The Day you were Born

An excerpt from the First 30 Days of Night… 

Day 1- September 21 The Day you were Born 

I remember getting the call at 6am on Wednesday from the labor and delivery ward at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women letting me know that the bed was ready for your arrival.

I was so nervous that I told them I was going to be there in 20 minutes- yeah right. My mom, your father, and I rolled into the hospital at 7:30am, Starbucks in-hand. We let my uncle (the cardiologist) know, because he’s been at my side ever since I was born and when I diagnosed with Leukemia when I was 7, so of course he was going to be there.

We were actually supposed to be there the day before, but apparently there had been an emergency at the hospital, everyone decided to have a C-Section that night and there was a baby born in an elevator. Clearly, it was not time for you to come.

Once we got there, I was escorted into the waiting area with my mom while your father parked the car (he refused to valet, despite our several objections- more on this later). The nurses came in to receive me and noted that coffee in my right hand and told me I had about 15 minutes to down it. Apparently it is not every day a mother about to go into labor comes in with her Grande cup of Pike’s Place Roast.

I was escorted into the “laboring room,” which silently scared the hell out of me, but I never showed it. Especially when I saw a huge fitness ball on the corner and I remember thinking… “What the hell are they expecting me to do with this thing?” The nurse told me it was for laboring. I actually ended up bouncing on that ball and it felt pretty good when I felt the contractions at their strongest.

The two nurses that were assigned to me were wonderful and super sweet, in addition to being very patient the entire time. After running all the tests and diagnostics, it was time for me to be induced. The inducement process started at 9am and when that first contraction came, I thought I was going to keel over and die. Little did I know this was nothing, just the start, and it was about to go down. I was given some sedatives to minimize the pain, but you were extremely responsive and ready to get out.

Finally, my water broke at 1:30pm. I felt a pop inside me and I remember thinking, “I read about this in some Facebook feed.” I decided to make the announcement and sure enough, I was right. So there I was, laboring with pain medication and you were just reluctant to come out. Once I received the epidural, I felt nothing and decided to use my time to nap until you were ready.

I remember being woken up several times by the nurses to re-position the monitors on my stomach and several concerned whispers. In the midst of my nap, I remember my uncle telling my mom that you were going to end up being delivered a C-Section (which was not my plan). The doctor has told me at your 28 week appointment that only one person could be in the operating room if you resulted in a C-Section delivery. With my uncle having saved my life when he was the one who diagnosed me with Leukemia, and my fiancee, your father, who I love with my heart, both there- it was a heart-wrenching decision to make, which I had not even thought about making because I had decided to deliver you naturally due to this specific reason.

So I was completely shocked when the attending doctor came in and spoke to me in a serious, but friendly tone. You were going to be delivered via C-Section immediately.

It wasn’t even two minutes when an entire staff of nurses trotted in to prep me, I was told to call your father because he had gone to get something to eat, and my uncle was putting on his scrubs. I was on the verge of tears  as it was not even five minutes after I called your father and he told me was parking that I was being rolled into the O.R.

I remember bright blue and green overhead lights, the anesthesiologist behind me trying to coax me to relax, my uncle closely examining the incision being made so I wouldn’t get butchered, and my doctor rushing in because he had just left his shift (but returned, because he is the best), and me staring at the ceiling with a million thoughts running across my mind, tears in my eyes. I felt pressure from the other side of the curtain, some prodding, but no pain. This went on for about ten minutes.

Finally, you were pulled out of me, raised for two seconds atop of the curtain and taken to the neonatal station next to my bed. You were a tiny little baby at 5lbs and 15 ounces, 18 inches long born at 8:32pm. The neonatal team wanted to make sure you were healthy, and that is one I had your father called in. I remember him coming into the room with a surgical mask on, and thinking what pretty blue eyes the doctor had (keep in mind I was under a lot of sedation) and it took me a second to realize it was actually your father under that mask. He was teary eyed, but I could see his eyes smiling down on me.

I was so happy to see him and even more ecstatic when they handed you to us, all bundled up, after they had your screenings done. You were so small and born with a little bit of jaundice, so you had to be taken to the NICU for a couple of nights until it cleared up.

I was rolled out of the OR and back into the laboring room until my room was ready, in complete disbelief to what had happened, but so ready to have you in my arms again. That is when the breastfeeding pump was rolled my way. With all the wires and cups sticking out from the device, I had no idea how to use it (I never took a class, thinking I would just wing it), and the nurse said you needed to get my colostrum to help wash away your jaundice, so it would be better that I get to it.

Being the resilient woman that I am, I was determined to have you home by the time I was discharged so I hooked myself up to this strange looking machine and pumped away. I felt like a cow. I pumped out 15CC of colostrum and put the cap back on the little tube. When the nurse came back in, she was astonished as it was enough for three to four feedings. I recall feeling pride in my coma-induced state and giving myself a mental high-five.

I do not remember much of what happened after that as the anesthesiologist gave me some pretty strong stuff, but I do know I dreamed of you.

The Evil Eye

I was never hugely superstitious (but do come from a family that is) until Livia was born. Once she came into this world, there were red bracelets and ribbons all over the place- on her crib, in her car-seat, on her diaper bag, on her ankle. I was very guarded about who came near her and any time we would leave the house, she would have to wear a red ribbon. My house and her crib ended up looking like the love locks at Brooklyn Bridge, except these were ribbons.

For those of you that don’t know, Latina moms are very wary of the “Mal de Ojo” (the infamous Evil Eye). We learn from our mothers to protect our infants and children from over admiring glances and envious stares as this could lead to illness or bad luck. In order to guard against these maladies, babies are gifted “eye” or red colored bracelets, which the mothers very much appreciate as this is considered protection for the baby (I think I received over 10 bracelets, ribbons, and blessed strings).

Regardless, this leads me to a much greater point which is we would do anything to protect our children, even if it means tying twenty ribbons to each one of their tiny toes. As a previous sans baby adult, I would like at the “eye” or “hamsa” bracelets as something of fashion or to be work as a fad. As we become mothers, it is interesting to see to what degrees we will go to safeguard our children- from blessing the house, to getting them baptized, ensuring that no one steps into the nursery with shoes on, having them wear protective jewelry, or even signaling the sign of the cross on their forehead at night, we become fiercely protective creatures- not only in the way we act, but also come to embrace the things that we might have ridiculed our own mothers for. Why do we do this? Because you really don’t know what it is to love something more than yourself until you have created life.

We have no problem doing the things that harm ourselves as humans, but will do or believe anything in the world to ensure that our children stand safeguarded because we know the evils out there.

So more than anything, what are we really concerned about? Making sure our children are protected from jealous eyes or ensuring that they don’t make the same mistakes we make as adults?

Little by little, we all become our mothers.

As a note- my daughter still wears her eye bracelet. Not taking any chances here!

 

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30 Days of Night

I think this is a name of a movie set in Alaska about alien vampires, but it was the best title I could relate to for the first 30 days after I had Livia. 30 Days of Night was so accurate that I decided to write a 30 day memoir of what my experience as a new mom was like. Granted, I had all the help I could get thanks to my mom and my husband, but the first-time mom fear and apprehension were both there.

I was scared I was going to hurt her when I changed her, I refused to touch her belly button for fear that I would get it infected, I thought I would dent her head in, I didn’t want anyone touching her, and I also thought I was a bad mom for going to get my nails done or working out. I felt like I needed to be quarantined.

This prompted my memoir as I wanted to remember those first 30 days. Not because I wanted a keen reminder of being an angry zombie, but because most experienced moms say they forget. They fall in love with their babies so much and enjoy watching them grow, that they forget those first 30 days and the trials and tribulations that one goes through out of love while learning to take care of a tiny human. I did not want to forget.

I still remember arguing with my mom about giving her a bath. My mom told me she dunked me in the bath just days after I was born. My new-mom syndrome had me thinking her skin was going fall off. Five months later, not only have I gotten soap in her eye while washing her hair (I literally thought she was going to go blind), but now she splashes away in her little bathtub and laughs every time she is placed in the water.

With that being said, I will be posting excerpts of those 30 days, not only so other new moms can relate to the feeling of being that new mom, but so I can look at what a ridiculous and emotional mess I was.

 

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International Women’s Day

I don’t think I could have picked a better time to start a blog, pursue my project, and make a life changing decision. Today is International Women’s Day and truly a good time to be alive. Before I had my daughter, I never really paid attention to true meaning of the day or its actual purpose- today is about empowerment, solidarity, and the hustle. Today is also the day I turned in my resignation from my current employer to take on a new challenge.

Going back to being a working woman and a new mother, I embrace the hustle, but now for a different purpose. The hustle is for my daughter, I am empowered to make decisions for our life to give her purpose and means to be a strong, independent woman for the future and make her proud.

Pretty soon I am going to be switching jobs again and unlike common thought, it is not for a higher paycheck or because I don’t like what I do. It is because I am pursuing an opportunity that will allow me to grow professionally and give me ground to do what I do best… hunt. Managing people and a P&L for the last five years has been a great and much welcomed experience as it is something that every person in management needs to have to truly understand the bottom line and the reason why we work towards what we do and why business decisions are made how they are.

But now it is time to go back to what got me started. I want to use what I have learned in the last five years, armed with the core understanding of what my industry is, to sell and develop large scale accounts. This is my next step and a venture that I truly embrace.

So I leave you with this nugget of information, do what you love and try everything once.

 

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Frida’s Nursery

As a professional female executive, I’ve been wanting to write a blog for the longest time, except I would find excuse after excuse not to- I am too busy, I have too much work, I am too tired. To be honest, the problem was content. I had so many ideas and so many things I wanted to yell out to the world, but it was disorganized and really did not hold any true meaning to anyone, but myself.

Blogging is about relating, telling a story, organizing your thoughts into one clear message, something you want to say or express in a consistent basis. For the last three years, I have not been consistent in any way, shape, or form in my life. In the last three years, I have moved into three different homes, gone through a divorce, worked in two different companies, got engaged, found out I was pregnant, and gave birth to a beautiful red-headed daughter, Livia. For the first time in a very long time, I feel consistent.

I felt the need to start writing when Livia was born and I was on maternity leave. I thought, why not record my thoughts so she can read them, learn from them, or just have something to look back on when she is older? This time, content rushed through my head, but the message was clear. Using my daughter as my inspiration, I wanted to write about being a professional mother (cliche-sounding, I know), my experiences with my family, while including my Mexican heritage, and also find a way to relate to women like myself- ambitious and hard-working mothers who have gone through hardships, and want to be the best they can be for their family.

At this point, I needed a name for my blog, my product,  my message. My mother helped me come up with the name “Frida” while visiting her in Mexico. I could not have thought of a more perfect example of a strong, independent woman that portrayed my culture. I, however, felt like I still needed something else. Just today I came up with Frida’s Nursery. if you think about it, a nursery is a place where children are raised, a habitat for plants and animals, and a place of growth. Frida’s Nursery stuck and here we are, ready to take on a project I have been wanting to embark on for a long time.

To my daughter… “I love you more than my own skin.”
-Frida Khalo 

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