Our plan was to move to Costa Rica, get pregnant, and have the baby in the country. There are a couple of ways to get residency for the country and having a baby there is by far the most direct and theoretically cheapest (other than having a child for 18+ year is extraordinarily expensive in general). So here we are, right on track, pregnant in Costa Rica. Baby #2 is due May 5, 2019. Cinco de Mayo!
Dario was a water tub, home birth at my in-law’s home just outside of Austin, Texas with a midwife. So I’m looking for a similar experience in Costa Rica and when I started searching I couldn’t believe how different everything was.
To find a midwife for Dario I yelped midwife in Austin, TX and dozens of possibilities popped up. To find a midwife in Costa Rica I asked on Facebook groups and got crickets. I asked everyone I knew and no one knew of anyone. So I began to look for natural birth friendly doctors in hospitals and heard of two. Two doctors in the entire country of Costa Rica that are natural birth friendly. I’m shocked. So I posted I wanted to talk to anyone that had had a child in Costa Rica and messaged back and forth with about 20 women, both expats and ticas (women from Costa Rica). And so so so many of them had C-Sections. It turns out that private hospitals in Costa Rica have a C-Section rate of 80%. Whoa. Public hospitals have by far a lower rate at about the same as the United States, 30%, but there are some other issues I had with having a baby in a public hospital that took it off the table for my birth plan.
So I’m not finding a midwife easily, public hospitals are a no-go, and there are two possibilities for a private birth - neither one had the option of a water birth. The San Jose doctor - 4 hours away - used to do water births but he’s moved away from that now, I’ve heard. So let’s go to the closer private doctor in Liberia - 75 minutes away. I call and make an appointment and talk to him on the phone and within the first phone call he’s already brought up the possibility for a C-Section. On the phone! Before even seeing me or meeting me or anything, he’s already thinking about in case of a C-Section. I guess the issue is, doctors are scared that they can’t get the entire C-Section team together on a moment’s notice. Whether its traffic issues, or strike issues, or any issue, from what I can gather its a concern that the full team is only there Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm normal business hours. So we didn’t go the hospital route and I can’t comment further because I haven’t been there, I haven’t done that, but if you want to have a baby in Costa Rica and plan on doing a hospital birth, please, please, please hire a doula so you have someone on your team, representing your values, and know what you want, because otherwise, you’ll probably end up with massive abdominal surgery. Also watch The Business of Being Born on YouTube.
Back to finding a midwife. I hear of a woman that does acupuncture that may or may not be a working midwife. I cross my fingers and give her a message. And sure enough, she practiced midwifery in New Mexico and Colorado for decades and now lives in Costa Rica. If I go with her - 1. She won’t deliver a home baby I’ll need to find another alternative 2. I’ll be her first Costa Rican client. Okay, let’s do my prenatals with Janis. I find another midwife Rebecca from www.mamasol.com. She will totally deliver my baby at her birthing house in Turrialba… 6 hours away. However, Rebecca has a birthing home that pregnant women rent from week 38 until 42 to live in and prepare and have the baby and then recover in a beautiful part of Costa Rica. And, worse case, because everyone will bring it up, there is a public hospital 10 minutes away. Which is relatively close, in Tamarindo our closest public hospital is in Santa Cruz about 45 minutes away.
So our piece-meal birth plan is prenatals in Tamarindo with Janis, ultrasounds were done in the United States during our holiday vacation, blood work done through a local clinic, and we’ll head to the birthing house in late April. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes.