Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Giving Birth

5 months pregnant, on vacation &
preparing myself mentally for the big day
Over forty days ago, my third child was born. This time, it was al natural for me; that meant no drugs, no anesthesia, no "little help", just me (my mind) and  my body working together and do "our thing" waiting for the baby to show up. And in full disclosure, this was also a home birth. For those unfamiliar with the birthing business in general, this is something that has become quite popular in countries like the UK and even the USA. However, in Mexico, it is currently extremely popular for women to be cut open so as to have their babies removed in the "most sterile, safest" manner. I've never been particular to hospitals (unless I am sick then I think they are great) and the idea of some doctor cutting me open because he had a vacation planned near my due date or because she (and this did happen to me) had to be in Mexico City for classes, I made the decision to find a doctor that practiced humanized medicine and would be open to the idea of a home birth.  Having already had two medically "controlled" (vaginal) births with two different gynecologists, I knew that this wouldn't be easy.

It was a hard thing to do to convince my partner and mother that this was the right thing. We went to prenatal classes and even had a doula lined up for the day of the birth. But nothing could have prepared me for what it meant to have a baby like women used to before Western medicine started controlling how, when and where women give birth. I never imagined I would be sweating as if I was running a marathon, grunting, moaning and panting like so many women that have gone before me, but there I was at five o'clock* in the morning, just the same way I came into the world, trying to push another human being out of my body.
 (*this is still up for debate since that was the daylight savings time for Mexico)

Another human being? At the time, I wondered if maybe, by some weird accident, I didn't have bowling ball or extremely large-headed alien inside me. If I hadn´t been so focused on expulsing my baby, I would have laughed at myself.  But it wasn't a bowling ball or alien baby, it was a real, drug-free baby. And I did it, after almost three days of trying to get my oxytocin pumping and my contractions regular, I had another baby and this time, I was 100% present, I didn't pass out, have an anesthesiologist on top of my chest pushing the baby down, or my gynecologist use enormous scissors to cut "more space" for the baby (a.k.a an episiotomy). I was man-made drugs free and high on oxytocin and later endorphins.

There were times during labor that I thought I couldn't do it- I actually thought of asking my doctor to "get the baby out of me" but at that point I was fully dilated with a human head making its way down my vagina. It wasn't the right time to ask for a c-section and as I thought it, I heard a voice cheering me on like they do at the Boston Marathon: YOU CAN DO IT! YOU ARE ALMOST THERE! I could see the anticipation on my doctor's face, I felt as if he was in awe of what he was witnessing. I knew we had made the right choice in doctor now it was just up to me.

It took three different birthing positions before I found the right one for me. And as my partner's legs trembled and his arms shook from the weight of my body and the sheer exhaustion of holding me in my squatted position, I felt as if we were both having the baby. And we did. Another little human being to share in life in my Mexico.