When Ido and Mandy Drent’s baby boy still hadn’t arrived four days after his April due date, the handsome Offspring actor had just the plan to cheer up his impatient wife.
“I thought a nice dinner might put a smile on her face, so I had a whole chicken going on the barbie,” smiles Ido.“But then Mandy popped her head out and said, ‘Maybe you should stop cooking.’”
The romantic dinner wasn’t to be, but there was no mad dash to the emergency room for the calm, collected parents-to-be, with Ido, 28, doing the dishes, vacuuming and packing their hospital bags on the eve of their first-born’s arrival, while Mandy stripped the sheets between contractions.
That same air of calm now fills their Auckland home as they dote on their seven-week-old bundle of joy, Bastion Dirk, at our Woman’s Day photo shoot.
“I was so excited about meeting him,” smiles Mandy, 27, whose heart melts at the sight
of Ido and his son, known as Baz, snuggled on the couch. “Everyone has their birth story and I was just so excited to have mine. Now I know what it feels like to be a woman and push out a baby. It’s quite a heroic thing.”
Before heading to hospital, the pair strolled along nearby St Heliers Beach. Back at home, Mandy relaxed in a candlelit bath to focus on hypnobirthing techniques she’d learned in the hope of a peaceful delivery.
“There are a lot of affirmations related to the practice, so I wrote out a bunch of them on Post-It notes and stuck them around the bath to encourage and empower me,” she tells.
Arriving at Auckland City Hospital three hours later, Ido and Mandy were disheartened to learn they weren’t as far along in the labour as they’d hoped. After almost 10 hours of consistent contractions with little progress, complications set in.
Ido explains, “In the last six weeks of Mandy’s pregnancy, Baz hadn’t grown, so his heartbeat was being monitored. Because of our birthing plan, we decided we didn’t want any intervention whatsoever, but you get to a point where it’s causing damage not to try to move things along.
“At about 4am, when things were still moving slowly, I saw the motivation drain from Mandy’s face. She was in pain and exhausted, and doctors recommended she have an epidural just to relax her. I mean, I was tired and didn’t even need to push out a baby!”
The couple’s apprehension around medical intervention wasn’t just the fact they were straying from their birth plan.
Ido tells, “We were also scared as my mum had an epidural when she had me and she had a complete spinal block from the hips down. She couldn’t move and when she pushed me out, she couldn’t feel me.
"My umbilical cord got wrapped around my neck, so I wasn’t breathing. I was completely blue. They thought I was dead, so they sent my dad out of the room. Naturally, we were on high alert.”
Proud dad tears
After the epidural, Mandy got a second wind and, within an hour, their boy was born, with a full head of hair, his hand nestled under his chin – a pose he still favours – and eyes wide open.
Ido recalls, “Mandy found a position, hunkered down and pushed our baby out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She was a lioness. My respect for her grew tenfold.”
But Ido was even more amazed when doctors noticed Bastion’s umbilical cord was tied in a knot, which explains why he hadn’t been growing.
With tears in his eyes, the actor says, “It’s incredibly rare. He must have been doing somersaults in Mum’s tummy. It’s a miracle the knot didn’t tighten any more or that it didn’t happen earlier in the pregnancy. That I survived what could have been a fatal birth, and so did Baz, makes me feel like there was someone watching out for us.”
With the family settling into life as a trio, Mandy says, “Ido has been incredible. He’s cleaned constantly, made the beds and cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve married a machine! In the first two weeks of Bastion’s life, I didn’t even change a nappy. It’s like he has two mums – he’s a very loved little boy.”
Since Offspring ended, Ido is enjoying a break from acting to bond with his son. But soon work will take him back to LA, where the pair regularly spent time before Bastion’s arrival.
“We’ll continue to have a home in New Zealand,” says Ido.
“It’s important to raise him around friends and family, but my career will always be overseas. I’m fortunate my wife is willing to follow me around the world and now we have another Drent to join in on the adventure.”
Planting a tender kiss on Baz’s head, he laughs, “This little guy will have a fair few air points by the time he’s older!”