Eliana, Roma, and . . .

10389066_10153102532011796_4458570761496398914_nI love choosing names almost as much as I love telling people how we chose the name. I told my husband that I think I jinxed us into having all girls because every time we get pregnant and start discussing names I immediately fall in love with a girls name. And I’m always a bit meh on our boy choices. They never really excite me.

So we named our first daughter Eliana Reese and our second daughter Roma Eve. Oddly enough, when I wrote Eliana’s backstory on how we named her I guess I couldn’t remember (after just having her) how we found her name. Now that I look back maybe I was too embarrassed to admit it, but I can distinctly remember googling names of Latin supermodels. Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s not sentimental or emotional or related to our traveling journeys, but it worked. And I still love it.

With baby #3 I felt stumped. Roma’s name would be hard to beat. It’s meaning and just the uniqueness of it was pretty spectacular. I couldn’t drop the ball and name this child anything. It had to fit with her siblings names, end in an “a”, and yet somehow carry it’s own sense of significance.

When we first discussed girl names we were considering Isla (eye-lah), Ophelia, Estella, Olivia, and Cora. We ruled out Cora and Olivia based on popularity (we don’t really like doing names in the top 100). But we both loved Liv as a nickname. And Olivia is popular for a reason: it’s gorgeous! Cora blew up from Downton Abbey and it’s spelling was too similar to Roma. Same thing with Ophelia. We couldn’t have a Ro and an O in the house. That’s just maddening. Estella we considered for a long time (also a family name). But, once again, we were contending with the ever popular nickname Stella (which many use as a first name) and also the similarity in spelling to Eliana. Too many E, L, A’s to consider. It just wouldn’t work for us. So we went back to Isla.

The problem with Isla was the language confusion. In Scottish it’s pronounced eye-lah and in Spanish it actually translates as island and is pronounced eees-lah. We liked the Scottish pronunciation most, but that just wasn’t going to fly in our Mexican-American household. And I didn’t want to change the spelling. It looks pretty as Isla. We eventually considered naming her Isla in Spanish and her nickname would be Izzy. But then we felt like we opened up a Spanish dictionary and just pointed. “Hey, kid. We named you Island because why not!”

Anyhow, this led me to google searching islands. No lie. And in the end we actually are naming her after an island that absolutely holds no significance to us. It’s just pretty. And that’s the awesomeness of being her mom. Or being a parent in general for that matter: we can name our kids whatever we want because they are our kids. Although, I will say I did research the meaning of the name and the history behind it and how to pronounce it in all possible languages and after that the husband and I were both 100% still in love.

Now that I’ve written a mini-novel all about two simple words. I’d like to introduce you to our third baby girl:

Lucia ReySo, yeah, we named her Lucia as in the Island of St. Lucia. Not to be confused with the Spanish form of the name Loo-see-uh or the Italian form of the name Loo-chee-uh. This is pronounced Loo-sha. It’s the English form of the name. Now we have a daughter with a Spanish name, an Italian name, and an English name. But, somehow, in all of that craziness it totally works.

Her middle name is a family name. We took it from my husband’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name. His maternal grandmother passed away at a very young age. When my mother in law was only 18 actually (and she was the oldest of four girls–women run in the family). And so his dad’s mother was very involved in my husband’s life as a child and although I never got to meet her a very revered woman. She had 15 children of which my father in law was the youngest and my husband her “baby’s” first baby. People talk about her with such love and admiration I couldn’t imagine not passing a part of her legacy onto my daughter. And I know she would’ve loved to meet all of her great granddaughters. When Eliana was born we counted her to be somewhere around the 47th grand-great grand baby. Lucia is now closer to #51 or #52. Pretty darn amazing.

In about 19 more weeks we will get to meet her.
Our little Lulu.
Life couldn’t be anymore spectacular. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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We haven’t failed

I’ve always written from a perspective of truth and naked honesty. I don’t try and sugar coat things or only present the side of our reality that looks like rainbows and unicorns. I hope this allows you to find my life relatable and to give you hope that whatever you’re going through you are never alone. Because really we never are even when we feel absolutely and positively abandoned.

We are two weeks away from finding out the gender of our third child and I feel the need to prepare you and us about what may or may not unfold. You see, we have two girls. Two human beings who are sunshine from head to toe, who make us smile even when they make us angry, and who we could never ever part with. They both intrinsically add an important element to the dynamics of our family and we wouldn’t change anything about them. Nothing. Even when they are at their worst we still want them.

My husband and I have spent countless hours mulling over the different possibilities and what it means if it’s a girl and what it means if it’s a boy. The emotional response to both and the constant nagging that we shouldn’t even be discussing this because we should just be happy we can have kids. And we should just want them to be healthy. And, yes, all of that is true. But, most people have preferences one way or another. And the honest truth is that yes, we are hopeful for a boy. My husband more so than me, but I’d be absolutely selfish to be praying that I wouldn’t want that for him. The possibility of raising a son and all of the joy that would entail. And I want it too. To see my husband in mini form and to see how our daughters respond to having a brother.

But, I feel the need to make something very clear. As much as we would love a son, having a girl doesn’t mean we have failed. Having a third girl will be no less joyous for us than the addition of our first son. And yet this heaviness remains between us that people will be sad for us. That having three girls isn’t something people would wish on another human being. I get jokes about buying tampons in bulk and surviving the teenagers years etc. And I laugh and I smile because I don’t want to make the truthful comments inside my heart that will offend them or make them feel awkward.

Our value isn’t found in our gender. Our value is found in simply being human–a creation of God. Which means that a family comprised of all sons or all daughters is not more or less valued than one who has both and vice versa.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  – Genesis 1:27

I don’t want to get into a war over gender or our different roles or equality or religion for that matter. I simply want you (our family and friends and loved ones across the world) to be onboard with us. To celebrate with us in the addition of this life. Regardless of the child’s gender, this life is wanted. This life is valued. And this life will be loved with every square inch of our hearts. Whether male or female this child will serve an important role in our family and the world.

Yes, we will experience a loss of sorts from not having a boy. My husband maybe more than me. And I accept those emotions. I think they are natural and a distinct part of being a human. It’s okay for us to want a boy. But it will not lessen our love or our happiness from our third daughter. If we didn’t want a third girl, guess what–we wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. It’s that simple.

So, my question to you is this…
Will you celebrate with us?
Will you partake in the joy of this life regardless of their gender?
Will you accept that we haven’t failed if we get three girls?

Because we are. We are ready to celebrate. We are ready to partake in the joy of this life. And we adamantly profess that we haven’t failed. We’ve merely perfected the art of making girls.

Be joyful with us!

Free Birth Control

Readers beware! If you are looking at procreating anytime soon, this may not encourage you. So my suggestion is to avert your eyes, get knocked up and then come back when you are well into your third trimester.

This Life

“Melissa, sweetie.” Says the nurse as she looks at me with a crease dividing her eyes. “We need you to turn over on your side. The baby’s heart beat is dropping and we have to remove the stress.”

My eyes glaze over. I hear her. I understand her. My body complies with the request as I summon the last resources of my strength and shift my naked flesh onto my left hip. Pain from the beginning of time pushes it’s way through my bones. It centers at the apex of my thighs as the pressure of God almighty pours out of me.

“You’re doing great honey. Stay focused. Almost there.”

A large strong palm grips my tiny, pale hand. This reassurance is all it takes. I turn in his direction, lock eyes and the tiniest smile brushes the surface of his dark, flushed cheeks. The bright lights illuminate a salt infused drop of emotion that falls from the corner of his left eye. Time pauses. I follow its trail as it stumbles over the small beard that has developed. We’ve gone through three nurses already.

Continue reading “Free Birth Control”

Slow Down. Be Patient. Enjoy Life.

Recently I have been plagued with this overwhelming feeling that everything in life is too rushed. I often feel that the world around me (myself included) can be so consumed with tomorrow and what it will bring that we rarely ever stop and enjoy today. The funny thing is that tomorrow never comes. If you are always chasing the future, you will never enjoy your present and once the past is in the past your memories cannot be remade.

I understand that in life we have goals, aspirations, and things you must plan for in order to obtain, but do you allow all of those things to consume you? I imagine that it was the expeditiousness of my daughters first year of life that has me brooding like a 17th century philosopher. Instead of allowing myself to rush forward and accomplish the next thing on my Life To-Do List, I find myself… contemplating my next move with extreme patience, wisdom, dare I say a mild amount of hesitancy and a huge dose of awareness.

So far the life I had planned on having when I was growing up has pretty much been given to me on a silver platter. I realize now that this is something I have taken for granted. When I was in High School my dream was to go to San Diego for college & find a husband. I applied to SDSU, I was accepted and I attended. Met Hector that first weekend. Graduated after 4 years. Married Hector two weeks after graduation. Got my first “real job” two weeks after we were married. Planned to have kids after 4-5 years and our daughter was born almost exactly 4 and 1/2 years later. We own a condo, drive a nice car, rent a house in our “dream” location, live near some of our best friends, vacation as often as possible and for all intents and purposes are extremely smitten with our life. I truly want for nothing.

Yet I have realized that its all too easy to become complacent with the life you have. Even when its mind-blowingly amazing. I find myself all too often trying to keep up with The Joneses and its a completely pointless aspiration because lets be honest there will always be someone out there who has a life that seems to be bigger, better and more wonderful then yours. And your life can be snatched from you in a matter of seconds. Mere seconds and without your approval.

So I find myself refusing to acquiesce to this “ideal” of life. Continue reading “Slow Down. Be Patient. Enjoy Life.”

Thank You for Pushing

Many many years ago I found myself one Sunday morning sitting in the nursery at the Rock Church with a bunch of precious little newborns. I was serving that morning and I happened to meet a new mom who wanted to stick around for the first 20 minutes to see how her son would do. It was his first time in the nursery and her son was probably 3 or 4 weeks old I can’t exactly remember, but what I do remember is seeing the most beautiful, intricately designed and breathtaking ring ever. It was situated on the ring finger of her right hand so I had assumed it was an anniversary gift of some sort. I proceeded to ask her about it and she nonchalantly explained to me it was her Push Present. Insert awkward pause. I just sat there staring at her thinking I didn’t hear her correctly and when I realized she was gonna say nothing more on the subject I continued the conversation with a quizzical look and a slight tilt of my head. I think she was vaguely aware of my ignorance on the subject and when the silence got weird she finally clarified her previous statement with, “The ring is my push present. My husband gave it to me for pushing out this little guy”. Light bulb on! I returned the news with a bright smile and finally an understanding expression. I finally got it. I asked her if I could see it and she politely handed it over for me to get a closer look. It was truly love at first sight.

I think if Hector knew this conversation would have unfolded that morning he would’ve somehow tried to persuade me from going to church. But lucky me he isn’t clairvoyant and my Sunday morning proceeded as any other regular Sunday morning except on this day I learned about Push Presents. At the time I wasn’t even remotely close to desiring a child and yet this little tid bit of educational news on the wonders of becoming a new parent enticed me. Instead of doing something stupid like getting knocked up just so I could get a pretty ring I decided to file the memory away for future use 🙂 And let me just say that for the next 5 years I made sure Hector was randomly educated on the concept of a Push Present because you just never know when that knowledge of such a thing would come in handy. And boy did it come in handy.

Now my dear New Momma from above defined a Push Present as a gift she received from pushing her son out, but for those of you who would prefer a more specific definition here is what the wonderful Wikipedia has to say about the subject:

A push present (also known as a “push gift” or “baby bauble”) is a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room.

Now, I personally find nothing insulting or wrong about wanting to bestow a beautiful gift to a new mother after enduring 9 months of pregnancy, who knows how many hours of labor and the obvious proceedings that one occurs from pushing a 26 cm head out of a 10 cm hole (and to all my friends out there who had to undergo c-sections you get an even better present for having to be cut open, just because you didn’t push didn’t mean it wasn’t hard!) But apparently, there is actually a lot of scrutiny over the idea of “Push Presents”. Some women think they are ridiculous and that its just another means of turning something beautiful such as the miracle of childbirth into something consumer driven and focused on material things. Now I can totally see where this perspective comes from, but I think you could also argue the same thing with almost any holiday or special occasion in life that involves presents. So that’s my 2 cents on that.

To be honest I had never thought about getting a gift for pushing out a child, that is until I saw that ring on that New Momma’s hand. I am pretty sure the dozens of generations before me never heard of such a concept, but lets be honest a lot has changed since the 1900’s and if Push Presents is one of them I am not complaining. But don’t get me wrong here. I am not some materialistic snob that thinks she is entitled to have anything and everything. However, if my husband feels the need to spoil me I will gladly accept.

Needless to say 6 1/2 months ago when I was at UCSD undergoing the most intense experience of my life the term Push Present was brought up by my husband. Eliana was 15 seconds old and laying on my chest and I was lying in a bed that looked more befitting to a crime scene then what I envisioned when I saw myself welcoming my child into the world. My husband was staring at me like he actually witnessed a murder instead of a birth as well so that was lovely. But after his initial shock his expression turned to wonderment and awe. He tilted his nose to my cheek and kissed me. Then in the softest voice ever in his attempt to not disturb the new life that lay on my chest even though she was a wailing, bloody, wet mess he whispered “You can have whatever you want for a push present, I’ll give you anything.”

I just turned and giggled. I was seriously experiencing the greatest natural high of my life and was letting it rush over me like a wave of joy. Oh the pure relief of having her out was honestly the only gift I wanted at that moment and I had found it. Truly there was nothing more that I wanted, but as we all know time passes, the days fade and life goes on. It’s not to say that after the high wore off that I felt I needed something more then her because let me tell you her smile is enough to keep me happy for all eternity. But for me though a push present was more of a need to commemorate that day and her birth into something special.

Since my first acknowledgment of a push present was in the form of a ring I think that idea just stuck with me. I don’t wear bracelets or necklaces really and even though I love earrings you really won’t see a day go by where I don’t have my pearl studs on. So naturally it made sense to want a ring if I ever planned on wearing the darn thing. Hector had casually asked me here and there what I was sort of thinking of when I thought of my push present and I simply told him this… I would love an heirloom piece of jewelry that I could pass on down to Eliana. Something that represents her and is timeless and classic. Not something that is disposable or will get tossed to the side as the years pass by. Something that I could wear and think of her and the day she was born.

I did a little research on her birthstone and was happy to realize that she was born in a month that represented a stone that I loved. Citrine comes in such beautiful colors, all differing shades of the sun. It was fitting on so many levels that I knew I wanted her stone to be a part of it. The rest was really up to him. I gave him a few recommendations on things I liked and disliked because he really wanted me to love it. In the end I realized I couldn’t have picked out something more beautiful and perfect if I had done it myself.

We went out to dinner a couple weeks ago and that’s when he bestowed upon me something that I love and treasure just as much as my wedding ring. Something that I will keep for the rest of my life and hopefully one day pass down to Eliana. A ring that represents all of the beauty that a new life brings. I couldn’t be more grateful and feel more loved by how much Hector appreciates me in my new role as wife and mother. Life is good.

So what do you think?

Doing the Jig

Do you ever stumble upon something you just find so hilarious that you can’t stop laughing and you end up minorly peeing your pants? Well that’s how I feel about this photo of Eliana. Not only is this NOT posed, but it just happens to be St. Patrick’s Day and she looks like she is dancing the Irish Jig and seems to be about as happy as the Leprechaun on a box of Lucky Charms.

So should I high hopes that Eliana might do the River Dance one day? 🙂

Postpartum and 2 months

So its been 2+ months since Eliana was born and I can officially say that I am already excited to be pregnant again some day. Not anytime soon, but within the next few years. The first few weeks were definitely an adjustment, but by week 4 I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on things. And now I am loving it 🙂

So I thought since I gave updates about how the pregnancy was going I would give an update about how the post-pregnancy was going 🙂

When I was admitted for Eliana’s delivery I weighed about 175lbs. I was teetering on the 50lb mark as far as weight gain goes. Eeeek. When you hear that your suppose to gain between 25 and 35 I was a little worried that I was gonna be permanently huge even after she came out. However, it was somewhat comforting to know that she was on the large end as far as babies go and apparently I had a placenta that was double the average size (about 4lbs). So I lost 15lbs in just the delivery alone when you consider fluid loss as well. So that put me at 160. Still pretty scary considering I am only 5’6”.

Within the first 2 weeks I lost another 15lbs. I am not sure if other women experienced this but I was a sweat machine. Especially at night when I slept. I seriously felt like I had to take 10 showers a day. It was gross. I would wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I definitely don’t miss that. However at the 2 week mark I sort of hit a plateau and stopped losing weight. So I was at 145 and I stayed there for about 3 more weeks. I was a little bummed that I still had 20lbs on me that didn’t seem to want to leave. Especially when some women only gain 20lbs during their entire pregnancy.

Needless to say I attempted at putting my old jeans on 5 weeks postpartum. Not a good idea. Those suckers wouldn’t even budge over my hips (which might I mention had widened to about the size of the Titanic). I honestly felt there was no way they would ever go back to normal. I had a good 5 inches between the button on my jeans and the button hole. It seemed an impossible request that the button would ever meet that hole again. Pretty depressing.

So I decided to toss those suckers at the bottom of my drawer and forget about them. My maternity jeans still fit me and I figured I would just sport those for the next year or decade if need be. So life carried on and I continued to breastfeed and decided to not concern myself with the scale or my old jeans. Life was good.

It wasn’t until maybe a few days ago when my sister and Hector both complained that I looked ridiculous in my maternity jeans that I decided to try on my old jeans. First I stepped on the scale out of curiosity and sure enough I had dropped 10 more pounds!! I was looking at 135lbs and I was ecstatic. I still had doubts that the jeans would fit considering my hips still looked freakishly wide. But to my surprise (albeit with a little manhandling and special maneuvering) my jeans fit!! I did have to do some lunges and squats to loosen them up a bit, but hey I got them buttoned without having to deal with a muffin top. Success at last.

At this point I don’t really care/want to lose any more weight any time soon. I know I need to keep on some weight to continue breastfeeding and that over the next few months it will probably go away as I start to exercise again and get back into a healthy routine. So word to the wise Breastfeeding is amazing!! And not everyone fits into the 25-35lb weight gain range. My body gained exactly what it needed to (apparently exactly what it needed to created a 9lb 3oz mammoth baby). As long as your not overeating and chowing down on sweets each day I would say trust your body, it knows what its doing.

Now onto the more delicate issue my “downstairs” situation. To be honest the first 3 weeks after delivering her weren’t that bad. However I think my nerve endings started to come back around week 4 and then let’s just say things got uncomfortable. I ended up going in for a minor procedure to fix my situation and then I finally started feeling better. Having to deal with a 4th degree tear is not fun. I might even go as far as to say that the postpartum healing was way worse then my 33 hours of labor. Either way I am glad both are over. Because I can officially say I feel “almost” normal again. I am not sure if things will ever be the same down there, but considering what a vaginal birth can do to you I think that’s to be expected.

So for now things are amazing and I have nothing to complain about 🙂 Except however for the lack of one small 3 letter word in my life. We still haven’t tried that yet. I was thinking a good solution would be Valentine’s Day, a giant bottle of wine and lots of glide from my good friend Astro. I mean if we ever want to have child #2 its eventually gonna have to happen. Right?

Wish me luck.

When life gives you lemons…

Eliana’s Birth Story: Part II Life in the NICU

My friend April would probably ask for a knife, cut the lemon in half and start licking or sucking it. Especially if it was a Meyer’s lemon because those are her favorite. However, as the saying goes

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

I don’t think anyone gets pregnant and then anticipates there to be complications after delivering. Especially when you happened to be blessed with the easiest pregnancy ever. So when the nurse decided to tell us that Eliana was having difficulties breathing and that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen into her lungs we weren’t really prepared to have them wheel her away to the NICU. Most definitely not after barely meeting her and spending all of 3 hours with her.

But oddly enough as much as I was scared and worried about how bad her breathing “difficulties” really were I had peace. They took her at about 10:30pm to run tests and x-ray her chest. We were able to see her around midnight. I think this is where it finally hit me. We walked into the NICU and saw dozens of babies all preemies and all roughly under 2 lbs. Then we turn the corner and see our daughter weighing in at 9 lbs 2 oz. If I thought she looked big before she officially looked ginormous. Just across from her were a set of twins whose combined weight was under 3 lbs. All I could think was MY DAUGHTER doesn’t belong here. She is a full term, hefty and healthy baby. But then we see her in the little NICU bed surrounded by an air tent and hooked up to monitors and an iv and with a heating lamp over her and we both sort of lost it.

As a new mother I wanted to keep my cool and not lose it in front of dozens of other parents whose children were literally fighting for their lives. However Hector, as a first time Dad who felt it was his right to protect his daughter and make sure she was safe and secure, just started weeping. Then my heart broke. We couldn’t touch her or hold her or do anything to let her know we were there and that she was safe and that all would be okay. I tried to be the super positive one telling Hector that this was a minor hiccup and that everything would be fine (not really knowing whether or not it would be). At this point I just had to trust in God. I mean He was the one who brought her into this world and if I was going to get peace and understanding from anyone it would be Him.

It was at this point that I realized how hard it must be to lose a child. Eliana was no where near dying, but obviously when you don’t know what’s going on you think the worst and then it just seems to eat away at your brain. I literally couldn’t fathom what I would do if I lost her. I mean we only knew her for a few hours, but seriously all the time and effort it takes to create a child is no simple task. I couldn’t help but feel that the last 10 months would all be in vain if they couldn’t make her better.

At midnight that night they started her on antibiotics just “in case” she had an infection. The x-ray showed cloudy fluid filled lungs and they had anticipated pneumonia. But no one really knew so besides the antibiotics all we could do is wait. We left her in the NICU and headed back to my room to get some sleep. Or shall I say try and get some sleep.

The next morning was better and worse. We obviously didn’t call our family at midnight to tell them she had been admitted, so we had to let everyone know they couldn’t come and visit. The NICU rule was one visitor at a time with one parent at all times. This doesn’t really make for an easy visit when you have dozens of family and friends who want to see her. Especially when your not allowed to hold her or touch her. And of course your family hears NICU and they automatically freak out and want to be there immediately. It was not how I anticipated her first few days. She spent the remainder of Sunday in the air tent and was hooked up to an iv. I was pumping in order to be able to breastfeed her once she was off the air tent. At 10pm that night we went back to the NICU and her tent was gone. The Dr. felt she was improving greatly and even invited me back at 11pm to feed her. It was a huge blessing to be able to hold her and touch her and especially feed her. And boy was she hungry : )

The following day we had a minor setback when they wanted to put in a PIC line through her umbilical cord. If she was going to be on antibiotics for the week they thought it was best to put in a central line instead of a local iv because those close easily in infants and have to continuously be re-done which means tons of poking. When they did this they apparently went to far and tickled her heart twice which made her heart skyrocket to 250bpm. One of these episodes happened when Hector was there visiting her and he was asked to leave as a slew of doctors try to lower her heart rate. Not Cool. He came back to the room freaking out because now they thought she had a heart problem. Even though later they determined it was just because of the central line. Grrrr. I know Dr.’s aren’t perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but if there is one complaint I have about the UCSD NICU its the inconsistency of medical reporting/opinions from Dr’s on different shifts. SOOOO FRUSTRATING.

Another example of this frustration was them giving us false hope. The nurse decided to tell us on Tuesday that she was doing so well and had such a comeback that they thought we might be able to take her home on Wednesday afternoon. We both almost peed our pants. Home before Thanksgiving!!! Even though they told us on Sunday that under NO circumstances would she be leaving before the following Sunday. She continued to do well throughout Tuesday and when we came back Wednesday morning to listen to the Dr’s reports they decided to deny her discharge. We were pissed.

Not to mention they were so certain of her early discharge that they removed her central line and started going through discharge paperwork with us. When they told us no we asked why and they said she had 2 episodes of desat’s Tuesday night. A desat is where her oxygen saturation falls below a certain level. (sorry if my medical terms or spelling are totally incorrect). So they now were going to keep her until Sunday afternoon NO MATTER WHAT. I just rolled my eyes and gave the Dr. a mean look. We were both upset. She was completely healthy and doing just fine. She had no reason to be there and we felt that if they weren’t 100% sure about discharging her early then they shouldn’t have told us and on top of that they shouldn’t have removed her central line because Hector had to hold her for 45 minutes why they poked her over a half dozen times trying to get another port in for her meds. Which SHOULDN’T have been needed if they would’ve kept her central line in, but they DIDN’T because they felt that strongly about her going home. UGHHHH!!!!!!

Anyhow we eventually got over it and decided to just deal with the situation. However each day that went by we got more and more pissed that she was still in the NICU. She continued to have desats the remainder of her stay, but apparently they were just incorrect readings from the monitor. Which makes us think that those 2 random ones on Tuesday night were also just incorrect readings from the monitor because she never actually had a legitimate desat ever again. GRRRRRR

Well on Friday we started to get anxious and antsy and just plain pissed that we were being told different things from different Dr.’s and after we started analyzing everything that they were telling us we realized that they had miscalculated the doses of her meds. From day 1 they said she needed 7 days of med treatment. She got her first round on midnight Saturday night which meant that her last round would be administered Friday at midnight NOT Saturday at midnight. When we discussed this with the Dr.’s Friday they just look dumbfounded and she counted 7 nights of treatment in front of me ending Saturday at midnight. I then proceeded to count on my fingers in front of her Saturday Midnight 1, Sunday Midnight 2, Monday Midnight 3, Tuesday Midnight 4, Wednesday Midnight 5, Thursday Midnight 6 and Friday Midnight 7. She proceeded to say they would double check that with her charts. UGHHHH Hector and I were both at our wits end and we just wanted her home.

Needless to say she came home Saturday at 10am! Haha we won. It may seem that we fought and bickered over 1 day which doesn’t seem like a lot, but that was one day less we had to travel back and forth 5x in a day to see her and feed her. And one day less that a healthy baby had to pay $$ to be in a NICU where she didn’t belong.

Anyhow that was a super long story and sadly it reflects poorly on our experience with the NICU. However I must say that we LOVED every single nurse who took care of Eliana during her time in the NICU. They were utterly fantastic and the 4th floor NICU was like a Ritz Carlton. We had our own private little room and I know she received the best care ever. My only complaint is that the Dr’s would get their acts together and discuss things in a clear and concise matter. Because regardless of their individual opinions they all need to implement the same plan of care and not give the parents the run around.

So even though her first week was spent in the hospital she came home a healthy and happy baby. Hector and I don’t believe she ever needed to be in the NICU, but the situation is what it is. We now know as parents that we need to speak up and make a stink about things if we don’t like whats going on or we are even the slightest bit confused about the situation. You live and you learn 🙂

A baby story

So here we are 14 days into being parents. And now I finally understand why everyone kept telling me to get more sleep… you live and you learn 🙂

Anyhow let me get to the point of this post – Eliana’s Birth Story 🙂
For those of you who dislike the details of birth stories you probably won’t want to read this. I promise to spare any gruesome details, however I want to share as much of my experience as possible. Not to mention if I don’t write it down now chances are in a few more days I will forget how it all happened! So we start this long journey of how our dear Eliana came into the world on the morning of November 19th, 2010.

It was approximately 5am when I got up out of bed and started having my first contractions. The funny thing was that somehow I knew it was coming. The night before I was super emotional and had a heightened sensitivity toward everything around me. I canceled my initial plans to go out with a group of girls from my church because I felt like at any moment I might burst into tears. So instead I got ready for bed and called it a night. Which I am glad I did because I had no idea what the following 33 hours would have in store for me.

When I woke up at 5am, I didn’t tell Hector. I wanted to make sure that I was truly going into Labor so I went to the living room and started counting my contractions. **For all of my “still-pregnant” friends, there is this awesome contractions calculator on thebump.com. It seriously helps with keeping track of your contractions when your incoherent. So after an hour of consistent contractions I decided to go poke Hector and tell him that he might not be going into work. My contractions from the very beginning were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30-50 seconds. I had an appointment scheduled for that morning with my midwife to have my membranes stripped so I decided to go in as planned and have her check me and make sure all was okay.

In my opinion these pictures are evidence that I married one of the most amazing men on the planet

and waited 4.5 years to have kids with him

and could rest assured knowing that he would be by my side the entire 33 hours

 of the most exhaustive Labor ever. 
Our love has grown even more and it has opened the door of understanding 
as to how much God truly loves us.

I went in at 8:30am to see Rita and I was pretty bummed to find out that I was only 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced. I thought considering my contractions were relatively close that I was lucky enough to be progressing quickly. That morning when she asked me what my pain level was I told her a 7 on a scale of 10. Little did I know that I would retract that number and change it to a 3 after experiencing transition 27 hours later.

Hector and I went home from the appointment and I decided to chill on the couch while he went into work for a few hours to tie up some loose ends. I was feeling pretty good considering I was still very much in early labor. I called my parents to give them the heads up and even though I told them to take their time, the eager grandparents arrived at our house around 1:30pm. My sister showed up around 3:30pm and at this point our house was full. I was sitting on a yoga ball laboring in the living room while everyone else watched tv and to be honest the distraction of all the activity was rather nice. I was texting the entire time as well so that’s a major sign of me not being in hard labor.

He seriously never let go of my hand and never stopped encouraging me. 
 Hector cuts Eliana’s cord 🙂

Eliana meeting Dad for the first time. 

And then she poops on him for the first time as well!

Our little chunker getting weighed as…

Mommy gets put back together again. 

 My sister was there with me for the last 6 hours of Labor as well. She was incredible and although wanted to laugh at my reaction to contractions was an awesome support. Especially when I was getting stitched up.

My contractions continued to increase in strength, but were still about 2-3 minutes apart and a little less then a minute in length. At around 5:30pm (10 hours into laboring) we decided to head to the birthing center. My mom was getting nervous that I was progressing quickly and a part of me was anxious to see if I had progressed at all. The car ride wasn’t fun by any means, but it wasn’t unbearable. Once we arrived I was escorted into the triage room to be checked by the midwife and assessed to see if I could be admitted. Unfortunately I was only 2 cm dilated and 40% effaced (apparently I backtracked on that part). I was sooooo bummed. The midwife proceeded to strip my membranes in order to make my labor progress quicker. She then told me to walk the hallways for 2 hours and come back around 8pm to get checked again.

So lots and lots of pacing the hallways and enduring contractions that were progressively getting worse and finally the clock struck 8pm. I was checked again and it was good, but not great news. I was at 3cm and 80% effaced. Since I had progressed in that 2 hour time frame they decided to admit me and give me a room. A part of me was grateful and another part of me was thinking “How long is this going to take?! I am only at 3cm, I still have 7 more to go”. Needless to say it had been a long day and the night would be even longer.

Once we got settled in I basically was jumping around from rocking chair to yoga ball to regular chair and then back to rocking chair in an attempt to manage my contractions. They checked me again at midnight (4 hours later) and I was still 3cm and 90% effaced. At this point it took everything in me to not want to cry, but somehow I managed. Hector was extremely supportive and encouraging. He continuously reminded me that I was doing great and that I would get through this. About 3 hours later they checked me again and I had progressed to 4cm and 90% effaced still. I was somewhat happier, but I was honestly crossing my fingers for 7cm. Apparently that was wishful thinking.

Our first and last few moments with her before she was rolled away to the NICU

 This should be an encouragement to all women going natural – if I can look this happy just mere hours after delivering her it obviously isn’t that bad 🙂

The nurse and midwife could tell that I was getting exhausted. I couldn’t relax enough to sleep and I had been up for almost 24 hours. They offered me “therapeutic rest” via injection. Basically its like drinking a 6 pack of beer. Its an anti-nausea medicine that helped me relax enough to sleep. I don’t remember much about getting it except that I felt super tired. They said it might allow me to get about 3-4 hours of sleep so Hector and I laid down in my room and slept.  Unfortunately 1 hour later I was up again and sitting back in the rocking chair. I let Hector sleep since I knew he had to be pretty exhausted.

I didn’t get checked again until about 7am and I had progressed to 5cm. It was a battle of my mind to keep myself thinking positive thoughts. I really had to focus on the fact that at least I was still progressing and not stopping or regressing because that can happen as well. The time was really a blur and between walking the hallways and rocking in the chair it somehow managed to go by. It was at this point they decided to bind my belly with an elastic belly band. They felt that Eliana was balled up at the front of my belly instead of moving down into my birth canal. The band felt awesome. The pressure it put on my stomach relieved some of the tension from the contractions. And apparently they knew what they were doing. When they checked me at 10am I was 7cm!!!! Yahoo was all I could think. It wasn’t 10cm, but I had gone 2 cm in 3 hours instead of 1 cm in 10 hours. So things were finally starting to move along.

At this point they decided on 2 things 1.) they broke my water and 2.) they started filling up the tub so I could labor in there during transition. When they broke my water they did find a little of meconium in my fluid, but thankfully it wasn’t enough to have me moved down to Labor and Delivery. An hour later I was in the tub and experiencing what I now know to be “transition”. If I though the first 30 hours of labor was difficult, it was nothing compared to the last 3. From 11am to 1:45pm I labored in the tub and was checked every hour. I progressed from 7 to 8 to 9 to almost 10cm each hour. These 3 hours were the hardest thing I have ever experienced in life.  At this point my contractions were actually 3-4 minutes apart and lasting for about 1min 30 seconds. And all I can say is that I am so grateful for those 3-4 minute breaks. They were my saving grace.

A little bit before 2pm they had me get out of the tub to change positions and see if gravity would get me to the final full 10cm. Before I knew it I was lying on the bed and pushing. And boy did that feel good. Instead of trying to survive my contractions I was able to use them and work with them to get her out. I pushed for 27 minutes and she came into the world at exactly 2:22pm. Finally RELIEF!! My sister and my husband were there for the entire thing. They witnessed what they felt was the most amazing experience ever. When she came out she was put directly on my chest and I was just in a state of shock and awe. My sister and Hector were staring at me like they had seen a ghost. Apparently watching the actual birth is a whole lot different then being the one delivering.

At this point I felt like a million bucks. It was so nice to have her out. I was starving so my sister was feeding me cheez-its while Hector cut the cord and the midwife tried to finish things up “downstairs”. However she had to call in reinforcements because I tore pretty bad. The midwives can only do repairs on 2nd degree tears, but I had a 4th so the surgeons from downstairs had to come finish the job. After the midwife had spent an hour already trying to suture me up the Urogynecologists from Labor and Delivery were sent up and spent 2 more hours putting me back together. The worst part was that I had to leave Eliana. Hector stayed in the room with her and then I was taken to triage. I was super bummed. Not even an hour into this world I was already having to say goodbye. Not cool.

Thankfully my sister came with me. If I hadn’t just experienced 33 hours of labor I probably would’ve been terrified knowing that they were going to be suturing up my most sensitive parts for over 2 hours. But they did a great job numbing me with lidocaine so I didn’t feel too much going on down there. My nurse eventually came in to tell me that Eliana was a whopping 9lbs 2oz and 20 inches (later to be corrected at 22 inches). There was a definite sigh from all the other nurses and the 2 surgeons in the room and it was followed with “So that’s how you tore….”. I was shocked. My midwife estimated Eliana at 7 to 7 1/2 lbs, but apparently ultrasounds and even guessing fetal size with your hands is only correct 50% of the time. So really its totally unreliable.

Finally the 2 hours were over and I was sent back to my room where my wonderful husband and gorgeous baby girl were waiting for me. I was really just bummed that I missed them weigh and measure her, but I am glad I got fixed. Once I was back to the room I was feeling great and honestly just wanted to see my family and Hector’s family and share my feelings of excitement and joy. And my awesome sister in law had brought us In N Out for dinner and I was so ready to chow down.

Even though I felt like adopting during my last 3 hours of labor

I can see in these photos that she was worth every

 hour of pain, discomfort and exhaustion.

We had wonderful visits from family and friends for the next few hours and I can’t explain how happy and joyful I was. It was like I never even went through the previous 33 hours of labor. It was beautiful. And then God throws another curve ball into the mix and the joyous feeling is paused. At 10:00pm Eliana wasn’t breathing properly and the perinatologist from the NICU wheeled her downstairs for testing. So here I was for the 2nd time in her first day a part of this world, saying goodbye to my daughter. Hector and I didn’t even know how to respond. We just sort of sat and stared…

Eliana’s Birth Story Part II: Being in the NICU – To be continued

After 33 hours of Labor…

Born: 11/20/2010
Weighing: 9lbs 2 oz!! 
Length: 22 inches

Why we chose what we chose….

In case you haven’t realized people are really passionate about names. They either love a name or hate a name and they will go to great lengths to explain their likes or dislikes. Its for this very reason that Hector and I kept our mouths shut (for the most part) about our daughters name until she was born. We also wanted to meet her before making any concrete decisions in case we changed our minds. So because of this I wanted to name her something that came from us as parents and wasn’t influenced by our family and friends dislikes or likes. It’s really hard to keep a name when an Aunt, Grandmother or really close friend explains how much they HATE a name you have chosen as a possibility. However, most people will keep their mouths shut (at least to your face) if the child has already been born and the name announced. So please take note that if you don’t like this name I DON’T CARE and I DON’T want your negative opinion about it. Eliana is not your child and thus not your responsibility to name so deal with it. Also it’s not like I named her Egypt, Apple or Bon Qui Qui… I mean really it could be worse.

So this is how it all began…

We first fell in love with Eliana because of how it sounded and the fact that it is a Spanish name. I have no idea when or how we found it but we stumbled upon it and it was always the #1 name in the back of our heads. Other contenders were Liliana, Isla, Alexis and Eva, but none of them really captured us like Eliana did. After doing some research on what the name meant I was pretty much sold for several reasons.

First – In Hebrew Eliana means “God has answered me” or “God has answered my prayer”. I thought that was awesome. We definitely prayed that getting pregnant wouldn’t be hard and that we could have children abundantly, but you forget that God answers those prayers and its not just “luck”. Secondly – In Latin it is derived from the family name Aelianus meaning of the sun. This is a random association, but for those of you who don’t know, my sorority pledge name is Sunstone and my nickname has become Sunny. Thirdly – In Greek it is associated with meaning “daughter of the sun” and Lastly – in Arabic it means “the Bright”. Overall I loved every single meaning I could muster up on the internet. So I was happy I wasn’t naming her something that meant “a grassy knoll” or “black tar”.

Then we moved onto middle names. The middle name was the hardest to find, but the easiest to eventually decide on. I love unisex names and I also like names that aren’t necessarily on the top 100 list. So I had names like Riley, Quinn, Blake, Parker and Berlin on our “middle names” list. After throwing around Reese for a few days I found that I had really wanted a middle name with 1 syllable since her first and last have many.  This creates a name that is easy to say in comparison to one that is a “mouthful” and seems wordy. Her full name is 4 syllables, 1 syllable and 3 syllables. So it flows well. I know it may seem crazy to have so much thought put into a name, but seriously its not like she is a dog that I can name anything and it doesn’t really matter. Then lastly, I fell in love with the meaning of Reese as well. In English it means “Fiery/Ardent” and in Welsh it means “Enthusiastic”. I thought both would be fitting for her 🙂

So in the end we know that she probably won’t always be called “Eliana”, but we are more then open to all forms of nicknames including but not limited too – Elle, Ellie, Liana, Elia, or even calling her by her middle name Reese because I love it that much. I am sure my family will find several nicknames to call her that don’t even pertain to her real name. Example: My entire family (on my Dad’s side) calls me “Stubby”. I am not even sure if I have ever heard them call me Melissa. My Uncle even made up a song that incorporates my nickname into it. Personally, I love it 🙂 It shows they love me and makes me feel special. To me nicknames are meant to be a form of endearment and some of her “Auntie” and “Uncles” from the sorority and fraternity have already dubbed her “Cholula”. And truth be told if Uncle Cho wants to call her Cholula I am 100% in support of it.

So that is the story of how we came to name our first born daughter. I hope you enjoyed it 🙂