Maru is Panamanian, her husband Felipe is Colombian.
They have a life project that is hallucinating
They live in a house that is part of the history of Panama in Casco Antiguo
Maru is joyful, sweet and intelligent. Felipe is restless, intelligent and with desires of changing the world.
Lukas arrival kept us waiting, but when he took the decision of coming to meet us, he did it so fast that Graciela almost didn’t make it. I was in the United States in a workshop that I went in The Farm, together with Ina May Gaskin.
Graciela got to tell Felipe, when she was on her way to Casco Antiguo, that Maru should get in the bathroom tub of their house. When we visited their residence before the birth, we saw the tub and it was an excellent alternative instead of the birth pool… and so it was!!
Maru has a fantastic Blog and this was what they wrote telling the story of the arrival of Lukas to the World.
Week 41: Lukas Arrival.
As I was running up the stairs I heard Maru scream “!Felipe! !Come look!”. Not even two minutes had passed since I left her with Graciela (her gynecologist), to go down and open the door to Jimena (her doula).
Submerged in the tub where I left her just a few minutes ago (if not seconds) I saw Lukas for the first time. Just born he rests in his mommy’s lap, he passes his hands through his face and try’s to open his eyes. It’s 2:10 a.m. of the 24th of May 2013.
The storm that for hours lashed with clamorous strength the doors and windows of our house (in Casco Viejo and the same one that for over a year we worked to restore and remodel for his arrival), passes…. The rest of the dawn goes on with calm.
We let the water from the bathtub drain a little meanwhile the placenta got out; I cut the umbilical cord and take Lukas in my arms so that Maru can take a shower, she dries up: Graciela and Jimena help her to the bed that we had prepared we put Lukas in her shest again. Easily but without a pause he “crawls” all the way to her breast and he sticks to it; Jimena looks for fruit and water so that Maru eats and drinks; we wait a little longer and we pass Maru and Lukas to our bed.
Graciela goes out first and then Jimena…It’s about 4:30 a.m. Everything had happen as we wanted it, yet we never imagined.
Always, when Maru and I thought about having kids, we expressed our desire that when we did it was going to be a natural birth. When we were pregnant we told the gynecologist that we went first. But for some reason, the assurance that we receive from him in that and other appointments didn’t satisfy us.
And because it wasn’t enough we decided to know about the miracles of medicine, about how medical intervention safes mothers and babies when they need to be saved, about the benefits of such intervention in situations of high and very high risks for one or the other. We also found out how miracles of modern medicine had been converted into a “menu” of options so that the mother and father “get to choose” how their babies come into the world.
We also found out the little importance that hospitals pay to natural births. Yes, in the “menu” that today exists for giving birth, natural birth is seen as the “bread” that in the restaurants is “for free”. Seriously now a day’s natural births seen from the optics of health managers, doctors, nurses and support staff, it’s like that besides the resources that demands and costs it has to be “for free” and worst than anything it “takes away the hunger of the dinner guests”
Hospitals and doctors are taking the place of managers of “fast food chains” and in a clear conflict of interest they are stopping to offer “bread” so that they can increase their incomes and lessen the marginal costs per “client”. The saddest part of all is the process of dehumanization that turns out of their commercial strategies so that the miracles of medicine those that save lives and prevent risks, today are sold like the only way to prevent the normal risks of healthy births that require very little or any medical intervention.
The worst is that they are telling the women that they can’t give birth by their own means. And to make sure of that they put in practice very stretch ranges for what it turns out “acceptable” concerning the number of weeks and estimated weight of the babies so that they can be given birth “naturally”. So that for the moment of labor very strict protocols of medical and hospital intervention where they apply enemas, intravenous leaking, fetal monitoring and hormones to induce contractions and so on. This without counting with the “manage” protocols of newborns that means the least interaction possible between the mom and her baby and between this and that instead of offering options they silence the parents voices in saying how their babies are going to be birthed and what the conditions of their first days between us should be.
I don’t know about you but as we knew these things we were terrified, to say the least. So much, that Maru and I had to do a deep reflection about what it meant to her as a woman to be pregnant and giving birth, about what it would mean to Lukas the way he was going to arrive to the world but most of all if been responsible like we were been, to raise our child that for that moment we had conceived, we also had to be responsible of the way he was going to arrive to the world without delegating such responsibility in an inverted system without even caring because of their own conflict of interests. We investigated and then discovered the option of giving birth home and in water.
We knew Jimena first from the PANAMAMÁ foundation and she referred us to Rodrigo and Graciela. With the company of the three we started building the strength to give birth just as humanity had been doing for millenniums. I’m not going to tell you that it was easy..It wasn’t. Not only because of our own doubts but if it was the right thing to do. Also because of the fears of others were passed to us because of the boldness of our decision.
For months we threw away all the reasons of “certainty” the system has and built enormous reserves of confidence in our own humanity. Of that self confidence that allows you to open doors to the unknown and the humanity that allows you the strength to go through the threshold and go throughout the roads that are revealed for one to travel. Reserves that we almost used entirely between the weeks 38 and 41 to the point that we almost got weakened because of our impatience and the ones around us, of wanting to have in our womb our baby that didn’t arrived…until it came !AND IN WHAT WAY!
To be fair those last week’s felt like how the escalators must feel when they see that the zenith the more it shows the more elusive it turns in their try to conquer her. We felt that it made us confer more times that we had in months in our “sherpas”; felling that demanded from them (they actually) a profound intervention in the last days of our pregnancy.
So much that the afternoon that preceded the dawn that Lukas arrived we were in the phone with Jimena and in the check up that Graciela did to Maru. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday we attained the peace that we hadn’t had in days, we knew it would last little but it worked to give space to Lukas to be born in the next seventy two to ninety six hours without altering our birth plans. Calm that let us help the locksmith that came to change the locks and then having dinner and going to sleep. (At least me that by 10:15 p.m. was in deep sleep)
Calm that was with us during the time Maru felt contractions but didn’t wake me up, she was doing her own monitoring and they were every 4 to 5 minutes when she woke me up pass 11p.m. When we called Graciela she told us that because of the check up she did that afternoon it wasn’t probable that she was in labor she told us to rest and that most probably were practice contractions of the body,that we needed energy for what it was coming. We called Jimena to tell her the contractions were deeper in frequency and intensity, so we went into the shower to see if the hot water would help to calm them. When I went down to fill the bathtub I heard Maru´s exclamations than more than pain it were enormous releases of energy, we called Graciela and Jimena again who decided to come, We went downstairs to the bathtub Maru got in, we lighted the candles and put on the meditations that we had prepared for the birth. All in between the exclamations that announced that the contractions had increased in frequency and intensity and that would get lost in the tropical thunderstorm outside that would hit the windows and doors.
The calm started to vanish when Maru got worried because of the intensity of the pain she was feeling and that if this was the beginning of the birth to please give instructions for when it got real to give her medicines for the pain so she could tolerate it, for when the exclamations were louder than the storm outside and all the neighbors from the block heard her I called Graciela that told me that the storm couldn’t let her get there faster but that she was at 5 minutes from our house by that time I felt powerless of seeing how Maru would twist and changed position and would shout..
And just then when I felt that all the brightness was been consumed by the confusion of the moment the cell phone ranged and it was Graciela that she was downstairs. I went downstairs like a lightning I opened and rushed upstairs running. Maru looked at me scared ¡LOVE IM BLEEDING! To what Graciela answered with the calm of her experience “WHAT YOU ARE IS GIVING BIRTH, WHAT A BEAUTY MARU, ¡LUKAS IS COMING!” She checked her and said…¡WAO! You have 8 centimeters of dilation. The phone ranged and it was Jimena downstairs. I went down again as a lightning.
Between me going down and upstairs again, something extraordinary happened. Maru tells me that when she heard Graciela tell her how much she was dilated, she told her that she wanted to push to what she answered “then push”. She got on her knees in the bathtub laying her arms in the edge and she pushed…BLUB “What was that” “the head Maru, push again”…BLUB, and Lukas was out. For when they put him in her lap Maru screamed ¡Felipe! ¡Come look!
It was 4:30 a.m. and everything had happen as we wanted it to be, yet we never imagined.
They say that the name Lukas derives from the Latin Greek Loukas which means “the one that brings light”. Our son brought it in the middle of the storm. Son we love you.
Dr. Rodrigo Aybar