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.