Labour and childbirth in Spain

Well hello to everyone – thanks for all the emails and comments. I’m fine and fully recovered from the caesarian operation and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to write a new blog since Thomas was born.

Thomas was born at 3.50 am on 15th Septmeber. He weighed a healthy 4 kilos 70 grams when he was born (not 4 kilos 750 grams as posted on the previous blog!).

It’s great being a mother and Thomas is the best baby ever – it’s a wonderful experience and nothing you can really imagine till it happens.

Labour was induced as I had gone a week over my due date and had already started dilating. Everything started well I was taken to a room with my partner at 10am – there was a bed in one half and the delivery table in the other half. There were 2 midwives to look after me who were very nice.

I wasn’t in any pain at all for the first few hours before the epidural thanks to my Tens machine which I hired from Mothercare in the UK.

The midwives were very interested in it as they had read about Tens but never seen one. The machine really worked for me and when I had contractions I hardly felt any pain at all. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone planning to give birth here. The only method of pain relief available in hospitals for childbirth in this part of Spain is the epidural.

I was given the epidural quite early on even though I wasn’t in pain which was suprising. Even though I ‘d had the epdural the last 10 hours of labour were extremely painful because the midwives didn’t top it up enough – I’m not sure why…nothing was really explained to me. Another thing that happened was that because my labour was so long the midwives changed. Whereas the first midwves introduced themselves the new ones didn’t bother.

In one email somebody asked if it’s necessary to be able to speak Spanish or have someone with you who speaks Spanish during labour and the answer is in my opinion definitely yes. You really need to know what’s going on and to be able to communicate with the medical staff.

Finally after many hours of painful contractions I was rushed to surgery for an emergency caesarian.

I can remember quite a lot – I didn’t feel any pain – it felt like the doctors were rumaging around in my stomach. I heard Thomas cry when he was lifted out and then the doctors showed him to me – after that I everything seemed to blur but I remember being taken to the recovery room feeling wonderful and sleeping off the effects of the anaesthetic.

Then I was taken to my room where my partner and mother (who arrived earler that day) were waiting.

Shortly afterwards the nurses brought in baby Thomas and I held him in my arms for the first time which was the most wonderful, amazing moment.

Reflecting on my experience of giving birth in a Spanish hospital I have to say it was disappointing – I probably wouldn’t choose to give birth here again. Apart from anything else the cultural differences make the whole process a lot more difficult (not to mention the lack of choice in pain relief).

The stay in hospital was not a pleasant experience for various reasons. Other mothers from my antenatal class also said that the level of care in the hospital was very poor. Yesterday I met another English woman with a baby just 2 weeks younger than Thomas we got round to discussing childbirth here, apparently her labour had not been that bad but before I even mentioned the hospital she said that her stay in hospital here was awful!

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