Please forgive our tardiness in getting this post up. Our delay may have something to do with the newest member of the family. But don’t blame her, she’s just a normal, demanding newborn! Stephanie Rachel Melo da Silva arrived on 8th June, weighing 3.3kg, or nearly 7lbs 3 oz. We thank God for her safe arrival and healthy start to life.
Many of you will know about my slight apprehension in having baby here in Brazil, due to the culture and systems which favour c-sections, which I was keen to avoid if possible, and the simple fact that anything can happen when a new life is arriving. Experiencing this in a foreign language is clearly not as simple as in your native tongue! However, God was with us and honoured our plans to have the baby in the less luxurious public hospital (as opposed to using our health insurance) and she was born quickly, naturally and we were allowed home after the minimum 48 hours. The experience was rather different from the calm, fully equipped suite we were in for Antonio’s birth at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Birth Centre, but I live to tell the tale. For one of the poorest states in Brazil, mine and baby’s care was very good actually. But I can understand a bit more why some people were saying I was brave to want a natural birth here. For example, I don’t think there was much going in terms of pain relief (in fairness, I didn’t ask for anything but I don’t think any requests would have been taken well), the hospital is always busy and patient comfort and confidentiality isn’t necessarily paramount. I was grateful to have been put in a small ward of 2 women post-birth. God was looking after me again! There were larger rooms of 8 women and their babies, the Dads, sometimes visitors and the room really wasn’t very big and offered no privacy. Bear in mind that the public hospital I was in specialises in neonatal care so folk with high risks come from all over the state to have their babies there. Moreover, public hospitals take on people from all walks of life. The lady in my room had been in hospital for a month as her c-section wound got infected at the hospital, and she was telling me about the types of mums she’d seen including drug users and prostitutes. Babies have also known to have been taken from hospitals here, both public and private sector. Security was understandably tight at the hospital. The opposite case has also been seen…apparently before the hospital was reformed some years back, the windows used to be low down and a few mums would escape out the windows, abandoning their infants. It’s hard to hear of these sad truths and it says a lot about some of the societal problems.
Despite the issues at the public hospitals, I still think it’s quite tragic that so few women here opt for, or are even allowed to choose, a natural birth. People here are impressed that I’ve been out and about within a few days of Stephanie arriving and driving around now but I can’t imagine being housebound, having had major surgery, without necessity. I wonder if most new mums rest in bed for the first month while others look after the baby? I’m sure a proper restful recovery is essential but there must be a healthy balance. Some women had been lying so long with their babies feeding lying down that their babies’ ears were full of milk that hadn’t made it to the stomach. The doctors then couldn’t do the routine hearing check. I wouldn’t blame the mums though. Probably no-one told them otherwise as there wasn’t much advice going, and when advice was given, it was often sharp and critical. However, on the positive side, all the routine tests were completed on Stephanie. She had her first jags and I was relieved to get home quickly, as was Daniel who had been running between the hospital and looking after Antonio and the work at the workshop which hasn’t stopped! The hospital lets Dads come and go whenever they please which was nice and they can even eat for free at the restaurant, which seemingly offers
better food than the mums get, but I thought the food was really quite good. They even provided snacks between meals!
There have been some great developments at the workshop (which you will be able to read about in the next post) but we have also managed to spend a little time getting used to being a family of four. Antonio is very affectionate with his wee sister and isn’t generally jealous. He continues to be a wee boy who needs lots of activity to keep him out of mischief (!) so we’ll see what the next month brings as he has just started school holidays. At the end of term, Daddy stepped in to join Antonio class when the parents were invited to see the healthy eating project, and he took Antonio to his school trip to a theatre.
We have also had our first trips out with Stephanie.
We were able to pop along to 2 birthday parties: one for Daniel´s great nephew, Wesley, and the other was for Pastora Iraneide, the leader from the recovery house, David´s House. Wesley is somewhat of a miracle child, having been born at 5 months, and recently just survived pneumonia which left him in hospital for a month. He is now well again and loved his regal themed 7th birthday party.
We´ve seen some exciting developments with the Project in the last couple of weeks (and lots of other busyness!) which all needs a separate post…so, stay tuned as we´ll post more very soon.
Thank you to everyone for all your kind messages, gifts and congratulations. If I haven´t replied personally yet, I promise I will!