My birth story with Gemma was much different than my birth story with Chloe which you can read HERE . With Chloe I was over due, induced and the labour was longggg. With Gemma, I had spontaneous labour and it was QUICK!
Both were equally incredible experiences.
I feel these moments are forever embedded into my memory and Aaron and I often find ourselves talking about the play by play of Chloe’s birth and now Gemma’s. They are our favourite stories after all….how our girls came into this world!
Let’s backtrack to the days leading up to the delivery..
My due date with Gemma was December 11th but my OB ( who I absolutely LOVED- shout out to Dr. Gangam from St. Joe’s!) said that if I wanted to be induced a few days early, we could do that. I personally really loved being induced with Chloe since it was the one thing we were able to control throughout the process. We knew when it was happening, there was no chaotic drive to the hospital and I liked knowing we would head to the hospital and wouldn’t be leaving until we had the baby! The induction for Gemma was scheduled for Monday December 6th but since it was elective, it meant that we would not be priority. If there more pressing cases, we would get pushed. We were fine with that and knew if it wasn’t Monday, it would likely be Tuesday.
I finished my last official day of work on Friday December 4th and planned to take the weekend to relax before the induction! In my mind, there was no way I would go into early labour with a planned induction just around the corner.
On the Friday night we had my Mother in Law’s 70th Birthday in Niagara on the Lake. I was very exhausted the entire week but this was a special night so knew I had to pull myself together for it! We had a beautiful dinner with family and I ordered myself a filet and mashed potatoes. Most of us got some type of meat which was served with the most intense horseradish. It became a joke that this horseradish might put me into labour. I am not sure if it actually did but it’s safe to say it probably helped with it and will likely be a joke for a while now lol. We got home that night around 11PM and I was up on and off throughout the night. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last few weeks so that was nothing new.
MORNING OF DECEMBER 4th ( the day she was born!)
I woke up at 7AM and felt some light cramping. I didn’t think much of it and figured it was Braxton Hicks that people often talk about. I could talk through the cramps I was having, move/walk around and they felt like they were light period cramps. Nothing crazy at all. Since I never dealt with this in my previous pregnancy though, I decided to time them just to be safe. I started to punch them into the Contraction App that I downloaded and after about 20 minutes, it notified me with “Go to the hospital”. I kind of laughed and thought “Ok this app is totally dramatic”. Aaron soon woke up and I shared how I was feeling and we decided we would call the hospital. They told me that they could only assess me in person and that I could head down. I was on the fence because I truly didn’t think this could be labour and thought it might be a waste of time. As I was contemplating this/timing my contractions, I had another 2 notifications on the ap saying “Go to hospital”. Aaron took charge and said “We are heading down now”. I decided I wanted to shower and wash my hair before leaving…just in case!
When we got to the hospital, we were placed in Triage where we waited for the doctor to come in and take a look. At my OB appointment just a few days before, I was only 1cm dilated. With Chloe I wasn’t dilated at all when I was induced so I was not expecting much here! To my surprise, the doctor informed me that was I 4cm dilated. She said that sometimes labour stalls though and since my pain was light, she recommended walking around or grabbing something to eat for 2 hours and then to come back and see where things were at.
In Aaron’s head labour was for sure happening. We got in the car and he’s like “Maris we are going to get something to eat and then make a cooler for the hospital”….as if we were heading away for a weekend camping trip. I told him we absolutely were not making a cooler but that we could make some sandwiches to “help him get through labour”. The guy literally needs to eat every 2 hours so I didn’t want him fainting on me LOL. We grabbed a little lunch and stocked up on fresh buns, cold cuts and some juices/drinks. We went back to our house where Aaron made up about 8 sandwiches. PRIORITIES! It was actually really nice to have a solid meal before everything went down. Last time I remember being so hungry so I felt pretty content about getting something in my system. It also felt really calm during this little hospital break!
BACK TO THE HOSPITAL
We got back to the hospital at 1:30PM and I felt my contractions get a little stronger but also felt like they were further apart. I was breathing through them and felt like I could still very much handle them. Was this labour? I still wasn’t convinced.
At around 2:30PM, I was checked again and the doctor said I was 5cm and that it was most definitely go time. ACTIVE LABOUR INDEED!
Since we were out the night before, Chloe was still at my mom’s so it worked out that we didn’t have to worry about getting her watched! I felt relieved knowing she was in good hands while this was going down. I did cry though thinking that I never said “goodbye” to her the night before. Mom guilt coming in hot even when you are labouring!
OFFICIALLY MOVED TO A HOSPITAL ROOM
We got to our room at 3PM and at this point my contractions were really amping up. By 3:30PM, they were MUCH stronger and I started to really come to terms that I was in labour. Since labour was SO long with Chloe, I had it in mind that we would be getting comfortable in this room for a while. I also knew how long getting the epidural could take so I told the nurse I would like it asap. Waiting for the epidural was hell because my pain went from 0 to 100 real fast!
By 4PM the anesthesiologist made it to my room. I was in so much pain at this point and was SO excited to feel relief and/or NUMB! Needles do not bug me so I wasn’t scared at all about getting it. I was breathing/shrieking through the pain as it came and went and was just thinking how good it would feel once it kicked in. BRING ON THE DRUGS BABY!
After about 15 minutes, instead of feeling relief, mine and the baby’s blood pressure dropped. They were elevating the bed, flopping me to either side, more people came into the room and they also gave me some additional medicine that helps to get your blood pressure regulated. I had this with Chloe too so I wasn’t that shocked when it was happening. It felt like I was going to faint and I was short of breathe. While this was happening, I was still having crazy contractions.
“Why are the contractions still so bad??” I yelled. “Pleaseeeee help me”.
The nurse looked confused and started to look at my epidural/IV line. She grabbed another two nurses and they were all talking about how it wasn’t dripping into the line properly. I looked at Aaron and gave him a look which read ” GET IN THERE AND HELP THEM FIGURE THIS OUT BECAUSE I MAY DIE”.
There was basically a malfunction with the tube and although Aaron and the nurses were playing around with it to fix it, they officially had to have the anesthesiologist come back to take a look at it.
I was literally dying at this point as the epidural had done NOTHING. It felt like I was undergoing a straight exorcism. The worst part was when I started to feel a contraction coming on because I knew how bad it was going to get. Picture yourself standing infront of a tidal wave: you know you are going to get whipped around and crushed from it and as you see it right in front of you, you are paralyzed with fear. That was how I felt when I started to feel it coming and because how quickly everything was unfolding, my body was experiencing really bad shakes. It was in shock and was responding by uncontrollably shaking.
During the contractions, I was on my side gripping the sides of the hospital bed for dear life. I would go from whimpering/softly saying things like “Why is this happening to me” to raging/yelling and blurting out things like “THIS IS ENOUGH ALREADY!”. lol. I didn’t expect the epidural not to work and I know that women have drug free deliveries everyday but I did not want that. I wanted to feel as little pain as possible. After sharing this story on social media though, it seems many other girls have had epidural fails. With Chloe mine wore off after a few hours but I still felt relief from the pain. I truly didn’t expect it to be a flop entirely!
At 5:15PM, the pressure in my body was escalating. The doctor came in and checked me and said I was 9CM dilated. I came to terms at that moment that I was delivering this baby without meds.
Although I was in so much pain, I was floored that I had dilated so quickly. I kept telling myself “the end is near, you are 9CM” and “this is temporary, this is temporary, this is temporary” over and over again.
At around 5:45PM, I felt the baby coming. There was no doubt about it. I looked at my main nurse and said I’m ready to push… I can’t stop it…I am so sorry! ( true Canadian apologizing during birth)
She immediately called the doctor and team back and they all rushed in. They could already see the head and frantically ( yet somehow calmly at the very same time) prepped to get everything ready in just a few minutes. Aaron kept reminding me to take deep breaths and would say things like “Picture you are at the end of the most intense Peloton class…you always make it through”. haha. I’m not sure that helped my mind set but it did help me laugh a bit.
I basically pushed about 5 times with so much guidance from the incredible Doctor there. He told me to stop at one point, push, stop etc and it was so, so wild being able to feel all of this and also control the movement of things despite the agonizing pain. I wanted to push non stop to just make this pain end and get her out but I am SO glad I had this coaching from him because it helped me not to tear ( and what I believe contributed to a really great recovery).
SHE MAKES HER DEBUT
By 5:57PM..just 10 minutes later, Gemma was born!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!! She was placed on my chest, breathing and moving and wow- it’s just one of life’s most powerful moments. It’s hard to describe the feeling. The memories of the pain and agony you just endured almost instantly fade away which is wild.
We were soaking up this euphoric high when the doctor said they had to deliver my placenta though. With Chloe, I was feeling numb at that point so I didn’t feel the placenta delivery. Asking to push again after a whirlwind of a delivery wasn’t my favourite part of the story and to make matters worse they informed me it was a bit stuck. JOY! We had to wait about 20 minutes to try to push it out again and I was surprised at how much it hurt. The doctor was so nice though and said “After this I promise no-one will touch you for a good few hours” lol. That got me through it and just under an hour later, we were moved to the post delivery floor all snuggled up with our little Gemma. Aaron had ordered pizza and life felt pretty freaking amazing.
Miss Gemma Lily Gagnon weighed 6 lbs, 11 oz, was 18 inches long and our hearts, within minutes, doubled in size. She is a perfect little peanut and we are so grateful to have a healthy baby that completes our family.
I want to salute all the women out there that bring their babies into the world. We are superheros and I am so excited and honored to raise 2 girls of my own and show them how powerful us girls are. xoxo
All professional photos were shot by Kaitlynn Elliott Photography who is THE best maternity/newborn photographer in the game. These photos are everything to us.