My Birth Story, Naturally.
This is the fifth in a series of essays titled Becoming Mami, a new generation of Latinas speak on childbirth, babies and acceptance. You can find links to the other stories in the introduction.
By Maybelline Valenti
After six years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time for a baby and without knowing it, that decision opened up a new chapter in our lives. We started to exercise more, to eat healthier and I spent countless hours researching natural and organic products.
Surprisingly I got pregnant right away and felt wonderful: no morning sickness, no pains and almost cero cravings. Week after week my belly grew, taking me deeper and deeper into motherhood, and like every new mom to-be, I was afraid of the Unknown.
But mainly terrified to have a C-Section.
Not only had I never had any type of surgery, but my mom and sister where going to stay for just a few weeks after the baby’s birth and my husband had to go back to work, so I had nobody to help me take care of my newborn child and a healing wound after that.
I thought long and hard about my options and I finally decided to have a Certified Nurse-Midwife to monitor my pregnancy since they have a more natural approach to labor. I signed up for a birth preparation class and my husband was supporting me 100%. Everything was going just perfect.
Change of Plans
At 36 weeks into my pregnancy my blood pressure was misbehaving and my liver decided to shut down, that’s when my regular prenatal appointment turned into a trip to the hospital. My body wasn’t taking the pregnancy very well and both the baby and I were at risk.
I remember when my midwife entered the room, sat down next to me and told me: “You’re going to have a baby,” then I heard the word “induction” and my whole birth plan was flushed down the toilet. I could not believe that after all I had done to make sure I got an excellent pregnancy my body just wasn’t cooperating.
I literally was strapped to the bed. Due to my high blood pressure both my baby and I had to be monitored constantly. I had to lay on my side and was only allowed to walk to the toilet and back to bed. I could not eat and Mr. Pitocin started to make my contractions a lot stronger.
It took two days to get me somewhere close to 3 centimeters, then the doctor told me the process was going too slow and he believed breaking my water was going to speed up things.
He was so right! My contractions became stronger and so close to each other that I could not keep up with them. I called for an epidural. That knocked me down! But gave me the time to relax and sleep.
An urge to push woke me up and after 2 hours and 20 minutes of crazy contractions and many pushes, I got to meet my precious baby boy, who weighted 5lb. 15 oz.
The whole labor didn’t turn out the way I had planned it but at the end I got what I wanted: I pushed and pushed and after all that I was able to hold him in my arms and breastfeed him right after he was born. No cuts, no wounds to heal, no operating room.
That experience taught me to be prepared for the unexpected, to make changes along the way in order to have it my way and to accept that we cannot always control everything around us.
Today I look back and I have no regrets ’cause I did everything in my power to have my child the way nature intended. Some people would argue that it wasn’t natural since I got the epidural, but that’s another story.
Maybelline Valenti writes the Spanish-language site, Naturalmente Mama, focusing on natural and organic mothering and child-raising. She was born and raised in Venezuela.