The Real Deal Series: An Interview With Tanya Sotelo

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We’re back with our next installment of the Real Deal interview series. If you haven’t already, check out the interview I did with former cop, Stuart Land, and physician, Jill Blake.

Now, I want to talk about babies.

Although I have yet to write a scene where a woman gives birth, I find it interesting how books and film portray such a momentous event. When I had my first child, I felt like I had been tricked by television–so many news stories about moms going into labor and having emergency deliveries outside of the hospital with a smiling cop or paramedic there to help. So, I could obviously handle a “natural” birth–right? Not! I broke down and got the drugs within the first hour of labor. I have great respect for moms who did it the natural way–and it’s not all smiles and bumbling dads passing out in the delivery room.

Today I discuss the Real Deal about childbirth with a mom (and awesomely cool woman) and how her experience differed from the expectations and imagery she at first harbored. Say hello to Tanya Sotelo!

The Real Deal Series: Interview With Tanya Sotelo, Mom

I never knew how simply watching another person sleep peacefully could fill me with so much joy. No matter how bad or stressful my day has been he can always make me smile without fail. I want to be a better person so that I can teach him by example cheesy as that may sound.

Thanks so much, Tanya, for joining us. How many children do you have?

I have [two].

How long were you in labor when you had your baby?

My water broke around 6am on 11/12/13 but I didn’t start having any contractions until I was induced around 1pm that day and Fox was born at 3:38pm–so around 2 and a half hours.

What was the overall experience like?

It was the most tiring, intense, painful, terrifying, and satisfying experience of my life. I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was almost 2 1/2 months along. I was so tired all the time and extremely sensitive turns out I was just preggo. The company I worked for at the time was in the process of going out of business, so needless to say it was an extremely stressful time, I never knew if I would have a job the following day. Luckily I was able to stay employed until my 8th month of pregnancy at which point I was laid off while on maternity leave. I also had some anxiety about the age difference between my 1st munchkin (my husband’s daughter from a previous relationship) who was eight years old at the time and how she would react to the pregnancy.

I am happy to say I had nothing to fear. Aside from those two things, the pregnancy I would say progressed pretty smoothly. I did not have morning sickness at all but I was nauseous every day for the first six months. Unfortunately I did end up getting gestational diabetes which wasn’t fun, but I wasn’t having crazy, bizarre cravings at all hours of the day and night. I did have to watch my carb intake which I was sad about because I love bread but it was doable. Sadly the pregnancy glow eluded me during my whole pregnancy.

I had really intense pregnancy acne up until the 7th month then it started clearing up. I was not a cute pregnant lady but I survived! I did a ton of research, [and] I even made up a birth plan and diligently asked questions whenever we went to our appointments. After quite a bit of research online and feedback from friends and coworkers I decided to do a natural birth with no drugs. Even with all the reading and research I had done I was not prepared for the physical pain of labor, which in turn threw me off mentally.

Whew…you are brave. Natural birth, eh? How was the pain?

Never in my life have I experienced such pain. My nurse was very sweet and attentive. I asked her right off the bat to help me get through the birth naturally. I even told her to not give me drugs even if I asked for them, and boy did she follow direction well! So to recap, water broke at 6am, admitted 10 am, 1pm still no contractions. I was all “hey this labor thing isn’t so bad.” Little did I know the IV that I was hooked up to was going to be pumping contraction inducing medicine into my veins. 1:15ish, the contractions begin!

Every time I had a contraction I had to go back to the bathroom. There was a lot of assisted hobbling to and from the bathroom. By the time 3pm rolled around I wanted the drugs but my nurse very sweetly told me I was doing great and as I was already 7 cm dilated–it was too late for the drugs. I don’t know how to accurately describe the contractions other than it felt like I had been kicked in the stomach several times and had menstrual cramps X 100.

Yeah, I think I wimped out within the first thirty minutes or so!

Five minutes after my request for drugs was denied another nurse walked in while I was asking my husband through my tears to make them give me drugs. She overheard and consulted my nurse who then proceeded to check how dilated I was and lo and behold I was full dilated! So after that point there was some operatic screaming on my part ( I am happy to say I did not curse or shout at my husband that I hated him). My doctor was 15 minutes away and my nurses told me not to push. When Fox started crowing I lost it.

I asked some incoherent questions like what do I do, oh my god what do I so something wants to come out (facepalm) my nurses told me I was doing great and I was okay and I just remember saying “I am so not okay!!!!” My doctor finally arrived [and] she wanted me to open my legs by that time I didn’t want to lol. Finally she coaxed me into complying and I pushed for dear life! I don’t remember how long that part took but suddenly it was over and my Fox had arrived! Cliche as it may seem once they placed him on my chest everything just melted away.

Awesome. I think there’s something magical about meeting that little baby for the first time. How long did it take to recover?

My recovery was 4 weeks. That was my fault–apparently my doctor had told me to stop pushing, but I just kept on trucking!

And you made it! So it wasn’t as neat or perfect as some of us may imagine it to be. Now I have to ask, what’s the silliest or most inaccurate thing you’ve seen about childbirth in books or film?

Not the screaming, that is pretty accurate, but I just think the perfect makeup and the way they portray the husbands as bumbling simpletons. I felt that at least in our case it was very much a team effort my husband was very attentive and soothing, I feel like in movies the men are often portrayed as a prop or comic relief.

I have noticed that in some instances. And on the flip side, are moms “crazy” in the delivery room as sometimes portrayed?

I have to admit I was a screamer, whiner, sobber. I didn’t shout or scream at anyone I kind of just howled ‌in pain, and mumbled in pain about how I was not okay.

Did dad faint?

[laughs] No, he did not faint. Dad had it together which really helped calm me down. He did look scared when all the screaming started.

If you can share with storytellers your most profound experience in having a baby, what would it be?

I never knew how simply watching another person sleep peacefully could fill me with so much joy. No matter how bad or stressful my day has been he can always make me smile without fail. I want to be a better person so that I can teach him by example cheesy as that may sound.


Thank you for sharing your experience with us and giving us the Real Deal on childbirth (though, it goes without saying that experiences will vary). Have a great day everyone, and I’ll try to get at least one more person for this interview series.

Share your thoughts!