After giving birth in Mexico, we are often asked how our experience was, and how it compares to giving birth in Canada. One word comes to mind when answering this question – different. There are aspects of the labour and delivery in Canada that I preferred, and aspects of my labour and delivery in Mexico that I preferred. Neither one was better than the other, rather different.
From the get go, in Mexico, you are instructed to call your doctor directly when your labour is starting. In my case, the doctor that I had been seeing for the past 9 months was out of the country on vacation when I went into labour. Thankfully, I was placed in contact with a back-up doctor while he was gone. The only issue with this set up was the fact that my new doctor was not as proficient in English as my original doctor.
My labour started just before 3:00am on Friday morning. I was really hoping that I wasn’t going to have to call Elisabeth, another expat who had graciously offered to come over and look after Nicholas while we were at the hospital, in the middle of the night. Elisabeth had expressed several times that I shouldn’t worry about what time of day or night I needed to call her, but I was still hesitant to make the call and wake her up. So I quietly dealt with my early labour while continually watching the clock and hoping that my contractions weren’t getting too close together as the hours went by. By 6:30 in the morning it was obvious that things were starting to happen and I was going to have to prepare for the next step. I emailed Elisabeth to give her a heads up that labour was starting, but I was still not convinced that it would be moving very fast since my labour with Nicholas was over 42 hours long.
Around 8:30am I contacted my doctor, and explained to him that I was having contractions every 5 minutes since about 3:00am. He instructed me to come to the hospital to meet him at 9:00am. Since the hospital is 30 minutes away, we had to get moving to be able to make our appointment on time. Elisabeth came over to hang out with Nicholas, and he was thrilled. As soon as she got in the door, he had her by the hand and was pulling her around the house to show her all kinds of random things. It sure made it easier on us that Nicholas was so comfortable with Elisabeth and we were able to leave the house without any meltdowns – only kisses and an “Adios!”
Adam and I got to the hospital just after 9:00am, and met with the doctor. After a quick consultation, he informed us that we were 5cm, and we were to go to the admissions desk in the hospital to be admitted. He told us that he would come and meet us in 20 minutes. After stumbling through all of the paperwork required to be admitted to the hospital, we were finally lead to the same ER where we spent several hours with Nicholas 3 months before. After a few minutes, I was wheeled to the labour area in the hospital. As soon as we got to the labour area, Adam was instructed that he wasn’t allowed to come with me. WTF???? I am in labour, and my husband wasn’t allowed to be by my side? I was assured that he would be able to join me shortly as the door was shut behind him.
By this time, it was going on 10:00am. I was wheeled into a small room that had a bed, some monitoring equipment, a stool and a floor fan. By now, my doctor had arrived, along with our pediatrician. My doctor informed me that he was going to call the anesthesiologist so that he could come and give me an epidural. This is when I informed him that I didn’t want to have any medication. My doctor stopped in his tracks and looked at me like I had two heads and proceeded to ask me, “Why would you want to do that?” Apparently in Mexico, natural births are rare (70% of women elect to have a C-section), and natural births without any form of pain management is unheard of. Shortly after this conversation, Adam finally showed-up wearing a full get-up of hospital scrubs. I guess the doctor was still in shock with my desire to go medication free because one of the first things he said to Adam was along the lines of “your wife doesn’t want any pain medication – she doesn’t have to labour in pain.” I think that he was hoping that Adam would be able to convince me otherwise. He was wrong.
During the next 60 minutes, I continued to labour in the tiny room with my contractions coming fast and furious. Luckily, the tiny room didn’t feel as tiny as it could have due to the fact that the door was open the entire time. Yup, everyone walking down the hallway was able to experience my medication free labour along with me. Awesome.
After labouring in the tiny room for about an hour, we were frantically moved to another room where the delivery was to take place. After what seemed like forever, the doctors were set up and ready for me to deliver my baby. 5 pushes later, Adam announced that we had another boy!
The hospital that we were in had a policy that all babies be placed under the heat lamps after being born. Therefore, Bennett spent the first hour of his life bundled up under the heat lamps. After spending an hour in recovery (where Adam once again wasn’t permitted to stay), Bennett and I were moved to our very large private room. Unlike in Canada, Adam was given the option to stay the night with us in the hospital, but elected to go home to spend some time with Nicholas instead.
The next day, after a visit from my doctor, and Bennett’s paediatrician, we were permitted to leave the hospital and start the next stage of our adventure as a family together.