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
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. Continue reading →
As new missionaries in this beautiful country, we moved to Guatemala while we were pregnant and started getting all the advice we could on what paperwork we needed for our baby. Here are some of the things we learned…
Step 1: Schedule a US Embassy appointment
If you’re anywhere within three months of the birth go to the US Embassy website and set up an appointment for a couple weeks after the due date. (UPDATE: As of(May 2014 the US embassy in Guatemala now only opens appointments about one month prior to the appointment date. So you’ll have to check in about a month ahead of the date you want.) These appointments fill up and it can be very difficult to get in if you don’t get something scheduled early. You can change it if you have to, but better to have the appointment scheduled than to find out you can’t get an appointment for two or three months after the baby is born when you may be wanting to travel.
TIP: I think you could probably have your spouse sign up so you have two dates to chose from. Then just cancel the appointment you don’t want! Continue reading →
On January 28th of 2011, we moved to Guatemala to serve as missionaries when we were six months pregnant (about 25 weeks) with our first son. We wanted to have our son naturally, and we very quickly found out that this would be a bit difficult. With C-section rates at 80% in the private hospitals in Guatemala, we realized that we needed an alternative in order to have the birth we wanted.
For months we’d been preparing, reading and learning about giving birth
Ok, Back to Guatemal…we started checking our options. We were studying Spanish in Xela so we checked out an APROFAM public clinic that has a birthing center, but it still wasn’t what we were looking for. We did have an ultrasound and bloodwork done at APROFAM and every thing was looking great!
BabyBjorn Travel Light
In Xela we prepped the baby’s bed by buying 5-inch mattress foam and cutting it to fit inside our BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib. We used three pieces and had them covered with regular sheet material we had purchased at Megapaca. A sastre or sewing guy, made the mattress cases with a zipper for us so we can change them as needed. The new mattresses gave 15 inches of lift to the modified play pen so our baby would be at a bassinet level and we can lower it as he gets bigger. Continue reading →
While Mayan midwives or comadronas are common across the countryside of Guatemala, finding an English-speaking midwife in Guatemala can be difficult. As best as we can tell, we found the only American-trained, English-speaking midwife in Guatemala City when we found Hannah Friewald at the Centro De Parto Natural where she specializes in water births and has one of the only, if not the only, water birth centers in all of Central America.
Initial newborn exam
Hannah is from Germany where home births are the norm. She has been around it her whole life and also speaks perfect English. She trained in the States through Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, Texas and is also certified in Guatemala (which can be an important thing if your international medical insurance only gives coverage for certified medical care).
Hannah has worked as a midwife for years and has attended some 1,400 births as of May 2011. She said that she has never lost a baby and even told of a couple breech babies she has delivered and some v-bac babies she has delivered, along with a couple emergency situations. She has delivered babies for the ambassadors of a couple different European countries here in Guatemala and seems to keep a full schedule. Continue reading →