Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This was such a fun evening for us! What a difference a year makes! We were invited to my friend Angie's annual Halloween get together again this year and Elena really had fun. Elena was a butterfly and she loved her wings!

Getting ready to go

I'm ready!


With temperatures in the mid 70's lately, we've been enjoying trips to the park. Here's Elena getting dirty in the sand with Josiah and Dean. I think this is one of the few times she's really wanted to get in the sand. Perhaps she needed some boy influence.


We finally made it to the zoo. We were waiting for tolerable weather and we got gorgeous weather. I'm also glad we waited because Elena was the perfect age to go. We went to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, and we really enjoyed it. We felt it was very interactive, we didn't have to look hard for the animals in their exhibits and it was just the perfect size for a toddler and a pregnant woman.

Although, Elena loved this exhibit it made me much too uncomfortable to watch her so close to this carnivorous animal. The glass between them didn't convince me to feel otherwise. Was it my motherly instinct?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pio, pio, pio, pio (peep, peep, peep, peep)

I don't know how but sometime ago Elena developed a love for chicks or as she likes to call them--"pio,pio." Maybe it happened during her first year when we took her to the A&M Poultry farm where Omar works on his research experiments and where we showed Elena chicks for the first time. Since then however we haven't been back until now, but nevertheless Elena often talks about chicks. She asks that we draw chicks on her Magna Doodle, she asks to listen to the Latin lullaby "Los Pollitos Dicen...pio, pio, pio..." (When the little chicks say peep, peep, peep), and she brings me the book with the song in it so that I can sing it to her. The song is also on her new bilingual Leap Frog farm magnetic fridge toy, and she presses the button that plays different songs but she presses it like a fast foward button until it gets to that song and she begins to sing "pio, pio, pio." She also has a Peep stuffed animal--you know those Easter marshmallow candies--and of course she plays with it repeating "pio,pio,pio..."

So I figured we must embrace this obsession, and I anxiously waited until Omar gave me the news that he'd get new chicks at the farm again. He did and so we went to visit the chicks. Again, I don't know how her love for them started but when we got there she must have said pio, pio 500 times!! She adored them and hesitantly pet them when we held them for her. I know she is particularly fond of chicks because when we went to see roosters, hens and turkeys she wasn't too interested. On the way home, she was so sad that she cried: "wah, wah, pio, pio, wah wah..." So her wonderful Daddy decided to loan us 3 little chicks to keep at the house until of course they start turning into chickens. Here's some footage of Elena at the Poultry farm.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Baby Shower

Rachel, Melissa, Julia, Carie, Megan, Me

Learning to use a Moby Wrap

32 weeks pregnant

Last week my good friends hosted a baby shower to celebrate Baby G's arrival. I had a wonderful time! This shower compared to my last was different because we talked about some of the expected things about motherhood, and I even learned how to use a Moby Wrap (very practical!). Baby G received lots of gifts and I am now feeling closer to being ready for our new bundle of joy. Thank you ladies! I love you all!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dear Elena,

I began writing a journal to you as an infant and have continued to do so whenever I get those wonderful mom feelings. Now you're 23 months old and I can't believe you are no longer a baby. I try and convince myself that you must be a baby because you wear diapers, you cry, you need your mother. But then you communicate with me with words, give me hugs and kisses when I ask or don't, you point out all that you see and repeat the word of that object that has caught your attention until I respond. You jump (or at least your version of a jump), you dance, you spin, you run to be chased, you do these silly things and break out in laughter because you now have a sense of humor and so you I tell myself you must not be baby anymore.

Regardless of these conflicting emotions--wanting you to move up to the next phase but not wanting you to grow so that you stay young, I realize that this is what being a mother is all about. Loving you more each day as you show more and more of your personality is why motherhood is so great. I love to watch you learn to see what you love and don't. Right now you love cars you can ride in/on. We went to the park the other day and you just had to ride in someone else's wagon. You insisted and so they were nice enough to let you ride. You dislike bees--well, this artificial bee on an artificial flower. You refuse to get near it and touch it. You also don't like big floor fans or the hand dryers in bathrooms. In fact, when you are near them you react so frightened and unlike yourself. You still love books. On long car rides books can entertain you for at least an hour. I usually pack a bag with at least 10 books and you actually look through each of them slowly. You also love animals. For now seeing them on TV or in books is enjoying enough for you. I recently discovered google videos and I type in dolphin and a video with a dolphin comes out. You love these!! But I can't wait to take you to the zoo as I can already imagine how thrilled you'll be.

If I could describe your personality from the time you showed it, I would say you are vibrant, cheerful, laidback, gentle. You are such a happy and easy going toddler that I just can't imagine that your little brother or sister will give me this easy of a time. Surely I can't be that lucky. You do have your times though like when you kept us sleepless for 3 nights in a row determined to climb out of the crib and join us in our evening together or nonchalantly walking to join us in our bedroom. We tried the toddler bed but you ended up on the floor and didn't sleep well so in desperation we bought the crib tent which you now love. You're almost too intent on having a good time that if I ask you to do something and you don't want to you run away in laughter convinced that if you must be in trouble you might as well have a good time doing it. This is probably the hardest task for me because you don't cry or get upset if you are in trouble you take it well and move on. But like any parent I want you to know the difference between right and wrong.

My sweet Elena, you bring so much joy into our lives. Your easy going spirit reminds me to enjoy every minute of life and relax more. You have such a wonderful soul I can't wait to see you embrace this as you get older. Happy early 2nd Birthday my sweet baby girl!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

"Ring around the Roses"

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Another pregnancy post...

...I just can't help it, being pregnant makes pregnancy and everything about it on my mind 24/7. It's the last thing I think about before I go to sleep and the first thing on my mind as I awake. I went to visit my good friend Megan who just delivered a beautiful baby boy, Reed Joseph. She is the first of my playgroup mom friends to have a 2nd baby. I am next, so naturally I want to know everything about the 2nd time around. Megan looked so happy and radiant to be holding her newborn. Just seeing her this way reassured me of the end result. At times you believe you are going to be pregnant forever. And as I mentioned before, I also often feel fearful of what will happen this time. When you're pregnant for the first time you don't really know what to expect. Sure you read every pregnancy and childbirth book imaginable. You get all the advice from already veteran moms, but nothing really prepares you for everything that will happen to your body, your nights, your life. And so it's only natural to feel a little fearful about the 2nd time around because you know about those sleepless nights, the things that happen to your body that you only share with mothers, and the roller coaster of emotions you go through during such a short time. But as I saw Megan, I was reminded about this baby inside me that I will soon meet, and she reassured me that the 2nd time is better because you are more prepared of what will come even if things don't go as planned. So thanks Megan!!! I was so happy to meet Reed and visit with you. You resassured me that we can do this all over again. I only hope to look and feel as calm and serene as you did. Congratulations!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Elena's birth story

The closer I get to the delivery of this baby the more fretful I become of what labor will be like this time around. I am reminded that even though Elena's birth was quite complicated, in the end we were both healthy and were fine. This also reminded me that I had handwritten Elena's birth story soon after her birth and it reflected these positive thoughts and not only the sometimes negative aspects that are still clear in my mind and become more vivid as I approach another impending delivery. So I decided to read it again to remind me of this beautiful miracle of life and how my life is better and different now regardless of how Elena came into the world. So here it is typed and saved so it's not in that notebook paper it's been in for almost 2 years.

Elena’s birth story

It was the end of the school day Tuesday, November 15, 2005. The weight of the baby was becoming increasingly more difficult to carry. I noticed the previous weekend that I’d become more swollen than ever before. I decided to ask permission to miss the faculty meeting because I was feeling so bad and I knew that I should go directly home and put my feet up if I were going to make it to work the following day. I remember crying as I asked my principal this.

On Wednesday morning I noticed a rash and for the first time the swelling did not go down as it had usually done through the night. Even my face was swollen. I didn’t feel right; I felt much too uncomfortable for it to be normal. The truth was that I felt awful, and I could not possibly see how I would make it through one more month this way. This terrible feeling prompted me to make an unscheduled appointment to see Bari, my midwife. I left work early for the appointment intending to return to work.

After examining me, Bari suggested I cut down work hours but I wanted to make it until Thanksgiving break at least. So she instructed me to go straight home everyday and do nothing else but put my feet up as soon as I got home. I was on my way out the door when Bari noticed I was still uneasy. She asked if I felt the baby moving the same and I hesitated to respond so I was put on a fetal movement monitor. The movement did not look as she and the Doctor hoped it would so then an ultrasound was done. It was determined that the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby was very low and it would be necessary to perform an induction that day. I was shocked and upset, I began to cry. All these months I’d been preparing for a natural childbirth. I couldn’t believe what I was told, and I was not mentally prepared to have a baby that night. I was only 36 weeks!! I had a month to go and my baby would be premature.

Luckily I had packed my bags and the baby’s the previous weekend. My intention was to do it over Thanksgiving break but it was as if something told me to do it sooner. In addition the same feeling prompted me to write my lesson plans the previous week through December 12th my expected due date. I called Omar upset and let him know that I’d been ordered to check myself into the hospital immediately. I was not even allowed to go home. It was the strangest feeling to have arrived to the hospital alone with nothing for me or the baby and without contractions. When the nurse asked if I was ready to have this baby, I cried again. I was so afraid of delivering this early. Omar arrived later with everything.

As I lay on the hospital bed I feared the worst--a c-section, unsuccessful breastfeeding, no bonding time with the baby, etc. I was a mess of emotions as Omar tried to comfort me. That evening I was given a drug to thin my cervix. I was checked periodically for dilation through the night. I was still only 1cm dilated. I was then given pitocin the hormone that would begin labor. Then my water was broken. Sometime later the contractions began. They were so painful that I cried at every surge. Although Bari suggested I get the epidural because the unnatural start of labor through pitocin is more painful, I decided to wait it out until the Dr. examined how far I was dilated. I was afraid the epidural might stall the labor. The wait was excruciating. Finally, the doctor came and checked my cervix. I was 3cm dilated. At that point I decided to get the epidural. The pain of the contractions was so great that I could hardly remember the process of the epidural. I knew it was not instant relief but it came soon enough. I fell asleep from the relief and exhaustion of the pain. Barely 15 minutes later I began to feel contractions again. Each time they came stronger but I doubted that I was feeling them. Suddenly that excruciating pain was back and I found myself helpless in pain again. The anesthesiologist could not be found. When he came back he increased the dosage but to no avail!! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I had read about hot spots—places where the epidural doesn’t numb you but I was still surprised. The anesthesiologist decided to start the epidural all over again. The good thing about the 2nd administration was that I didn’t felt the injection since this part of my body was numb. After injecting me the 2nd time around the anesthesiologist asked if I could still feel the contractions. I remember saying yes and still crying from the pain, but I guess after a while it got better because the contractions were there but less intense and I managed to fall asleep. Suddenly Bari was there and told me I was 10cm dilated and I could begin pushing. I couldn’t believe this. The time had come and my baby would soon be out, but as I began pushing I felt no progress. The baby was not in position in the birth canal where it should be. She was up too high and all my pushing was to get her down to the cervix. I remember asking how much longer. My legs were tired, and I felt so exhausted and without energy. I had not eaten or drank anything for 24 hours. I was in so much pain. Dr. Appleton asked why I didn’t get the epidural and at that moment Bari told her how it had not worked. I felt it all and verbalized this often. Omar continued to coach me and Bari continued to reassure me that the end was near. I began to feel pain in my lower back (It took me almost 2 weeks to realize that at this point I’d broken my tailbone). I kept asking for ice but I was told to continue to push. All of sudden I saw Bari and Dr. Appleton get ready as if to prepare to deliver a baby. Yes, yes it was as if the entire time I didn’t quite believe I would deliver this baby. It was at that moment that a new strength came over me. I knew that if they were getting ready with gloves and all that it must be true. She’s there, my sweet baby must be there—her little head just waiting for that last push. Only it was actually several pushes and then there she was. Bari asked, “ Do you want to see your baby’s head? I looked and there below was a head full of hair turned sideways. I could already see that she resembled my mother’s mother. Bari told me to follow her lead in the last push but I couldn’t bare the pain any longer and the need to push was inevitable. When I did, it happened, the baby was out and I felt incredible relief, but more than relief I felt resolve that I’d conquered the most difficult thing in my entire life…that I had the strength to do something I didn’t know I could do. But, I didn’t hear the baby and they didn’t hand her to me. I asked if she was a boy or girl, and I learned she was a girl—Elena Isabel. Still no baby in my arms. I was so incredibly exhausted but I could hear them say, “wake up baby, wake up.” I asked if she was okay and it was at that moment that she was taken. I heard them say lets take her so mom is not worried and before I knew it she was gone. It didn’t make sense to be less worried without her but the exhaustion was just so great that I didn’t question it. I just thought it in my head. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want her either, but I was in such disarray over the turn of events. All I had seen of her was her sweet head as she was coming out of me.

I continued to ask for Elena that night but instead immediately following her birth, I was wheeled to get an X-ray of my heart. Apparently my preeclampsia became bad enough as I was about to deliver that they were concerned about congestive heart failure. Luckily, preeclampsia is cured by delivery of the baby. The x-ray and the sonogram of my heart the next morning confirmed that no further damage was done. Omar was allowed to go see Elena in PICU during my x-ray. Later that night, they finally brought her to me. I can’t remember much as I guess by that point the adrenaline was gone and I was feeling the full effect of all the medication, but I remember her bright eyes. The nurses had told me she was unalert and unresponsive and there was no point in nursing but I didn’t know otherwise and those wide wyes with their gaze told me she knew me and she knew my voice when I said hello. It was then that I finally cried with joy.

The next few days proved to be the most trying ever as I struggled to nurse Elena in PICU. She ended up with jaundice and by the 5th day in the hospital Omar and I had to go home without her. It was so hard to leave her there, but I was determined to continue nursing and for the next two days we drove back and forth for her every 3 hour feeding including the night ones. I had to mentally recover fast if I was going to be able to do this physically. Finally after 7 days in the hospital Elena was allowed to come home. It was so silly because I’d been officially released but they still made me follow the rule of not being allowed to leave without being wheeled out in the wheelchair. So after days of going back and forth they still wheeled us out in the wheelchair. I was so thankful to be taking our baby home but we still had some difficult days ahead because we had to rent a billirubin light since Elena’s jaundice levels were still not low enough.We had to take her to the hospital each day to get poked and checked for the levels to decrease. We were told she was to have this light on her under her clothes for 24 hours and it could only be removed for feedings. It was about a week and a half that I couldn’t hold Elena close to me without that annoying light thing between us, but I was just glad to be home as a family finally without nurses and others all around.

Although Elena’s birth came unexpectedly and with many unexpected trials along the way, we were blessed to bring our sweet baby girl into this world. Even through all our struggles in PICU I knew that I had to keep trying to do what I knew was right for Elena. I knew I loved Elena from the moment I felt her move inside me and not being able to see her as much a newborn should see her mother in the hours and days preceding the birth, made each visit with Elena in PICU so meaningful and memorable to me. With Omar’s help, Elena and I had peaceful nursing sessions that formed our strong bond. And in the end that is what made this birth experience worth it.