At 28 weeks and four days, nomad baby and I have officially entered the third trimester! In this post, read about our search for a Guanajuato doctor, travel, symptoms, birth preparation, and all the other good stuff about having a baby on the move. For anyone who missed our first post about nomad pregnancy, we are a nomadic American family who has decided to have our second child here in Guanajuato, Mexico. So far, we’re extremely happy with our decision.
Nomad Baby: Finding a Doctor, in Spanish
In Playa del Carmen I had a wonderful, female English-speaking OBGYN at the Hospiten Clinic. For reasons we outlined in the previous post, we decided to move from Playa to Guanajuato when I was about 22 weeks pregnant with nomad baby. The first thing I had to do in Guanajuato was to find a doctor and a hospital. Due to a smaller and older expat community, personal recommendations were few. We did receive a good recommendation for the nearby hospital CMP, but on one of our walks in the city we discovered a clinic even closer to our house, in Plaza de la Paz.
I walked in, asked the receptionist if they had OBGYNs, and followed her directions to another area of the beautiful open air building called Plaza Mayor. I really wanted a female OBGYN, and I was in luck to see a lady doctor’s name outside an office door. I made an appointment with her receptionist for the very next week. I was in a bit of a hurry because I was due for the big 25 week checkup, but if there had been no female doctors I would have taken a cab to the other hospital, where I knew there were female OBGYNS.
Making the appointment in Spanish went smoothly! I had been practicing my explanatory spiel: we just moved here, I’m 25 weeks pregnant, the baby will be born here, I need a doctor, etc. There is no English here, but if I’d had only a basic level of Spanish, practice and study would have been sufficient for speaking. Everyone I’ve met is very patient when I make errors or stumble my way through a sentence. It’s listening and comprehension that’s hard.
I’m lucky for my Spanish study in college. Some people speak very quickly, and especially when you’re talking about a specialized area such as medicine or education, it takes all the mental focus I have to make sure I’m understanding correctly. Luckily, we’d had some good practice while enrolling Spencer in preschool, and my confidence level (which is just as important as your ability) was high enough that I wasn’t afraid to ask the doctor, receptionist, assistants, etc to repeat themselves if I had trouble understanding. Or even better, to repeat what I’d heard back to them, both to confirm my understanding and to practice speaking. Again, everyone was happy to oblige, and I was never treated like a child or a nuisance.
Nomad Baby: 25 and 29 Week Checkups
25 weeks is the big one. In this checkup the doctor should be able to see whether there are any major abnormalities in the pregnancy due to nomad baby’s size, ratios between body measurements, heartbeat, thickness of skull, all of that. It’s also usually when your doctor confirms the sex, though the virtuoso Mr. Bean doctor in Playa had already told us at Week 13 that we had a girl, and he was right.
When I arrived at Plaza Mayor I was greeted by a friendly, calm doctor in her late forties. As in Playa, her office consisted of a desk/conversation area, and around the corner a stirrup table and monitor for ultrasounds. I explained our situation, and she began to ask me the standard intake questions. She’s a quick and quiet speaker so I had to ask her to repeat herself a few times, but we muddled through. The only hiccup was when I accidentally told her I was O- instead of O+, which is an important difference given that Rh negative women need special medication to guard against potential incompatibility with their baby’s blood type. Once we’d cleared that up I asked her about where the delivery would be. She said that I could have the baby here in the birthing ward of the clinic, or in CMP, it was up to me. Both places offer epidurals. Yay! Epidurals aren’t a given all over the world.
The doctor gave me a stomach ultrasound, pointed out all the body parts, and confirmed that we were having a girl! After taking the usual measurements and giving me a print-out, the doctor confirmed that the baby was in good and normal health. She gave me her card and cell number and urged me to call her if I had any questions. She also explained the lab order she was giving me for the glucose tolerance test, and that there were labs all over the city where I could have it done. At my next appointment this morning, I had a few more questions: do I need to register with the hospital now, and can I make it clear that I would really like a natural birth (not a C-section) if possible? The doctor seemed to understand me completely, and said that we would plan for a natural birth with an epidural, since that’s what I wanted.
No matter where you are in the world, a trusting relationship with your doctor is the absolute best and most important part of a pregnancy. In Luxembourg, my doctor was competent, but busy and blunt. In Playa, my doctor was friendly, but always a little rushed, perhaps due to the big size of her practice. My doctor here in Guanajuato, maybe owing to her smaller practice, or maybe just because she’s awesome, is unhurried, patient, and solititous. Especially when I know that as a foreigner I can be easily dismissed or treated like a child (and have been, in other situations), I appreciate my doctor’s personal attention to what’s important to me. Feeling so calm and happy right now.
Nomad Baby: Traveling and Symptoms
Nomad baby’s first trimester was pretty rough with all of the colds. Luckily, we never had a flight longer than three hours and I can handle a cold on a flight for that long. The nausea all but disappeared by month three, unless I forgot and took a prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach. I see other mothers asking in forums if they should travel while pregnant, and I always say DO IT. Even if you’re nauseated, you’re not going to feel any worse traveling than you will at home. Qualification: I’ve never had the debilitating nausea some women have, so I’m not judging! However, more often than not, the exercise and stimulation you get during travel will feel great. I still remember the trips I took while pregnant with Spencer, and always I felt this calm, ethereal kind of happiness: the tranquility of being pregnant and one with the world’s natural beauty.
I’ve noticed a tendency to get light-headed if I’m packing or lugging too much at once. This happens to me outside of pregnancy also, either from anemia or low blood pressure, and usually some salty carbonated water and more red meat in my diet helps. Since we’ve arrived in Guanjuato, I feel like a veritable fertility goddess. The second trimester is everyone’s favorite but I’ve loved it even more given the sunny, mid-seventies days, the excellent healthy food we’ve been cooking, and the frequent exercise. I feel fan-effing-tastic.
Now that nomad baby and I are in the third trimester, I’m going to up my water intake. Many third trimester symptoms are aided by water, not to mention that I’d love to make it out of this without a stretch mark. Knock on wood. I also need to take it a little easier on the exercise. Though I’m technically “in shape” after our six weeks here, I get winded very easily, and sometimes get side-aches during long walks. I’m also clumsy when I’m tired, and have to be careful not to trip and fall on the many steps in this city.
Thebump.com says I should have gained about 15-25 pounds. In Guanajuato, that feels impossible. With our four-story house and the ubiquitous hills, I’m eating constantly just to avoid getting light-headed and still about the same size other than my belly. Though I have to take exercise slowly, it’s had a fantastic affect on my and nomad baby’s health. I just caught another cold from the dreaded preschool, aka the virus incubation center. With a few long walks it was completely gone in four days. So far, I’m lucky to have had a fantastic, normal pregnancy.
See our next post for the final stages of preparation (including gear) for our nomad baby. I can’t believe she’ll be here in a little less than three months!