The birth of Margot
Here is the birth story of Laurence, Etienne and Margot. After having had a positive experience, we agreed that stories like this are worth telling to everyone! The text is full of super useful tips, take notes! It reflects very well the reality of births in hospitals.
There are interventions put forward but the decision is up to you. The medical team is alert and proactive and it is up to you to choose sometimes the points of the birth plan (on paper or not) that are most important to you, made in action.
It is with great generosity that they offer us their story, told to their daughter, born in the midst of a pandemic in Montreal, in the middle of winter.
Happy reading! 🙂
Your arrival in our lives was so extraordinary that we absolutely wanted to take the time to write it down so as not to forget a single detail of this moment.
On the morning of January 30, 2021, the lovers make love and stimulate mom's nipples as recommended by Etienne's co-worker to trigger the onset of labor in the following hours.
After all, mom's pregnancy is coming to term on this day and we really (REALLY !!!) can't wait to meet baby. It is important to mention that mom “believes” she lost her mucous plug the day before (!).
The onset of latency
Laurence is in great shape that day and even decides that it is high time to clean the bathroom. Papa hastens to do it for her to spare her a little, but impossible to stop her; she starts cleaning the fridge!
She finds some old apples and wants to make a crumble - something she will not finish. The family inquire about whether they will be grandparents / uncles / aunts today, if there are any signs. They are told that there is nothing to report.
Later, Laurence begins to feel pain in her lower back… pain that she will remember a few hours later as the start of the contractions.
After the household episode, she refuses a short walk with Étienne (first time in the entire pregnancy that she refuses - we had become accustomed to taking long walks of 2 hours in the neighborhood frequently), she wishes to rest for a while. little and almost an hour nap in front of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
17h00: Supper time comes pretty quickly and we have very little inspiration given the nearly empty fridge. We didn't want to waste anything so we hadn't done any groceries that week. Finally, Étienne found a recipe that would appeal to Laurence… an unusual recipe: shrimp ragù on polenta.
The supper turns out to be sufficiently tasty, but above all, enough sustaining for the rest. She eats while hopping on the ball during contractions. We eat in front of the Canadiens hockey game against the Calgary Flames.
Laurence continues to feel these lower back pains and after consultation with our doula, she decides to take a hot bath to calm down and “reorganize” the contractions if any. She stays there for 1 hour! Étienne had put a few drops of lavender essential oil in it to make it relaxing.
Active work that takes hold
Coming out of the bath, she realizes that these lower back pains are in fact real contractions and decides to time them using an application. We really realize that baby is on his way to the exit.
Étienne puts on some music (Matt Hulubowski then Whitney) then begins to massage the lower back of Laurence who is on all fours in the bed and “manages” the contractions with pelvic movements (learned during her prenatal yoga classes ) while breathing through each one and meditating.
The calculations displayed by the application are not quite what Étienne and Laurence expect. They know they should go to the hospital when the contractions are 1 minute every 4 minutes, for about 1 hour. They read it more like 45-second contractions every 3-3: 30 minutes. They will ignore multiple alerts from the app to be moving to the hospital on numerous occasions ...
Étienne finishes preparing the last baggage for the hospital. It seems that you have to create a bubble during work, that's what we did and we remember it as a very Zen moment at home. We felt that everything was fine.
Étienne calls the hospital to 22h to let them know when labor has started and to check when they should be going. The nurse on the phone asks if Laurence can speak during the contractions and if they are “unbearable”. Laurence says she doesn't find it unbearable and the work goes on for about another 30 minutes before we finally decide to leave for the hospital.
It was made really very intense for Laurence. Laurence then feels big contractions and she has to stop twice by squatting on the sidewalk between the condo door and the car.
The drive is done quickly - Laurence goes through several contractions while Etienne is careful not to take too many bumps.
The transition that always surprises
We arrive at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital in 23h25. Étienne chooses a parking space particularly far from the main entrance.
As soon as they got out of the car, Laurence crouched down next to the front wheel to manage a violent contraction, then another just a few meters further into the parking lot.
A lady we meet in the parking lot asks us if Laurence is giving birth, then helps us by going to get a wheelchair, because Laurence continues to have strong contractions.
At this point, the labor is so intense that Laurence gets used to the idea of asking for the epidural quickly on admission to the delivery room, although this is something she wanted to avoid at all costs.
Étienne must bring all luggage including the car seat because of the restrictions surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic. A friendly security guard pushes the wheelchair up to the 7th floor of the hospital in the birthing wing.
First step: sorting. Étienne answers a few questions from the nurse and then we separate them to proceed with the obstetric examination to see where the work has gone. During triage, Laurence remembers being asked to sign some papers, but has no recollection of which papers they were.
She must also pass a test for Covid-19. Étienne will have to wait alone in the waiting room, not knowing how Laurence is doing, and Laurence for her part would have liked Etienne to be there because the contractions are particularly strong and close together.
It was very difficult for her to speak to the triage nurse, collaborate with the various admission tests, and undress to put on the hospital gown - although in the birth plan she wanted to wear her own clothes.
Finally, the nurse comes to tell Étienne that Laurence has reached 8,5 cm + of dilation and will be transferred quickly to the delivery room. We know for a fact that 8,5 cm + is very advanced in terms of work, it happens quickly.
This dilation is the most difficult moment to manage, it's called the transition period - it's no longer worth asking for the epidural as it takes a while to set in and then take effect. This news is really very encouraging, Laurence knows that the end is approaching and feels ready to complete the dilation without anesthesia.
When we arrive in the delivery room, the nurse introduces herself (Julie) and the doctor on duty comes to examine Laurence. Étienne gives them a copy of the birth plan that they read carefully. During this time Laurence still continues to have strong contractions.
Étienne asks for wireless monitors and a squat bar .. no one seems to know that these items are available for childbirth. He asks for the squat bar twice, but we will never see it!
Quickly, Laurence is 9,5 cm and almost completely erased, there is barely a collar on the left side. The doctor suggests breaking the bag of amniotic fluid that is still intact to reduce pain and pressure on the cervix, and speed up full dilation.
Laurence accepts, although in the birth plan it was written that she did not want. Once the dilation is “complete”, it is time for the baby to descend.
The big push
Laurence feels the contractions less and they start to recede. The doctor suggests giving pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) to stimulate the uterus and bring back stronger contractions. At the same time, she also offers us the “shameful block” which consists of analgesia of the perineum to reduce the pain during the push.
We refuse both interventions and instead decide to change positions for the “last” contractions before the push. Nurse Julie helps us, and Laurence first gets into a squat, leaning on the back of the bed, then on her knees. And it works - Laurence is “complete” and baby goes down well.
Laurence replaced herself lying on her left side, which then seemed instinctively the most comfortable position for the rest. The nurse asks Laurence to hold back the push right away to do some delayed pushing (let the baby descend before actively pushing).
On the other hand, it is impossible to hold back, his body absolutely wants to push. She even apologized twice for pushing !! Étienne laughs again… The nurse then changes strategy and tells Laurence to push if she feels the need.
With each contraction Laurence pushes 3 times for 10 seconds, holding her breath. Étienne helps her by counting for her (up to 10, sometimes more or by repeating the same number several times!) By holding her thigh to help her in her effort.
Throughout labor, baby's heart and contractions are monitored, and baby's heart speeds up instead of slowing down during contractions - that's a good sign!
After pushing for about 1 hour 30 minutes, Étienne can finally see the baby's hairy head. The doctor then enters the room for the last outbreaks.
The most painful was undoubtedly the passage of the head from the famous ring of fire. Mom remembers the pain so sharp and telling dad “it hurts so much !! »From the next contraction, so as not to stay there, mom pushed very hard to get her head out. Quickly the whole body followed.
À 2h31, baby is expelled and gives a loud cry as soon as it comes out! We can finally know her gender: it's a little girl! She is very vigorous from her first moments and responds very well to the Apgar test (9-10-10).
The great deliverance
Dad has the honor of cutting the umbilical cord, and then baby and mom can enjoy a magical skin-to-skin moment as the doctor completes postpartum procedures.
Mom has a 2nd degree tear, has a hemorrhage and loses some blood, but everything is taken care of by the medical team. The doctor and nurse vigorously massage mom's uterus and give her pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) so that the uterus contracts, it works, the bleeding is controlled, and the doctor can sew the necessary stitches.
Dad also has the chance to skin-to-skin with baby while mum's care is completed.
The postpartum visit
About two hours after delivery, we are transferred from the delivery room to a room in the birthing wing.
Mom is in a wheelchair holding you in her arms, that's when she can see your face for the first time clearly - it brings tears to her eyes.
The cries of the other women who gave birth that night will be remembered for a long time, echoing in the hallway. Mom didn't scream at all, rather she experienced it all very internally while meditating.
During our stay, very nice nurses come to make sure that Margot and Laurence are well and help with the beginning of breastfeeding. Many are impressed by our arrival at the hospital at 8,5 cm of dilation, the express arrival of baby without any anesthesia, in a completely natural way.
We then learn that more than 95% of women who give birth in the hospital ask for an epidural - we are a bit of extraterrestrials but proud of it!
Back to home
After two nights in the hospital, we leave in the early afternoon on February 2 after having been discharged. Mom and baby Margot are doing very well. Dad can't take it anymore, he really wants to get home asap.
Due to the covid, we are not allowed to leave the room - at least it's a private room! Leaving the hospital parking lot, Laurence cries (again) with joy: just a few hours earlier we arrived as a couple at the hospital, and there we leave as a family.
Margot doesn't cry from the moment she settles into her car seat, until she gets home.
We will remember your arrival, Margot, as an extraordinary event, full of sweetness, where the three of us were the best of the teams and where we worked together. You barely have a few days and we love you so much already. We get to know you a little more every day.
Thank you Laurence, Etienne and Margot and congratulations on your new family!
If you want information on how to navigate the hospital system, find your voice and know your options, you will find it in in our Our prenatal classes and in the follow-ups with in our accompanying persons at birth.