(NEW YORK) — Julie Anne Genter, a Green Party member of the New Zealand Parliament, is a keen cyclist who used her skills to bike to the hospital in the middle of the night while in labor Sunday. Within an hour of setting off, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
“I genuinely wasn’t planning to cycle in labor,” she wrote on Instagram later that day, “but it did end up happening.”
Genter shared photos of her nighttime journey on a cargo bike, smiling through contractions while locking up in the Wellington, New Zealand, hospital car park.
“My contractions weren’t that bad when we left at 2 a.m. to go to the hospital,” she said on Instagram. “Though they were 2-3 min apart and picking up in intensity by the time we arrived 10 minutes later.”
At 3.04 a.m., her daughter was born.
Originally, the plan was for her partner Peter Nunns to cycle with her in front, Genter told New Zealand outlet Stuff. When they realized there was too much weight with her hospital bag, Genter “just got out and rode.”
Genter is a dual U.S.-NZ citizen. She grew up in Los Angeles and moved to New Zealand in 2006 as a post-grad scholar at the University of Auckland. She credits her L.A. upbringing with her interest in transportation and urban design. She worked in transport and urban planning before becoming a Member of Parliament in 2011 where she has been an advocate of cycling and increasing bike infrastructure. Her baby girl was born two days after her 10-year anniversary in parliament.
This is the second time the lawmaker has cycled to the hospital to give birth. She did so in 2018 for the birth of her first child, although on that occasion, labor was induced, she said.
New Zealand’s parliament is one of the most gender-equal in the world, electing 49% female members in its 2020 election. It also has a reputation for being family-friendly.
The country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to her daughter Neve while in office in 2018, making headlines as one of the first sitting world leaders to do so. Genter followed her lead, bringing her firstborn to a UN meeting a year later.
In 2019, the Speaker of Parliament, Trevor Mallard, appeared in headlines around the world when he cradled and fed a bottle to a baby boy during a general debate.
Mallard told ABC News at the time that inclusivity is something that he focused since becoming speaker in 2017. “When I became speaker, I made it clear that I wanted the parliament to be much more family-friendly than it had been,” he said.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.