Julie Anne Genter planned on getting to the hospital by bike ahead of her daughter’s birth, but she didn’t know she would be the one pedaling.
When they realized it would be too much weight with her hospital bag, she told the New Zealand news outlet Stuff she “just got out and rode.” It’s not immediately clear what kind of bicycle she took to the hospital, though she has talked about owning an electric cargo bike.
Less than an hour after arriving at the hospital, the 41-year-old Genter gave birth to a baby girl.
“So glad we didn’t walk!” she told Stuff.
The lawmaker announced her daughter’s birth on social media. She said her contractions weren’t bad when she left for the hospital, but they got more intense along the way.
She shared an image showing her smiling next to her bike in the parking garage after she said a contraction had just passed. She was still sporting a mint-green bicycle helmet in the photo.
“I genuinely wasn’t planning to cycle in labour, but it did end up happening,” Genter wrote.
Her daughter, whom Genter described as healthy and happy, was born at 3:04 a.m.
“Feeling blessed to have had excellent care and support from a great team, in what turned out to be a very fast (and happily uncomplicated) birth,” she added.
Genter, who is on maternity leave until April, did not immediately respond to questions from The Washington Post. She also biked to the hospital in 2018 before labor was induced for her first child’s birth. She rode an electric bike to the hospital that time, she said, and that trip was mostly downhill.
New Zealand, as Reuters reported, has a reputation for down-to-earth politicians. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, in 2018 became the second modern-day elected world leader to have a child while in office. Ardern later that year brought her 3-month-old baby into the U.N. assembly hall.
Born in Minnesota and raised in Los Angeles, Genter said she saw how urban design affected people’s lives. She later worked in transport and urban planning before getting active in New Zealand politics in 2006 while a post-grad scholar at the University of Auckland.
Genter, the Green Party’s spokeswoman for transport and urban development, often touts the benefits biking has on the environment and pushes for safe cycling and pedestrian lanes. About two weeks before riding to the hospital while in labor, the lawmaker stressed there is more to biking than “road cyclists training, wearing Lycra.”
“I’m talking about my electric cargo bike that can seat three kids in the front and carry a full load of groceries,” she said during a virtual event on emissions reduction and transportation. Genter called her bike “incredibly practical and really cost-effective.”
Genter’s party shared the news of her baby’s birth on Saturday. “We love that you cycled to the hospital AGAIN (classic).”
When announcing her pregnancy in May, Genter shared an illustration of a mom on a bike wearing a baby in a chest carrier with a second child riding a small two-wheeler alongside them.
Another baby, she wrote, meant they would need a “bigger cargo bike and more safe separated lanes and well-designed intersections so the kids can get around safely under their own steam as they grow up.”