The Estrada Family

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


Nicaraguans are superstitious people in all aspects of their lives. But when it comes to pregnancy and babies, it’s hard to keep track of all the things a mother should and shouldn´t do. I´ve been trying to keep a mental list of all the ones I´ve heard about to share them here. Because, to be honest, some of them are just ridiculous!

So if you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, read carefully so that you can protect your future babies!!

If you are stung by a scorpion while you are pregnant, your baby WILL have a stutter. Fact. Solution: don´t get stung by a scorpian. Easier said then done…

While you are pregnant you should not do any hard work or heavy lifting. Why? Because you might give your child a hernia. No, not while your baby is still in the womb, but at ANY POINT IN YOUR CHILDS LIFE. Yep, that’s right. You´re 8 year old son has a hernia? YOUR FAULT. (More than one person told me that their child had a hernia, and their DOCTOR told them it was their fault for lifting something heavy during pregnancy.)

If you tickle a new born baby´s foot, it will make the mothers hair fall out. I think this one is funny because it’s actually true that in the 6 months after giving birth, women loose more hair. It’s actually because hormone changes during pregnancy cause women to loose LESS hair, so when pregnancy is over, all that extra hair starts to fall out!

You shouldn’t stand over your baby so that they have to look up toward their forehead to see you. Their eyes will go wonky. Permanently.

There are also a number of people who should not be allowed to look at your baby:

Drunk/High people – Im not completely sure why, it’s kinda hard to get someone to explain this one. If a drunk person looks a baby in the face I think it curses the baby (maybe the baby will be an alcoholic when it grows up?). Actually about two years ago I was hold someone’s precious newborn baby when the local drunk started walking down the street. Baby momma quickly threw a thick blanket over her daughter and said “Don´t let him look at her!” I was shocked because I didn´t really know what was happening, and I felt pretty bad for the baby – it was about a gazillion degrees out that day and she was covered. But, I didn’t ask questions, I just waited patiently for drunky to stumble on his way.

Men who have been working in the sun – I have heard a few different explanations for this one. 1. A man who has been out in the sun working for a long time is hot, and if he looks at or touches a baby he will take body heat away from the baby. 2. It will give your baby “the grunts”. (Which is what my baby does when she´s feeling gassy… or maybe a drunk guy sneaked a peek at her?)

Menstruating women – Yep, seriously. They will also give your baby the grunts just by looking at them. This makes me wonder a few things. How many babies have I unknowingly hurt? And also, should I be asking women if they are menstruating before they look at my baby? I feel like that’s inappropriate.

That’s all I can remember for now. I know I have forgotten a few… lets blame it on momma-brain.

And, in case you´re wondering, yes, people have given me these reasons for not holding/looking at Bethany. Well, no one has said “Sorry, I´m drunk” but having spent too much time in the sun, and it being “that time of the month” have been reasons why some family members waited a little while longer to see Bethany.

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Birth Story…finally!

I guess I´ve kept everyone waiting long enough! You know it´s hard to find time to sit down and write a blog post with an infant! At the moment Bethany is strapped to me (in an awesomely lovely sling that Meagan bought for me), asleep. We are in Jinotega for a few days, while David does some much-needed maintenance work at the Children´s Home up here. It’s 7 weeks late…but here is the birth story!

So back when I was 37 weeks pregnant, my sweet baby girl was measuring about a week ahead, but otherwise, everything looked fantastic. My doctor thought I would go into labour early. It is very mean to make pregnant women think they are going to go into labour early if it´s not true. From that point on I thought pregnancy was almost over. I had my hospital bag packed and we brought it in the car with us whenever we went anywhere…just in case. I was anxiously waiting to feel the first contraction. But the days went by and nothing was happening. My doctor was surprised when I came in for my appointment on my due date looking about the same as I had three weeks earlier. No dilation, no effacement, the head was not engaged. An ultrasound showed that in the three weeks that just passed my baby had done a few turns, and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her next. She was also measuring really big. My doctor talk to us about the risk and –like I said in my last blog post –David and I were considering whether or not we should schedule a C-section.
We discussed and discussed for two days, and finally I called the doctor to ask her opinion again. I told her that we were thinking about a scheduled C-section and Dra. Aragon responded, “I know you really wanted a natural birth, and I didn´t want to pressure you, but with all the risk factors I think a C-section would be the safest thing to do.”

I was sold. I really appreciated that she let us make the decision on our own rather than forcing us into something that I really didn´t want. We scheduled the surgery for Tuesday March 20th, at 11am. Then I took a deep breath. That was it. My baby was coming.

Fast forward two days to the 20th. We left early in the morning to check into the hospital before 9am. With the exception of the nurse failing at her first two attempts to put in my IV, and then getting another nurse to do it, everything went smoothly and before I knew it I was being taking down to the OR. I was extremely nervous, but the nurses and doctors were fantastic-especially the anesthesiologist. She talked me though everything that was going on, before the surgery and during. She reassured me that David would be there soon (he had to wait until I was prepped before he was allowed to come in the room), and she even took a few of the first pictures of David with Bethany.

When I had the epidural in, I was convinced that it wasn’t working. When I get nervous I shake my feet, and I was lying there on the table while I was being prepped, and I was shaking my feet! I kept saying “I can still feel, it’s not working!” But then the anesthesiologist pinched my shoulder, and then my side and I realized I couldn’t feel anything at all! It’s a weird sensation when you can still feel the pressure, but not the pain. At one point I thought they were still prepping and cleaning, and I asked, and they said they had already cut me open. It was like it wasn´t my body. I felt someone pushing on my belly every once in a while, but that was it. Suddenly they told David he could go around to the other side of the table to watch her coming out and take pictures. I didn´t think he would actually go, but he hopped up and took the camera with him! David is normally very squeamish when it comes to blood/guts/puke/poop, but when I asked him about it later he told me that he didn´t even notice all the blood, he was just waiting to see his daughter.

I could feel some pushing and pulling, and the anesthesiologist told me to take a DEEP breath, because I was about to feel a LOT of pressure. She was right. David said one of the surgeons basically put her whole body weight on my stomach, high up near my rib cage. And then suddenly, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard: my daughter started crying. I immediately started crying, and waited for someone to bring her over to me. Everything happened was a blur. I saw her, gave her a kiss, and she was gone. I didn´t even realize until I looked at the pictures later that it was David who was holding her. To be honest, I didn´t even remember what she looked like. I have no idea how much longer I was in surgery, but David and Bethany had left, and I was anxious to see my girl again. When they finished up I was taken to the recovery room for about an hour and a half. I had to stay there until I could feel and move my legs. As the epidural started to wear off I started feeling a lot of pain. There was Pitocin in my IV to help my uterus contract and return to its normal size. I was feeling contractions. It was awful.

Even with an IV full of pain meds, the first few hours after surgery were extremely painful. I thought that it would never end and I had no idea how I was going to be able to be discharged the next day. I couldn’t imagine that the pain would go away. I was back in my hospital room before 3pm, and they brought Bethany in to be with us at about 5. I wanted to badly to hold and snuggly and kiss my baby, but it hurt, so Bethany just lay beside me on the bed.

Considering how much pain I was in that first day, I am surprised at how fast I recovered. For about five days I had a lot of trouble getting in and out of bed, and sometimes I had to walk a little hunched over when I first stood up. It took about two weeks before I could laugh pain-free, and sneezes/coughs were dreadfully painful too. But now, it’s hard to remember how painful it was.

The day after the C-section my doctor told me that we were very lucky we decided to have the surgery. The placenta and umbilical cord were attached to my uterus right up at the top, and the umbilical cord was stretched down and wrapped around Bethany´s neck. The cord was not even long enough for her head to ever engage on its own, which means that labour would never have started naturally. It also means that if we had tried to induce labour with prostaglandin or Pitocin, the cord would have tightened around her neck, she would have gone into distress and we would have had an emergency C-section!

Bethany was a blessing from the moment she came into this world. Every day she amazes us with new facial expressions, sound, and feats of strength. She makes our days more interesting, and our nights more tiring. David is an amazing father, and even though he always said he wanted boys, I know he wouldn´t trade his little princess for anything.

We love our little Bethany Grace.