Home away from home

Perreault family feels the love at St. Boniface Hospital

Jennilie and Mathieu Perreault at home with Violette, Hector, and Pénélope.

When you visit the home of Jennilie and Mathieu Perreault, you’re welcomed into the hustle and bustle of a very busy household. You will feel the love and warmth of their family with “three under three.”

While Mathieu is a speedy forward with the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets, their children are the stars in this arena. Their eldest, Violette, is two, while twins Pénélope and Hector are just five months old.

The Perreaults are quick to acknowledge their ties to St. Boniface Hospital. Each of their beautiful children were born here – the twins under challenging circumstances.

The couple recalls the day the twins decided to make an appearance. It was a game day in Winnipeg last September when Jennilie and Violette were hanging around the house. Mathieu was taking his pregame rest when Jennilie began having contractions, four weeks before her due date.

“I told Mat, ‘Go to your game. I’ll be fine,’” Jennilie recalls. “It took 24 hours for our first child to be born, so I wasn’t concerned. Mathieu said, ‘No way, I’m not going when you’re in labour!’”

It was a wise decision not to play hockey that night; Jennilie realized her labour was progressing quickly. As Mathieu drove through rush-hour traffic, she offered him some advice: “Be a ninja and get us to the hospital!”

And a ninja he was: the babies were on their way, with no time for Jennilie to receive an epidural. She was concerned, as her doctor had strongly recommended an epidural with twins. She knew the first baby would likely deliver regularly, but the second one could be more difficult.

Pénélope was born first, weighing a mere four pounds, three ounces. Hector followed, joining the world at a healthy five pounds, eight ounces. A quick delivery meant Hector’s lungs hadn’t had the chance to clear, however – with water on his lungs, he needed extra monitoring. Born early, Pénélope also required extra care.

The twins were moved to the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“Leaving the hospital without them was really hard; you don’t want to leave your newborns. Seeing how the nurses cared for them helped me to rest a little easier. Knowing they were in the hands of such wonderful people, I was able to heal while my babies were being cared for,” said Jennilie.

The Perreault twins joined their sister Violette at home one week later.

Firsts and fond memories in the NICU

Jennilie remembers the first time the twins had a bath. “After a game, Mathieu and I gave them their first bath together in the NICU. It was a special moment for the four of us.”

Mathieu was emotional when recalling the special experiences his family enjoyed during their time at St. Boniface Hospital. “I really liked doing skin-to-skin with all three of my kids. For the twins, it was following my first home game after they were born. I went to the Hospital as soon as the game ended and snuck into their NICU room with the incubators. I was able to hold both at the same time.”

This year, Mathieu has come on board to help promote the 2018 Mega Million Choices Lottery, in support of St. Boniface Hospital.

The Mega Millions Choices Lottery Early Bird deadline is this Friday, March 9! Every ticket purchased helps raise vital funds for research and equipment, helping to treat thousands of Manitobans with critical, compassionate care. Tickets can be purchased online or at one of the participating locations listed here

*This article was first published in the Spring 2018 edition of Believe, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s bilingual newsletter produced twice annually in partnership with St. Boniface Hospital.