The OB, the Scalpel, and my little Mexicana Rose

During most of my last pregnancy I repeatedly told my OB that I did not want this child delivered by C-Section.

Even so, twelve years ago this week, my little princess (child number four, daughter number one), was pulled into this world. Via caesarean.

We were living in Chihuahua City at that time and as my Mexican friends and neighbors began finding out I was pregnant they would ask, “So what day have you decided to have the baby?”

What kind of question was that? I thought.

I would reply, “Pues, no sabemos. Cuando Dios quiere (We don’t know. In God’s time).”

With shock, and I mean that literally, eyes widening, blinks pronounced and eyebrows furrowing they would ask, “You aren’t scheduling a C-section? You plan on having this baby…naturally!?”

Wow. How weird could I be? To think I’d deliver this baby the way women having been doing since Eve started the trend ages ago! Tag another one on to my growing list of cultural blunders. I would find out that C-Sections were the way to go for women in Mexico, at least northern Mexico; at least the non-indigenous northern Mexicans.

The reasons? First of all, it was convenient. Everyone could plan around the birth, instead of having life stop because Uh-oh, I think it’s time- the baby’s coming. Second of all, at least according to many women, avoiding natural birth keeps the hips from spreading.

Too late. I’d already delivered three boys naturally; there was no more spread left in these hips, they’ve reached their limit (any more and I’m guessing my leg sockets would pop out).

I stuck to my guns and in so doing became a novelty, a sort of discussion piece if you will. And with each pre-natal visit, I repeated my wishes of a natural delivery to my doctor. After a few initial “Seguras? (are you sure?), the receptionist would call my name in the waiting room, announcing to the world, “Señora Hadinger, parto natural” (Mrs. Hadinger, natural birth). Heads turning my way, I was confident that my doc’s office had caught on that I was serious about this.

On April 25, 2000, I was asked to reconsider my choice in the matter.

My water broke and Mike rushed me to the hospital. After I walked (yes, walked) to the assigned room on the fourth floor, I changed into that lovely hospital gown and climbed as gracefully up on the bed as any other pregnant woman would do while her water was still breaking and while fumbling in vain to keep the back of the gown closed.

A nurse came over to help me lay down comfortably when suddenly her eyes widened,  she stuttered, “un momento”, and then rushed out of the room. Within seconds she came back with my doctor and a few other nurses, who after a quick glance and staccato discussion, strapped a fetal monitor around me and set me up to the machine.

The alarm was due to obvious amounts of meconium poisoning, and it was affecting my baby’s life, per the readings of her heartbeat. The doctor suggested an emergency C-Section, but would leave the decision to me since I had been so opposed to the idea.

Just then, Mike, who had been parking the car, entered and was made aware of the problem. There was no question now; no longer a matter of convenience or aesthetics, this was possibly a matter of the baby’s life or death.

Yes, cut me open and take her out ASAP!

Mike could not come into the operating room with me and I was a bit frightened and lonely as the rush was on. I would have preferred them to knock me out completely, but with only a localized anesthesia, I was left coherent with my mind racing with thoughts like “No one even knows this is happening, do they?” “I wish Mike would be in here with me” and “Someone needs to call my mother”. Then I closed my eyes and prayed, quelling my nervousness and a panic that began creeping in.

Within 10 minutes, my little girl was pulled into this world. The whitest and biggest baby most in that operating room had ever seen, with reddish blonde fuzz crowning her head. Later, in the hospital nursery, she was the object of curiosity.

This week she turns twelve. She is our very own Mexican-American, holding dual citizenship. In fact, I’ve won certain brownie points with the nationals here since I am “mamá to a Mexicana”.

She has been called “La guërrita mexicana” (the little white mexican). My husband calls her Sunshine; I call her mamita.

We all call her a gift from God.

19 thoughts on “The OB, the Scalpel, and my little Mexicana Rose

  1. By the way, so enjoyed the pictures of your beautiful, beautiful daughter, and I’m glad the Lord blessed your family with a girl!

    1. Yes, the Lord surprised us after we arrived to Mexico (we were told not to drink the water, something may grow in us. Oops – I must have drank the water!!) She was a blessing, especially after the miscarriage in Costa Rica.

  2. I always look forward to what you write, Illona. I hope that you will continue to write while on furlough. My best friend has also started reading your blogs, and she loves them. I also read all of the responses you received. As a retired missionary, I still love reading what all of you have to say about doing life far away!! Much love to you!

    1. And I love the feedback I get from retired missionaries and/or veterans with much more experience than we have. There is much to learn from those of you who have tread the path before us. We love and admire you!

  3. I enjoyed your reflections. I, too, birthed 2 naturally and was adamant about not having a C-section…even to the point of going to my family doctor instead of an OB. My 35 year old body said “no way!” so I ended up paying 2 doctors! After thinking about it I was grateful that it wasn’t 100 years ago or we both would have died. Also she was 10 lbs. 2 oz. so I was kind of glad I didn’t have to birth her naturally!!!

    1. Wow! That’s a big baby. So your third was a C-section; yes, when health issues arise- especially life or death is in the balance – then that is an option we can all be thankful for.

  4. What beautiful memories! And what a beautiful young lady! I had four cesareans – in the US – all by necessity of some sort, although my doctors would have avoided them if at all possible… I was simply very grateful for my healthy babies! Have also been surprised by the high % of cesareans here in Mexico… but had never heard such “thought through/planned” reasons for them! Great post! I learned something new!

    1. Wow – four?? I didn’t know that was possible. Praise God all your babies were healthy, and you, I see, have had no lasting effects (knowing that you today are climbing volcanoes!!) If we wouldn’t be heading on furlough soon, I’d invite you to Oaxaca so we can meet F2F.

      1. Both my mom and my aunt had five each! So it must run in the family gene pool! I, too, would love to meet you F2F… maybe someday God will allow our paths to cross – until then, I am thankful we have connected in “cyberspace”. 🙂 Blessings on your furlough – I’ll be following your progress here!

  5. April – loved reading your version! I LOL’d when read that your doc said, “wow!!” And the white thing – I know! More women told me my baby was sick than I care to remember. She was so white (translucent, better said) her veins could clearly be seen. Freaked a lot of people out.

  6. Great blog! I was quite surprised and amused when I learned that women in northern Mexico planned ahead this way. Here in Canada where I live women work so hard to ensure that they can have their child naturally.

    1. Someone mentioned to me that this C-section trend is picking up speed in the USA also. At least the Canadians are keeping some sense in all this!

  7. Loved it! Reminds me of my own little Mexicana. Fortunately my OBGYN had studied a bit in America so he wasn’t totally opposed when I told him I wanted a natural birth. It wasn’t until one of my last appointments that I realized that he still thought I was going to schedule a c-section. When he said, “while I’m in there, do you want me to do anything else like tie your tubes or give you a tummy tuck?” Though I wasn’t opposed to a tummy tuck, I sat there with a blank look on my face as I tried to figure out how you could do that from THAT angle. Then it dawned on me that we were thinking two different things…

    Well, I got my way in the end. The anestesiologist asked me if I remembered how to push. I said, “Watch me”, pushed once and out popped my little girl. The dr. actually said “WOW!!” Not something you want to hear from your dr, but this might have been his first natural birth. In the nursery, they kept telling me I needed to put her in the sun. I kept telling them, “That’s the color she’s supposed to be. She’s white!”

    I have more crazy culture shock stories from that time in my life…

    But I too love my Mexicana.

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