domingo, 22 de marzo de 2009

I'm Pregnant, Again!!

Something very very special, although obvious is happening at Luna Maya. Women come back!! They come back for a pregnancy test, or for a prenatal... and I have to retrieve their charts from two years ago, or from last year, because they are pregnant... again!!!

Very recently I was very honored to tell a two year old whose entry to the world I had witnessed that he was going to be a baby brother. Also very recently I received a call from a couple saying, you will be around in August right? because we are having another!!

This seems like the most obvious thing in the world, yes, most of us have siblings and most of the time they are just irritating and force us to learn sharing (groan), but this isn't about that. Its about a door, a womb, a family, a ritual. 

For some reason, as a midwife I am still completely in awe of the fact that we make babies in our uterus'. I watch the bellys stretch and sometimes am the first to point out- feel here, the head! a knee! This is a miracle... but to make TWO, or THREE or even TEN children. Now that is just pushing the miracle envelope. 

The way I see it is, here I was, two years ago, watching a woman open up, discover herself, her strength, work with her little one, hold her man tight; and here she is AGAIN, doing it with another little one.  Another little one that will stretch her, open her up and slide down and push him or herself out, following the path of his or her sibling before her. Perhaps since I was the first to pass through my mother I am amazed that my brother did it two years later. Might I have left little yellow arrows (and maybe a "haha" at the cervix??)?

I am honored, after spending almost six years in Chiapas of having accomanied several women through several pregnancies. Last week I attended a sibling. This time labor was different, This time it was Longer, This time the baby was born in water, This time in the middle of the night, This time is was a girl, This time an entirely different person came out of the same woman. Amazing. 

What is most special to me is that women once again ask me in, they ask me to be there, again. I think about hospital birth and wonder what its like for a woman to show up and have a random person pass her her new baby each time... almost like having an orgasm with a different person each time, you don't get a chance to get really GOOD at it ;)

So heres to siblings, to the fact that their life starts staring at the same walls, hearing the same heart, passing through the same passage and into the same arms. Heres to midwifery for walking with women as they birth all their children and being with them for each. And heres to Moms who are wise and magical, make siblings and are grounded in having beautiful birth experiences again and again. 

martes, 10 de marzo de 2009

New York City Fundraiser

This week I am preparing for the Fundraising party we will be holding in New york City on Monday March 16th at 6.30pm in Brooklyn. For details on the location, please email me! 

This is a hard year for many, we are all in the wheel and less money is coming in and therefore less is available to go out. However the good thing is that its really really easy to support Luna Maya. Our annual budget is only around US$60,000 and with the peso currently at 15 pesos to the dollar I believe we can achieve this goal. 

Funding agencies that have previously supported us, such as Kellogg, Seva and MacArthur Foundation have incurred budget cuts this year and are unable to provide full support. Which is why we are asking the people who believe that natural birth and humanized care for all is a right, even in Chiapas. This morning I read in the Newspaper- Quarto Poder- that 96% of indigenous people in Chiapas lack access to healthcare. We can, and must lower that figure and expect not just healthcare, but excellent, safe, intimate, loving care. 

It is really important to keep in mind that 20% of our clients cannot pay for fees and 40% pay partial fees. Our fees are low- US$10 a consultation or prenatal and US$400 a birth but in Chiapas this is to much for some women. We work with the local women's shelter that houses women expelled from their communities and families because of their pregnancy and provide them with loving care and beautiful births ending long cycles of violence. 

Another important aspect about our fundraiser is that it will be a Lot of Fun! We will have a raffle, the Luna Maya movie- Nacer Renacer will be showing as well as a presentation and printed photographs of our work. More than anything I am really excited about meeting the Luna Maya community in the North and bridging women's lives and stories. 

I really enjoy working with the women of Luna Maya, I learn so much from their kindness, generosity and strength. Each woman that opens her heart to trust us and invites us into her birth is opening a secret door to healing and consciousness. Jenny Blythe, in her book "Birthwork" writes: "Experience being lovingly present opens us to the possibility that working with love is something within our control. Rather than an expendable commodity for a select few, it is the force of attraction and connection that builds and sustains all relationships. At any moment we can choose to close ourselves to love, or open to love- giving and recieving love consciously". In exchange for the support that New Yorkers will provide, we offer this equal commodity of loving care to all mothers and babies- and their papas of course! 

jueves, 5 de marzo de 2009

Another Frontal with the Hospital

I have spent the last three days with-woman in and out of the Regional hospital in San Cristobal. This is the public hospital in the town where I work. 
A traditional midwife referred a woman who had been pregnant for more than 9 and a half months and still no birth pains. I checked her and couldn't feel a baby or hear a heart beat. This is out of my league... So we went to our back-up gynecologist who carried out an ultrasound and diagnosed a molar pregnancy (this is where the baby doesn't develop, instead little bubble balloon type masses form). A molar pregnancy needs to be terminated and could be cancerous. This woman has a 9 month belly. The gynecologist referred us immediately to the Regional hospital for dilation and cutterage with blood bank close by, in case of hemorrage. 
So we went. 
The first day the hospital was full. No beds. The other IMSS (Social Security hospital) had no doctor, so all the patients had been referred to the Regional. So we went again the next day. After waiting for two hours we were finally admitted to the ER. We waited 45 minutes until a resident checked her. 
Resident: Whats wrong with you?
Woman: I've been told I have a molar pregnancy (hands referral letter over, again)
R: When was your last period?
W: 15th of May
W: 15th of May
R; Are you sure?
W: Yes
R: thats not possible
W: thats when it was..... (this continues for about 10 minutes)

Resident brings over ultrasound machine. 
R: There seems to be something in there... not a baby... maybe a mole... maybe a cyst... you have to go get an ultrasound for a diagnosis.
W: I already did (hands referral letter over, again)
R: Right, but, this isn't enough. We need another diagnosis. Go home and get another diagnosis tomorrow and then come back. 

Its Midnight and I'm standing in the ER after 36 hours of no sleep (had a birth the previous night). OK, I guess we'll be back tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow there will be a gynecologist in the Hospital, or maybe there might be a bed. Maybe the Gods and Godesses will help this woman if she starts to bleed and maybe they will protect me from losing my mind. Maybe she will get some care, and then again, maybe she won't.