Below is the Tecate river, where many of the REALLY poor Tijuana people live. This is government land, and the local government has made a number of attempts to evict these people, but without success. The photo below taken by Jessica Wunderlich shows me crossing the river in my old Chevy on a typical Saturday, when doing prenatal visits for my riverbed moms. I drive about 30,000 miles a year doing care for these families.
A few months ago, the water rose about 4 feet above the level in this photo when we had several weeks of continuous rains. The walking bridge in the background along with most of the houses in the background were washed away by the heavy flows of water from the recent rains. I always have several pregnant moms who live here, but their houses are a bit higher and were not damaged, although some did have water inside for a few days.
Above left is Dolores, 18, G2, EDD 3/5/06. Dolores had her first child in Chiapas, Mexico where most women still have home births with Midwifes. It goes without saying that she does NOT want to have this baby in a hospital. Saturday, 2/18/06, as I was driving to Tijuana to do prenatal visits, I got a call from Dolores husband, saying that Dolores was having hard contractions every 2-3 minutes. I told them that I would be there in about one hour. Right, I took this shortly after I arrived at Dolores canyon home. Dolores is 10 cm dilated, and she doesn't have long to go before she gives birth to her second child.
About 20 minutes after my arrival, Dolores second child is making his appearance.
Left, rotation of the shoulders has taken place, and only one push is necessary to finish this birth. Right, Dolores newborn has been placed in her chest at 10:18 AM, so that she may look at and touch her newborn son.
A bit later, after Dolores has birthed the placenta and her newborn 3.6 Kg. son has been cleaned up, he is given back to Dolores, and she nurses him for the first time. #467.
Left is Leyva, 19, G1, EDD 3/3/06. Leyva is timid and a bit scared, but she comes from Chiapas, Mexico where most women still birth at home. This house no longer exists! See The Riverbed Fire Right, Leyva is in labor, and is walking with her husband.
Left, Leyva is resting between contractions. Right, the birth has started, after many hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing.
Left, the baby's head has rotated, and we wait for the last contraction to birth the shoulders. Right, well, words are not needed here. Leyva's face tells it all, as she cradles her first born, a 2.9 Kg. girl arriving at 10:49 AM, 2/24/06. #468.
Above is Gladys, 20, G2, EDD 2/28/06. Gladys had her little boy in a Hospital, but wants a home birth for her next child. Gladys husband called me 3:15 AM, on 3/2/06, saying that Gladys was having hard pains, could I come. "I will be there in 2 hours" was my answer. When I arrived at Gladys house, I could tell that she was well advanced in her labor, but I was still surprised to find that she was 10 cm. dilated. Things moved fast and soon Gladys was pushing.
Left, 25 minutes after my arrival, the head of Gladys second child is at a crowning state. Right, a few seconds more, the head is born, and Gladys pushes a little more and her second child is born at 5:46 AM. About 15 minutes more for the placenta.
Left, Oh, that emotional moment, that we Midwifes love to see! How beautiful, as Gladys and her husband look at her newborn 3.05 Kg. daughter. Right, about 20 minutes later, as Gladys nurses her new daughter for the first time. A great home birth for Gladys, and I am sure that she is happy with her decision to try a home birth. #469.
Left is Norma and her husband. Norma is 16 and she is expecting her first child. Norma lives in the riverbed and they know me because I delivered the first child of her husband's sister 2 years ago. Norma seems very secure with her desires to have her first baby at home with her family. Right, Norma is in labor.
After a 10 hour labor including 3 hours of pushing, Norma has birthed her first child. Norma's mother in law (right) was instrumental in giving Norma courage and confidence before and during her labor, and made this home birth possible, as Norma kept saying "I can't do this!"
Left is Norma's new 3.6 Kg. son, born at 10:05 PM, 3/11/06. Right, Norma cuddles and nurses her newborn. #470.
3 days after Norma's home birth, I get a call from Maria del Carmon, below. It had been raining for days and the conditions in the riverbed were about as bad as they get. When Norma (above) called last Saturday, I could not drive my car to her house, as the water was too high, so I parked my car on the other side of the river where it was higher and walked across the river on the foot bridge (top Photo) to get to Norma's place.
When Maria del Carmon (below) called Tuesday evening, she was still in early labor so I decided to sleep in my car. Then, a bit later, Norma called, saying that her sister in law (left Photo) Marta had decided to have a home birth, so I went to their place. As with Maria del Carmon, Marta was in early labor, so I went back to my car to sleep some more. (they both live on the same dirt road, about 20 houses apart) At daybreak, I got up and went to check Marta. She still was not dilating, but having harder Contractions. Just then, Marta's mother came in to the room, and demanded that Marta get up and go to the IMSS hospital, as she was scheduled to have a Cesarean later in the day. Just then, Maria del Carmon's husband came to the door, and said "My wife is now having very hard contractions, can you come?" "Yes" I told him, and went to their place.
Left, is a photo taken early in the morning, when Maria del Carmon was about to have her baby. The water in the roads had gone down enough to be able to drive through. Right, Maria del Carmon walks in late labor, she is about 9 cm dilated in this photo.
Left, Maria del Carmon pushes as her daughter holds her hand. This is rather rare in Mexican births, as most women don't want their daughters to witness their births. Maria del Carmon seems content to have her daughter with her and her daughter seems happy and unafraid to be here. Maria del Carmon's husband is a heavy drinker, and was very drunk on several prenatal visits, so this may be why she permitted her little daughter to be with her. Maria del Carmon's husband is in the room, to the left of her bed, but not visible in these photos. Right, Maria del Carmon's first son has arrived at 10:29 AM, 3/15/06.
A bit later, Maria del Carmon and her daughter pose for this last photo with her 3.75 Kg. son. Maria del Carmon said that it was much more comfortable to have this child at home. #471.
P.S. After attending this birth, I returned to Marta's place, where I found the place empty. Norma told me, that Marta's mother had forced her to go to the IMSS hospital and have her scheduled, unnecessary cesarean. HOW SAD!
Above is Patti, Mario and their daughter Mia Renèe. Mia Renèe was born in their family room last October.
A bit after 8 PM, Saturday evening, Mario called me and said Patti had suddenly started having close together contractions. Being that Patti had been having mild contractions for days, I thought that finally she was going into a real labor pattern, so I told Mario to call me if they continued. A few minutes later, Patti called me and said "Come now Jerry, I think it's coming" and then with another contraction starting, she hung up. Her tone of voice definitely got my attention, I jumped out of bed, threw on the clothes that I had been wearing, and ran out the door and got into my car. 20 minutes later, Mario calls and says "The head is out" I told him, "Well, you wanted to do the catch, so now is your chance! After the body delivers, place the baby face down on Patti's chest, cover her and wait for me. Don't worry about the placenta, and call me if you have any questions." He said "Ok" and hung up, as Patti was pushing again.
I still had about 45 minutes to drive, so I knew that it would not do any good to drive fast. When I arrived, Patti was laying on the family room floor, with her newborn daughter on her chest. The baby looked great, so I tied the cord and helped Patti with the placenta. A bit later, when everything had been cleaned up, we posed for this photo. Even with family pressure, Patti and Mario never waivered with their commitment to have this child at home.
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