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Grandmother

Delivery and Medication

9:41 min. - Each Nation has its own methods of delivery, and uses remedies from its immediate environment during birth.

Transcription

Laura Pinette - You who have also given life, what was it like?
Evelyne St-Onge - Your father was my first child. I took it well. I loved him from the start. I was in good shape.
Laura Pinette - You already loved him in your womb?
Evelyne St-Onge - I had an easy pregnancy and that made your father a calm and gentle man. I don't remember giving birth. They gave me an injection at the hospital, and when I woke up, it was over, I had a boy. "It's already over?"And the doctor said, "Yes"I asked him why they had put me to sleep. He pointed to the nurses... So I said, never mind, I'll have another one.
Uatnan is for a cough, you can also use it on a child. You cut it here. You boil it and remove this part. And you tie it with a string. Anyone can drink it. You give it to a child with a cough before bed. It's not dangerous medicine.
Martha Cajias - One woman in particular impressed me: she was already old when I met her. She passed away five years after we first met. She told me that the number of women she had helped deliver couldn't be counted, there were so many. She was born in Piacha. Her twin sister, who was mentally retarded, still lived there.
What she told me, happened when she was very young. Knowing that one of her neighbours was about to give birth, she felt something very strong telling her that she could help with the birth. So she went to help. She said it was like something she already knew. Then she started to palpate the woman's belly and she knew how the foetus was positioned. Knowing that there would be complications, she began to massage the belly. She said, "It just came to me!" She had that kind of awareness.
I asked her if it was something she had learned from her mother, or an aunt. Sometimes the grandmother also taught them. But she said no, it was the Lord who gave her this gift.
Evelyne St-Onge - We fed the baby, swaddled it and put it in a cradle. It was swaddled as soon as it was born, to avoid the shock of the outside world. The baby would think it was still in its mother's womb.
Louise McDonald - When you come time... for your birth and you're coming into maybe your last three or four weeks of pregnancy, there's a special medicine that we use, and, it's about the slippery elm tree. And there's a female and a male tree. You go to the female tree and there's a soft bark on it. And your male relatives will go get this medicine for you. And they measure your torso. From here to your pubis. And they cut the length of the bark in the bark strips as far as your belly is, and they always burn it down and they bring... They coil that up and they bring that back, to your women relatives. Whether it be your mom or your grandmother or a clan mother, or who head matron in your society that would prepare that medicine for you. And then, you would continue to drink that medicine, right up to your delivery and you would start with a cup a day and increase your dosage and maybe up to three cups, right up until your delivery date. And what it does is it helps coat your birth canal and it helps with the delivery. It helps the baby just slide out a lot easier. And that's the medicine that my family has used for generations.
Anne-Marie André - The child's name is related to the day, the month, a significant event at its birth.
Evelyne St-Onge - The child's name was also related to the animals.
Anne-Marie André - It's still like that today.
Woman - The plant called 'Oroumo' is for pain and when you can't deliver, that's when you take it. And the other one is for pain and to speed up delivery: 'Combalomba'. This medicinal plant is also used for headaches, so that everything goes well for the baby and for the mother.
Evelyne St-Onge - We would deliver standing up, lying down, and we used marsh moss to wipe up the blood and also as a diaper for the baby. You remove all the little pieces of wood. You soak it in water to get rid of the bugs. See that bubble, there? After the delivery, we apply a poultice made of fir resin to heal the inside of the mother's belly. Do you know what we called the placenta? The baby's pillow.
Music - Kathia Rock

In the bush, Evelyne St-Onge explains the properties of a medicinal plant to Laura Pinette
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