Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Baby Story...

For some odd reason I didn't consider writing out Roma's birth story. Since I was having a scheduled cesarean it didn't feel like there was much to tell other than I went in, they numbed me and then a few cuts and badda bing badda boom we had a BABY!! Thankfully I have awesome friends who remind me that no matter how a baby comes into this world, the story and adventure is still unique and wonderful.

The night before my c-section Hector and I told Eliana we were taking her out for a special farewell dinner. We had spent that whole weekend saying goodbye to our current family dynamic and opening up the door for the new one that was coming. It wasn't a sad celebration, but we wanted her to understand that it wasn't just going to be the three of us anymore. That another addition was coming and that she had big responsibilities ahead of her.

We ended up at BJ's because anything worth celebrating or saying farewell to deserves pizookie! (If you don't know what I'm talking about I am so so sorry). Oddly, I was calm and full of peace the whole night. We put her to bed knowing it would be our last time the concept of just the three of us existed. It was bittersweet. We read a story, said our prayers and then said goodnight.

The next morning I got up, showered, shaved my legs, straightened my hair, put on makeup and glitter lotion (yes, sparkly glitter lotion all over my belly) and headed to the hospital. I thought at some point I'd be wigging out. But as was my experience with natural labor during E's birth I had hit that focused, inner-calm-mentality. I was ready. I was going to do this. And I would stop thinking about the giant ass needle that would soon penetrate my spine.

We checked in, signed a billion papers and then kicked it for two hours. My sister showed up in just enough time to provide comic relief via music since my Dr. was thirty minutes late. Every minute that ticked by after my originally scheduled 11:30am appt was another minute I should've been closer to being done, but was unfortunately just sitting in a hospital gown waiting... and waiting... and waiting. The needle growing larger by the second.

Finally, when my Dr. showed I had to be ready. It was now or never. My anesthesiologist joked about running away... little did he know how much I actually wanted to.

As they wheeled me into the bright white operating room, with that wonderful fresh sterile scent all I could think about was the bug bite I found on my butt that morning and whether or not the anesthesiologist would be able to see it when I turned onto my side. I even considered putting cover up on it, but thought a dark creamy spot would look more awkward than a red irritated dot. Plus, I'm sure he had seen worse butts. Or hoping he had seen worse butts. The likelihood was high, right?

So there we were. A dozen bodies running about this bright white room with absolutely no concern that they would be cutting several layers deep into my abdomen and then pulling out a baby. I mean we went into the room as a team of 12 and would be exiting with one extra! They all seemed so calm, chill and routine. I wanted to scream. Make sure none of them had been drinking the night before. Ask my Dr. if she was sure she was prepared to do this.

And then I was in the fetal position, legs pulled up into my chest, wondering just how much this was all going to hurt. How awkward not feeling would feel. Would I be able to sense my breathing. Would I have an adverse reaction like vomiting all over myself or would I not respond to the medicine and feel everything. I racked my brain with questions as the anesthesiologist gave me a local and then told me the needle was in my back and I would feel the anesthesia immediately.

I couldn't stop picturing my spine with some six inch needle sticking out. And then I went numb. Not everywhere and not all at once, but like falling asleep on the couch with a cool breeze on a summer day. One minute you're awake, the next you're blinking slowly and then boom you're asleep.

They rolled me over onto my back and the entire room was moving quickly, but in slow motion. My movements felt exaggerated and heavy, but the dr's, nurses and assistants all buzzed around like bee's. At first I felt great, but then I felt numb. I did not like not feeling. It's not for me.

They called for my husband to join me and thirty seconds later were announcing that the baby was coming.

Baby? Huh? You've already cut me?!

I didn't feel a thing obviously, but at that moment I told my husband I didn't want anymore. I could feel pressure and tugging and yanking, but no pain. And yet I hated this non-feeling more than I hated feeling. It was weird and hard to process.

And then someone yelled baby. And my husband's looking over this blue curtain in order to yell out the sex and all I could do was blink slowly and tell myself it would all be over soon.

"Hey dad want to tell me what it is you see?" yelled one of the Dr's.
"GIRL! It's a girl!" he replied.

The anesthesiologist was rubbing my forehead, asking me how I felt. If I was okay etc. I just nodded. He asked me what her name was and all I did was cry. It's all I could do. I took in two deep breathes and tried to sound out her name, but no words would come to my lips. Only tears. Warm, wet, happy tears fell from the corners of my eyes as my husband looked down at me and said, "Her name is Roma. Roma Eve."

I smiled as he was whisked away to cut the cord and I was left numb on the table so they could stitch me back up. I couldn't see anything, but I heard her cries. Her big, loud, boisterous cries that screamed out, "Hey! Put me back in!!"

After a few moments her wailing subsided and my sister was brought in while my husband left with Roma to be weighed and measured. She held my hand and asked me if I was okay. I nodded again. I could feel them working on me more now. "We're almost done Melissa. Just a few more minutes." I blinked and looked at the bright lights in a haze.

Almost done. She's out. I'm being stitched up. Almost done.

My sister continued to rub my hand, asking me questions and watching as the surgeons did their work (she likes that stuff). She watched them stitch me back up after delivering Eliana, only it was in a more southerly location. It made sense to have her here for this.

And then I'm being switched back onto the bed they wheeled me in on and out the door. My sister placed her phone next to my head and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines rang out through the hallways. I smiled, my head started to bob and although I couldn't feel my toes I knew they were dancing.

I sang along to the music and thought to myself... I did it. I have staples in my belly and can't move my legs, but I did it!

I'm wheeled into the room and see my husband. We both smiled. A little wistful, a little lost. We got another girl. Another girl. What's that going to look like when they get boobs and periods and boys want to start coming over? He was holding her tightly wrapped little body against his chest and I witnessed this moment. It's the, "I don't know what we're going to do, but damn we made this?"

He handed her to me so I could do skin to skin and get her breastfeeding. She greeted me without difficulty and nuzzled my chest. The feeling was starting to come back in my legs now. Slowly, but surely. And along with it came this new feeling in my heart.

 You are mine and I love you. 
No matter what. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Roma. Roma? Roma!

Our second daughter Roma Eve Perea was born on Monday, July 15th, 2013 weighing in at 7lbs 6oz and 19in long. Just a wee little one in comparison to Eliana! And I'd like to make a statement to the random guy in the parking lot at Home Depot who yelled at me across several cars and said, "It's a Boy!"... well it looks like you were wrong.

And in the best way possible. Because Eliana is now blessed with the wonderful responsibility of having a little sister and this relationship couldn't thrill me more. I have an older sister--14 months older--so we are really close. Growing up we fought like cats and dogs, but five seconds later we were the best of friends. These days we rarely fight if at all. She's been my protector, my best friend, my teacher and a secondary mother. I wouldn't change or give up our relationship for anything. She's the best. And for that reason alone I had hoped for a girl this go around. Someone Eliana could confide in, learn from and be best friends with. I'm ecstatic to watch the two of them grow up. It's going to be awesome.

So back when we named our first born, we explained how important the process was for us and everything we considered when choosing. For our second born this was no different, but this name holds special meaning to us. It's a bit unconventional and might throw some people off from our usual focus of Spanish names, but we think it fits well next to Eliana and I'm stoked that we discovered it.

We basically named her after the capital of Italy which in Italian is Roma not Rome. I know random, but hear me out. Last summer my husband was gone for three long and tortuous months on work related business. We didn't get to see each other at all and Eliana and I basically spent three months eating off of the same plate, riding bikes and devouring more ice cream than I'd like to admit. It sounds fun in theory, but it was a tiresome and trying time for all three of us. More than I will ever admit. 

E missed her father and I missed my husband. I yearned for him daily and although we had been separated for work previously, adding in a kid changed the entire process. When he got back we had a huge trip planned out--three weeks vacationing in Europe starting and stopping in Rome without Eliana. To say the trip was epic would be an understatement. That trip changed us. It changed us in so many ways and I will be forever grateful for it.

So yeah we did two things outside of our ordinary process: 1.) We used an Italian name not a Spanish name (although the languages are very similar) 2.) We chose a city with no real meaning other than we were changed by the beginning and end of our adventures there.

Roma. Roma. Roma.

When you get three weeks alone with your spouse to spend reconnecting, talking, discovering, loving, laughing, dating, just BEING with one another after six years of marriage and three months of separation--trust me--it changes you. It also tested our abilities as parents to trust someone else with our one and only daughter for three weeks straight. She was in the wonderful and capable hands of my parents, but that doesn't make it any less painful. Not to mention Hector only got two days with her and then had to say goodbye for almost an entire month more. It wasn't ideal, but it was so so worth it. And I would do it all again.

Her middle name was a simple and easy choice. It's my middle name. I got it from my mom and it made sense to pass it down again. I didn't always love it growing up, but I love it now and I think it fits well with Roma.

So that's that. We now get to embark on the wonderful journey of raising two daughters. I'm sure our home will include more dolls, glitter and slumber parties than I ever imagined. And copious amounts of chocolate because what girl doesn't love chocolate?

Eliana Reese and Roma Eve. I just realized they have reverse initials.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Opinions Not Wanted

I've been mulling over a lot of things recently, the most obvious one being my ever growing belly. Every woman who has ever been pregnant or who is pregnant thinks about their delivery. How they will deliver, where they will deliver and the big giant question mark of when will that day come?

Since this is my second go around I'm not nearly as consumed with things as I was before, but I'm also not going the natural midwife route so it changes things. It changes lots of things.

The biggest change has been people's opinions and honestly their lack of support. Not that I had 100% support when I went natural because honestly people are life-sucking bastards and they apparently feel the need to educate you on their subjective reasoning no matter your personal circumstances. I distinctly remember someone downgrading what my experience would be because I was refusing drugs it went a little something like this... "Why go through all of that pain when it's so much easier with drugs. I think you'll regret doing it natural. It's not worth it."

And I am so done.


I am done with unsupportive opinions that do nothing but belittle me and make me feel horrible. So, I'd like to take a moment and educate the world around me on something...

Your opinion is NOT wanted. Period.

I've written many posts about what I went through during my labor and delivery of Eliana here, here, and some more thoughts here. If you've been reading along then you know how I feel about the entire concept of having a c-section. It's not my first choice and I'm aware of the risks and complications that could occur, but I'm also aware of the risks and complications that could occur by doing vaginal again and it's not worth it. On one hand I'm choosing the lesser of two evils. On the other hand I'm choosing the only real option I have unless I want to permanently live with this baby inside of me forever because I can guarantee you that if someone strapped me to a gurney and told me to bear down and push the baby out, my cervix would close up and my entire body would shut down. It's a mental impossibility for me. Could my body physically push out another baby, sure. Would my brain allow it, no.

Any sort of tearing isn't fun, even small ones can be extremely uncomfortable, but like any traumatic event you don't forget what happened. What you went through to survive. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions and responses to the healing process. It's all there, haunting me, taunting me and looming over me like a bad nightmare. I hated my child. I hated my baby for at least the first four weeks of her life. Do you know how ugly that feels? How horrific it is? I don't want that again. I can't go through it. Do you know how it feels to want to do something as simple as use the restroom and spend 8 hours accomplishing this task? Do you know how it feels to go 6 months without being intimate with your husband because it's too painful? Do you know how it feels to have your tissues cauterized down there because you didn't heal properly?

Oh, what did you say no? No, you don't know? Then do me and every other mom out there who is dealing with making an "alternative" decision based on something regarding labor and delivery a favor and shut your mouth. Please and thank you. You are not helping at all. Your narrow minded opinions based on some book you read or the one experience a friend of yours had that you will use as a blanket comparison to form a truth based on all things regarding my situation is NOT WANTED.

When two people are having a conversation there is a big difference between what someone is saying and what the other person is hearing.

When you say, "I think you should take your chances and do vaginal."
I hear, "Your choice is wrong. You are a failure."

When you say, "C-sections are so bad though. So many complications. Don't you want what's best for the baby?"
I hear, "You're a bad mother. You're a bad mother. You're a bad mother."

When you say, "What if the tearing isn't that bad the second time?"
I hear, "You are weak. You are a failure."

When you say, "Healing from c-sections are really difficult as well."
I think, "You haven't listened to a word I've said have you?"

So do me a favor and this includes all of you super opinionated people who like to give moms unsolicited/unsupportive advice about all things in life including how to parent them, how to feed them, how to make them sleep better, how to make their gas go away, and so forth:

We are all doing the best we can with what God has given us. Our circumstances are all different, but we are in the same boat -- Motherhood. So take a step back and look at your words. Are they being helpful or harmful? Do they build another mom up or tear her down? Do they give her hope or doom?

The best words a friend of mine told me (another mom) when I decided on this route was, "Good for you. You know your body and you know what you can and can't handle. You labored long enough with Eliana for all of your future children to get a piece of it. Just divide up the 33 hours amongst them and they will all get a portion of what you accomplished."

This is the stuff we need. Support and a good laugh. Life is already ugly enough as it is. Don't add to it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mourning Motherhood

I'm roughly five months away from giving birth to our second child and although that still seems very far away, I know that I will go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow and the day will be upon me.

That's how quickly time passes.

In lieu of this new addition, I recently told a group of my girlfriends that I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my first child and I mean that in the most figurative way. Life with E these past two years and three months has been emotional, overbearing, joyful, exquisite, challenging and rewarding. She was my first and we've learned so much together on this road of parent/child and I know that I'm about to rock her world and my own.

Doing things with her now at this age is easy. It's fun. It's manageable. But in July my focus will change, my responsibilities will be doubled and my freedom will be squelched, until I learn to adjust to a whole new life.

I know I can do it. I know it will be hard. I know it's what I want. It's just the acknowledgement of the change that is equal parts exciting and intimidating.

Eliana has become my best bud, my partner in crime, my eyes to a world that's 30 inches tall. She's the only reason worth waking up in the morning before 7am. Pancakes taste sweeter, butterflies are more enchanting, and reading is no longer a selfish pleasure. I look at her and I see half of me and half of her father. A product of love so wonderful that I can only imagine she will be a force to reckon with in the world and I don't hope, I know she will accomplish great things.

It's in her blood.

So I can't help, but feel a little saddened that this phase in life will be ending. Even though the future looks brighter than the past, this time with her, with me -- us --  has been so special. It's hard to believe she won't remember it, but I know I will.

I also know the best gift I could give her is a sibling. Someone to share secrets with, life with, joys and pitfalls. So when this phase of our life comes to a close, I will look back on all the times we had with just her and I and her papa and I will smile. I will cry. And I will think...

                                   This is how it all began, but it's not how it's suppose to end.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lightning Rods Needed

I think there has only been one time in my life in which I sat on my knees crying and begged God to understand why something in my life had happened. Case in point the unseen and unanticipated loss of my Aunt Tammy on her 50th birthday (which also happened to be Mother's Day). You know it's one of those situations where your entire family is gathered in a hospital and tears are falling and you feel Empty. Lost. Confused. Heartbroken. I count myself lucky that I have only experienced such a situation once in my life and I am nearing 28.

However, recently I feel like I have been hit with wave after wave of horribly unfortunate stories involving friends and family. Some are directly connected to people I know and others are just incidences I have happened to stumble upon whether through friends on Facebook or through church etc. And for whatever reason it just seems that life as a whole keeps getting uglier. Maybe society just has a sick masochistic side that seems to get more attention than deems necessary or maybe it's the truth and the world is getting uglier as a whole. Who knows for sure, because I don't.

My problem with it all is that I'm sitting here waiting. I'm waiting for it to strike my house. I know, I know, that's irrational and it's unpreventable, but guess what IT. HAPPENS. You know that question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Well, it's because good people don't really exist. Sure, there are people who do less evil than others, but let's be honest even Mother Theresa had her faults. I don't think you can actually "good behavior" your way out of bad things happening.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In the Year of 1492

Almost two years ago I wrote this post. It was at the time, a very lofty idea of mine and I honestly didn't think I would follow-up with it. Between now and then A LOT has changed.

Today I hit 12k on my first novel. Not a lot considering my end goal is 80-90k, but it's a start. I developed the idea for this story awhile ago, but didn't really allow it to consume me until recently. Honestly, my biggest hesitation in writing was my fear of rejection from publishers. I've read so many blog posts about how hard querying is and how you need to be ready for dozens and dozens of "No, were not interested" before you got that gold letter of acceptance. I just didn't think it was worth my time.

Well, about 9 months ago I stumbled upon the world of indie-publishing or self-publishing and its totally changed my life. Ninety percent of the books I read now are from authors who do not have a publishing contract. They basically woke up, wrote a book and uploaded it to amazon. That of course is a major understatement, but the point is that they did everything themselves. In a sense they are their own boss and truth be told, that appeals to me more than anything.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Kill them with Kindness

I've had a recent revelation about parenting and its completely changed my entire perspective on how I approach Eliana. It's funny because its so simple, and yet, the simplicity of it, is what has caused us to overlook it.

It's my opinion, that parents these days try too hard.

Please note the words MY and OPINION. I am not a parenting expert and being that I have only been on the job for roughly 17 months I still have a lot to learn, but I still have my opinions and we are all entitled to them. So, yes, I think parents try too hard. They are either trying too hard to TEACH them everything under the sun so they can show the world how they have created midget-Einstein-genius-freaks or they are trying too hard to please them in effort to keep them in a 24/7 blissed-out coma. Either way, I think their heart is in the right place and they mean well, but its not a style of parenting I personally want to adopt (although I am guilty of doing both).

My recent parental awareness, shall we say, came from one simple little word: kindness.
Which, you might be thinking hmmm how odd. Kindness? Yes, you heard me right, kindness. It's not something that I believe parents think about all too often when it comes to their kids. For the most part we try to spend our days loving them, disciplining them, providing for them and caring for them, but showing them kindness? For me at least, it wasn't really on my radar.

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