Three months ago, I gave birth to my son, Oscar, at Sainte-Justine. At that point, I had no idea that a global pandemic was brewing. I thought I’d be taking advantage of my maternity leave to go for leisurely strolls, stop in at coffee shops, meet up with other new mothers, spend time with his grandparents and more.

But COVID-19 had other plans. It forced us to put our lives on pause. I admit that when the lockdown was announced, which happened to coincide with my partner’s return to work as an ICU physician caring for COVID-19 patients, I burst into tears. Everything was so uncertain. 

Would he bring the virus home? Would we all get sick? What would happen if we did? How could I cope with a six-week-old infant by myself? How long would the situation last? When would we be able to see our parents again?

The days passed, one by one, and we gradually got used to our new routine. Oscar started to gaze at us and smile. Walks, at the proper distance from everyone else, became a regular part of our day, and video calls with his grandparents, a nightly ritual. As the weather slowly warmed up, the idea of lifting the lockdown got floated around. 

Life sure isn’t the same as it was, and it will take some time before we can go back to normal, but we’re managing to find joy in the simple things. Being on pause means we are even more thankful for every smile, every gurgle and every moment we have together as a family. 

My new family

Today, more than ever, I realize how fragile good health can be and how lucky I am to have a healthy baby. I’m incredibly grateful to Sainte-Justine for that. 

Three months ago, after a long labour and an eventual C-section, Oscar was born, but not without giving us a good scare. After his delivery, the operating room went silent. He wasn’t crying. The team carried him to the resuscitation table right away. The anesthetist and nurses all gathered around him. I listened intently, holding my breath as they got ready to intubate. That’s when he started to cry. 

Oscar and me
Ophelie 3
Ophelie 2

I received outstanding care throughout the whole process: from the beginning of my labour to Oscar’s arrival. Everyone – from the nurses in the obstetrics unit, the OB/GYN who performed the C-section, and the anesthetist and OR nurses who helped Oscar draw his first breath – was simply extraordinary. Thanks to them, although my first Mother’s Day is taking place in the middle of a public health crisis, I have a perfectly healthy baby in my arms. And that’s the most beautiful gift of all. 

For all these reasons, my partner and I are happy to be front-line donors and to support Sainte-Justine during these unprecedented times. 

*The remarks expressed in this article reflect the opinion solely of the author and should not be considered as representative of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.