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Wendy Frew’s nerves of steel

Faced with emergency surgery, the Kiwi netballer embraced her biggest challenge yet.
Wendy Frew's nerves of steel

She’s used to intense situations on the netball court, but when former Silver Fern Wendy Frew was in hospital about to give birth to her first child, she realised what real pressure was.

Five days overdue and suffering complications, she was rushed in to have an emergency Caesarean section – and came out the other side with a gorgeous son, Archie Trent Frew. “He’s a pretty fantastic wee boy,” says Wendy (28) as she and her husband Trent take turns cuddling their first child Archie, who’s now 16 weeks old.

“With the birth, we hadn’t planned on the C-section, but there were complications and he couldn’t come out naturally,” she explains. “I was a bit freaked out, but you’re in the zone, and you’re so excited to meet your baby – and Trent was there with me, so I was okay.”

“We just had to do what we had to do to make sure he was healthy,” adds fireman Trent (34). “But there were some nerves there, watching it all happen. You just have to be strong for your partner and your baby. I have a newfound respect for women after seeing Wendy go through that!”

Despite his less than smooth entrance into the world, Archie, who arrived at Southland Hospital on August 23, has proved to be a cruisy baby, much to his parents’ delight. “He’s really easygoing – he’s a lot like his dad,” says Wendy.

‘I just couldn’t believe how much I loved him… It’s amazing,’ says Wendy.

“And he sleeps through the night too, which is awesome! “I just couldn’t believe how much I loved him. As soon as I saw him, I couldn’t imagine life without him. When you don’t have kids, you can’t understand how much you can love them. It’s something I can’t even explain, but it’s amazing.”

For the new parents the first six weeks of Archie’s life were a steep learning curve as they adjusted to being Mum and Dad, but with some help from family and a little bit of googling, they managed to muddle through.

“It was pretty challenging,” admits Wendy. “Getting used to parenthood takes a while – I hadn’t really thought about what it would be like at all. But Trent and I make a good team, and it’s something you just mould into, I guess. We’re learning things as we go – like we can tell which cry is which, and that kind of thing.”

The pair even fight over who gets to change Archie’s nappies. “When something needs to be done with him, we’re both racing to be the one to do it first!” laughs Wendy.

The couple didn’t know Archie’s sex until he was born, “So it was a nice surprise,”says Wendy. “We didn’t care really, we just wanted a healthy baby.”

They had both boys’ and girls’ names ready, but settled on Archie. “We hadn’t told anyone the name, and there were a few laughs and giggles from our friends,” says Wendy. “But he’s really grown into his name.”

“Wendy was always big fan of Archie, and I started to really love it too,” adds Trent. “We wanted something not weird, but not common. And most people say it makes them smile.”

The young family is looking forward to their first Christmas together, and Wendy knows that the time will be precious as she prepares to rejoin her team, the Southern Steel, for the 2013 ANZ Championship.

‘My two jobs are mum and netball player – I’m just so incredibly lucky,’ says Wendy.

“I’m really not looking forward to leaving Archie,” she says, “but I am excited about getting back onto the netball court. We’ve got six away games, so I’ll be gone for a few weekends, – there will definitely be a fair few Skype conversations.”

Luckily, Trent’s job in the fire service means he’s able to schedule his shift work around Wendy’s games. “It’s quite a unique job in that you get to do that,“ he says, “so I’ll be looking after Archie a lot when Wendy’s on the road, which is going to be awesome.”

Of course, a return to competitive netball only months after having a baby has presented its challenges, but Wendy’s extremely determined to get herself back into shape in time for the start of the season.

“My body’s gone through so much, and I’ve gone so long without training, but with a bit of hard work I’ll be ready. I have the drive and heart to do it, and we’ll have an awesome little fan on the sidelines watching. “My two jobs are mum and netball player – I’m just so incredibly lucky.”

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