Clarissa is originally from the UK and gave birth in Madrid in 2019 to her little boy Charlie. She now runs the website Charlie's Footsteps - a place to find some of those amazing baby gadgets your friends back home rave about and you can't seem to find in Spain. It's also home to an ever-growing community of moms!
Where did you give birth?
Why did you choose this option?
I felt comfortable with the HM group of hospitals (I had been to Nuevo Belen) and it was much closer to my home!
I was induced, which was a decision I took carefully after consulting with my OB and discussing with my husband. I look back now and wonder if it was necessary, but at the time I felt like I was making the right decision. My blood pressure was high and my constant anxiety about the blood pressure was making it worse! I was admitted to labour ward and given a pessary which started some contractions which I managed through breath and the help of my pilates ball! But nothing much else happened and at 7pm the midwife removed the pessaries and told me to get a good night's sleep which amazingly I did manage! My husband had a comfy sofa bed in my room so we were together the whole time.
In the morning the midwives hooked me up to pitocin drip and things started happening really quickly. The pain was really intense and by around 11am I was struggling to breathe through the contractions and the midwives suggested I get an epidural which I immediately agreed to. It was the best feeling in the world! But it did mean I had to stay lying down and monitored for the rest of my labour, which meant the baby managed to get in a back to back position making it harder for him to descend the birth canal. I was able to relax and have a snooze until about 6pm when my OB came into my room and examined me. I had only been 3cm dilated at 3pm, and was only about 6cm at this time. She wanted me to shift positions onto all 4s to try to help the baby move down. This was a hilarious procedure with about 4 midwives and my husband trying to flip me over as I could no longer feel my legs!
I managed about 45 minutes on all 4s, unfortunately it didn't help the baby and it also knocked out the left side of my epidural. I started to have very sharp pains in the left side of my groin. At about 7.30pm my OB encouraged me to practice push. Looking back now, I think this was when I went through the transition of my labour as I absolutely freaked out and panicked. I couldn't control my breath to push and became convinced I wouldn't be able to do it. The pain in my left side was insane. I had about 3 professionals in the room all doing their best to help, but I managed to focus just on my husband's face and voice and he was the one to bring me back and calm me down and reassure me that I could do it. By 9pm I was fully dilated but the baby was still back to back and too high.
I was starting to think he would have to be cut out, but my OB and I had previously discussed vaginal births and she was telling me we could still achieve it. We had to go to the operating room just in case things became urgent, but the baby was still fine and we had time to try. My husband had to scrub up, so I went into the room alone. It was bright and very metallic/sterile and a bit rushed, but there was a lovely joyful atmosphere in the room and I felt everyone was rooting for me.
I only really calmed down once my husband was back by my side. I remember suddenly having the strength and ability to push. My OB said I would have to push like a superhero and I really felt like I did. She explained if I could work to get him a little further down, she would be able to use the forceps, but she would have to perform an episiotomy. At this stage I did not care and wanted her to do anything she could to get him out! Charlie was born by forceps at 9.55pm. He'd had the cord wrapped around his neck, so once the paediatricians checked him out for no more than 3 minutes we had skin to skin whilst my OB repaired my episiotomy.
Did you have a doula? If yes, how was the experience? If no, how do you think having a doula may have changed your experience?
I didn't. I think it would have actually been a positive thing for my husband to have that extra support. He had to be the strong one for me for a very long labour and he did amazingly well, but I can see now how hard that was on him.
Did you feel supported in your chosen method of feeding your baby(ies)? Why or why not? How could this have been improved if you didn't feel supported?
Sort of. I had said I was planning on trying to breastfeed. I wasn't really given any other option at the hospital and when I told the midwife my worries that Charlie wasn't getting enough, the midwife grabbed my boob, hand expressed and said "see, you have plenty" without really explaining latch issues etc. I would have liked them to help me with the latch but they would come in, quickly do it for me and leave!
If you'd like to share your birth story in Madrid (hospital or home birth!), please do so here.
If you're not sure what your own birth preferences are or would like additional information about preparing for giving birth here in Madrid, schedule a free discovery call with me! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).