Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sons, Childbirth, Doctors

I found this little entry in a folder marked "My First Son" this week.  Perhaps that was the actual name I gave it or perhaps Word did it since those are the first words!  I do not remember!  From time to time someone asks me about having given birth to all my boys here in Brazil, so here's a little of my story... 

William in my arms, 1996, Fortaleza



My first son, William, was born in Fortaleza, Brazil.  It's a city of several million located in Northeast Brazil.  In the States while on deputation, I had two miscarriages.  One was never really defined beyond the point of God's will.  It occurred around 9 weeks.  The second was a molar pregnancy.  There was a fetus, but it developed a form of molar cancer.  That pregnancy also ended around 9 - 10 weeks.  The year following the second miscarriage, I was tested each month for any signs of cancer. None were ever found.  Each time I went in for a regular check-up only to find there were no life signs after a sonogram.  On one occasion was husband was traveling in Brazil and wouldn’t return for several more days.  The doctor insisted I go right over to the hospital for a DNC.  When I stated that I would like to wait for my husband to arrive from a trip, I was highly criticized.  I had our pastor call the doctor and explain that this was our choice understanding the complications of a miscarriage occurring at any time.  When Byron did arrive, I took him to the doctor’s office to have another sonogram done so that he too could see before taking any other action.  This too was criticized.  Our pastor went with us to the hospital.

We gave up on having children and decided that we should concentrate on getting to the mission field and let God take care of the rest.  I had only lived here for one year, and my Portuguese was far from fluent, when I begin to have those   Thankfully, a dear old American missionary nurse was recommended to me.  She gave me the names of three ob/gyn's that she personally liked.  I called the first two on her list, only to be told that I could have an appointment in a month or two.  I was sure that I was already close to two months. and in a big hurry to see a doctor in light of my past complications.  The third one I called said: "Come tomorrow."  I went, and never regretted it.  This doctor spoke English well.  He did his best to explain everything in Portuguese first, saying it was to my benefit in the long run.  He was by no means the cheapest doctor in town, but well educated in Brazil and the States, and well equipped. In his office he had his own sonograph machine.  This may not seem like much to you, but in Brazil you usually go to the doctor to be examined. Then he sends you to a laboratory for blood work and other tests, a different place for any x-rays, a clinic for shots and vaccines, and then before you drag you sick body home you can stop off at another site for sonograms, etc.  Then you have to go back with all these results, usually on a different day before getting any medicine prescribed or diagnosis.  These are the complications of a foreign country.  So I was very happy to see that not only did this doctor have a sonograph machine but that he was adept in its usage.

The American nurse went along with me on many of my monthly visits.  She also accompanied me to the hospital and stayed through the entire ordeal.  I began having inconsistent back pains on a Sunday evening.  Monday morning I went to see the doctor.  He advised me to stay at home until things were well under way to avoid being stuck in a Brazilian hospital all day.  Around midnight Monday the pain was real and consistent.  Contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes.  First I called the nurse and she did the rest as we made our way to the hospital.  After a night full of contractions, I never fully dilated and things were not going well.  Around 6am the doctor mentioned the possibility of a C-section.  At that point I was so miserable I asked if that meant I could have pain medicine now, he replied that it did, and I readily accepted the idea.  Within an hour or so my first child was born.  The doctor discovered that the umbilical cord my firmly wrapped several times around the baby's neck, and felt if he had forced the natural birth, it may have very well killed the baby.  I was confident that everything was done with skill and caring and had no doubts whatsoever about the necessity of the surgery.  I was released the next day to the care of a missionary friend, my husband, and my personal American missionary nurse.

The nurse came the very next day, my first full day at home, and examined me, checked the baby, and stayed for several hours helping me get a good start breastfeeding, and just teaching me about my new baby boy.  My friend, another missionary from my home state of Virginia, stayed on through the rest of the week cooking and cleaning and just helping out. 


Dalton on my lap, William at my side, Joao XXIII, 1998
By the time my second boy was on the way, the nurse had retired and my friend was on furlough in the States.  My husband and I no longer lived close to the missionary academy near other Americans, but lived out on the far side of the city where we were working with a new church.  My doctor was the same one and proved to be very sensitive to my needs.  Knowing that I was much more isolated and  alone this time, he did he best to keep up with me personally.  We were without a phone for several months after moving to a new neighborhood (waiting for a phone line).  He knew that my calls were made from a pay phone and always accepted them promptly calling me back when necessary.  I felt very well cared for.

Dalton with baby Greyson on his lap, 2000

All three of my children were born in Fortaleza.  All three with this same doctor.  In the States I received top notch care, but not the loving concern of the doctor I found in Brazil.  Brazilians love children and consider the birth of a child an important event.  I thank God for His timing in my life and the birth of my boys!





 Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

  1. My experiences were similar. Two miscarriages in the US during deputation. Then three Brazilian daughters with one great Brazilian doctor. We still send holiday cards! Our youngest is our American souvenir, delivered by a German doctor who was born in Lima, Peru!

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