My mom is in town this week visiting for my birthday, and we got chatting about what she was doing exactly 30 years ago today (spoiler alert, she was giving birth to me).
As she shared the details of that day, it reminded me of how important sharing your birth experience is. There is something so incredibly powerful about telling your own story and having supportive people around you to share with. As a doula, we are honoured not only to be present during deliveries but also helping parents to process their experiences afterwards.
Since today is my birthday, as well as day 5 of World Doula Week, it seemed like the perfect time to give my mom the space to share her own birth experience with you all. So without further ado here is the story of my own birth, as told by mom, Lorrie Giffen 🙂
Labour At 32 Weeks Pregnant?
30 years ago, at 32 weeks’ pregnant, I went into premature labour after climbing a few too many stairs at a work function. I had scheduled the next day off to write an essay but instead woke up with a backache and some “leakage”. As a first time mom, who had only attended one introductory prenatal class, I had no idea that I could be in labour but fortunately, my doctor did. After he saw me, he sent me to the hospital where I waited for the OB.
When the OB arrived he said that he hoped I wasn’t there to deliver because the delivery rooms were all full. I said that I was just there as a precaution. After examining me he said I had a “slow leak” and told me to go home and put my feet up. Instead, I went to my sister’s who lived closer to the hospital. I called my doctor to update him and then called my husband to say everything was okay but I had to keep my feet up and would stay in town for the night.
Then My Water Broke
Later that night I talked to my Aunt who was a nurse and she advised that my backache was likely labour pains (but I didn’t know for sure). Then suddenly as I was getting ready for bed my water broke and intense labour began. I christened my parent’s new car on the way to the hospital and called my husband again to tell him I was on the way, although I wasn’t sure yet whether I’d be delivering in Barrie.
My doctor met me at the hospital where the nurses commented on the fact that I was “the mom who the OB-Gyn had sent home earlier in the day”. My doctor gave me meds to slow down my contractions while they arranged for an ambulance to take me to Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
I Had No Idea I Was High Risk
My husband and parents followed. It was a busy night there as well and I had to wait in the hall for a while but thankfully the contractions eased off and the ambulance attendants stayed with me. I remember Women’s College staff asking if I was High Risk but I didn’t know until afterwards that I was. It never once crossed my mind that there could be any problems with our baby.
When it came time to go in the delivery room my husband had just stepped outside so they gowned up my mom who shared with me the joy of seeing Megan Elizabeth enter our world at 7:30 a.m. on March 26th 1988. She weighed a very healthy 4 pounds 6 ounces, especially considering her 32-week gestational age. She was healthy in every way, although as would be expected, she needed to be fed through a tube in her nose until she developed a sucking reflex.
Leaving The Hospital Without Her (for the first month)
The hardest part was leaving the hospital without her and it seemed to take forever for her to reach 5 pounds so she could come home. In between, there were many tears and sleepless nights. When the happy day finally arrived, on the way home “It’s funny how life just falls in place somehow” played on the radio. It seemed so fitting!
Fast forward thirty years and our “wee Meggie” is still full speed ahead, a compassionate young woman, wife, mother of two, determined entrepreneur and devoted doula, who is very passionate about all things birth, mental wellness and supporting families in Sudbury. It also seems quite fitting that her birthday falls during World Doula week. Happy Birthday MEG! I wish that I had a Doula thirty years ago!!
If you would like to find out more ways that the Northern Mama team can help make your journey into pregnancy, birth or early days of parenting less stressful click here! Or as always send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.