Conceiving and giving birth in Spain

Conceiving and giving birth in Spain Conceiving and giving birth in Spain

Satire and sarcasm much-needed… Satire and sarcasm much-needed…

This is the story of an unforgettable pregnancy with Krishinda in the supporting role as the wonder woman made midwife…

Krishinda has left us here to go back to Scotland, to a different time and age, more propitious to her free spirit and opened mind, a lot closer to her heart too.
Actually, 5 years have past as I am learning as we speak to become the mother that I always thought I could be…
I go back in time to relive shortly, the sequence of events which have led me to come across a wonderful guardian angel.

It’s the tale of a Caribbean woman as myself, giving birth hand in hand with the most incredible funny African American character made midwife, I could come across. I looked for Krishinda as hard as I tried for my baby…
She became my guardian angel, after, I run out of bullet proof attitude having to face up to so much, along the way of looking to meet my baby.

DecolonialHealingBlack

Wanting to have a baby as a late bloomer in Spain or any other European country, becomes: looking for baby desperately…
Yes, it’s quite a challenge as you are told over and over again, no matter who you are or in what shape you in; you must be nuts…
Even if they checked you from head to toe, looking without the shadow of a doubt, for your missing or broken piece and didn’t manage at the end to find any…

If the miracle doesn’t occur straight away it’s your fault for being too old, as simple as that darling…
You always can accept the fact that you should start knitting and you’d better chill and forget about it, really…

Otherwise, you should go and see the magic gurus with their incredible miracle injections, you know exactly what I am on about. These hormones that come from I don’t know where…
Sadly enough, we know about those things that will totally transform you into a mutant being, physically and emotionally.
Subsequently, about to explode literally, impregnated with so much synthetic hormones which comes out of every pores present in your body. You should go and see some white coat, preferably old and male and let him have his party with your insides with all sorts of specific toys or torture instruments…
Because at this point of his late life, that’s the only way he can get to any woman and enjoy himself, let’s face it…

OK reader, I suspect you must be shocked by now…
If it’s a yes. See, this is the reason why, I warned you earlier on, about the fact that, it’s a Caribbean tale as we always tell it like it is. It is as cultural as the self-mockery we practice as we breathe…
Big breath and let’s get on with it, then…

Barcelona, Spain 2011, newly arrived, so I looked for the miracle doctor, I thought I needed. I Started to consult with a French gynaecologist, thinking well, it will be easier as we speak the same language, and we must be used to the same quality of care…
As she was the one who find out before pregnant belly that my insides where almost like the one of a teenager, which was of course after a million of checks and some torturous too…
Then, she decided that I should go to inseminate myself before coming back to see her. Well, I decided to look for someone else, politely put may I say.

So yes, I was pregnant, no thanks to all of the above because my body always worked fine…
Thanks, to those African genes that help us hold on to our youth a little bit longer than the European norm which has never had us in mind as a relevant group, anyway. Papa had his magic seed cleaned and spiced and that was that, the miracle was at work.
Full of hope and charged with positive waves in summer 2012, I started to investigate with my little knowledge on the matter in the Catalan community to see who could accompany me in the process…
Again, led by what others said was good for them, (big error!!) I met my third white coat or specialist in women parts…
Supposedly, human enough, pro natural and laid back. I can confirm it was yet again another expensive consultancy which didn’t live up to its reputation…
The laid back factor even for a Caribbean soul like mine was too much for my own good and my baby’s health, thank you…
Mister G.H was always away to some conference abroad or out of town they say. He was never available even in urgent cases, like the one I had to go through myself later on in this story, thanks, to his high level of competency; but then again, I’m not from the Royal family…

Being 40+ quite aware of the pressure I was under, after being too old to conceive for this society, now I was told that I was more likely to have an abnormal fetus. So, the pressure was on in the first trimester to find out if baby was OK, so everybody could enjoy the ride…

For those, who are quite lost by now, second major blow in this amazing roller coaster ride…

Mister “I’m never there”, went on holiday and totally forgot about my existence, obviously nobody could contact him. Being back, ages later and nicely tanned thank you, he simply told me…
«Ooops!! I forgot the triple test but even though, it’s too late will do the double one instead. It’s not as viable because of its high percentage of false positive results and no more in use but will do it anyway»…

That’s when I started to wonder why was I paying private health insurance for ?
The idea was actually to survive the pregnancy and for my baby to arrive in one good piece, after years of being mistreated by the public health system in Spain and having to go back and forth to Paris to fix myself up. This time around, I was not risking my baby’s life or playing with medical malpractice, no more.

So here it comes…
Everybody in the laboratory looked at me as if I was from another planet coming so late to do this test…
First, they were adamant they didn’t want to do it at all, telling me that my prescription was an error…
Then they went on and on and on with a moralising speech. Of course, it was quite clear that my doctor was a loony, and I was of the worst kind, having a child at my age with such a light and reckless attitude.
From then, I was left with my gobsmacked face full on which lasted until the end of the pregnancy…

One week, before the full 2 weeks wait for results, I received an early phone call, literally ordering me to communicate straight away with my gynecologist.
«Oh yes, of course I lived with him at the moment Sir»…
It was indeed from the laboratory and no way that man on the phone would tell me, The patient what was going on, but he didn’t fail to drop the word amniocentesis.
So, I played secretary the best I could, leaving messages all over the place, trying to have those two high eminences talking to each other. And without the shadow of a doubt, Mister “I’m never there” and “I don’t really exist for you”, had disappeared yet again in the twilight zone…

I was hysterical by the time, I rushed to the clinic that afternoon, where in a far away abstract idea of a plan, I was supposed to give birth months later…
While, I was sitting waiting for my name to be called, my phone rang, it was a colleague of Mister “I’m never there” who intercepted the call from the laboratory… No explanation, no clear results but I had to have an amniocentesis that might quite likely lead to a clinical abortion afterwards.
«Sorry what»?!!!
When I tried to have more details and explain that, I was no underage kid afraid of the dark with yogurt of a brain, she started to shout at me violently for challenging her authority, so I cut that abusive call dry. And she rang again at that point, I was not able to make sense to what she was saying being beyond hysteria lane myself, thank God my battery died…
Two minutes later, I was in with the doctor from the clinic, an old very calm dinosaur, at that moment that was comforting.
So, I repeated every single word of the little info I could steal from the laboratory and crazy woman. He seemed to be the first, talking to me like a human being that day. As, he understood that my main concern was that everybody was speculating on a course of drastic actions without any clear results or numbers; it was quite clear to both of us that it was too early to make plans.
He did what common sense dictates, which was call the laboratory and ask for numbers and percentages. Then, he proceeded in explaining numbers and became a human calculator on the spot for the longest of time as if that was the main issue…
«Yes of course, I understand all this and what about false positives results ?
All results are not through yet.
You what ??
Have an amniocentesis tomorrow ?!
Well, not really, thanks…
I’d prefer to have a more detailed ecography. You know the one that look for genetic and bone defects…
Ah, OK. So I’ll be able to have my eco here if I say yes to the amniocentesis, fine by me. (In your wildest dreams)
I understand, that I already had the routine first ecography (which was by the way totally normal) and to have this higher definition one, I need a prescription from you, otherwise my private insurance won’t cover me at all.
(Yes, of course I understand your blackmail, so you can have me, spending more money with you clinic and the amnio is good for business…)
So I’ll take a serving of each, please»…

You know what, I really thought, I was more clever than him on that one, making sure I could get another opinion with that ecography, little I knew he fooled me totally into having an eco session for nothing with the oldest equipment in town…
Later on, the next team of white coats couldn’t believe the poor quality and how useless it was, another nice one to remember.
As we say in France, it never hit you twice without a third time, for sure…

Kind reader, if I’m still alive and kicking you can too…
Breathe in deeper…

Some days had passed, the eco was useless, all I could do, was to investigate once more, to get another opinion while waiting for the results to come through.

(I definitely was eligible by then for the Guinness record of the year, specialised in internet search on the matter at hand.)  
This time around, hitting the hills in Sarria to meet yet another specialist who had studied and work in England (in case).

From the word go, listening to my ordeal, she was almost certain that it was a false positive result. By then, I couldn’t come to term with the idea of…

If something was really wrong ?
Then what ?

They had planted the seed of blind fear in me, there was no escaping the mental struggle at that point in time. After confirmation that it was indeed a false positive due to light bleeding inside the placenta, I decided to go ahead with that bloody intervention called amniocentesis, (residing in the Spanish region with one of the highest percentage of miscarriage following the procedure).

Luckily enough, everything went according to plan. (as if a pregnancy should be submitted to lottery draw) Do it and get over it, was the motto…

Closing down a very epic chapter thank God for that!
It feels like I just run a marathon sitting down remembering, right now.

All I wanted from then on, was to chill, enjoy my body, my time and forget the outside world all together and try not to spend the rest of the pregnancy traumatized. I did have to investigate some more, (by then they could have given me the master) because I was almost getting into my last trimester and still didn’t know how, where and with whom I would give birth at the end.
I was more and more attracted by the idea of having an undisturbed birth. Where, as long as I could manage on my own, I wouldn’t have intromission or conflict. At that point, I didn’t know how I would do it but I knew exactly what I wanted to avoid…

So, I took my time to have a plan A and B just to make sure, obviously, totally paranoid by then…

The conventional plan A, was to get assistance from a female gynecologist with my private insurance in a clinic. She would let me give birth, my way as long as there was no cause for concern but in the case of something going wrong, she would be prepared for any eventuality.
On the other hand, as the first plan was taking shape, I was finding out that as long as, I would be in company of my white coat, I will have some empathy and close understanding. But as soon as she would leave after the birth, I would be left with the clinic protocol.
My physician being external from the premises having only a business agreement, wouldn’t be able to give instructions with the team she would leave me with. My next move was a birth plan, and getting to know the clinic and personnel. That’s when I had a big reality check. It would be lottery, depending on whom would be working that shift. I didn’t want to risk separation from my newborn at birth or during the night after. I didn’t want anybody to run tests or administer drugs to my baby, I didn’t agree with and behind my back…
So, yet again I was facing a dilemma and clearly, I was not joking around after what I had lived, so far…
It was getting it right or killing someone…
Wild woman was about to bite !

And yes !! I was dreaming of a water birth….
Researching a bit there was no way I could do that in a hospital or clinic.
There was one semi private place but hours away from Barcelona.
Looking in that direction, I found out about midwives delivering babies at home. That’s when I realised, it could be my solution to avoid yet another conflict that day.
Would I be crazy enough to do it ?
Delivering for the first time ?
Would I be strong enough to do it without drugs all the way ?
If something would go wrong then, what ?
Going to a conventional NHS hospital ?
Going back to the lottery draw ?

I started to call around, talked to several midwives, saw a couple (one of them was scary !) and realised that I was not in love with any of them really and it was bloody expensive…
I was stuck…
I wanted to talk to someone about what happened to me while pregnant and how could I prepare myself, to avoid feeling that something else would go wrong during the birth. I needed to regain trust in the process, trust in other people, trust my own strength…
I found a post about a support group for traumatized mums after birth led by Krishinda and I got in touch. She responded straight away and invited me to come to visit her in a naturist centre where she was working.

She smiled, she listened and listened…
I still remember today the impact of that first meeting on me.
It was the first time, I was opening my mouth and telling out loud to someone what had happened to me and the careless treatment I had received so far.
She was someone who seems to be understanding and compassionate enough, it was such a relief. It was actually, the first time I was hearing myself feeling so defenceless and vulnerable and I fell apart here and there. She picked up from there and started her magic. She knew how to gentle me out with that huge amount of resentment, I was carrying inside. She sensed that the main problem was that nobody was trustworthy enough by now, and she worked on me bit by bit until I felt she was family.
Krishinda has a contagious laugh and an amazing outlook on life which can hook anybody. Apart from the great professional that she has been with me, she is a remarkable human being that has all my respect and admiration.

Not only, I had mental but physical blockage too. She taught me how to breath, how to visualize. Her hands became my gentle balm to ease my ache and pains.
Little by little she unblocked me.
She was helping me to reconnect with the baby in so many different ways.
I felt precious, I felt special…
She was my guide, my carer, my sister, my family…
Any difficulty or obstacle, Krish was always there to respond to find a solution or an answer. In my life at that pace in time, there was no more reason to be tense or anxious, there was finely room only for the moment, to be belly woman and nothing else. I totally let go, the complicated logical mind had to go to leave room for the animal instinct, to show.
I could finally centre myself on building up my nest…
I had entered my state of pregnant bliss…

23rd of march 2013, I’m having contractions, nothing new as I have been having them for weeks. Only, this time around, there are not going away, a couple of hours later and I can tell there are not the nasty painful ones, I’m used to.
As, I have been talking to baby in the last couple of weeks, telling my little man that mama is ready to meet him, and he is quite welcome whenever he feels like it. It’s 9 am, and I am certain that he is on his way…
Funnily enough I’m very calm, in great shape and in a wonderful mood that morning. I knock on papa’s shoulder to wake him up.
How come most men are always asleep when the time comes??
And clearly his face is a movie in technicolor, so I’m quite happy with the effect of my big news on him, I get out of bed and go find the future grandmother to play some more at my new game…
As, I am behaving with normality that morning daddy and grandma are so excited and nervous that it is for me the best entertainment in town.
We contacted Krishinda, started to pace the contractions and prepare the room for the water birth. I was doing a great job until 6pm, breathing and coping on my own with the process, then It was quite clear that I needed my midwife…
The pain was getting stronger and stronger only the pool could get me some relief and it did a lot better that in my wildest dreams…
Krish and Vanessa my team of midwives had installed themselves with their kit, the family was freaking out a bit; each one of them in their own style and I started to focus on the work ahead, joining hands with my sister…

I did go through each stage in a state of daze, most of the time focusing on my breathing, trying to let go of my mental rubbish and what was going on around me in the room.
During the longest of time at that point, I had lost track of time, the only disturbance was having to get out of the pool to go to the toilet and come back.
All I knew was that nighttime was upon us and it was not yet the 24th.
I was doing great with contractions listening to my guide, her gentle voice was exactly what I needed to hear with the right intonation. She was close but giving me space, she would intervene and speak only when necessary.

And then, I had to go back to the loo, once more as I was passing through the door, I was taken by surprised by a full-blown contraction without the comfort of the warm water or helping of the breathing.
The intensity of that blow broke my spirit and stab me in the back, it had nothing to do with what I felt so far.
My body entered in chock, I lost my balance started to feel nauseous and vomited…
Who said I was supposed to have a quick wee ?
Man! That was hell, I was at that point I dreaded so hard, losing control…
The contractions were out of control so close between each other and painful, I didn’t have a chance to try to regain control as I didn’t have time to breathe in between.
Oh yeah! I was out of the daze in the blink of an eye!!!
I totally lost the plot couldn’t even get back to the pool.
Was there really a pool in the house ?
I managed to end up in the room closest to the bathroom which was my bedroom.
I started to dance like a nervous reptile every time, I was getting another blow which was non-stop. I was looking for the magic position and there was none…
Exercise routine anyone ?
Up and down, left and right.
I was desperately looking for a break of some sort, while completely panicking.
To my senses, in my mind it lasted forever and of course listening to the family members present that day it was not the case…

When your mind goes into paranoia mode and wants to be convinced that something is outhere to get you.
That’s when Caribbean bad arse attitude arrived in town ! I lost my temper and was angered with the all situation.
My big mouth got in action, and I was back in the pool in a splish splash !
I had enough and it was loud and clear…
Totally unfocused now, looking in the dark at Krish with my killer eyes, my complicated brain got in action…
«Where are we ?
Are far did I get»?
(You’re not answering me straight. Don’t play half answers with me, I thought.)
She senses my negative vibe, I reckon, somehow she got me back on track applying the right amount of firmness in her voice and getting hold of my hands.
It took a bit of adjusting to another level of strength with contractions but channelling, breathing and voice together, I regain my rhythm…
And mother nature got me another break just enough to get me to the coronation in one piece…
The contraction were really strong and in sequence, but I was getting long breaks in between, falling almost asleep…
And yes, emitting those very raw and bizarre sounds with the deepest of my voice, while going through the intensity was transforming the pain in something else…
It was violent, animal and primitive but it was amazing.
I was feeling mentally more and more detached from what was going on inside of me. My body had a life of his own, the intensity was incredible.
I was in the middle of an internal earthquake.

The last course of contractions while baby was showing the tip of his head, was shaking my entire body, I was not in possession of my legs anymore, it felt like I was separating myself in two. My mind was contemplating the full strength of what mother nature was capable of.
My mere body became a simple shell that was channelling pure energy, powerful life energy…
I had to push, it was for me impossible to control even though Krishinda was telling me to hold back…
I lost myself completely in that storm of waves that were getting stronger and stronger until…
I was almost about to faint when baby came out to greet us with his presence.
We got out of the pool helped out by the entire petit comité and got to the bed, it was unreal.
I was still drugged with hormones, exhaustion and totally out of it.
It was over, baby was on my breast, I could feel him with every single pore of my skin but my mind was not yet able to make sense of what had just happened.

I remember coming back to my senses witnessing another comic scene courtesy of Russian man. Vanessa passed the baby to his dad while Krish was taking care of me.
The first thing he did was open the towel to contemplate his male legacy while grandma was counting fingers from a distance.
I was observing and listening to daddy flipping out about the fact that his baby boy family jewels were as brown as his mommy while baby was as pink as his own bottom after a winter in Siberia.
I will never forget Krishinda’s glance in disbelief asking him if he realized that all that time he had an Afro-Caribbean woman in his bed…

After a little while waiting for my body to exit the ultimate trace of baby’s journey in my own very personal and intimate resort, someone said :
«Well, daddy would you mind dressing that poor creature before he’ll catch a cold ?
Here it was, baby had pooped to say hello all over his dad…
I had to pinch myself not to laugh too hard, that was my kid here and there, telling it how it is with scatological Caribbean humour and all !
I was back with a separate piece of my genes into this world…

Krishinda Powers Duff, how can we thank you, there are no words that can express our gratitude.
How honoured and blessed, we feel to have had the opportunity to live in your great company such a transforming and groundbreaking adventure.

You taught me, through this incredible journey the meaning of sisterhood, the meaning of women connections.
You walked on my side, holding my hands while I was becoming a mother, you showed me what nurturing is.
You helped me discover my animal instincts, connect with it and trust in the process of life itself, learning to leave the universe in control of our imperfect lives and destinies.
You are to me, the essence of that sacred tribal woman connection, the carrier of the secret flame which cannot be lost or forgotten.

Be blessed a thousand times with all the love and the kindness you have given to so many souls.
You will always be part of this family…
We love you…

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You are to me, the essence of that sacred tribal woman connection, the carrier of the secret flame which cannot be lost or forgotten.
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