As our family prepares for the arrival of Baby number 4, I have been reflecting a lot on our journey as parents and how each of our pregnancies and births have transformed us.
Our first born is Yolehua Luna Parra Cano, born on April 26, 2013! Our much anticipated chiquita who shares her birthday with her Tio Sergio, Prima Vicky and buddy Juventino.
Her pregnancy was a difficult one early on as I would bleed often, making 4 trips to the ER within the first trimester. Being my first pregnancy, I had the slightest idea of what was “normal”. Having braces at the time, the second and third trimester were interesting as I developed sleep apnea which lead to choking and loosing bodily function. I was then treated as asthmatic and given antibiotics twice to deal with whatever “infection” I had going on.... oh and I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes early on after I asked for an early exam. Gaining 25 pounds in only a number of weeks was not normal for me.
During this time I worked full time at a local nonprofit, rested what I could and still drove to multiple sites across the state to check on our programs. I tried being present as much as possible within our ceremony community and wanted to make sure our chiquita felt loved. We also got married during our first trimester which was fun when it came to fitting my wedding dress!! It was a beautiful ceremony filled with love and Yolehua was with us during that time.
I had been seeing a nurse midwife that worked within a hospital setting along with my OB. She soon refused to work with me since “she couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me” prior to being diagnosed with sleep apnea. I liked my OB at the time but was disappointed with this birthworker.
Finally at 38 weeks and a few days, I went for a regular weekly visit with my OB at 10:30 am. She checked my cervix for dialation.... OUCH!!! Why did that hurt so much?!?!? I asked her what she did and she said “you’re 2 cm dialated and I stripped your membranes, they’ll be waiting for you in L&D”. I was freaking out!!! I hadn’t prepared or even packed anything for the hospital. I was alone!! She didn’t wait for the hubby to get there and was quick to send me off!! Brian finally met me at her office and we drove home to prepare.
Since I didn’t feel anything yet, we picked up my mom and went to lunch at Comedor Guadalajara. We took our time and eventually made it to the hospital around 2 pm. Luckily we ate something since I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for the next 24 + hours.
Hospital staff began with placing a gel to help thin my cervix... hours later they began the pitocin drip (which we didn’t want, as it had been written on our birth plan). The next morning, they checked my cervix and I was at 6cm. Yay!! But no, they decided to break my water. This caused for Yolehua to loose all liquid and she couldn’t move, she was stuck. They placed more fluid inside to move her but by this time, they felt that her abdomen would be too large to pass through my birth canal. By 4 pm, the doctor on call asked me if I was “throwing in the towel” and wanting a cesarean. I wanted to choke her!!!! I looked at Brian and told him he needed to handle her ASAP!! I yelled asking for my OB right away!! Within a few minutes, my Doctor came in and asked if I was ready for surgery. By this time I just wanted to hold my baby, disappointed by the experience so far and the ridiculous doctor on call.
I was given the first epidural to prep for the cesarean. Within a few minutes, I needed a second epidural since my body had already burned off the first. As I was placed on the table to head to the OR. My body went into shock and I got the craziest shakes I had ever felt. They gave me something for the shakes that eventually made my drowsy and not able to hold Yolehua right away.
When they started prepping me in the OR, I still felt everything! I felt the movements they made, I felt Yolehua inside and can feel the coldness of then iodine. They poked me to check for numbness, I told them I felt it, they increased some meds and sliced away. Since I had labored prior to them slicing, Yolehua was stuck and they began pumping/ pushing down on my stomach to love her. I felt her kicking and fighting them as they pulled her out of my womb... I felt her little kicks leaving my body.
By this time, I began praying and singing ceremony songs to myself to distract from what was happening to my body. Later Brian mentioned that he got scared as he saw my uterus being stitched up on a table and not inside my body.
Brian was able to cut her umbilical cord and hold her for the first time. He brought her to me so I could meet her and then they were both sent off to recovery. I paid there for what felt like forever as I was being stitched up. Once taken into recovery, I saw Brian having skin to skin time with Yolehua as he was singing medicine songs to her. He asked if I wanted to hold her but I couldn’t. Physically my body had gone through so much and the medication they gave me for the shakes didn’t allow my arms to move yet. I had to wait to hold her and nurse her.
While in recovery, my mom and sisters came to see us and meet Yolehua. The rest is a blur. I’m sure there is much more that I don’t remember but this stuck with me for a year!!
Within a few days were were back home. Learning and adjusting to being parents. Learning how to care for a newborn and learning how to breastfeed her. After two weeks, from one day to the next, my milk production completely stopped!! That’s when I felt the baby blues kicking in!!
First, I felt I had failed in being able to birth my daughter vaginally, traumatized by our hospital experience and now I couldn’t feed her like I had wanted to. Second, I had to adjust to no longer being able to pack up and hit the road whenever I wanted to... I couldn’t physically move yet and had healing to do! My mom would bring over oatmeal every morning for me but other than that, I felt isolated!
After my 8 weeks of medical leave were up, I went back to work and Brian stayed home with Yolehua. I was being laid off after being with his company for over 10 years!! The CEO told me “you had bad timing getting pregnant” and said I had 2 weeks to close things out. I left his office, sat in my car and cried. Adding more to mourn for this new momma!! Then I was angry!! After a long and positive career I was given the boot for being a mother. F*#@k them!!!
For those last two weeks, I got my financials in order, finished off things professionally and planned to be a stay-at-home Mom.
I can honestly say that this experience took a solid year to heal from both physically and psychologically. No one told me of things that happen during pregnancy, labor and birth. No one had mentioned what they do during a cesarean. No one told me how painful it is to breastfeed at the beginning. No one told me about what happens to your body postpartum... and hair loss, omg!!! There was nothing.
Postpartum was such a tragic time for me the first time around!! I felt lost and didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. The only thing that kept me going was my beautiful baby girl!! The one we had prayed for... the one that lifted our spirits, our beloved Yolehua. ❤️