December 1, 2007

Lima, Peru

I looked at Tatiana earlier this week and said, "Shouldn't you be, you know, nesting or something?"

She looked confused.

"It's a term used to describe settling in, or baby preparation, I suppose. Like when a bird builds a nest—nesting. Look at this room. There's nothing here that say baby-on-the-way."

I get the feeling that most parents-to-be are running around buying things for their baby, painting walls, assembling cribs, hanging mobiles, and writing thank-you notes for the gifts from their baby shower. Take that image, and do a complete 180—that's us.

Tatiana has no desire for a baby shower. She likes the idea of gifts, but not that of people cooing over stuff given to her in a hue of blue. Since she doesn't really hang out with women, I think it would be mostly gay men, anyway…

She's taken up knitting—something she does from time to time in this home—and a hat and summer blanket are already well on their way for the little fellow. And just two days ago she went out with someone and picked up some clothes and the such.

I think she's been waiting to be told what she needs to do. Her mother is starting to get concerned, which is good, because Tatiana needs her experience (and pushiness). This is at the heart of the reason we're here in the first place. She should have the food, support, and familiarity that her family home provides.

Although her expected due date isn't until the end of the month, the doctor says that she'll be ready and in the danger zone in two weeks. Two weeks—this is somewhat of a scary thought for us all. The abstract is about to become very tangible, very quickly.

Our new doctor is only a few doors down the street—literately 30 meters away. He's a obstetrician/surgeon that splits his time between his own private practice, and working at a hospital in town.

Her brother's fiancée has delivered twice by this man, and raves about her experience.

Up close and personal?

The first thing I thought when I met the guy was that he seemed the type that would have a hidden camera in setup in his office to tape undressed patients—and do Lord knows with the footage afterward. I really couldn't believe it when he fired up a video camera hooked up to his computer and pointed it between Tatiana's legs. I gave a quizzical look to a slightly reluctant Tatiana during the exam, but she didn't question him.

I asked her afterward why he needed to do this, and she said it was to get a better look at her. "What, he can't see close enough with his eyes? He needs to zoom in?" No answer.

She asked what I thought of the guy, and I told her he was one of the hardest people I've ever tried to translate. He has a baritone voice and speaks like a monotone, computer-generated text-to-speech program.

I listened as Tatiana and the doctor talk money yesterday—I hear numbers, a little else. Prices are always flexible in these countries, and the doctor, an established person with the Boza household, seems to be genuine in his desire to help keep things as affordable for us as possible, without sacrificing quality of care.

The bottom line is that we can expect to pay no more than US$1,200 for the staff, surgery, medicine, room/meals for three days, and baby incubator (should it be necessary). We're able to save by requesting a shared recovery room, though chances are good that Tatiana will have it to herself.

The doctor is apparently known for his pickiness with his coworkers during surgeries, and Tatiana believes him when he says he'll be rounding up only the best for her.

Since Tatiana is opting for a cesarean-style birth, we have the option of scheduling the date, or waiting until she starts going into labor. It was decided on our first consult with this physician (a little less than two weeks ago) that she'd like to wait until labor, as she doesn't want to dictate when the baby is to be born. "He should decide for himself," Tatiana says.

My concern was of the assembly and coordination of Tatiana, the five-staff team (nurse/physicians), operating room, and recovery room in an ad hoc birthing scenario—especially around the holidays. If she goes into labor on at midnight on Christmas Eve, I want to make sure people are available to do their jobs.

I was assured that the staff would be available, and the doctor would only be a phone call away to get the process moving on his end. I'm weary about such things—I'm too familiar with Latin America to think that anything runs smoothly here—but have little choice than to place my trust where Tatiana places hers.

The good news is that the clinic is where Tatiana is going to give birth is only a handful of blocks away from the house. It's close enough that I could run there and back in the amount of time it takes her to wash that lovely hair of hers.

I'm of the opinion that if Tatiana's happy with the man, I'm happy with the man—because her opinion is all that really matters. But God help the guy if he recorded that examination session and it gets out, or resells her tape to or something—this woman practices a casual level of vengeance that sometimes scares the crap out of me.



December 2nd, 2007

So I just got done talking with Natashia, who just finished her month long OB/GYN rotation, about the video camera use during Tatiana's examination, and she knows of no medical purpose for its use. She said that at her point in the pregnancy, they could care less about her external genitalia. If all he was doing was examining her externally and there was no internal probe attached to it to look at her cervix, etc., then I would be slightly uneasy. The whole thing sounds a little shady. A physician doesn't need a camera to inspect a woman's external genitalia. You obviously have a better perspective since you were there during the examination, but I thought I should let you know.

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.