- I felt unseen while giving birth in the US. No one was paying attention to what I needed.
- In Argentina, about a dozen people were waiting for me in the recovery room, which felt chaotic.
- My C-section scar in Argentina was delicate. I would even call it cute.
I was born and raised in the US with Latinx parents. When I started college, I was yearning for a different lifestyle, and I moved to Argentina, my father’s birthplace. My first child was born in Argentina, my second in Southern California.
After 10 years in Argentina, and when my son was a little over a year old, I moved back to Southern California.
Comparing both experiences, I feel like in Argentina the care was all about me and what I wanted to do, while in the US things felt heavily centered on the newborn, even when I was the one having major abdominal surgery.
My doctor in Argentina was never in a rush
My prenatal checkups were about the same in both countries. The biggest difference was that in Argentina, everything was covered by my insurance, including genetic testing. In the US, the copay was over $500. This seemed ridiculous to me, but medical costs in the US are always ridiculous to me.
When I was close to the due date, my Argentine doctor was very much pro-waiting. He was very calm about the fact that we didn’t know when the baby would be born — when it was time, he would come. When nothing happened after I was induced, my doctor sat next to me in the kindest manner, asking how I was, how I felt, and what I wanted. I opted for a C-section.
In the US, I told my doctor about my first birth, how my son was late and how ultimately we did a C-section because I wasn’t having any contractions or dilating. She said, No-brainer, C-section again it is. I can’t even remember her asking me what I wanted to do.
I did not feel supported in the US during my delivery
In Argentina, everyone with insurance gets a midwife. I had met with her before the birth, and she sat with us in the “contraction room” the entire time.
Opting for a C-section usually means the midwife is sent to finish the paperwork. Mine realized how much my husband was in panic mode, and she was the one holding me tightly while I got the epidural. She also chatted with me while the team was operating, making the whole situation more intimate and personal.
In the US, the operating room felt cold.
I felt horrible when I was laid down after the epidural, and I asked the anesthesiologist several times if this was normal. He brushed my concerns away and continued to look elsewhere, telling my husband I was fine and just needed to calm down. During the procedure, I wasn’t talked to. I could faintly hear the doctor conversing about something that happened outside the operating room.
The visitor policy in the US allowed us uninterrupted time with our newborn
In Argentina, we had a lot of visitors. About a dozen friends and family members were waiting for me in the recovery room. I loved having visitors, but this was way too soon. This is the way it is there. I came prepared with little personalized mints set out for those who stopped by during my stay.
In the US, we got four uninterrupted hours with our newborn. The hospital had a no-visitor policy, so my husband and I snuggled and rested with our daughter. I was thankful for the rest, allowing the adrenaline to subside while we sent cute photos to our family.
My C-section scar in Argentina was well taken care of
In Argentina, my C-section scar was sewn. I had to go to a follow-up visit to get the thread removed. This made me feel a little more sensitive while I healed and in the days after having the baby. Taking showers was scary because I could feel a little tinge that reminded me. The scarring was incredibly light and small.
In the US, I was sealed up with staples. These looked Frankensteinish, but I did feel like I was able to move around quicker, and I was more confident in showering (as long as I didn’t look!). The scarring, however, was not a cute straight line.
While we will forever cherish the private hours that we got with our second, I really appreciated feeling like I was the center of attention in Argentina, while in the US everyone’s attention was on the baby.