Mila's Birth Story

A year ago I would not have seen me pregnant, living in Belize and ready to give birth naturally! Last year I was dating a man I cared deeply for, working at a fun restaurant, having fun with friends and planning my 30th birthday to go to Brazil for the World Cup. In November of 2014. Then I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend Keith and I, even though we never talked about it till then, were quite excited for this new found News! It was a magical day with the light crunch of snow upon each step as we walked home to find out what this test was going to show. The snow was falling outside our window as it would in a Christmas movie, as we nervously and excitedly sat on the couch looking at this white stick as if it were a magic 8 ball telling us our future. I am pregnant. But of course you have to take one more test to make sure. Yup, definitely pregnant. Deep in my soul I knew and was so excited! I went around smiling and giddy thinking in my head as I went to work, “I have a secret I have a secret." I wanted to tell everyone! However, my boyfriend would be leaving for a three- month job overseas. It was a difficult time for me. I began to doubt, worry and fear. I felt very alone and isolated and wondered if I should have the baby at all. By the Grace of God Keith got sent home early. We were able to work on our relationship and face the next 9 months together!

We both wanted this pregnancy to be fun and adventurous. One day we must have talked about having the baby in another country. I got excited to do this pregnancy out of the norm of how everyone else does it in America. Keith happened to mention Belize. We have both traveled a lot and it was a country neither one of us have been to. Next thing we found out was Keith had a friend that has been there a lot who actually had a kid there with his wife a year ago. She used a midwife. We thought we would give it a try and see how comfortable we were with the idea. We flew to Belize for a 2 week trip and to meet this midwife from Texas named Gail. After a long day of traveling by plane to Cancun, to then rent a car and drive 5 hours to Belize, we finally made it to Gail’s house. We were greeted with two smiling faces with such a lovely home. We chatted, ate dinner and I could tell this woman knew her stuff. Right away she said “OK, let’s hear that baby’s heartbeat.” I loved her passion for babies and that she actually enjoys what she does! This was a whole new world to me…… Midwifery. I was never the typical girl dreaming of marriage, kids and a house. I wanted to travel the world, experience life and help people where I could! When I thought of having kids it was to adopt and or help build an orphanage to love on children. Now being pregnant I guess you need to start thinking of how this stuff works! I happened to just stumble on having a midwife. I was not going to make any final decisions until exploring Belize and seeing how peaceful I felt with living there and having a child there. After our two weeks were up we met with Gail before leaving the country and everything felt peaceful in my soul to go this route. She was so sweet yet confident in her work! She was a spitfire of a woman that made me giggle and smile!

I don’t think I realized what a blessing of having a midwife was till the end of my stay in upstate NY. Before going to Belize I was being regularly checked by a hospital in Rochester, NY. They were all sweet, nice and helpful! At the beginning of starting my monthly checkups they wanted me to take certain tests that I saw no point in for myself. I do know some mothers who are more at ease knowing if their kid may have down syndrome before they give birth but it did not worry me at all. I said no to a couple of other tests they wanted me to do. Each week I was hounded that I need to do it, it’s important, or my baby will be jabbed with a ton of needles when it is born. Each week got more and more stressful as I would say no to certain tests. I would take ones that they needed and every visit I was in there I weighed properly for my height, my belly was measuring well, my blood pressure was always perfect and the baby’s heartbeat was always where it needed to be. As I got closer month by month to my due date, these women with such smiley faces began to put so much fear, doubt and anxiety in to my mind and heart. I would leave the clinic each week in tears. All along… I was still measuring, weighing, blood pressure and baby’s heart beat was always fine! All my ultra sounds indicated that the baby was great and all her/his little limbs measured perfectly. Why with something so beautiful of having a cute baby of life enter this world did it seem I was dying with cancer? That made me so sad for someone who was actually dying with cancer sitting in a hospital. If these people could find every doubt, fear and made up bad thing with me then what could they be saying to someone who was actually sick? Coming to Belize and having a midwife was the BEST decision I made through this whole process! A place where I could rest, relax and let nature take its course; to let my body naturally do what it needed during labor, whether it was to sit, squat, to walk or to lie in a pool, seemed to be quite freeing to me. And to do it with a woman whose face lights up every time she sees a baby. She always needs to hold it, squish it and congratulate the proud parents of such a cute face. This is the lady who will be delivering my baby. A woman so proud, confident and excited to be doing so. (Well, she has done this many times but I am going to say she is excited to have one more baby to add to her many midwife kids! Hahaha) in her work! Again, she was a spitfire of a woman that made me giggle and smile!

Here we are now living in Belize for two months. Now it is a waiting game. Every morning you wake up and think “is today the day?” then you go on about your day and put it out of your mind as much as you can. However, every little cramp or twinge of pain that you feel, there would be a moment of excitement but then let down once you realized it was just gas. Until that moment, when you feel crampy and your back starts to hurt. Not to mention how many times you have already rushed to the bathroom. I kept telling myself “oh it’s just gas pains, or Braxton hix”. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Until these pains were continuing and not going away. Eventually I decided to tell Keith, “I think I am in labor”. We turned off the TV and began to pump up the pool. This all started at 10 pm at night so we called Gail just to let her know what was going on. She said to try and sleep, if I could, which I tried but that was not going to happen. I attempted to watch 2 movies, but continually got up with each pain to walk around and sing to get my mind off of it. By early morning the pain was just too much and I spent most of the time on the birthing ball clenching Keith’s arm. I would once and awhile get up to move things along faster, but of course it was more painful. The more I stood up the faster my body progressed. My mucus plug came out and soon after that my water broke. I thought ok, time to move to the pool. Which Gail and her helper Rose already had filled with warm water to soothe my aching body. That is when it got painful and the pushing was soon to follow. All of a sudden these groans from inside my body began to come with each contraction. Gail said "Wow, it sounds like she is pushing." In no time that head was coming out, with the body to follow and then there was that moment where all pain stopped and I was holding the most precious baby that I carried for 9 months. It seemed too surreal. This was a dream. But it wasn’t…. I did it! I made it! I got through it all! To now have the final prize of such a precious Miracle. That is why we named her Mila. It means miracle in Swedish. What I learned about labor is it is a lot like running. You have to pace yourself. Picture many hours of hard work and focus each moment on your breathing. To not push yourself too hard too fast, or you will get burnt out. To take your time and push yourself when you know it is needed. AND have the best partner! Keith never left my side. I clenched his hand the whole time, he rubbed my back and spoke the kindest words over me. I thank God every moment for such an amazing man. Gail with her great skills of knowing what to do when and just letting my body do what it needed to. Rose was a great helper of rubbing my back, bringing me cool cloths and taking wonderful photos. It was a whirlwind of a day but one I will never forget.

Here we are now, resting, relaxing and a lot of time to get to know this new precious face Mila. She is beautiful. Breastfeeding has been a challenge but I continue to be patient and remain calm. I think those will be two qualities that I will always be working on. I am so happy and thankful for such a smooth journey. My pregnancy went well, I got through labor with no complications and now we have the rest of our lives to grow together as a family.

July, 2014, Corozal Town, Belize

If you you would like to discuss your wants and needs and how my services might satisfy them, call or, preferably, e-mail me at midwife.international@gmail.com.

Gail Johnson, CPM, LM
Four Mile Lagoon - NW Highway, 89.2 Mile Marker
P. O. Box 251
Corozal Town
Central America

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