During most of my last pregnancy I repeatedly told my OB that I did not want this child delivered by C-Section.
Even so, twelve years ago this week, my little princess (child number four, daughter number one), was pulled into this world. Via caesarean.
We were living in Chihuahua City at that time and as my Mexican friends and neighbors began finding out I was pregnant they would ask, “So what day have you decided to have the baby?”
What kind of question was that? I thought.
I would reply, “Pues, no sabemos. Cuando Dios quiere (We don’t know. In God’s time).”
With shock, and I mean that literally, eyes widening, blinks pronounced and eyebrows furrowing they would ask, “You aren’t scheduling a C-section? You plan on having this baby…naturally!?”
Wow. How weird could I be? To think I’d deliver this baby the way women having been doing since Eve started the trend ages ago! Tag another one on to my growing list of cultural blunders. I would find out that C-Sections were the way to go for women in Mexico, at least northern Mexico; at least the non-indigenous northern Mexicans.
The reasons? First of all, it was convenient. Everyone could plan around the birth, instead of having life stop because Uh-oh, I think it’s time- the baby’s coming. Second of all, at least according to many women, avoiding natural birth keeps the hips from spreading.
Too late. I’d already delivered three boys naturally; there was no more spread left in these hips, they’ve reached their limit (any more and I’m guessing my leg sockets would pop out).
I stuck to my guns and in so doing became a novelty, a sort of discussion piece if you will. And with each pre-natal visit, I repeated my wishes of a natural delivery to my doctor. After a few initial “Seguras? (are you sure?), the receptionist would call my name in the waiting room, announcing to the world, “Señora Hadinger, parto natural” (Mrs. Hadinger, natural birth). Heads turning my way, I was confident that my doc’s office had caught on that I was serious about this.
On April 25, 2000, I was asked to reconsider my choice in the matter.
My water broke and Mike rushed me to the hospital. After I walked (yes, walked) to the assigned room on the fourth floor, I changed into that lovely hospital gown and climbed as gracefully up on the bed as any other pregnant woman would do while her water was still breaking and while fumbling in vain to keep the back of the gown closed.
A nurse came over to help me lay down comfortably when suddenly her eyes widened, she stuttered, “un momento”, and then rushed out of the room. Within seconds she came back with my doctor and a few other nurses, who after a quick glance and staccato discussion, strapped a fetal monitor around me and set me up to the machine.
The alarm was due to obvious amounts of meconium poisoning, and it was affecting my baby’s life, per the readings of her heartbeat. The doctor suggested an emergency C-Section, but would leave the decision to me since I had been so opposed to the idea.
Just then, Mike, who had been parking the car, entered and was made aware of the problem. There was no question now; no longer a matter of convenience or aesthetics, this was possibly a matter of the baby’s life or death.
Yes, cut me open and take her out ASAP!
Mike could not come into the operating room with me and I was a bit frightened and lonely as the rush was on. I would have preferred them to knock me out completely, but with only a localized anesthesia, I was left coherent with my mind racing with thoughts like “No one even knows this is happening, do they?” “I wish Mike would be in here with me” and “Someone needs to call my mother”. Then I closed my eyes and prayed, quelling my nervousness and a panic that began creeping in.
Within 10 minutes, my little girl was pulled into this world. The whitest and biggest baby most in that operating room had ever seen, with reddish blonde fuzz crowning her head. Later, in the hospital nursery, she was the object of curiosity.
This week she turns twelve. She is our very own Mexican-American, holding dual citizenship. In fact, I’ve won certain brownie points with the nationals here since I am “mamá to a Mexicana”.
She has been called “La guërrita mexicana” (the little white mexican). My husband calls her Sunshine; I call her mamita.
We all call her a gift from God.