Don’t give up! You can do this!

Ladies I’m feeling inspired at this moment and want to share some words of encouragement for anyone that is having a bad moment or feels like they might quit breast feeding. Whether it’s a growth spurt or the baby is comfort feeding read this before you give up….

I know it hurts. I know you are tired. I know everyone around you is suggesting formula. I know you feel like you have lost your mind. I know worst of all, you feel alone. You are not alone momma. You got your little one right there with you. Remember that you are both learning together. This is your best friend in the university of breast feeding. When times get tough and it hurts too much think of this. If you stop, you will no longer be the magic spell that stops your baby from crying at any time. Imagine your baby no longer needing you for that absolute comfort. Losing that special bond only you two can share. All those hours you got to just sit down relax and feed her. Sure you had better things to do but did you really? The way your baby looks at you and knowing you are providing every drop of calm, comfort, and nourishment. No one else but you. You are a superhero and your breast milk is your super power. Don’t give that up. Milk it. (pun intended) Be the super hero you would want them to look up to. You can sleep in a year, you can drink in a year, but will you be able to carry your little bundle of joy in your arms and have them not run away to play? Enjoy every second. The fun moments and the tough ones especially. You become more and more powerful as each day passes.

Hope this has helped some one.

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First Ten Days of Breast Feeding and how to prepare

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Most of our mothers and our mothers mothers didn’t breast feed. They have told me they didn’t produce milk, or the doctor told them it wasn’t good. My own mother was given a shot to dry her milk supply just days after I was born. The formula advertisements before my mother was born used to target house wives and tell you to save your breast, and feed your baby formula. Now before I continue with this post I do no look down on anyone that feeds their baby formula. We all have different lives and different choices to make for our own babies. No judgements here. Mr grandmother had four kids and told me she never produced any milk and my mother told me it was so painful and none of the nurses helped her they just handed her a bottle of formula and a shot to dry up her milk supply. This is experience that most women in previous generations have had. The minute it was difficult or they were lost someone handed them a bottle of formula as the solution. My generation is bringing breast feeding back. The research has been done and it is the best form of nutrition you can offer your child. It is a common misconception that most women are not physically able to breast feed their child. On the contrary unless you have a condition that doesn’t allow you to feed your child or you are one of the rare cases that just doesn’t produce milk you can breast feed.

It is important that if you choose to breast feed that you find an OBGYN, a hospital, and a pediatrician that are breast feeding friendly and knowledgable on the topic. I personally interviewed a few pediatricians and that was one of the main topics I spoke about. The hospital may say they are breast feed friendly but a good way to be sure is to ask if they offer any classes to prepare you. If they don’t it’s a good sign they aren’t going to be pushing you to breast feed. It matters that your OBGYN know you want to breast feed. The release of your colostrum ( I will get into that funky word later) is triggered by your birth. I had a c-section and some mothers say there bodies get confused and colostrum isn’t triggered. Your doctor will remove your placenta and let the nurses know to start getting the body ready.

While you are pregnant I highly suggest to learn as much as you can about breast feeding. DO NOT USE GOOGLE! Just like I am able to start a blog and write what ever I want so can others who aren’t doctors. Check out your hospital for birthing and breast feeding classes. I know most people will tell you that you will forget it all while you are going through labor but your partner or support person won’t. It is crucial that who ever you want to be in the delivery room with you take these classes with you. Your husbands, boyfriend, girlfriends, mom, dad, sister who ever is going to be helping you for the first few weeks after the baby is born has to take the breast feeding class with you. They need to also be prepared to help you and guide you when things get tough. I also had a coupon I used on http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com for an online breast feeding class. I used this before and after the baby was born to refresh on everything. This is great for working moms because it goes into the topic of pumping and storing milk. With the coupon it was free but if not it’s only $20 and well worth it. Now I’m going to put a list of items you will need before the baby is born and this may vary for each person.

  • Breast Pump
  • Nursing Pads (for those leaks)
  • Nursing pillow (go to local baby stores and try them out)
  • Mother’s Milk Tea (amazon, Publix, or Whole Foods)
  • A comfortable chair with arm rests that is very firm for both your back and bottom.
  • Nipple Cream (I used the Lansinoh brand and Medela brand, but Coconut oil is a good alternative)
  • Nursing bra (a bra that you can easily plop out your boob and still be comfortable. I also like camisole tanks for around the house with the built in bra but you will be topless for the first few weeks)
  • Ice packs and warm ones too
  • PATIENCE (lots and lots of it)
  • and of course your breasts!!!

No need to get fancy as most of these items I got as hand me downs.

So you have given birth what now? The idea is to breast feed your baby as soon as possible so it sends the signals to your brain to release all of your colostrum. I had a c-section and didn’t get to see my baby until almost 5 hours after my delivery. One of my regrets is that I didn’t demand them bring her to me but we live and learn. You have the choice at most hospitals to put on your paper work breast milk and formula, formula or breastmilk only. I put breastmilk only so that no nurse would offer my little Penelope formula. Once your baby is born you should immediately try to offer them your breast. It’s best to do skin to skin contact and allow the baby to discover your breast while learning your scent. It is the most magical feeling when you both and naked skin to skin the warmth and sparks between you two are unimaginable and hard to describe. Your babies mouth is very little and it may be hard for you to get a proper latch at first but ask a nurse to help you that is what they are there for. All the nurses at my hospital even the technicians would grab my boob and show me how to do it. You need to ask don’t be shy! Yes it is going to hurt, but I promise you it will get better. If you can make it through the first ten days you can do this. You need to understand that you are now your babies only source of nutrition and you will not sleep because if the baby is hungry you will be feeding him or her no one else has your breast just you. This is why I emphasize so much on the you having a support person that knows how to help you and is knowledgeable. On day 5 I was dying I mean hysterically crying as the baby was latched on and the pain of my cracked nipple was awful. Tito my boyfriend who went to all classes with me sat down next to me and reminded me of all the benefits of breastfeeding and how much this was going to benefit Penelope and just told me I was doing a great job. Every time I broke down he was right there encouraging me to continue. He never offered me a way out with formula. He helped me be selfless and take the pain for our daughter. Not everyone has a partner but you may have a parent, a friend, or sibling that can pump you up to continue. Many do this all alone but I encourage you to have a someone be there to support your decision. I know with out him I would considered giving up because everyone else around me was telling me that I shouldn’t put myself through the pain, and that’s why formula was invented and blah blah blah. What is colostrum? Well fun fact you don’t produce milk right away you produce colostrum. Think of it as a the first vitamins and antibiotics for your babies immune system and development. Made especially by you. It looks like a clear or foggy colored liquid and many women see this coming out of their nipples and think they can’t produce milk. This goes on for a few days for me it was three days until my milk started coming in. Ladies if you want to choose formula that is fine but at least breast feed those first few days so your baby can get that those essential and natural nutrients from your colostrum. This is what your baby will thrive on. As your milk comes in you will feel pain and soreness in your breast. That’s where the ice packs come in. After I would feed the baby I would put breastmilk on my nipples a little bit of nipple cream as well and place ice packs on them for a few minutes and then air dry. Remember that both you and your baby are learning how to breast feed together so it is important that the baby be latched on correctly. If the baby isn’t latched on correctly they can cause major damage to your breast which will be painful so don’t be afraid to break the latch as many times as you need to until the baby is latched on comfortably. Your baby may cry while this process is going on and you will get scared or frustrated and want to comfort them but by getting a good latch you are making it easier for you baby to suck out the milk so it’s for both of you. Most mothers nipples will crack and be dry and sore. You will be topless for some time because air drying is the best thing you can do. I couldn’t even put a thin shirt on for the first few days. They sell breast shells which will allow you to wear clothes and them not rub up against your nipples. Remember to get a good latch, put breast milk and/or nipple cream on your nipples, allow to air dry and repeat.

Now how will you be able to personally get through this? I can tell you what I did in hopes that this may help. When you want to give up remember all the benefits of breast feeding. Think of how much you are doing of your little one. I would look into Penelope’s eyes and I was sold after that. She is so at peace once I latch her on and it is such a amazing feeling to know you have to power to calm her and nourish her. I had to pump myself up and do little things to reward myself like online shopping. I also reached out to a friend that had recently had a baby and chose to breast feed. I texted her at all hours of the night and day and she would console me and offer me remedies that would help. She sent me her nursing pillow, nipple cream, and new breast shells because I had no clue you needed these items. She really guided me through those first ten days and just like she said it all got better. There are also many support groups online where you can go on and ask questions. I am a part of a breast feeding support group and we all go on and ask questions and every one offers their remedies and input. My hospital has a hotline where you can contact a lactation consultant and they help you over there phone. You can also have one come to your home they can be expensive but they will teach you everything you need to know and be sure to help you with your latch. If after ten days you are dying in pain still you should contact a vacation consultant because breast feeding is not supposed to hurt. It is worth every penny if your are experiencing a lot of pain. The first ten days your nipples will hurt, they may crack and bleed. You will cry and swear that you can’t do this but you can. We were built for this. This is natural to our species. Point is there are endless resources out there to help you with breast feeding it is all on your to reach out and ask. Day 10 arrives and you start to feel a little less pain when she latches on and you start getting the hang of the positions and you start to feel like a pro. Then day 11, 12, 13 and so on you will just get better and better and it will eventually not hurt at all. I am now going on 15 weeks and I truly enjoy feeding my baby. It doesn’t hurt at all anymore and we bond while it’s happening. Plus the world stops when she is hungry. I get to sit down no matter what I am doing and just relax and feed her. You will miss those moments. I have already watched so many shows on Netflix and just get to have me time with my little baby. She will one day grow up and no longer need me to feed her and that makes me sad. Thinking of that makes me look forward to each feeding.

My original goal was 3 months, then after the classes I changed to 6 months, and then I reached the 1st month and said I could do this for a year and now I don’t know if I want to let go. Each woman has their own lifestyle and can create their own goals. If you decide to just do 3 days, 7 days or 1 month I applaud you because anything you do is great! Listen to your body and mind and do what feels best for you both. Everyone is different. It will not be easy but it will be worth it once you see them looking into your eyes while you are providing that liquid gold we call breast milk. Enjoy every moment ladies and please use me as a resource. Feel free to reach out to me and I will do my absolute best to help you.

Baby on a budget

Having a baby is expensive. On average  a middle class family will spend about $12,000 on the first year of their babies life. That is a lot of money but, not to worry I have some easy ways where you can save money and still have everything you need.

Hand me downs

When I announced I was pregnant so many of my family and friends were literally harassing me to give me their old baby items. In the beginning I thought to myself no way I want my baby to have all brand new items. WRONG! I snapped out of that very quickly because I am quite frugal. Just take a visit to your local baby store and check out the prices on anything. Accept any and all hand me down items. My cousin had just had a baby girl a few months back and she was using her nieces baby clothes from years before and every few weeks she sends me a bag of baby clothes. Babies grow out of there clothes so quickly my daughter doesn’t even get a change to wear them all. You just wash them and keep the styles you like. You can then go to good will and give away the styles you don’t like and save the receipt to get a tax break. I also received a pack and play, a crib and mattress, bottle warmer, a car seat, a swing, two bouncers, and baby toys. You always accept it! If it something that doesn’t work out for you then you can sell it locally using apps like Offer Up or to a consignment store an make some extra cash. Some of my friends ended up pregnant around the same time and I gave them my extras. My mom takes care of my baby from time to time and I set up her house with all he extras. She has a complete baby room and we didn’t pay a dime. You can wash the covers and cushions of most baby items. If you do receive a carseat just look up the serial and model number because they do often have recalls and expire about every 6 years. In my opinion the only thing I would get new is a mattress. Babies pee, puke and poop on them and it is important for your child to have a clean place to sleep so just check the condition of any mattress you receive.

Yard Sales

On the weekends use the early morning wake up to pee as an alarm clock and get up and hit all yard and garage sales. You can pick up most anything you need for your baby and spend just a few dollars. They start at 7am usually. Bring singles and always be ready to haggle after all no one is going to say no to a pregnant lady. I found my solid wood diaper changer for $20 and the family I had purchased it from they originally had bought it a yard sale. A brand new solid wood diaper changer can be up to $200! The diaper changer was in great condition just needed to be cleaned and have some of the paint touched up. You will also be walking around and being active which is great for your pregnancy. If you had your heart on something and they don’t want to budge on the price don’t worry take a chance and come back around noon which is usually when the sales end and they will be desperate to get rid of it. So check your local paper, craigslist, or just drive around and look out for signs.

Consignment Stores

These stores are great for both buying and selling your old baby items. They take items that are in good condition and clean them up make sure they are still within proper safety standards so you can feel good about these gently used items. You can also bring them your old baby stuff and they will buy it from you. Thrift stores are also great place to find low price baby items.

Coupons and Rewards

My local baby stores are Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby so I had two registries. For Babies R Us you get points for every purchase on your registry. Even purchases that you make. So basically anything I needed to get even if it was a dollar or two I added it to my registry and made sure it was purchased through there. A few weeks after your due date they send you a gift card based on the amount of points you accrued. My gift card was $77. I basically made money from purchases off my registry list. Buy Buy Baby is the same company as Bed Bath and Beyond. Everyone knows about those blue 20% off coupons that you get in the mail. Well you can use Bed Bath and Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby. I went to the Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath and Beyond website and signed up my parents, my boyfriend, and myself for text coupons so once a month we each get a 20% off. This is great for big purchases. From what I hear they accept the mailed coupons even if they expire but, I haven’t tried that yet.

Borrow a Breast Pump or Call your Insurance 

If you are planning to breast feed chances are you will need to pump at some point. A brand new pump on average is about $300. My sister in law lent me her breast pump. No it is not gross. The pump itself is just the motor but all the parts you buy new and they can range from $50-$70. Some insurances also send you a pump. So call your health insurance and see if you qualify.

Tax Deductible 

So many people do not know but if you breast feed it is tax deductible now. Make sure to keep any receipts that are breast feeding related. I will have more on exactly how this works once I do my taxes next year.

With these tools you can save and make money for your new baby. I would love to hear any ideas you all have out there please feel free to comment.

Unplanned pregnancy

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We have all had a scare or two at some point of our lives. When you are peeing on that stick you think about what will happen if you are pregnant. It’s like your whole future flashes before your eyes in those three minutes. I had just turned 26. My boyfriend and I have the same birthday, the Fourth of July, so we had a big bash. Why not? We were young and just wanted to get drunk and have a good time with our friends. The last thing we were thinking about was getting pregnant. My boyfriend and I moved very fast according to typical social standards. We went on our first date fell in love and we were inseparable after that. Two months later we moved in together. I’ve never been big on the whole waiting for things to happen. Our friends and family thought it was crazy but we didn’t care. Finally Labor Day weekend was here. I was looking forward to my friends bachelorette tip to Vegas. Just when I was about to board the plane I don’t know what it was but I felt pregnant. I just had a weird feeling but my friend and I just laughed it up and had some shots. I wasn’t due on my period until a few days from then. I wasn’t late so why worry. Plus Messie Jessie couldn’t miss the partying. Yes Messie Jessie is my nickname given to me in my college years and that is how Momma Messie came to be. We celebrated our friend getting married. I don’t recall sleeping too much on that trip. I didn’t feel any different body wise I just had this eery feeling in the back of my mind that I might be pregnant but, like all other scares I brushed it off and didn’t let it ruin my trip. On the last day I woke up puking but once again talked it up to excessive drinking and lack of sleep. We flew back on a red eye and got in at 7am. My boyfriend was not too thrilled to be picking us up so it was a long drive home. It was Labor day. The day my period was due. I wasn’t late but I had to know. I remembered I had an old pregnancy test lying around from one of my other scares so the minute we got into our apartment I grabbed it and went straight to the bathroom. This little stick I was peeing on was going to determine the rest of my life in the next three minutes. I was still a little buzzed from Vegas and just wanted to get this over with so I could go to sleep. I did the test and put it facing up on the bathroom counter. One line not pregnant, two lines pregnant. Results in three minutes right? Well I stared at the stick and not even a minute passed both lines came up. OH MY GOD I’M PREGNANT! All those other scares I never had a false positive or ever had it come up saying anything else but not pregnant but this time there were two line. TWO LINES! I could hear my boyfriend arguing with me in the other room about the Vegas trip and my drinking and I just walked up to him and told him to please stop that I needed to show him something. I immediately showed him the test and told him I was pregnant. I’m crying, still halfway drunk, my boyfriend was upset with me but all that didn’t matter because there were two lines and I was pregnant.  All he kept saying was no over and over again. My mind was racing and I just didn’t know what to do. A lot of people always say you are happy right away but the first feeling was fear. Can I have a baby now? Will I be a good mom? I’m not event married yet. Will he want to keep it? All these questions were going through my mind. I broke down on our bed with him and just crawled into a little ball and cried. At that moment I already made my decision. I was going to be a mother. I let Tito know as I had in the past that I would never personally get an abortion. He then just looked at me and he himself cried and we just fell asleep in each others arms. A few hours later we awoke and the test still had the two lines. Yep, this was really happening. This wasn’t a dream. I woke up much more relieved and happy about the shocking revelation that I was pregnant. I love my boyfriend and I already knew one day I would want to carry his children I just didn’t think it was going to be so soon. We spent the day eating junk food and reminiscing on how we had just met a few months earlier and now we were going to be parents. Life for ever changed at the moment but, I also knew I was going to be judged by every one.

So when is the best time to tell people that you are pregnant? Well it’s different for everyone. I can only speak from my own knowledge and experience. The day we found out my boyfriend told his sister mainly because she already had a kid and I needed to know what the next step was. We made a doctors appointment and it was a whole 10 days away. I did take two more tests and yes those two lines showed up again. I was super pregnant. I didn’t want anyone to know until the doctor confirmed it. I felt this overwhelming pressure. It was almost tangible but, I needed to know for sure if this was really happening before I involved my family and friends. I went for my first visit and he calculated by my last period and all the information that I was giving him that I was about 5 weeks pregnant. I asked my doctor when should I tell my family. He sat down still and looked me in the eye and said to not even tell my mother until I was 12 weeks along. It was too soon and so many things could happen. I was crushed. I thought in my mind that it was time to announce it to the world. I’m glad he told me this. I sat down and started to think of the thought of announcing it to world and then losing my baby and having to deal with my grief publicly. It was a horrible thought but you have to look at the situation for what it is. I todays world everyone feels as if you need to share everything right away but my boyfriend and I decided that we would only tell our parents and siblings because if anything were to happen they would be the ones going through it with us not the world. Our parents were happy for the most part but even in such a small group I could feel the judgement and the concern. One thing you should know about me is I hate advice and I hate when people tell me what to do. The worst thing at that time was I now had my mom driving me crazy asking me when she could tell everyone. I thought it was the most selfish thing ever. I wanted to tell people not her. I was giving them their first grandchild after all. Remember ladies and gents this is your news to tell. Don’t let anyone take that from you. If you want to wait then put your foot down and wait. I ended up having to threaten my mom but she got the point. When we look back now she understands why I wanted to wait. So when do you let your job know? Well it depends on what kind of job you have. If you have a strenuous job that may cause harm to your pregnancy then by all means tell them immediately but again I wanted to wait. I work with my boyfriend so it also made this news a little bit messier for us. I waited until my next doctors appointment which was around 8 weeks. We heard the heartbeat and for me it was so much more real. I let management know around that time but asked them to please not share my private news that I wanted to tell people on my own terms. There are about 200 employees where I work and the last thing I needed was to be the highlight of the gossip during such a delicate time for my baby and myself. I started wearing baggier clothes and if anyone asked my boyfriend and I would act insulted and tell them I was gaining weight. It was pretty funny. The first 12 weeks are make it or break it for your pregnancy. It is important that you are as stress free as possible. In my opinion that means being private with this sensitive information because once its out there you will be swamped with questions and unsolicited advice.

We were 12 weeks pregnant and little by little we started to let our friends and family know even some people at work. Before you know it people were giving me outrageous advice. Some people even had the audacity to tell me I should get an abortion. This broke my heart. I am pro choice but it’t not for me. I wouldn’t personally be able to get an abortion. Be ready to hear this from at least one person that doesn’t realize that this is your choice. Try not to punch them in the face when they say it. Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to tell someone to shut up. After all everyone is going to think you are hormonal and crazy anyways so take advantage of this.

I was 26, my boyfriend and I lived together already but too many people said we were doing it wrong. What is wrong and what is right? Everyone had their own definition. This affected me a lot but I learned to be harder from this. By the halfway point of my pregnancy everyone knew to keep to themselves if they had something negative to say. My baby had made me stronger already. You will cry and people will be mean so be prepared for this because just the same there will be people that tell you the most beautiful things. Most of the beautiful things were told to me by complete strangers.

Try to wait ladies. There is a lot of pressure in today’s society to share but the most important thing is to be happy and healthy those first first weeks.

Birth Story

On the morning of May 4th I woke up at 9am to use the restroom as usual since sleeping in late was a thing of the past with my little baby dancing on my bladder each night. When I was done I turned to flush and noticed my mucus plug had fallen out. I distinctly remember this part of the birth class my boyfriend and I attended and remembered we googled it right after to see pictures and be ready. I sat back down on the toilet and yelled to Tito,
“It’s happening!”.
He shot out of bed and asked me how I knew and I showed him my mucus plug. Tito was amazing throughout my pregnancy where most men would have stepped back or been grossed out he was always intrigued and wanting to be a part of each new moment no matter how gross it was. There was a full moon that night and I recall my grandma telling me I was going to give birth on the 9th full moon of my pregnancy some old Cuban wives tale but here it looked like she was going to be right again. We showered and checked off the baby bag check list. I put make up on and a comfortable dress. All the while I was feeling little cramps and thinking to myself this isn’t so bad. Tito called out of work we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. Once we arrived we checked in and I was still having what felt like bad period cramps but not in any specific sequence. I let the nurses know very eagerly that my mucus plug came out and I think I’m going into labor. One of the nurses asked if my water broke and I kindly responded no not yet and then she asked,
“Well why do you think you are in labor then?”. In a sarcastic way. I was so confused.
My doctor is an eccentric crazy man as I like to describe him. He’s probably in his 50’s, loud, Cuban , and is always telling jokes and running around driving his staff nuts. He told me during my last appointment once your mucus plug comes out go straight to the hospital so that is what I did but I was getting the sense I wasn’t supposed to be there just yet. I was 39 weeks and 1 day. Full term as most would say. They strapped me in the monitor gave me water checked for dilation and there was none. I did have tiny sporadic contractions but nothing that I couldn’t handle. They mostly felt like strong period cramps. They kept me there for another hour and did an ultra sound to check on fluids and the baby and all was good. The nurse said she was going to send me home that I was not in true labor but she wanted to check for dilation again. She went in and at that moment I felt pain. I had no clue they just went all up in there with their hands. It was so uncomfortable. I wasn’t dilated at all but I did feel liquid come out. I asked if my water broke and she said that it was just the lubricant she used. With that Tito and I got up and I was discharged to go home.
We were so excited but it turns out she wasn’t just quite ready. I went home and organized a few things and tried to relax. I didn’t tell anyone but my mom so I didn’t have to announce to the world my false alarm. Piece of advice try not to tell anyone until it’s really happening because when it did I had an army of family and friends waiting to see us.
At around midnight that night we finally got into bed. I had started feeling the same cramps again but since it wasn’t anything major I didn’t worry. That night I woke up almost every hour to use the bathroom and noticed some fluid coming out on my liner. The pains were a little more frequent and a tiny bit more intense but nothing more than a bad period. I wanted to let Tito sleep. Poor guy would wake up every time I got up throughout my entire pregnancy. Tito had to work at 8am Tuesday the 5th so I tried my best to keep quiet and just shook it off to a little pee on my liner. He woke up at 7am started to get ready when I told him I was leaking. This time I wasn’t sure if I had just peed myself a little. Which happens when you are huge and I was HUGE. He asked me if I was ok and that he would call out of work again. I didn’t want him to get in trouble so I insisted he go to work. Right at that moment the pains started intensely. Seems the baby didn’t want him to go anywhere. These cramps were stronger and sometimes shooting down my lower back. I tried to lie back down and go back to sleep but nope not with these pains. I didn’t want to make him nervous but I let him know I would call him if anything. He kissed me good bye and went off to work. Just a few minutes after him being there I started texting him every time I had a contraction. Yes a contraction. You know when you ask how do you know it’s a contraction well let me tell you there comes a point where you realize it’s a contraction and not some crampy pain and it hurts like hell. When people ask me what a contraction feels like the best way I can describe it is that feeling you get when you have a fart that is stuck but is still trying to come out and the worst period cramp ever all together, if those two had an evil baby that’s a contraction. They were all over the place. One at 8 minutes and the other at 5 then at 3. I called Tito and once again I told him it was happening but this time was for real. Tito came right back home and when he walked in I was doing yoga poses on our bed to calm the pain and relax. I wanted to stay home as long as I could because I didn’t want to just be lying there at the hospital again. I had to be sure. The tiny bit of clear liquid was still coming out on my liner and the pains were becoming more intense. I called my doctors office and let me know what was going on and the nurse said,
“You need to get to the hospital right away it sounds like that liquid is amniotic fluid!”.
I told Tito we had to go and once again I showered got ready and then he asked if I was going to do my make up and I told him no and that’s when he knew I was in a lot of pain because I didn’t care about anything but getting the car fast. At around 9:30am we drove there and I was moaning and groaning with pain. They checked me in again at the hospital laid me down and checked for dilation. I was 1cm dilated and the nurse told us she would get us a labor room ready. Tito looked so happy and scared but this was it. I was in pre labor. My contractions were more regular and a lot more intense. The nurse already had offered me the epidural since I was in a lot of pain but I wanted to stick it out as long as I could. The phone calls begun. We had to let our close family and friends know and of course my mother who was my other support person. Before they moved me to the labor room the nurse checked again for dilation and then I felt like I peed myself. Oh my gosh my water broke, and I was 2cm dilated! I was so happy and Tito as always was so intrigued he had to get up and look closely. I was so excited I was moved into my own private labor room and almost immediately the contractions became so much more intense and much longer. Each one was lasting about a minute and that happy moment I felt when my water had broke was slowly turning into major discomfort. Tito would coach me and make me laugh with each contraction and tell me that I got this. My mom and my stepdad finally arrived and came in. I had made them pink custom grandma and grandpa shirts since was their first grandchild. They put them on and then a contraction came. I could see in my mothers face she was freaking out. My mom can not really handle seeing her kids in pain. As kids she would even walk out when we got our shots. The nurse came in again to check for me and I was 2-3cm dilated. No clue what that meant because I assumed you were either one or the other. They offered me the epidural again but I wanted to wait a bit longer. I got this! My sister Cristy arrived and was all too excited asking a million questions and at that point I wasn’t a happy camper. My contractions were between 2-4 minutes and shooting down my back and my legs at times. Tito was playing the role of updating my father in New Jersey and his family and our friends but he was always close by. Every time I had a contraction my mom would call to him and beg him to comfort me because she just didn’t want to see me in pain. It was around 1pm when the nurse came in again and checked me but this time I felt as if she was jamming her fist inside of me and her fist was covered in knives that were then covered with acid. Yes it hurt that much. I screamed loudly in pain and had a contraction all at the same time. It was awful and then she told me I was 4cm dilated. She offered me the epidural again and by this point I had my mom explaining to me that I didn’t need to be in pain and maybe it was time to tap out and get an epidural. I was uncertain and then the next contraction came and went by surely the most intense one yet and as I screamed I asked for the epidural. The nurse let me know the anesthesiologist would be shortly. Everyone left the room they prepped me for my epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and he was wearing thick gold chains and pleasantly plump and was very chipper. He let me know this was going to hurt a bit but I didn’t expect it and I moved a little when he put the needle in. All I was thinking in my head was I’m going to be paralyzed now and my back was ruined. I tried so hard not to move while my contractions shot through my back. I had the nurse holding me, I was grabbing a pillow for dear life and the anesthesiologist telling me not to move. It was all too much with the pain but then suddenly I felt no pain. It was all gone and he told me I was done. He explained to me the little button hear my shoulder was some extra juice in case I needed it and the nurse helped me lie back and I was relaxed. Tito, my mom, my step dad, and my sister came back in and I was in a much better mood now but I couldn’t feel or move my legs which really bothered me. The contractions were still happening and the only reason I knew it was because the spikes on the monitor next to me because I felt nothing. I was all happy go lucky and talking it up with everyone the nurse came in examined me and I felt nothing. I was 4-5cm dilated at that point. I was thinking how awesome this was and why didn’t I do this sooner but at the same time I was proud I was at least able to make it this far with out any meds. Shortly after I noticed the nurse checking up on me a lot more then she was before and I also noticed the babies heart rate monitor didn’t sound as consistent and strong and before. I asked her if everything was ok and she said yes but the doctor would be in very soon. Then out of no where I started to feel queasy and had the urge to puke. Tito ran and got me a puke bag and I let loose. My mom just looked and me and kept asking the nurse why I was so pale and everyone started to worry. All I could hear was the babies heart rate slowing down and then speeding up again. The doctor came right in and let me know that he had been watching my monitors for some time and things were taking a turn for the worse. The babies head was already at the end of my cervix and I was only 5cm dilated. They couldn’t give me pitocin to jump start my labor because my blood pressure was too low and irregular. Each time my body was contracting I was squeezing the baby and causing her heart rate to be abnormal. Then the doctor told me what I had prayed so much I would never hear. I had to have a c-section. My immediate reaction was to burst into tears. Both the doctor and my mother consoled me. After all, he delivered my brother and sister so they were both working together to calm me down. I asked if the baby was ok and he told me she was but he feared if we waited longer that she might not be. I nodded yes and had to accept it. I broke down again and just began to tell Tito how sorry I was for not being able to deliver our baby normally. I felt like a failure. All the baby classes, the endless research, and the prenatal yoga felt like a waste. I was devastated. I knew I had to do this for Penelope. For her safety and even though she wasn’t even born yet I put myself second and only thought of her.
I kissed my mom, step dad, and sister goodbye. It was all very dramatic. I was terrified. I knew my mom had four c sections and all of us were fine but there is something about knowing you are about to be sliced open that is unnerving. They handed Tito a blue surgery suit and told him they would grab him once the room was prepped. I was rolled away and put into a white room full of shiny metal this and that. In my birth class the instructor told us that if we end up having to get a c section and get curious to look up at the light because the dome reflects back at you. Big mistake! I was staring at them rubbing orange liquid all over me and putting a blue curtain up. The epidural was in full swing I couldn’t feel anything at all from the waste down and I couldn’t move. I had a weird reaction and was uncontrollably shaking my arms and chest. They offered some more meds to help with that but I had just about had it with modern medicine at this point. There was a sweet nurse that came into the room. I had cried the entire time while they were prepping me but when I saw her and she started to console me I broke down. I knew I needed to be strong for her but I was so worried about her. She was more important than me shaking or being cut open. I just wanted Penelope to be ok. Tito still hadn’t been brought into the room and that was something else I was missing. My partner in all this. He was there from the moment of conception, to the baby classes, and coaching me during my contractions. I saw my doctor rush in and begin talking but I didn’t hear what he was saying. All I heard was the sound of small instruments crashing around and monitors beeping in the background. Tito finally gets brought into the room he looks at me and tells me that everything is going to be ok and somehow I believed him. Within seconds I hear,
“IT’S A GIRL!”.
Just like that Penelope Marie Iturria was born at 3:24pm on May 5th, 2015! We joked all through out the pregnancy that we wanted a Cinco de Mayo baby since both him and I were born on the Fourth of July and it really happened. We had a little Cinco de Mayo baby! The nurse had told him he could take pictures with his phone and he just looked like he had seen a ghost holding his phone up in shock with a smile smeared across his face. He finally looked down at me and told me she was here, but I didn’t hear anything from her. Then once again I was filled with worry until a few seconds later I heard her first cries. That was the most soothing sound I had heard all day. My babies first cries reassured me that she was ok behind this large blue curtain. It was as if the doctors were putting on a magic show behind that thing. Tito was so still and the nurse let him know he could go see her. I yelled at him to go to her. When he came back Penelope Marie was placed upon me wrapped like a little croquette. I was in shock. That came out of me?! She was by far the cutest little alien thing I had ever seen. Yes babies look like aliens when they are born but she was the most beautiful one ever! Her eyes were slightly open and Tito, Penelope, and I were all staring at each other. The sweet nurse was kind enough to interrupt and take some photos of us meeting for the first time. It was all over. I carried this beautiful creature for thirty nine weeks and two days but she was finally here. It was all worth it. Each contraction, the heartburn, the swollen feet, the endless bathroom trips, the unsolicited advice we endured, and I would do it again. Now a different journey began. Tito said it best. Let’s raise this baby!

Meeting Penelope Marie for the first time!
Meeting Penelope Marie for the first time!