Welcome Rafael

April 25, 2008

It’s been way too long since the birth of my son and my last post, but here is a 5-minute recap of the last two months.

Rafael decided to come two weeks early, just like his big brother. The pain started around 5 a.m. on March 7, a Friday, and I tried to dismiss them as false labor so I could squeeze some more rest before having to go to work. Granted, I’d already been feeling so uncomfortable in my 9th month that I’d started working from home. By 6 a.m. I realized the pain wasn’t going away. Carlos and I called an on-call doctor, because as chance would have it, my doctor had gone away for the weekend with her family.

We got to the hospital a little after 7 or 7:30 a.m., honestly I can’t remember now. At this point we still thought it was a false alarm. The nurse checked me and let me know I was close to 8 centimeters. For those who aren’t familiar with labor lingo, this basically means the baby is about to pop out. We had very little time to do anything. We hadn’t brought my overnight bag, and dragged Diego with us in his pyjamas because we honestly thought we’d have time to go back home. HA! Our dear child care provider picked Diego up from the hospital for us, and Carlos and I got ready for the delivery. I requested an epidural, but found out there wouldn’t be time for it. The on-call doctor showed, and he got me pushing pretty soon after all that. Except we weren’t having much luck with it. I think my mind and body shut down communication a bit when I realized this would not be pain free. I felt exhausted from pushing, combined with the pain, and could tell weren’t making any progress. So I asked if I could quit the pushing for a bit and just rest. Except resting doesn’t fit in real well with labor, and the contractions kept me from even catching my breath. I started clutching Carlos’ hand more vigorously, and even tried pulling my hair to distract from the pain in my abdomen.

The doctor had to run off for something, just as I decided to start pushing again. The nurses had to fetch a doctor from somewhere else, and for a moment I truly thought Carlos and Itzul would be delivering the baby. I couldn’t tell much of what was happening from my vantage point, but I believe the next doctor ran into the room and had just enough time to put a robe on before catching Rafael as he came out. Carlos later told me the doctor didn’t even have time to put on gloves, and had to use the scrubs over his hands instead.

The pain was incredible, and I screamed and cried out loud like I never have before. Getting Rafael out felt like a great accomplishment as much because it made the pain finally end. And here he is:

The hospital stay was extended a bit because Rafael was born with the cord around his neck and a bit blue. His face was bruised badly. It was nice to be pampered though and have food brought to me all day. It’s amazing how much quicker I recovered with the natural birth compared with Diego, who was virtually painless thanks to the epidural, but left me in considerable pain for weeks after delivery.

The birth hit Diego the hardest the first few weeks. I think he felt especially insecure and vulnerable thanks to this little arrival. It must have been obvious to him that mom and dad weren’t going to pay 100 percent of their attention to him anymore.

On the upside, he’s not going to daycare these next few months and gets to play with mom and baby brother all day each week. Great for him, exhausting for me.

Rafael is seven weeks old now, and is a happy, pudgy baby.

And with big sister Itzul.


countdown to baby: 5 weeks

February 19, 2008

I know I’m getting close to having this baby because after my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I have to start going every week. I’m officially due March 21, but given that Diego was 2 weeks early, we’re getting ready around the house to welcome little Rafael Eduardo.

In case there were any doubts I’m with child at this point…. me-pregnant22.jpg

This is me a few nights ago, forcing myself into a non-maternity shirt. Once this baby is had I am considering burning most of my maternity wear, the five shirts and three pants I’ve worn exclusively all winter.

I got a great deal on a swing/cradle that I think will last us most of the first year. Today I put it together — all by myself! — and it’s now displayed in our living room:


Finally there is the “nursery,” which is really our bedroom. Our room served as Diego’s nursery in Burbank until we moved to Walla Walla and he got his own room. We have a lot more room to share with this baby, though, probably twice as much. And by the time he needs his own space, we might be looking into a bigger home with a room of his own. Or maybe just a spacious room for the two boys to share. So here is Diego’s old crib and bedding, take two:


There were only a couple of big-ticket items I needed this time around: a double stroller (check), a cradle swing (check), and a changing table/dresser (uh-oh).

I don’t have a place to put the baby’s clothes yet, and I think clearing out one of our dresser drawers will have to do until I find an appropriate changing table. For now, we’re going to use the play pen that we rarely used in our old apartment because there simply wasn’t any room, because it comes with a changing space!


I’d say we’re pretty close to being ready. Just have to wait for the little guy to be ready also. Hopefully one of my next posts will be pictures of our latest addition to the clan.

ode to donnie

February 15, 2008

A few months ago, the teenager showed up at our house nuzzling a tiny kitty she and a friend had come across. The cat had apparently survived a house fire, or was found under a house that had burned down. Teary-eyed, she begged us to keep him. Being a few months pregnant, I had mixed feelings from the start. We’d been talking about getting a pet, but I had hoped we could wait until after the baby was born to get one.

There we were, face to face with the question. We told her how unfair it was to put us in that situation. She and her friend wanted joint custody of the kitty, switching off every week. We said that wouldn’t work either, that it wouldn’t be fair to the cat (and would be a messy custody dispute should the girls’ friendship waiver).

So we took in little Donnie Darko, or Donnie. Diego loved him immediately, and experimented poking his face and picking him up by the tail. We saw an opportunity to teach our 2-year-old how to be “nice” to a pet and what is “not nice.” (Like the tail flinging).


As Donnie grew, Diego’s toddler influence must have taken over. Donnie became a rambunctious kitty, loving to paw at you and nibble where he could. A few times, he jumped up and swatted playfully, catching Diego’s face and leaving my 2-year-old crying and not understanding the kitty game.

Now, with several months gone, an exhaustive attempt at conditioning with a water bottle, and a good nail clipping later, Donnie is as crazy and wild as ever. Our attempt to domesticate this stray has failed completely. He’s a great kitty, but his eagerness to swat and bite to play has shot my nerves. I had to tend to Diego’s wounded face one too many times. With a newborn joining us in a month or less, I had to put my foot down.

Donnie needed a new home.

Today we’re heading to a no kill shelter where animals are placed in “foster homes” until an adoptive family can be found. The teen still really wants a cat, and we’re all sad it didn’t work out better with Donnie. I think an older, mellow cat would be a better fit for our household.  A nice cat just looking for a good home and less inclined to play with an infant or torment a toddler. I’m sad to see Donnie go, even though I complained the most about him. I hope we did our best raising him, and that he finds a home that will be good to him and let him be the wild kitty he longs to be.

mama shopping

September 17, 2007

I did something this weekend I haven’t really done since last fall when we started our new jobs. I finally got some new clothes. They are in part to accommodate my new belly, and also to give me a little more confidence by not wearing clothes that are nearing three years old.

I spent just under $200, and got: a fall coat, a pair of maternity pin stripe pants, maternity khakis, a dressy black shirt for work, a casual long sleeve T for work, a cute green top with polka dots and puff sleeves, a red v-neck top (also with dots and cute sleeves) and a loose black top with yellow flowers that can be dressed up or down. I’m proud of what I got because none of the tops are maternity shirts but will last me through most of the pregnancy. I loathe maternity shirts! But I can’t get around the maternity pants unless I want to wear elastic waist plus-size pants (yuck). I’m surprised at how cute the pants I got are. What really convinced me to get them is that they don’t look like maternity pants. They both have zippers and buttons on the front, belt loops, and the secret trick is elastic on the back section. That’s easily concealed with the tops I got.

I felt a little guilty considering the baby needs new fall and winter clothes, and Carlos hasn’t got new clothes in a while either. But at least his clothes still fit. The baby is next in line for clothes, and I feel comfortable knowing I can get him clothes to last him until spring for under $100. Of course after that he’ll never wear those clothes again. Must be nice.

Thinking about baby #2

April 17, 2007

Carlos and I have had babies on the brain for a while now. Diego is not really the “baby” anymore, and becoming quite the toddler. He can feed himself, run around well, climb a couple of steps and play well on his own. He also “talks” quite a stream, although we’re not sure what he’s saying yet. If we ask him what he wants, he’ll nod or shake his head, and holler an enthusiastic “yeah” when we find the object of his desire.
So obviously we’re figuring out whether it’s time to plan for baby number two. And really, I’m still figuring out whether I want Diego to have a younger sibling. When I see how excited he gets around other children, I can’t wait for him to have a little sister or brother for him to guide and play with. But when I think about doing it all over again – the year of nursing, pureeing veggies, changing diapers, sleepless nights – and adding Diego to the equation, I wonder if I can handle it. Sadly, we have to consider our finances as well. Things have been going well for us, probably better than we imagined, because we are both working full time. Day care is probably our biggest expense next to the mortgage, but it’s manageable.
We’ve been thinking of trying for baby number two early next year, and hopefully welcoming our second bundle of joy by the time Diego is 3. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to wait that long. I think I’m ready to be pregnant now. At least that way my maternity clothes will still be in style. But then when I think of the baby being here, I can’t imagine how we’ll adjust. How long will I take off work? I know we can’t afford two kids in day care. Would I try to work part time from home, while managing two children? Or work full-time from home, but send Diego to day care until he’s ready for preschool?
I guess we’ll probably approach it along the same way we handled Diego’s arrival: take it a day at a time, trim and cut everywhere imagineable, and realize how quickly it all passes.
I can’t imagine of any greater gift to give Diego than a baby brother or sister. But would we be sacrificing the comforts we have now? I also don’t want to struggle with a new baby the way we did when Diego was an infant. I guess chance will guide us better than reason can. And hopefully everything else will just fall into place.