My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story

So, as it turns out, I didn’t get round to writing another pregnancy update before the baby was born.

This is the story of how it all happened; the final stages of pregnancy, the birth and our first days with a newborn baby and a nearly-five-year-old.

It may not be much of a story, but it’s all mine.

Here is my previous Pregnancy Update at 35 Weeks if you missed it, and the story starts with my pregnancy announcement, Unexpectedly Expecting - the start of a new story .


 My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story


End of the Pregnancy

At the end of November, at the end of week 34, I started my maternity leave.  I wrote more in my last post about how I was going to postpone the start date of my maternity leave in order to have more time after the baby was born, but in the end I wasn’t feeling great.  I had a nasty cough at the time and leaving the house in the freezing cold at 6am then coming home at 4pm in the hot sun wasn’t really helping.  I decided it would be best to start taking it easy.

The cough improved gradually but still – even now - hasn’t completely cleared up.  It was great not to have to get up at 5am to go to work, and I could also take Emma to school in the mornings and pick her up again in the afternoons, which I normally don’t get to do if I’m at work.

My feet and ankles were still very swollen and I did try to put my feet up as much as possible – when I remembered to, but probably not as often as I should have.

Natural Birth or C-section

When my daughter was born I had wanted a natural birth and everything pointed to it being a natural birth.  But it wasn’t to be – my waters never broke but most of the amniotic fluid was gone, I wasn’t dilated enough and I didn’t have any contractions until they were induced, and I ended up having to have an emergency c-section in the end because the baby was showing signs of distress.  I did feel sad and disappointed about it at the time, but I knew it was for the best, for the sake of the baby’s health.

Second time around, almost five years later, and my gynecologist was strongly suggesting a c-section.

She felt a first natural birth at my age (41) and after a previous cesarean would be risky.

The doctor in the Seguro Social, the Mexican health service, also gave the same opinion.  So I eventually decided to follow their advice.  What’s more, in the 4D ultrasound (the one where we couldn’t see the baby’s face at all!) and again at my last appointment with the gynecologist, we were told that the umbilical cord was loosely wrapped around the baby’s neck.  This wasn’t really a problem while he was still in the womb, but the cord could get pulled tighter during birth.  So another factor that favoured a c-section.

It seemed a little strange to be able to choose a date – choosing your child’s birthday – but it had to be done.  Anytime from the 23rd December onwards.  We thought we’d wait till Christmas was out of the way and decided on the 26th.

As it turned out, we were spot on with the date.


 My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - A Pregnant Woman Poses With An Older Lady Behind A Little Girl On A Tire Swing
With Aunt Rocío and Emma on the 24th, Christmas Eve.

Bump-y Christmas

We were busy preparing for Christmas – obviously we were staying at home this year!  My husband’s aunt Rocío came to stay with us for Christmas and New Year so she was also with us when the baby was born.  You can read more about Mexican Christmas traditions and food here, but we bought ready-made dishes for our traditional dinner on Christmas Eve – so much simpler and much less stressful than cooking ourselves.  It was quite late at night by the time we ate and I had a lot of very rich, spicy food; romeritos, turkey, cod and creamy apple salad.

In the early hours of the morning I woke up several times to go to the bathroom feeling really awful with an upset stomach and at the same time what felt like contractions. The third time I got up I  sick.  I did wonder whether it could be the onset of labour or if it was just the dinner that hadn’t agreed with me.  However, in the morning I felt better, just a bit delicate.  We all got up to watch Emma open her presents from Santa with all the excitement that went with it but I avoided spicy and fatty food for the rest of the day.

I was getting what I thought were (probably) Braxton Hicks contractions but they felt stronger and more frequent than they had been the day before.  I was also feeling nervous about the next day.  We had to be at the hospital at 9am and the cesarean was programmed for 10 o’clock.  I packed my hospital bags (how stupidly last minute, right?  I was so convinced that the baby wouldn’t arrive earlier than planned) and had a shower, had something to eat and made sure I drank plenty of water as I wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything after 11pm.  I went to bed around that time.


My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - Last Bump Photo The Day Before The Birth
Terrible photo but the last one of my bump the day before the birth 

Birth Story

Despite some uncomfortable contractions, I was beginning to doze off when suddenly I woke up.  I felt a gush of water between my legs and thought, “It can’t be!” (I’m good at denial).  I didn’t want to move.  Then I felt more water. So I got up and went to the bathroom – there more water, my pijamas all wet.  And I found I was shaking uncontrollably sitting on the toilet.  I waited for my body to calm down then finally told my husband.  It was midnight.  We called the gynecologist who told us to go to the hospital, she would meet us there and decide whether I needed to stay in or go back home till morning.

The rest of the household was now awake and informed.  For some reason my mother-in-law was asking what “her waters have broken “ meant, obviously in Spanish – Qué significa “se le rompió la fuente”?  Why would she ask that? Doesn’t she remember?! Then Emma woke up and asked me the same question.  I thought quickly how best to answer and told her that it meant that the baby wanted to be born very soon, so that’s why we were going into the hospital.  She was going to stay at home with Nena  (her grandmother) and Rocío and they would all come and visit us in the hospital the next day.  She seemed quite calm and said “okay”.

Now the contractions were feeling more and more painful.  It was only a five-minute drive to the hospital and we arrived well before the doctor, but it seemed she had already made a decision and left instructions to prepare me for surgery.  So in I went.

I think I have clearer memories of when Emma was born.  This time round some parts are hazier.  I remember being on the operating table and looking up and being able to see exactly where I was being cut into reflected on the edge of the large metallic lamp.  I could have watched the whole thing but I looked away.  The gynecologist said the time of birth: 1.56am.  Somewhat earlier than planned, but one way or another this baby was going to be born on the 26th December.


 My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - Image Shows Newborn Baby In An Incubator


I remember Eduardo being worried because the baby wasn’t crying immediately, although he did shortly after when he was taken out to be cleaned and checked by the pediatrician.  I think it was at this point I started shaking again.  I said something about feeling very tense and was given a sedative of some sort.  That’s probably why I can’t remember very clearly when they brought my baby back in.

The baby weighed 2.8kg and measured 50cm – and was still without a name even now he was out in the world.  We hadn’t been able to decide on any of our original options.  I still liked Gael and Elías, but Eduardo wasn’t really convinced and kept coming up with other ideas that I didn’t like so much.  When we asked Emma – from the early days of the pregnancy – she said the baby should be called Alexander.  This was her only unwavering answer!  At first we didn’t consider Alexander an option, but by the time we had an almost week old unnamed baby we found ourselves choosing between Alexander and Emiliano.  I thought it would be a lovely idea for Emma to have chosen her baby brother’s name, so that’s how we decided in the end on Alexander.

Back in the hospital room after what felt like a short time in recovery and still feeling quite hazy, my baby was brought in.
It was the beginning of the process of getting to know and falling in love with this new little person we’d brought into the world.

It’s a strange feeling that despite having carried him, grown him inside me for nine months, he was still pretty much a stranger; we’d only just met.


My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - Image Shows A Mother In Hospital Robes Holding Her Newborn Baby


Baby's First Day

I’d been given some breakfast but I still couldn’t feel my legs.  They had already given the baby his first feed and brought in a bottle every three hours to supplement until my milk came in.  Later that morning I started breastfeeding and it went well, the baby seemed to latch well.  The nurses that came in to check on me and the baby were helpful but it was frustrating not being able to get up or move properly.

Emma got to meet her little brother that afternoon, finally.  I wonder exactly what she felt and thought when she saw him, this sleepy little bundle.  She sweetly peered at him over the side of the little bassinet cot and got to hold him a little bit (“he’s heavy!”).  She was very affectionate with me, and was also curious about the drip I was on and the tube attached to my wrist, which I tried to explain as simply as I could.


  My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - Image Shows A Little Girl Holding Her Baby Brother


Later in the evening I began to get up and walk.  I’m sure after Emma was born I was in more pain and needed more help, at least that’s how I remember it.  This time my recovery felt easier.  I was so ready to go home the next day – I could have stayed another night but I really didn’t want to be in the hospital any more.

Out of the hospital

So we went home the next afternoon, with a list of recommendations from the hospital pediatrician and a prescription for me – antibiotic, painkiller and anti inflammatory medicines.  We took the baby to get his first vaccinations and the heel test on the third day after he was born – that was the most I’d seen him cry, but it didn’t last long.

Now I’m almost exclusively breastfeeding, occasionally he has a bottle with formula, usually when someone other than me is going to feed him.  He has a tendency to fall asleep halfway through breastfeeding so feed times feel long and drawn-out.  He wakes every 2 to 3 hours, occasionally longer, cries when hungry or when he has wind. Mostly he sleeps.  I don’t.


My Mexican Pregnancy - Birth Story - Image Shows Newborn Baby In Superman Babygro


The first few days out of the hospital passed by – actually they still are like this – in a whirl of feeding, changing nappies, trying to get as much done as possible while Alexander’s asleep and juggling his needs with Emma’s completely different needs.

I'm probably not keeping everybody happy all of the time and not getting a huge amount done.  But managing to survive even on very little sleep. So far.

Stay posted for my next update on how we’re getting on with life with a new baby.


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13 Comments

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Super adorable #Stayclassymama

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  2. Congratulations! He's precious and well done you! �� #globalblogging

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  3. Welcome to the world little Alexander! Congratulations to you all! Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

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  4. Congratulations on the new little boy!!! How exciting and I'm glad your c-section was timed so well. I hope you get some rest soon! #GlobalBlogging

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  5. Oh my word, how cute is baby Alexander?! I love a birth story and now I'm totally broody! Congratulations to all of you, and good luck in your new adventure! #KCACOLS

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  6. Congratulations! My niece just had her first and had a C-section. When I said something about having a vaginal birth next time she said "No way, I'm ok with this way!" But she did labor for 24 hours. #KCACOLS

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  7. Oh congratulations! I think it's adorable that your daughter got to choose the name for her little brother (when we had baby number 2, we had an agreement with our older daughter that she could choose a name for our new car if mummy and daddy chose the name for the baby! Haha) #blogcrush

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  8. Congratulations!! Your son is beautiful and I think it's so special that Emma chose his name. My niece chose my nephews name, from the moment she found out she was having a sibling she said I'm having a brother called Bobby. Even before they found out he was a boy! Kids are amazing xxx

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  9. Congratulations!! Your son is so adorable!! I think it is so special that Emma chose his name. <3 I have really enjoyed getting to "share" this journey with you. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

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  10. Oh how lovely! I love baby and birth stories, this is gorgeous! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.
    Mainy

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  11. Oooh he's super cute! Congratulations!! And Alexander is a beautiful name, excellent choice there by Emma :-) xx
    #KCACOLS

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