Laura's Birth Experience at Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid
Laura is originally from the Chicago suburbs in the US and she gave birth in 2020
"I chose Hospital Clínico for three main reasons. First, I have public healthcare so private really wasn't an option. Secondly, I live in the catchment área for the hospital and have gone there for a number of other healthcare related issues in other areas. My midwives were affiliated with it. Familiarity with the hospital made me more comfortable choosing it. Lastly, while still having the option for higher-ranked hospitals for giving birth in Spain, the fact that it was still on the top ten list gave me additional confidence in the staff.
I had an emergency c-section as a result of placental abruption during the height of hard lockdown during the pandemic. I was week 41 + 2 days, with a higher risk pregnancy as a result of my age, using my partner's ovula and having gestational diabetes. I had also been told I had placenta previa but that it had corrected by week 36. I had gone into labor the night before, went to the hospital around 3am and stayed there for about an hour while they monitored me and the progression of labor. Contractions were irregular and they sent me home, as I had a non-stress test scheduled for 9am later that day. They told me that if baby didn't come in two days, they would induce.
Around 7am, I started bleeding... a lot. I wasn't that scared because I thought it was the bloody show women talk about. We got another taxi to the hospital. When I got to the door, this time they saw me, immediately got a wheelchair and had us upstairs ASAP. Because of the bleeding, they asked the other woman in the room to leave so I could be there.
My SO had to sit in the waiting room because of covid-19 protocols. I forgot my Spanish and their English was pigeon. They brought my spouse back in to translate and ask me to calm down. I was then quickly prepped, taken upstairs to the room where they do emergency c-sections. The only way you don't get your partner is for that procedure so nope. They did the epidural. Two male nurses held me while they inserted the needle. Really good job as no pain or scar or problems with that area later.
They put me under all the way, brought me out to show me red screaming baby, and then again after they cleaned her up a little. They had used a bit too much anesthesiology for it, so I ended up in an observación ward by myself without my SO or baby for about 2 or 3 hours after that. While that went on, my wife got skin-to-skin time with baby girl.
When I asked for the pill to dry up my milk supply as I intended to exclusively formula feed, zero issues at all. When baby then had issues with pooping and we called the nurse to the room, they took it seriously and looked at her. Some things that should have been expelled during natural delivery were not and made it hard for her to eat. They cleaned that out and put her in the ward for observación. C-section was done really well with minimal scarring and you could barely tell 9 months later. The biggest complaint was the lack of painkillers afterward. Another big complaint was when my SO translated, they sometimes just left me out and I felt like a thing. That despite my SO working to make sure I felt included.
They were really good at the birth plan being honored. I also had a recovery room to myself, which was nice When we were discharged, we used a teletaxi to get a taxi with an infant seat and went home. The taxis at the hospital didn't have infant car seats."
Did you feel supported in your chosen method of feeding your baby? Why or why not? How could this have been improved if you didn't feel supported?
"I chose bottle feeding. This was supported. There were never any issues at all. I asked for the pill to dry up my supply and was given it without issues. This was mentioned in my birth plan, which they had been given at intake. I used the template one by the Spanish government and suggested by my midwife during birthing classes. We ended up using the same formula the hospital used as baby liked it."
Thank you for sharing your story, Laura!
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Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. Doulas add an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience.
Who benefits from having a doula? Everyone! Doulas are for ALL BIRTHS - those with pain medication, C-sections, and unmedicated births - all of them!