Giving birth in South America was never in our original plan. We intended to return to California to give birth. Somewhere along the way our thinking changed, and the idea of returning to the US for any reason slowly dwindled away.
In Venezuela we stopped taking the pill and accepted that wherever we got pregnant was where we’d have our child. That place ended up being Peru.
At first we were both excited. Forty weeks is a long time for us to spend in one place, and we both love Peru.
But after we were actually pregnant, reality settled in. It’s not that we’re snobby, or super picky, but the one thing we both want is a safe, natural birth. And the one thing we know about Perus is –
Everything is one step forward, two steps back.
Our first surprise was learning about
The Business Of Caesarean Deliveries
In the private clinics in Peru, over 80% of women have a caesarean vs. a natural birth. There are 2 main reasons for this.
1) Money – the hospitals charge more for caesareans and therefore encourage them.
2) Convenience – The doctors work at up to 4 clinics and are always rotating between them. Waiting around for a natural birth in one place takes time. Therefore they encourage and even push women to schedule their birth via caesarean.
This is absolutely CRAZY to us.
Neither one of us wanted our baby to be “scheduled”. We started interviewing doctors looking for one who would support our goal of a natural child birth. In addition to this stipulation, we also had a list of requirements that we considered mandatory for a safe, natural birth. Nothing too extravagant. Simple things, like being able to find a vein in less than one hour…
Another make-or-break was finding a place that would allow me, the father, to be in the delivery room. This is illegal in Trujillo. But, as with most laws in Peru, there isn’t anything that money can’t solve, so we kept interviewing doctors to find the one who would “bend” the rule.
All the doctors thought we were crazy showing up with pages of questions and special requests. We had to be persistent. We know first hand that NOBODY in Peru will volunteer information. You have to pro-activly pursue everything. You can’t assume anything.
We finally found a good doctor who worked with an amazing midwife. Stevie liked both of them. She was a rock star. And he was kind and honest. He patiently listened to all of our questions and concerns.
Then he told us to go to Lima.
So we went to Lima. There we found another great doctor. We found all the modern equipment. We thought we were set, and then we got the first bill. Ouch!
We were no longer paying Peruvian prices, so the question then became whether or not we could even afford to have a baby in Lima. (Our insurance in the States will not cover our birth in Peru, so everything will be out of pocket). The adventure continues.
So we still don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going.
One step forward. Two steps back.
The good news is that we’re past all the first trimester tests and our baby is completely healthy!
The not so good news is that we’re both getting a little stressed since we still have NO idea where we’re going to have the baby. We’d really like to get this settled soon. And,