Baby blues

Just recently I celebrated my oldest’s son 9th birthday. I mean nine years?! I am sure that as long as you are busy time will pass by fairly quickly but when you stop to think about the actual changes within a specific time frame, then is like: “woa, wait what?!” So I was sharing with him the story of the day he was born, I started feeling some kinda of blue. But why? It was a joyous day. Why do I feel this way? Well, let me tell you why.

My experience post labor was not ideal. Many factors came into play which I will share with you. And as much as I love motherhood (add two kiddos to the equation) whenever I think of the days following my first son’s birth, I always feel a bit blue. I don’t know if postpartum depression was part of it. I honestly don’t think so. But maybe as I share this with other mommies out there, it might help someone feel a bit better that is going through this. So nine years ago, that’s when this happened:

It was around 2am when my water bag broke. I followed the instructions given to my at the hospital. Called, spoke to a nurse, and once it was confirmed with them we grabbed our diaper bag and went to the hospital. The first thing when you arrive is a check in the triage room where a nurse confirmed my water had broken so I could be admitted to the hospital. After some paperwork and a few minutes waiting for our room to be prepared, we went into a delivery room where we stayed for about a day. My water bag was broken but I had no contractions. They waited a bit hoping my body would catch up to the water bag news and start the process but I guess my body was too scared to admit it so it played dumb! A few hours later they started injecting small doses of pitocin to get the labor started, but again my body was like “nope, no thank you!” Finally about 8 hours after my water bag broke, the contractions started. They were pretty mild at that point that it wasn’t crazy painful.

I’ll never forget this Filipino nurse that was part of my care team. She comes to me and says: “Mommy, you can get the epidural now. Do you want it?” I wasn’t sure what to do. The idea of a natural birth sounded better to me. I told her that it wasn’t too painful at that point so maybe later. She said to me: “Why wait? This isn’t the 1800’s and there’s no need to feel more pain than you really have to. Women say they want a natural delivery and suffer the pain but is not about being brave but being smart! No need to feel pain if it’s possible”. EXCELLENT point, don’t you think?! I agreed with her. I mean, I had been at the hospital for a while now without pain and the labor wasn’t moving at all. It was so slow, why not? So with my first baby, I had an epidural. Does that make me less of a woman? I don’t think so. Does it make smarter as suggested by the nurse? I don’t think so. It just made that first day at the hospital pain free as I waited for my son’s arrival. To each its own, right? So if you can and want to get an epidural, go for it!

We were getting close to 24 hours since my water broke. I was desperate and mostly hungry! I wasn’t allowed to eat since I got the epidural and to be honest, I thought we would be done way sooner.  So finally the time came for the baby to be born! We had difficulties during delivery because my lil man had his hand positioned in a way that wasn’t allowing him to evacuate naturally if you know what I mean. I was so frustrated, tired and hungry, I actually begged the doctor for a C-section. He said that was the last resort and he needed to try a few other things before opting for it. Not to super worry any preggos out there or go into the TMI category, I can say that another doctor joined him and with a couple of things they had to do, I was able to welcome to this world my first born. My goodness that feeling! I knew the first thing I needed to hear was the baby’s cry once he was out, but that didn’t happened. Like I said there were a bit of complications there but with a pediatrician also there in top of the other doctors and nurses a few seconds later I was able to hear him cry. My goodness that feeling! What a relief! That pregnancy/ delivery complicated part was over. Little did I know the hardest part was just about to start.

Until this point it was just my husband and I. A couple of friends had came to check on me earlier in the day while we were waiting. My friend Elsa was there, waiting outside. Once the baby was born she was able to join us in the room and bless her heart she was feeding me while I was figuring out how to feed the baby, ha! Women multitask, I’ll tell ya. It was round 3am when he was born. Later that morning around 7am, I was taken to my recovery room. This is when things got rough real quick. I guess it was a full moon because the hospital was full. We weren’t able to get a private room. In fact, I was sharing the room with two other moms! I could hear people coming in and out to see the other two mommies. My husband left after I was set up in the room. I wanted to rest as I was not able to sleep all those hours before the delivery but I was too scared to close my eyes and for someone to take my baby without me noticing. I was concerned about my baby’s safety because it was just the two of us in that large hospital and I was too tired.

The first 60 hours or so after his birth we were at the hospital. Those two additional nights, I couldn’t sleep. I was in pain from the delivery and too afraid of someone taking the baby. He was in a little hospital crib next to my bed and the only thing that separated us from the rest of the room was a curtain. Not much protection if you ask me. I know they have this safety thing at the hospital with bands that go on the baby’s arm and leg and matching ones for the parents that have an alarm that goes off if you pass certain point. But that wasn’t enough for me.  Now this might not seem like a huge reason to many but for me it was a big deal. First time mom alone in a hospital with a newborn. I wasn’t at ease.

Now you are probably wondering why it was just me and the husband during this important time? Well, my mom was still in Guatemala and his parents had just moved to Nicaragua. I don’t have sisters. I have brothers, but if my husband wasn’t allowed to stay, I am sure they wouldn’t be allowed either. My best friends were miles apart one in Guatemala and the other in the opposite side of the country. I don’t have any immediate family in the area. The few friends I had were busy with their own lives and I can’t be mad at them for that. I felt lonely. Very lonely. Like ridiculously lonely. When I think back of that day, I feel sad that I was so lonely. I wish we could have had a private room so my husband could stay. Even if he was sleeping in the couch, I would have felt a gazillion times better. I wish that my mom had come to the US sooner. I wish at least one of my best friends was closer. I wish I would have dare to ask any of the friends I made here Cali to please stay with me even if that was too much to ask. But you know life isn’t perfect, and things had to happen the way they did.

I can’t explain why. Whenever I think of this time, I feel blue. My other two experiences were very different. The labor, the delivery, the company. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that I hate the experience of my first son’s birth. What I am saying is that I love that experience even if whenever I think of it my heart turns a bit blue every time. Sometimes we create expectations and when those aren’t met we feel terribly bad. I actually didn’t have any specific expectations for my labor. I just wanted a healthy baby and that is what I had. All the details aren’t perfect but he is. His arrival into my life has changed my world. I am better person because of him. I try to. Maybe as time goes by I will be able to think of this memory and don’t feel sad at all. Only time will say for sure.

 

Never stop learning.

Many people tell me I am crazy for continuously keeping myself enrolled in school since I am a mom. I earned an AS degree in 2012 from a community college and it took me more than 4 years to complete the requirements. I have promised myself that I will earn a BA or BS degree, and I will continue to work on that. I have a decent job in a good company, so why do I want more? Why doing it knowing it will take me another 4-6 years to complete it?

For starters, let me tell you about my experience earning the AS. When I moved to the US I had no clue how the school system worked. I was used to a school year that started in January and ended in October. I had no idea how to apply for a college or university. I had no idea your income plays a factor in financial aid or how to fill out a FAFSA. An amazing friend at Macy’s kept telling me I was too young and smart to settle as the dresses specialist and needed to get myself an education. She was a very smart woman who worked for NASA and had a part time job at Macy’s not for need but for fun and distraction, go figure! So, with her advice, I got the nerve to find the closest community college and I did the online enrollment. I submitted the required paperwork and in no time, I was able to enroll in classes. Yay! I thought it would be very simple from that moment on. But when I tried to enroll in a class through their online system, I had no idea what classes to take to earn a degree, any degree really. So, I made an appointment with a counselor and got probably the worst advice of my life.

He asked me about my career goals. I explained I had planned to become an architect back home, but I was in a new country and at that point I just wanted an education. He said that since I didn’t had a specific major in mind I should focus on GEs.

  • I said:  “sure thing, which class first?”
  • He said: “it doesn’t matter, just take any classes you want from the list”.

He handed me a list that anyone who has attended college or a university might be familiar with, but to me it was a bunch of letters and numbers that made no sense. You know, those classes code and section numbers? I mistakenly thought I could take ANY classes from the list without knowing each group has a required amount of credits or to consider which ones were good towards a specific degree. What a shame! Would I have known better, I would have earned a degree much sooner and possibly transfer to a 4-year university. It would had been much easier then without kids to do all of that. But I had to take the long way, so I went with taking any classes advice.

I enrolled in two classes and came to an agreement with my manager at Macy’s that I needed to take Tuesdays and Thursdays off to go to college. And that first semester was great! My schedule worked out, we had gotten a car by then so I didn’t have to take the bus to college. I was learning and enjoying it, and finished the semester with good grades. The following semester I enrolled in more classes but I quickly had to change that as I changed jobs in January and with my new schedule I could only take some night classes. Again, finished the semester great, learned a bunch and was ready to continue my path. But this was the moment when my life changed. I moved to a different city, started living on my own, got a new job, and as you can imagine all these new components didn’t add up quite nicely to the challenge.

I enrolled in a few classes at the closest community college in my new city. My worked schedule was all over the place due to low seniority at the hotel so I couldn’t attend classes on campus because hours started conflicting with work. I imagined the following semester would be better once I was more settled and my schedule had gotten a bit more regular but that didn’t happen. I kept enrolling in classes I couldn’t finish because a manager would agree to give me certain days off so I could attend on campus classes but weeks into the semester that no longer could happen because someone was taking a vacation or bump my shifts so I just couldn’t stick with it. I eventually figured out that online classes were a better choice so I started doing that. I was so sick of having to work an early shift one day, a swing shift the following, a graveyard the next one, having one day off and it would repeat in a similar pattern. I considered taking accounting classes because it seemed that the ladies in the accounting department had a Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm job and I wanted that. I consider myself good with numbers but it wasn’t something I felt passionate about so that idea went away quickly. Then I considered and administrative job which would give me some similar hours so I started taking the classes to earn an Administrative Assistant AS degree. The best part was that every class required was available online! The bad part was that I still had some GEs to earn which didn’t have online options such as math so I worked graveyard for a few months so I could take a math class during the day.

Now all of these sounds tiring to me! Add to that two adorable kids that had come into my life to the equation.  I was busy and tired, but most importantly I was decided to change things for better and I knew I needed to compromise for a little while before I could reach some of the goals I had. A gazillion years later, I earned my AS, yay! At that point even though a BA/BS was still the goal, it had been pushed to the back burner as I had finally gotten a job at the hotel with a regular schedule and banker hours, yay! Since then I have taken several classes of things that interest me: film photography class, health related classes, and just recently I took a graphic design class where I learned about the use of typography for digital imagery. As I mentioned at the beginning, I am working with a very respected company and if I chose to, I can have a great future here as an administrative professional. That is good news, but while I am not trying to diminish my own role, I don’t think it will be enough to satisfy my urge of challenge and continuous learning.

My current plan includes taking additional classes to become a personal trainer. My husband swears there is no future there but this is a passion of mine. I would enjoy very much helping others reach their fitness goals and become healthier. Also this is something I can do on the side. I will take more graphic design classes. Graphic design freelancer anyone? I enjoy very much creating invitations for my kid’s parties and not only I want to get better at that but also learn more about digital arts. And when my little ones are a bit older, I will enroll in a university, kick ass in class, and earn my next degree. Boom!

I find the idea to limit ourselves to one profession sad. Sure, you might be happy with what you do and I am sure you are really good at it too, but why not learn new things? Our brains are so amazingly capable of it and many people chose not to use that power. Educating ourselves in different topics is good because you don’t want to blindly believe, trust, or do what the others are doing without having your own opinion. I think educated people can easily mingle with anyone from any society level or background and find a topic that interests both. Let me be clear that you don’t want to do this to be a smart ass and think you are better than others. Do it because knowledge is power. Power to make informed decisions, informed comments, and even help others with your gift. You might be an amazing cake decorator but you don’t know that yet because you haven’t bothered to give it a try. You might have an artistic side that you haven’t explored and it deserves the opportunity to be shared with the world. I think the more you know, the more you bring into the world, the luckier we are to have you!

 

 

 

Survive: when life gets crazy!

I don’t know about you, but I have a gazillion things going on every single day. If you are new to my blog then you probably don’t know that I am a working mother of 3, who last week finished another semester in college, who likes to exercise, and who mostly likes to do fun things with her kids. All of these requires more than the 24 hours a day has if I also want to add sleep because you know, rest should happen! How do I do it all?

Well first let me tell you the difference between surviving and living according to me. Surviving is making it through the necessary stuff: eat, sleep, care for your family, work. Living is when you do all of the above and you add sparkles and glitter to it, wrap around with a bow and got spare time for a mani/pedi. My life is crazy busy. Some days I live but others I survive. Works gets crazy busy, and then there’s an event I have to attend, but wait a minute I also have to go shopping for food and meal prep and get the kids ready for bed and it goes on and on! By the time I go to bed, I am fried. A part of me dreads another day like that but this it is all about perspective.

Learning to prioritize will help you survive a busy day. Do the things that need to be done, and postpone or cancel if possible the things that are unnecessary. Organize yourself to make the most of your day. Simple things like making a list before going to the grocery store will save you time deciding what to cook for dinner, or saving you time from walking every aisle wondering what you need/want. For other busy moms out there, remember we are programmed with this magical “reset” button that automatically goes off every night. I might be super tired after a long day and like I said before kinda hating on the next day, but when I wake up my mommy attitude kicks in and is all about “let’s get things done!”. Out motherly instincts are good about letting go off the unnecessary stress to focus on the good stuff and be able to enjoy life. Does it happen all the time? probably not, but most days it surely does.

Surviving as a working mother is common I’ll say.  And let me tell you one more thing, there is nothing bad about it.

Cheerios!

 

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Life with a baby

Your little bundle of joy arrived! I hope you had a short and smooth labor. Now the dream is a reality. There is this tiny little creature whose entire universe revolves around you. Motherhood is here! Whether this is your first baby or you are an expert, lots of emotions are probably revolving around you. You are excited, and happy, and tired, and you love someone like you’ve never loved before, and you are scared, and you are worried you’ll make a wrong decision, and you are happy again, and worried again, and even more tired than you imagined, and it keeps going on and on… yup, motherhood is here!

The first weeks with your little one are wonderful. It feels like every second is a new milestone and if you are like me, you are probably taking a picture like every other minute! These are the moments to treasure and you want to keep all those memories in a form that is easy to remember, aka pictures. So, if you want to share a thousand pictures a day, then go for it! There are no rules to it, is really up to you if you want to share them or save them for you. And because you are probably super duper tired because, oh well, there’s a baby at home, don’t be surprised  if you are delayed a day or two when you want to share those precious moments. More likely, every time you mean to post pictures your baby will need you, or you have to take that time to do something for yourself instead like grabbing a bite, or taking a shower, or applying makeup on your other eye because it’s been two hours since you started with your other one!

In case you don’t know this yet, you will be tired for many months to follow. Tired. Super tired. Like all the time! Please don’t forget to pay attention to yourself first. We can only care for others when we care for ourselves first. Remember that announcement on the airplane about putting your own oxygen mask first before helping others? It will be hard to put yourself first and your little one after, but you have to do this to be able to take care of him or her. Now, when I say take care of yourself first, I mean eat, sleep, rest as much as you can. Sometime later, and with a good support system at home, you will be able to go get your nails done, or grab a bite with a friend, or do some other activity you enjoy for yourself. The first months are mainly about your real needs and the baby’s needs. I promise you will not die if you don’t get a mani every week for now.

So I was saying, there is a new life who needs you. One of the most important things to always keep in  mind is that all babies are different. Yours might eat every 2 hours and your friend’s every 4; that’s normal. Yours might sleep 2-3 hours at a time and your friend’s sleeps 3-4 hours; that’s normal. Yours might have colic and your friends don’t; that’s normal. Yours might be scared of the vacuum noise and your friend’s isn’t; that’s normal. Don’t feel the need to force your baby to act like your friend’s (I know I keep saying friend’s but it could also be your sister’s or cousin’s or whoever’s) baby. Certain things will be unique to your baby and that is normal. Work with that. There is no point to try to force a baby to be like someone else. Babies get it. They don’t believe in peer pressure. They will be and will do whatever it is that they need to and that is fine! And while you are trying to learn the things that work for your little one, you will more likely receive advise from family and friends telling you what to do or not to do to “fix” your baby… gosh! this is so beyond wrong and don’t worry, I will get to it!

Some of the advise you will receive will be helpful. Some. Most of it will likely not apply to you and your baby and is more than okay to let that slide. For instance, most babies sleep better when swaddled yet not all babies like it. So don’t try to force it in your little one if he or she doesn’t want it. People might feel the urge to remind you that is best for them, that they sleep better, that you will rest more. They might be right if your baby is into swaddling, but if your baby isn’t then try something else. Trust me, is okay to ignore the advise that doesn’t do you or your baby any good. It might have worked for others, but it doesn’t work for you so no need to force it. I know I am paying a lot of attention to the unsolicited advise but new moms project this unseen “give me your advise even though I am not really asking for it” aura which is why you will receive tons of it. Some might help, some might not, you get it, right?

Most people are lucky to have a support system at home at least during the first weeks of a new baby at home. This is great! Accept the help you are offered as much as you can, like on a selfish way. Yup, you heard me right! You will want to do everything or at least witness someone else doing it if you are a scared new mommy but like I said before you need time to rest. Stress is not good for you, the baby or anyone really. Enjoy every moment you can with the baby and when you get a chance take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, you will need it especially if you are breastfeeding. I know is hard but avoid caffeine if you can… I don’t have proof is bad but that’s what doctors recommend given a small amount of it goes to your breastmilk (I don’t have proof of this nor I believe but oh well) and will make your baby fuzzy. Also, you will hear from many people to watch what you eat because some foods make your breastmilk production low or make the baby gassy or colicky. This could be true but there are many  mixed opinions about it so my personal experience was as long as it doesn’t give me or the baby I rash I ate it.

Life with a baby is all kinds of beautiful, and amazing, and tiring, and again AMAZING! There will be great moments, tiring moments, scary moments and unforgettable moments. All is part of the package. Enjoy it all as much as you can. If this is not your first baby and you are a pro (like people call us), do not forget to also make time for your other munchkins. I mean think about it, we all need some mommy time.

Good luck!

Baby time!

So it has been a while since my last post because you know life happens so one gets busy. I’ve decided to continue to prove myself that I’m capable of doing anything and as much as I want as long as I set my mind to it. In this case it means to continue to share through my blog which means better juggling life. Anyway, this post is about when the time came to meet our new family addition. This is baby number 3 and people keep thinking I pretty much I’m a pro at it, but oh boy, little do they know!

The moment I hit 38 weeks, I went on a freak out stage. I had been cooking our stud muffin in the oven for 38 weeks with its ups and downs, but it was all coming to an end any minute really. I knew I was pregnant for quite some time and I also knew there was going to be a delivery time. Until this point my concern was making it to the hospital on time. With baby no. 1 my water broke so I was admitted without any contractions and it took over 24 hours and a complicated delivery until the moment we met our little man. With baby no. 2 we barely made it to the hospital… really! Labor moved quite fast and it all happened at home within a few hours. By the time we arrived to the hospital, our princess had already crowned and I was just holding her in there until we were able to make it to the delivery room. My only concern this time was a fast labor and not enough time to get to the hospital. Unlike my first deliveries, the hospital this time was not a 5 minute drive away without the need to even get on the freeway. Since we moved, this time the hospital was a 25 minute drive away with no traffic and because it is in the middle of the Silicon Valley, the traffic can easily turn into a 1 hour +. So like I said, until this point my only concern was not having a baby on the side of the freeway during peek commute hours.

So about that freak out stage. Our bodies are amazing! Like, really, really, amazing! If you are woman reading this, give yourself a pad in the shoulder cuz girl your body rocks! I am Catholic, which means I believe our Almighty grants us the blessing to assist him in the miracle of life. He has created our bodies so perfectly that for gazillion of years, we have reproduced and delivered gazillion of babies without the technology and comfort we have these days. And while our bodies really know what to do, complications happen. This is where the freak out stage comes into play. A few weeks before my due date, I started to freak out like big time! Yes, our bodies know how to push that baby out, but is still painful. Again, this is the kind of pain that your body knows and will handle, but it is pain at the end of the day. I was suddenly worried that it would hurt more than I could take, or that the delivery was going to be hard, or even that a C-section would be needed. I was worried about what my body would look and feel after. I was worried every minute for the last weeks.

But then the time came. The baby was going to join us. It was 5 days prior to my due date. I started feeling contractions around 1:30am. I got up, used the bathroom, turn the TV on, while the contractions stayed. It was a bearable pain at that point. Not so frequent, 7-9 minutes apart.  I started watching “Friends” on Netflix because that’s what I did with my second one. The pains grew longer, stronger, and more often. I called the advise nurse line because that’s what they asked you to do. It was 4:30am at this point. The nurse said to wait until they were a bit closer in time, so continue to track them for another hour and to call back. She also said to drink more water which I did. At exactly one hour after, I called and told the nurse that the contractions were stronger and longer and closer. She said to come in to check if it was “the” time. So I woke up my husband, told my mom we were leaving so she knew she had to take my other two kids to school that morning, and we left for the hospital. It was luckily early enough that there wasn’t a lot of traffic. We arrived around 6:20am.

My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, and lasted 50-60 seconds. The doctor checked and I had already dilated 6 cm which I meant I could stay in because the labor was active. Yay! We had made it to the hospital with enough time. I could cross my first concern off the list. We settled in and waited until it was time. About two hours in the pain was pretty bad and I opted to take the Epidural. No shame on it! I mean why should I? It helped me to handle the pain and that’s all I needed for a reason. Two hours later, around 10:25am, our son was born. Aiden had arrived! The labor wasn’t as short as I hoped, but it was definitely not bad. The best part was that it was a perfect delivery so no stitches or anything else was required. He was here! He was so tiny and so perfect. The fear that had been haunting me over the last weeks was gone. All I could feel was joy, and love, and yes tiredness. My body was tired and in a bit of pain after the delivery, but looking at his face, holding his little hands, touching his little toes made it all worth it.

Motherhood is not easy. It also doesn’t happen to everyone. And not everyone who experiences it actually deserves it. But when you really want to be a mom, when you wish to be blessed with it, when you know is an expression of love, motherhood is the best. Pregnancy has its ups and down. I know more than one woman who had such a rough pregnancy and/or delivery they decided never to have kids again, and I get it. It is not easy, it is painful, but I promise you being a mom is so amazing. Amazing is so many things which I think is why is a good way to describe.  Good luck if you are a preggos reading this. I wish you an easy and fast labor.

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Our first selfie