cheese and fruit board. We strolled the town and parks of Scone and we all took Finn on his first public outing to a local cafe. Since Chris’s visit was almost over, Al took him for a trip up into the countryside and got up close to a few Roos as well.
Dot, travelled down from Tamworth to meet her new grandson. in Scone. Liz and Curt in Boston gave Dot her first grandchild, Genevieve a year and on half ago. Nanna meets Finn. Can you see the love?
Grandy says goodbye and flies home to our four-legged baby Dixie.
The house is filled with gorgeous flowers and cards of congratulations. The public health nurse visited to measure and weigh Finn and confirm that he was healthy and happy. Check and check.
Al had been off work on Paternity Leave for three weeks and a country daytrip seemed an appropriate way to celebrate and introduce Finn to hiking and picnics. As you can see from the images, we had a wonderful day and Finn enjoyed every minute of it too.
Cute Mom and joey Wallaby.
Feral goats live in the hills.
Exhausted Finn after his big day.
Finn joins Dani and friends for High Tea.
Dot and Malcolm visit.
Dani, Salty, Pretzel and I hike up Scone Mountain, an amazing view over the town and countryside just a twenty minute walk from home.
I say a teary goodbye to this beautiful family.
photo by Liz McEachern Hall
I sobbed my way into Sydney airport to head for Canada.