Those abuela-birth myths have some truth to them

My pregnancy was a little bit of a surprise. OK, it was a HUGE surprise to me and everyone around me. I was in my early-30s and my family had finally accepted the fact that I just wasn't having children. Funny how your body has a way of winning the biological clock war. I blame it on all the time I was spending with my best friends twins. Hormones, O.M.G!

I was deathly afraid of pregnancy. My mother and sisters had HORRIBLE stories. Terrible, awful tales of non-stop vomiting, and varicose veins in places no one should ever speak of. The glimmer of hope was always these stories about my abuela giving birth at home, alone, in the mountains of Puerto Rico, nary a painkiller in sight. And in like an hour. AND MADE LUNCH WHEN SHE WAS DONE! The dream was that I could give birth like she did.

And I did, sorta. The hour part anyway.


I had a good pregnancy. Aside from acid reflux, I could eat and basically sleep. I never vomited (well, I did once but that, it turns out, was pre-labor). I had lulled myself into believing that I was having the mythical, abuela experience. I was prepared to deliver fast and easy, just like she did, and then get up, put on my lipstick and start making rice and beans while sweeping the bathroom and humming to the baby, alseep in my arms. Yeah, this is what actually happened:

I had back labor: This was the first sign that abuela was not going to be on my side. I never once felt a cramp in my belly. What I did feel was pain from my spine, wrapping around my torso. Needless to say, I thought I was having back pain, not labor, so I had that scary feeling of, I truly don't know if I am in labor or not. I was. Maybe this was how she "didn't have labor too long." Hmmmm.

We got stuck in some traffic: Again, abuela looking down on me, shaking her head about my choice to go to a fancy hospital over doing it at home like she did. My water had broken, my contractions were coming every two minutes, and we were stuck in traffic trying to pay a toll. I almost ripped the door handle off.

It only took an hour: Of pushing that is. Once I started pushing, I did follow abuela's example and basically told the doctor and nurse, back off, I am pushing my own way. Their legs up in the air thing was not working for me. Some voice inside of me told me how to do it and I did. Exactly one hour later, done. Baby boy here! I image it went something like that for her too. Inner voice kicks in, biology takes over.

And while I didn't start cooking and cleaning, I was showered, dressed, eating and walking around before the baby's first feeding.

Did you give birth like your abuela? Did her stories scare you or help you?

Image via Tommy and Georgie/Flickr