Soon after I found I was pregnant, I began looking online for forums, websites, articles, anything that would give me tips on what it was like to have a baby in Spain. Here are some quotes from an article found at http://www.expatica.com/:
"I had found a birthing position that worked well for me when I had my first son in England. It was a completely ordinary position, but you would have thought that I had asked the doctor if he could come into the woods with me and light joss-sticks from his reaction!"
"I was put on my back with my legs in stirrups."
When she didn't want to forcibly push because she didn't want to tear, the female doctor on duty told her: 'With the volume of deliveries that we have here we haven't got time to wait until you're ready to push."
She (a Spanish midwife) is highly critical of the childbirth system here, describing it as over-'medicalised'.
"It is all defensive medicine with the idea being this is dangerous; let's get this baby out as fast as we can," she says.
"Natural birth is about being patient and waiting. Here almost everyone is induced. Almost everyone is given episiotomies and the drug oxytocin.
"Women can't eat and drink. A drip is stuck into her with glucose. The worst thing is a woman being on her back without being able to move which is the worst position to have a baby in."
But here is one encouraging quote:
According to Eurostat figures, in 2004, infant mortality in Spain was 0.35 percent of births, compared to an EU average of 0.45 and the UK's 0.51. (Read full article here.)
So as you can imagine, I've been somewhat anxious about what my birthing experience will be. My midwife from the states has emailed me a few times and she recommended a birthing position that would help me prevent tearing. So at one appointment, I thought I'd see if any of the stuff I'd read was true. I asked my doctor if it's true that women in Spain can't choose their birthing position. Her response? "Oh no. You'll be on your back with your legs in stirups." Smile.
With Renae I had quite a few complications all relating to my somewhat messed up pelvic bone structure, plus a few other things. Basically, if this baby is big, my midwife in the states said I'm pretty likely to have the exact same problems (which I'm trying to avoid this time around). Even in the states, with what happened last time, many women are often given the choice to do a c-section the 2nd time around.
Here I'm not yet sure what will happen. The upside of a c-section is it's planned, my recovery will be much better than last time because I won't have the other recovery plus the run over by a truck feeling you get from a long labor. The downside of a c-section is your husband cannot be in the room with you. This is a strict rule they follow to a T. Trust me. I've asked. And of course, it would mean future births would be c-sections too.
The upside of delivering naturally (and natural for me includes an epidural for sure!) is that the labor could go much faster than last time (too many hours to count), and our little boy could be much smaller, thus easier to push out. Plus, the way they do episiotomies in all of Europe is different than in the US, and would actually help me out quite a bit.
But for me, it all really comes down to getting a healthy baby. I've come to the conclusion that I can't control what will happen and I just need to be OK with that. Spain has a very low infant mortality rate, and babies are born healthy everyday. So although the process of getting here might not be that great, Baby Boy Masson is pretty likely to arrive safe and sound eventually. I can deal with the aftermath. Plus, honestly, the whole birth experience for me is not some big emotional event (which is weird because I'm usually a big sentimental person and I'm also a huge feeler). It's just something you gotta do if you want a baby. :)
More articles about giving birth in Spain:
To end on a happy note, here are a few pics of Renae from some potty training we did this week.
She loves eating melons!