Anna Carolina da Costa Avelheda Bandeira, 40, spoke in an interview about the moment her son, Arthur, arrived in the world in the parking lot of the building where she lived. 10 months after that day, the photos of the exact moment the baby was born, captured by the lens of photographer Graziele Pereira, attracted attention around the world.
The mother of the smiling and playful Arthur said that she got pregnant at 29 years old, and the entire pregnancy was very peaceful, with only the classic sʏᴍᴘᴛᴏᴍs of nausea in the first trimester, swelling in the legs, and tiredness, especially in the last months of pregnancy.
“I worked until 39 weeks gestation. It was Valentine’s Day. My husband and I had celebrated our wedding anniversary on Monday, so we went out for lunch. We walked to the downtown Rio subway, and then we walked the Botafogo subway to where the car was parked near the company, about a twenty-minute walk, and went back home.”
The next day, Anna woke up with some cramps. She had already taken medical leave, with a certificate from the obstetrician who accompanied her, because she couldn’t stand the tiredness anymore. The plan for that day was to take the opportunity to finish organizing her little room and the things she and her partner would take to the hospital.
Anna spent the whole night in a lot of ᴘᴀɪɴ, getting up every ten minutes as the ᴘᴀɪɴ got worse when she went to bed. That’s when the nurse, Amanda Bento, asked if she could do a touch exam. “We went to my room and I was already 7 cm dilated, we could go to the hospital. While waiting, I went to take a hot shower. I spent about ten to fifteen minutes inside, which helped to minimize the ᴘᴀɪɴ I was feeling, but I had to leave because the water broke.”
“When they were all at the side of the car, with the door already open for them to get in, Anna had another ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ and shouted to the nurse: “It won’t work, he’s being born!” She didn’t believe it, but she came to examine it and, in fact, he was already crowing.
“I shouted to my husband, who was in the car, waiting for us to get in: “Love, come here, run!” My biggest fear was that he wouldn’t witness the moment our son was born. He stayed behind me, supporting me while I pushed and Amanda supported the baby. Roberta was close by too, but she had moved a little to the side so that my husband could stay with me and with us. In three pushes, our son was born,” she recalls.
A mixture of feelings took care of Anna in those moments: there was concern because they were far from the hospital and did not have a home birth team to help the mother or baby in case of any ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs.
“It was my husband and I, our photographer, our doula, and our nurse. Amanda, who is a midwife, reassured us that everything was fine with me and the baby. And an immense happiness and gratitude took over me, for having managed to bring our son into the world at his time. Then came relief, because with his birth, the ᴘᴀɪɴ and ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴs ended.”
“He was born ruddy, all wrinkled and full of the vernix, crying and showing what he came for. On the way to the hospital, he was already breastfeeding. I was fine too, thank God,” says the mother.
Anna says she never even thought that this would happen to her, especially since both Anna and Roberta always thought it was too ʀɪsᴋʏ. And for women who are afraid of the ᴘᴀɪɴ of childbirth, Anna leaves a message: “First of all, study, inform yourself. Childbirth is “natural”, but we need to know all the physiognomy involved. Then trust and believe that you are capable. Like Roberta Reis, our doula, she always told me: “Birth begins in the head”. It is there that we need to work on the idea that we have succeeded.