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 →