No amount of preparation can ready you for the birth of your first child. I was one month shy of my 41st birthday when my son was born. I had no complications during my pregnancy and was looking forward to the rite of passage into motherhood: the labor pains, being able to yell at people when they told me to push and the moment when they would place my baby on my chest for the first time. My son, however, had other plans. He was late so my doctor had already scheduled my inducement. For 38 hours my son and I had a stand-off. He didn’t budge and I never dilated. At the 40th hour he came by C-section and I had to wait another 45 minutes to see him as I was dry heaving in the delivery room and had to be stitched up. But the moment my husband laid him on my chest for the first time was worth the wait.
I’m fortunate to live in the United States where women are entitled to healthcare services when pregnant and I was in the comfort of a hospital to deliver in case complications arose. I was carefully monitored and my doctor kept my husband and I informed every step of the way. Once the decision was made to deliver by C-section, I waited less than thirty minutes before my baby was born. I couldn’t imagine living in Indonesia where over 80% of births are delivered at home instead of a hospital (Faizel 2011). Because most births are home deliveries, hemorrhaging and bleeding are the leading causes of deaths during childbirth (Faizel 2011). Another starling factor is that there aren’t enough facilities in the different regions that have adequate pre-natal resources or physicians to assist in childbirth. I couldn’t imagine what next steps would have been considered or how much longer an Indonesian woman would have to wait if she were in my same predicament and what the outcome would have been.
Faizel, Elly Burhaini, (2011). Indonesian women prefer “risky “at home birth: Official. The Jakarta Post (November 14, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/11/14/indonesian-women-prefer-risky-home-birth-official.html