Katie’s Real Birth Story | Birthing in Brazil

Where & how was your baby born? Was it as you expected and did you have any support / tools?

 

Well…….my baby was born in Brazil. Her dad is Brazilian, and we were living in Brazil. We were in actually England when I realised I was pregnant, but her dad had a job offer to get back for. It’s a very long story, but I got back to Brazil around three months pregnant, still half in denial, and started my check-ups in Brazil. After I saw her on the ultrasound that was it, that was my baby, I was a mum, the rest was history! I wasn’t at all as I expected, mostly because around that time my mum’s brain started to deteriorate. She had frontotemporal dementia. We didn’t know what it was at the time, but I started to notice something was wrong when she came to visit for the birth. Even so, having her there meant the world to me. When I finally convinced my husband at 2 in the morning to take me to the birthing centre, we found her in the spare room fully dressed, handbag over her shoulder with the light on sitting on the end of her bed. Oh, the other surprise was that the doctor expected me to have a cesarian. I knew most Brazilian women go for cesarian if they can afford it, but I never knew that was because they weren’t offered a choice! I refused to have one though. I had to find a new doctor! One more surprise was I didn’t have contractions, from start to end. Just a torturous burning in my pelvic floor. I don’t know what that was about. Maybe one day I’ll find out.
What are your top tips for others going through birth?
I’m not sure but I’d say hang on at home as long as you can, to avoid being turned away and having to go back and fourth in the car. It’s hard to get comfy in a car. Nowadays it’s so much easier to find someone who can be talking you through it on the phone so you have an idea how far along you are. Also, if you do end up birthing in the car it’s not a disaster. Next time you get a taxi, ask your driver if he’s ever had someone give birth in his car. I bet you’ll be surprised.
What aspects of your journey are you most proud of and / or did you enjoy? *
I didn’t enjoy it at the time, but I have a laugh telling people I was banging on the door of the ambulance. They have an ambulance permanently parked at the entrance of the birthing centre in case anyone needs transferring, which I didn’t, but I felt like I did! My then husband was mortified. He deserved it! It’s only right to have a showdown at some point during labour!
If you could do anything differently what would it be?
For many years I felt I’d made a terrible mistake having my daughter in Brazil, and I couldn’t forgive myself. Nine years on I’m still stuck here, but I’m finally coming round to the idea that it’s all part of a bigger plan. Now my baby girl is eight I’m studying to be a doula, which is badly needed in Brazil. If I’d stayed in England I don’t know what I’d be doing now. One thing I still regret about the birth though, seems like a minor thing, but I wish I’d stopped them putting coloidal silver in my baby’s eyes. They just told me it was eye wash. I was in such a good mood after the oxytocin I was down for anything. It was unnecessary because she’d been born in the sack, so nothing had touched her. After that her eyes started producing sticky green puss and she had to have antibiotics. Every now and then she’ll have a relapse. And I’m convinced it’s the root of her asthma.
What helped you?
Knowing that myself, my three sisters and everyone in my family had been born healthy, without complications, and my mum had my little sister at age 42. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything courageous. I was just doing what’s normal to me. I don’t know how any Brazilian women find the courage to go against the grain and insist on a natural birth, when all their family and everyone they know has only had cesarian. I also can’t imagine how terrifying it must be for the ones who don’t have insurance and literally could die. That’s how it is in Brazil. If you have insurance, they try to make you have a cesarian. If you don’t have insurance, you’re unlikely to get a cesarian even if you need one. As I had decided to ditch my insurance and go public, I’m actually not sure what would’ve happened if I’d needed one. I didn’t think about that at the time. I think I kind of felt protected by being white. Sounds insane I know, but these things just don’t happen to white women.
Thank you Katie for sharing your story and wisdom with us. We’d love to hear your story too…
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