Tuesday, October 24, 2017

One Year, plus small life update.

Oh my goodness. Where has time gone? I thought I had blogged just a few weeks ago and - ta-da! I haven't blogged since February. It's October. What?

Anyways. I do check your blogs frequently, but I guess I forgot to check mine.

I can't believe that a whole year has gone by since my son was born! I really can't believe it. It's true when they say the days are long, but the years are short.

Ah, motherhood. It has taught me so much this past year. One thing I do want to share is that I am much, much happier and myself these days - see my last February post. I guess that is one of the reasons I didn't blog a lot. I needed to find myself as a new Mama and a wife (and all the other titles), but most importantly, as Gabby. I went through a lot of post-partum anxiety and it took me almost 10 months to feel like myself again. I'll spare you the details, but if you are going through something like this, talk to someone. Talk your significant other's ears out until you figure it out. Talk to Jesus. Talk to whoever.

Ok on to the fun pictures.

Here is Thomas - 1 year old Thomas.

He is doing so much these days. Getting into everything, and keeping me on my toes. I swear I've lost weight because of how active he is! Ha! He is almost walking, has eight teeth, says "Mama" and "Dada" and a lot of other baby words, and does a ton of "tricks" (What else do you call them?). One of my favorites is when I ask him where his nose is, and he points to my nose because he still doesn't know he has one, too. 

I am such a proud Mama bird. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the little update. I still plan to blog here! I plan on coming back soon with a lot more of Thomas (bear with me - new-ish Mama, here), and motherhood, and Jesus and a lot of life.

How are you?


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I am giving up being a bitter Mama.

“I am bitter, Father C.”, I told him. I was recently talking to my parish’s priest/pastor, and I told him how bitter I was. I had been in this sinful state for about a year – or more. This time, it was consuming me.

“What was that?”

“I am bitter. I am full of bitterness and I can’t get rid of it. I don’t want to be like this anymore.”

Thomas, strapped in his car seat nearby, looked at me happily. He thought his Mama was a happy Mama, not a bitter Mama.

This has been my reality over the past few months (year?). I think it all began to surface due to the ignorance displayed by my Facebook friends on their posts around the presidential race/election. Words were typed that I personally don’t stand for.

My mind raced for months. Forget it. Why try to change their mind? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, anyways. Should I maybe tell my story? Not all Mexicans are rapists. Not all Mexicans are illegals. I went to school legally and I am working legally, and I am not even an American citizen. Not all Caucasians are racists, though. My husband is White. He understands where I come from. Does he really, though? Why is she/he posting that about Blacks? Why is she/he posting that about Mexicans? She/he knows me personally and they know I am Mexican. Well, this is awkward. Whatever, I’ll give everyone the benefit of doubt. I’ll let them think what they want to think. When, exactly, does education trump ignorance?

Then, my son was born. This was the happiest moment of my life. I was happy. I am happy. We are far away from my family, though, and this brought even more resentment into my life. Bitterness was telling me that Thomas wouldn’t grow up knowing my culture. He wouldn’t grow up loving his maternal grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. He would reject speaking Spanish to me or any of my family because he would be ashamed. Thomas would refuse to tell his friends he was half Mexican and that his Mama was a full Mexican.

Soon, the “baby blues” (anxiety, not depression) took over my thoughts, my words, my actions towards my husband, my family, my friends, even work.

“And what is bitterness accomplishing for you?”, Father C asked.

“Nothing. The worst, or best, part is, no one knows this. People don’t even know I am bitter. I am being a total hypocrite.”

This Lent, with the help of God, I want to give up bitterness. Not chocolate, not soda, not time on my phone. I’ve been better nowadays, but I want to get rid of this sin for good. I want to be a better Wife and Mama, not a bitter Wife and Mama.

Let no one caught in sin remain, inside the lie of inward shame, we fix our eyes upon the cross, and run to Him who showed great love.

And bled for us. Freely You've bled for us.

How can I pray for you? I am taking these 40 days until Easter (not counting Sundays) to pray and try to comprehend some more what Jesus paid for me, for us. Feel free to send me an email. Would you pray for me? 

In Christ,

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A birth story - Part 3 (Delivery)

Here is Part 1 and Part 2

As I had told you before, I felt intense, and I mean intense urges to push. The doctors had given me the green light and everyone gathered around my bed.

I'll be honest. For me, pushing and the actual delivery had nothing on the intense contractions I was experiencing - even with an epidural (keep reading, I'll tell you why later)!

I pushed for about forty - fifty minutes when we noticed that the baby's heart rate was going from the 140's to the 60's. His heart rate fluctuated between 60 to 120. Meanwhile, my blood pressure shot up (more than the normal), when all day it had been very, very low. The nurse thought that maybe I was developing pre-eclampsia during delivery. I needed to get him out. Now. 

At this point, I was in a mental zone that is very difficult to describe. Everyone in the room sort of disappeared and it was just me and my baby. I remember looking at the ceiling, a very blurry ceiling, and yelling (in Spanish), "Lord, I need you to come right now and help me, I can't do this by myself!".

"10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...Push! Look, look at your baby being born!", everyone (or so) yelled, "Look at him, one more push!". And out he came. 

Thomas Gabriel. Born on his due date, just an hour after I started pushing.

He was born a bluish-purple color, not breathing, and limp. No sound. The doctor placed him on my chest, while Greg cut the cord. I remember feeling in shock. I didn't know what to do or say, but touch him. My mom told me that after about 5 seconds, the nurse grabbed him from my chest, exclaiming that we had a very sick baby. The nurse took him to the warmer (in my room) where the special care nursery nurses worked on him. Greg and my sister ran to his side, while my mom stayed with me. 

Greg told me the nurses placed a suction catheter down his mouth/nose (because of the meconium in my amniotic fluid) and suctioned whatever might have been down his breathing tube. Thomas still wasn't breathing after that, his heart rate was still in the 60's. I remember yelling across the room, "What is happening? Why haven't I heard him cry?" The nurse placed a CPAP machine on him for respiratory support. The CPAP machine basically forced air into his lungs and kept them inflated. Immediately, Thomas opened his eyes and began crying. Everyone, including the nurses, cheered. Two minutes passed from delivery until he cried.

As if that wasn't enough trauma, I still had two complications. Sparing you a lot of details, a very small part of my placenta retained inside the uterus, and I had a second-degree tear (look it up if you are brave, it's scary), contributing to high blood loss. The nurse quickly injected me with a medication to stop the bleeding.

Also, when the nurse tried to pull my epidural catheter out, she discovered it was "stuck" inside me. She called another nurse, who tried to pull it out unsuccessfully. She then called the charge nurse, and she couldn't do it, either. They called the anesthesiologist, who placed me in every position you can imagine, and couldn't pull it either. After a few tries (and a lot of pain!), he was finally able to get it out. Lo and behold, the catheter knotted itself inside me. How? We shall never know. This might have contributed to the epidural not working properly and why I could feel the intensity of every single contraction. The doctor asked me if he could keep my catheter to show his colleagues - in the thirty years he had been there, this had never happened!

After a few hours at the Labor and Delivery unit, a very tired mama, dad and baby were transferred to the Post-partum unit. We stayed there two days before we were discharged home.

Well, there you have it. Two and a half months later, here we are. Thomas is a happy and healthy boy. I praise God that He guided me to the right hospital. I am thankful that He guided my doctors and nurses to make the right and quick decisions. I felt very close to Him that night. I can't describe it, but in the midst of everything, my soul and mind were calm. I can only say that I felt the Holy Spirit very present within me. My Father orchestrated everything. 

One more thing...because I had to conclude my tree pictures...

Thank you so much for reading and thank you to all who prayed for me, Greg and Thomas. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!


Monday, November 14, 2016

A birth story - Part 2

Hey there! Ok so let's continue. Please read Part 1 first if you haven't! Thank you so much for reading.

October 11, 2016

I had been feeling great all day long. I continued to have no signs or symptoms of labor for most of the day. At around 1:30 PM, while Greg was getting ready to go to work, I began to feel a slight contraction, like a menstrual cramp. However, I dismissed it. A few minutes later, I felt another one, but assured myself that they were just false contractions.

Greg had to leave to work at that time, and I assured him that the “contractions” were false. However, I reminded him to have his cellphone on him at all times (his work does not allow employees to have a cellphone on themselves, but they had previously allowed him to do this). He left, and I went about my day, still feeling these false, now slightly painful, contractions.

At 3 PM, I felt a really painful one. I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, I would be having a baby that day.  The more painful contractions continued, but I figured I still had time. We (Dad, Mom, Grandmother and I) decided to head to my sister’s house and then go on a walk around the park. The contractions kept getting worse! This had to be it. However, I didn’t go to the hospital at that time because the contractions weren’t so consistent or lasting for a long time.

After a few hours of being at my sister’s home, we came back to my house. I took a bath to ease the pain, but it didn’t seem to go away. The contractions were getting stronger to the point where I began to cry and were now a minute apart, lasting around 20-30 seconds. My water had not broken at this point. My mom advised me to call the “baby line” nurse and see what the nurse thought I should do.

The nurse told me to go ahead and head to the hospital’s labor and delivery triage for a quick assessment, as she did not want the baby to be in distress because of my minute apart contractions. I called Greg at this time and arranged to meet up at the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 11 PM. You should've seen my Dad driving and me trying to give him directions in between contractions - quite hilarious now. The doctor in house told me that I was only 2 cm dilated and 100% effaced! Two centimeters! To be admitted to this particular hospital, I had to be 3 cm. She advised me to go walk around the hospital and come back in an hour. This hour was probably the longest hour of my life! The pain was too much…or so I thought. A little after midnight, I went back into triage and the doctor now told me I was at 3 cm, baby was head down and that my contractions were, in fact, real. Real labor! What?! I was admitted at this time.

October 12, 2016 - Estimated due date!

I did not sleep at all throughout the night. Labor continued. The nurses began an IV on me (after three tries - I was so dehydrated, nervous or something) and began to push IV fluids. I also received IV pain medications at this time, which only masked the pain for a few minutes. Cat naps where also in progress – but no real sleep.

At round 6 AM, after 16 hours of labor, the nurse checked my cervix, and lo and behold, I was still at 3 cm! At this point, I asked for an epidural. The contractions were getting stronger and stronger, but they were ineffective, as my cervix didn’t dilate at. all.

Well, the epidural was heaven – for a few hours. I tried to sleep, but I was very uncomfortable. Also, at this point, every doctor, nurse, student and their mother was in and out of my room every few minutes. My family and Greg were also there for most of the day. FYI when you get an epidural, you are not allowed to eat, stand up, and you get a Foley catheter placed. Yeah, not fun for this pregnant mamma that wanted to eat and move around.

At 11 AM, my contractions were spacing out and were becoming less strong, according to the monitor I was placed on – as it sometimes happens when you get an epidural.  Also, I was still at 3 cm. It had already been 12 hours and I was still the same! My water had not broken yet. My blood pressure began to "tank". I remember seeing the monitor and exclaiming that the blood pressure I was seeing was normal for one of my little patients, but not for me. The doctors and nurses agreed to infuse Pitocin to regulate the contractions and make them stronger. The nurse gave me a rapid fluid bolus (to increase my blood pressures) and then started to slowly infuse Pitocin until I had received the almost maximum dose…

To no avail. Hours later, I was still at the same point. However, I could now feel every. single. contraction, despite the epidural! The baby and I were fine, but labor was not progressing.

Everyone was tired. Greg, my family and I hadn’t slept most of the night or day, and my doctors and nurses were a little frustrated at this point. They said we might have to talk later about the C word if the baby happened to be in distress. No thanks.

At around 6 PM I asked the doctor if she could please, please break my water. She skeptically agreed. I understood why they didn’t want to break it too soon, at 3 cm, (due to infection risk) but it was the only not so invasive option. When she did, we discovered there was meconium in the waters. My baby had pooped inside me! The nurse quickly called the special care nursery to prepare for this, just in case the baby aspirated meconium into his lungs.

8 PM came and the nurse checked my cervix again. I was now at 7 cm! Ah! Everyone began to get more nervous and excited. Thankfully, breaking the waters had worked to progress labor. One hour later, I began to feel the intense need to bear down and push. The nurse did not want me to push until I was at 10 cm, so she checked again. I was at 9 ½ - ish and she could feel his head coming. Not quite 9 cm, but not quite 10 cm. But, I couldn’t hold it anymore. I had to push.

The nurse quickly gathered everything for delivery and called the team in. At 9:30 PM the doctors checked my cervix and gave me the green light to start pushing.

And so, delivery began.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." Jeremiah 1:5

Part 3, last part, I promise, coming soon!