As my search for someone to help me find a path towards homebirth, one of the first names I came upon was Joni Nichols. Her website was like a beacon in the night. Somewhere in Mexico, there were people giving birth just like I wanted to! I started chasing that glimmer of hope with all my strength. Joni and I had exchanged a few messages while I was pregnant with Madison and we were looking for natural birth options in Tijuana at a hospital or birth center type setting. She was so helpful in passing along information and although we decided to use Birth Roots’ services for Madison’s birth, I knew she was the right person to ask for help.
Something I have learned through this journey in the world of unmedicated, midwife-assisted homebirths is that the majority of the people I encounter are simply bursting at the seams to offer help, extend relationships, and provide wise advice. It was so refreshing to converse with someone who supported our desires and spoke to what was best for our situation, instead of feeling like we were being forced into a predetermined set of rules and regulations. I’m not sick, I’m just pregnant!!!
Messages and emails started flying through cyberspace as Joni and I struck up our digital friendship once again. I caught her up to speed with my pregnancy and birth of Madison (where we had previously left off) and she helped dispel the myth of homebirth being illegal in Mexico. Like we later learned, she strongly suggested that we find someone who could help us obtain the correct paperwork for documenting a homebirth. However she didn’t have any specific contacts in our area of the country. She told me, “There are some great educators and doulas I met in the area…just can`t seem to find anyone to actually ATTEND the births as midwife or doctor.” Sounded like were in the same predicament.
I hit the internet search engines again, trying every combination of phrases and words to kick my research to the next level. On yet another desperate search, I came across this page. My initial response was to click right on through and not even pause to read what it said. The colors! The graphics! The rudimentary formatting and layout! Not to mention the fact that the midwife was a man and he was no longer offering his services. Something told me to keep with it, so I started clicking around the site and what I saw astonished me. Here was a man who had spent seven years of his considerably older years serving the poorest and neediest women of Tijuana in their moments of greatest need. From his home in Southern California, he would drive all hours of the day and night to cross the border into Tijuana to help women with their prenatal care, labor, and delivery. As I scrolled through page after page of detailed (and quite graphic, yet completely normal and natural) stories and images, I realized I might have found what I was looking for. Of course, Partero Jerry (as I learned he was called) would not be the midwife for us, but he may be able to provide that missing link to join us to what I hoped was a network of support and resources in our city.
I found his email address somewhere amongst the flashing neon text and black background of his now invaluable website, and with guarded elation sent him and email, asking for any help he could give us.