Today was our day to relax and let my parents be tourists. We took a break from Casa Bernabe and spent some time in Antigua. Later, we stopped by to see the other child we sponsor, a girl named Alejandra who lives in a place called New Life Children’s Home. Because we were able to step back and relax, my mind was free to think about what it’s been like to travel to Guatemala with a baby.
As a (hyper-vigilant, slightly paranoid) new mom, I dealt with a lot of worry and stress as we prepared to take a seven-month old baby out of the country. Many of you have prayed for peace for me, and your prayers have been answered! For the most part. I thought I’d share a few of the experiences we’ve had so far.
With two days to go, this trip has been way easier than we expected. She hasn’t been a distraction like I expected. Her grandparents are always eager to hold and comfort our busy baby. She has bonded with my parents in a special way, which will hopefully make date nights at home easier!
Of course, these final two days could make or break the trip. The final two days are when we’ll be most tired. The final two days are when we’re most likely to get sick. The final two days we’ll be more relaxed and less vigilant about stealing her away when we see someone letting her try to eat small magnets off the refrigerator.
You know all those good sleep habits we’ve been working on for the past seven months? Naps in her crib rather than in our arms or the carseat, an early bedtime, a consistent schedule, not sleeping in our bed, not sleeping on her stomach… yeah, well, I’ve broken every single one of my self-imposed rules. Sara (from Casa Bernabe) shared similar experiences that she had with her daughter Bella (now 16 months) when they’ve traveled back and forth to the states. Like me, she worried she’d ruin everything by relaxing the rules while traveling. But as many of your not-so-new moms probably know, Bella quickly adapted and fell back into her normal routines and behaviors. I’m hoping the same will go for our family!
Countless people have told us she looks like Nate. No one has said that she looks like me.
If you thought I freaked out about germs before, you should see me down here with the baby. Our hands are about to bleed because they’re so dry from the hand sanitizer. I’ve gone through multiple packages of cleansing wipes. It kills me to watch her putting her hands into other people’s mouths. Come on, people! Don’t let her do that when you’re holding her! Ahh! And when kids at the orphanages want to hold her, I drag my feet. Sometimes I tell them she’s not happy, or she’s tired. Other times I pass her over and then immediately wipe her down when I get her back. Like I said, I freak out.
Guatemalans are very comfortable with breastfeeding. I’m the rarity in that I use a cover. Of course, I tend to nurse in slightly conspicuous places–like the middle of an outdoor patio display in the Guatemalan equivalent of Walmart. (Where else was I supposed to go?!)
A lot of the kids are clueless about breastfeeding. Today, the kids thought she was sleeping. We had to explain that she was getting milk from me. After that, the girls tried repeatedly to lift my cover to watch the baby eat.
She’s not peeing enough. A part of me could be happy that we’re using less diapers, but what if something’s wrong? What if she’s dehydrated?! What if something’s wrong with my milk?! We made a long-distance call to the states today and asked Nate’s mom when we should (legitimately) start to worry.
Other than that, the baby has been great. She’s happy to be lugged wherever her mommy and daddy take her. Please pray that the next few days continue to go well and that this act of stepping out of our comfort zone to serve as a family becomes our normal.