It's a girl!" are three lovely words most often heard in a delivery room, but mums-in-waiting Anika Moa and Natasha Utting have been certain of their baby's sex ever since they found out they were expecting – and they couldn't be happier!
"When I conceived, I just knew this baby was going to be a girl," says musician and TV presenter Anika, 39. "And for the whole pregnancy, I've been really in tune with her."
Even before they got official confirmation, Anika and her wife, journalist and producer Natasha, 43, were so positive, they went shopping for baby girls' clothing.
Due on March 8 or there-abouts, their daughter – who will join the couple's three boisterous boys, Soren, four, plus seven-year-old twins Taane and Barry – is a dream come true for Natasha, whose family is full of sons. She tells, "In my generation, there are 13 boys, so a little girl is much wanted by everyone."
Knowing that the first child she's ever carried would be a girl has been important for Anika too. "I made this baby in my body and the fact that it's a girl is so lovely," she enthuses, adding that she's wanted to be pregnant for a long time, but life and circumstances got in the way.
"When I married my first wife, she was older than me so she got dibs on being the one to have the twins," explains Anika. "Then when I met Natasha, she was already four months pregnant, so she already had dibs on that one!"
But when she and Natasha decided the time was right for Anika to get pregnant, it took a long time to conceive.
"I tried with my first donor for about a year and half, and nothing happened. I just couldn't get pregnant, so finally I decided to try another way. Natasha suggested using her donor, who is Soren's father, and we both thought that would be so nice that the two kids had the same father.
"She texted him saying, 'Can we have your baby again?' and he came right back saying, 'Yay!' He was really keen and there was no waiting around. He got me pregnant first pop with a $10 syringe. On the Friday, he did his thing for us and on the Saturday, I picked it up from his house and got pregnant straight away. He was like the Uber Eats of sperm donors!"
Natasha says that the gay community is very familiar with the "turkey baster" method of getting pregnant by using a syringe, but a lot of heterosexuals who are having trouble conceiving don't consider doing it that way.
"When I was thinking about getting pregnant, I went to a specialist who told me I'd have a 30% chance of getting pregnant and I would need to do IVF. But like Anika, I got pregnant on the first try with our donor doing it DIY."
Soren and the new baby's father is an uncle to all their children and a go-to babysitter who sees the family whenever he likes. Anika says, "He's quite involved, but he's not the dad – I call him Funcle or Guncle for father-uncle or gay uncle."
Natasha adds, "He's a special part of our lives and the kids will know that he helped us make them."
Anika shares custody of her twins with their other mother, who looks after them about 60% of the time. The singer tells, "I have them quite a lot during the day and it's quite organic. If she has a last-minute job, I'll take them and she'll take them for me if I have a job I need to rush to. I used to worry about giving them stability, but this is their stability – having their two parents raise them."
Anika is in the last stages of her pregnancy, with about four weeks to go, and she's hot and tired, but she still regards her pregnancy as a good one.
"I didn't realise how much energy they sap out of you," she laughs.
"I can't think, I can barely walk, I have no sex drive, I can't stay awake, and I can't write because I go to bed to start writing a song and just fall asleep. I've also got sore hips, a sore vajayjay and carpal tunnel, but I know it will all go and I've got it a lot better than some other women."
Natasha, who experienced many of the same things when she was pregnant, has been a life saver, tells Anika.
"In the first three months, I went totally psycho and tried to leave Natasha about 17 times, yet she was so lovely. She'd be late home from work by about five minutes and I'd be standing there with my bags packed, saying, 'You don't love me.' I cried every day and then suddenly at week 12, it all disappeared and I was ready to move on."
At the 20-week mark, it was Natasha's turn to burst into tears, when a scan confirmed they were having a daughter. She explains, "It felt like Anika was making my dreams come true. I couldn't have another baby at 43, but I always wanted a little girl because I'm such a womanly woman and I was a very girly girl. I loved my childhood and I was obsessed with princesses. I guess I'm hoping to experience that kind of childhood again with her.
"But we're not at all gender prescriptive with our children. When the twins were little, they had dresses from Frozen that they chose, while Soren is incredibly masculine – all he wants is trucks and cars – so I'm looking forward to seeing how different it is with a girl."
Anika just hopes the new baby can sing. She jokes, "That's all I care about because the other kids aren't that tuneful. I'm going to be seeing if she can hold a tune when she's a toddler."
Already, Anika sings for her daughter all the time and she's noticed the baby seems to like it when she turns up the bass really loud, kicking furiously. The musician tells, "She kicks about 20 hours a day. She wakes me up every morning and just before I'm drifting off to sleep, she gives me a good boot."
Anika and Natasha have been together for five years, and shared their wedding with Woman's Day in February 2017. They're evidence that opposites attract.
"Even though we're so different and at times it can get pretty fiery, life is always going to be interesting with Anika," asserts Natasha.
"We don't have to worry about the small stuff because we'll still be finding life interesting in 30 years' time and there's so much more to discover about each other. Life can be so mundane, but not with Anika."
However, her wife insists, "We also have lots in common. I do like touring and doing crazy stuff, but what I most like is to be at home on the couch with Natasha, watching the TV with my kids."
The couple have never known what it is like to be together without children and both admit they did some hard yards in the early years of their relationship.
"I had to learn how to be a stepmum and a new mum all at once, and then make sure I had some energy left for the new relationship," recalls Natasha.
"We're so strong because of that," adds Anika. "Three children under three in a new relationship will make anyone stronger."
The star has just finished the second season of her very successful TVNZ OnDemand series Anika Moa Unleashed, where she interviews famous Kiwis while also giving them a hard time, and she's also working on a third album in her popular Songs for Bubbas series. But for now, she's just concentrating on having her daughter and seeing how life pans out over the coming year.
"When you're an entertainer, you tend to take work when you can grab it, so we'll see," she muses. "I can see myself heading down to Christchurch with the new baby and staying with my mum. She can babysit and I'll go out to do a few gigs."
Meanwhile, Natasha also has a big job at TVNZ as the supervising producer for Seven Sharp, which keeps her very busy, although she makes time to deal with Anika's many phone calls throughout the day.
"She needs constant attention," smiles Natasha. "She rings me at work when I've got 500 meetings back to back. I'll pick up the phone and she'll say, 'Hi, I'm just at Kmart and I bought a lamp.'"
Laughing, Anika adds, "Yesterday I rang her and said, 'Hey, I don't know why I'm ringing,' even though she'd already told me she was having the day from hell."
When the time comes, Anika is hoping for a natural birth, but she knows enough from seeing her last three children come into this world that things may change on the day. She and Natasha are simply looking forward to getting their baby girl home, introducing her to her brothers and completing their family.
"I want to see what her personality is like," says Anika. "When we had Soren, we thought he'd be like Natasha, but he's actually more like me. So maybe she'll be a really naughty baby like me, but I actually think she'll be more like Natasha because she recognises her voice and moves around a lot when she hears her."
Grinning, Natasha adds, "I can't wait to strap her to me and go for a walk in the park or to lie under a tree with her looking up at the leaves and seeing her eyes take in the world. I can't wait to smell her."
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