The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

Pregnancy is scary

So every first time mom is allowed to have at least one panicked drive to the ER in the middle of the night, right?

Here´s my story…

Tuesday afternoon/evening when David finished work he came home and continued working on the ceiling in our bedroom (it´s more than half finished now – yay!). I was watching TV for a while, and sometimes spent time sitting on our bed watching David work and talking. We had an easy dinner (mini-sandwiches on fresh made buns from the local baker…mmm) and then David was back to working/chatting with me. I started to realize that I really hadn´t felt the baby moving. “Hmmm, I probably just wasn´t paying attention”, I thought to myself. “She´ll start moving soon.”

I waited, and waited. Nothing. I laid down on the bed while we were talking, recalling that every time I lay down to go to bed she starts a drum solo against whatever side of my belly that’s touching the bed. Still nothing.  I decided not to panic, clearly she was just resting. I didn´t want fear to take over. I sat, waited, laid down, waited, rolled over, waited. I couldn´t for the life of me feel her moving. I started poking at my belly trying to wake her up (which usually works) and still I didn´t feel anything. Still trying not to panic I decided to just keep waiting. By the time David finished working around 8:30 I decided to tell him about my worry.

“I haven´t really felt her kicking for a while”
“How long?”
“I don´t know, since about 6…”
“She´s probably just sleeping”
I was fighting back tears.

So he started talking to my belly, telling the baby to stop scaring her mother and to start moving. He felt a little push against his hand.

“Did you feel that!?! She moved! See, nothing to be afraid of. Don´t worry”

I felt it, and a few other little movements, but nothing like the usual party that goes on in my belly every day. I explained that to David.

“It´s just not the same as usual”
“Don´t worry, she´s moving! Remember, God gave us this baby, and we know everything is going to be ok.”

[Side note: We had two people last year tell us that God told them, through dreams, that we would have a baby. Back in January 2011 a woman told me that she had a dream in it I was pregnant. She said that God told her I would be pregnant in the next 6 months. 6 months later, I was. Also, when I was 10 weeks pregnant (and we hadn´t told anyone about it yet) a woman in church approached us and said “I don´t know you, but I had a dream about you last night. You were standing here in church holding a baby. I couldn’t see if it was a boy or a girl. I want you to know—if you don´t know already— that soon, you will be parents.” Pretty cool.]

Trying to keep that in mind, I tried to calm myself down. “Ok, she moved” I thought to myself, “I don´t need to worry. Everything will be fine.”

I willed myself to go to sleep. “She´ll start kicking against the bed when I lay down…I just know it.” I tried to convince myself, but once again, she didn’t. I tossed and turned as I half slept, moving my hand around my belly urging myself to feel movement. At one point I jolted awake because I felt a flutter. I frantically poked at my belly trying to get her to start pushing back. I got up to go to the bathroom around midnight. When I got back in bed I felt a flutter, but again, it wasn´t the normal movement I usually feel. Once again, I tried to convince myself that everything was ok. I decided I would call my doctor first thing in the morning if she still wasn’t moving much. I basically didn´t sleep from then until 3 am. I just lay there, waiting for kicks, asking her (sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud) “Please, baby girl, please move.”

By 2:50am I couldn´t take it anymore. I suddenly realized that if I waited until the morning to call the doctor, and something really was wrong, and it was too late, I would NEVER be able to forgive myself for waiting. I tried one more time to get up and go to the bathroom. But when I got back in bed and didn’t immediately feel something I decided to wake up David.

“David… David… DAVID!”
“I still can´t feel her moving. Im really worried.”
“What do you want to do? Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“Well, yes.”
“Ok. Let’s go.”

I need to add in here that I´m really glad David never argued with me about going to the hospital. He just got up and got dressed really quickly. I love him.

I sent a quick text to Steph (my sister-in-law/next door neighbour) since we were going to take her car. As David started the car Steph poked her head out her front door. She came over to the car to give me a hug and tell me that she would be praying.

We drove to the hospital. It was the first time in the four years that I´ve known David that I´ve ever asked him to drive faster.

We were one of two cars parked in the ER parking lot. When we walked into the ER most of the lights were off. There was no one there. We finally noticed that the woman at the reception desk was sleeping.  She looked up at us, put her head back down, then finally sprang awake and asked us what we needed. I explained the problem, and then comes the difficulties of living in Nicaragua.

“Are you insured?”
“Ok, you have to pay first then.”

She walks us across the hospital to the “Caja” where you have to pay BEFORE you see a doctor. The woman who works in Caja is also asleep. The consult is $35.00 USD. David hand her $50.00.

“You don´t have any smaller bills?”
“No” (in my head: “seriously…just let me see the freaking doctor”)
“I don´t have change… Do you have a credit card?”
“Just give us the change later!” David finally says.

Then she fills out the form. “Full name? Address? Phone number? Age? Emergency contact?”

I point to David “HIM!!” David quickly gives his name and phone number.

Is this all really necessary? We are losing precious time!

She walks us back over to the ER and tells me to sit down at a little nurse’s station. A nurse comes over. Well, I am assuming he really was a nurse. For all I know he was a janitor who put on a white coat. I could have done a better job myself.

“Do you know how much you weigh?” he asks me.

I looked at him like he was crazy. Im pregnant. My weight changes EVERY DAY. And besides that, who gives a crap how much I weigh. I WANT TO KNOW MY BABY IS OK. I get up on the scale, and realize that I have officially passed the number that I secretly wished I would never pass. Ouch.

Then I sit down so he can take my blood pressure. I think I should mentioned here that I have had my blood pressure taken every day for the last two weeks (To monitor potential Pre-eclampsia—it’s been fine so far). I know what it feels like to have my blood pressure taken, and I know when someone is faking it.

He puts the cuff on my arm. No, wait, he put it around my elbow. He pumps up the cuff to MAYBE 115. (I never felt the blood stop flowing) and then quickly lets out the air. Then he writes down on my piece of paper “110/70.” Hey, if you´re going to make it up, be a little more creative! “111/68” would have looked more believable. Rediculous.

So they FINALLY take me over to the doctor.

“What’s the problem?” She asks me.
“Im 37 weeks pregnant, and I haven´t been able to feel my baby move for a while.”
“Since when?”
“Well I started to notice around 6pm…”
“Well, um.” (Im a little surprised at her reaction), “I…. I didn´t want to worry. I thought that I would feel something eventually. I felt a few little flutters, but it wasn´t like what I usually feel” (In my head: “It’s all my fault, I should have come sooner. I´m a bad person.”)

She asks me a bunch of other questions about my pregnancy. I answered them, but she seems unsatisfied that I didn´t bring in all my paperwork and labs. That wasn´t really what I was thinking about when we ran out of the house an hour ago.

“Ok, lie down on the table. Take off your pants and underwear.”

I walk over to the table, then turn around and realize that the door to her exam room is still open and there are people walking down the halls (including creepy fake-nurse/janitor man). I motioned to David to close the door. (It’s a swinging door that can´t lock.)

“Do you have a gown that I can put on?”

She looks up at me and grumbles, then goes to the cupboard and pulls out a gown and hands it to me. I quickly change into the gown, and lie down on the table. She measures my belly, and without saying anything pulls out a Doppler, squirts gel on it, and starts moving it around my belly. Within a few seconds I hear the sweet sound of my baby girl’s strong heartbeat.

“Thank you Jesus.”

“That’s the heartbeat. Can you hear it? Everything is fine” she says to me.

I start crying.

She puts her hand on my belly, and my darling baby decides use this moment to make her first big movement in 9 hours.

“Can´t you feel that? That’s your baby moving. There is nothing wrong.”
(Im still crying)
“Why are you crying? Everything is fine. Stop crying.
“This is the first time I´ve felt my baby move all night. I was so worried…” I manage to whisper.
“Well you shouldn´t worry. Everything is fine. You probably didn´t sleep all night, did you? If you worry too much you´ll hurt your baby.”

The doctor walks away and sits back at her desk, leaving me with a bunch of gel on my belly. I struggle to sit up, and start getting off the table…still crying. David came over to help me, which was great because I fell off the step stool getting down off the table.

“You need to stop crying and calm down” says the doctor.

But the thing is, I can´t stop crying. Its 4am. I haven´t slept all night. I just found out that my baby is ok. Oh, and on top of all that I have the meanest doctor in the universe belittling me and making me feel like an idiot for even coming in. You try to stop crying!!

She says a few more things, writes on her piece of paper, tells me I can get more tests if I want, and sends me on my way. I clench my jaw and fight back the urge to hit her and call her names. We remember to get our change from “Caja” and head out to the car. I´m still crying as we get in the car and David asks why. I tried to explain how that doctor made me feel in Spanish but I end up just yelling it all out in English with a few choice words in there to describe how I felt about the doctor. Who knows if David actually understood what I said. I think he got the idea.

We arrived home at 5am. I crawled into bed, and baby girl started her drum solo against the mattress. I have never been so happy to be kicked.

The rest of the day she was a little mover. By dinner time on Wednesday she was having a little party in my belly, and I was smiling the whole time. It is incredibly painful when she kicks me in the ribs, but I will cherish every rib shot until she arrives.

One last thing: Im 37 weeks now (full-term!!) That means baby girl can come anytime now! I have an appointment with my own OB next Wednesday, and since she is the head of the OB department, I fully intend on complaining about my awful experience with the OB doctor from HELL.

I do not regret for a second going to the ER. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I thought anything was wrong. But the whole way there I will be praying that I get a different doctor.

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Pregnancy Update

Well, Im 35 weeks pregnant now (I can´t believe how fast time has flown!) and we are quickly approaching the due date! So what had been happening with us lately?

I worked for two weeks in Jinotega translating for two back-to-back medical teams. Translating is a lot more then mental work. We had 2 hour bus rides, rain; we almost got stuck out on the back roads a few times, not to mention all the time I spent on my feet! It’s no wonder my ankles disappeared by the time I was back in Managua!  Those were my last two paying jobs until after the baby is born, so I tried to enjoy them as much as possible! I am glad to be back at home now. I had a lot of nightmares about going into labour in the middle of nowhere in Jinotega and having my baby in the public hospital while David drove the 3 hours to get to me. Thank God that didn´t come true!

While I was gone David got a lot of the furniture we need. The great thing about having such a big family here in Nicaragua (especially when David´s brothers just had baby girls last year) is that there is a lot of baby furniture to be shared! We bought a crib from David´s older brother (They never even used it – Sol, who is now 15 months old, still sleeps in their bed). We also have a bassinet, a swing, a play pen, and possible a pack-n-play on the way.  Of course they are not for us to keep; we have to pass them on to the next family members that are having babies.  (Example: The bassinet and baby swing were given to Ivonne and Nelson over 4 years ago, by Joel and Steph, when Ivonne was pregnant with Doson. Ivonne gave them to Juan and Tania last year for Sol, Juan gave them to Chico and Tatiana for Kelly, and now Chico gave them to us! Steph and Joel´s baby boy is due to arrive April 19th, so if they want, the gift can come full circle almost 4½ years later!)

We bought a dresser that will double as a changing table, but as I tried putting away all the baby clothes, I realized we have way more stuff then what fits in the drawers! We will probably by another dresser sometime next week.

Another big change that has happened is that we made the decision to switch doctors. I was a little worried about making such a big change so late in the game, but we really felt it was necessary. The doctor that we had was pretty good. He had a nice office with his own ultrasound equipment (hence all my 3D pictures every month) but there were a few reasons we decided to make the change:

First, he kept raising his prices. We started out paying C$900 per appointment ($40.00 USD). In December we went to pay, and we were told it was C$1000. Not too much of a price increase, but we weren´t told before hand, so we had to use money that were planning on using later that day. Then Steph (my pregnant sister-in-law) had an appointment in early January, and they were told C$1200!! ($53.00 USD). At that point we were pretty sure they charging us more because of our tell-tale white skin, which means we have access to the “North-American bank” that gives us money whenever we want (see my last blog post – I will never be Nicaraguan). Plus, this doctor was going to charge is $1400.00 to attend the birth. That didn´t include the pediatrician, or the hospital fees. We were looking at a L&D cost of about $2500.00USD. That is A LOT of money in Nicaragua, and much more money that David and I have to spend.

Second, Dr. Rodriguez also had a very “I´m a smart Doctor, you are the stupid patient” approach to doctoring. Personally, I like to know what is happening to me and why.  He told me on more than one occasion that I shouldn´t question him. The day we asked if we could SEE the sex of the baby again (Because David said he didn’t see it the first time and wanted to be sure) Dr. Rodriguez´s response was “It’s not something that YOU can see, it’s something I see, and I tell you”. Nice one, Doc.

And last, he called me fat. More than once. Ok, so I know I´m pregnant, and probably overly sensitive, but I have been careful with my weight gain, and I was quite proud of myself for not getting “all-over fat” so far. In December he told me I had gained all together too much weight, and then tells DAVID that he needs to keep an eye on what Im eating. (I told David that if he tried to tell me NOT to eat a piece of chocolate, I would eat TWO just to spite him.) What finally push me over the edge was when he said “you know you don´t have to eat if you´re not hungry”.

Seriously, do you think I just eat for fun?

I am well within the limits of healthy weight gain for my pregnancy. By the next appointment I hadn´t gain as much weight as the last time (but I didn´t change my eating habits – take THAT Dr Meany) and he seemed to attribute that to my husband’s “control” over my eating. Whatever. I told Steph before my January appointment that if he told me I was fat I was going to respond “You´re fat too, what’s your excuse?” but luckily that didn´t come up in conversation!

So, taking all those factors into account, especially the $$ one, we decided, along with Joel and Steph, to look for a new doctor. I saw some adds for a private hospital in Managua that looked nice (check out the website, here), and noticed that they had quite a few female OBGYN´s on staff (which I prefer), and so last week we swung by while we were in Managua. I made an appointment with one of the doctors there (she is the head of the department) and on Wednesday we had our first appointment with her. She was very nice, knowledgeable (but not condescending), and is MUCH more affordable! We also asked to see the hospital rooms to make sure they are up to my “North-American” standards, and they defiantly are. I am very comfortable there, and plus, it’s a bit closer to home. The appointments no longer include an ultrasound, but I figure I´ve been extra blessed in that area since the beginning of my pregnancy, so I didn´t really mind not having one this week.

On our way to the appointment on Wednesday I pick up my routine test results. Uh-oh! I have protein in my urine. (That is a symptom of Pre-eclampsia). I was a bit worried the doctor would see those results and be ready to take the baby out right then and there! But it was ok. Protein in the urine is ONE symptom, but my blood-pressure is still nice and low at the moment, so I´m ok for now. My doctor has asked that I have my blood pressure taken every day (between Jen Foster, a nurse/missionary who works here in Los Cedros, and the doctor in town, I´ve got that taken care of), and I should come in if my blood pressure goes up, or if I ever have extreme headaches, blurred or spotted vision, or the sound of blood pulsing in my ears. I also need to keep an eye on the swelling in my body. A bit of swollen ankles is pretty normal for any pregnant woman at 35 weeks, but extreme or sudden swelling in my hands, feet or face are signs that we need to get to the hospital. Im taking it easy in the next weeks leading up to baby´s arrival, drinking lots of water, not eating salt, and keeping my feet up!  My pregnancy has been pretty easy-breezy since the beginning, so I´m praying it stays that way, and that I can have a nice, stress-free natural delivery.

That’s all folks! Can´t wait to post pictures of my beautiful baby girl whenever she decides to make her appearance!

I will leave you with my 35 week belly shot.

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