Written by Johanne
~This story was written to me, from my own Mother
I was living with Mamie and Papy while pregnant with you. I was only 20 at the time. They were spoiling me rotten, especially Papy. If I had a craving he’d jump in his car and go buy it: tomatoes, cheese bits, V8 etc. I couldn’t bear the smell of pickles or the sight of gooey eggs.
I felt great health wise as I only gained 6 lbs during pregnancy. All in the stomach. I had asked the doctor not to tell me the sex at the echo (ultrasound) but I knew you were a girl. I talked and sang to you everyday and called you Cynthia from the moment I knew you were there.
Had heartburn in the last couple of weeks so I ate a lot of soda crackers.
I lost my mucus plug on July 10th. Also started mini contractions on that day. Mamie insisted we go to the hospital because it was a long drive from St Amable. So we went, they put me on the monitor and sent me home saying they were Braxton Hicks contractions. My real labour started on July 12th in the morning. By 1pm they were 10 mins apart and short ones. So with Mamie more nervous than I we headed back to the hospital. Contractions stopped on the way there but Mamie kept driving. We arrived around 230pm. Contractions started again but not regular. I was dilated at 2 cm around 330pm. They said they would keep me because it was a long drive to go back home.
Not much happened until the next morning other than checking me regularly and I was still 2cm the next morning. I talked to you a lot, walked around, read and watched tv. In the morning around 10 they were concerned that my labour was not going fast enough so they broke my water. An hour later I was at 4cm and the contractions were every 5 minutes but not big contractions. They asked me if I wanted an epidural and after reading about the risks I said no. Around 4 PM they induced me. They explained that they were putting drops in my IV to increase the contractions. That happened around 5 PM. As soon as the first few drops entered my body the contractions increased a lot. They were about three minutes apart and they lasted about 20 seconds. I asked them to stop that medication as soon as the first big contraction started. Around 6pm I was dilated at 7 cm and they offered the epidural again and I said no. I forgot to mention Notre Dame Hospital in Montreal at the time was a teaching hospital so all the while I am there groups of students would come and look at me and the word got around that I was the girl who only gained 6 pounds during pregnancy. Apparently that was a big deal.
At 6:50pm I was completely dilated and they quickly transferred me to the delivery room. They kept telling me not to push while I was on the stretcher. And as soon as they transferred me on to the other bed I heard one of them say she’s crowning. I knew then that I would finally get to see you and I was so excited that I almost forgot the pain of the contractions. They installed a mirror so that I could see you entering this world. They finally asked me to push so I did and there you were. You wanted out of there as much as I wanted to see you. It was a long labour of love but the pushing was easy. And I finally got to hold you and kiss you and hug you and I cried for almost an hour from joy , relief (that you were healthy) and exhaustion.
After the stitches, they brought me back to the room with you. 6lbs 19in bundle of joy with all your fingers and toes and healthy. You were born at 7:04 pm.
I was so happy and so nervous you were so little.
They came to check on you a while later because I panicked at the way you were breathing. They said that the suctioning of your nostrils had made them swell and that they had to teach you how to breathe through your mouth so they took you to ICU. I cried and cried.
I asked them for a wheelchair but haemorrhaged so I didn’t get to see you again until midnight.
I spent most of the night in the icu and once in a while the nurse would have me try to breastfeed you but I didn’t try for long because you couldn’t breathe through your nose. You had an IV in your heel and they convinced me to go get some rest until the morning. Around 6 the next morning I was back at the icu and there was this little old volunteer lady rocking you in a chair. She had dressed you in the cutest little flannel gown. She introduced herself and explained that she volunteers at the nicu so that the babies can feel a warm presence while healing. She was told that you were healthy and not sick and asked the nurse if she could rock you and the nurse agreed.
At first I felt a bit of jealousy but she was so sweet that I couldn’t help but like her. That evening I was finally able to breastfeed you. It went well. I would let you have a few sips then take a breath. They explained to me that they wanted to keep you in the icu one more night and then you’d be ok.
We were supposed to be discharged on the 15th but you got a bit of jaundice and they kept us 2 more days. They we went home.
Mamie stayed at the hospital with me the entire time. She was my birthing coach and she did an incredible job of encouraging me, supporting me, rubbing my back, calming me down and holding my hand. I don’t know what I would have done without her. It was her first experience, assisting in a birth (not having a baby but being there for the birth of one) and the fact that it was her daughter’s and that her first grandbaby was soon to come into this world, made it even more special. I’m not sure if people felt sorry for me being a single parent when you were born, but I can tell you that having Mamie by my side made me feel supported and I never felt alone or lonely. I had you and I was sharing you with my own mother. It made me happy.
Your birth was the single most incredible and astonishing experience I have ever had. The love and care that fills you up the first time you see your first child is overwhelming.
I didn’t realize how much I remembered until I started writing it down.
I love you so so much Cynthia and I am so proud of you and so glad that you got to experience the birth of your own child.