Category Archives: Moving to U.S.

Having a Home Water Birth: My Modern Day Miracle – Part 1

Who says modern day miracles don’t exist? I beg to differ!

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines miracle as:

  1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
  2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

Here’s my miracle …

Less than five weeks before our second baby is due, our plans completely changed, due to what we believe is divine intervention in our lives!

Original plan: Have baby #2 in March in Mexico; sell boat; move to Flagstaff, Arizona, in July

Current plan: Move to Flagstaff in January (done!); have baby #2 in Flagstaff with a midwife at home; sell boat

How did we get here?

Four months ago, we made the decision to leave Mexico and move back to the U.S., intending to have to wait until the summer. But, thanks to God’s blessings financially, we were able to move seven months early! So, after enjoying Christmas vacation with family in Spokane, WA, we came to Flagstaff, AZ, to locate a rental house for our move. Everything went according to plan and we moved in on January 16th.

Now, I am sitting at the kitchen table, watching my son play with his toys and feeling the constant movements of our second baby in my tummy. (Oh, I almost forgot – being able to get pregnant is also a miracle … but that’s another story.)

And I’m anticipating a relaxed, natural home birth for baby Brooke, complete with three midwives and a warm, comfy pool of water to labor and deliver in. This is truly a miracle!

Wait, let me back up again …

Three years ago, when finding out I was pregnant, I dreamed of having a home birth with a midwife. Because we lived in Mexico, I had a very difficult time locating a certified midwife in our area. I thought of several options – going up to Arizona for the birth, finding a traveling midwife, or settling for a Mexican doctor. By the time I located a traveling midwife, they were all booked up for my due date (they come stay with you for two weeks).

So, after visiting two doctors, we finally settled on the third. Still, we felt we had to constantly fight for what we wanted throughout the pregnancy and the delivery – namely, a natural birth (most Mexican births are by c-section); both my husband and our translator in the birthing room; and no medications (unless absolutely necessary).

When finding out that we were pregnant with baby #2, we went back to Dr. Chavez for appointments and moved forward with plans to give birth in the same hospital. We didn’t think we would be living in the U.S. already and also, our insurance has a one year waiting period and will start covering maternity and birth on March 21st, one week after my due date. (I guess we didn’t plan this pregnancy very well!) So, we had planned to take advantage of the very inexpensive medical care in Mexico (Ethan’s birth was approximately $1,300).

Even six weeks ago, we were planning to leave Flagstaff on February 23rd (yesterday) to go back to Mexico for the birth, then return about six or seven weeks later.

So what happened?

After being in Flagstaff for three weeks, I had an appointment with a local midwife. I didn’t think it was wise this late in my pregnancy to wait seven or eights between doctor visits, and I wanted to have a contact here in case anything happened. At least I would’t be checking into the hospital without any kind of previous assistance!

I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed meeting two of the midwives. After a couple hours of being able to discuss my pregnancy and ask many, many questions, I came home hoping that somehow it would work out for us to stay. The midwives assured me that they would be happy to take me this late in my pregnancy as they had room for another birth, and that I am an ideal candidate (having had a natural birth previously without any complications and a healthy pregnancy so far).

I brought home literature from their office and shared my findings with M. Neither of us really wanted to return to Mexico for the birth, so having such a positive experience with the midwives gave us the extra measure of comfort we needed to step out in faith and pray about staying.

Yes, there is the concern that we could end up in the hospital and have a huge medical bill. There are always risks. Just getting pregnant is a risk. But after a few days of prayer and discussion, we decided to stay!

Moving forward …

We have already connected with several neighbors and families at our church and feel that we have the support network that we need. Actually, one of the couples in our small group even gave birth at home in January with the same midwives and had a wonderful experience!

We also don’t want to take Ethan away from his new home and go through the frustrations that travel bring to a little tikes sense of comfort and routine. He is finally adjusting, which is a huge accomplishment for a 1 1/2 year old!

So, we are moving forward. I’ve ordered the birthing pool and am gathering up everything that we need for the big day.

Thank you God for your miracles!

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Filed under Home Birth, Life Journal, Moving to U.S., Pregnant

Prepartum Depression … really?

Why was I feeling so down the last few days? I have every reason to be rejoicing!

  • We are now living in Flagstaff, Arizona, in a wonderful large house with a great backyard in a fantastic neighborhood
  • My husband just returned from Mexico with the rest of our belongings (after a tiring and sweat-packed four days of driving and packing, alone)
  • I’ve made some great friends that are also moms with young kids
  • We’ve been attending an excellent church and meeting friends there
  • My son is (mostly) healthy and making friends (I think his body is adjusting to the germs and bugs here)
  • We have all the conveniences of living in the U.S. again – parks, playgrounds, restaurants, stores – anything you want at your fingertips
  • And most of all, a loving and dedicated husband that is an awesome Dad!
    Out on the town

    Out on the town

    photo (1)

    Ethan bundled up

Pregnancy blues?

37 weeks

37 weeks

My second pregnancy is going well and I’m 37 weeks along.

To top it off, my dream of having a home birth with a midwife has come true! And not just a home birth, but a water birth! (This has been my desire from the first pregnancy, but wasn’t an option since we were in Mexico.)

So, why was I feeling blue?

I looked around the house and saw things that needed to be done – like putting away everything that just came home from Mexico. And finishing organizing baby Brooke’s room. Washing more laundry and cleaning the kitchen. I needed to buy groceries, since I had eaten mostly leftovers and ‘snacky’ meals while hubby was away. To top it off, Ethan has a stomach bug, again, and was vomiting yesterday morning.

Am I going to be able to handle two kids?

A 19-month-old that still doesn’t sleep through the night (thankfully, Dad has taken over the night shift) and a new baby that will need my constant attention. Washing dirty cloth diapers every day and waking throughout the night for feedings (a.k.a. boobie calls).

Just what the doctor ordered … GNO!

Luckily, I had been invited by one of the midwives to a class last night on using essential oils. My hubby encouraged me to go and he stayed home with Ethan (he has bath and bedtime duty anyway, so no problems there!). I was already feeling a bit better after 2 1/2 days of being down, but a night out with the girls really boosted my mood. Or maybe it was all of the oils we lathered on. (No, wait … it was that amazing Chocolate Bliss Raspberry Parfait that I ate two of!)

I found that just sharing my feelings of inadequacy and being overwhelmed made me feel less alone. Several of the women there have two young kids and said that they mostly stay home, as it is such a hassle to get out the door.

The woman giving the class related one story that really made me laugh (inside, of course!). She remembers laying on the couch during her second pregnancy while her almost 2-year-old was dumping milk out on the kitchen floor. She couldn’t get motivated to even care, let alone get off the couch and clean it up!

I guess I just needed to hear that I’m not alone. I’m normal. I’m OK. I can lay on the couch and nap or just veg out – for a little while everyday if necessary. Nothing’s ‘wrong’ with me. I’m just really pregnant and hormonal!

What is Prepartum Depression?

I thought I was being creative with the term “prepartum depression”, but it’s an actual condition. Who knew?!

Here’s what I found from prepartumdepression.net:

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful times of any woman’s life. But for numerous women, pregnancy is a time of stress, fear, anxiety, confusion, and even depression. 11% of women suffer from this type of depression according to the recent research.

Prepartum depression is a depression that occurs during pregnancy. It is more like a mood disorder that involves alterations in brain chemistry. As a matter of fact, during pregnancy many hormones change which can influence the chemicals present in the brain of women that are associated to anxiety and depression.

And from allparenting.com:

Recognize the warning signs

It can be difficult to diagnose depression during pregnancy because many of the symptoms are the same as those that occur in a normal pregnancy [yeah, that’s helpful, right?!]. But prepartum depression is a serious medical condition that can impact the normal growth and development of your baby if left untreated, so it is important to get help if you feel you may be affected.

[Here’s the clincher:] If you have persistent symptoms of depression from the list below, lasting for more than two weeks, visit your physician for a medical evaluation.

  • Feelings of guilt, anxiety or worthlessness
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Impaired concentration
  • Changes to eating habits
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Lack of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

I think I’ve had bouts here and there, but thankfully, it’s not bad enough or consistent enough to see a doctor. A day or two at the most, and then with some rest, exercise and healthy eating, I always snap out of it. And those evening massages from my hubby are helpful, too!

Nesting

The funny thing is, now I am eager to get some of these last ‘nesting’ things done. I have great energy today and my hubby and I have had good conversation this morning.

I’ve found that I can only handle a couple of hours out of the house a day, and Ethan has his 18-month well baby doctor visit this afternoon. So, I will try to get a few things done around the house before we have to go. Perhaps even 20 minutes of pregnant yoga during nap time. But who knows, maybe I’ll end up just taking a nap while Ethan catches his zzz’s.

And I’m okay with that. Baby Brooke is coming in 3 weeks and I’m giving myself permission to just relax when needed! She won’t care if everything is in its proper place, if her room is decorated or plain, or if all of Ethan’s toys are perfectly organized.

It’s more important for me to be rested, happy, and able to provide a loving and caring home when she arrives!

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Filed under Moving to U.S., Pregnant

True Love

He loves me,

He loves me not;

He loves me,

He loves me not …

Well, maybe it worked as a young schoolgirl, but I don’t think this is a very accurate way to determine someone’s love!

So, how do you know when someone really does love you?

(And if you love them?)

I’ve been reading through Philip Yancey’s book, Disappointment With God, over the last couple months. When I came across the following quote, it stirred up a lot of emotions and got me thinking about my current marriage – and how it is vastly different from my past marriage. Here’s the quote from page 122:

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

Sacrifice.

To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.

Free Dictionary

It’s a word that has a lot of negativity connected to it. And yet, is the “giving up” always difficult, or is the love that prompts us so much stronger than the sacrifice that it doesn’t feel like anything has been lost?

Looking Back

Originally, our top 5 reasons for moving to Mexico were:

5. To give our kids an overseas experience (and have our own, too!)

4. To get out of the “Rat Race” (which leads to #3)

3. To be able to live off less money than we earn (which leads to #2)

2. To buy a sailboat and learn how to sail (which leads to #1)

1. To travel and recreate our lives!

We have certainly traveled a lot with our 39′ sailboat and 37′ motorhome. Summer trips, sailing adventures, and lots of flights to see family during the holidays have filled our vacation time. We have also enjoyed the slower paced life here (#4 above).

Our Family

But, we had to re-evaluate our priorities after having kids. Realistically, the impact that #5 will have on our ability to see family, especially the grandparents, over the next 18 years of our precious children’s lives, has prompted us to make some BIG changes.

This past June, we decided to move from Mexico up to Flagstaff, AZ. We want to provide our kids with a stable and familiar place to call home. And we want to be able to afford the time and money needed to visit with family. But to do that, we had to consider our financial situation. So, here’s the big question:

How affordable is it to own and maintain a sailboat, RV, and a home?

Well, if you’re a millionaire, it’s probably just fine! But for us normal folk … it’s just not realistic. While discussing this reality a few months ago, I asked my husband which one he would prefer to not have.

And without a thought, he said,

“We’re selling the sailboat.”

He’s sacrificing the dream that led us to Mexico, but he’s replacing it with the greater dream of having a family – OUR FAMILY. (Even now, I’m moved to tears by his love for me and our kids.) I told him I appreciated his sacrifice, but he simply turned it around and acknowledged how much I sacrificed to move here by giving up my booming business and the wonderful life I had in Colorado.

His love is so real to me. Every day I see him working hard to provide for us, spending time loving on our son, giving me hugs and kisses all the time, and telling me how beautiful I am. Washing the cars, taking out the trash, folding the laundry, and the list goes on.

Is it a sacrifice, or is it simply allowing previous dreams to be exchanged for what is “considered to be of greater value”?

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S., Travel

Keeping up with the Joneses

When you live in southern California – namely, Orange County – it’s REALLY hard not to want what it seems everyone else has. Especially when you can’t afford it! I’ll be honest, here’s what I wanted as a young married person (the 1st time around, that is):

  • Nicer cars
  • Nicer clothes
  • Nicer furniture
  • Better vacations
  • Kids and family experiences
  • Buying a house instead of renting

And to top it off, renting included being able to check the traffic by looking out the dining room window of our 1 bedroom apartment to see how packed the freeway was! I was SO ready to move somewhere more affordable and less affluent so I could feel like I fit in.

Hello, Colorado! When my ex and I moved, we rented a 3 BD, 2 BA house with a huge yard for less than that apartment in CA. But, Colorado Springs was still bussling with plenty of Coach bags, high heels and fancy cars, know what I mean?

And then, life happened.

I got divorced, met my sweet husband and we moved to Mexico to start a new life together. Ironically, he also had lived in southern CA with his ex-wife. He did make a good income and had a few nice houses and a fancy sports car. But none of it was very fulfilling because, in the end, his marriage was on the rocks just like mine was.

Well, we’ve had a much simpler life here in San Carlos for the last couple years. Most days I wear shorts and a tank top and sport a pony tail. And no make-up (gasp!). High heels? Maybe on Sundays for church, or if we go out on a date. But for the most part, I’m at home being a Mom, enjoying the basics.

Of course, life happened again and with baby #2 on the way, we decided to move back to the U.S.

But I’m nervous about one thing …

falling back into a lifestyle of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

I must be on a movie kick these days, because I keep thinking of how our lives and choices are often reflected in various movies (read my last post “The Importance of Being Earnest” – another great movie!). Anyway, The Joneses (2009), with Demi Moore and David Duchovny portrayed a family that wasn’t really a family. They were business people pretending to be a family in order to make BIG BUCKS!

That movie was a great reminder that trying to keep up with your neighbors and what the media wants you to think you need is really not what’s important in life. And as we head back to life in the U.S., I want to be fully aware of what my priorities are.

Let’s face it …

we all place value on relationships, things, and experiences.

What I’m willing to spend on a cup of coffee, or a movie, or a pair of running shoes, or the latest cell phone, or a computer, or a car, or a house, or a (fill in the blank) may not be the same as my neighbor. But I need to know what I value, and not feel bad about spending money or not spending money the way other people do (or don’t).

Of course, I’ll be honest, I do want to own a home and enjoy eating at nice restaurants, wear nicer clothes (sometimes) and look beautiful. I want to be able to use my Coach bag (yep, got one from hubby as a birthday gift!) and hang with other Mom’s and talk about our kids (all the while, checking out each other’s trendy outfits, right?!)

But, I don’t want those things to consume me. That’s the difference!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S.