Natalia is from Spain and gave birth in Madrid in 2020. She chose Hospital Nuevo Bélen because of the "humanistic approach".
I have always feared giving birth, the thought of pushing a baby out of my body seemed terrifying, such a HUGE responsibility! For the birth of my first daughter, I thought that somehow my body wouldn’t be able to deliver her and I spent the whole pregnancy thinking that something will go wrong. Disclaimer, I end up having a beautiful and healthy girl and a quite positive birth experience. For this reason, when I got pregnant with my second daughter Lily I was determined to change my mindset in order to feel in control of my whole birthing experience and maybe even enjoy it. In order to achieve that, I spent a great part of my pregnancy practicing meditation and birth affirmations as well as getting as much information as possible. At the end of my pregnancy, I was no longer scared but even excited about giving birth. I had a long vaginal labor with my first daughter Sofia that ended up with Oxytocin, Kristeller maneuver and an episiotomy which has really hard to heal. For this reason I wanted to avoid the use of Oxytocin in order to let my body dilate on its own.
My fist contraction started on Friday at 9pm. I got really excited when I felt it and I was determined to do it all right, I had my birth ball, my fruit shake, my music and my affirmations written down in my notepad. I spent the whole nigh bouncing on my ball and watching some comedy shows with my husband, but unfortunately nothing seemed to happen, and contractions were still quite far apart. By the morning I was left exhausted after a whole night without sleeping. In the morning I tried to go to bed and get some rest, however contractions were so strong while I was lying down that the fear of getting another contraction while sleeping left me restless and unable to close my eyes. I spent the whole Saturday walking, dancing, bouncing on the ball…but still contractions were strong but around 15-20 minutes apart.
By Saturday afternoon I was not only exhausted ( I tried to fall asleep a couple of times without any luck) but also very discouraged and disappointed. I no longer wanted to practice mediation or my breathing exercises, I started to feel fear and scare and the thought of my body not being able to give birth crossed my mind. By Sunday Morning, after a second night of zero sleep, I decided to go to the doctor for a checkup, already knowing that I was not on labor). On Sunday, around 1pm I was checked by the gynecologist and was told that I was only 1 cm dilated and I should go back home to rest. I immediately stated crying and told him that I was unable to rest because every time I was finally dozing out a contraction came and I felt like my whole body was being pulled apart. The doctor decided to keep me in observation for a couple of hours to see if labor would progress further at the hospital.
I was given a room to rest, and my husband left to have something to eat. I laid down in my bed while I was connected to the monitor and felt each and one of the contractions becoming stronger and stronger. After a couple of hours, a Midwife came ad check me, I was 5 cm dilated!!! I was finally on labor!! I could not explain how happy I was. The midwife told me that even though my contractions were still 8-10 mints apart, were strong enough and I should be prepared to birth within hours. I decided to have an epidural which unfortunately was more painful than expected and didn’t fully alleviate the pain. A couple of hours after my epidural my water broke while the midwife was checking me.
Right there, I could feel an intense presion on my vagina and feel that it was time to push. I was sent to the OR and laid down on the bed while I waited for the doctor to come. I kept saying to the Midwifes that I was really scared and tired and I wasn’t sure if I would have the strength to push my baby out, however, the midwifes were super calm and sweet and kept telling me that I had everything under control. I remember the bright neon lights right on my head, it was definitely intimidating to give birth with such a strong light and surgical appearance all over the room (after all, is an operation room). My husband entered also in the OR and stayed right in front of me, he had a first view and told me that he saw the baby’s head and black hair. Knowing that my husband was there, witnessing everything gave me strength.
After a couple of pushes my doctor asked me to stop pushing since the cord was around my girl’s neck. He remained really calm and fixed it really quick. I pushed 2 times and baby was out!! I remember the feeling of having my girl on my chest, she was so small and perfect. I was so powerful. Lily was born on a Sunday at 10.00 started 48 hours after my first contraction.
My husband was right there the whole time and saw EVERYTHING, the blood, the placenta, the stiches… and he wasn’t disgusted but grateful to be able to witness it all, that really made me feel like a super woman. At the end I had everything I wanted, a positive birth story without any intervention besides the epidural.
Did you feel supported in your chosen method of feeding?
Yes, my husband has always been supportive.
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?
No, but I wish I had. It is not very common in Madrid and I didn't have any recommendations or person that I could trust. I also feared that it could be expensive and my husband see it as unnecesary.
Thank you for sharing your experience Natalia!
If you'd like to share your birth story in Madrid (hospital or home birth!), please do so here.
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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).