Delivery Story from Frederique Doyon-Thibeault

May 13, 2010

A Difficult Pregnancy

Since I was young, I’ve always dreamed of my pregnancy. When I was little, I planned to get married at 25 and have my first child at 26. And, oh: I also wanted to have a cute black pregnancy dress. But little did I know that it doesn’t always turn out as you plan.

I finished school at 26, but after working for a year I felt like I needed a change. So in February 2008, I got a new job.  The same week that I got the new job, I learned that I was pregnant and that my father had pancreatic cancer. They gave him 2 months to live. He lived for 3 ½ months. Needless to say, my pregnancy was going to be rough. My fiancé and I were supposed to get married in Fall 2008, but because of my pregnancy and my father’s condition, we decided to move it to June 2008.

The whole time my father was sick, I was sure he was going to get over his sickness; after all, he was still young at 55. He was also very determined to live, so I thought that he was actually going to be in the 5% of survivors. But since he had a bypass surgery (that we later learned wasn’t supposed to be done), his only chance to live normally disappeared and his sickness became worse. During his fight with cancer, I was in denial of his possible death. I thought that he would get to meet my baby and that his sickness would just turn out to have been a nightmare. Every time it got worse I thought that a miracle would come…but it never did. He died on Father’s Day in June 2008, just 6 days before we were supposed to get married. We postponed the wedding one month earlier because of my father’s condition.

All the while he was sick I blocked out my emotions because I didn’t want my baby to feel my sadness. It only worked when I saw my father, though, as it was only in front of him that I didn’t cry. Needless to say, my first black pregnancy dress was for my father’s funeral. I then spent the rest of my five months of pregnancy grieving my father with my mother, two sisters, and my brother.

Delivery Time

The delivery came one day early. I wanted to have a natural childbirth and I was prepared for the pain. Although I have to admit, it was much harder than I thought! It started at 2 A.M. with mild contractions. At my doctor’s appointment that afternoon, they became stronger. Since it was her last shift of the week, I was determined to deliver that night.

5 P.M.: My fiancé, my mom and I arrived at the hospital where they confirmed to me that I was in labor and 2 cm dilated. On my delivery plan, I asked to be able to move freely. Do you know what I did with my freedom? I took a bath as a pain reliever that didn’t work, but instead just distracted me for half an hour. Then I did these two things: I lay on my left side on the bed and sat on the toilet because my baby was so low that these two positions were the only ones that worked for me.

10 P.M.: I needed to push. The same nurse that told me earlier (on the phone, when we were on our way to the hospital) that I wasn’t in labor and to take a bath and a Tylenol told me that I was 9 cm dilated…I was so relieved because I couldn’t take any more pain. But when my doctor came with the delivery team, she told me that I was only at 6 cm…

Gosh…this is the first time I was considering epidural, but I told myself I would continue a bit longer, even if I couldn’t take it anymore. About 5 hours later, I was finally able to push. Oh! What a relief to push! At that point I couldn’t feel anything: no contractions, nothing.

5 A.M.: After 1 hour of pushing, I delivered my baby at 5:00 in the morning, 27 hours after my first contraction.

My baby came out, but also not as I had planned. He was immediately taken to the respiratory station because he couldn’t breathe. He had swallowed almost ½ cup of a mix of his meconium and amniotic fluid. During that 1½ minutes or so that he couldn’t breathe, I didn’t understand what was happening and I couldn’t see anything since I was on all fours and my doctor told me not to move. I remember asking several times: “Can I turn, can I see?” but with no response. I realized then that something was wrong. I looked at my mother and fiancé and both of them looked really worried. I asked my mom if my baby was a boy or a girl and she said: “It’s a boy, but he needs to breathe”. That’s when I asked my father for help: Please help me, I can’t take it anymore, I cannot lose somebody else. During that 1½ minutes I told myself that even if I had to lose my baby, it wouldn’t affect me, just like I told myself when my baby was inside of me and when my father was sick…That terrible thought passed after that terrible minute.

When he was relatively stabilized, they showed me my son, lying in his clear box, but so quickly that I don’t even remember seeing him. He was then gone for further examinations. When it was finally time to meet him, he was in the nursery room. I was so happy to finally see him after all this time. He stayed at the nursery for about 24 hours, but it felt like a week. Two days after delivery, my baby was healthy and even if it took a long time for my stitches to heal, I’m so happy that my son is healthy now. I love him very much and I believe he has at least ¼ of my father in himself. I have been with him everyday and I cannot imagine my life without him.

From Frederique Doyon-Thibeault of Frederique ID.

PS — Here a really neat series on adoption from Bekah Ray. And here’s a waterbirth story from Emily Nevius.

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Note from Design Mom: throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. I just had my baby and am taking a blogging break for a week or so. I’ve received so many wonderful stories and thought it would be great to post as many as I can during this little “maternity leave.” You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paige May 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

Wow, Frederique. Your story resonates so much with me. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer too. He was 61. It was the saddest part of my life and I am so sorry for your loss and to experience that sadness while pregnant. I had my first child – a boy – almost two years to the day after my father passed away. He was delivered via c-section because the cord was wrapped around his neck and once in the world, had breathing issues too because he didn’t expel the fluid in his lungs. A few days in the NICU later, we had ourselves a strong and happy little man. We named him after my dad. You are so brave and I truly believe that your father was there, listening to your cries for help and peace. Blessings.

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2 Melissa May 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Your story really hit home for me. I just found out that I am pregnant with our second child, and my mother is currenty fighting ovarian cancer. She is still undergoing chemo and the chances of her beating this are very good, but I still hope that she gets to meet this new baby. I am so sorry for your loss and that you experienced it while pregnant, but so happy to hear how much joy your son has brought you. Thank you for sharing your story!

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3 Jora May 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

I love Frederique. So glad you posted her story…..

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4 frederique May 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Paige: I truly understand your pain that you had. I’m sure that your little boy still helps you with your father’s lost everyday. kisses.
Melissa: I really hope your mother will beat it, it’s so hard emotionnaly when you’re pregnant to feel the pain and the fear of loosing a parent or a close one. How old is She?
Jora: Thanks Jora! I like this picture , I love your hat.

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