Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pregnant in Huejotzingo part 2

Baby Lechuga - rather hard to tell exactly what the images show...

The written report of the ultrasound
Monday was the medical day.  Abraham and I took the bus to Cholula, about 35 minutes away from Huejotzingo, in order for me to have a blood and urine test and then my first ultrasound.  The tests, of course, had to be fasting, so we went as early as possible in the morning.  During the ultrasound, the doctor confirmed that Baby Lechuga is growing well, and we saw and heard the heartbeat.  Abraham remembered to tell the doctor that we want Baby's gender to be a surprise.  As she moved the sensor around, the doctor said, "Are you sure you don't want to know?  I can see so clearly!"  When we affirmed that we do not want to know ahead of time, she good naturedly complained, "Couples come in, and they want to know, and the baby hides.  Yours is clear, and you don't want to know."

She estimated the due date to be May 1, about 2 weeks after what I had thought.  She told us that all is well, but I do have to be careful to notice if Baby either stops moving entirely or begins to move frantically, because the umbilical cord is wrapped one time around his/her neck.  There is still plenty of time for the baby to either dislodge the cord with gymnastics, or wind it up more with the same.

Abraham went for the other medical results yesterday afternoon, and the doctor said I'm in good health.  If everything continues well, I can have our baby at home.  Excellent news!

On Monday afternoon, after returning from Cholula, we still had the doctor's appointment at the general hospital in Huejotzingo.  Those appointments we schedule in order to have a record of my existence and the progress of the pregnancy should an emergency occur during our baby's birth.  Cholula is too far away.

We waited in line almost an hour for the nurse to take my weight, blood pressure, and pulse, and then we joined several others to wait for the general practitioner.  That wait was another 2 hours.  When it was our turn, the doctor checked baby's heartbeat and my ankles to look for swelling.  He said my due date is May 15th.  I think I prefer the due date given by the ultrasound doctor.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  We are blessed.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pregnant in Huejotzingo

 I'm not entirely sure anymore how far along I am.  Yesterday Abraham and I went to a doctor that some friends had recommended, and he said maybe I was a bit less far along than I had thought.  He insisted that an ultrasound is necessary, along with routine blood work to see that I have no infections that I may not be aware of.  All standard practice in many countries in this day and age.  However, several things about this pregnancy haven't been according to the "normal" American pregnancy.  As I read What to Expect When You are Expecting and also the facebook posts of some friends who are also due about when I am, I sometimes chuckle and sometimes feel a nagging worry.

The book glibly talks about my "pregnancy team."  According to the book this team consists of my ob-gyn, general practitioner, and any specialists, as well, perhaps, as a fully licensed midwife.  In theory.  Until yesterday, Abraham and I hadn't even found a doctor, much less any specialists or ob-gyns.  My first doctor "visit" was at about 2 months pregnant in the home of my mother-in-law with a doctor friend of hers.  He, however, was not a good option for continued care, because traveling to see him requires a two hour bus ride.
Option number two was a gynecologist here in Huejotzingo who we visited shortly after seeing the first doctor.   She was kind and professional and ordered normal medical tests to be done.  The problem with her was that she then left the country, not to return until July. 

One of our choices all along was my Mexican grandmother who served as a midwife for more than twenty years (although she has no medical certificate).  Her experience is vast and varied, and she is not hesitant to send women to the hospital in case of an emergency.  Abraham, Six, and I traveled to the near-by city of San Martin to see her.  She is somewhere in her 80's, although no one knows for sure her exact age.  When we asked her if she would attend the birth of our child, she said no.  She is too old.

We were stymied for awhile.  We kept an eye out for gynecological practices in Huejotzingo, but we didn't see any.  We joined the Seguro Popular (socialized health insurance), and when I was about 5 months along, we went to my first appointment at the general hospital.
Abraham waited in line at the hospital from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. just to get the appointment time, and then he called me to say to hurry over.  Shortly after I arrived, a nurse began weighing, taking blood pressure, and measuring the height of all the people waiting for appointments.  That done, we were told where to wait for the doctor.  Turns out that no pregnant woman in Huejotzingo sees a gynecologist until her 8th month, or possibly up to the last week before her due date.  Until that time, her case is handled by a general practitioner.

After almost two hours of waiting, we passed into the doctor's office.  The medical check-up consisted of the doctor staying seated on his side of the desk while we sat on the other side and he asked questions.  He asked me if I had felt the baby move, and when I said I didn't know, that this is my first child, he laughed.  After about 15 minutes, he handed me the appointment card for a check-up in January, and we left.

Last week, Abraham and I decided to pay another visit to my Mexican grandmother.  She gently massaged my stomach, asked about the baby's movements (which I can now definitely feel), and expressed concern that the baby wasn't big enough for six months.  We talked with her some more, and she finally agreed to assist with the birth if she's still alive then.  

The doctor we saw yesterday inspired much more confidence than the doctor in Huejotzingo.  His office is in Cholula which takes between 30 and 40 minutes to get to by bus.  We will continue to go to his office for check-ups, and on Monday I will have my first ultrasound.  We will also continue to go to the general hospital in Huejotzingo, not because we intend to have the baby there, since we'd rather have him or her delivered at home, but just in case an emergency arises.  That hospital is the closest.

The adventure continues.  Please pray for the health and growth of our baby and for whatever medical care may be necessary.  Pray also for peace when worry threatens.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dryness in Huejotzingo

The dead vegetation by a road near our house
The dirt road in front of our house
 In this part of Mexico, there are two seasons: dry and wet.  The wet season lasts from the end of April or beginning of May through the end of September or beginning of October.  Occasional showers may still fall towards the end of October.  During that season, rain arrives almost every day, usually in torrents with lightening and thunder.  All the plants turn green, weeds grow ceaselessly, and the roads become rivers -  muddy rivers if they aren't paved.

Not long after the rains taper off, the green begins to disappear.  Unpaved roads become powdery dust.  Brown swiftly fills the scene and stays for the remainder of the dry season.  A few hardy pines still show welcome green, but all the other vegetation dies.  The landscape transforms from the flowers, leaves, and grass of the wet season to bleakness.

In late December or early January, cold winds start to sweep down from the volcanoes.  They lift gritty dust in clouds, and the dirt flies into yards and homes and covers every surface in a fine layer.  How welcome is the refreshing, cleansing rain when it returns in its season.

The dry season is like the spiritual lives of many people in our neighborhood.  They continue in the dryness of rituals and traditions that cannot give them life.  The years are cycles of worship of a variety of saints and of Mary, but a life-giving relationship with Jesus does not exist.

Please pray that we will bring the living water to the people of Huejotzingo.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jan. 1, 2012

Snack time
Happy New Year!  Abraham and I brought in the year quietly with my mother- and brother-in-law at their house.  We ate pizza and watched Ever After, and then, shortly after midnight, we all went to bed.  We wouldn't have much opportunity to sleep in on Sunday.

Abraham was scheduled to give a short message in the church service, and the bus ride from Six's house is two hours to the church.  The attendance on Jan. 1 was sparse, being as most congregants were probably traveling.  The service was also much shorter, so we were able to get back to Huejotzingo in the afternoon without hurrying.

Most Sunday afternoons the number of children at the kids' club is between 12 and 15.  Yesterday afternoon however we had 21 children at the house.  Four of the children returned after an absence of four months.  Hopefully they will continue to come as they did before.

After our usual time of various games, puzzles, and coloring books, we played a game with everyone together involving the names of fruits.  Abraham used this game to introduce his lesson on how we should bear fruit throughout the year by means of maintaining a close relationship with Jesus.

Even after the lesson and snack, most of the kids stayed for awhile, enjoying more games and fun with us and their friends.  We are thankful for the participation of the children and the return of the three brothers and their sister yesterday.  It was an encouraging and blessed way to begin the new year.