By Eugenia Algaze Garcia

"EXPECTATIONS" - Birth Story

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What inspired the artist to paint "Expectations"?

I had two very different birth experiences.

My first child was born in a hospital. My second child was born at home with the assistance of a certified nurse midwife.

Hospital Birth / Home Birth / Birth of a Painting


Hospital Birth Experience 1995

On my first pregnancy, everything seemed to go well. I was following the traditional hospital route because that was all I knew. The doctors only gave me as much information as I requested about my pregnancy, but I didn't know what questions to ask. Throughout the course of my pregnancy I did some limited research on home births and was skeptical.

Most people would consider the birth of our first child in a hospital a success because it resulted in a healthy baby and I experienced natural childbirth with minimal "pain" (which I prefer to describe as "discomfort" because the sensations during this experience were not the same as true "pain" -- thanks to the Bradley Method).

However, much of what was done at the hospital seemed to be for the convenience of the hospital and its attendants with little regard to my physical comfort. Furthermore, I was not comfortable about my forced loss of control due to Hospital CYA regulations. For example, I did not like unnaturally staying on the delivery bed/table "because the staff had to see what was happening" when my body told me to walk around and be more upright. Having a labor assistant helped.

But then, we had issues with the hospital staff as well as a mixup in the location of my son in the nursery. One of the nurses kept insisting that I should be feeling pain because she had felt pain during her delivery. The mixup with my son's location was resolved only after my husband demanded that the wristbands be checked. My husband was right and we did get the right baby back to room in with us, after all.

In addition, the doctor, not my regular obstetrician, arrived to this sporting event (as it seemed with all the hospital staff spectators) only a few minutes before my son emerged -- and almost missed it. Therefore, I felt compelled to do more research on all of my options before my next pregnancy.

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Home Birth Experience 1999

By the time we wanted to get pregnant again, we had done our homework. We were excited that there were some hospitals that were more BIRTH friendly. However, our research convinced us that a home birth was the right thing for this pregnancy, provided we could find the right midwife to assist.

After interviewing various midwives we selected Pat Jones to assist us because we felt really safe with her and her credentials. She also required that we attend regular checkups and participate in her preparatory classes, which basically prepared us for just about every eventuality you could imagine: before, during and after the birth. I learned more about my own body and about birth and newborns than I thought was possible! And the birth experience in our own home was a great experience for the whole family! Furthermore, thanks to the homework we completed for the class, we even had a thorough plan for the 6 weeks after the birth.

For details of this birth experience with a midwife, please see Women's Health & Birth Care under Natural Birth.

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Birth of a Painting

In the year 2000, a year after my very pleasant home birth, I woke up one morning grateful that I had had options to fulfill my expectations and make informed decisions. I also knew that someone under a good midwife's supervision, like Pat's, would have had several "safe" backup plans which would lead to the calm feeling of the artwork even though the subject is in labor with her significant other on a sailboat with no wind to blow it. I just had to paint the image from my dream - at 4:30 in the morning!

In 2003, when I heard about the B.I.R.T.H. organization that was developed to provide women with information to make informed choices, I knew that I had to help and wanted to share this picture with them. See www.houbirth.org for more information.


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