Last week I was chatting online with my cousin’s wife. Our due dates are a couple of days apart in early February. We compared our symptoms (or lack thereof) and our energy (or lack thereof). We talked about our families and how we spend our respective days – hers in Frankfurt, Germany and mine here in Iqaluit.
So when I got this email I was a little surprised.
Hey, Auntie Angie! Our little girl came early today at 4:05 p.m. weighing 1.4kg. She is in high care until she can breathe on her own, as lungs not fully developed. She looked comfortable… Labour was quick and everything took close to three hrs from first contraction. I’m good, but it all feels surreal. No pics yet as I think it’s best u all see her when she has less gadgets attached! She will be fine. Lots of love and thank u all for the support… I can’t believe!!!”
My parents then started in with the helpful facts they offer in these situations: “You know your grandmother was born at seven months, and so was your uncle.” OMG Is early labour genetic? It’s google time.
My google search reveals I should keep my work week to under 42 hours and avoid long periods of standing. And offers the comforting fact that only 7-12% of pregnancies end in premature labour.
I suddenly remember hearing about a woman in denial about being in early labour while her husband was away. As her neighbour drove her to the hospital, her water broke in the car, which she also explained away. The neighbour had no doubt that she was indeed in labour: “There was the unmistakable smell of amniotic fluid.”
As my housemate prepares to leave for a week she cautions me not to have the baby while she’s gone. Admittedly, one of the first chapters I read in the pregnancy book I have with me was at the very back: the If You Give Birth By Yourself section.
I moved on to googling news stories about men away at war while women birthed at home alone, sometimes on their front lawns.
“Let the baby rest on your chest and don’t try to cut the umbilical cord yourself.”
A local example of a solo birther is Ellie, the sled dog. No one was sure if she was definitely pregnant or how pregnant she was, but she gave birth on her own in the dog yard last week. We went to check on her during a snowstorm, since her owner was out of town.
The flight from here south to Ottawa is two-and-a-half to three hours. Someone mentioned that if I don’t board the plane in labour, I’m not likely to probably won’t have the baby mid-air, but if I do, hey, labour would be relatively short.
There is still a lot of work to do while I’m up here. Things are looking good for getting out for a ride with the sled dog team next weekend, we have 3 episodes to shoot, and I still need to work 80 hours more to qualify for 600 hours of maternity leave.
Even though there is beautiful deep snow and a relatively balmy outside temperature of minus 10, I’m sure the womb is the better choice.
Junior, I know you want to meet these great dogs you’ve been hearing, but all in good time. We’ll be back home soon enough.
Angie Pajek is a freelance producer based in Toronto, currently working for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation on the Inuit Youth comedy show, “Qanurli?” Read about the show here. Read more from Angie here.