January 12, 2012

Happy news

Some of the most exciting things that happen to a blogger come at inopportune times or it seems inappropriate to be snapping pics, etc. Sometimes, it's so exciting that I forget the camera altogether. Darn! In this case, I forgot the camera, and my cell phone, and part of the journey was too dark to use the camera anyway.

I mentioned several months ago that Arexy, our housekeeper, was pregnant again. There were issues which I'll write about later (oh, I always say that, don't I?), but I'll tell you the happy ending right now.

Arexy was supposed to be due around the 17th of this month. This gringa had decided from the beginning that we weren't going to let her life or the life of her baby be threatened in Hospital Atlántida and Arexy happily agreed to go to a gringo missionary hospital. I've been trying to get her to stay with us for a month so we could be sure to get her to the Loma de Luz Hospital in Balfate in time. She finally came to stay with us on Tuesday evening. (Why we were going that far away, I'll have to tell you another time.)

Balfate is about 50 minutes on a rough dirt road from Jutiapa. Jutiapa is on the highway about 35 minutes from La Ceiba, longer with police operativos. Just Wednesday, we had had a long talk with Arexy at dinner about being sure to let us know in time as soon as the contractions started, especially since she had told us that her third baby was born at home because she only had an hour's notice!

Arexy tapped on our bedroom door about 4 a.m. on Thursday to tell me she was having contractions. I am not a morning person and definitely not a 4-in-the-morning person, but after circling the bedroom a couple of times trying to think, get clock, no, brush teeth, no, get dressed, no, get clock, I finally grabbed my little bedside clock and went downstairs. She said she had waited 30 minutes just to be sure that it was for real. ;-/ She was having a contraction at the time. Fine. 4:10 a.m., noted. I started a pot of coffee, picturing myself sitting with her for a couple of hours before we left for the hospital. Another contraction. 4:12 a.m.! What?! I looked at Arexy wide-eyed and said, "I'm going upstairs to get dressed! Get your bag!"

Brushed teeth, combed hair, threw on some clothes and poured some coffee into travel mugs as El Jefe yelled at me that I was wasting time. We were in the car and on the road at 4:21 a.m. just as Arexy had another contraction. Next one 4:25, 4 minutes apart. Well, that's good, I thought. Next two were 4 minutes apart. Good. Much better than 2 minutes apart. Next three were 3 minutes apart. Then a few at two minutes apart and we weren't even to Jutiapa, though El Jefe was literally flying down the highway.

Driving that dirt road would have made a heck of a video! Not only is the road in such terrible shape that it just about jars the teeth out of your mouth, but we had to dodge and swerve to avoid two herds of cows, several dogs, and some horses and ponies in the dark. More animals were out on that road at 4:30 - 5:00 a.m. today than we have seen in all of trips out there during the day. Oh, and I forgot to mention the 2-foot high piles of gravel in the middle of the road in a few spots, just to keep us on our toes.

Arexy's pains were getting increasingly stronger and were not helped by bouncing around in the car. I finally thought to call the hospital to tell them we were coming. I dug through the crumpled papers in my purse from previous visits and we tried a few phone numbers. Voice mail. Not surprising considering the time of day. Then I thought of my friend Dave from the hospital. Call him at 4:45 am? Yup. Gotta do it. I told him where we were in the journey and he reassured me and said they would be waiting for us.

The last 15 minutes or so, Arexy's cries were getting louder and louder. J was reassuring her, "Hang on, Arexy. We're almost there. Not too much longer. Only 10 more minutes. We're almost there. Only 5 more minutes. Look, there's the hospital. Dave and the doctor will be waiting for you!" I was feeling terribly useless and couldn't even reach to grab Arexy's hand for moral support.

We arrived at the guarded gate of the hospital. El Jefe told the guard that we were transporting a woman having a baby right now. The guard insisted that we not enter until he called someone to okay it. J hesitated about 10 seconds. OHohOhowOWowww! came from the back seat. El Jefe said, "Sorry, we can't wait. She's having the baby now and this is an emergency!" He hit the gas pedal and up the hill to the emergency entrance we sped.

It was 5:01 a.m., an amazing 40 minutes after we had left for our hour and 20 minute journey! We pulled up to the emergency entrance and I jumped out of the car to see if the door was unlocked, opened it, yelled, "Hellooooooo!" and ran back to help J get Arexy into the hospital. She was really, really in pain and walking was difficult for her by that point.

Another pregnant girl was there pacing the hall, and the doctor and staff were already there. They looked from her to Arexy, to her and back again. Arexy obviously won that contest but just to be sure, as I was holding an agonized Arexy up, I said, "She's been having contractions one minute apart all the way from La Ceiba!!!" (only a slight exaggeration, I'm sorry!) They grabbed Arexy and took her into the delivery room.

Approximately three minutes later, we heard a baby cry.

We were that close to delivering a baby in the car, in the dark, on a dirt road out in the middle of nowhere. And I hadn't even had time to look it up on the internet to figure out how to do it yet.
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