One year later…#Nicumom

September was #Nicuawareness month and also Calvin’s first birthday. I spent a lot of time reflecting on his birth story. Since it’s been a year, I felt like I could share a few things about my experience as a NICU mom. For a first time mom, I often wish this wouldn’t be my pregnancy story. But it was and it was painful. So here is a bit of my story with Calvin.

   I had a few people ask about whether we had planned to get pregnant and the answer is no, we didn’t. It was a rough season for us in our marriage and getting pregnant was the last thing I thought could occur. But God thought otherwise. Each time we got new pictures of Calvin reality would hit us, we were about to be parents no matter the condition of our marriage and the bigger reality was that God was in control of it all. Watching each sonogram reminded me that God was knitting Calvin in my womb and did not require my help. He just required that I trust him. He had planned this moment even before I was born and He had planned for Calvin to be born for this exact season whether we were ready or not. I’d like to think now that God’s plan was perfect, I had it wrong when I thought that Calvin would be the joy we needed for our marriage because what God was going to teach us was that we needed Him more than ever. Our joy alone could only come from Him and only He could heal what sin had broken.

“Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.” – Esther 4:14

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Part Two

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During my 18 week appointment, I really got to see Calvin’s growth. We got a perfect heartbeat and even got to see a little hand. What was such a beautiful moment quickly got tainted by fear. The sonogram technician finished taking a look at Calvin and said: “ your cervix is a little short, I’m gonna run this by the doctor”. I could feel that that wasn’t good. The doctor shared that my cervix was a lot shorter and I was at high risk of going into preterm labor. I’m not sure I really understood what she meant and I didn’t know what questions to ask. So when I got home I did the one thing I was told not to do ever, I Googled. I started googling what it meant to have a short cervix, reading about moms that had miscarriages later in their pregnancies and some said that their babies were born too early so they had to stay in the NICU for a while. I could feel my heart fill with fears of that being my case. I had this whole thing planned out and right now it wasn’t going according to my plan. I became frustrated and upset. I wasn’t understanding why things weren’t going my way. For six weeks I would have to get checked and be on a treatment to make sure my cervix was growing instead of shortening. Those weeks were the most miserable weeks of my life but I did get to see Calvin every-time, which gave me something to look forward too. At the end of those weeks, the doctor would determine if I would need to get stitched or continue the treatment hoping that I would make it. Eventually, my cervix grew enough and everything seemed clear. I mean she even said it “ if you were to go into early labor, it definitely wouldn’t be because of your cervix”. Welp, at 33 weeks I began having contractions and I was definitely going into labor.

During this time I felt like God was going to allow this pregnancy to play out the way He wanted it too and this is where I couldn’t say that no matter what happens He was still good.

But God is still good no matter how I feel towards Him, my affections for him at the moment don’t change who He really is good.

Part Three

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      At this point we had spent two days in the hospital, I was monitored all day and given shots in order to delay my contractions but nothing was stopping them. Calvin was coming and I was under extreme distress. The doctors really encouraged that I take the epidural in order to be able to have a vaginal birth. The hours before the delivery time were a little crazy, my body was exhausted, I couldn’t eat food and I was connected to so many wires that I could barely move. Right before giving birth, there was only one nurse helping between two delivery rooms and the doctor had only a few mins to deliver Calvin and move on to the next room.

After my water broke and my cervix dilated from 3 cm, 5 cm and quickly to 9 cm, at this point it was time. The doctor put on her gloves and she said “ it’s gonna be okay, you’ll do great. When I say push, you push and hold. Push and hold.” Those 15 minutes felt like hours, the doctor was cheering me on the whole time, my mom was a hot mess and my husband, he was recording, crying and talking a lot. Lol

But then we heard him. We heard his cry for the first time. That’s the moment when you feel like the whole world stops, what was once growing in you was now physically here. Calvin was slimy and dirty, his shiny black hair filled his head and back and everything about him was wrinkly; he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. This was truly love at first sight. I got the chance to hold him and tell him how much he was loved over and over.

Finally, the anticipation was over, he had arrived. We got our first family picture but just as quick as that shot was over, Calvin would be taken away to be cared for at the NICU. That night there was no private room available for Ruben to stay with me. So I stayed alone sharing a room with a mama that had her baby. This would be the loneliest night of my life, still a year later that night leaves a sting.

All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face! For his anger is for a moment, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. Psalm 30:5.

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 After a week I was done. I didn’t want to talk to God, I was bitter and honestly, I didn’t want to hear that “ God had a purpose for this” because what I was feeling was abandoned and unloved by Him. I remember Ruben once saying to me “ I know this sucks, it hurts and it feels unfair, but we need to find things to be grateful for so that we can survive this.”.

And there were things to be grateful for:

•Calvin’s condition wasn’t so complicated. He just simply was early.
•We were never, ever alone at the hospital, people stopped by to bring us food and keep us company.
•We were learning to care for Calvin from the nurses who were attending us.
•Our home was not set up for Calvin yet, so this gave us time to prepare for our little boy.

 

We had things to be grateful for and I was not seeing them in midst of our pain. No matter how angry I was with God at that moment, He made sure to remind me that He was near. He is always near to the broken in spirit.

For my amiga Roberta, I thank her being a warrior mom and giving me strength during this season. Her story and her son’s Kayden’s life will always remind me that God listens to our prayers. He knew I needed someone that could say “ I know boo, I know how it feels”. He is a God of miracles. #nicumomstrong.

Part Four

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I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to perfectly describe my experience in the NICU, But if I can sum up the way I felt after being cared for by the wonderful staff who helped us at every step of the way- it would be “hopeful”.Everyone is hopeful that each baby there would eventually be healthy enough to go home. Because the reality is- not every baby that is in the NICU will make it back home.

I can describe the sounds you hear: Tons of monitors going off, babies and parents crying, doctors whispering, families talking. For me, the monitors were what broke the silence of being with Calvin, and scared me the most. You just never know which monitor is going off and even when you’re embracing your newborn baby, you can’t help but worry about what those beeping monitors mean- both for your child, and the other babies. I think if you stay at the NICU long enough, after you leave, it feels like you’ve developed PTSD. Even after coming home, I could still hear them.

I spent two weeks in the NICU traveling back and forth- early morning to past midnight. Some days I just sat in front of Calvin’s incubator weeping, and other days I was given the opportunity to hold him for hours. When I wasn’t with him, I was in a room pumping to get at least one or two ounces of milk. Calvin struggled to eat, which is why he needed a feeding tube. He wouldn’t latch on to my breast, and my milk supply was so low that it wasn’t enough to feed him all day. That was depressing and exhausting.

But out of all those things, the hardest part was going home empty-handed.

That’s what breaks you…

     I think that even a year later it still hurts, but I have hope. So, Nicu mama I’m praying for you. May strength and comfort be upon you. May your baby keep fighting and may you not lose hope, be hopeful. 

Love,

Transparent City Mama


Family Time at The Color factory

Now this, this is a place you won’t ever regret visiting but will regret missing. This weekend we had a family date at one of the most popular pop art exhibits in the city, @colorfactory.

Here’s some info about the exhibit: ( info from their website)

Color Factory is a collaborative interactive exhibit that debuted in San Francisco in August 2017. What was intended as a month-long run unexpectedly flourished as a celebration of color and creativity that lasted for another eight sold-out months.

In August 2018, a whole new palette came to New York City in SoHo’s Hudson Square neighborhood. In 20,000 square feet, we feature brand-new participatory installations of colors we’ve collected around the city— hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play. Some of our favorite artists, creatives, designers, and makers are teaming up with us to tell their unique color stories and engage all of your senses in unexpected ways.

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Ruben and I were amazed at how amazing this exhibit was, it was filled with color, treats, fun rooms to interact with each other and lots of cameras to take pictures together. I think it’s been a while since we went to a place where all three of us enjoyed each other and had fun. This place was super family friendly and allowed Calvin to explore. I love taking him to places that help his sensory development.

These are a few things you should know about this exhibit;

  • The tickets are $38 each… yes, I know it seems like a lot but trust me it was worth every dollar. Also, if you have children age two and under, they’re free.
  • Once your tour beings, you are taken to a room to watch an intro video and then taken to another room to register on an iPad. The reason for this is because you are given a card that will be used in order to store any pictures you take around the exhibit.
  • Which leads me to the MOST amazing part about this exhibit, each room is like a Photo Booth! How dope is that! We loved the fact that all three of us got to take pictures, and Ruben didn’t have to be my camera guy for the day! lol
  • You also get so many treats, like pins, macaroons, ice cream, a visitors gift and a color factory map that tells you about so many art designs around the city.
  • And they have the largest ball pit area in the city!

This is my favorite pop art exhibit by far, so glad we made this a family date. If you’re looking for something to do in the next two weeks do yourself a favor and check out the @colorfactory! You can get tickets till October. 14th.

Here are some of our pictures, enjoy!

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Baby Tush – Eliandalibaby (Review)

    I’m super excited to share with you one of my favorite ( also Calvin’s daycare fave ) baby product! This tush swiper is by @eliandalibaby! They created a diaper cream applicator that fits all diaper cream tubes! How amazing is that!

So why buy a diaper swiper? Well, did you wash your hands before applying diaper cream over your babies booty or after? Or do you have a hard time getting the residue off your fingers ?… this is why! I’m all about products that make my life easy! I’ve been using a tush swiper since Calvin was a baby. It’s easy to use and makes taking care of diaper rashes so much easier. I love that this swiper can go anywhere with you.

This product also prevents cross-contamination from hands, especially with Calvin being at a daycare this is important to me. It’s also easy to use clean, you can wipe it off with a wet towel or sterilize it. They have two different colors, blue and orange. The price is $14.49 on Amazon, which includes the applicator top and the adaptor to fit different diaper creams. This is definitely a baby must have!

So, mommy to be, a tush swiper is a must! Check them out!! @eliandalibaby .

 

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www.bit.ly/tushswiper


Calvin’s 1st Birthday Party

      One year down! These past two weeks have been overwhelming but filled with joy. I can’t believe that my once newborn is officially a toddler. Why does time go by so fast? I just want him to stay tiny forever. Ruben and I spent the last few weeks preparing for Calvin’s first party and also reflecting on everything we’ve experienced this past year as parents. It’s been quite the adventure and we’re so excited to continue to watch Calvin grow.

     So here’s a glimpse into his first party! Of course, the theme was “Calvin and Hobbes”, Calvin is named after this comic. Ruben loved them growing up and that’s where we got the name from.  I also wanted a party that allowed the kids to use their imagination. I think everyone else was having fun but Calvin, he is cranky and sleepy! Poor kiddo wasn’t having it. I guess people were right about first birthdays being for the parents, ha!

    Anyways, I had tons of fun DIY’ing everything for his party along with the help of my friends. Ruben designed our shirts, cake topper, drew our Hobbes poster and guest book. He’s a beast at drawing! One of our great friends Adalis helped create props out of boxes for the kids. I found this idea on Pinterest since the theme of Calvin and Hobbes is imagination and adventures. She did such a beautiful job painting and creating them. Our birthday banner was created by my co-worker. She loves DIY projects! All other items I bought on Amazon! (my best friend) for super cheap. Play ball pin and tunnel was fifty dollars total, this was a must for me. For party bags, I wanted to keep it sensory kid friendly. I bought sensory balls, cymbal shakers, playdoh, play foam, bubbles, silly straws, and some candy. I found a great deals for all of these items. Our cake was designed by @cakesbymilagros best Dominican cakes hands down. So be sure to check him out if you’re in the NYC area.  I hope you enjoy these pictures!

If you would like more info on the items mentioned, let me know!

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A Marriage That Endures

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 My husband and I will make three years married this November. The last few years have felt like the longest years of my life! People weren’t joking when they said that marriage ain’t easy. I think that Ruben and I can agree in saying that this marriage has been hard work, with an emphasis on the word HARD. We’re a very honest couple, and we don’t shy away from telling people how we feel- and especially letting each other know how we feel.

For the last three years, I’ve cried, yelled, cursed, slammed doors, and have had every tantrum that comes with a wife who’s used to running when things get tough. Marriage teaches you a lot about yourself and reveals the things you hide from others.

But in this covenant, there is no hiding. I can’t pick up my bags and run, I can’t fake the funk because my husband knows me. He knows the good, ugly, happy, and sad parts of me- yet he has chosen to love me.

     The crazy part is… I hate running! I get all sweaty, I get tired, and it’s just not something I like doing. But when it comes to confrontation- oh man… I can run. I spent most of my youth running home just to avoid getting into trouble with my mom. At seventeen, I left home trying to avoid feeling the shame of failing to meet my mother’s expectations and when things got hard in relationships, I avoided them or ended them. At the age of 20, I left home again, in order to live a life away from accountability. Till one day I decided that I was tired of running from hardship, and ran straight into God’s arms.

I call this “the surrender”.

       But then I met Ruben, and we started dating. And I thought “ I love this man, I’m in a safe place and he knows everything about me. I’m done with running” ha! and hardship began.

Ruben and I were great friends before we started dating. He’s actually one of the people who spoke into my life when I ended my six years long “on and off” relationship, and became a Christian. Eventually, we started dating and he decided he wanted to marry me, but in between our dating life and marriage, came some difficult trials.

I was scared of getting hurt. I carried baggage from my old relationship, and I was trying to figure out who I was. I also consider myself to be a very independent, strong-minded woman- which can be great sometimes, and terrible in others.  But much of my past played a huge role in our relationship. When Ruben and I would argue, my response would be “I’m done”. If I didn’t “feel” right about our relationship “I’m done” would be my way out. Many insecurities came to light, that I had been holding on too from my past. Ruben then became very insecure about our relationship and himself. Which eventually all led up to us having sex before marriage- and that was one the biggest hardships we’ve had to endure as believers.

    That significant moment only gave me more reasons to run. I wasn’t running because I didn’t love Ruben, I was running from shame. The shame of having sex before marriage when I had vowed to remain pure again until my wedding day. I was angry, and I felt like Ruben did not lead me away from falling into temptation. So I blamed him for all of it, not realizing that the reason why I was angry that my pride had taken a hit- I wasn’t this “ perfect” Christian. I was broken, and God was using this moment to expose much of the ugliness that I had tried to convince myself wasn’t there- but it was.

       But- by his grace, we made it to the altar. We got married… and yet I kept running.

We were both miserable. Our first year was a nightmare set on fire. But God has been in the midst of it all. He’s been present in the times I’ve said I would much rather be alone than married, he was around the times Ruben was knocking on our bedroom door while I wept inside. I know that this marriage has been able to endure hardship because of Him.  I think I’m able to understand the meaning of endurance because of my husband. He’s fought a lot for this marriage, he’ll always be fighting for it and God has shown me true and raw love. The kind of love that chases you as you’re running through the woods into the darkest place you can find and when you get there that person wants to go into the darkness with you until your ready to see the light.

      I remember once hearing a sermon called ” Jesus wants the rose.” Matt Chandler, who was preaching this sermon was telling a story about a time he listened to a pastor preach at a conference and the anger he felt about what he was saying. The pastor started by throwing a rose into the crowd and everyone had to touch and pass it until it got back to him. When he got the rose he held it up and said: ” who would want this?”. The rose was falling apart, damaged, and it looked worthless.  Matt Chandler said, ” I wanted to scream, Jesus wants the rose!”. He continues on with telling his audience ” He wants you!” He wants the rose that’s falling apart and feeling worthless. I remember weeping when he said that. After ending my longtime relationship I grew super insecure about myself and guys. Accepting love from people is very scary, it makes you feel vulnerable and fearful. And if you’re a runner like me,  you’ll start to run. But why are you running? Why are you so afraid of being loved? I think these are questions I often felt like God was asking me. I think for me it’s the part of being real and vulnerable and maybe having someone not embrace you and not endure with you. That is scary.

But God, he knew what he was doing when he allowed Ruben and I to get married. I think that’s the only part that brings me comfort. He chose us, and he is the only one that can keep us together. So if you’re very much like me and you’re still running… stop. God is trying to catch you, embrace you and love you. You know what’s crazy? God loves me more than my husband does, but he loves my husband just as much as He loves me. Because my husband is as broken as I am, we both are runners. I’m not sure I would want to spend the rest of my days running with anyone else but him. I pray that as we enter a new year into this marriage we would grow more in love, endure well, grow in patience and sacrifice more for one another.

You are not too much for anyone, not even a Perfect God. 

Stop running. ( note to self ) 

 

love, 

transparent city mama 


Bedtime Routine

Routine baby, routine!

I’ve had a few mamas asked about my bedtime routine with Calvin and sleep training. First I will say this, Calvin has been a great sleeper since he was born which made creating a bedtime routine easier. My first advice, find a routine that works for your family, my routine is centered around my husband’s work schedule and when Calvin is most tired. Think about your schedule, babies feeding times, when is he or she most tired? and what soothes baby?. Because I’ve been bottle feeding Calvin since he was born it was also easier to slowly remove night feeds, he was sleeping through the night by 4 months. Also, babies go through a sleep regression, which means at some point they revert back to waking up at night out of nowhere. During this period we kept our routine and it’s been working ever since.

So this is the routine that has worked for us:

  • 8:00pm – Last meal ( usually a heavy veggie like sweet potato, squash chunks, potatoes, green beans etc)
  • 9:15pm – Bath time ( this we aim to do bath time every other night, but as Calvin starts getting older we definitely want this to be part of our every night routine)
  • 9:30pm – change into PJ’s, lights off, Night light is on, and play lullabies. ( we’ve been playing the Hillsong baby lullabies since we started this routine, along with waterfall sounds and Super Mario bro lullaby. They all soothe him depending on his mood)
  • 10pm – sitting in rocking chair and feed last bottle, give him his wubnub Paci till he falls asleep and take him over to his crib.

He usually falls asleep within 15 mins and doesn’t wake up till 8 am ish. If he wakes up earlier we pat his booty and shush him quietly, he goes back to sleep.

On really bad nights ( teething nightmares, oh those nights are truly nightmares! ) we did our same routine but since he would wake up 2 to 3 times in the middle of the night we co slept with him. He got rest and we got rest! Everyone is happy!!

Things that did not work for me, the crying method. If you’ve endured this method for more than 5 minutes, OOF Your a trooper!. We couldn’t, I remember telling my husband for nights ” he needs to cry it out! Don’t pick him up!” And I couldn’t even last 5 minutes without getting up and putting him on our bed. But I will advice that during your days of sleep training baby, picking baby up should be your last option. But that’s my opinion, find what comforts baby most. Also, doing our routine earlier. I tired a 7:30pm bedtime, but with My husband’s work schedule he would never see Calvin and that was something he felt he couldn’t do. So we kept it at 10pm. Calvin needs daddy time too!

If your a breastfeeding mommy your routine will look a little different. I know removing feedings at night can be hard especially when your boob soothes baby to sleep. I’ve read from other breastfeeding moms that this transition can be rough, so be patient with baby and yourself. Sleep training is hard boob or no boo but you’ll get there. Some moms have shared that every week they removed one breastfeed at night until baby was able to stay 6 hours without a night feeding. Remember, you’re boob might just be a soother for baby at night when their crying. Try finding something else that will soothe him or her, paci, patting, music, rocking etc. These nights will feel long but once you can get into a routine it will be smooth. Babies are able to master routines quickly as long as your constant.

Love, 

Transparent city mama


BookRoo (Review)

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Growing up reading was not my thing, I didn’t like it nor was I good at it. I remember that my teachers would only get me to read if I would listen to the audio version of the book. Those were fun memories. Anyways, while I was pregnant I was already buying my favorite childhood books for Calvin. The Giving Tree was my first on the list! Guys, is it just me or does that book not make you cry! I can never get to the end without sobbing!

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@bookroo_love is a subscription for kids that helps them fall in love with reading by combining the excitement of opening gifts with discovery of new, treasured books. I really enjoyed opening each book myself, I can’t imagine a kid. So much excitement.

Bookroo offers three types of boxes, board book ( ages 0-3), picture books ( ages 2-6) and chapter books (ages 7-10). Every month is a new surprise for books! I personally loved each one of these books and Calvin loved the touch feel book. I’m excited to make these three books part of our reading time. Each one is so unique. The ” Planes, Trains and  Animobiles ” book teaches children about different animals and different ways of transportation, it’s funny and cute. Calvin loves when I add noise effects to each new animal we meet. The ” Eyes” book is filled with vivid colors, each page displays the detail in each animal’s eyes. Great book to teach babies to identify their eyes. My favorite of all is the touch and feel ” Animals” book. Calvin loves touching the different textures inside the book, this is also his first touch and feel book. Anyways, did you notice a pattern in each book? yes, they were all about animals. Every month you can look forward to a new theme. I truly believe this box is worth the subscription, I hope that Calvin loves reading as much as I do and this box will bring that excitement for reading.

New favorites delivered monthly!

 

<a href=”https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1068525&u=1826122&m=66323&urllink=&afftrack=”>Bookroo’s Junior Box</a>