Having a garden can be tough work. Just getting it started might be the biggest step. There is a lot of preparation that can go into it. Depending on the ground, we loosen the dirt, make sure that nutrients are good, that there is enough water to support the growth that we hope for, and that the environment is just right. All of that, getting our hands dirty. After that, we can begin to plant seeds and, hopefully with care and tending to, we will begin to see growth and new life.
Every once in a while, though, we get lucky. Sometimes, by chance or divine intervention, we can end up throwing a seed in just the right spot, whether we know it or not, and that seed is fruitful, producing a tree that grows strong and provides fruit for many that need it. Well, I was able to see results of one of those seeds in the form of birth support.
Every year my family and I try to visit Mexico. We take a 3-day drive down to a medium sized city on the Baja Peninsula, about 20 hours south of the Tijuana border. Life down here is very different. Towns are far apart, resources are hard to get, and life is slower. This is where my husband grew up, though. For him and his family, this is home. This is also where we started off our marriage. The first 6 years of our marriage, we lived and worked down in the Baja. Because of that, we have a heart for this place. We know many of the people and have a love for this city and hope for the best for those here.
About 2.5 years ago, some of you might remember, I got an unexpected opportunity. Talking about my work in the US with an acquaintance who works in the medical field, led from one thing to another, and I was invited to share with doctors and other hospital staff about doula work. To learn more about that experience, you can read about it here: https://www.newbirthservices.com/single-post/2017/01/21/Doula-work-in-the-Baja
Since then, I have had little contact with those who attended the presentation. Fortunately, that changed this current trip. I was able to connect with one of the OBGYNs, Dra. Cervantes, who attended the talk. I remember her very clearly because she expressed her desire to help to make birth more personalized and more nurturing (you can learn a little bit more about the common birth practices in that original post), and she was very pleased with the talk. During our brief conversation on this trip, she reflected on that talk and how it impacted her and her practice. Since then, her and a partner practitioner have implemented some basic tactics discussed in the talk regarding doula work.
One of the big things is that they have allowed and even encouraged women to use different positions, use a birth ball, and even birth out of the bed. They have put calming music on their phones for women to listen to, lowered the lights, and even brought different scents to provide a comforting environment. Massage and counter pressure techniques have been implemented when supporting some of their patients in labor as well. One of the most touching things that she told me, though, was the story of one woman.
This woman, who was a patient of hers, happened to be delivering her third child. During that birth, the Dra. Cervantes implemented some of these tactics to help her cope with labor. After delivering her baby with Dra. Cervantes and experiencing the care and attention that the doctor had given her, she was so touched that she wrote a special Thank-You letter. In her letter, she expressed her huge gratitude for the type of care that she received. Comparing it with her two previous experiences, in which she had felt like she wasn't important, she expressed that her past experience had made her feel so much better, and dare I say, in certain words, empowered, knowing that she was able to make it through labor and birth in an environment that supported her. The letter was so well written and detailed, I was told, that they are hoping to send a copy to Mexico D.F. (the capitol), to petition for beds (or at least 1) that allow for and promote position change in labor (currently their beds stay pretty flat). The doctor also hopes to use this, and other women's experiences, to share with providers the benefits of a more personalized support and care in labor.
As you can imagine, all of this touched me. The scattering those seeds of information with those who want it, or on fertile soil, can grow and benefit many women and babies for a life time. Please keep the Dra. Cervantes and the city of Ciudad Constitucion, Baja California Sur, in your thoughts, as they continue to slowly implement change for women. I plan on bringing more supplies for the doctor on my next trip, such as mats and birth balls, so that she has more tools to help more women, and hopefully, the fruits of that first seed an continue to grow and reach more.