Hospital General Universitario de Valencia
Fortunately, I now have a beautiful bouncy 11 month old baby who is happy and healthy and very very active!
I gave birth in the Hospital General Universitario de Valencia on the 27th October 2007. When we arrived at the labour ward, my partner was sent to register my details at the general reception in another building. That was the last I saw of him until the moment Lucia was born, when they finally allowed him into the delivery suite.
I was in the "dilation room" for 9 hours on my own. I was put on a drip, which when I asked what was in it, the midwife replied "a special potion", so I believe it was probably oxitocine (which is given to speed up dilation, a common practice in nearly all Spanish hospitals). I wasn't allowed freedom of movement to find more comfortable positions for the contractions as I was strapped to a monitor which forced me to be lying semi-upright on a hospital bed for the whole time. This was particularly painful because Lucia was in the back to back position and the pains in my lower back were horrific. In the end I asked for an epidural, but couldn't have one because it was a weekend and the anaesthetists don't work at weekends.
When I had fully dilated I was taken into the delivery room and tried to push. I was very uncomfortable and didn't feel relaxed enough to push properly. In the end one of the midwives pushed on my stomach, I pushed as hard as I could, and another midwive used the ventouse and after just one attempt like this, Lucia was born weighing 8lbs 2oz. I had a huge episiotomy (which they didn't tell me they were doing at the time) and also tore quite badly.
I personally wouldn't go back to that hospital to give birth. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't give birth in Spain again though. Unfortunately there is a long way to go until services are as flexible as they are in the UK, but things are definitely improving. In Villareal (hospital La Plana), they offer natural births where the mother has freedom of movement during dilation and delivery. In the Comunidad Valenciana (Castellon, Valencia and Alicante provinces), there is a new scheme to introduce a less medicalized birthing process. I think the most important thing though is choice. To have the choice of an epidural or not, to have the choice of movement, to be able to choose the position you give birth in etc.
I am getting very broody again!! Although I didn't enjoy the last experience, it hasnt put me off having any more. Next time I would like to go to the Acuario clinic, although it looks quite pricey.
I hope I haven't scared anyone with this story, and I know it's taken a long time for me to come back here and talk about it, but I feel better for doing it!
Love Laura and Lucia x x