Without Light

Below is a beautiful photo story about a strong young women who has had 2 home births in 11 months.

Above left is Maria Ester, 18, shown with her boyfriend when she is about 7½ months alone with her first child. They share the 2 room building in the background with 2 other single men. This remote ranch has no electricity or running water. Right, Maria Ester is in late labor and having a hard contraction.

Right, Maria Ester is just birthed the head of her first daughter. Maria Ester looks at her newborn daughter just after I have placed her on Maria Ester's tummy. For this birth, we used candles, but the majority of the light in the photo has come from my camera.

Below, Eleven months later, we are together again.

Maria Ester comes from Chiapas, Mexico, where most women still give birth in their homes with Midwifes. Maria Ester has moved from the ranch, and now lives IN a riverbed, where many poor Tijuana people live. One day as I was walking through the area of the riverbed houses, Maria Ester sticks her head out of her 2 room riverbed shack and says to me "Jerry, I think I am pregnant again, can you check me." "Sure" I tell Maria Ester. Maria Ester's daughter is 5 months old, and sure enough, Maria Ester is pregnant again, now about 3 months along with her second. Maria Ester's second home birth unfolds below.

Above left, Maria Ester is walking in late labor. Maria Ester now lives in a Riverbed house, made mostly from old wooden pallets. Right after I took the photo on the left, there was a big noise outside and the lights went out. We went to the door and looked outside to see what had happened. There were 2 guys who had been drinking, and were on the roof of a nearby house doing something. Apparently they got into an argument, and one pushed the other and he fell on the electric wires. That's when the lights went out. Maria Ester heatedly voiced her displeasure to these 2 guys about not having electricity at this moment. Soon a 3rd. man appeared on the roof, and he broke up the fight and they set about fixing the broken wires. About this time, Maria Ester said that she was getting urges to push, so we knew that her baby would soon be here. As soon as Maria Ester lays down (right photo) it is quite apparent that this little one will be soon out.

Left, the head is out, and Maria Ester needs just to push one more time to birth the body of her second daughter. A bit later, after a neighbor lady has come over to help out, we pose together for one more photo as Maria Ester nurses her newborn daughter. Just before this last photo, the lights came back on. Before I left, Maria Ester and I were talking about how this birth went. It then came to us that both of Maria Ester's births were without electric lights, but we had managed nicely. It's all about faith and confidence!

Jerry

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