So, while I was in the hospital, sitting around having some good alone time with Jordan, I decided that it would probably be helpful for me to process some of the things that happened the day before and so I jotted some things down in a journal and wanted to use this blog to continue processing through some of the cultural things I encountered during this experience. After my previous 2 births, I thought this one would probably end up being boring, even though I was having him in another country and I was still very much learning the language… but I was wrong. So I made a list of some of the things that were different for this birth than for the others:
1 – My first 2 births were done in the comfort of my own home (or van) with people I knew and trusted, who really cared for me. Jordan's was in the DIScomfort of a hospital, surrounded by people who I had never met, who were just doing their job, and didn't even seem to enjoy it.
2 – I was warm (even in Dec in KY). Steve and I were joking on the way up about the hospital having heat (because it was about 30 degrees outside) because, of course they have heat in a well known, popular birthing hospital in Curitiba – it’s not like we’re in the jungle… NOPE. And not only did they NOT have heat, but when I got up into my room, my windows were open. Then they give me a “gown”(if you can even call it that) to put on and told me to take everything else off. All that to say, I spent the majority of my labor shivering like crazy and very uncomfortable.
3 – No IV & no meds. Since my doctor ended up inducing my labor because I was over 41 weeks, I had an IV for the first time. Overall I could care less about IVs… I used to give them to myself when I was practicing as a new nurse, but the nurses insisted that I needed it in my AC (for all you nurses out there) which is just the area right where your elbow bends, which meant I couldn’t move my arm & had to keep it straight the entire time I was in labor. The first IV I was given came out of the vein, which meant that the medicine I should’ve been getting for the first 1&1/2 hours was just going into my arm and not into where it was supposed to be going. None of this is a huge deal, it just made things less natural and more annoying for me than anything. And as far as meds go, there was just an expectation that I would take whatever the doc ordered because he is like a god here. So, after the birth, the doc ordered a med to stop my bleeding, and so instead of letting me breastfeed (which does the same thing as the med), they took my baby away from me and gave me a shot in my butt – in the middle of a hallway right at the entrance of the surgery center… good times!
4 – Much less explaining, coaching. My doc was pretty quiet – not sure whether it was because I didn’t speak Portuguese fluently or just because he’s a quiet guy – but there were several things during the labor that I would’ve been much happier if he had explained before doing them (you don’t want me to go into detail about this one ;).
5 – Number of advocates. Well, this is probably one of the biggest ones that I was feeling as we were on our way to the hospital. I was talking to Steve in the taxi and lamenting that I felt like it was me and him against the world. I felt like no one else was on our side in regards to having this baby naturally. I have never had this feeling before, because with my other 2 births I had an amazing support system… midwives who cared for me and my baby, other moms who had given birth naturally, my friends and family. This time I felt like I was going to have to fight about everything (which was kinda the case, but there were things I couldn’t fight and just gave in on – more on that later). Also, I was missin’ my momma. My mom was able to be at both of my kid’s births… Naomi by accident, because she was a week late. And she actually caught Caleb in the back of our van, so she has been an integral part of my birthing experiences, and a part that was missed greatly this time around. Steve was AMAZING & I couldn’t have done it without him – he was a great encourager, advocate, and back pusher J. He knows me so well that he kept all of his jokes in when my legs were being strapped into the stirrups with ace bandages and tape and stayed calm when I was yelling at the doctor in English, and he kept himself from flipping out on the doc when he gave me medicine through my IV without asking or even telling me.
6 – I had to die to some of my desires. With the other births, I had options to find doctors/midwives who have similar opinions as me, so when I made my desires known to them, they understood and respected them. Jordan, at one day old, has already had more vaccinations than his almost 4 year old brother. I was given a shot to slow bleeding after the doc sowed me up, but breastfeeding my baby would’ve done the same thing – instead, I had to be away from him for 2 hours while they had him downstairs in the nursery. Not that I could ever come close to understanding what it feels like to lose a baby at full term, but this time away from him became a time for me to grieve for those who don’t get to look forward to holding their babies when the pain remains after the birth.
I know I’ve been focusing on a lot of the negatives of Jordan’s birth, but there were very good things that came out of this experience. Because I was induced, this was my shortest labor, at just over 3 hours of hard labor - Caleb's was 8 hours & Naomi's 24. Also, even though I was missing my family like crazy, I was able to spend really good one-on-one time with Jordan for the first couple of days because I had to stay in the hospital for the first 48hours. But most importantly, after all is said and done, here is the best thing that came from the whole experience:
A healthy, beautiful baby boy!