An (Unexpected) Guatemalan Home Birth

Here’s the story of our second baby that God blessed us with in Guatemala. You can read about our first birth story here.

Meeting little sister

Meeting little sister


Baby on the way

Monday, Dec. 31
At 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Chrisi started feeling contractions (Her stomach getting hard, but this time with an uncomfortable feeling accompanying the hardness, just the exact same feeling as when she was in labor with Hudson.) Chrisi let Michael know about the contractions, but she quietly walked or relaxed during each one and she went about her regular activities like reading her Bible, filling out Hudson’s milestone calendar, cooking, etc.

Knowing that Baby was coming soon, she had Juana, our house helper, cut up a lot of onions to make 2 pounds of black beans in the pressure cooker because she wanted Hudson and Juana to have plenty of food to eat while she and Michael would be at the birthing clinic having the baby. Chrisi took a shower around 6 p.m. to get herself ready as she knew that they would eventually be heading to the midwifes clinic which was about 15-20 minutes away from the apartment. Michael and Chrisi even played two games of “Regenwormen” with Juana at the kitchen table after Hudson went to bed.

The labor seemed to progress slowly those first several hours and Michael asked Chrisi when to actually start counting contractions because she seemed so calm and was able to sit/concentrate though them. Chrisi said that she knew she had been in labor since 2 p.m. because the contractions were regular ever since then, but that she didn’t want to make a fuss about it because she wanted to have enough energy for however long it took for the baby to arrive. Chrisi wanted to preserve all of the energy she could just in case she had a long labor like she did with Hudson, which was 31 hours long.

They had everything ready to go to their truck that was parked outside to be ready to leave. They watched a movie around 10 p.m. and contractions continued at about 5 min. intervals. Chrisi had to concentrate through each contraction as she rested in the recliner, sometimes shaking her leg a little during them to help the discomfort.

After the movie, around 11:30 p.m. Chrisi encouraged Michael to get some rest. He went to bed. So by then everyone was asleep except Chrisi.  Contractions were still about 5 min. apart but Chrisi couldn’t sit through them any more and had to walk each one out as she concentrated on Bible verses and key phrases she’d prepared for the labor. She also tried to watch a movie during this time as she was the only one awake and thought that this might help distract her in between contractions.

New Year’s Labor

Tues., Jan. 1, 2013
12:00 a.m. – Chrisi perused the internet and watched the New Years fireworks from the balcony between her contractions that continued at five minute intervals. This is something that she will never forget because seeing a New Years Eve fireworks display like the ones that they put on in Guatemala are nothing like she had ever seen before in her life. In fact, she ran from the balcony into the apartment a couple times, just because she thought one might hit her because they seemed so close!


1:17 a.m. – Contractions had become 3 minutes apart and lasting about 45 – 50 seconds. Chrisi realized that she couldn’t even sit down between contractions to watch the movie because they were starting to come almost back to back and that it was more painful to get up and down from the couch than to just continue walking between and during contractions.


1:39 a.m.-Chrisi went to the bathroom and lost more of her mucous plug which had been in process over the last few days.


1:45 a.m.-Chrisi woke Michael up and had him call the midwife. Chrisi wanted to wait until 2:00 a.m. to wake Michael up so that he could get more sleep, but she quickly was starting to realize that the contractions were getting more intense and that things were really starting to move fast.


Call the Midwife!


1:47 a.m. – Michael called Hannah, the midwife. She said she’d head in to the clinic from her home in Antigua and would be able to be there in about an hour. She would call when she was passing through San Cristobal so that Michael and Chrisi would know when to head out and not be waiting outside the clinic before she got there.


Shortly after calling Hannah, Chrisi said that things were progressing faster and Michael should call Hannah with an update. Contractions were about 2 1/2 min. apart and becoming intense. She was starting to feel nausea and the early stage of needing to push. Michael updated Hannah and she said she was on her way. Michael had the vehicle loaded and they were ready to go once Hannah was close.


2:10 a.m. – Her water broke when Chrisi stepped down from the porch into the living room during a contraction and she felt the baby’s head drop further into her pelvis. At this point Chrisi started realizing that getting to the clinic wasn’t going to happen. Michael was still thinking they would be able to make it.  She told Michael to start boiling some water. Fear started to attack Chrisi as she knew that after the water breaks things can get even more intense.


2:17 – Chrisi had the urge to push. Michael called Hannah to let her know that Chrisi’s water broke and that we wouldn’t make it to the clinic and that she would need to come to the apartment. She could hear Chrisi starting to push in the background and said she’d head to the apartment. Being a nurse, Chrisi had the thought that maybe she wasn’t fully dilated and that she could hurt herself if she started to push too early, but she also had this tremendous urge to push, so she just trusted that this is what she needed to do to feel some relief. When Hannah was on the phone with Michael she asked him if he was ready for this and he said he felt that he was. He gave her basic directions so she could get close and then get more details on how to get to the apartment later.


Chrisi called Michael over and he put down some pads on the floor and got ready with a chair to give her support while she squatted in front of him. Michael’s arms were under her arms supporting her. She pushed gently about two times through one contraction and then took a break between them while Michael went and got extra towels. (During all this Hudson and Juana were asleep in the bedrooms while Michael and Chrisi were in the kitchen/livingroom.)


Chrisi walked in a small circle until the next contraction and then they went back to their spot in front of the chair and Chrisi pushed two more times during the next contraction. When Chrisi stood up after this second contraction, she could feel that the baby had definitely dropped far down in her pelvis and remembered this same feeling right before she had given birth to Hudson.


During the third contraction, Chrisi realized that this baby was about to come. She had such a fear come over her because the midwife was not there yet. It was right at that moment that Chrisi felt like God spoke to her spirit and said that He was right there with them and that everything was going to be OK. She pushed once and then felt the baby’s head. She told Michael that she felt the baby’s head and he said, “Really?” with an obvious surprise, but also excitement in his voice.

Happy Mommy, Healthy Baby

Happy Mommy, Healthy Baby


Giving gentle support and counter pressure to the head (to help prevent tearing), Chrisi pushed gently and the head came out. Chrisi wasn’t sure what to do so Michael said she should support the head and turn the baby slightly to allow the shoulders to slip out. Sure enough the next moment, Jubilee Praise was born at 2:27 a.m. just 17 minutes after Chrisi’s water broke. Michael and Chrisi and God’s presence were there to greet her. She cried out and began breathing normally immediately after being born.


Chrisi sat there on towels holding the baby wrapped in a towel while Michael woke up Juana. She was quite surprised to see Chrisi sitting there with the newborn baby.

It’s a….. SURPRISE!


Chrisi had been holding the baby for about 10 minutes when Michael asked her if it was a boy and Chrisi said, “Of course it is, we already know that.” But then Michael said, yes, but just check so I can tell Hannah what it is when I call her. (They had been expecting a boy because the clinic had told them twice that they were having a boy after having two ultrasounds). She looked and to their surprise the baby was a girl!


Cutting the umbilical cord

Cutting the umbilical cord

Juana helped with Chrisi while Michael talked with Hannah and directed her through the neighborhood to the house. The midwife arrived at about 2:45 a.m. and sterilized her equipment in water that Michael had started boiling earlier. The assistant midwife found some thread that we had on hand and tied off the umbilical cord and Michael cut the cord.

Michael held Jubilee while the midwives helped Chrisi deliver the placenta and care for a small tear.

Post-Partum Bliss!


Daddy and Daughter

Daddy and Daughter

Chrisi was just in a constant stage of bliss after the birth because it was such a different birth experience that what she had had with Hudson. She felt like this birth was so much easier and faster and that it was a breeze in comparison to Hudson’s 31 hour birth. She was also surprised and very thrilled that she had been carrying a sweet little girl for the last nine months without even knowing it! Seconds after they found out that it was girl, Chrisi called out to Michael, “ So are we going to call her Jubilee Praise?” (This was the name they had really loved and already picked out when Chrisi was pregnant with Hudson, if he had been a girl.) And Michael said, “Yes, we will name her Jubilee Praise!”

Jubilee is a “joyful shout” and Praise…well, that’s  “thankful rejoicing”

So this New Years baby is now 11 days old today as we finally finish writing her amazing birth story and our lives will never be the same again, because our hearts have been flooded once again with this amazing gift the Lord has given us, the gift of life!


Our family four

Our family four

13 thoughts on “An (Unexpected) Guatemalan Home Birth

  1. I loved the story!! Praise God for a wonderful birth and a new baby girl. We’re so happy for you!!!

  2. AWESOME!! I’m rejoicing with you! So sweet to sense the Spirit of the Lord at the birth of your baby. HalleluYah!

    Welcome to the world, Jubilee Praise. 🙂

  3. Congratulations over and over again! I have been praying for the 4 of you daily! Just this morning I thought, “this baby should be arriving really soon!”
    What a wonderful story! And Chrisi, you are an OB nurse’s delight! Good job supporting Michael! The family is precious!


    Jo Turner (Larry’s cousin)

  4. All I can say, reading this made me cry. What an amazing journey you two had, God Bless you four.

  5. God is Amazing and so are you! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the beautiful miracle of a healthy baby being delivered by her parents. :)Love you!

  6. Love you guys so much – I am in Africa working with orphans – I am sure you realize how fortunate your children are to have you and their grandparents for their future – – – I imagine you have seen a few orphans yourselves.

  7. Love you guys so much – I am in Africa working with orphans – I am sure you realize how fortunate your children are to have you and their grandparents for their future – – – I

  8. Congratulations :_) What an amazing story! And little Jubilee is so beautiful. In the picture above I can see a resemblance to big brother also!

  9. Oh, this story made me all teary!! I am SO SO happy for you guys! What an incredible experience, and oh so beautiful. Love to you all, and cuddles to little Jubilee (love love love the name!!!).

  10. This is such a precious story of God’s amazing creation at work. God’s presence at anytime is precious but at a time like this it is even more so. God’s timing is perfect!

  11. O Wow!! Certainly a unique experience and all Praise be to God who loves you both abundantly!!!! Jubilee Praise!! Grace and Peace!! Rejoicing with you,
    your servant,

  12. A beautiful story! The Biology teacher in me wishes I had students to share this with. This would be a comfort to those who fear giving birth. GOD’s B;essing and Love.

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