No matter how much I read in books or on the internet about pregnancy and child-birth, people’s crazy birth stories, or fetal development, I have yet to come across any particular article that advocates moving to a third world country to give birth. My story seems rather unique. And quite possibly ill-advised.
Just the other day, I saw a random stat in the newspaper: 26,000 – the number of women that die each year in Ethiopia due to pregnancy related causes. Hardly comforting. Most definitely, I am more privileged than most people here. I’m able to choose and afford a first-rate facility to give birth. The place I gave birth the first time had peeling paint on the walls and during my ultrasounds I was very aware of the electrical wires hanging down from the ceiling. But I didn’t choose that place because I couldn’t afford something better. Rather, the doctor was adept at making you feel like you mattered. He didn’t rush his appointments, he explained things in detail (often to the third decimal place) and overall it felt like he cared about your well-being and, of course, your baby’s health. I never got a print out of an ultrasound but it seemed like an okay trade-off.
This time I chose a better facility. The entrance doors woosh open automatically. Their system is networked so if you have lab work done, the results are sent to the doctor via computer. Ooooo. I’ve gotten a number of ultrasound pictures to add to the baby book. The trade-off has been the doctor. The first time I saw her she asked me “What’s your problem?” before I’d even sat down. She’s not overly warm but I figured as long as I felt better about actually having the baby at this hospital, I/we would be okay.
Then I saw an ad for a prenatal class at my hospital. I’ve been temped to go several times but just haven’t made the time. I kept thinking, “Will this be like when I order lasagna but I really get multi-layered pasta with meat?” I finally went last weekend and it turns out, it’s not a close approximation of a prenatal class but the real deal. There’s a mid-wife who talks about prenatal yoga and massaging your perineum with olive oil (don’t google if you don’t wanna know). Essentially all the things I’ve read about are seemingly possible (!) here in this third world country. Where thousands of women die in child-birth. Oh.