Bali is one of the Islands of Indonesia. It is known as the Island of Temples, Island of Peace Island of the Gods, Island of Hinduism, Island of Love. You can see the rich Balinese culture is already upon arrival at the airport, which is a typical construction. There are colors, music, spirituality, art and tradition everywhere in Bali!
It has a population of about 3,891,000. Approximately 92% of the population is Hindu while in the other islands the vast majority is Muslim. And you don’t see violence around Bali.
The traffic is crazy! Many motorbikes, horn all the time for anything, and small streets. But it seems that they understand each other!
The first week I stayed in Ubud, one of the busiest cities of Bali, while Enrico was in Australia with his friend Eduardo Kiko (Dudu). The main reason was to be near Bumi Sehat clinic. This organization has the midwife Robin Lin as the founder.
I visited Bumi Sehat every day I was there. My idea was to do volunteer work there, but there were enough volunteers, working in several areas. And not many births happening that week, even with the full moon. So I was there observing the movement and talking with professionals, volunteers, midwives and mothers. You can read more about Bumi Sehat in the previous post.
There I interviewed Ibu Robin Lin, Wine, Rena and Maya.
Robin is the founder of Bumi Sehat. She started to offer free care for pregnant women and children under five for free in 1994 in Ubud area. The demand grew and the clinic Bumi Sehat was founded in 1995. She is an exemple of compassion, love and determination.
Wine is a beautiful balinese women, she is also Robin’s daughter-in-law, married with her son. She had a lotus birth at home, with the help of Grandma Robin. She is pregnant again! Wine is also a teacher of yoga for pregnant women in the clinic.
Maya is American and was working as a student volunteer, she told a little about her experience at the clinic so far.
Rena is one of professional midwives at the clinic and is passionate about her work. She said the reality is very different in other hospitals in Bali and about the importance of loving care for the new mothers.
This week I also met with Debra Pascali Bonaro , always smiling and radiating her wonderful light! She was there to give the course Doula Eat Pray that had women from all around the world participating. It was great to meet her again, talk and share about the travels around the world! I also had the opportunity to speak briefly about the project to the group.
Debra wearing the shirt of the project that and I with wearing Bumi Sehat shirt:
Besides visiting Bumi Sehat, I visited three clinics in Bali to know what happens at the other settings.
They are private clinics and have the government license to operate. The only public hospital is in Dempasar, so many women end up having their babies at the local clinics. Usually I come in and ask to speak to one of the nurses / midwives professionals.
When I have the opportunity I ask about birth for women, at the stores, restaurants, massage places, street. In one of the restaurants I went to lunch, the waitress was super friendly and had a very good English. She started talking about the planting of rice that was in front of the restaurant, which was the staple food and was always white. Many families have their own rice fields.
The families are large. In Hindu culture when the woman marries she will live in her husband’s house, and add up the number of members at the house. But now the couples have less children. The schools are private and most health costs are also private.
The subject with the waitress ended up in Birth, as always … She said she has two daughters, ages 5 years and 2 years and that they stay with their grandmother while she works, which are every day, 8 hours per day. If she has a day off, she has to recover the other day … and the monthly salary is very low. She said she had her children in nurses clinic in her community. She said they exist it in many communities.
The next day we arranged to go visit this clinic together and she accept to be interviewed. She went to the clinic because the care is better and it’s closer from her house.
The other day she was there in front of my hotel with her daughter so we could visit the clinic together. On the way we talked about the Balinese culture and her conflicts in her second pregnancy.
We arrived at the clinic, looked like a home from outside. And one of the nurses lives on top of the clinic. They do prenatal, delivery, and also family planning, vaccines and pediatric care. The nurse declined to be interviewed, and was also busy. So Tara showed me the clinic, which is a room for appointments and one behind for the birth. A small and simple room with two beds.
I felt bad because her daughter was crying scared all the time we were there. She said it was because they normally go there for vaccinations. Might it be memories of the birth?
Another clinic was in Nusa Dua. My friend Livia was with me. A very small clinic. The nurse showed the delivery room. A room with two beds for normal delivery. The nurse cares during labor, when gets near the time of birth, she calls the doctor.
There was a woman in labor with the support of her husband. I asked the nurse to ask them if I could get in. With their permission, I went. She was lying on the bed side. We started talking, but the husband was the one answering. It was her first baby. She said the contractions were hurting. Each rush (contraction) that came she would contract, but without doing any sound.
I asked if the back was hurting. She said yes. I began to massage the lower back slowly, and she began to relax more. I said that moving the hips move could also help …. She wanted to try. She moved out of the bed and started moving the hip while I was doing massage. She seemed more relaxed. I thought it was time to go because I was just visiting and when I realized I was there helping a woman in labor … I miss doing that!
I left, but soon I came back because I have forgotten to give my card with my email so I could send the photos. I came into the room and she was standing, moving the hips and her husband massaging the back! I was very happy to see that! She and her husband smiled at me and thanked me, saying it helped a lot!
I talked to the nurse and said that move, change positions, do massage during labor helps a lot! I suggested for her to visit Bumi Sehat in Ubud and see how the births take place there.. she seemed interested to learn.
In Kuta I visited another clinic that is based in the care of nurses. It’s like a birth centre, where only normal deliveries take place, but without the philosophy of gentle birth. But it is well organized and clean.
The nurse midwives Sukadani Ni Pt Ayu welcomed me and the clinic. There is a delivery room with two beds separated by a curtain. The deliveries always happen in the gynecological position as in the other clinics.
The nurses did not know it could be different . If they need help in a complicated birth, they call the doctor, usually to use forceps or vacuum extraction during birth. The baby is born and taken to receive routine care. After, mother and baby go to the postpartum room together usually for two days. There is a private room and shared. The private sector is more expensive.
I said : ” But you know that in my practice most mother chooses to have baby squatting!” , trying to not hurt them, but to say that there are other options… They looked to each other and gave and smiled, thinking it was a fun think to do: ” Oh, but here no, all women give birth laying down!” and they were proud of that, because it is more civilized!
But I said the other positions could help the baby descend, could facilitate … they demonstrated interest in learning more about it, they told me to come back to give a course.
Most professionals and women simply do not know another way for babies to be born …the have been conditioned to think that this is the only and best way to do it. Maybe next time I come back ready to give courses?
This stayed in my mind … it would be another project!
Who knows, maybe in the future … Living and Learning!