‘I’m loving motherhood’: Edmonton midwife who had eye removed to save her son
Watch above: A local midwife, who just months ago had her eye removed to ensure the health of her unborn baby, wan celebrated with a baby shower Sunday. Shallima Maharaj has more on her family’s journey.
EDMONTON — Nearly one month after giving birth to a beautiful baby boy, a local midwife and her husband gathered with family and friends Sunday to celebrate the birth.
“I’m loving motherhood, it can’t be described,” said Chantal Vaillancourt, who gave birth to her healthy son, Luka, on Sept. 9.
“It’s been amazing,” added her husband, Etienne Vaillancourt.
Chantal’s road to giving birth wasn’t a smooth one, though.
“Intense is the one word I can put for everything. Intense pain, intense joy, intense love. Intense.”
When Chantal was eight weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in her right eye. At the time, there was a 25 per cent chance of it spreading to the placenta. But because her pregnancy was only eight weeks along, she chose not to have radiation or surgery to avoid any risk to the baby.
“Before giving birth I felt like already I was making decisions as a mother because I just wanted to make sure whatever choices I made were to protect this little one,” she said Sunday. “The ultimate goal was obviously a healthy baby and to be able to be his mother,” she said Sunday.
When her pregnancy reached 28 weeks,Chantal was faced with another tough decision; while she knew the placenta was tumour-free, there was a 70 per cent chance she could pass on her cancer, so she decided to have her right eye removed.
“It’s been an adjustment period, but overall I can’t say that it has been that difficult. I feel like things are good and right now I’m just enjoying being a mother.”
As a doula and midwife, Chantal has assisted with bringing more than 300 babies into the world. And on Sunday she was finally able to celebrate the birth of a baby of her own.
“I love being on the other side. Finally,” she said with a smile.
“We just really wanted to have everybody know… how wonderful this has all turned out,” said Margo Carpenter, owner of Edmonton’s Lucina Centre, the birth and family wellness centre where Chantal works.
“She really is such a positive, caring person. I think everybody would say that, there’s nobody here that doesn’t just love her.”
Chantal says she and her husband have been overjoyed with the amount of support they’ve received throughout her pregnancy.
“With all the difficult and sad things that go on in the world it’s nice to be reminded by the strength and the beauty of humanity and how we can help each other out and carry each other through,” she said. “We felt carried and lifted and I can’t imagine having gone through any of this alone. Having this support is just indescribable.”
Chantal’s eye was replaced with a porcelain globe. She has a follow-up medical appointment later this week.
For now, she says she’s just focusing on her little bundle of joy, Luka.
“He’s a special little guy. He’s been through a lot. I just want him to be happy and healthy and that’s it.”
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