Sarah is originally from the UK and she chose to give birth to her second child at HM Nuevo Belen with the One to One team because she wanted an English-speaking doctor and she liked the sound of a natural birth after a medicalized birth for her first delivery.
My first birth (in Singapore, 21 months prior) was medicated and not particularly enjoyable. I had to be induced at 38 weeks due to low fluid, and the anxiety and rapid contractions soon after the induction saw me leaping towards an epidural.
The system there is also very conservative and I had been told prior to my delivery that I should be lying down at all times (contrary to what I had been told by British midwives!) My son was born healthy but it left me wondering what a more relaxed and active labour might be like.
When we arrived in Madrid four months before I was due with number two, I started looking at my options. I came across the One to One team and was encouraged by stories of active and relaxed labours.
After meeting them and the lead Dra Ana Suarez, I immediately signed up. At 38 weeks and 5 days, my contractions started at home in the evening. By the next morning, they were regular and stronger, though bearable and we even took my son to the park. By lunchtime, I knew it was happening.
We arrived at the hospital and after checking me the midwife confirmed I was 5 or 6cm dilated. We checked in and I kept walking around, listening to music, chatting with my husband and even practicing my Spanish on an app!
After an hour, I asked the midwife if I could/should try something different as the contractions felt stronger. She suggested getting into the shower. I never really considered that or thought it would help but it felt amazing! I ended up staying there for hours. An hour in, I asked to try the gas, which I had whilst still in the shower, alternating standing and sitting on the yoga ball. I felt amazing.
The contractions by 5pm were really powerful, but with the relaxed environment, the shower and the gas, I felt happy. I was able to have normal conversations with my husband in between each, and asked him to tell me stories of our lives together whilst experiencing contractions. The midwife mostly left us to relax on our own.
Dra Suarez came to check me around the time I started the gas, and said since the baby was my second and was small, he or she (a surprise for us!) would be arriving soon. Around 6pm, the midwife said she thought I was close.
Then my waters broke, and I asked to get into the birthing pool. In I went, and within minutes, I suddenly screamed "I need to push!". Dra Suarez and the midwife prepared to deliver, while I leaned on the side of the bath, holding my husband's hand and continuing on the gas.
I couldn't believe I had made it so far without an epidural! With the team's guidance, I started to push. Within 5 pushes, our little girl emerged in the water at 6.30 pm. With a short cord, my husband quickly had to cut it and there she was on my chest, both of us still in the water. I felt a huge sense of achievement. I had done it! After my first birth, I really doubted my ability to deliver without an epidural.
It really goes to show the power of a supportive team and a relaxed environment. I wouldn't hesitate to have this kind of birth again.
Did you feel supported in your chosen method of feeding?
Yes supported - though as my second child I generally felt a lot more confident breastfeeding. And saw a lactation consultant very early on to check all was going well.
Did you have a doula? If yes, how was it? If no, how do you think having a doula might have changed your birth experience?
I didn't - the midwifes at NB One to One Unit were amazing. But if I hadn't had them, I would have hired a doula for that support - particularly given the language barrier. The aftercare wasn't as good and in hindsight I would have benefited from a Spanish-speaking doula to support me, particularly as my husband kept popping home to check on our older child.
Thank you for sharing your experience Sarah!
If you'd like to share your birth story in Madrid (hospital or home birth!), please do so here.
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
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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. 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 both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).