Day 1 Arrived in El Nino after an uneventful but rapid trip from
Pg. women swarmed to Jerry flagging him down as he arrived @ his house. They wanted to arrange for care or to tell him of a friend who will need him. I dropped off my stuff in my room and began my adventure. We did 9 prenatals in addition to 3 primary sign-ups. All home visits. Most of the women live in what I would generously call a shack, without running water. What surprised me is everyone has TV and at least one light. Electricity is bootlegged from the Power Company. Some have propane campstoves to cook on. Others cook over a fire. Bathroom facilities also differ. Outhouses are the norm. Nice outhouses are portapottys with the bottom cut out with a pit below. Most is the traditional wooden out building. I haven’t seen a 2 seater yet, but I have seen a childsized bench. I do now understand the phase "so poor they don’t have a pot to piss in”. I’ve seen the 5 gallon bucket that is emptied into the street. There is trash everywhere.
I met Anjelica another midwife who lives about 15 miles away. Which seems like nothing on paved streets, but factor in a good amount of that mileage is on rutty dirt roads. On which are driven like it is I-5. We hugged and I almost cried.
I drank Fanta in an open-air market it was just like I had imagined.
I met a lot of women today. Some stand out in my mind but not their names. Some are good housekeepers dirtfloors swept, children clean, others are not. Many of the women have tried to find some beauty and bring it into their homes. A plant, a poster, books. As at home the children run to great the midwife excited to show their mommies. I’ll probably write more about the families when I know them better. So many areas I’ve visited today look like “Feed the Children” commercials.
Day 2 Oct 2
2 check women with pains
1 sign up prenatal
Some have no outhouses
Most have TV
The 1st fluid I was squirted with was not amniotic. The brakes went out in Jerry’s car. To access the problem it was my job to watch the brake fluid line and report where the leak came from. When Jerry pushed the brake pedal SQUIRT in the face I walked over to Mc Donald’s and waited for Jerry to finish the car.
I received a text message on my cell phone that a friend died in a car wreck back home. The last thing she said to me was to drive carefully as I was leaving for Mexico.
Came “home” after dark to find a woman waiting on the porch for a prenatal. I was starting paperwork and Ana’s man came to the say Ana was having pains. We went to check her. She won’t have her baby tonight but soon, She has show and some contractions. I dreamt about Ann Olsson and a major flood.
I went to the Tengi(open-air market)) by myself this morning. I bought a knock off DVD of the Passion of Christ. Fish, rice onion, oil, avocado, 2 apples a frying pan, knife, fork, spoon, small Pyrex mixing bowl a plate and a coffeepot. All I need now is COFFEE.
I was pretty jazzed when I found I didn’t have to do laundry by hand?. There is an automatic washer here. I was very surprised to find I needed to fill the washer myself bucket by bucket full. I don’t know if my clothes are any cleaner, There is so much dust/dirt blowing, I’m sure my whites are darker than they were after hanging to dry.
I have housemates Jamie, Jose and their 2 kids. I have my own room that I share
with a mouse (I think).
Lots of women keep parakeets in cages by their front doors. The only birds I have heard except for the roaming chickens. The dogs roam too. There is a steady wind blowing today, I’m hot and sand blasted.
Above is Judi and Aurora. Aurora is 20, pregnant with her second child and is due 11/07/04. Alma who is Aurora's sister is also due in november, but wasn't home this day or they would both be in this photo. I have agreed to do their births for free as they are both very poor. Jerry
Above is Judi with her first catch.
Oct 4 Happy Birth day to ME!
3:30 AM “Udi, Udi” rap rap rap. Someone is knocking on my bedroom
window. (Which is glass) Ana is having pains says her husband Antonio. I bounce
out of bed thinking I might receive the gift of a “birthday baby”.
I dress call and alert Jerry who is at his Perris home. I hop in my car (geo
metro 180,000 miles plus) and follow Antonio to his house. Sat. Oct 2, I had
been there for some toning contractions and Oct. 1 I had a prenatal there on
my 1st. day in Mexico. She only lives a couple of blocks away on the road I’ve
named “Church street”. I check her labor and call Jerry saying COME.
Ana is a G4 mom (1st. homebirth) and I was questioning if Jerry would make it
in time. I labor sat, drank my first cup of coffee (instant Nescafe) in days,
encouraged Ana and waited.
Jerry arrived about 6 AM and checks Ana and says tells me that she is only 1 1/2 cm. dilated. From observation I was thinking she was about 6. Jerry did his preparations, which include an enema, and was preparing the family for a false alarm. I was feeling kinda down because it’s my job to check, so Jerry doesn’t have to make the 2 + hour trip and time off work for nothing.
6:45 AM, Ana is disappointed, she gets dressed and begins her day. She sits on her potty bucket peeing and…….she has to push. Upon another check and she is complete. I prepare to catch my birthday present…my first baby in Mexico, a 3.3 Kg. girl. Apgar 9/10. Ana had been cut with her previous 3 babies and was scarred, she tore a bit but needed no repairs.
I was given the honor of bathing the baby (that’s what they do here). A task that is usually reserved for a Grandma or Auntie. When I left the little cutie was gulping down colostrum.
And her second catch, just 5 hours after the first. Jerry
I went back to the house to bask in the after glow of my morning. Since Jerry had already taken the day off for this birth, Jerry decided we’d best catch up on the prenatals we hadn’t had time for last weekend. We set out over the dam road (the road to the dam) ¾ of the way to the prenatal his cell phone rings. Carolina, a G3 mom is in labor. U-turn to Tarazas. 1 mile down the road the phone rings again and Ana Maria from El Nino, a primip we met on the road Sat. is having pains and wants us to come. We stop by Ana Maria’s on the way to Carolinas in Tarazas. We talk with Ana Maria more about homebirth etc. & check her. Her cervix is thinning and she has some show. We tell her she might be in early labor and to continue with her regular routine, call us if anything changes (cx. 5 min. ROM etc.) and we’ll check back with her.
I get my car and follow Jerry to Carolinas in Tarazas. Good thing he is still
here, I don’t know the way. All I remember is she lives across from a
10:30 AM We arrive to find her dilated to 3 and the “preparations” are made. This house is much poorer than the one earlier this morning. It has a dirt floor, no windows and it is hot and smelly. Mom is walking and standing while hugging a structural support 2X4 and announces she is ready to push sure enough… while watching a soap opera on TV about a hospital birth going wrong she delivers a Varon (boy) with a 2X nuchal cord. Jerry taught me a groovy maneuver to take care of that issue. Baby’s head to moms thigh, then scootch the rest of the baby through.
WOW 2 birthday babies with the possibility of a third. This is Carolina’s 3 baby and the first she will breastfeed. We left mom and Varon doing well. I was kinda grossed out by the heat, the dirt, and the lack of any sanitary measures. She peed on the floor, when she leaked fluid it just soaked into the floor. I got lost on the way home. I missed my turn off while giving myself a pep talk about cultural differences and myself being a spoiled white girl. I did find my way back to El Nino we checked on the primip and nanda. Jerry’s workday was shot so he decided to try again to catch up on prenatals. We did 5. On the way back to the house in El Nino Jerry treated me to tacos and ice cream for my birthday.
Jerry headed back to Perris and I settled down with the phone to share my day with friends and family and looking forward to a shower (preferably hot) and clean clothes. Gloria from the farmica(pharmacy) comes to my room frantically trying to tell me something. She talks fast normally, and on the 3rd try I understand Jerry has been in a car wreck on his way home. To be continued.
Below is Judi's story of our attemped care of Adela, a pretty 16 year old primip who we meet for the first time at term and in labor.
Adela and her family live in Calle Arroyo in the Colonia of Las
Torres. Which is in the bottom of a canyon.
Someone who knew of Jerry called and said Adela was having pains “that’s what they say here”. Typical of many women here she has not made any arrangements for birth. She has had prenatal care at a private clinic but doesn’t want to birth there or the hospital. She is a giggly happy pri mip 16 year old, ready to have a family with her husband.
Jerry and I went to her house in the canyon (I was really hoping she was in true advanced labor, as I knew I’d be lost forever it I had to go there by myself). This house has 3 rooms a bathroom with a porcelain toilet without a seat that bucket flushes into the sewer stream running below the house. Chickens run in the courtyard pooping on the chairs. I have no idea of the number of people who live here. I saw several hammocks hanging.
Adela was not in labor. She was so tight we couldn’t even find her cervix.
DAY 2. 12pm Jerry was headed back to Perris and he got another call from Adela. Jerry calls me and gives me directions that include parking beside Tecate Curto and hiking into the canyon. (Which is an easier way to find her house) I bluff my way around the tollbooth, park and start my descent backpack on my back. Now I feel like a true international rural midwife. However I run into a slight complication, I chose the wrong path for descent .This one is VERY steep and I end up sliding down on my butt, which is fortunately well padded. All day long little kids came up to me to tell me the story of how I arrived. Adela is the same as yesterday, Jerry decides to try to jump start labor. He has a 2-hour drive.
This is an old photo of the canyon where Adela lives. There is now about 50% more houses crammed into this little canyon. Adela's house is at the bottom of the canyon and behind the tall tree at the right side of the photo. There is only one road that permits access to these canyon houses. It is high on the far side of this canyon and barely one lane wide. All other areas are accessed by walking only. Jerry
It begins to get dark and I am concerned about leaving my car along the highway, the FOB hikes up to my car with me (a different path) and show mw how to get my car to the house. This adventure includes goat path sized switchbacks with ruts. I know getting back up the canyon is gonna be challenging, at the least. I’ thankful for a good emergency brake and plenty of experience stalling my car on the uphill streets of Astoria Oregon, I drive a standard transmission geo metro. Jerry’s mojo isn’t working that night and we leave the canyon. I only got my car stuck 2 times on the way up. Jerry guides me to via rapido. I know my way home from there. He goes home to Perris.
DAY 3 4pm Jerry calls I need to go to Adelas he will meet me there. I bravely hop into my car and head for Tijuana centro. Something happened I’m not sure what but I’m lost again. I find some familiar landmarks, macdonalds, autozone and Waldos. I call Jerry and wait for him to meet me. I haven’t exactly mentioned this before but Jerry drives like a maniac, fast, aggressive, quickly changing lanes. It seems I haven’t even shifted into 2nd gear and he is 2 blocks ahead.
Judi is absolutely the slowest driver that I have ever seen. She is always lagging behind. That gives other drivers an opportunity to get between us. Next thing I know I cannot see her car. There is LOTS of traffic in this of City of 3 million. You must drive agressively, or you will never get anywhere. After this fiasco, I tell Judi "If you cannot read the numbers on my licence plate, you are too far behind. From now on you stay glued to my bumper" After this, Judi doesn't get lost following me again. Jerry
He takes off I follow he leaves me behind again, I’m frustrated, lost, cranky, and out of cell phone area. When I call Jerry he can’t hear me. I back track to a gas station where I have cell towers and call Jerry. He gives me directions again but I’m too upset. I tell him I’m going to take 20 min to regroup.
On my way to Adela's place, I meet Judi. She got lost going to Adela's place. We have a women in labor, lets go I say. In just a few seconds, Judi is out of sight again. Adela's husband calls again. I tell him that I will be there in about 10 minutes. They have called me 3 times, wondering where my helper is. Always lost, I tell them. Who knows where Judi is. I will go and try to find her after I check Adela and determining that I have time to go back and look for Judi. Jerry
I call Jerry he comes and I follow him to Adela's house in the bottom of the canyon. It’s now 7:30pm. I park in front of the footbridge to their front courtyard gate.
She is dilated @2 ….ugh….Jerry decides to try his mojo again
9pm @ 3 and show
12:00AM grandpa brought in and installed the traditional pushing rope
4:00 @8 -2 and pushing
4:30 Jerry gets a call to another client in the States.
4:45 Jerry leaves
7:30 I’m taking FHR etc. and I hear honking
Mom is getting very tired she’s pushed 2 1/2 hours in many different positions with out much progress and is sleeping between contractions.
8AM I go to my car for a coke while she’s sleeping. I understand what all the honking was about, apparently I broke some parking protocol. My back window had been broken out when I didn’t respond.
Judi had blocked the road to about 20 houses further down in the canyon. While blocking a road is quite common for short periods in cramped areas in Mexico, you are expected to move your car if someone honks and needs by. Judi ignored them, so they took out their frustrations on her window. Jerry
8:30 check mom baby is still-2
9:00 mom requests hospital transfer, sounds good to me. I go to the bathroom and she is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I pack up my stuff and head up the canyon driving over a set of old bedsprings.
I had to stop and back up to get them out from under my car. Well,I had put
a big black garbage bag over my busted out window and I backed into a big pile
of trash and couldn’t get the momentum to get up the hill. I sat there
and cried for awhile out of frustration, prayed and tried again. I was able
to drive forward enough to back up again with out hitting the trash pile and
get another running start at the incline. Yes success. Now all I had to do was
find my way home. I won’t admit to getting lost again, I choose to report
I took a scenic tour across the dam. I stopped and bought an Abigail Pizzas,
Fanta took it home ate (didn’t shower no water yet)
12PM WENT TO BED."
Above is Judi and Marisol, pregnant with her third child. 5 days after this photo was taken, they would be together again. Marisol's mother called me Wednesday evening saying that Marisol suddenly started having pains every 5 minutes. I immediately called Judi, and told her about Marisol. When Judi arrived, Marisol was complete. Marisol was walking and suddenly, Marisol gets a hard contraction, her water breaks, and the baby's head emerges. Marisol runs for the bed, and births her new son leaning against the bed. Just as Judi starts to clean up the baby, the placenta plops out. Between arrival time and "All finished" was about 40 minutes! Jerry
Jerry calls me about 7:30 PM. I head for Tarazas. The turn off is Palm Tree
Road, however things look very different in the dark. I found the entrance to
Tarazas but needed to call Jerry for further directions. I got there at 8:15
PM and found Marisol in her nightie w/cx @ 3 min. and definitely uncomfortable.
I took FHR and checked her cervix. I didn’t feel much cervix. Jerry called
and I told him to come, he has at least a 2-hour drive. Mom is standing, leaning
on a headboard of another bed (there are 3 in the room) rocking back and forth.
Grandma is putting Marisol 's other 2 to bed (the bed she birthed at) Her younger
sister of 14 years is rubbing her back.
9:05 PM SROM.
9:06 PM pushes 1 X and baby boy 3.3 kilos 53 cm.
She leaned back and sat on the bed, baby on her chest. She isn’t paying
attention to baby, she’s watching TV!
9:10 PM Placenta.
I try to engage mom put baby to her breast she is showing no interest in this baby. I call Jerry and tell him he can head home and ask him to talk w/ Marisol. She is unresponsive w/ him also.
I check the baby weigh/measure etc. while grandma helps Marisol into fresh clothes and bed. I tuck baby into bed with mom. She does breastfeed.
This family is very poor with unimpressive hygiene. Mom peed on the floor during labor; some blood was on the floor as she birthed standing which was covered up with gravel.
I got lost on the way back to El Nino. I ended up in Lomas……..Again. I flagged down a bus and asked directions. I was one road off. I got home safe and sound desiring a nice shower, cold would of been OK. Alas no water to the house. I have a good wipe down with anti-bacterial hand wash and go to sleep.
10/15 Marisol continued
Went by w/Gloria today. I was concerned by her lack of actions. Marisol didn’t
want the baby so I had talked w/Gloria about it. When we arrived unexpected
Marisol had the baby dressed and laying on a bed in a corner alone. The baby
hadn’t had anything but (maybe colostrum ) & corn water to drink since
birth ,Marisol didn’t produce milk. I don’t think she let the baby
suck enough to produce. She said she breastfed her other two. The toddler had
a bottle of cows milk. No money, no formula. Gloria gave her a few $$$ for formula,
I have doubts the money will be used for that purpose. We said we’d be
back Monday to check on the situation. There must be formula etc. for the baby.
Gloria is a doctor and apparently has some authority to remove the baby.
I find it hard to believe I’ve been here 2 weeks. I miss my husband very
much, my family, friends and my bathtub W/ bubblebath. I think I’ve adapted
fairly well. I’m used to the mouse who lives in my room, water that doesn’t
always make it through the pipes to the house (Falls City also has this problem
but not to this extreme) running out of propane. I am NOT used to the poverty,
lack of sanitation, (someone please tell me why they don’t flush toilet
paper, just throw it on the floor) the neighbor dog that whines and cries all
night or the heat. My Spanish language skills are better (I think……
the more I know, the more I know I don’t know). I can usually get my point
across. I keep a dictionary handy. I think I use the dictionary the most while
watching TV. I managed to do a sign up prenatal by myself today. That included
finding her house in Tarazas. I’d been to prenatals and a birth for her
neighbor. I haven’t been lost today but there are still 6 hours left.
I did a postnatal (see Marisol cont)., and took Ana to the clinic to get a polio
vax for baby Judi (10/04)
I take a nap almost every day. Living away from home is very tiring. Daily living is a chore. I usually cook eggs, cup of soup or instant oatmeal depending on what cooking source is available.
When I first met Janet, I thought, “this woman is a drama queen”!
We went to check on her because she was having ”pains”. I “labeled “ her this because, she need her moms’ help to take off her panties. I didn’t know at the time she was only 15 years old. A couple of days later we were back for another labor check. She is still 3 weeks prior to her EDD. In the US we would call them Braxton Hicks
10/17 5 PM -- Janet and her man Alberto walk from her aunts house to my house,
reporting she has been having “pains” since 4 AM. I check her and
determine her to be in EARLY labor (maybe?) contractions are regular and appear
to need her concentration. I tell her to go back to her Aunts house and I’ll
come by and check her in a couple of hours.
THE RAINS BEGIN.
I go to her Aunts house and check her. Everything is the same except Janet wants to change the birthing location. She has decided to have her baby at her mom’s house in Lomas. I haven’t been to Lomas on purpose so I follow them.
This is gonna be a trip. I’m at her house in Lomas during a rainstorm. The lights are flickering. They do have candles. This might be my 1st. ”Amish” birth in Mexico. Janet is walking and having back pain. She paces 5 steps, turns around and paces another 5, that is all the room there is. The house is new, about 10’X20’ Made of pressboard. The kitchen (No running water) has a cement floor, the rest of the house is dirt floor covered by a blue tarp.
7 PM, I call Jerry to come. It’s dark, windy and rainy. He has a 2-hour commute at best. The way to the outhouse is treacherous. The roof leaks. All the ground has turned into wet clay, my shoes have 2” of clay stuck to them so I leave them outside, not wanting to track clay onto the floor covering. The lights flicker and I remember the heavy-duty flashlight Jim (my wonderful DH) packed in my car. I also find an extra pair of shoes, which I am very grateful for, as my toes were getting cold. There is no heat in the house.
8:30 PM, Janet has a headache. I check her BP (its up) I give her some wild lettuce tincture and have her lay on her left side for awhile. Vomiting, BP back to normal.
9:30 Jerry arrives. He does a Vag. check and has her at 1 cm. He does his “mojo” but no change.
11 PM I go to my car for a nap.
12 Jerry leaves for his house in El Niño to sleep.
3 AM. I’m invited into the house to sleep. I’m givin a twin bed, displacing Janet’s mom and “stepdad” to the floor. Janet and her boyfriend sleep in the other twin bed between contractions.
7AM. Janet is sleeping soundly. I return to the El Niño house.
OCT 18—Got lost on my way to Janet’s. The family was calling Jerry saying she is ready to deliver. I finally find her house. Her dilation is the same 1-cm. I spend another night at Janet’s leaving at 5 AM. She is sleeping. The streets are becoming unpassable for me. Driving on wet clay is similar to driving in snow. When you start to slide it feels the same out of control feeling. Its still rainy, cold and windy. I go back to check on Janet at 2 PM. Things are the same. Not wanting to get rained in there for the next 3 days I go back to El Nino.
4 PM. Labor call (Aurora) in another town, Tarazas. I get my car stuck in the mud in the dark at the top of a hill and call Jerry and tell him he is gonna have to come. I manage to get my car out of the miry clay, go home to my casa and cry. I'm sure my whimping out after getting stuck in the mud and not being able to make it to Auroras house is going to be the deal breaker and Jerry will think I'm too much of a burden. I'm cold ,wet muddy and I'm sick.
10 PM. Jerry picks me up from El Nino and takes me to Aurora's in Terazas…. False alarm. Back to the house.
OCT 20, 2 AM. Jerry gets a phone call saying Janet has gone to
the hospital (we were out of phone range in the other town). When
Janet finds out we are available she leaves the hospital (after being shaved,
pitted AROM’ed) and goes home to have her baby where we meet her @ about
4 AM. She is walking through her contractions, after a challenging one Janet
announces. “I’m Valiant”. Yes she is! I’ve watched this
15-year-old turn from an insecure girl into a woman making difficult choices.
6 AM. Janet begins to push. WOW his gal is determined!!!!!!!!. She pushes lying on her back, hands over her head holding (squeezing) her moms hands. She does get up and push standing a few times but prefers laying. She is encouraged by watching in a mirror and touching her baby’s’ head frequently. She pushed for 1 hour, 10 min and gave birth to a 3.1 kilo boy over an intact perineum. Then the lights went out. Placenta delivered by candle and flashlight 10 min later. After Janet and the baby were cleaned up and snuggled up in bed. Janet returned to her previous 15-year-old behavior. Whining and demanding.
Above is Nancy and Judi, a few minutes after Nancy's birth. Judi attended to everything with this birth. Jerry
Nancy is a joy. I met her a couple of weeks ago when I did her primary prenatal. I was pleasently suprised by her EDD of Oct 25. Nancy was very patient with me and my halting spanish, willing to try to understand me. We had an instant bond. Nancy is Carolina's (baby#2Oct 4) sister in law. This baby was her 5th and her first homebirth. I had promised her a better birthing experience. Sunday the 25th Nancy had us come by because she was having some pains. She had no cervical changes and hadn't treated her yeast infection. I suggested again she treat the infection and to call again if her pains become stronger and 5 mins apart.
I have been having major problems with my cell phone(the ringer broke) and I needed money so I decided to follow Jerry to Perris and take a couple of days to take care of business. I have a dear friend who lives in the area I wanted to visit and be pampered by. We arrived in Perris with enough time to settle in for the night(I was warm for the first time in days) when the phone rang, it was Nancy. I'd just driven 2 1/2 hours, a boarder crossing during "primetime" but I jumped in my car and followed Jerry back to Mexico. That is as far as I followed him. I got into a wrong lane after the border crossing and missed my turn off. Jerry was ahead of me and I was on my own to find my way. My phone wouldn't catch a tower signal, I couldn't call Jerry. I arrived at Nancys only 45 minutes after Jerry,quite proud of myself. I pee'd by my car(I'd seen the outhouse at Carolinas birth)and went into the house. I used my hand sanitizer(no running water) donned my glove and checked her, happy to find her at 7 cm. She had been laboring on the bucket. Nancy soon was pushing and birthed her fourth son. She said I had kept my promise. Nancy has agreed to write her birth story and I will post it when I am able. I then followed Jerry back to his Perris house. I spent about 7 1/2 hours traveling, did 4 prenatals and attended a birth Sunday.
Sandra, Oct 29, 2004
Sandra is a slim petite G2 mom.(4’9”) I’m 5’3”
and I felt like a giant. Her first baby is about 16 months old. When I got to
Sandra’s about 6; 30 she was dilated @ 4cms and. Jerry had just finished
with his “mojo” Sandra had tough contractions from the beginning,
the baby was in a good position but big. Her mom and mother in law were her
major support as her husband was still on crutches. This gal was all baby, if
her belly were a basketball you’d be able to read Wilson through it. She
pushed for 1-½ hours and delivered a 4.25-kg (9 Lbs. 6 oz.) boy they
named Victor. He weighed 1 kilo (2.2 lb.) more than Sandra’s first baby
did. Sandra did tear a bit but needed no repair.
Oct 29, 2004,
I’m going to try to catch up on Journaling. I’ve been sick for about a week. Bronchitis I think. I broke down yesterday and got a shot of antibiotics with a repeat today. Today I got the new (used) back hatch put on my car. I bought it in Beaumont CA on Tuesday. The junkyard guy wanted $100.00 I got it for $65.00 and paid $20.00 to my mechanic here to install it. The mechanic is trying to talk me into having bodywork done to repair where my car was hit by a boulder in the first rain storm. He also fixed me up with a starter for $33.00 after the first rains. I started feeling sick during the first birth of the first rains.
Sunday the 24th I went to the States to take care of my phone problem and get
some cash, returned to Mexico that night for Nancy’s birth. Went back
to Perris slept, called Jim and went to Priscilla & Ken’s for a day
Tues. the 26th went to Jerry’s and picked up my new phone and sleep. The SECOND STORM BEGINS and I forgot to roll up my window. Between the black plastic and pizza box back window & my open window my car got very wet.
Oct 27 4PM Back to Mexico sitting on my drenched seat. A mom is in labor. I again miss the VIA RAPIDA turn off, but this time I can’t figure out how to correct my error. I see a part of Tijuana I haven’t before including the bull fighting arena and some sculptures. I follow signs to San Diego trying to find a point of reference. I end up crossing the border to the USA. Turn around and enter Mexico again. I picked up a kitten the other day hoping it will be a great mouser. The cat has been traveling with me for 7 border crossings now in my backpack. I still don’t know where the VIA RAPIDA exit is supposed to be. I drove around for awhile praying and came across a familiar street, which takes me to the TACATE Libre. I now know where I am and how to get to the birth.
I first met Sandra when her husband came to the Farmica with a machete cut
on his foot. After he was all fixed up they invited me to their house for a
prenatal. Fast forward 2 weeks and I’m there for her birth. Sandra had
a challenging labor.
OCT 27 the streets are mucky, worse than the 1st time. I slide down the hill from Sandra’s and make it to the house in El Nino. I’m really sick I crawl into bed cuddle with my kitty that is warm. Gloria checks on me and convinces me I need antibiotics hey anyone could convince me of anything now if they would go away and let me sleep and sweat. I wasn't able to sleep long its was still raining winding and I got a labor call. I crawl out of bed and head to upper El Nino to Monica’s. I had to wait my turn to drive up the hill as 2 cars were sliding sidewise down. I made it to the front of her house to find she had moved. But her new house is on the same path(cactus path) down the side of the hill as her old. I am so happy to check her and tell her it was a false alarm. Today there is no long distance out of Mexico and I couldn't get hold of Jerry. I didn't want to catch alone, especially feeling this sick. I drive/slide my car down the street and crawl back into bed. RAIN MORE RAIN about 2 hours later a mom shows up at the house for a labor check she is 7 weeks early. Praise the Lord she had no cervical changes. I sent her home to drink and rest.
6PM Jerry gets a call through to me a mom (Maria) in Tarazas is in labor.
I head for Tarazas…there is large mud puddle where there used to be a
big one. Its is flowing across the dirt road like a river. I stop and watch
a bus cross, (water to the top of the tires) a jeep cross, but I don’t
see any little geo-sized cars crossing. I was remembering the lecture Jim gave
me about not driving through large sized bodies of water when a large pick up
truck stops beside me and the driver is saying “no passe” I take
that as the final decision not to cross.. I know there should be another way
into Terazas but its dark and slick and if I got lost I could be stuck until
the rains stop and dry out. I call Jerry and tell him he needs to go to Maria’s.
It turns out to be a false alarm.
Above are 2 photos from Monica's birth. Left, Monica and Judi, about a hour before Monica gives birth. Right, Judi and Monica pose together about ½ hour after the birth. Monica's sister in law is in the background. I am sure that this beautiful homebirth that the childless sister in law has just witnessed will hopefully have a positive effect on her, when she some day becomes pregnant. Below is Judi's story of this birth.
October 30 th. I welcomed another baby into the world
A little girl just over 5-lb. towel included. Today was the EDD. I was surprised that Monica tore. The night was cold I was happy to wear gloves just for the heat, mittens would have been nice buy very impractical. My sweatshirt hood was up and I froze. Monica gave birth wearing a cape over her nightie and sweatshirt.
I went to Monica’s about 10:00 she called reporting contractions @5min. Monica is one of the taller gals I’ve seen here about 5’2”. Monica was trying to settle her 3 years old girl for the night (they share a bed). I check her and call Jerry. He was happy Monica had gotten hold of me. He had tried to call me but couldn’t get through. (The phone system went bonkers after the 2nd rains, the land phones in El Nino don’t work and cell long distance isn’t reliable) He is fixing his brakes on the car and will be on his way as soon as possible. Monica’s first labor was over 70 hours, I settle in for the night. Cold. Monica spends the first few hours of her labor under the covers for warmth. After Jerry arrives and does his mojo she walks though her contractions. She hangs on Jerry for a couple of moaning contractions and goes to her bed to deliver. She pushes and pushes and pushes…and delivers her baby. @ about 4AM.
6AM I’m back at the El Nino house catching a nap before a busy day of prenatals.
Left, Judi and Maria, with her always beautiful smile pose for a photo a short time after the birth of Maria's first son. Right, the photo taken the morning after, shows the conditions where Maria lives during the time when she was giving birth. Note the white bus. It has fallen into a large mudhole and stranded. You must drive with ALL your sences during these times.
October 30 Maria M
Sat night after a full day of prenatals I crash on the sofa about 8pm. I was
so asleep I didn’t hear the pounding on the front door about 10PM, 5 feet
from my head. Maria’s husband is trying to get our attention. Maria is
in labor and since the phones still are not working he, she and the 2 kids have
borrowed a car to come for us. Jerry and I hop into Jerry’s car and follow.
And I thought Jerry drove fast. We are headed for Tarazas, the place I couldn’t
get to the other night (false alarm) because of the water. Maria’s husband
dropped her off at their place and disappeared. He isn’t the birthing
type, and did not want to be there. Maria birthed her baby boy about 11:45 PM.
As soon as we had mom and babe cleaned up Dad arrived with the other children
and his brother to inspect the newest member of the family.
Above is a photo from Guadalupe's birth, showing Judi and Guadalupe. Judi just observed with this birth, as I could tell that Guadalupe had her attachment to me, so I did her birth.
October 31/NOV 1
After a few hours of sleep I’m feeling better. The bad news is I lost my new phone. I’ll follow Jerry back to the States and get a new one today when we have finished prenatals. While I was packing a few things for my state side trip Jerry wanted Gloria to show him where Carolina (EDD 11/3) lives. Jerry is involved in another car wreck he comes back to the house and wires his car together. We head North. The border crossing takes over 1 hour the line is so long. Jerry and I get seperated so I enjoy my senic drive to his house, stopping by Target and buying a warm sweater and some peanutbutter cups. I looked at flannel Pj’s but didn’t buy them. Settling in at Jerrys the phone rings
Yes, It’s back to Mexico for Lupe. She is a primip. When we got there I thought we were in for another false alarm. However Jerry’s mojo got things cooking, and 6 hours later (2+ pushing) she delivered a boy with a nuchel hand, a cord wrap around the arm. This baby really surprised me by not having a lot of hair. The baby did have a lot of molding. I will admit to doubts about this baby being born at home. Lupe’s fundle height only grew to 33cm. Gaining only 1cm the last month. A second ultrasound did indicate babys weight gain of 500 grams. My second concern was some funky heart tones. Slow, not under 100 but slower than babys normal 120. One interesting thing about the birth is when Lupe was pushing we encouraged her to touch her babie’s head. Lupes’ mom came unglued pulling Lupes fingers away and wiping them off.
Jerry and I were back in Perris in time for him to go to work. I went to the
phone store and bought a new phone (Still no Mexico service since the 2nd rains),
made some phone calls, bought some food and headed back to El Nino.
ABIGAIL PIZZA ( Carolina) I deliver NOV4
One of my weekly outings is to take Gloria to buy supplies for the pharmacy. We usually stop by a roadside stand called ABIGAIL PIZZAS (not a typo) for a slice or 2. I stopped by myself and chatted with Manuel and bought pizza the day my rear window was busted. Yesterday while we were eating Pizza Gloria told me Manuel (the owner) was the husband of Carolina (Jerry had just wrecked his car going to see where they live). I told him I was his Partera. He said he would be by my place later to show me where they live. They live on a ranch 2 miles out of town.
Nov 3 About 2PM Carolina (G5) stops by for a labor check, her water has broken some back pain but no contractions. I checked heart tones, and sent her home with a beer from my birth bag instructing her to drink it before bedtime. To get a good nights sleep. I also told her if she hadn’t had her baby by Sat Jerry would probably “provok el dilores” I follow her home, so I know the way later.
5:00 AM Manuel is pounding on the door (phones still don’t work) Carolina is in labor. I follow him to the ranch. I try to call Jerry but no phone service to the USA on my cell. OK I’m on my own. (Jerry still doesn’t know about this birth as I type). Really on my own. Carolina is almost complete upon my arrival. I get out my flashlight. There is no electricity on the ranch and candles on a bed tend to spook me a bit. The candles on the table did make ambient lighting. In three pushes Danna Rosa makes her debut @ 5:45 AM. Just before dawn. The placenta arrived 45 min. later. Whew!!!! A beautiful birth for a beautiful couple and free pizza for the rest of my trip. ABIGAIL PIZZAS, I deliver?
I went home ate, washed and hung my clothes to dry and then
took a hot shower.
Above is Judi with Sandra's newborn. You can see more of this birth by Clicking on Calm, Quiet birth
Above, Judi poses with Juanita's newborn, a 3.4 Kg. girl born at 6:18 AM, 11/16/04. A beautiful homebirth, and her last in Tijuana. Jerry
Note to future apprentices
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