It was a high-risk, complicated pregnancy of which 53 days had already been spent on the 5th floor of Hôpital Femme Mère Enfant. I was released to go home and continue my 8 weeks of bedrest after having received two steroid shots to speed the development of my boys’ lungs. A safeguard for premature birth.
Today was Thursday, August 4th. 34 weeks and one day. A midwife came to the apartment for a routine bi-weekly checkup. She noted regular contractions and asked that I go to the hospital. Ce n’est probablement rien, mais ce serait bien de voir un médecin.
She left and I smiled at Trent. I didn’t feel a thing – was it really necessary to go to the hospital? I asked. He told me we’d feel better about it if we went.
After arriving at the hospital and waiting in Urgences for about the thirtieth time that pregnancy, I was called back, surveyed, and told I was two centimeters dilated and registering regular contractions. Perhaps I could hold out days – even a few weeks – if things remained stable and I on bedrest. But they’d keep me overnight and do a check in the morning.
Trent was sent home, as there were no beds left in the hospital.
Friday, August 5th.
I was awoken early, surveyed and told I was three centimeters dilated and continued to register regular contractions. It was determined that a C-section delivery would be necessary that afternoon.
What? I’m not even feeling anything! We’re over a month early…Why are they rushing it?!
My regular doctor was on holiday, so I was introduced to the doctor on call who, praise God, spoke English. He gave me detailed instructions on our team, the procedure and how to scrub down and disinfect beforehand. Two hours before the C-section, I heard him come into the room to talk to Trent as I finished up my shower. I caught bits and pieces, but could tell by the tone of Trent’s voice he wasn’t happy.
There were no beds left in the NICU. Immediately upon being born, our boys would need to be transferred to a different hospital. Depending on my condition, I would be allowed to follow later that night or the next day.
My throat tightened, my stomach dropped, and tears filled my eyes. Not good. I couldn’t do anything but sit on the side of the hospital bed gripping my gown and trying to hold it together. Fortunately Trent hopped into action, and within 45 minutes, he’d arranged for me to be transferred via ambulance to another hospital where both the babies and I could stay.
The ambulance ride was fast and bumpy with sirens blaring. But it wasn’t an emergency, they reassured me. Trent was following somewhere behind in our car, and I was just saying prayers he’d be able to keep up and find us once we got there.
I was wheeled out of the ambulance and into a prep room outside of the operation block at the Clinique du Val d’Ouest – a hospital neither Trent nor I had ever been to. Nobody seemed to speak English, but I was so grateful for the nurse who received me. She was all smiles – cheerful and disarming. She reassured me and told me they’d assemble a team of doctors and nurses and we’d schedule the C-section for sometime that evening. It was nearly 3:30pm.
Ten minutes later, Trent walked in and I finally relaxed. My sweet nurse began strapping me to machines for monitoring. Apparently I was still having regular contractions, and despite the fact that I wasn’t on any sort of medication at this point, for some reason I still couldn’t feel a thing. Was I really going to have these babies today? She told me she needed to check my dilation once more before leaving Trent and I to be.
As she did, her eyes widened.
En fait, vous êtes presque sept centimètres dilatés et je peux sentir les pieds de votre bébé.
Fortunately my understanding of French is better than my broken speech. I knew 7 centimeters meant we were a go. She told me we weren’t yet at the point of emergency, but we needed to get into that operating room immédiatement. She ran out of the room and came in with three more nurses who began unhooking, hooking, and moving me about.
Trent held my hand in our last minutes as a family of two. Though I could tell he was choking back tears, he told me we were alright. That this was a special moment…and that he’d be waiting just on the other side of those doors.
Because of the risk in the situation, Trent wouldn’t be able to be in the operating room, but he’d join the boys and be with them wherever they went as soon as they were taken out of the OR. This gave me so much peace – to know my boys would have their daddy with them those first minutes of their life.
I was wheeled into the operating room and cool air hit me like a blast. The anesthesiologist was prepping me and kept asking something I couldn’t understand. He repeated himself several times before I finally made out a word…
Oh no…I don’t have any allergies.
He gave me a quick smile and signaled for a go-ahead. More needles, machines, and positioning.
The doctor walked in, and although he didn’t speak English either, he was calm and kind and I figured at this point all I could do was pray anyways.
Laid back, legs numb. Sheet went up. Lights and ladies buzzing about.
Were they still washing my stomach? How long would this take? Would I feel anything?
From behind the curtain a nurse walked toward me and placed the most beautiful 4lbs. 6oz. of screaming, slimy, warm baby on my chest.
Tears flooded my vision. Speechless.
He was whisked out of the cold operating room to see his dad and the doctor.
The nurse walked back in…
Votre mari…Il pleure beaucoup!
I smiled. I knew that baby would have his dad in tears in no time.
A second cry.
A second baby. Slimy and warm and a more wiggly 4lbs. 4oz. than the first.
I love you.
I was barely able to squeak…
Indeed, a kind of love I’ve never known.