Sunday, August 30, 2015

Parents, speak up!

I have had a really hard time these past few days trying to gather my thoughts and sentiments of what I've heard on the news. It's so difficult to watch something being said so blatantly with hate and rage toward a group of people. It's even more difficult for me to stay silent about it. I'm not a politician, nor do I pretend to know all of the intricacies of running a nation.

Monday, August 24, 2015

links & things!

I hope your weekend was awesome! Ours was pretty sleepless, womp womp. However, we were able to visit B at work, and it was so great to break-up the long weekend. I am very much looking forward to Wednesday when B has off, and we can spend some much needed time together!

I've got an exciting announcement today! I'm back on the old Facebook, and announced yesterday on my Facebook Page  (which I would love to connect with you there too!) that I will be a contributor on the Milwaukee Moms blog that is launching in less than a month! This is going to be an amazing resource for local moms. Not only will we have locally-based posts (as well as all things motherhood), but we'll be hosting lots of fun events for momma's, and littles! I cannot say enough how excited. and honored I am to be a part of the launching contributor group of mom's. This will not be affecting my blog over here! As I will still be blogging, and sharing through my other social media accounts. I hope you hop over to our Milwaukee Mom's Facebook page as well, and stay connected! 

From left to right

1. Those of you that follow my Instagram know that I had a really terrifying experience last week when Cristian choked on one of Gabriel's goldfish crackers. I shared this below their picture: 

" I'm literally shaking as I share this, because it was such a scary experience. I usually have the boys play in the living room while I peek in, and out to make dinner. Our place is an open-concept layout, and I can see them from our kitchen. Suddenly I look, and something seems wrong with Cristian, he looks like he's gasping for air! I run down, and grab him! He is choking on something, and I have no idea what. I start performing the heimlich maneuver for babies, and after a few blows he vomits, and out comes one of Gabriel's goldfish. I am currently running through things I could have done differently. But one thing I WOULD not change is knowing how to perform CPR and the heimlich! Two very simple things to learn as mothers, and it just saved my baby's life. I'm sharing as a reminder- if you don't already know these basic life saving techniques please look them up! There are YouTubes, charts, posts so many resources. I am so so thankful he is okay, safe and well!" 

So here are some resources for you momma's! 

2-3. I've been living in my Lily Jade baby bag! Each one of these designer baby bags have a removable insert that can be cleaned, and it has 20 pockets! It can also be changed into a satchel, shoulder, and backpack. Right now I love using it as a back-pack because it is so much easier to use while I baby-wear. I have never owned such a well-crafted handbag. I just love it! As a Lily Jade ambassador, I will be sharing a style post soon. In the meantime, I have a few already on my Instagram .

4. This Loft Girl jump suit is such a cute addition to my wardrobe, not to mention that it is nursing-friendly, and now on sale! So pretty much a win!

Wishing you a great rest of your week!

Friday, August 21, 2015

intern year update

I've been meaning to write an update on intern year for a while now. But as always in between being a stay-at-home momma for our two boys, and trying to balance everything else I haven't gotten around to doing it. I've been needing to finally sit down, and write this all out before I simply forget. This month we have felt what it's like to be in the craziness of intern year. And quite honestly by the sound of it, all of residency will be similar. It's hard to not write this out without sounding like a poor me but heck, I just wrote about how I need to stop saying it could be worse... so I'm owning this ish!

I don't understand the purpose of the ICU program scheduling 28-hour-shifts every five days. B told me the other day that he would rather (any day) do night float shift (13-14 hr) five days in a row, than be subjected to a fatiguing 28-hour-shift, that for him is always followed by a regular 14-hour-day. He only gets a day off every week. And that day is usually spent trying to rest up as much as he can, or scheduling something as a family while the days are still warm. Which means that as his other half, I'm also really stretched to the point of exhaustion. He's been clocking over 90 hours during the week, and it shows on both of us.

B and I often have conversations about why he chose this profession. And in all honesty we sometimes question ever doing it. Being a physician is hard work. The process of becoming a full- fledged, licensed, work-on-your-own physician is even harder. I get that this is the process of learning how to save lives, but it is grueling. B has had several people die this month in the ICU, and when he comes home to share those stories with me, there are always tears we share. The process of death, dying, and scheduling care will never be easy. And as I write this, I cry because I am so damn proud of him.

I'm looking forward to this rotation ending. And I get the feeling that once we get through this one we'll feel like the others will be a little bit easier to handle. I keep reminding myself that even though some days we aren't able to text until night time, or hear each other until the following day that our marriage and love grows stronger for each other because of it. I always send him pictures throughout the day, that end up piling up on his end. But when he is finally able to read them he always tells me they make his day. It's hard to appreciate the now without trying to wish away the days to hurry up. So I purposefully find those things that I am grateful for on a daily basis.

I am grateful for our health.
Grateful for being able to do the heimlich when Cristian choked on a goldfish cracker.
Grateful for our parents, on both sides.
Grateful for my sister who always makes me laugh.
For my best friend who is driving down to see me, and help out for a weekend.
Grateful for my strong Starbucks coffee.
Grateful for my loving husband, who kisses me every day before he leaves.
Grateful every damn day.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stop saying, "It could be worse!"

I've recently noticed my momma friends including myself use the phrase, "Well, it could be worse!"  a lot. This usually follows the story of our struggle, and something really crappy we're dealing with. "Sure my kid has been sick for the past month, but it could be worse." "Well, my husband has been working the past 9 days, clocking in 90 hours a week, and we haven't seen him in who knows how long, but it could be worse!" Or, "I've been puking my guts out for the first 5 months of pregnancy, and am only a shadow of what I used to be... but it could be worse!" 

Friday, August 14, 2015

the fair & update

I hope you've all had a great week! Ours has been pretty busy. B is in the thick of his toughest rotation yet in the ICU. He's working six days a week, and every five days he does a 28 hour shift. Their shifts in this rotation used to be called night float shifts where they are gone about 13 hours overnights. Now they're called the worst shift on earth. I'm only half kidding! However, they recently switched over to this system to evaluate certain outcomes. But I'll tell you right off the bat- it is certainly NOT a good change. But we're pushing through it all as a family, and making the best of the time we have together. I've also been documenting, and ranting on my Snap Chat (Mommy in Milwaukee) if you ever care to join hehe!

When Ben had off this week we had to go to the fair! It was exactly what we needed to have some fun, lots of food, and keep the tradition as a familia. 

I always get queasy looking at these things! I am sooo afraid of heights!

And Cristian literally slept the entire time in My Wild Bird sling ! I talk more about this sling and babywearing on my newest You Tube that you can check out here

And we ate...

And ate...

But one of the highlights was walking through the cream puff building, and seeing how they make these babies! Gabriel was in cream puff heaven.

I have to say that if you have little's like us the best time to go to the fair is in the morning! You avoid most crowds, everything is clean, and you get the light of day. Also, they will be so partied out they'll nap great for you in the afternoon.

Wishing you a great weekend, and I hope you get some time with familia!

Friday, August 07, 2015

our breastfeeding journey

These days our nursing relationship consists of Cristian trying to escape, and him looking around everywhere! It really is a mystery to me how he stays chunky, because he nurses even faster now, and in short bursts. Although I'm very happy that he is still able to nurse, and that I am able to feed him. I mentioned this on my Public Breastfeeding YouTube, but I really meant it when I said I am an unlikely breastfeeder. In fact, a lot of the women close to me did not nurse their littles. Which is all good, but when it came to asking someone close to me about the millions of questions regarding breastfeeding I was on my own. Looking back now I realize that it was very challenging.

 Both boys were born with a condition called, Coombs Positive. Simply put they do not have my same blood type. And my antibodies can attack their red blood cells. When this happens there are a lot of complications that can occur pre and post natal. Babies born Coombs positive tend to have very high bilirubin levels, and in order to avoid further complications like brain damage they are put under UV lights, and have multiple blood samples taken to make sure their numbers are going down. This was probably the hardest part for me to see my babies pricked, and not being able to hold Cristian who was under the UV lights right after birth. I could only take him out to nurse, and when they are born with this condition they want them to take in as much milk as possible to help flush the bilirubin out. 

Gabriel took to nursing like a fish to water! He was also a lot smaller than Cristian and was born a lot slower than his brother. Since I pushed Cristian out so quickly he had a lot of amniotic fluid in his tummy. That really interfered with his nursing, because it made him very uncomfortable. But because his bilirubin numbers were much higher than Gabriel's I was that much more determined to breastfeed him. It was challenging because when they are first born you're already tired, and they are so sleepy that you really need more than just a few minutes to nurse. And since I wasn't able to take him out from under the lights for a few minutes at a time it became a struggle. 

At one point, I questioned whether or not I should breastfeed him. I felt anxious, because I worried that he wasn't nursing enough. Add to that, I had the head of the lactation department ask me whether or not I was nursing him long enough because before we left the hospital his numbers were still high. When she asked me this I felt as if it were my fault that his numbers were still high. Of course, I was that much more worried! And it didn't help my anxiety levels either. Later I found out via my pediatrician that his numbers before we left weren't a major worry for her. Because bilirubin acts as a protective barrier for newborns, and breastfed babies actually have higher bilirubin levels as well. However, because there are always outliers most hospitals like to be proactive, and place them under the lights. 

Despite not being able to hold him, the amniotic suctioning, and my worries that he wasn't nursing enough we overcame those struggles! Thankfully, for both boys their being Coombs positive didn't affect them, and I was able to nurse Gabriel for 14 months, and I'm still going strong with Cristian at close to nine months. It's not always easy, and it can get very mundane, but I'm grateful for this nursing relationship we have, and am in no rush to have it end! For those of you still nursing your little's I wish you a long, and happy breastfeeding relationship. And that when you, or they choose to end it that the transition goes well for both of you. 

Happy World's Breastfeeding Week! 

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

bilingual baby tips

realized it's been quite a while since I've written a post about our bilingual parenting. Recently, we've been experiencing a few changes with Gabriel, and his Spanish speaking. He is bilingual now, and understands everything I share with him in Spanish. However, Gabriel has moments when he will only answer me in English, and or Spanglish. It is both crazy, and worrisome. However, whenever he does it I'm sure to ask him the question again (in Spanish) and then I ask him, "How do you say that in Spanish?" He'll then take a moment, and answer in Español. Of course, I looked up this phenomenon, and it is NOT uncommon. 

He is experiencing a huge surge in language, and I kid you not every day he shares a new sentence, and several words! He is surrounded by the English language, and is only exposed to Spanish with books, family, and our speaking it. I have had to continue to repeat my sentences, and be consistent with our Spanish. As you guys probably know by now, we have spoken Spanish to the boys since birth. It isn't a problem to remember to only speak Spanish to them, and it's more of second nature at this point. The problem with me is that whenever B comes home I start to speak in English to B a lot faster than in Spanish. I know it's because we end up talking about his day, and a lot of the technical/medical jargon is easier to chat about in English for both of us. Thankfully, B does remind me to speak in Spanish. But it's a work in progress!

For those of you on this bilingual journey- stay consistent. Keep repeating your words, and don't give up. We are giving our littles such a huge gift, and it'll all be worth it! 

Here are a few of our Spanish language books we've reading lately! I have a few Spanish books on the way that are about our Puerto Rican heritage and I can't wait to share them with the boys! 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

forever a mother

Ode to my stretch marks

I used to think you were unsightly, and hated to admit you were there. I tried so hard to hide you, and wish that deep down I didn't care. 

But I did because some where along the line I was told that you aren't normal. That now my body was damaged, and I had these scars to blame. 

And that was the message I held on to as my belly grew, and grew. 

I thought I'd never come to terms, because that hateful message continued. But today when I looked in the mirror, I forced myself to make peace.

Because I realized that these marks are what make me, me

I'll forever be a mother. 

So thank you stretch marks for reminding me what my body did to hold these two! That it stretched enough to help them grow, stay safe, and thrive within my womb.

~ Written while the boys napped