And there we were, increasingly joyful and less fearful. Joy flooded us as we discovered that we were getting closer to reality, to the natural. And that prompted us to want to share it with some friends, with our loved ones. Several would tell us that we were crazy, because it was not safe and the thousand and one reasons to have it in a hospital. So, although we had been discovering several reasons to have it in our home, we had to be prepared.
And then the image of the Bunker came to me. Nobody but someone who has been through the experience knows what it takes to challenge 'the established'; perhaps this was the biggest fight.
So we choose to be discreet with our decision, safeguarding our process in this kind of intimate bunker.
Already in the last two months the issue of childbirth would begin to be present in the atmosphere of any meeting that my belly attended. This last stage I would face the greatest ghost of all women: the pain. "Aren't you going to ask for anesthesia?" "You are crazy." "Why suffer, if there is the possibility of avoiding pain?" And, already waiting for that Monster-pump-of-situations-to-the-extreme, I stopped before myself: why is pain part of the process of giving birth? If it is contemplated within the natural process (of Nature), will it not have its purpose? Why am I going to resist it? Who anticipates that I will not tolerate it and leads me to prevent myself from “not suffering”?
So from that moment I began to assimilate his presence as something natural. If it was there it would be for "something". Then I was assembling myself with some fragments. “From pain, life is born”, I read on one of those sleepless nights before giving birth. How many times do we need suffering or pain as a starting point to come to understand something of our own evolutionary process: letting go of something about ourselves that makes us feel bad, that we are not seeing, that we are reluctant to leave, to make room for a new form more real to live and see life, to see ourselves. Weren't we ceasing to be that woman that we were, to become a new woman, a Mother? Why, then, resist? And so something in me was unlocking. And, almost instantly, through a very dear friend, a page of experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum came to me. And there I would dive at night, as in a kind of source of answers, feeling that these women were speaking to me. They had already crossed the threshold, they had passed through their experience in a conscious way, connected to the true needs of their baby. Those women were giving me the most valuable element that someone can give you: the element of someone who has gone through the experience.
I was entrenched in the comforts of my Bunker, taking everything that could carry me inside. Among them, the testimony of a mother who when she began to feel the pain of labor contractions, armed herself with the idea that the baby would be pushing down and out. Therefore the pain meant the effort that he and his little head were making to lower. And in that resided the great encouragement to push and work as a team. The two, fighting to come to life, to meet! This image penetrated so deep inside me that I carry it with me to this day. It was a great force in the moments of greatest fatigue, the encouragement to always give a little more.
And, in this matter of pain, the experience would be another great Teacher, surely the most instructive. It would make me see why the intensity of the pain goes "in crescendo": from the little, tolerable, to the most intense, also tolerable. With its gradualness, pain gave me time to gain dimension and endure what would be the greatest pain: the one that invited me to realize a force that I never imagined resided within me.
Today I can see how my own body was preparing me for the moments of greatest intensity, indicators -in turn- of the corresponding force that we must do.
Would the same process happen if I was injected with synthetic oxytocin (drip)? Could I perceive in the same way, this natural preparatory process that my body makes me go through? What if I had anesthesia?
Franco had already passed his (approximate) due date. To our peace of mind, my obstetrician told us that we would wait for him. It was invaluable knowing that we would all respect my baby's time; there would begin respect for that human being, soon to be part of this world. This is how the following nights passed, going to sleep thinking ... "What if he is born today?" Between anxiety and excitement, I created two false alarms. One: I was in a lot of pain, they weren't regular contractions and the times between them were getting shorter as they should be… but I assure you that I was in a lot of pain. Two: I was still in a lot of pain, for me they were labor contractions or something. So I decided to go see her at our baqueana. Apparently my uterus was too hard, "tense", was her diagnosis after asking her to perform a touch (and knowing from her what it means to perform this 'maneuver' on a pregnant woman about to give birth).
- "The uterus is yours, my love, it is not your baby's", he added, as if suggesting something to me.
"ARRRRRGGGHHHH!" I thought –almost screamed- internally. Are you telling me that I'm tense? I don't know how to relax anymore: 'let go'. I want it to come. If I told you that we are waiting for you. So I don't know what else to do ”, I repeated to myself in a kind of internal dialogue. And that was the line that gave rise to the following scene: "The midwife and her moment saying goodbye to the belly."
"Did you say goodbye to the belly? Because you do not draw a picture, you write something ... from the feeling. Running the mind. Something symbolic to tell him that mom is already waiting for him here. And you say goodbye, but cut. ”, Were his advice behind the phone.
I listened to her, very attentively. The first thing that came to mind was: how am I going to cut him? And trying to take his words, suddenly something made me jump out of bed.
I went to the kitchen and said to my partner: "We are going to say goodbye to the belly."
I grabbed some paintings, I painted his hand and that of the other two members of the family (my cats Tutuca and Burriki). They put their hands on my belly, followed by a few words of goodbye. My turn. I said what I felt and a "bye, we wait for you here little one". Without feeling that she was a bad mother, nor that she would ignore him, but giving her a clear signal that very soon she would speak to her from this side of life.
Context: I had said goodbye to my tummy two hours ago when the first contractions suddenly woke me up. "Are you sure? How often are the contractions? ”Asked the midwife behind the phone. "Every 5 minutes," Javier told him. Right away, we were home: her, Javi and me. He had taken care that the house was in order, the rooms prepared, and the environments warm. There, 'firm as a statue roll', while I was entering that other world: walking from one side of the house to the other, swinging my hips, from one side to the other. Grabbing me off the table.
- “How long have you been like this? Why don't you rest a bit? You are still half dilated. The best thing is that you save your energy, so as not to arrive tired at the moment of the push. Why don't you go to bed? " All said in his sweet and loving tone. "You are crazy if you think that I can even lie down with this pain," my eyes told him without even having to pronounce what he was thinking. However, I felt that taking his word for it was the right alternative.
- "You're doing well," he retorted at my gaze. They were the necessary words, of certainty and peace with myself. Always leading me to trust my body, the only thing I needed to stay connected with what was happening to me. And so, reluctantly, I leaned back.
- "Inhale and exhale. And when the pain comes, let it go. Let it pass through you, do not lodge it or retain it in your body, ”he whispered in my ear.
Part of me wanted to laugh sarcastically at his Yogi-Buddhist ideal. But I trusted her, so I started, from time to time: consciously inhale and exhale. I realized that it hurt more when my body held the pain, generating more tension. So when I felt that some part of me was tense, on the next exhale I would seek to relax it. Try and failure. Once at a time Until I gradually felt how my body began to let itself go through and embrace the pain. Four hours later I would wake up (or come out of that state, a state hitherto ignored by me)! Now yes: "full dilation," said the obstetrician recently arrived on the scene. Could it have been the internal work I did to assimilate the pain, which allowed me to live with it to the point of relaxing so much? I don't know… but a part of me feels like he did everything he could to lay that foundation.
When I woke up the contractions were more intense from where I had left them. I clearly distinguished that this was a new stage. "It is time for her to be born," Alejandra confirmed.
I tried a thousand and one ways. On the bench, in the toilet, in the shower. Everything worked, but I couldn't find my way to give birth. Until finally I decided to lie down on the bed, ready to give the last pushes that I felt would culminate in the birth of Franco. We were in the dark, while Javi pointed with a dim light to have a little more visibility. For a brief moment I believed that I could not do more strength than I was doing but I had warned myself that when it happened I would think that I could always push myself a little harder.
I remember everyone cheering me on and telling me that I was doing very well. A longer push was missing before it finished coming out. "Is there. Do you want to touch his head? " It was the final stimulus. And so, in what would be the final effort, the obstetrician would look at my husband: "Do you want to receive it?" And so he would reach the world, in the hands of his father. Although, only until I managed to rejoin and, to the sound of "give it to me", snatch it from his hands.
It was the signal for Mario, the neonatologist, to enter the room. He would look at him, listen to his lungs with his hand to check his breathing and give it his thumbs up. We knew that this was a sacred, constitutive and determining moment for him, the “skin to skin” moment. I remember the peace I felt because in this way our bond would begin. Later they would give him the only essential thing for this moment: vitamin K, in the form of droplets, and he would weigh it, with his hand scale and wrapped in the same towel that covered him to conserve the heat of his body. It was only those seconds away from me, to get back on my chest and try to latch on to the tit.
They had already informed us of the benefits of having all the cord blood transferred to him, passing the greatest amount of blood and stem cells to avoid anemia. So while we waited for the cord to give its last heartbeat, they went to make their own breakfast in our kitchen.
And, suddenly, the three of us found ourselves in the privacy of our bed, still ecstatic with love and happiness: we had been the protagonists of the birth of our son Franco.
I immediately remembered the image that had moved me in that first parents' meeting, but which was now ours: the three of us, in peace and in the privacy of our home.
I feel nothing but gratitude for the professionals who guided us in this experience, constantly supported and tenaciously remembered the need to trust me as a woman, to decide to give birth freely and freely. And, to me, of course. Because, although some people call me risky, I feel like a brave woman with greater confidence in myself. And how can I forget my partner? Another priceless stronghold, without him none of this could have been possible.