My Pants are Falling off, But at Least I Have a Midwife

According to my pregnancy guidebook, I’ve probably gained a couple of pounds by now. I can’t tell. I don’t have a scale, and the one in the midwife’s office is in kilos. I meant to run the number through a metric converter the last time I was at the internet cafe, but now I have completely forgotten what the number was. Anyway, in theory, I should have gained weight. But my jeans are falling off me. So I got out my tape measure this morning and measured around my hips/butt, and found I am 3cm smaller than I was before I got pregnant. How did that happen? I did not pack a belt, because I didn’t need one before and figured it’d be useless in a few months. Today I got desperate and threaded a spare bandana through two belt loops, cinched it up, and tied it in a knot. I’d look lumpy, but I wear my rain jacket everywhere anyway, so I’m hoping it just looks like I’ve got a wad of something that is not cash in my pocket.

Ok, I was sick for like two months straight, with the horrible nausea, and then the bronchitis. And I did suspect that at least in the early part of that, I probably lost a little weight. But I thought for sure I’d have gained it back by now. And my belly is sticking out just a little bit– not in an obviously pregnant way, but even my husband notices it. That stubborn little paunchy bit I’ve always had is still there, but I can no longer hide it by standing up straight and tightening my abs. It’s being pushed out from the inside. Is my belly stealing from my butt?

In other news: flaxseed meal. I can’t say much for the taste, but it’s easy to mix in with a little hot cereal in the morning, and it was brought down by angels straight from the hand of God. I thought nothing would ever bring my intestines back into working order. I can have a cup of coffee in the morning, and then eat prunes all day and all night (seriously, I tried), and NOTHING HAPPENS. But for the last 3-4 days, I’ve added two spoonfuls of flaxseed meal to my morning maca-and-oats, and suddenly my colon works again. Nobody should really be this happy about regular bowel movements, but… this is brilliant!

And I found a midwife! I had read that the private clinics here run a c-section rate of anywhere from 50% to 90% (yikes!) and was not looking forward to trying to find a natural-birth friendly obstetriz who speaks English. We searched the archives and came up with a promising website for a sort of activist midwifery practice. That was a couple of weeks ago. We had other things to worry about, like finding an apartment, so we made a couple of halfhearted attempts to call them, but when we called the number it didn’t even ring– the call would just cut off immediately. I worried that it might have gone out of business, and the website was all that was left! Finally I emailed them, they emailed me back, in English, to assure me they were still around, and I figured out that we were dialing the number wrong, so called and made an appointment. Yesterday, we went to talk to the doctora/midwife, I was totally thrilled with both her and the clinic, which are totally natural-birth-friendly, totally affordable, and are probably my best chance of not getting sliced open– here or back in the states. She answered my whole boatload of questions, and cheerfully spent two hours with us. I got to tour their facility, and a second midwife took my blood pressure, weighed me, and felt around my belly to measure my uterus. I still wonder how an English-speaking doctor from Germany ends up in South America advocating for natural childbirth. But I’m glad she did.