Family of FourSep 7, 2018
I woke up in the middle of the night when my water broke. My labour started quickly and I was eager to get to the hospital. My mother had been staying with us for a few days at this point. I woke her up to let her know we were heading to the hospital. She would stay at the house with our daughter, Molly, who was a toddler at the time. I remember getting down on the floor, on my knees, in pain before I could even get out the door. My poor mom watched in horror. I was crowning as we drove to the Winchester hospital so I punched the ceiling, grunting and probably swearing (it’s all a blur). My husband just drove, eyes on the road, foot firmly planted on the gas pedal.
When we arrived at the hospital, the emergency door was locked. We had to ring a doorbell. I was pacing in the parking, kicking stuff. A lady let us in and proceeded to go through an intake questionnaire. My husband had stepped out to get my bag from the car. This receptionist was asking me for my address, full name and OHIP number. I was crouched down on the floor bleeding into my pants. My husband returned to the locked door with my belongings and rang the doorbell. The lady just kept asking me questions. I stood up to let him in. A nurse who walked by my husband and saw the blood all over my seat of the car, came in, got a wheelchair and ordered me to sit in it so she could take me inside. I was grateful to her but did not want to sit down. She insisted, so I did.
When we got to the unit, they asked me to lie down so they could monitor me. It was so painful to climb up on the table, lie down and have her strap something on. As soon as she took one look down there, she helped me off the table. I started pooping. Nurses were following me around with a big pad, trying to catch my poop so it wouldn’t soil the floor. Previously, I wasn’t able to keep the baby in but now, it wouldn’t come out. I pushed and grunted and squatted, nothing. My midwife had been called but she hadn’t arrived. When my midwife entered the room, she asked me if there was a reason that I wasn’t birthing this baby. I recognized that from a book I had read. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a mother is holding the baby in and not allowing the birth to progress (like if she is not feeling safe or not ready to be a mom). I explained that I felt my pelvic bone pulling apart when I pushed so I stopped every time. After the traumatic experience I had with my first birth, the thought of my pelvis breaking open was not a welcome one. She explained that this was normal. Your bones do split open as the baby comes out. I realized I hadn’t felt this sensation with my first daughter because I was numbed by the epidural.
Once I knew it was normal, I was able to proceed and I birthed my daughter. It felt so good to hold her. This time around I got to see the placenta. I thought it was really cool but my husband was grossed out and left the room. Enough gore for him for one day I guess. Stella, our newborn was a voracious eater. At one point, the nurse said she needed to have the baby to complete some of the assessments but Stella wouldn’t stop eating and that made me laugh. They ran their tests and then she ate some more and fell asleep. I showered and got changed. I couldn’t leave until I peed so they brought over some hot chocolate to get my bladder going. My husband offered to go home and return with my mother and daughter for a visit later in the day. The memory of him deserting me the first time around made me adamant that I was going with him. So we waited. I was so happy when I finally peed and we walked out of the hospital, with our brand new baby still sleeping, strapped into her car seat.
When we got home, I was super excited to show her to my mom and introduce her to her big sister. I had prepared Molly for her arrival and felt confident that we would have some great moments together in the years to come. Stella was still sleeping in her car seat. I went in first and said hello to my mother and daughter. I gave Molly big hugs and told her her sister was born. When Vincent brought her in she was still sleeping. Molly examined this tiny, wrinkled human. She was quite curious about her. I’m sure she didn’t look like she had imagined. Then, something happened that set the course for years to come. Stella woke up, opened her eyes and started to cry, really loud. This scared Molly. My mother took her to the next room. I soothed Stella and fed her some more. Molly saw me feeding Stella and she didn’t like that at all. That was Molly’s “booby juice”. Not exactly the start I was expecting. Molly was upset but she wouldn’t come near me because I had the baby on me and that baby made loud noises.
I was grateful for my mother. It was easier to take care of my daughters when we were able to divide and conquer. The next day, Stella was crying and Molly was upset. I was trying to soothe the baby while reassuring Molly that the baby was going to stop crying, she just needed a diaper change. I was looking for my mother. She was in the toy room, her address book in one hand, our cordless phone in the other. She was calling friends and family to come and pick her up. My mother doesn’t have a car so she needs us to pick her up and drop her off. She lives an hour away from us. My husband, who was supposed to take time off to be with us, had an influx of clients from an article that had just been written in the local newspaper. So, he was at work, unable to drive her home until later that night. I was stopped in my tracks, as the reality set in that my mother was leaving, or trying to.
Eventually, she found a friend willing to come to Kemptville to see the new baby and pick her up. Two of her friends came over, looked at Stella, said hello to Molly and, just like that, my mother was gone. I tried to be a gracious hostess, smile and be pleasant but I wanted to cry. I never felt so alone in my life. I had just given birth, my husband was at work, my mother was going home and my eldest needed me to be with her, to love her and let her know that I was still her mom while my newborn required my care to survive. I can’t express how lonely, terrified and overwhelmed I was but, this experience led me to create many of the services I now offer, supporting other moms because I have been there.