Monday, December 28, 2015

Hello from Guatemala…Katie’s mom speaking.

I have been here a little over a week now and seriously feel like I have gone to heaven.  This place is magical and having Katie and Brandon as my hosts makes it even better.  I am amazed at how Katie just keeps going and going and going.  Before I arrived she was a bit nervous about feeding me for some reason and I must tell you all she has mastered the fine art of cooking here, every meal has been delicious.

Today we went to Pana.  Brandon did all the grocery shopping while Katie and I got pampered, we both got haircuts and I am loving mine. I really needed one.  Tomorrow we are off on yet another adventure, cliff jumping.  I say I am up for it and that I am going to do it but we shall see.  I think more than anything we all would like Baby Kukowski to make his entrance but that little guy is in charge so we patiently wait.  I will tell you all Katie is ready and wants this little guy out!!!!!

I’m also keeping up with my card playing, fortunately Katie and Brandon are fans of Hand and Foot so all is good here in Guatemala.  I highly recommend for those of you that do not have Guatemala on your bucket list of places to visit that you put it on and make it NUMBER ONE!!!!!

Fresh haircut and a pina is good. 

Bobbie, Katie, and Brandon

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My mom is here!

My mom arrived last Friday. She did well but there was some drama on our side. The driver that we hired to pick her up at the airport called us in the morning to tell us that he was not able to get through as the roads were closed due to protests. I immediately started crying. My mom is a tough woman but this is her first time traveling out of the country alone, she doesn’t speak the language, and I told her someone would be there holding a sign with her name. We spent a little more than an hour arranging for a new driver who was already in the city to pick her up. She did great! She even managed to ask to use his phone so she could call us. It was great to hear her voice!!

Bobbie's first boat ride. 
I’m 39 weeks today and so we are trying to get out and see things before I give birth. So far we have been over to our friends home for a holiday party (we had to hike and Bobbie did great!), took a lake tour with our landlord and their family to the villages of Santiago, San Pedro, and San Juan, and did our weekly grocery shopping in Panajachel. Today we are going to Jabilito for a market and lunch.  While in San Juan Bobbie found 2 paintings that she is interested in purchasing. We may go back today for her to make her purchase.

Age and Bobbie on the boat to Santiago
Pickup truck ride in Santiago

We do not have a Christmas tree or other decorations and we are not exchanging gifts, but this is the best holiday season that I have ever experienced.


Katie, Brandon, and Bobbie too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It seems we have a social life.

Things have really been picking up in our social life the past week or so. We have been invited and had lunch with a few folks at their homes, our landlords arrived and they had us over for dinner.  Our neighbor Eric, who owns a 12-acre property directly behind us with amazing gardens, rentals, pool, and a view invited us over for wine. Brandon has not had red wine since I have known him because it has always given him heartburn (Brandon thinks his recent weight loss has helped).  Eric is a Lord from Norway and only drinks red wine so Brandon of course did as well. 2 bottles of wine later no heartburn but the next day…a titch of a hangover.

Eric's main house. Photo taken from our bedroom window.
We met a woman from Milwaukee when we were here in January. We shared a shuttle to the lake. She was moving here for what she thought was going to be 5 months at that time.  We ran into here fairly quickly after arriving and she let us know that she has decided to stay. She and her boyfriend live in Panajachel. I have had coffee with her but this past weekend she and her boyfriend came to Santa Cruz and the 4 of us explored our small village, had lunch, and then finished the afternoon with a few beers in our garden (not me ☺).

Place we had lunch in Santa Cruz

Sunday was Packer game day. I believe I have mentioned before that we have made friends with a couple who recently moved her from New York with their 2-year old son. They came over Sunday for fried chicken, nachos, beer, and brownies…a good old American football Sunday.  The Packers did win.

All of this socializing has left us, me mostly, tired!

38 weeks tomorrow…the little guy is welcome to arrive anytime now. My mom arrives at the lake this Friday and I cannot wait!!! She may have to do a guest blog post while she is here.


Katie and Brandon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

95 days

This is how many days I was in Guatemala before I received my first scorpion sting. And actually I was stung twice! Once in both arms buy the same scorpion. He had made my bag his home I guess. I hadn’t used the bag in about a week. I’m usually really good about shaking everything out before putting in on my body but I was sloppy this time.

Brandon killed him and laughed at me as I nursed my wounds (can't wait for his first encounter). I am glad that it is out of the way and I now know that it truly feels like a wasp sting. This doesn’t feel good by any means but it was not as painful as I had made it out to be in my mind.  Also, LindaBlue had left us some homeopathic remedies and one was perfect for my ailment.

Katie and Brandon

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Preparing for our home birth

Today I am 36 weeks and 3 days. I am finally in the safe zone for a home birth! If the baby were to have come any earlier it would have needed to be a hospital birth. LindaBlue came over this past Thursday for a prenatal visit. It is so amazing to have our care provider come to our home.

Meet the lovely LindaBlue.

We start our time together with lunch. I don’t like to cook but for some reason preparing a meal for the woman that is going to help us through this experience doesn’t feel painful.  We enjoy our lunch and talk about our questions and fears, tell stories about things not related to birth; we are working to really get to know one another. The power was out during this visit and so we discussed how we would handle the birth without electricity, as you can never predict these things.  The biggest issue would be not having access to clean water so we will purchase 2 large Culligan size water jugs.

When we have had enough to eat we move to the bedroom for the exam. Linda takes my pulse, measures my belly, feels the baby, listens to his heart, and has me give her a urine sample. Brandon took his turn with the stethoscope too. The dogs gather round and are very curious about the whole event. I asked Linda to measure my waist. The tape measure wasn’t big enough so we improvised. I currently have a 40inch waist. Again, everything is healthy and on track!  We will see Linda again on 12/12/15.

She was really feeling him...he is still head down and she thinks almost 7 pounds!

40-inch waist folks!
We need to have names and contact numbers for multiple boat captains incase the baby comes in the middle of the night. LindaBlue lives in Panajachel and this is a 15- minute boat ride from our home. There is not access to lake transportation after 7pm unless you have arranged for a private boat. Brandon worked with Cruz, the Guardian of the house to contact 5 captains, let them know when I am due, and to ask if they would be open to being on our list. We have 5 just in case the first 4 do not answer their phone!

Another part of preparing for a home birth is gathering supplies. Linda gave us a list of things to have on hand.  Below is the list:

Supply list for homebirth

2 pkg of underpads: Chux

Large bottle of hydrogen peroxide

1 roll of absorbent paper towels

Extra Toilet paper

Plastic cover (i.e. to cover bed) - a shower curtain works well

Duct tape – to attach plastic cover to bed

2 large dark plastic trash bags

1 large zip lock bag

rescue remedy cream

Peri bottle

Oil for massage: coconut oil or olive oil

Bendable straws

Sanitary napkins (approx. 12 – thick pads not thin super absorbent for the first 24 hours after birth)

Food for Mom during labor (small protein snacks, protein drinks, juice (usually citrus is not a good choice), fruit, yogurt,  honey, etc.)

Please have the following items located together in a box, bag, shelf in closet, etc.
1  sets of twin sheets (1 for birth, 1 for after birth)
4  large used bath towels (double the amount for a water birth)
clean clothes for mom (after the birth)
clothes for baby (undershirt, gown, diapers, socks, 2 receiving blankets)

My mom is bringing some of the items when she comes because they would have required a 4-hour trip to Guatemala City (Thank you so very much mom!!).  We spent the majority of today walking around Panajachel picking up the items that we could find here.  We did run into LindaBlue on the street and of course she had the biggest smile on her face. She always does! She told us that she is getting a new tattoo tomorrow so we should try to not have the baby tomorrow!  Both Brandon and I feel very safe and ready for this!

The last piece is to have a plan B. We need to have a plan for if things are not progressing or if Linda feels that we have some type of emergency. There is a hospital that is a 20-minute boat ride across the lake that is a part of plan B. Linda is going to check out a private clinic in Panajachel that she has used in the past this weekend and then Brandon and I will go and meet the doctor.  Better to be over prepared than under prepared!


Katie and Brandon