I was 34 when I became pregnant, so my doctors considered me high risk. They did as many ultrasounds as they liked and tested me for the down syndrome gene, etc…I was not an informed parent at that time and let them do as many tests as they wanted.
I soon began to look for local pregnancy classes. I knew that there was something I needed to learn and looked for a Lamaze class at one of the colleges in Miami (I was living in Miami at the time). They told me they were not teaching the class anymore, but that there was a lady teaching birthing classes out of her home and gave me her information.
I started her Bradley Method® classes (12 weeks class series) and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Six weeks later in the class we needed to prepare our birth plan, which means writing down how we would like our birth experience to be. I had decided that I did not want intervention from the doctors unless an emergency arises, and that I wanted to try and give birth as natural as possible. A motivating force is that I am afraid of injections, I was more up to the pain than up to the needles!
I went to the doctor for my check up (I was about 5-6 months pregnant) and I asked him if he could read my birth plan. He replied that they did not do birth plans in his office and that nobody can tell him what to do or how to do it! He folded my paper in half without even looking at it. Then he advised: “It is better if you find another doctor, because you are not going to be happy with how I will deliver your baby.”
I was crushed, I cried, I panicked, who will be my doctor now? I was so far in my pregnancy… But, this decision by my doctor would turn out to be a blessing. I found a beautiful Birth Center (House of Babies) ran by midwives, who were really nice and treated me with compassion.
The day I started labor (January 18th, 2008) I was walking, just like I did every morning at 11am, but I could not walk the same way as I experienced my first contractions… I knew I was in labor and I went back home. I called the father of my daughter who came home. At 3pm after being vomiting for 4 hours, the midwives asked us to come in where they checked my progress, everything was fine, so they sent me home to continue laboring.
At 9pm I felt the contractions getting much stronger, so we went back to the Birth Center again. I had back labor, which made the contractions even more painful. They made me walk for a while and made me eat, something I had difficulty doing, but knowing that I needed that energy for the marathon ahead, I did.
Using the techniques I learned in my Bradley Method® classes I relaxed during contractions, which helped my labor progress and be less intense. I was in the tub, which helped a lot. At some point (3am maybe) my blood pressure dropped (lack of food of course and dehydration) so they put an IV on me to help me rehydrate. Hours went by and by about 7am the next morning I was ready to push. This was almost impossible for me though as I did not have the energy, and my baby was posterior – not the best position to push!
I got out of the birthing tub and start pushing in different positions. I was exhausted. But, with the help from my baby’s dad, putting pressure on my belly from the top and the midwives expertise, Veronica was born at 9am (January 19th, 2008) healthy and happy.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to give birth naturally with providers that trust the process. The whole experience empowered and changed me. So much so I now teach Bradley Method® classes on Maui and Oahu, because I want mothers to feel as empowered as I did during birth and afterwards.