Category Archives: La Bebe

A-A-A: An Auntie Again

I am an auntie again!

Getting to witness my niece enter the world is going to be one of the highlights of my whole life. I think being an Auntie is nearly better than being a mother, because I get a new little bundle in my life to love, and I don’t have to go through the pregnancy and childbirth part. That’s a win-win in my books!

We have been in the full swing of Spring around these parts. The farm Marc works for got chickens and it could not be more thrilling for Gabrielle. There are tomatoes forming in tiny green balls on our tomato plants. The barbecue is getting a work-out again and we are rejoicing with on-the-deck dinners and lots of picnics.

I recently had the chance to volunteer at Mother-fest at Mothering Touch Store in Victoria. Holding new babies and oggling at all the pregnant bellies was as wonderful as you can imagine. And now we are about to plan our first camping trip of the season. Nope- no sailing yet as we’re waiting on our boat cushions to be finished before we head out into the waves. (They are getting re-covered with some very spiffy fabric. Blog post to come)

You know, as a drive to prenatal appointments with clients, or to a book sale, or to pick up honeybees, I write little blog posts in my head. But then when I get a quiet moment, I find myself reading or knitting, or working on my new course I’m taking and not blogging. So do excuse the quietness around these parts. Sometimes life is just bursting and this is the most quiet part of my life!

Giving Birth in Mexico compared to Canada

Now, here is my preface.

I have never been a doula in a difference province in Canada. All the births I’ve done have been in British Columbia. And the birthing system is quite different between BC and Alberta and Manitoba etc etc.

Also, I have only done ONE birth in Mexico. In Puerto Vallarta, at One hospital with One doctor. I am by no means, the authority on this subject.

Thus the title of the blog post should be: The difference between Charlotte’s particular birth in Puerto Vallarta with Dra. Laura compared to the births I’ve done at hospitals in Vancouver and Victoria hospitals. Not very graceful eh? Now you can see why I chose the blog title I did, and why I must start with the preface I did.

-Natural Births are not the common practise-

When Charlotte first started seeing her doctor in Puerto Vallarta, she was lead to believe that most women schedule their c-sections without a second thought at 37 weeks pregnant. Period.

Her doctor did not resist her request to try a natural birth. But often it was suggested during appointments that “when” she has her epidural, then this and this will happen. And then *if* she needs a c-section, bla bla bla. And quite frankly, Charlotte gave birth in the operating room. There was not a separate delivery room as opposed to an operating room like they have in BC. Thus, Eric and I were fully suited in scrubs and everything was carefully sterilized in the delivery room.

-There is minimal hospital supplies.-

I know this seems like a given when you’re comparing a first world country and a third world country. When a woman goes into the hospital in Victoria, there is a stack of these blue super-absorbent pads in every room. There is a dresser full of medical supplies, towels, sterilized needles, gels, etc. In Puerto Vallarta, there is not. There are sheets on the bed you’re laying on. If you bleed on those sheets, they move them around a little so the wettest part isn’t touching your skin. Yeah, I know it sounds gross. Because it is, a bit. There isn’t a huge effort made on keeping you all polished and clean the way there is in Canada. There is great effort made in Mexico to keep you sterilized. They are a great fan of having an alcohol solution in a pressurized can and spraying and spraying the site where a needle will potentially go in, in a couple hours. And they spray the spot like someone with OCD would polish a brass handle. Every couple minutes, spray the spot again. Yeah I know the needle isn’t ready yet, but a germ may have crawled over in the last five seconds.

-There is paperwork at weird times.-

There is a lot of paperwork when you are first being admitted into the hospital in Mexico. Lots of “sign here’s” and “you missed a page” kind of moments. In BC, if you arrive at the hospital in full blown labour, they ask your name, they talk to your care provider, but you are pre-registered for the hospital so you don’t have to show any ID, you have no paperwork to fill out. Your care giver has already done all that and they have phoned the hospital to let them know you’re coming in.

In Mexico, we phoned the doctor, but they still had a good stack of paperwork for Eric to sign before Charlotte was officially admitted.

Then when a woman is in labour in BC, the nurses, midwives, doctors and anyone who enters the room or breathes in the same vicinity of the patient has to fill out multiple boxes on the charts they have floating around the room at all times. In Mexico, the doctor did not spend one moment filling out any charts. The nurses did a little bit of paperwork. The doctor was delightfully engaged in her patient the entire time that she wasn’t texting her husband on her phone. I really liked the way the doctor was engaged and didn’t have to bother with this.

When Charlotte was admitted from the delivery room (read: operating room) the amount of questions that the nurse had to ask her was unreal. And really strange things like if she was right or left handed. What was her religion? Did she have siblings? It was a bit ridiculous and bureaucratic but completed nonetheless.

-Fetal Heart Monitoring-

In Canada, they are obsessed with fetal heart monitoring. They have to do it every 10-15 minutes to fill out that box on their chart. Whether you are giving birth at home or in the hospital, they are always trying to get a heartbeat on the kid. Having a heart kid, I totally get it. The heartbeat of the baby tells the care giver a lot. It tells them if the baby is in distress. It can give the care giver hints on the position of the baby and if they are tolerating labour well.

The straps they have for the heart monitoring system is probably one of the most irritating things the nurses can do to the mother. The mother cannot move as freely and the nurse is constantly adjusting these straps to get a better read. Then if the monitor slips or the baby’s position changes, the machine starts beeping like mad to signal distress, even though often there is not any distress, and everyone gets just slightly anxious. How can you not when there is a machine beeping at you? (Yes, it may remind me of Monty Python with the machine that goes PING!)

In Mexico, Charlotte was at the hospital for 2 1/2 hours before the baby came out. For 15 minutes of that, I was putting bags in her room, putting scrubs on and then trying to find Charlotte again. So I was there for 2 hours and 15 minutes with Charlotte in the hospital prior to Lyra’s arrival. In Canada, she would have been monitored, if not continuously, probably 10 times for the baby’s heart beat. In Mexico, they listened to the baby’s heartbeat Once. Yup. Once.

So. (Like Cora says, “So” and then pauses like it’s a complete sentence. Now my child does this too.) So. This may be a good thing as it doesn’t bother the mother as much, and it’s not nearly as intrusive or cumbersome. So. It also could mean that if more women were going to attempt a natural birth in the hospital in Mexico (which they really don’t) then there is more chance for the baby to be in distress with no one noticing.

-There is no receptionist-

Doctors in Mexico have no receptionist. When they give you their phone number, it is their cell phone number, which they have on their person at all times. This is like, the best thing ever! In Canada, you phone a doctor’s office, you call outside their operating hours and you often can’t even leave a message on an answering machine. You phone in their office hours, you are put on hold, you can’t talk to an actual doctor because they are with patients. You speak to a receptionist who cannot tell you if the lump you found on your leg is cancerous or a cyst or a bad bruise or an ingrown hair.

In Mexico, you phone a number, you get a Doctor! You can ask them whatever you need to ask them. And then they say “Come down in twenty minutes? Or an hour?” And then you get a face-to-face visit with a doctor just.like.that.

It’s fantastic.

In Conclusion

Since I’m not American, and I’ve never done a birth in the United States, I do not know the comparison of that system. I’d be curious to know so feel free to leave comments to that effect or ask more questions on anything I didn’t cover.

I’d love to keep this discussion going and learn what could be different about our system and what is different about other systems world wide.

I would also like to say that this blog post was not to say that one country is better than the other. It was so interesting professionally and personally to see how different countries handle birth. And my perspective was singled out to one experience. There is a birthing centre in Guadalajara, just four hour drive away, and I imagine birth itself is a whole different animal.

Also, I wanted to thank Charlotte again for letting me be so open about her personal experience and deconstructing her own birth for this purpose.

The Camera has been to War and returned.

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My camera broke a while ago. It took me a couple months to remember to take it to town and drop it off for an estimation on repairs. Then it took nearly three weeks for me to remember to pick up the camera from the repair place. We opted not to fix it as it was more expensive to fix the camera than buy a new one. And the camera is old.

So my do-it-yourself husband who is very good at starting projects (I am not saying anything else on this matter) found a site that instructed the layman how to repair the camera. I should say, the site instructed a genius who knows how to weld and follow even the teeniest instructions with perfection on how to replace a pin the size of a thumb tack and fix the camera.

Not an easy job.

Well, Marc did all this and surprised me for Christmas.

Except that a piece broke as he was reassembling it, so that the camera mostly works. The incredible effort is still very impressive.

And, I’d forgotten that I had photos on the camera we’d not taken off. From the summer. So after such a heroic story, here are a couple from July along with some new ones from a geriatric camera that has seen war!

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I also have to thank Danielle for her excellent work in making Gabrielle play food for her little play kitchen. There is so much play food out there that is plastic orĀ  junk food! Crocheted play salad made by Auntie is scads better than some of our other options.

Allow me a tiny rant: how can we expect our children to grow up eating a healthy diet if all they have to play with as children is plastic hot dogs, cookies, pizza, french fries and milkshakes. I am all for enjoying those delicious treats as treats! Not as something you always have available in your kitchen on endless supply. I mean, where is the veggies and tofu and nuts? *End Rant.*

What was I saying about being a hippy?

And now she is two!

My client was more than 42 weeks over due and Gabrielle’s birthday was fast approaching. I knew I’d have to pass on the birth and get my back-up to fill in if she went into labour on the same day as I gave birth to my sweet babe, but as it turns out, I got both my birth and my girl’s birthday party. All I had to give up was my sleep.

I had such good help to pull off this part sansĀ  sleep. My mother-in-law did fabulous cupcakes and cleaned my house. My husband got the house tidy and blew up all the balloons. Some friends brought food. And Voila! Party time.

We had a very excited little girl on our hands.

a little weekending

In the slowness of a weekend morning where Daddy doesn’t have to rush off to work. And there is no play group to attend, we move quietly through our routine. With more time for sighing in between. And more time for dawddling and getting distracted.

I am not a very on-task person. We are often late for drop in activities because I forget until the last minute to pack a snack or find a lost shoe.

But we usually make it out the door. Weekends are lovely for not making it anywhere on time. For being quiet and finding a new leaf, a new stick, a soggy pine-cone.

And sometimes, the weekends are even sunny!

Gabrielle has been speaking in full sentences now and though we didn’t really notice it happening, it seems like it’s been a gradual build up of words, and all at once these long stories are created. Telling me what she dreams, or what she pretends or what she thinks has happened. Telling me who loves her, and who she loves. Re-telling me her favourite stories, either from her imagination, or library books. She narrates what she does. And tells me how she feels. A. Lot.

The other day she turned to me and said “Brie frustrated about mittens.” Then yesterday she dumped her cheddar bunnies on the floor and said “Just an accident Mommy. A rhinoceros tripped on them.” Uh huh.

She’s been potty trained through the day now for a couple months and it is a pleasure. We diaper her at nap time though it’s not always necessary. And through the night she wears a diaper and it’s quite necessary. How do you night-train a kid?

We’ve been like little squirrels around here, stashing for Christmas and a certain upcoming birthday. And of course, advent.

And I’m waiting on a baby. A tardy one at that.