10 things I can tell you about giving birth in Spain
(part 3 of 4)
A personal birth story
6. The staff on duty appeared hell-bent on delivering getting my baby out by the end of the shift.
All night we heard ¡Venga Venga Venga! and ¡No puedo no puedo no puedo! … followed by the sound of crying babies.
About 12 hours in I had an epidural after which I was pretty much left to my own devices. First the pain continued unabated and then after a top up I felt nothing. Eventually they told me I was 8.5 cm dilated and to push when I had a contraction and then left the room. I had not a clue what they were talking about. Push? How? Was I even having contractions anymore? I was of course, but the only indication of this was the graph on the monitor.
I was too terrified, tired and confused (mentally and bodily) to try when there was no-one there to ‘catch’ the baby. Surely not Mr B’s job.
7. Shockingly (for me) they do this thing where someone ‘jumps’ on your tummy with their forearm during the ‘final push’.
At that moment in time my legs were tied to the bed, I was having my baby dragged/sucked out of me, having my episiotomy snip (not discussed), there were at least 10 people in the room (I really am not kidding) and I thought that this woman was going to hold my hand or give me encouragement. Instead she heaved her weight onto my ribs, which felt bruised afterwards.
Any midwives out there – what is all that about? They gave no warning and no explanation. There was no mention of this in the antenatal class.
8. And after the birth you will probably share a room with at least one other woman and all her family will be there when you are recovering.
Be prepared to be breastfeeding (possibly for the first time) in front of a small helpful audience. The lady in my room was lovely and she helped me communicate with some of the nurses when I was just too tired to understand or speak any Spanish.
9. Get the nurses on side.
They can be a little brusque and insensitive at first but with smiles and little effort they thaw. Of course it helps if you can speak Spanish or at least if you try – which I did. I had a complete harridan (think Nurse Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) who dragged me off by the arm to the loo in front of all the ‘visitors’ berating me for not having put any knickers on (they were in my suitcase under the bed) and not having changed my sanitary pad.
This was the first time my feet had touched the floor since the epidural.
I am a first-time, full-time mum to Bibsey (born in Spain, Spring 2010) living up a mountain in Andalucía and blogging about it. My blog gives what I hope is a mostly entertaining perspective on life for an expat mummy in Spain: the ups and downs of living in Spain and the joys and humiliations of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. I believe there is no such thing as too much information so there may occasionally be a word or two on constipation, bowel movements and piles.
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