Ines, Birth in Paris
Well, I had the birth experience I was hoping for…even better!
Went into labor at 3:30 a.m .on a Friday morning, although I wasn’t sure it was labor. All through that day it just seemed too mild as I breathed into the contractions and after they passed I felt so well it was hard to believe it was actual labor (I called a friend who’d recently given birth and she said “oh yeah, false labor, go shopping!”).
But by Saturday a.m. the contractions were getting pretty intense, by 5:00 p.m. I was quite certain it was real. Between the yoga breathing and a big glass of red wine I felt fine and tried to stay home till the last minute. Finally at 8:30 we hailed a cab and drove through a gorgeous Paris sunset to the maternité. I was pretty miserable in the cab, and when I got there and was checked by the sage femme she said she hoped I wasn’t planning on pain killers as I was already 8 cm dilated.
The real miracle, though, was when I got undressed and laid down (in a delivery room with the lights dimmed, clean white sheets, plenty of big pillows and all kinds of birthing aids) the midwife came in and said “Hi, I’m Michelle!” Couldn’t believe my ears, an American from Minnesota! I was able to make all my requests in English and, most wonderfully, we were really in sync. (I’d written a page of do’s and don’t’s for the midwife, all of which I’m sure you know).
So no painkillers, no intrusions except for a small monitor on my middle and, my one concession to Michelle, an I.V. (not hooked to anything, of course). At 9:30 she told me I’d have my baby by 10:00. She was off by two minutes, I had her at 10:02 after about 20 minutes of pushing. Then five days in a sunlit room with sages femmes to teach me everything from bathing and changing to nursing. They even kept me an extra day as my left breast was giving us a hard time. Now we’re breastfeeding beautifully and apart from some colic, she’s doing great. Thomas and I are completely and totally in love. He isn’t working right now so we’ve been able to share the work and it’s made the experience of having a newborn so much less stressful and so wonderfully enjoyable. We’re having the time of our lives.