the cut has healed, but not the woman

post26_strybrd5

it all started in the bath.

it was the usual mommy and daughter ritual, (if and when we encounter a bathtub). “bathtub” you ask? yes, a good ‘ol fashioned tub. you know…a basin in the bathroom which holds water for bathing purposes? i’m not trying to insult your intelligence. although, i do sound pretty loony. like i’ve been living under a rock–kinda loony. well i sort of have in some respects. living in a teeny, tiny studio with a teeny tiny, stand-up shower can be….claustrophobic. we’ll just leave it at that. my experiences in our previous home will be left for another time. so as i was saying–bathtubs…be they at the grandparent’s or at a hotel, automatically light up our eyes. like woah! we’re so very grateful to have a fantastic one in our new florida rental. [chime in hallelujah song].

post26_strybrd1

post26_strybrd3

if i shower or bathe, it’s impossible without hubby watching izabella or us girls getting lathered up together. in this instance, we exercised our good hygiene skills with the latter. izzie loves baths these days like a fish loves water. there we were, splashing, washing, blowing bubbles, giggling and best of all, bonding. then she points down below the water, underneath my belly button and above my ‘lady bits’. her little index finger pokes my skin. she scrunches her eyebrows with concern. her lips quivering. “dat..dat”, she says and continues with an “aww”. then she inches up closer to me. her hands now open, caress my scar. “boo-boo?”, she asks with sympathy. just like that, my inquisitive toddler discovered the evidence of my c-section. my heart felt heavy at the moment. anxiety and depression creeped into that garden tub of ours. the water once warm, became a little colder. i looked into those hazel eyes and told her that it was in fact a wound. this sweet child of mine, stood up and wrapped her arms around my neck. She sat back down and inspected it once again. “ouch mama!”, she exclaimed in the most genuine matter.

how do you explain to a nineteen month old it wasn’t so much physical, as emotional pain i endured? you don’t.

you just ensure her that you once got hurt, but you’re all better now. that’s along the lines of how i responded (minus the high-pitched-cutsey baby talk). honestly the whole “mommy is okay” was also about consoling myself. am i really, truly “okay”?

the answer to that is a big fat no.

having a cesarean section was the furthest thing away from my birthing plan. in fact, an epidural wasn’t even on there either. i’m not the epitome of strength, but i wanted to give this natural, spiritual, primal and empowering birth a shot. i was wholeheartedly committed. i was moved by ricki lake’s documentary ‘the business of being born’. then hypnobirthing caught my attention in a couple of youtube videos. i was intrigued so much so, i stuck my nose inside this book. i prepared as best i could with an eight week class. i had a midwife and a husband who supported my decision for a water birth.

post26_strybrd4

since the fifth month of pregnancy, i knew about my partial placenta previa. the news for me was one part concerned, one half denial, a quarter hopeful, and another frustrated. all in all, i tried my best to shove the entire “high risk” label to the very back of my brain. even so, the occasional panic would interrupt my zen. sometimes i’d get distracted during the relaxation exercises in our practitioner’s home basement. the only good thing about my situation was the frequent ultrasounds. i had so many opportunities to see baby growing and moving. it was also a reminder of just how stubborn my placenta was. specialists were measuring its position and the distance away from my cervix. sometimes i’d daydream of reaching in and manually moving it. (i know TMI! not the most pleasant visual)

what can i say? i was desperate and pretty obsessed with babies, birthing and breastfeeding in the most cliche/ idyllic matter. i wanted to be a mother since i could probably say the word ‘mother’.

post26_strybrd2

as i grew, so did my curiosity and desires to fulfill this rite of passage. ever since the sixth grade (not even exaggerating), i’d religiously watch episodes of tlc’s ‘a baby story’ with amazement and a tissue in hand. i was all like–“how do they do that?” or “how can i do that?” and “how will i endure this? there were a lot of “wows and awws” and “that’s what i want!” followed by “how beautiful“. it was the most intense and incredible thing i’d ever watched. not just on a television, but in person. i witnessed my sister’s all-natural birth. from the first surge (that’s hypnobirthing lingo for ‘ya! it’s an alternative word for contraction) to the final push. when the midwife placed my bare-naked, crying nephew on his mother’s exposed chest, i literally burst into tears. i mean ridiculously, hysterically bawling.

it was a miracle and it was breathtaking. i always hoped to experience it myself.

six, seven, eight and nine months went by. no progress whatsoever. “mrs. molczan, we’re scheduling you for a cesarean section in two weeks”. everything and everyone seemed to fade into the background. i felt as if i was in the charlie brown cartoon. gradually the protocol and procedures explained were sounding like gibberish.”so and so from here and there will be something something. blah, blah and blah. ummmm um um. errrrrr. something something and blah. blah blah. wha wah wha. okay–any questions?

my dreams officially escaped my grasp at the thirty-seventh mark. for the next fourteen days, i was anxious yet excited to meet our daughter. i was thankful for doctors and modern technology and their ability to detect life-threatening conditions. yet, defeat came along for a looooong ride. all my research, planning and efforts were pointless. my fears of major surgery would soon be a reality.

[my birthing/ delivery story would be appropriate here. i’ll also reserve that for yet another post.]

post26_strybrd6

this scar should be my badge of honor, but i’m not quite ready to wear it with pride. it has nothing to do with vanity, but of what it negatively represents. this incision is one which reminds me of the struggles izzie and i endured. everything from my birthing disappointment, my breastfeeding woes, her serve colic/ reflux troubles and my postpartum depression.

but this scar is also…

where my beautiful, healthy and happy little girl came out of. if i concentrate on that, maybe i can completely let go of my resentment. my c-section and the effects of the surgery were difficult to accept. it still is. even nineteen months after the fact.

it’s just going to take more time i suppose.

raquel

entering a new decade

post22_strybrdHeader

my twenties consisted of college, graduation, marriage, and having our baby girl, izabella. that decade will always be special for those reasons. alot happened in those ten years–mostly sweet memories but also some bitter moments too. growing pains, struggles and  heartbreak just to name a few. there were big milestones but also big disappointments. sometimes it felt like i was taking five steps forward and two steps back [gasp]. nonetheless, i’m here. i made it to the big 3-0, thanks to my loved ones and God’s mercy. you know that saying “you live and you learn”?  i’d like to think the learning part, is what you do while transitioning into your thirties. don’t get me wrong, my troubles are far from over and my flaws are a sight for sore eyes. despite my weaknesses, i’ve matured through the years.

post22_strybrd4

her kisses melt my heart. it’s exactly what i needed on such a cold, snowy day. i wish i could keep them in my back pocket whenever we’re apart. which i hope is never, but surely she’ll need to fly out of the nest. someday ;-)

i recently embarked on a journey of self-discovery. it’s been liberating but also quite scary. losing sight of that shore can be intimating. yet when i explored beyond the horizon, i expanded my perspective. i become more informed about myself, the people in and out of life and those things which float somewhere in between. it hasn’t been smooth sailing, if you know what i mean. not everything i discovered was lovely. i’m still working on accepting those realities–those things which i can’t change. the ugly truth is still ugly, even with the rosiest colored-glasses. it’s a part of the risk of exploring unknown territory. it’s probably why some people may never leave their comfort zone. yes, i’d agree…ignorance is bliss, but you can’t disagree that knowledge is power. when you know better, you do better. i’m feeling wiser and more confident about my decisions. a little more book smart and hopefully, more street smart too.

goodbye twenty-nine! it was nice knowing you.

post22_strybrd7

^^^ these two kids over here. they love to play. all the time. supergirl izzie pretends she has super-duper strength and can defeat even the world’s strongest man. they also enjoying “rarr-ing” at each other while playing catch and hide-and-go-seek. the latest is the over-dramatic, fake cough to get daddy’s attention.

hello thirty!

you came to me with a bang blizzard, a northeastern snow storm on the exact date of my birthday. what are the odds of that?! even weirder, was the name. ‘nemo’, as in the clown fish from the disney animated movie, ‘ finding nemo’ (at least that’s what comes to my mind). i couldn’t help but ponder of the symbolism of this, because that’s what i do–think and over-think things. i blame my anxiety and attention to detail [big sigh]. so anyway…before getting carried away into another direction, (i may also have slight ADD <—- the downfall of being a creative) i wanted to share the words of dory:

“when life gets you down, you know whatcha got do? just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming.”

post22_strybrd8

if only you could hear that laugh. it’s the type of laugh, a parent would do anything for. even the most embarrassing things. this is not one of them. thankfully!

even though dory was the fun, forgetful, care-free fish in the film, her sayings were meaningful. i know this is a silly kid’s movie, but there’s something more substantial and identifiable, especially for me. it’s hard! life, that is. it’s really, really hard sometimes. like unbearable-knock-you-off-your-feet, sort of hard. there’s loss and life threatening situations. like the kind Marlin had when his son, nemo was taken away from him. the majority of the movie is a loving father overcoming obstacles, conquering the sea and his fears in order to rescue his child. which he does, by the way (sorry–spoiler alert!) but not without feeling hopeless and defeated in the process. a caring friend (dory) reminds him to continue forward and have faith. she even gives (the above quote) a catchy, slightly annoying ring to it (almost a song), as she swims by his side. that is the same tune which played in my head, every time i heard about the storm. i also added my own words, “i must keep moving. i must push forward. i have to. i need to”.

post22_strybrd5

if it seems like my locks got (even) shorter, that’s because it did! i figured my big birthday storm should be paired with an extreme haircut to match.

post22_strybrd6

^^^ this is how you spell L-O-V-E <3

 i’ve been telling myself this for a really long time actually. these past ten months (especially) have been a grueling boot camp. it wasn’t about finishing first, but about raw, hard-core survival. i gave it all i had and stayed focused, even when i had my moments of despair. i had that initial adrenaline rush, but then it wore off. perhaps, my pace slowed down. maybe i had to take breaks every now and then. perhaps i needed extra support when i did fall. i’m human. i’m not a robot and i’m surely not superwoman (although that would be fantastic). i may have trouble catching up with others, mostly because i’ve been injured and i’m still recovering. i have my limitations and perhaps that’s due to the muddy paths and dangerous terrain i’ve encountered. i’m not as fast or feeling as strong as i used to, but i still have determination. slow and steady…slow and steady wins the race.

post22_strybrd9

note to self: baby should have a snow suit on, even if it’s just for a couple minutes. i’m paying dearly for this mommy fail. poor izzie has been sick since then :(

post22_strybrd14

i was told that “noo” is a delicious, refreshing snack.

so there i was, snowed-in and reminiscing on my special day. i’d gotten this far with a massive blizzard to mark the entrance into my thirties. to tell you the truth, i was feeling a little down in the morning. i’m not a fan of cold weather or the snow. what can i say– i’m a winter baby stuck in a summer baby’s birth date. there i was, sipping coffee watching the snow fall. i was thinking back to the whirlwind of my twenties, while also going seventy-five miles ahead. my poor brain was hurting! my heart was hurting too, because i was getting emotional. i saw a parallel with the unexpected, unpleasant times of my life with this storm. it reminded me of the hardships. when it snows, it snows….or something along those lines, right?

post22_strybrd10

izabella is a july baby who loves the snow! …and i’m a february baby who isn’t the biggest fan :-/

post22_strybrd2

^^^ that’s a film camera my hubby is using. yes, you read correctly….film! it’s a vintage 1981 canon. we can’t wait to see the developed prints!

it also made me think about the big production of this day. it wasn’t a regular ‘ol friday. no, it was news-worthy and memorable. it was nothing short of  dramatic and eventful. it made me think even harder and deeper. sometimes storms push us forward, if we dare to go with the current. sometimes we go off course, because we try to avoid it all together. i’m no surfer (or swimmer for that matter), but i know one basic rule: if you don’t want to be swallowed and spit out by a gigantic wave, you need to surrender to it. i hope this birthday storm of mine is a sign. a foreshadowing of this new chapter of my life: it will be big and bold in the most positive way. i can’t say “adieu” to my umbrella or my snow boots. i know storms come and go with each passing season. what i am hoping, believing and praying, is that better days are in the forecast.

post22_strybrd11

my sweethearts. i love them to the moon and back!

so what’s a beach lovin’ girl to do a very wintry day? why, she cuddles with her husband and daughter and plays with the fluffy white stuff. “if you can’t beat them, join them”…is what i say.

post22_strybrd1

okay, so i had a little fun too :)

despite it all, boy–i’m a lucky girl! i really do count my blessings and seeing these pictures, makes me all the more thankful. watching the wonder in my daughter’s eyes, the love she shared with us and the extra hugs and kisses made my day special. birthday calls from family, facebook wishes, yummy cake and beautiful roses were the perfect ending to the beginning of a new and exciting decade.

post22_strybrd13

these were the most cheery, orange-hued flowers for such a wintery occasion. just gorgeous!

how did you spend winter storm memo? hopefully it was safe and warm surrounded by the ones you love.

raquel

1 holiday down, 1 more to go (before the new year that is)

i was finally able to sort through some thanksgiving pictures.

i can’t mentality prepare myself and start blogging about christmas, without posting these first. actually, i have a love/ hate relationship with christmas decorations and music bombarding me before thanksgiving. i can appreciate the love for all things merry and bright. on the other hand, i can get quite overwhelmed. maybe it’s my anxiety, slight OCD, or that fact i know about the marketing tactics to get consumers to overspend. no, i’m not a grinch, in fact i secretly fantasize about festive decorating and entertaining. just check out my pinterest.

um….can you say obsessed? yeah, pretty much.

here is a small glimpse of what our evening looked like.

i love them so much! and this family photograph isn’t too shabby either.

cheers to new beginnings and better days ahead

there was a happy baby because she was carried from one arm to the next. also because of two dogs who she chased around, hugged and kissed. they might of been the best thing since her beloved pacifier. these two furry friends were so sweet with all the licking and cuddling. thanks jack and toby for being such great companions. i know they got their end of the bargain with all the food izabella was feeding them. there was a full house filled with multicultural food and languages. the dinner consisted of traditional all-american staples, authentic italian wine and food, as well as some polish dishes. it was simply divine and there was lots of it!  * i must note that leftovers are a blessing and a curse all at the same time. i feel my jeans are a bit snug since then.

the two things lacking from our celebration was hispanic food, like pernil (a traditional and amazing roasted pork shoulder enjoyed by dominicans during the holidays). unfortunately, that along with my side of the family was missed greatly. this year was spent with my husband’s family and friends, some of which we haven’t seen in years. it’s often said a picture is worth a thousand words. sometimes that is so true. and sometimes, it just isn’t. the combination and dynamics of in-laws, blended families, and relationship histories can be quite complicated. behind every smile, (as genuine as they may be) is personal baggage. everyone has their expectations, their struggles and a story to tell. i believe this manifests itself even more so during the holidays. you can read more about my thoughts here.

despite the possibility of things turning into a big mess, it didn’t. i’m grateful for that. and these days i really need to count every bit of blessing that comes my way. like right now for example, my baby girl finally surrendered for a nap after a very long struggle. it’s a relief, when mama gets a little break to make a quick lunch and work on her blog. sometimes it’s the little things that get me by these days. If you haven’t already, check out my previous post with a random list of other goodies i’m thankful for.

Until next time,

R

p.s – let the countdown to christmas (officially) begin!