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Here are some thoughts I had during my prenatal care with Angelica, the midwife who attended our homebirth in Tijuana in November 2014. These excerpts are from an email conversation with a phenomenal woman who has dedicated her life to humanized birthing in Mexico. She has (and continues to be) a pillar of support and source of knowledge for the birthing community in Mexico and beyond. Although we have never met in person, I consider her a dear friend and close confident with all things pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.
Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how my partnership with Angelica Granada is going during this pregnancy. We ‘officially’ switched our care to her about two and a half months ago, and since have had two home visits with one coming up next week (we also met with her twice before that to get to know her and her approaches to care). We have decided to not see an OBGYN concurrently with her care (unless, of course, something occurs during the pregnancy that warrants their care). I am intensely appreciating her approach to prenatal care – it’s very hands-off, trusting of the mother and baby, yet at the same time with attention to details.
The home visits (which I LOVE that she offers) have consisted of a conversations about diet, exercise, how I feel, how the baby is moving/growing, and then blood pressure, measurements, listening to me and the baby, and taking a few notes. Then we usually start discussing a question or topic that I have in mind and go on from there. No lab work, blood draws, weigh-ins, or excessive paperwork to fill out. Actually, I haven’t filled out ANY paperwork with her yet, except for writing my name in her spiral notebook where she keeps her client notes. She has a few methods/practices that I’m not completely in agreement with, but willing to let those go for now and deal with them when/if they arise
In comparison to what she DOES offer, DOES practice, and DOES believe, those few points are quite minimal to me. I still plan on having something in writing about our desires before, during, and after labor so we can agree on and refer to it. In describing her training and expertise, I would say she is much more a traditional midwife than a modern midwife – traditional in the sense that she is trained/skilled/knowledgable, but still influenced by the current medical approach to childbirth and pregnancy that remains here in Mexico. Does that make sense? I’ve found that doing supplemental research on my own in regards to diet, care, preparation, etc, has been much more helpful than simply just asking her ‘What should I do for…’
It’s almost painful for me to think of the situation that a midwife like Angelica finds herself in – even if she WANTS to expand her knowledge, WANTS to access the latest evidence-based findings, WANTS to update herself with approaches or practices or techniques…where does she turn? To whom can she go? And even if there is someone/somewhere, how would she even know it was available or know how to access it? And would it even be in a language she can comprehend? Not speaking against her competency or intelligence as an individual in any way, but just reflecting on what I’ve observed in the medical community since living here for the past 12 years.
Here are the things that have made my heart sing with joy (and relief!) as our relationship has progressed:
- she is totally okay with no internal exams
- anyone can be at the birth. the birth can be AT HOME (a setting in which she has practiced many times)!!!!
- she has some knowledge of herbs, teas, etc for the pregnancy and labor
- no episiotomies, but she can do sutures if needed after the birth
- if i want, she is fine with leaving the placenta with us
- i can birth and labor in any position
- i can eat and drink during labor
- after the baby is born, s/he goes straight to the mom to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible to help stop the flow of blood, contract the uterus, and promote attachment and bonding
- completely promotes and supports breastfeeding
- placenta is birthed on it’s own time (no traction or pulling)
- so far, she hasn’t mentioned a total time limit for labor (unlike the dr with my previous pregnancy here who mentioned freidman’s curve as his point of measurement for a successful labor)
As I read that list I think, ‘Well, DUH!’ But then I have to chuckle and smile and shake my head in gratitude that I will be ‘allowed’ to birth this child as I was created to do.
It wasn’t long before we met and passed all three due dates we had for this pregnancy – one from the doctor, one from the ultrasound, and one from Angelica. They all were at the end of October, but from the moment we found out we were pregnant I had a sense that it would be a November baby. Maybe I convinced myself to wait? Maybe she needed those few extra days inside me to gear up for her big day? I’ll never know why but I do remember being at peace with whenever labor decided to start.