ETA: My baby is six months old and definitively not a boy. But I still wanted to put up all these pregnancy posts, as written, so I’m scheduling them to post twice a week for the month.
ALSO added for the sake of this post: I labored with no drugs for 32 hours, then had an epidural so they could try to get Ayla out with forceps because she was stuck in the birth canal and ain’t nobody sticking salad tongs up my hoo-ha with no pain medication, nah nah. Then we ended up with an emergency c-section when her heart rate went down and she pooped in the sack. I would still do it the same way all over again and try for a natural birth. The pain wasn’t what got me in the end, I just couldn’t get her out and various nurses, afterwards half jokingly told me things like, “50 years ago, you might have died…and your baby definitely would’ve died!”
Because of the lack of natural birth — and henceforth when I say natural, I am referring to a non-medicated vaginal birth — culture in Chile, I had to do some sleuthing to find a doctor that I wanted to work with.
I’m not super anal or weird, I didn’t want to interview hundreds of doctors or anything like that, but birth is a big moment. It will be one of the most important things I’ve ever done, it’s going to be intense and I really wanted to make sure I found someone I felt comfortable with. I was recommended to a natural birth midwife (unlike in the U.S., the term midwife in Chile is not as generally synonymous with natural births and all things granola crunch, there are tons of midwives who attend normal births with epidurals, or pre-c-section labor) who then recommended me to the natural birth doctor she worked with.
Going into the first doctor’s appointment I was incredibly nervous, basically because I felt like, if this didn’t work out, we didn’t have any more options that would work for us. The hospital the doctor works in is a five minute drive from our house and is hands down the best hospital in the sector of Santiago in which we live. It is also where I have my health insurance, which isn’t to say I couldn’t be attended at other hospitals and clinics, however, it would be much more expensive. The only other natural birth doctor that had been recommended to me is at a hospital that’s at least a 25 minute drive from our house, in the middle of the night without traffic, and would’ve been pricy, and also a nightmare if I go into labor during rush hour. Not to mention inconvenient when you’re going in for regular checkups and what not.
But when we we walked in to meet her, I was instantly happy. This doctor was a tiny, smiling, bird-like woman, with so much positive energy, it was contagious. And in our first appointment, she also did two things that I liked. The first was to basically interview me about why I wanted a natural birth. She’s highly sought after and I’m assuming she doesn’t want to work with people who aren’t 100% committed to the path they’ve chosen. Her questions made me think about my own reasoning for why I want to do things the way I want to do them, and only made me feel stronger in my conviction that I wanted to try for a natural birth.
And the second thing she did was ask if I had any questions. Not in a passing way. In a real, tell me your questions, I want to help assure you. She had so much patience in talking with me, a first time mom, nervous about the details, slightly unsure about all the weird things happening to her body. I took out my iPhone and went down my list. She answered every single question I had in great detail, didn’t rush me even a tiny bit and at the end when I thanked her profusely for letting me take the time to ask her so many things, she looked absolutely shocked that any other doctor wouldn’t have done that.
I’m now 7.5 months along and since then have only had two other appointments with her. She and the midwife cleared me to travel for 7 weeks, from Chile to Europe, to the U.S. and finally, back to Chile, exactly 30 days before my due date. People have been super shocked to find this out, “But what if you go into labor while you’re in a different country!!!” (Unlikely). “But what if something happens to you while you’re abroad?!” (What could happen to me somewhere else that couldn’t happen to me at home? The baby and I were already violently assaulted in Chile, we survived. I feel like odds of that happening in the Scandinavian countries I’ll be visiting, or even the U.S. are way lower).
And do other countries not have hospitals? I’m going to Denmark for pete’s sake, I’m sure the health care I’d get there would be one thousand times better than in Chile or anywhere else in the world I could possibly happen to pop a kid out.
I’ve also read in forums that the norm is to have doctor’s appointments every two weeks once you’re in the third trimester. It’s not that I don’t take the care and health of my baby seriously, I 100% do. I just tend to think that there are so many exams and tests and things that they do to you that are completely illogical, money makers for the hospitals, unnecessary worry-makers for the future parents. And my doctor and mid-wife agree.
My doctor basically said that she weighs me to keep an eye on things, but she can’t control what I eat and how much weight I gain, it’s up to me to stay in a healthy range, so what’s the point of bringing me in every two weeks just to weight me and measure the baby, if everything has looked one hundred percent healthy up until this point.
We have appointments scheduled as soon as we arrive back and there are a couple blood exams and what not we’ll have to do immediately as well, but other than that, she said unless I start feeling weird out of the blue, there is no good reason to need more doctor’s appointments in the 7 weeks I’m away.