Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday Part Three

The last place we went before heading home was a hospital in Otavalo. Otavalo is a town famous for its artisan markets, and it is beautifully set by a lake at the base of the mountain Imbabura. It also is home to quite a few progressive movements, one of which being "vertical births." This hospital, which in most other respects is a typical hospital in a developing country, provides the option for a woman to give birth in a more natural environment, with the ability to move around and labor in any position she wants. Neither this hospital nor the one in Cotacachi have yet incorporated the use of doulas into their practices, but they are still quite progressive in comparison to many in this country.
Above is a photo of the sign above the natural birthing room in the hospital. I believe it literally translates to "Culturally Appropriate Birth" with the Kichwa language translation beneath the Spanish. (We also found this in the clinic in Cotacachi, where the majority of the signs had titles in Spanish and Kichwa.)
These are two pictures from inside the birthing room. The dim lights, wood paneling, and soft cloths are much nicer alternatives to the stark and starched norm of the average hospital birthing room.
Above: a hanging rope to support upright squatting labor, wall bars wrapped in colorful cloth for support, and a low bed
Below: wood birthing stool

This trip was fascinating and full of new information, interesting and beautiful sights, and new friends. I am extremely thankful to my grandmother, Helen (above, left), and Nieves (above, right) for helping plan and organize this experience and for accompanying me and providing extra tidbits and wisdom. I am also incredibly thankful to my grandfather, Gene, who drove us and is always teaching me new things about every new environment we enter together.

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