Thursday, November 19, 2009

New York Office Mom 24/7

Every mom dreads D-day…the day she returns to work and has to leave her little baby in the hands of a stranger (which means anyone other than mom). Most likely it’s the first day that mom has been apart from her baby for more than 2-3 hours…at least that’s how it was for me. I would long for a couple of hours to myself when I was on maternity leave – just a few hours – to run errands, do my nails, even make a quick stop at a nearby shopping center. Alone time was hard to come by, so when anyone offered to take care of the little guy for an hour or two, I accepted without hesitation. Little did I know that once I returned to work and had to be separated from him for almost 8 hours/day, I would wish I could get back those hours I willingly gave away.

As I began to countdown the days, hours, minutes to D-day, everyone would try and console me and tell me that it would get easier over time. I believed them…I mean, women experience this all the time – especially the working women of today compared to the women many moons ago – but what I didn’t realize was how hard those first days would be.

I remember that first day, it was a Friday - thank God for that! It was so hard not to look at the time. As soon as I got home, I ran to him and started balling. Of course he greeted me with the biggest smile and had no idea what was going on, and that mommy had left him for so many hours..but I couldn’t control myself. I wouldn’t let him go and held him so tight, that I had to check if he was still breathing at one point.

Fortunately, I was blessed with having the choice of leaving the little guy with a trusted family friend, who had raised two beautiful girls, lives close to home, speaks Spanish (very important for us) & has the gentlest of souls...Not every mom is as lucky as me though, and I cannot imagine what that must be like. It’s hard enough leaving him with family or a close friend, but having to leave your little one at a nursery or with a new sitter must be so difficult. You do what you have to do right…?...but it’s NOT easy, no matter what anyone tells you. What was REALLY important for me when returning to work, was peace of mind – it was the only possible way I’d be able to function without picking up the phone every hour or biting my nails until there was no more nail to chew.

It’s been about a month or so since I returned to work, and yes, it has gotten easier, but I still find myself feeling really guilty (that will never go away) & racing to get home to Lucas, bumping people on the street, subway and the bus. Note to all my fellow commuters out there, you don’t want to mess with a mom anxious to get home to her babies, especially during rush hour on NYC’s wonderful and well organized (sarcasm) MTA system… I’m just saying, there is no way that your reason for rushing is more important than mine. Don’t say I never warned you!

So now I get home and am greeted with the biggest of smiles and the happiest of baby noises…I can’t imagine coming home to anything better than this, even if my job begins all over again from 6-10 when yours ends after a 9-5 workday. It’s all worth it – regardless of whether I’m never able to watch TV in real time (thank you DVR for coming into existence), have a spontaneous night out with friends or catch up on much needed sleep.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What a new mom cannot live without!

The perfect opportunity to get your hands on those must have items for baby on the way is through your baby shower registry. When you're a new mom it's hard to guess which items you'll actually end up using, so I'm going to list a few of them that have saved me a number of times and have definitely come in handy:

1) Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing - My Little Lamb (when nothing calms your little one down, strap him in, it works wonders).

2) SwaddleMe's - I underestimated how useful these would's are used to being nestled in a mother's womb for around 40 weeks, so it's no surprise that when you put the little one in this cozy fleece bag, he's going to sleep more comfortably and in turn so will you.

3) Soothies (pacifier) - if you can get the hospital soothies they give to newborns, try to get some extras! Every baby loves this particular pacifier for some reason and prefers it over the rest. If your hospital doesn't give you any, Babies R Us and other retailers sell it, just look for the "Soothie" brand.

4) Infant Video Monitoring System - it's worth every penny for the piece of mind this product gives you, especially when it's time to move your little one to his crib and your bound to have many sleepless nights due to worry and anxiety.

5) Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother - there are many of these soothing products out there that play music and have colorful lights, but I loved this particular one.

6) I was really not impressed with the Evenflo Nestino Odyssey Travel System Stroller that my husband and I picked out. I'd recommend going with one of the jogging strollers even if you don't plan to jog,since the maneuverability makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Adjusting to fatherhood...

…and I thought I was busy back then with work and the fatigue brought about by the pregnancy! I was sure I’d have some free time to write a post a week, or every two weeks when the little man arrived. Gosh, being a mom is a FULL time job, and although we hear it all the time, one has to experience it to really understand the job of being a mom. SAHMs and WAHMs, kudos for keeping it together, sane and being successful at the 24/7 hour job we call motherhood!

I wanted to dedicate this post to all the dads (los padres) out there. I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time, and now that Lucas is watching Formula One with daddy, I have a few minutes to myself.

It’s hard at first to really understand how difficult it must be for the dads when a new little human being arrives. We have had about 40 weeks or so to bond with our babies in the womb, read up on the must dos/don’ts, clip helpful lists and converse with friends and family who gave us a ton of advice. Once the little person arrives, we are instantly in love, attached...most often our maternal instincts kick in and we know exactly what to do, even if we’ve never done it before.

While the journey is exciting in every way, this little person has a way of sucking the life out of you – so often we get moody, exhausted, name it. And who usually is the first to get the brunt of this whole new version of bitchy? Dad… Why don’t you wake up in the middle of the night? Why don’t you grow breasts and produce milk? Why don’t you figure out why baby is crying? You expect me to keep this house clean and watch after baby?...the bitchiness goes on and on.

Ladies, my advice to you is have PATIENCE with him! This is a whole new experience they’re going through; they’re afraid and unsure; feel a sense of abandonment since all your attention is on this new little person; feel a bit helpless since most new dads have never changed a diaper let alone held a newborn in their arms before; feel an enormous responsibility to work and create stability in the home now more than ever. We are so engulfed in our world of diapers that we often forget how challenging and difficult it is for the dad as well.

Now that the little man is over 2 months old, I learned a few things along the way that I now keep in mind before getting frustrated, which have also helped me avoid many arguments.

1) In the beginning there is very little he can do, so instead of resenting him or making him feel useless, I let him help me take care of other duties (cook, clean, ask for a foot massage, take care of the dog, etc.). These responsibilities will make him feel useful. Oh, and it was important to thank him for it as well.

2) It’s tough to run errands with a newborn, so when my husband came home from work, I would give him about an hour or two ALONE with baby to learn the ropes and take that little free time for yourself. This gave him a chance to get alone time with Lucas and helped him to figure things out when you’re not around. There is no better time for them to bond and for me to have some free time.

3) If he comes to you every time the baby cries and asks you “What’s wrong with him?”, be patient and give him a simple checklist. I learned this after a few frustrating sighs (1) is his diaper dirty? (2) is he hungry? (3) does he have a burp or gas? (4) is he sleepy? …and I repeated the same list as often as I needed to. He would ask it every time the baby cried for the first month or two, but eventually he worked out the process of elimination without asking me.

4) Don’t expect them to be emotionally attached to baby yet. It will take them some time – remember we have a 40 week advantage.

5) Lastly, and most importantly, if you ask him to help and be with baby while you’re tending to other things at home – don’t come back and check on him every second. Trust him to be able to handle it on his own, and let him make mistakes too. Believe me, I’ve seen what a habit it becomes if you are constantly looking over his shoulder. It also makes you more paranoid when you leave him alone

“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Got Breast Milk!

Lucas is now just over a month old, and while the first weeks have been really tough, it’s true that it does get easier as the weeks go on. My little guy is sleeping 4 hours straight, and last night slept for 5 hours without making a peep.

The one thing I kept hearing when I was pregnant and now as a new mom is that you will not get much sleep, but that you soon learn to adapt and function regardless. What they don’t tell you is how difficult breastfeeding is, how much time it consumes and how hard it is to avoid feeling guilty when you’re not producing enough …at least that’s how it is for me.

At the hospital, I was in so much pain after the delivery that I had the nurse’s supplement with formula at night, this way I could get my rest and recuperate faster and be able to devote all my time and energy to my newborn. Lucas would often fall asleep while breastfeeding, and there was no way to wake him up or know exactly how much milk he was getting. He definitely wasn’t getting enough, since he was up every hour or so crying for some more. It was then that I realized I wasn’t producing enough milk for his enormous appetite, so it was inevitable that I would have to continue to supplement with formula to ensure he was getting enough to eat. He had difficulty latching on and I couldn’t breastfeed without a nipple shield, which made the process even trickier since he doesn’t stay still while he’s eating. That’s when I realized that I had to pump as often as possible throughout the day (yup, that includes in remote places such as public I did last weekend waiting for the Fire Island ferry and I had nowhere else to PUMP…your boobs feel like they’re about to explode and you’ve got no time to wait/waste) to ensure he was getting as much of my milk as possible and that I would continue producing as much as my little engine could.

Never mind the soar nipple syndrome – that’s a subject for another time, but when you feel you’re nipples are under a burning flame and cannot take the pain any longer, there are always a few solutions that could help...Medela nipple shield and another great invention my husband discovered, Medela soar nipple soft shells saved me.What surprised me the most is how much patience you realize you have when you become a mom, and that no matter how little sleep and time you have to yourself, it doesn’t bother you one bit. BUT when you realize you’re newborn is sleeping at least 2-3 hours straight and you’re only getting 45 minutes of sleep, something has to be wrong. This is when I started to recap what a typical night looked like for me…I’d wake up, change his diaper, warm the bottle, feed him, burp him, put him back to sleep, wash the bottles and the pump accessories, pump for 20 minutes and then store the pumped milk in the fridge before going back to sleep. This process took me about an hour to an hour and a half, and that’s if Lucas wouldn’t wake up again in the process. CRAZY…at this rate I was sure I’d go insane or give up breastfeeding before his first month. I didn’t want that, so I found a few solutions that made my life a bit easier…I put my multitasking skills to work. If you’re pumping, I definitely recommend the Medela pump wipes – they come in handy and save you a few extra washes (approximately 15 extra minutes of sleep). I’ve also mastered the bottle balancing act and can feed Lucas his bottle while pumping (approximately 20 extra minutes of sleep). If I was able to drive stick, drink a coffee and talk on the phone all at the same time, this was a piece of cake. Last but not least, no matter what they tell you NEVER wake up a sleeping baby (approximately 30-45 minutes of extra sleep). That meant that I was basically getting back over an hour of sleep, and it made quite the difference.

I would have never imagined breastfeeding to be such a time consuming, daunting and painful task, but it is what it is. I’m just grateful I produce at least some boob milk to feed my little man. I’m only hoping it gets a bit easier over time, whether I produce enough to store at least a day’s supply or my boobies start cooperating for a change.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lucas Gabriel is born!

Today is just over two weeks since little Lucas Gabriel decided to make his big brave entrance into the world. I’m finally getting a few minutes to catch my breath and update my blog with the exciting news. There is so much to tell, and I really don’t know where to start.

Today I’m finally feeling much better after 18 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing. It has been a traumatic yet exciting experience – and I’m grateful I’m able to share it with you. All in all, I’d do it again in a heartbeat! It’s truly amazing and all worth the big reward in the end.

I had finally reached my 40th week (full term) and the next few days felt longer then my entire pregnancy. Everyone around me seemed anxious, including me, especially after my last doctor’s appointment, since I learned that my fluids were low and it could potentially be harmful to the baby.

On July 21st, 3 days after my due date and a day after my previous appointment, I had only dilated 1 cm and my blood pressure was really high. I was told to admit myself to the LIJ hospital in New Hyde Park that evening to be induced and help start the delivery process. By the time I reached the hospital, I had dilated on my own another 2 centimeters and also began to feel minor contractions. It seemed Lucas was ready to come out on his own either that evening or the next day. A few hours later my contractions began to get stronger and without thinking twice, I requested an epidural. Was I glad I asked for it when I did! Kudos to the brave women out there who have an all natural birth!
The epidural takes about 40 minutes or so to administer. During painful contractions you have to stay really still while they place the needle in the itty bitty epidural space of the spinal cord, so I’d recommend not waiting to ask for it when you cannot take the pain any longer. It instantly kicks in and all sensation is lost from your waist down. While it’s an instant relief, it’s a scary feeling when you realize that you have complete paralysis in the lower half of your body. A number of times it did cross my mind…”what if I stay like this forever?”

Eighteen hours later and a good night sleep I was dilating about 1 centimeter every couple of hours or so with the help of massive amounts of Pottosin. The Pottosin was also causing my legs and ankles to swell beyond recognition, and the swelling only goes down about a week post partum. Unfortunately, after 8 centimeters or so I wasn’t dilating further. It had been over 4 hours and there weren’t any signs of progress, and my little Lucas’ heart beat was dropping. I was also told that I had a temperature of 100.8 and there was no doubt in my doctor’s mind that we were going in for a c-section in a couple of hours. It was at that point that I learned if your temperature during labor is over 100.4, your newborn is taken automatically to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 48 hours when he/she is born. I was devastated! Not only would I not deliver Lucas naturally, but I would not be able to have him sleep in my room. I felt like a complete failure and couldn’t stop my tears! Of course in hindsight, c-sections are performed all the time and often to prevent complications, but I soon realized my case was debatable. The nurses felt I could easily deliver naturally, but they were getting a bit of resistance from my doctor. That’s when I insisted that she give me a couple of hours to dilate 2 more centimeters, and if I didn’t succeed, then of course we would proceed with the c-section. With the amazing help of no less than a football team of nurses, who only had my interests at heart and were determined to help me dilate in order to avoid surgery, and my sister and husband, I went from 8.5 centimeters to 10 in about an hour.

It was then that the nurses asked me to start pushing. The epidural had worn off completely and my contractions were unbearable. I was determined to deliver Lucas without a cesarean one way or another, no matter how difficult and painful the pushing was after 2.5 hours or so. Right when I was about to give up and felt I didn’t have the strength to push any more, my sister yelled “feel his head it's right there”, and I did. It gave me the last bit of strength & motivation I needed to push Lucas out.

Lucas was born at 6:44 PM on daddy’s birthday, weighing 8.8 lbs and 21 inches long. While I was still sad that my little man would not be able to spend the night with me, I couldn’t have been happier with my healthy baby boy. I knew that the staff at NICU would take good care of him, and I’d be able to visit him as often as I wanted while in intensive care. We were released on Friday, July 24th, and that night I gratefully welcomed my first sleepless night. The three of us were finally home.

I will forever be grateful to the amazing nurses and staff at North Shore LIJ, and to my little sister and husband (who pushed so hard with me that he woke up the next morning with a migraine). I don’t think I would have pulled through without their support and encouragement!

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Read My Lips, Clip Those Lists"

Crazy how many baby, parenting, expectant mother books and magazines I have lying around my house. I used to go straight to my bookshelf and grab hold of my next favorite novel, but now all I want to do is read baby books. There is a ton of information out there, but the one thing that I’ve been obsessing over lately are LISTS. Yes that’s right, LISTS. You can read chapter after chapter about what to expect when the little one arrives, or how best to prepare for their arrival, but nothing has proven to be more helpful than a good old fashion “To Do”, “To Buy” or “To Bring” list.

The first list I received was from my sister, as soon as I told her I was 8 weeks pregnant. She had just gone through the experience of becoming a first time mom and had a ton of things to recommend bringing with and taking from the hospital (believe me, there is a lot of great FREE stuff they give you or that you need to ask for that’s yours to keep). I found the list immensely helpful. I’ve had it in my hospital bag since, and every now and again I pull it out and read it over to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Have you ever read through a Parenting magazine front to back? It’s nothing but helpful lists, anywhere from “Food for Baby’s First Year”, to “Your Baby's Poop” (or my favorite version, poop, decoded!)
to “Infant First Aid: how to prevent and soothe bumps, cuts, burns and more” to “What you need to know as you make the leap from bottles to bananas” to “Breastfeeding tips 101” to “Getting through colic without going crazy” (easier said than done right?) and so on... I guess they realize that a mom has very little time to spare, so having a short list to reference on your fridge makes it a bit easier… They have become my go to references, especially since I’m a bit freaked out about being responsible for another human being other than myself. I guess it’s every first mother’s worry – but we all get through it eventually right?

So hear me out expectant moms and new moms, my recommendation to you is to stop wasting time only clipping coupons for baby stuff (it has become my second obsession after lists) & start clipping those lists. They will be really helpful when you’re alone at home and asking yourself why the heck is my baby’s poo black?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Things I'll Miss...

With only 10 days away from my due date, I'm getting really nervous. I have no idea what to expect, and at this point it's pretty much beyond my control right? One thing I know for sure is that being pregnant has been an amazing experience, and while carrying an extra 50 lbs, and apparently a 7 lbs 12 oz baby already at 38 weeks is no easy task, I will miss it. The smiles and funny comments on the streets - the occasional seat on the bus or subway that a kind samaritan offers – the home cooked meals & extra attention/affection from my husband – the forgiveness for the constant mood swings – the excuse that “baby brains” made me do/say it – the extra attention from the family – getting away with weird cravings and having family respond well to them – his little movements in my belly that remind me he’s there and that he accompanies me everywhere I go – the excuse to eat WHAT I want, WHERE I want without feeling guilty – the absence of worrying about my weight or exercising….and so much more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Naked Truth Continues......

No…the reason I’ve been slacking in keeping my blog current is not because Lucas has arrived, I’m just procrastinating really bad. I’m happy to be back and promise dear blog to be better at writing more often….at least before the little guy arrives. It’s three more weeks and counting, and based on my last doctor’s appointment, Lucas is in position but still pretty high – so it means that he could be on time or 2 weeks late.

So where did I leave off….oh yes, Belly Laughs – here are a few additional chapters I’d like to hi-light in her book to continue sharing my journey with you...

Can I Have a Mustard Sandwich with Pickles, Anchovies, Peanut Butter, and a Little Cottage Cheese?...Oh, and Throw a Few Fish Sticks on There! (Cravings)

This is one of the many things that I haven’t really experienced being pregnant. Mainly I’ve been craving fruit and sweets….so I can’t say I’ve had weird cravings in the middle of the night. My husband is forever grateful that was the case. I guess he expected 2 am runs to Dunkin Donuts.

Where in the Hell Can I Find a Muumuu? (Nothing to Wear)
See blog post on Destination Maternity Rocks!

Freddy Krueger Ain't Got Nothing on Me! (Dreams)

Dreams are a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. So I guess I don’t think or feel much when I’m sleeping….because I never remember what the heck I dreamt about the night before. However, I do remember one really strange dream I had when I was about 7 months pregnant and boy was it weird!

I know you’re dying to know, so hear it goes…Aliens where coming to earth and destroying every person in their path. Bodies were being turned to dust. All of the sudden I see twin fetuses under a tree, and I soon realized they were in danger as well. I quickly grabbed a hold of them, put them in my womb and asked Lucas to make room for them. I was able to escape the aliens, and once I felt they were safe to come out, I pulled the fetuses out of my uterus and gave them back to their rightful owner. Fortunately, Lucas was comfortable staying in the womb and had no intention of leaving anytime soon. Weeirrrrdddd!!!!!!!

Hi, Porn Star! (Engorged Breasts)

What can I say…this is by far one of the best things to happen to women who have always been insecure about their small breasts or women who look up to Pamela Anderson solely for her most important asset. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been blessed with an amazing buttocks (so my husband tells me), but I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve never thought of getting a boob job – and certainly after living in Los Angeles (a.k.a. silicone valley) for 5 years. But right after I got pregnant….BAMM. Boy was I was happy to meet them! The only bad part about it is that you don’t exactly picture having beautiful porn star breasts while carrying 45 extra lbs. Not that sexy, but you can’t have it all right?

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!...No, It's a Really Swollen Pregnant Lady! (Water Retention)

About 2 weeks ago I really started to notice that I no longer had ankles. Just when you’re beginning to accept the fact that there is no easy way to shave without seeing past your belly button, the “cankles” arrive. Yes ladies, that’s right… “cankles” (your calves & ankles merge into one). A word my 14 year old brother has taught me recently. He clearly didn’t think about how sensitive a pregnant woman is at 34 weeks.

I haven’t seen my ankles in over 2 weeks, and it’s a painful sight because nothing you wear looks sexy with “cankles”, a huge bowling ball, swollen feet, 45 extra lbs & an ass the size of Texas!

Die, Model Bitch, Die! (Hating Skinny People)

Clearly you’d understand why the nastiness if you read my previous chapter!

OOOOH! I Think I Felt the Baby Move...or Maybe It's Just Gas (Baby Kicks)

I take it back….the porn star breasts are not the best thing that happens during your pregnancy, it’s when you feel your baby move for the first time and know for sure it’s not gas. I must have been exactly 20 weeks and a few days pregnant when I felt little fluttering movements in my belly. It’s absolutely amazing, and as time progresses you really feel the little sucker throw some heavy punches and Ronaldinho kicks. I have to admit that I began to really bond with Lucas the moment I felt him move inside me. I know that they’d probably disagree, especially after reading the rest of my journey, but I do feel sorry that men cannot experience what a woman feels when her unborn child shows signs of life inside of her. Truly surreal!

Organizing Freak (Your Nesting Instinct)

My recommendation to all of you beautiful smart pregnant women reading this is DON’T plan to move when you’re more than 20 weeks pregnant. I don’t know what I was thinking, but we decided to move when I was nearly 7.5 months pregnant. Talk about my stupid nesting instinct! I got really sick after the move, and I’m certain that the stress had something to do with it. Despite all this, even if you’re barely able to move and bend at 8 months pregnant, and I never thought I’d say this, preparing the baby’s room for his arrival is more fun that a spring break trip with your girls to South Beach. I’m serious – but that nesting instinct is a pretty crazy feeling when it kicks in.

I Just Need to Lie Down for, Like, Five Minutes...Okay, Maybe Three Months (Sleepiness)

I’ve always assumed that pregnant ladies who complain about being exhausted and out of breath towards the last stretch of their pregnancy, where big babies and probably never hit the gym a day in their lives. I have no problem telling you that now, at 36 weeks pregnant, there is nothing else I’d rather do than sleep and veg-out on the couch watching reality TV. It gets pretty hard towards the end, and while you want your beautiful baby to come out when he’s ready, you can’t help but think of ways to help speed up the freaking process BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Stay tuned for coverage on The Moment of Truth (Labor and Delivery) & Let Me Repeat (Husband No-No's).. I’ll probably have a ton to report when Lucas arrives.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Naked Truth About Pregnancy & Childbirth..

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. Apologies for slacking…& to think I’ll be even busier when the little man arrives – I better get on it. The pregnancy has been pretty easy for me despite the stories I hear & read about from other women. I would consider myself pretty lucky to say the least, but now I’m nervous whether I’ll be punished with a long and painful delivery. It’s too good to be true - I keep thinking to myself.

I’ve been wondering what I would write for my next post, and couldn’t help but go back to Jenny McCarthy’s book, Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth. Every now and again I get an uncomfortable cramp up my leg or thigh, or I complain about my shortness of breath, or the constant trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but then I remember Jenny’s experiences throughout her 9 months of pregnancy and I feel lucky to have had it pretty easy overall - so far at least. She was such a trooper – big kudos to you JENNY!!! I don’t know how I would have handled it if I had gone through half of what she lived through.

I crack up every time I go back to a chapter in her book if I relate to a similar experience, so I figured I’d recap my last 7 months chapter by chapter (skipping a few that don’t relate), this way I can look back at this post and relive the wonderful 28 first weeks of my first pregnancy. While the book is an easy read, only 165 pages long, there are over 40 chapters she hi-lights, so I think I’ll break this up into different posts.

Here is my incredible journey –a belly journal of sorts and one of the best experiences of my life (yes men, I said one of the best, as in you don’t know what you’re missing).

So You Got Knocked Up? It’s amazing how you just know the day it happens. I had never bought a pregnancy test in the past (mom if you’re reading this, I swear that’s true), but for some reason I had a hunch that day in October. On my way to work that morning, I bought my first pregnancy test – well three of them just to be sure. Something was different –and I wasn’t having morning sickness or anything – but I just felt different. So I ran into the office bathroom and tested away…first test – positive, second test – positive, third test – positive. Woowee! It was true, I was pregnant! Now what do I do?

Barf-O-Rama (Morning Sickness) So this was one of the things I was dreading. I envisioned it feeling like a constant hangover every morning for 9 months of pregnancy and would dread every minute of it. My mother had the worst of it with all four of us, so I just figured that this would be one of those fabulous things I would inherit. But guess what? I didn’t! I began to have evening sickness and couldn’t understand why every night I went to bed, I felt nauseous. After the first month or so I realized that it happened after taking my prescription pre-natal vitamins, so I changed them to over the counter ones and the nauseous feeling went away instantly.

Psycho Chick (Hormonal Rage) …the only thing that comes to mind is sorry baby. You know I love you and this isn’t me. It’s my alter preggers ego which I cannot control. Just remember how much I love you every time she comes out & watch your back!

Granny Panties (Letting Go of the G-String) This was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure. Now you’re thinking oh come on really?! BUT it’s true….I’ve never felt comfortable in anything other than a thong (it’s a Latin thing) – so when I realized pretty early in the pregnancy that my sexy lacy thongs just wouldn’t cut it, I made the decision to purchase my first pair of granny panties. I think that they purposely make these things look ugly and huge so that your partner can blame the low sex drive on your panties and not the fact that you look like a beautiful goliath!

I Can Either Pee on You or You Can Get the Hell Out of My Way! (Frequent Pee Breaks) This is the one symptom that I believe no woman can escape. Get ready ladies for the multiple trips to the bathroom and always at the worst moments. For me it’s at least 5-6 times in the middle of the night, just about the time when I get in the car to drive somewhere (and yes I pee before I leave) & often during long conference calls. Yes, I’ve run to the ladies room in the middle of conference calls and left the party on hold without them knowing. More than once – but a preggers lady must to do what a preggers lady must do!

Is It a Penis or a Vagina? (Finding Out the Sex) The day I found out I was pregnant I was barely 6 weeks, and I was convinced it was a girl. Don’t ask me why…I just think that I wanted a girl so bad that if I concentrated hard enough and convinced everyone I was sure it was a girl, that she’d be born with a vagina. Around 4 months is when I really started to show, and it was pretty obvious to everyone that I was carrying it all upfront. A perfect round basketball – so everyone kept telling me it was a boy. I sorta knew it was too, but still kept hoping. I think that getting to my 5th month, when the doctor’s feel it’s safe to determine the babies’ sex, was the longest 4 weeks of my life. I wanted to know so bad. Gabe wanted his little man, so he was hoping everyone else was right. And so it was ladies and gentleman; on my 5th month OBGYN appointment we found out we were having a Lucas and not a Sofia. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I found out, and Gabe was jumping up and down. On St. Patrick’s Day a few weeks later, I was even happier it was a boy. I had never seen so many young teen girls in miniskirts, playing hooky and too drunk to stand straight on the 7 train heading to the St. Patty’s Day parade. If that was my daughter I’d be freaking out! Thank God you’re a boy…thank God you’re a boy.

Stay tuned! To be continued……..

Friday, March 27, 2009

Raising a Bilingual Child

With an ever growing number of interracial marriages, speaking another language in the home has become a very interesting and important topic of discussion. The question often comes up "What language should we use with our children?".

I immigrated to the States from Uruguay, South American when I was 7 years old, with my parents and 2 younger siblings. My mother was the daughter of a diplomat, so she was exposed to many languages growing up - and today speaks fluent English, Italian, French and Spanish. Impressive!! My father on the other hand grew up on a farm during most of his life, and didn't speak English at all when we moved to New York in 1986. We were really young, so learning the English language and gradually losing the accent was much easier for us than it was for my father. However, I have always appreciated the fact that while my mother spoke flawless English, both of my parents refused to speak English at home. Fortunately, over the last 23 years, I have managed to maintain my Uruguayan accent.

When I first entered the work force in the late 90s, it became even more apparent the importance of being able to speak another language - especially Spanish. I never once doubted that I would speak to my children in Spanish at home, no matter what my future husband's mother tongue was, because I was able to really understand the importance and value in speaking a second language.

I met my husband on one of my vacation trips back to Uruguay –so fortunately, there is no question that Spanish will be spoken at home when the little man arrives. However, it's easier said than done. My younger brother was born in the States 13 years ago, and while he understands Spanish perfectly, it was much more of a struggle to get him to speak Spanish at home growing up American. Fortunately, my parents continued to instill the importance of speaking the language at home, and for this, he will always have an advantage over many.

Granted it's tougher when the person you live with doesn't speak the language you use with your children at home, but I strongly believe that it's more important for your child to learn another language. Wouldn't you want to share your culture and experiences with your baby that is part of what made them who they are? It might even be an incentive for your spouse to want to learn another language as well. It's never too late - but depriving your child of that amazing advantage when they're young and developing, would be a great asset lost. Would you agree?

A si que, hablaremos EspaƱol con nustro hijo - sin duda.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks Oh Amanda for the little inspiration I needed in the middle of the week to get a quick and fun post up. I can dig the Top Ten Tuesday meme!

Here are the Top Ten Things I Love About Tuesdays:

1. It’s not Monday!
2. Eating hubby’s home cooked dinner
3. Watching American Idol (how the heck I got hooked this season, I don’t know)
4. Filling out the American Idol office pool (makes it much more fun to watch!)
5. Looking forward to Wednesday (2 work days down/3 to go)
6. Bonding with Lucas at 12:00AM – loves to move at exactly the point when I’m about to fall soundly asleep
7. It’s not Monday!
8. Reading my book – Just finished reading Jenny McCarthy's "Belly Laughs"... Hilarious & I highly recommend it if you're expecting and haven't read it!
9. Adding to my baby registry…fun to shop without spending
10.Catching up with little bro whose home for the week - a break from the NY Military Academy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Together, we can help save a life!

I couldn’t believe my ears the day I learned that maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a preventable disease, is claiming the lives of approximately 128,000 infants and 30,000 mothers in less industrialized nations each year. After having lived in Sweden for over a year, I’m the first to admit that the health care system in the U.S. is well behind other industrialized countries, and in many cases third world countries like Uruguay. However, it’s very easy to take for granted what things we do have in this country, like our access to adequate health care and the fact that we don’t have to walk 5.6 miles to reach the closest clinic.

What I do love about this country is that we are the world's most charitable nation, giving the most money to help the needy, either through public donations, private donations, or both. In 2007, Americans gave a record $295 billion to charity. So when I heard that within the capacity of my job I would have the opportunity to work on the “One Pack = One Vaccine” campaign, I was honored and felt privileged to be part of such an important initiative that helps to save lives.

MNT causes approximately one death every 4 minutes, and all it takes to save the lives of thousands of newborns and moms is a vaccination which costs 7 cents...7 cents!! That would mean that a Starbucks latte is equal to approximately 46 vaccinations – just thinking about it in those terms makes me sick to my stomach.

So hear me out moms, dads, family & friends…I know how expensive diapers can be, and I’m not looking forward to spending over $60 a month on poopie diapers when the little man arrives – but knowing that I’m doing something to help a good cause simply by purchasing something I have to buy anyway, there is no question that I’ll be buying that brand of diapers.

From February 5 through May 1, 2009, parents in the U.S. and Canada have the opportunity to help UNICEF protect moms and babies around the world against tetanus by simply purchasing specially-marked packages of Pampers diapers and wipes. Each product you buy triggers one life-saving vaccine. These specially marked packages of diapers and wipes cost the same as traditional products and are available wherever Pampers products are sold.

For more information about the campaign visit:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Introducing Baby to Isabel

We need to learn how best to help our first “baby” adjust to the new one that we will be bringing home very soon. Isabel came into our lives at 4 weeks old, a rescue from an ailing mother’s litter of six, and she has run the household since. We were told during her first year of struggle with separation anxiety that she was an alpha female, and required A LOT of attention. I had no idea the responsibility that laid ahead, the number of remote controls and furniture we would have to replace and the expenses that came along with having a pet. Despite all these obstacles, she’s become a part of this family, and it will be important in the coming months to help her cope with the big change that’s to come. We’re not really sure what the best approach is, and would love advice and tips if any of you have experienced this in the past. Should we begin introducing baby fragrances to the home? Should we start taking her for walks alongside a baby carriage? Should we gradually accustom her to spending less time with us?
My godson was born 8 months ago, and we slowly began introducing him to Isabel. They get along beautifully, except for Isabel’s desire to constantly lick his face. He giggles and laughs, which only encourages her to continue – so I’m certain that it will take some effort to get her to stop. While she is much more gentle and sensitive with Nicola than she is with adults, she doesn’t like when he’s the center of attention. She subtly gets in the middle if I’m playing with him, and insists, in her own obvious ways, to focus on her instead.

We're looking to begin preparing Isabel before our baby arrives with a few first steps. Please leave a comment if you have any other tips:
• Enroll her in a training class, and practice training techniques
• Introduce her to baby-related noises
• Introduce a baby doll to help her get used to the real thing
• Sprinkle familiar baby smells around the house, like baby powder or baby oil
A few other tips from Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisper

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#BlissDom09 Rocked!

get-your-bliss-on Badges
I had the opportunity to attend BlissDom ’09 in Nashville, TN over the weekend, with over 250 fun and energetic women (mostly moms) who blog. It was refreshing to see that many of the moms decided to bring their babies, who behaved beautifully and contentedly accompanied their mommies throughout the conference in their cozy slings.

As an apprentice blogger attending her first blogger conference, I thought I’d feel out of place, but then quickly felt that I might actually fit in and also get the opportunity to meet some of the amazing bloggers who've inspired me over the years.

After a warm welcome by Beth from TheMidlifeWife, Erin from CouponCravings (who was also expecting) and Liz from SuccessfulAndOustandingBlog on my way to Hotel Preston, I couldn’t wait to experience the next couple of days. It was also great to see that I wasn’t the only one carrying a baby bump. Esther from FaintStarLite was already on her 7th month, and clearly empathized with another new future mom.

With a full schedule ahead of us, the event kicked off with a fun “Opening Holla”, and I had the privilege to finally meet in person some of the blogger friends I made over the years; Shannon from RocksInMyDryer, Allie from FussyPants, Michelle from WhiteTrashMom, Leighann from TheFullMommy and my one and only fellow Latina blogger, Carrie from BilingualintheBoonies, which I grew to adore during my short stay. It was great to also meet up with 3 of my favorite mommy bloggers, 2 which I met at the Sony Mommy Blogger Event last year, Jenny from MomminItUp and Deanna from DomesticChicky, and the fabulous Amanda from Ohamanda from the Pampers Mommy Blogger Event.

After some really interesting sessions and panel discussions by a few distinguished bloggers, we headed to the cocktail party and a great chat with some really fun and vibrant women; Renee from CutieBootyCakes & Joy and Kate from HappyToBeAtHome. The day ended with a fun PJ & Mamma Mia movie party, where I shared many laughs with Tara from IQuitForLijit and one of my favorite mommy bloggers, Jill from TheDiaperDiaries, while indulging in bite size Snickers and painfully watching Pierce Brosnan attempting to sing a tune to some of my favorite ABBA songs.

The workshops were inspiring, and the energy in the room left me wanting more. I was glad we still had tomorrow, a full day of sessions and an unrevealed surprise after breakfast.

The “two” of us slept like babies. Who doesn’t love hotel beds? I had a healthy breakfast and shared great discussions with Debba from Girlfriendology and the wonderful and inspiring Amber from TheRunAMuck. Barbara Jones, our delightful and comical event moderator, introduced the morning surprise; a short preview of a PBS special of Yanni Voices, followed by a surprise appearance from two of the artists. Brazilian Nathan Pacheco and Venezuelan Ender Thomas managed to leave all the married ladies in the room, including me, flabbergasted and flustered.

A productive and informative 2 full days of blogging and PR sessions, with inspirational women and devoted moms, further reinforced my decision to start my first blog. More to come, so stay tuned!

Featured Photo Credits: Secret Agent Mama

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Destination Maternity Rocks!

I finally realized that wearing my favorite jeans was just not going to work much longer. I tried the rubber band technique and wearing it zippered but unbuttoned, and that was not going to fly, especially at client meetings. Sixteen weeks and 3 days pregnant, I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to begin investing in maternity clothes. A colleague mentioned that I should check out this place on 57th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, Destination Maternity. When I walked in, I couldn't believe how excited I was to be shopping for maternity clothes. They had a few levels, a spa, floors/racks of great clothes, amazing service and a supply of free water and juice. Even more amazing was the selection they carried and variation in prices. They carried collections like A Pea in the Pod, Mimi Maternity & Motherhood and just about any outfit to fit your personal taste. The service was really what stood out in my option. Granted, you're much cuter with a belly, so naturally the staff wanted to see how the clothes fit. They were so helpful, energetic and fun to be around. They also offered me a credit card (who doesn't these days?), but what was interesting was that a percentage (3-10%) of your purchase at many retail stores would go towards a 529 college savings plan. How smart is that? Right there and then, they were able to set me up with a 529 plan. "These plans allow you to save as much as a quarter of a million dollars for your child’s higher education expenses every year—and you won’t owe any capital gains taxes on the appreciation. The major drawback to this type of plan is that it covers only college and graduate school expenses—so private high school, for example, doesn’t count."

I bought the cutest button front maternity jacket for $43.99 and the cutest jeans for way below designer brand prices - which in my opinion, fit just as good. I also purchased a sleeveless faux wrap maternity shirt for only $19.98. You should definitely check it out. It's worth the trip.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Potential Lifeline for My Peanut

It’s become more common for expectant moms today to consider saving their newborns cord for stem cell transplants. However, I don’t recall seeing so many advertisements or brochures when my sister was expecting 8 months ago. I think I’ve had a private cord bank representative call me 5 times in the last 2 weeks. I can’t make up my mind and that’s why I’m posting about this, to hear your thoughts on umbilical cord blood banking.

Basically, the cord or placental blood that comes from a newborn baby has all the elements of normal blood, plus a rich supply of stem cells, which are usually found in bone marrow. More and more, cord blood stem cells are increasingly replacing bone marrow in stem cell experimentation. It’s a powerful and potentially life-saving resource for treating a growing number of ailments, including cancer, leukemia, blood, and immune disorders. It has already been used for transplantation in more than 14,000 patients with over 70 life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, thalassemia, and sickle cell anemia. Amazing!!

There are both public cord blood bank facilities (they accept donations that go into a general inventory) & private facilities (banks that store your baby’s cord for family’s own personal use).

But… yes there is always a but… Here are a few catches or downsides and reasons why I’m debating this:
• A 12 million dollar industry, the average cost for saving the baby’s cord is over $2000 to process the cord blood, plus $125 a year for storage. Ouch….In these tough economic and unstable times, it’s A LOT of money to dish out. It’s almost like a biological insurance plan or safety security box.
• 1 cord blood = one transplant. There is a low cell count available through the cord blood, which is about 10% of the cells that an adult bone marrow stem cell collection would have.
• Experts also claim that chances of using the child’s own cord blood are slim and if the child has a genetic disease, it is very likely that traces of that “sick” gene are in the cord blood.

One expert questioned, with a national health insurance plan and stem cell agenda being 2 of the primary topics from the new administration, what if insurance companies possibly considered paying for stem cell storage in the future? Yeah right, maybe in the way distant future, and I wouldn't want to wait around for that to happen.

Of course, there are many upsides to saving your babies cord, and the reason why I’m having such a difficult time making a decision.

1) If my child (the donor) did in fact need a stem cell transplant, he/she wouldn’t have to wait for a donor match.
2) Even more incredible is the fact that the cord blood from the baby can extend beyond the donor, and potentially save the life of a sibling, mom, dad and potentially that of a cousin.
3) The cord blood is rich in stem cells, and for this reason research is showing promise in treatment of brain injury, diabetes, heart failure, spinal cord injuries, stroke, among other...Not to mention that stem cell research is constantly evolving.
4) There are only 16 operating cord bank facilities in the US, so the supply is short –which means a long waiting list.
5) Oh and did I mention that the public banks have an underrepresented cord blood supply for ethnic minorities? As a Hispanic-American, that’s another concern I have as well.

What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear from parents who have chosen to or against saving their newborn's cord.

Here is an interesting video I thought I’d share with you as well:

Some links to private banks as well, in case you’re looking into it:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Advice for Expectant Moms

It’s true that when you announce you’re pregnant, everyone has advice for you. They all mean well of course, but after reading too many books, magazines and getting tons of advice from friends and family, you start to go a little crazy.

I was just about 4 weeks pregnant when I drove myself to the emergency room thinking I had all the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. The ER doctor’s orders were exactly this, “if you continue to read too much into things, you will find you have every possible symptom, so STOP and listen to your doctor instead”. My younger sister, who gave birth to her first son Nicola 7 months ago, had the most to say – but I love her for it and I know she means well. “You cannot eat spicy foods, stay away from fish, forget the NY hotdog and your sushi cravings – don’t run, don’t exercise – if you start to spot and get menstrual cramps, that’s a BAD sign.” Yes, those were definitely the doctor’s orders in her special case, having gone through a scary and difficult first trimester, bedridden for nearly 2 months. I’m seeing the same obstetrician actually, but in my case the doctor said that I could eat pretty much everything, limit my caffeine intake to one cup a day, and do everything I want in moderation of course. The NO skiing orders where the hardest to accept, with 4 months of winter ahead of me.

I guess the best advice to new moms out there, is to listen to your doctor and what your body tells you. Every woman is different and will have different experiences throughout her pregnancy, some of which all women experience and others many women don’t. I fortunately had a pretty mild first trimester and feel pretty pumped nearing my 4th month.

I’m really enjoying being pregnant. I haven’t been this healthy in years and getting the extra special attention from my husband is something I can definitely get used to, at least for 5 more months. It’s also probably the only time in your life when you actually welcome a stranger’s stare. The stare is often accompanied by a smile, as if they are giving you their appreciation for taking on such an important job, the job of a future “office mom” in the home.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Blog Post

This is my first blog post, and I'm looking forward to blogging more in the weeks to come. This is our little bundle of joy at exactly 12 weeks and 3 days old. It was on this day that we heard the heartbeat for the first time, and I can honestly say we were lost for words. It was truly an emotional moment for both Gabe and I. Now we anxiously await to find out whether we prepare for the arrival of a beautiful baby boy or girl.