Express delivery: Andréanne's story
That's a subtle baby torpedo, which the Anna-Laberge hospital team caught last week. He was a baby in a hurry to make his entrance, after having had several false starts.
Andréanne had told me: “It will be quick! For the first, it was quick, this time, as soon as it leaves, we go to the hospital! "
There are those accompaniments, where I feel so out of place, where things are fluid, where everyone works together. Often times, it is during these times that I witness perfect moments. Ex: A doctor who asks the mother what she would like to have as a childbirth, instead of explaining how it will go.
It's very different from one hospital to another and since my first experience at Anna-Laberge, I have chills (fun) when I think back to what we all experienced last week. The openness of this team made all the difference for the parents and we all wanted to get high fives when it was over.
Arrival at night
First, I arrived at the same time as the parents, at the door of the hospital, my doula bag and my birth bench under the arm.
The security guard was distraught to see Andréanne get on all fours in the hall, moaning. He was quick to offer her help and a wheelchair. His answer? She pointed to me saying: I have some, help! (insert: emotion of pride!)
Over our prenatal meetings, I saw that Andréanne was ready and confident when she spoke about her childbirth. There was no doubt in our minds, her body was strong and capable of giving birth.
When a person who gives birth arrives with this conviction joined with those of the other people who accompany him, no questions are asked. We knew it would be a beautiful, natural delivery, just like her first baby. We got it right.
We end up going to the other end of the long corridor that leads to the maternity ward, to find the 8 nurses chatting at the reception station, it's a quiet evening, yep!
Several of them help Andréanne to come and settle in the first room of the wing. While she settles down and the nurses listen to the fetal heart (without putting on the monitor belts, finally!), Rémi, the dad, points to me the tapestry and the old lamp in the corner, which could as well be in the living room of an old aunt, given their age and color.
Not everyone shares this gut feeling., but I have always enjoyed the atmosphere of the old maternity hospitals, compared to the new chrome and too cold hospitals.
The meteoric progression
Andréanne's uterus was already dilated to 8cm on arrival. I was holding her hand when we startled the nurse while simultaneously shouting: EIGHT?!?! We didn't expect that. The day before, we had returned home after 3 hours of contractions every 3 minutes, but with no change in her 1.5cm of dilation.
This time, she had had good contractions for 1 hour at home before heading to the hospital. Like what, the uterus always has surprises in store for us!
The minutes that followed were long and short at the same time. The contractions were more and more intense, Rémi and I, we took turns doing compressions of the pelvis which seemed to relieve Andréanne.
The cool water compresses, the words of encouragement and the invitations to breathe followed one another, and finally, we made the decision to move towards the bath.
It was risky considering the work was going on quickly, but there was a bath in the room, so we didn't have to go far. Small problem, the bath stopper didn't work, so when we moved to go in the bath, it was empty! The water had been running for nothing for 5 minutes.
Either way, the ensuing contraction broke the pocket of waters (on my shoes, of course) and Andréanne felt her baby quickly descend into her pelvis, which made her cry: the head is there!
How to piss off 5 nurses at the same time
One thing to understand is that certain phrases said in a delivery room can freak out 5 people at the same time. Kind: the head is there !! Despite the fact that I pitched myself on the ground to see what was happening, and to see that finally, the head was not there yet… the nurses were all speaking too loud to hear my explanations.
Either way, 30 seconds later, she was back in bed. After an examination, the doctor told her that she was complete. She could start to push. She didn't have to tell him twice.
The change was drastic for Andréanne. In one contraction, she went from a woman who moans, writes, and cries during contractions that seemed quite intense, to a focused, silent woman pushing without asking permission in the position she wanted.
We made an agreement with the doctor on call, so that she could give birth on the birth bench, on the floor, next to the bed. When the time came, it was not the same doctor who came to assist Andréanne. So I had to negotiate and put the birth bench in the bed. Finally, Andréanne was on her knees in the bed and leaning her arms on the birth bench.
A few minutes later, the first doctor came to join us and simply put a dive on the ground. It was in order to follow the original plan, before seeing that Andréanne was not going to budge from her place.
When the phrase "catch a baby" takes on its full meaning
A contraction later, her baby came out suddenly. Full. Without preliminaries. I must have caught Andréanne in flight, because she was getting up on her feet, from her kneeling position. It was understood that Remi would be present for the delivery but would leave the room during the push and return when the baby was out. So it was I who held this extraordinary mother who had just given birth to a baby torpedo.
The child was wrapped five times in his umbilical cord, three wraps around the neck and two around the body. Fortunately the cord was very long and everything was fine. The gender of the baby was a surprise and I was trying my best to watch to break the news, but several people were manipulating the baby to release all that cord and I gave up to focus on Andréanne. She looked me in the eye with a blazing fire: WHAT THE FUCK! What just happened ???
I simply replied: You have just given birth, my daughter! Come on, you can come back down now.
And she let herself fall into my arms.
The lovely surprise
Hearing the crying of his new baby, Rémi entered the room, with the expression of a 6 year old boy on Christmas morning. With both hands tightly clenched on his water bottle, he asked us what the sex of the baby was. No one had said it yet. Three people answered at the same time: It's a girl!
Sometimes I wish I could take pictures with my eyes, so I could show them to the rest of the world. Andréanne, on her knees in the bed and Rémi in front of her, who exclaim simultaneously and shout: a FIIIIIIIIIIILLE !, with the most beautiful smiles, it was just an image, which will stay with me for a long time.
Little Blanche was therefore born at 23:44 p.m., exactly 1 hour after our arrival at the hospital.
A little later, Rémi returned home to pick up the forgotten luggage. I had the chance to have a tête-à-tête with Blanche, while Andréanne was taking a shower.
It's always surprising to see a woman who has just given birth, get up and quickly regain control of her body and regain her comfort. It must be said that a delivery of two hours is intense but fast and the body still has energy afterwards.
A torpedo childbirth, happy parents, an open medical team and a fulfilled doula. Nice recipe!
Last word :
The attitude that the medical team by Anna-Laberge has had throughout this birth was an important part of the positive experience of this birth. Parents felt respected in their choices, my doula job was understood, appreciated and valued by the nurses and the doctor.
If you live in the West of Montreal and you have not had access to a midwifery follow-up or if it is not possible for you, I advise you to give birth at this hospital.
(This article was written in 2019, before the pandemic. Since then, this hospital has lost several members of its obstetric team and the care is not the same.)