Posts Tagged ‘Midwives’

I have a confession to make. I made a deal with my daughter when she was still on the inside. I wrote her a letter and told her that I knew she could beat her brother’s time. You see, Max is like a super Flash Ninja baby. He came out on his due date in a record 5 hours 15 minutes. I told baby girl if she could beat him, if she could get here swiftly, like super duper fast with no complications, I would give her a little more leeway in the teenage years. I’d forgive her if she stole my car or raided my liquor cabinet or lied to me and went to see a boy instead of sleeping over her best friend’s house. I assured her that I wasn’t trying to promote any kind of bad behavior or competition between she and her brother, but I wanted her to beat him. Cause girls can and do beat boys. Cause she’s my little rock star and she’s gonna rock it right out of the park. And boy, did she ever. Here’s how it all went down.

It was a Wednesday. A perfect Wednesday morning. Miguel, Max, belly and me woke up just like any other day in the Oaxacan countryside: roosters crowing, donkeys hee hawing. The normal chaos of morning had us tripping over wooden blocks, rushing to get ready, pack bags, feed kid.

After dropping Max at preschool, we head down to Oaxaca’s center. Sunny blue skies stretch out over Santo Domingo. We find a shady spot and eat breakfast under the Jacaranda trees. Then we move to our favorite coffee shop. Computers back to back, coffees side by side, we work. A few hours slip by and it’s almost time to pick up little man.

On our way to the bus stop, I impulsively stop. “Hey Papi! If we take a taxi instead of the bus, we’ll have time to hit my favorite photography museum… Please?” It doesn’t take much to convince him. The space is all ours. Sparse rooms house beautiful black and white portraits of Oaxacans taken by Oaxacans. We pick our favorites, then snap a few shots of our own and we’re off.

When we get to Max’s school, head teacher asks me if I’ve had any contractions yet. “Nope, not yet!” Ironically the very moment I say this, I feel a strange, more intense than normal tightening of my belly and think, ‘Hmm, this isn’t the standard ‘baby breakdancing in there’ feeling I’ve been having. Could this be it? Naaah. Couldn’t be.’ I don’t mention any of this to Miguel as we moto-taxi to the bus stop. I suppose I don’t want to psyche him out.

We board a rickety old bus circa 1995. The ride is bumpy. The aisles are crowded. The sky has turned a deep grey now. It feels like it might rain. Miguel gets a seat in back and Max falls asleep in his arms. I half-sit half-squat over my metal seat up front. I don’t want to sit down, as I’m convinced that the massive potholes in the rocky-dirt road will toss me and belly hard enough to break my pelvis, or tailbone, or some other really important body part on landing. So I hold myself there, like a surfer – bracing, balancing. I try not to entertain thoughts of, “what if my water breaks right here on this little old farmer’s sandals?” and instead lose myself out the window as city turns to country.

Just before our block the driver suddenly stops the bus and gets off. No need to worry, Oaxacan bus drivers sometimes do this. They usually go to get a Coke or chat/fight with another driver. I think ours went to take a look at his tires, but who cares because – how appropriate – Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns and Roses just came on the radio and I have this urge to sing it. Loud. I’m a pregnant Gringa and I can do that if I want. Nobody’s gonna stop me. Ooooooo yeah heaaah. I control myself at a normal Karaoke level and we get off just before I’m able to break into the air guitar solo.

Back home I realize that I better get napping if I’m gonna make it to Pre-Natal Yoga. Damn, I love Mexico. This siesta thing rocks. Papi puts Max in his room to continue his nap and we lay down together. It’s 3:15. As we snuggle into place, Miguel hugs me tight and says, “I just want you to know I’m ready for little lady to come. I’m ready to hug her and kiss her and change her diaper…and…” “Yeah yeah, I’m sleeping,” I mutter.

A few minutes pass and I’m juuuuuuuust about to fall into a deep sleep when all of a sudden I’m startled awake. VVVVVOOOOOMMMMM. An INTENSE rush of indescribable pain surges through my pelvis, belly, being. I sit up, scared, out of it. Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Miguel literally jumps out of the bed. Are you alright? Que pasó? Was that it? Is this it?!! He smiles giddy, bouncing around with excitement.

I’m still sitting on the bed. I’m nervous. Is this it? Nah. This can’t be it. Can it? That was a really intense feeling. I know that feeling. Man, I HATE that feeling! That shit hurts! Okay, no worries. Let’s just get up slowly, go get a glass of water, walk around the house. I move into the hallway and VOOM. There it is again. Oh no. Back to the bedroom. On all fours, on the bed. FUCK.

All of a sudden the phone rings. It’s Miguel’s mother who always starts the conversation these days with, “Ya? Is she in labor yet?” Miguel says yes, but I tell him, No! We’re not sure yet. Tell her you’ll call her back! The contraction subsides. I try to get back to that glass of water, but SON OF A MOTHER! There’s another one! I rush back to the bedroom. Damn, they’re coming fast.

I resign myself to the fact that this is it. It’s actually happening. I’m having. another. baby. Right now.

Miguel lays my yoga mat on the floor next to the bed. I kneel down and take myself back in my mind to the last time I was in labor. I remember it vividly. I spent a long time in the beginning resisting the pain, fighting it, clenched jaw, clenched fists, but not this time. I’ve decided that I’m going inside the pain from the start. I place my palms and fingertips slowly, purposefully on the mat. Okay baby girl. We got this. I lean over and let my forehead come down to touch the mat between my hands. Here comes the next wave. I breathe. I chant. Open open open. Come fast come fast come fast. I see myself from the outside for a moment; I look like a Muslim woman praying, bowing, folding towards Mecca. The wave passes and I slip into Child’s pose to rest.

When I open my eyes, I see them. Under the bed. Jesus, they’re everywhere. Dust bunnies. Migueeeeeeel! He runs into the room. Que pasó mi cielo? Are you alright? Papi there’s a lot of dust under the bed! I can’t look at that while I’m in labor! Can you sweep? He laughs, shakes his head and reappears with a broom. Man, I love this guy.

Just as he’s finishing up under the bed, Little Maxwell is startled awake. My bad. I’m pretty loud. Poor Miguel tries to tend to his cries and mine at the same time. After Max calms down a bit, he comes to see me. He pushes me over, plops himself down on the mat and says, “Yoga with Mommy?” God he’s adorable. He looks up at me and puts his little hand on my cheek, understanding that I’m going through something. “It’s okay Mommy?” I hug him tight and think how lucky I am. This pain is without a doubt the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life and I shudder just thinking that it’s coming back in a minute, but now I understand the payoff. And when I look into my kid’s eyes, I honestly feel that it’s all worth it. That said, here comes another wave and he can’t be here. I need to focus. Miguel takes him out of the room and I’m left alone.

I brave a few contractions sola, and soon feel the need to shift positions. I drape my upper body over the side of the bed, my arms stretched out and my knees on the mat. I’m in a constant conversation with myself to NOT TENSE UP and LET THE PAIN COME. I’m trying to stay open but it’s really hot in here and it fucking hurts and I wish Miguel were by my side but he can’t be here cause he’s gotta get Max’s bag ready, install the carseat in his folks’ car and keep little guy calm.

I try to find peace in the moments between contractions. I tell myself that I’m not alone. I remember, like last time, that 235,000 other women are doing this right now at this very moment. I close my eyes and imagine the woman physically closest to me. I drift up the Oaxacan hills to a small adobe hut, where I find a woman with long black braids, on her knees just like me, braving the waves. I salute her. We can do this.

It’s 4:00pm now, about 40 minutes have passed since my first contraction. Max is on his way to the grandparents’, and I’m happy to see my midwife Lauren. “How’s it going?” she asks with a hug and a smile. “It fucking hurts!” I tell her. “Well, you’re the one who wanted a fast birth!”  She and Miguel pull up some floor and offer support as the contractions build in length and intensity. I’m breathing heavy and sweating A LOT. I should probably take off Miguel’s thick hoodie, but I don’t want to. It makes me feel secure.

When my water breaks, Lauren reassures me that it’s all good. I’m so thankful I chose her. She knows just when to offer reassurance, advice or a wink. And Miguel. There he is, on all fours, right next to me, literally holding me up, my right arm braced over his shoulders. God I love him. But I need a break! The contractions are coming so fast now. It seems like there’s almost no time to rest in between.

At one point, Lauren asks me if I’m pushing. I respond in a very strained Nooooooo (but I guess it sounds like I am pushing.) I explain that, No, I’m not actively pushing – it’s my body, not me! I mean, I’m not helping it, it’s just happening! You know, like Ina May says – Sphincter law? Is that okay?  Of course, she says, it’s fine – your body knows. During this little exchange, I realize that I don’t even know how dilated I am, so I ask her. She replies, “Yeah you’re almost there, almost done, just a few more pushes now.”

Wait, I’m sorry, WHAT?  Did you just say I’m ALMOST DONE? Miguel and I look at each other in utter disbelief. What do you mean I’m ALMOST DONE?! I JUST STARTED!! “Well, I can see the head now, so just a few pushes…” Holy mother of all that is good and gracious, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??!! I laugh and smile and stare at Miguel in awe. “Miranda, are you kidding me? No manches! You’re amazing! How is that possible? How did you do that??!”  I don’t know, I can’t believe it! I can’t fucking believe it!  Really? This pain is about to be over, and I’m getting my birth AGAIN??! I can feel the adrenaline rushing through me. I’m shocked and humbled and overjoyed and euphoric.  “Papi, Kiss me!” I tell him. And we lose ourselves in the most perfect kiss.

When we’re done making out Lauren reminds Miguel,  “Hey, if you want to catch the baby, you’ll need to come over here by me.”  He had wanted to catch Max but it didn’t happen, and he was really looking forward to receiving Lola, but he said when it came down to it, he felt like going “over there” was a mile away, and he didn’t want to leave me. He looks me in the eyes and says, “No I want to stay here with Beth.”

Just knowing that I’m close gives me a massive boost of strength. I take a deep breath. I’m on all fours, knees on the mat, left arm on the bed, right arm over Miguel’s shoulders. I’m ready. Lauren reminds me that she can see the head, so when the next contraction comes, I should welcome it with a deep breath and push s-l-o-w-l-y. Okay, slowly. (For a change.) Got it.

I do what she says. I trust her and I trust my body. I brace myself, focus and breathe in. I push once. The head is out. (Ouch Ouch Ouch, HATE that the head is out and I have to wait for the next contraction to push again.) I breathe in. I push twice. Wait, something’s weird? Maybe I’m not positioned right? Breathe in. LAST PUSH. I give it all I’ve got, and I feel the need to stand, so I follow my instinct and push myself up. As I do, I feel a shift and our daughter spirals out into the world.


She’s here, but this all just started a minute ago. Okay, not a minute ago – 1 hour and 30 minutes ago. Our second midwife didn’t even make it here in time. How is this possible? We can’t believe it, but we’re thrilled. I’m in awe of my body and the transformational power of birth. And I’m in love with this little lady. I can’t wait to tell her how awesome she is.

Miguel goes to get us some water, and as he looks out the window, a little yellow bird flutters towards him, perches on a wire for a moment, then flies off into the Oaxacan hills.


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Note: This entry is a Spanish translation of an earlier post.  Nota: esta entrada es una traducción de la original: Are you there Guadalupe? It’s me Miranda.)

Primero que nada quiero ofrecerles una disculpa por no haber escrito en mi blog últimamente. El día esperado, me desperté convencida de que mi hijo, por ser mitad Mexicano, no iba a llegar a tiempo.  De acuerdo a eso, empecé a escribir una entrada en mi blog llamada:  Ahorita es ya, pero a veces es más tarde. Pero, antes que pudiera subir la entrada, ¡el chamaquín decidió aparecer! Solamente llegó una hora tarde, y me tiene bien ocupada desde entonces – pero ya estoy de vuelta.

Virgin Guadalupe, Patron Saint of MexicoEstoy llegando a pensar, con respecto al día del parto, que posiblemente Guadalupe me debía unos favores, fui una muy buena persona en mi vida pasada o algo así porque resultó absolutamente increíble. Aparte de que mi trabajo de parto fue muy corto, (5 horas y cuarto en total) las cosas salieron casi casi iguales a como yo las había imaginado.  (Bueno, de como me sentí, eso no me hubiera imaginado. Pujar para sacar a un bebe del tamaño de una sandia por una abertura del tamaño de un limón es una tarea pesadísima. La verdad es que era el dolor mas fuerte que he experimentado en mi vida, pero lo logré.)  Era impresionante, bello, y vigorizante. Y yo sé sin duda que lo haría de la misma manera otra vez. Pero vamos a regresar al principio.

Siempre había pensado que el día que diera a luz, me iba a levantar sabiendo que ése sería el día. Pero me equivoqué. El día de mi parto, amanecí como si fuera cualquier otro. Estuve un buen rato en el mercado y después hice una gran olla de caldo de pollo, cosa que no hago muy a menudo y por lo cual mi madre Judía estaría muy orgullosa. Mientras calentaba el caldo, una de mis parteras, Cristina, vino a la casa. Platicamos un ratito y después de una revisión, me dijo que yo tenía un centímetro de dilatación. Normalmente toma varios días para que una mujer vaya de 1 a 10 centímetros. Entonces, Cristina asumió que el bebé no llegaría hasta el fin de semana. Sabiendo eso, Miguel y yo decidimos pasar un día normal. Comimos con un amigo. Tratamos de tomar una siesta, pero no podíamos dormir. Planeábamos ir a ver la película CHE esa noche después de mi clase de Yoga prenatal.

Unas horas después, me encuentro en medio de la clase en mi pose favorita, La Guerrera, inhala y exhala, aprieta y suelta y trabajando con unos músculos que ni conozco. Esto me hace sentir muy bien.  Después de una hora de estar practicando, empieza la relajación. Todas estamos en el suelo, meditando mientras la maestra Lauren (también una de mis parteras) recorre el estudio untándonos un poco de aceite a cada una en nuestras nucas. Cuando es mi turno, el instante en que ella toca mi espalda, con el más mínimo roce, siento que algo TRUENA dentro de mi vientre y una vibración se extiende desde ese punto hacia mi cabeza y todo mi ser se estremece. Oh. My. God. Aquí viene.

OM Trato de mantenerme lo mas calmada que puedo mientras cerramos la clase con tres OM. El resto de las Yogis embarazadas se despiden de mi regalándome sus bendiciones, suertes y sonrisas.  Afuera del estudio está Miguel esperándome. Son las 7:45pm. Sin importar que tengo cuatro contracciones allí mismo, Miguel y yo decidimos continuar con el plan de ir a ver la película. Pues, supuestamente la primera etapa del trabajo de parto es muy lenta y una debe hacer cosas normales para que pase el tiempo.  Así que comenzamos a caminar al cine.

No pasan ni cinco minutos cuando nos encontramos en mi área verde favorita de Oaxaca: El Jardín Conzatti, estoy abrazando uno de los árboles, rezando por mi vida. Cuando vienen los dolores, yo absolutamente tengo que estar abrazando el tronco de un árbol, alcanzando las ramas con mis manos y jalándolas hacia mí. Respiro vigorosa y rápidamente. Uf. Uf. Uf. Después de unas cuantas repeticiones de esto, Miguel se da cuenta de que los enamorados que ocupan las bancas del parque no nos quitan la vista de encima y probablemente sería mejor irnos de allí. Además solo pasan cinco minutos entre una contracción y la siguiente. (Miguel llamó a nuestra otra partera, Cristina, quien le dijo que debería tomar el tiempo entre contracciones.) En eso yo digo: “Espera, espera, ¿Cinco minutos? ¿Estás seguro? ¿No es eso cuando en todas las películas las embarazadas tienen que parar a un taxi e ir corriendo desesperadamente al hospital a gritar y pujar y dar a luz?” Pues si, así es. Mi instinto me dice: Vete a casa. Vete a casa, el CHE va a tener que esperar.

Para llegar al lugar donde siempre pasan los taxis, tenemos que caminar unas cuadras, cruzar dos parques y… Ups! ir a un mercadito. (Acabamos de darnos cuenta que hay unas cuantas cosas que no tenemos para nuestro parto en casa). Todo el tiempo quiero estar abrazando a mis queridos árboles. Odio todo lo que no tiene que ver con la naturaleza. Me enojo cuando tengo que pasar una contracción enfrente de una pared cubierta de grafiti. No quiero estar cerca de la gente tampoco. Solo de Miguel. Miguel y la naturaleza. ¡Ah! y quiero caminar en el césped. Ignoro esas estúpidas señales que dicen NO PISAR EL PASTO. Hay una espiral de pasto y en su centro crece un arbolito. Quiero dar vueltas allí. Vueltas y Vueltas. Paso por dos contracciones en la espiral e inmediatamente nos trepamos al primer taxi que va pasando.  El conductor nos quiere llevar al hospital, pero nos vamos a casa.

parque llano

Cuando llegamos a casa, Miguel y yo nos desconectamos por un rato. El está ocupado tratando de llenar la tina de parto que instalamos hace una semana. Yo estoy tratando de preparar dos videocámaras (la chiquita y la grande profesional.)  Necesito cargar la cinta, montar un micrófono, establecer la hora y ajustar el “white balance”. Sin embargo, las contracciones me desconcentran sin cesar.  ¡Andale Miranda!, Me digo. ¡Haz hecho esto más de mil veces! Pero estoy súper distraída. Por otro lado, Miguel se da cuenta de que no hay suficiente agua para llenar la tina. (A diferencia de NY, donde hay un suministro de agua infinito que viene de quién sabe dónde, acá en México tenemos tinacos que hay que llenar cada tres semanas y precisamente el día de hoy, el nuestro está vacío. Llenarlo toma mucho tiempo y regularmente la primer descarga de agua resulta venir turbia. No es el agua de mejor calidad para dar a luz). Miguel me dice que hay que desistir de la idea del parto en agua y yo decido dejar de lado la posibilidad de usar la cámara grande. Estamos de acuerdo. Preparo la camarita y voy de vuelta a mis contracciones.

Quiero cambiarme de ropa. Hace calor. Quiero ponerme una de las camisas blancas de Miguel, la que usó el día que anunciamos nuestro compromiso. Quiero estar en cuatro puntos con una almohada bajo mis rodillas y mis manos en el frío azulejo que cubre el suelo. Necesito agua. Recuerdo la historia de mi madre cuando yo nací. Ella estaba en un hospital, en una cama, recostada en su espalda por once horas sin agua. No puedo imaginar como lo logró. Si alguien me dice que no puedo estar en cuatro puntos, ¡lo mato!. No puedo creer qué tan seguido vienen estas olas. Tampoco puedo creer cómo el dolor desaparece completamente entre contracciones. Me doy cuenta que de esto se trata el mero milagro de dar a luz: tengo descansos de verdad entre contracciones. No es como otros tipos de dolores, que comienzan fuerte y así se quedan.

Quiero que Miguel esté junto a mí durante cada contracción. Lo llamo. Viene de inmediato, se arrodilla a mi lado. Respira conmigo. Lo quiero con todo mi corazón. Me acurruco en su cuello. Lo abrazo. No puedo creer que esto está sucediendo. Me trae un mango y un vaso de agua. El mango aun no está maduro, sabe un poco ácido, pero es delicioso.

Nuestras parteras, Cristina y Lauren han llegado. Son como las 9:30 pm. Las abrazo. Sus sonrisas son cálidas y me confortan. Me hacen sentir segura y fuerte. Traen maletas y preparan mucho equipo. Me revisan y dicen que tengo 8 centímetros de dilatación. ¡No pueden creerlo! Me recuerdan: “¡Esto es lo que querías, Miranda! ¡Vas a tener tu parto como querías!”  Estoy emocionada, pero el dolor es muy intenso y no puedo hacer más que concentrarme en lo que está pasando ahora mismo.  Miguel dice, “¡Casi lo logras!” y le digo, no digas eso, no digas eso, no digas eso.  Quizás aun no me lo creo.

Me dan ganas de bañarme. El agua caliente se siente rico. Me ayuda a relajarme. Mis piernas dejan de temblar. Me siento en éxtasis, hay tanta adrenalina, serotonina y oxytocina corriendo por mi ser. De pronto el agua caliente se acaba y salgo de la ducha tiritando de frío. Cuando agarro mi bata de baño, descubro el cinturón que forma parte de la bata. Me doy cuenta de que esto es perfecto y lo cuelgo de un gancho en el baño, lo jalo con las dos manos y me preparo para la ola que viene.

Me encanta este cinturón. Lo cuelgo de las perillas de las puertas, me arrodillo y jalo hacia abajo. En algún momento trato de sentarme en la silla de parto pero no me gusta como se siente, es muy grande para mí, y no quiero sentarme. Vuelvo a nuestro cuarto. Estoy en mis rodillas al pie de la cama y dejo caer mi torso sobre la misma. Me aferro a los lados de la cama y cierro mis puños cada vez que una contracción aparece. Sé que no debería hacer esto, estoy resistiéndome, tengo que soltarme y encausar las olas hacia abajo. Lauren me guía, me recomienda bajar la cara hasta que mi barbilla toque mi pecho, relajar la parte superior de mi cuerpo, liberar las tensiones, y canalizar las olas hacia abajo. Cuando finalmente logro relajarme, puedo sentir la diferencia, puedo sentir como mi cuerpo se abre. Puedo sentir que mi hijo se mueve hacia abajo.

Las siguientes dos horas son indefinidas. Me convierto en mi YO animal. Soy puro instinto. Gateo por el piso como un felino. Sollozo, sollozo desde mis adentros. Abrazo a Miguel por largos ratos. Grábame, le digo. A veces me duermo completamente entre contracciones. Le hablo a mi bebé, ven chiquito. Siento la presencia de alguna energía divina en el cuarto. Me recuerdo que hay otras 200,000 mujeres en el mundo haciendo esto mismo, ahora mismo y que yo puedo hacerlo. Quiero llorar, porque me duele, pero no puedo juntar las lágrimas necesarias, y no importa porque acá viene otra ola. ¡Me lleva la chingada!, Grito. ¡No puedo hacer esto! “Claro que puedes” me dice Miguel.

En algún momento las parteras dicen que debo ir al baño porque vaciar mi vejiga hará mas espacio para que el bebe se mueva hacia abajo. Voy al baño con Miguel. Estoy en la taza, pero de pie. Me quedo ahí por tres intensas contracciones. Al fin de la tercera, siento un dolor nuevo, un dolor diferente. El llamado “Anillo de fuego”. Había oído acerca de esto. Es una sensación que arde, el resultado del estiramiento que ocurre cuando el bebé se empieza a coronar.

Salgo del baño y le digo a las parteras acerca de este nuevo dolor. Ahora sí quiero sentarme en la silla de parto. Estoy en el pasillo. Estoy a punto de dar a luz en el suelo del pasillo. Cristina me mira a los ojos y me dice, “Ya viene tu bebé.” Ella toma un espejo y le enseña a Miguel que la cabeza ya se comienza a asomar. Las dos parteras me preguntan si quiero tocarla, pero les digo que no. No. No. No quiero tocar la cabeza. Les creo.

Le digo a Miguel que acomode la cámara para que grabemos este momento. Me dice que prefiere estar presente conmigo. Insisto que vaya a poner la cámara encima de una mesa enfrente de nosotros. “¿Cómo esta la toma?  ¿Me puedes ver?”  Ahí estoy, produciendo mi parto a pesar de todo. La cámara está grabando.  Miguel vuelve a mi lado. Me preparo para lo que viene, mi mano en su rodilla.  El está conmigo – junto a mi lado. Estoy lista.

Pujo. Uno. Dos. Tres veces. Y nuestro hijo se une a nosotros.


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Labor Day has taken on a completely new meaning for me this year. I’m four weeks away from my due date (more or less) and taking all necessary steps to prepare myself to have our kid at home.
Yep, you heard it here, I’m going to join the ranks of indigenous women all over the planet (and a very small percentage of modern ladies, not to mention celebs – Ani Difranco,  http://www.mindful-mama.com/media/p/26.aspx   Demi Moore, and Meryl Streep  http://www.merylstreeponline.net/healthy.html ) and go for it in the comfort of my own casa.
Miguel and our two amazing midwives, Cristina and Araceli will be here with me.  We’ve got a massive tub or (tina) coming, in case I want to give birth in water.  We’ve got an OBGYN whom I’ve already had check ups with (and worked with) who has worked with the midwives before and is considered our backup.  (He´ll be able to attend me either at a clinic or at the Civil Hospital (2 minutes away) “por si las moscas” – just in case.) 
So, against the advice of about 72% of friends and friends of friends who have given birth, I’ve opted to not be in a hospital or clinic, and to go it natural – no drugs available.  No epidural, no Demerol, nothing to even take the edge off.   
What do I hope to achieve by doing this? Well, first of all, I want to say for the record that I don´t have anything to prove. In the end, all Miguel and I want is to have a healthy baby.  But I do want to experience my son´s birth in the most organic way possible.  
Why a home birth? It´s pretty simple for me. Some women feel comfortable in hospitals with technology all around them at the ready, and that´s what they need.  Personally, hospitals don´t make me feel safe, they make me feel like an outsider, intimidated, and sometimes even frightened. 
When I am experiencing the most intensely profound and intimate moment of my life, I don´t want to be bathed in flourescent light, surrounded by people who I have never met before.  (This inevitably happens in most all Mexican hospitals.)  Being at home in my own space, in the company of my amazing partner and two women who have delivered hundreds of babies gives me confidence. 
Why no drugs? I´ve heard all sorts of stories, “Go for the Epidrual, girlfriend!  It´s sweet relief!” or  “You´re nuts if you want to go through that pain. It´s not necessary!”   But others have said they have felt completely “cut off” from the experience.   I don´t wnat to be cut off from the experience. In the end, a home birth choice equals no access to such drugs.  

And so the last weekend of summer is upon us.  I can imagine all of my Brooklyn friends making plans for the long weekend, some choosing to escape the city for the quiet of a B&B on the Hudson, others keeping it local – fireworks, frisbee, a Prospect Park BBQ.  But for me, Labor Day has taken on completely new meaning this year. Four weeks away from our due date, Miguel and I are spending the weekend ticking off things on a long list of preparations for our home birth. 

Yep, you heard it here, I’m going to join the ranks of indigenous women all over the planet (not to mention celebs like Ani DifrancoRicki Lake, & Demi Moore) and go for it in the comfort of my own casita.


    demi moore pregnant vanity fairricki_lake_your_best_birth3

Miguel and I have chosen Cristina and Araceli, two well-respected, seasoned midwives (who happen to run their own Oaxacan midwifery school) to be with us on our day. We’ve got a massive tub coming, in case I want to give birth in water. We’ve got a progressive OBGYN whom I trust as our backup.  I’ve already had check ups with him, and even produced a video with him about “the humanization of childbirth” in Oaxaca. He knows our midwives and will be able to attend me either at a clinic or at the Civil Hospital (2 minutes away) “por si las moscas” – just in case. 

So, against the advice of about 72% of friends (and friends of friends) who have given birth, I’ve opted to NOT be in a hospital or clinic, and to go it natural – no drugs available.  No epidural, no Demerol, nothing to take the edge off.   Some people think I’m nuts.  I´ve heard it all, “Go for the Epidural, girlfriend!  It´s sweet relief!” or  “You´re crazy if you want to go through all that pain! In this day and age, it´s not necessary!”   But then there are others who have gotten the shot, and have said they have felt completely “cut off” or “detached” from the experience.  I don´t want to risk being cut off from the experience. Regardless, by having chosen two midwives who only attend home births, I’ve opted out of the drug possibility, and I’m at peace with that. 

Okay, so why a home birth? It´s pretty simple for me. Some women feel comfortable in hospitals with technology all around them, and that´s what they need.  Personally, hospitals don´t make me feel safe, they make me feel like an outsider, intimidated, and sometimes even frightened. 

When I am experiencing what I imagine will be the most intensely profound and intimate moment of my life, I don´t want to be bathed in blue flourescent light, with people I’ve never met before checking out my vulva UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.  What I do want is to be able to connect with my husband, switch positions, drink water, and focus.  I want to let the process happen naturally.  If I arrive at 24 or 48 hours and the babe still isn’t ready to come out, then he’s not ready, but I don’t want to be told that I need to be induced, cut, pushed along or given a Cesarian, just because things are taking longer than modern medicine says they should.  (If I go to any Mexican hospital, the aforementioned things are very likely to happen as Oaxaca has an 80% rate of Cesarian. To put that in perspective, in Japan there is a 10% rate of Cesarian.) But I digress. All I know is, being at home, in my own space, in the company of my amazing partner and two women who have delivered hundreds of babies is going to make the process of laboring easier for me. Punto.  

What do I hope to achieve by going this route? Well, first of all, I want to say for the record that I don´t have anything to prove. In the end, all Miguel and I want is to have a healthy baby. We know we have to be open to the possibility that things could take an unexpected turn. (This is why our backup plan is so elaborate.)  That said, I do have (and will retain) the hope that I will be able to experience my son´s birth in the most organic way possible. 

The whole experience of being pregnant, educating myself and making choices has been a challenging and wonderfully insightful process for me. The only thing I can say I have learned for certain is that each woman I meet has her own set of beliefs, ideas, needs, and hopes for her labor and delivery experience.  So, hey, if you’re one of the 216,000 women who is going to give birth on the same day as I am, and you believe you need a shot, get the shot. If you don’t think you can bare the pain and want to schedule your Cesarian for next Tuesday, schedule your Cesarian for next Tuesday.  I’m gonna try my hardest to have a natural home birth with midwives, the way women have been doing it for centuries.  

This is what I wish for my Labor Day.  



Curious about how I made my choice?  Check out INA MAY’s Guide to Childbirth.


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