Tonaliztli Mitohtiani Parra Cano was born at 9:02 am on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018!
After our experience with Ayocoyani, Brian and I had many conversations about how we felt and how to heal from our grief. We spoke to family members local and out of state who shared their own experiences with loss and they suggested that we try for Baby #4. I was not ready yet, we were not ready yet. This went on for a few months.
After shedding tears while we had conversations (on the freeway I might add lol) while running errands for the shop, we finally realized that we were both yearning for a new spirit... Brian mentioned it, I said “me too” and that was it lol.... within 2-3 weeks I was pregnant!! An our new adventure began!! Lol
Knowing from our previous experiences, I immediately made an appointment with my ob who already knew that I wanted insulin to treat my diabetes from the very beginning. I didn’t want to risk having another loss! She then chose to co-manage my pregnancy with a high risk doctor who can monitor us closely.
Our initial visit with the specialist was at 6 weeks, blood work had been completed and Brian and I were anxious to hear what the plan was with him. Our first appointment was intense for us. We had an ultrasound and they confirmed our pregnancy. That’s when they said “if you’re still pregnant in 2 weeks, we’ll do another ultrasound and check gestational age”.... my heart sank thinking of the possibility of NOT being pregnant in 2 weeks. We met with the specialist who explained that I carried antibodies in my blood. Antibodies that could potentially harm the baby and lead to a blood transfusion for the baby while in utero if it was needed, I just had to make it to 20 weeks for them to check my blood levels and go from there. Every ultrasound made us nervous, I wouldn’t breathe until I saw the heart beating and finally relaxed. We took this pregnancy week by week!!
Early on, I bled a few times and was scared. I had been in the ER about 3 times by week 7. My body was tired and drained already. I had round ligament pain and my uterus felt really low already. I was using my rebozo for support and was told to rest what I could. After being in the ER the last time, I saw our beloved womb worker who consulted with her madrina about me and my pregnancy. I received a call within a few minutes and sat with her madrina, who spoke to me and worked with me to recognize the disconnect I was feeling with my baby. Out of fear of loosing her, I wasn’t allowing my heart to connect with her. It made me sad to think that subconsciously and without knowing, I was putting this energy onto myself and my baby. We worked through it that evening and the next morning I woke up feeling a different energy, I was lighter and was ready to move forward!!
The following 13 weeks meant two appointments a week to the specialist. I was not to lift anything heavy and be in bed as much as possible. Finally, at 20 weeks I was able to move more.... we were half way there!!! Baby was growing and doing well!! My diabetes was being well managed (by me) and my A1C was at a 5.5!
I was being seen monthly by an awesome womb worker, I was taking time to see a chiropractor and was learning so much from our local indigenous birthworkers about herbs to use during pregnancy and postpartum. I felt great!
I didn’t bleed again until I was 36 weeks. That same week we decided to switch providers who would deliver at the hospital 3 minutes away from our house and that would allow us a “trial of labor “ when the other doctor wouldn’t and wanted to schedule our repeat cesarean.
The following week meant a pelvic exam where the doctor would check to see what my cervix was up to. It was painful! I yelled and my cervix was completely thinned out! I was excited! My body was doing what I was suppose to... finally!!! The doctor said that if I went into labor naturally, he wouldn’t stop it and let me birth vaginally.
The next 3 weeks, we were on baby watch, anxious to go into “spontaneous labor” and work with our CoMadritas from the Cihuapactli Collective to form our birthing support team. I made sure my blood pressure was good and would drink my nettles and dandelion teas to help. Labor never started on its own.
On February 19th at 39 weeks, we went into the doctors office for a balloon induction, then went straight to the hospital for observation. A nurse would come in every hour to add more and more saline to the balloon to help open up my cervix and begin active labor. Once the max amount of saline was placed, I was checked for dialation. It was painful, I cried, and the balloon was yanked out of me... I yelled!! Next was the pelvic check, I yelled again!! Due to a tilted uterus, my cervix was so far off to the side that 3 different doctors couldn’t reach it. My doctor then suggested an epidural to help me with the pain.
We waited for the anesthesiologist to come in and expected it to be quick. It was fast but it didn’t work! They checked me again. It was painful but more tolerable. I wasn’t suppose to feel anything but the epidural wasn’t working. They called the anesthesiologist back, he tried and poked me another 4-6 times and decided to call his much more experienced colleague in to try. Once he came in, he poked me another 4-6 times and finally said that he wasn’t able to place the epidural. In his 30+ years as an anesthesiologist, he had only seen one other person like me... but that was 25 years ago! He asked if I was diné and if I had scoliosis. I said no, but we shared a similar genetic lineage. He finally gave up and didn’t want to cause more harm with leaving the epidural in my back.
I was told by the doctors that I had two options. First, going for the vbac without medication and risk an emergency cesarean OR I could have the cesarean under general anesthesia. I was scared! I didn’t want to risk the baby! I didn’t want her in distress if my body didn’t do what it needed to naturally. I wanted her out but feared being put under. What if I didn’t wake up?!?!? What would happen to my babies?!? What about Brian?!? I had all these thoughts in my mind and heart... I cried! I just wanted to hold my girls, I wanted to see them again. I wanted to wake up and see Brian!! Every time I think back, I cry. It was truly terrifying for me.
They gave us a few hours to think about what we wanted. The team of doctors and anesthesiologists came in to answer our questions. I asked about the risks, how would the procedure go and so on. Brian asked if he could be present in the OR and was told no. They left and we finally decided on the cesarean.
At 8 am the next morning, our doctor came in to chat with us. He said he recommended the cesarean, Brian asked for a timeline (we wanted someone from our birth team present for support) and the doctor said NOW! They had us pack up the room, I was taken to get prepped, Brian kissed me and I was off. I was taken into the OR, I was put on the operating table and was shaking. I was scared! My body wouldn’t stop shaking!!! They gave me oxygen and told me to breathe. The started scrubbing my belly and I just told myself “close your eyes and go to sleep” this was the last thing I remembered.
Brian was able to go into the OR, I think the doctor felt bad about how things were going for us and allowed him in. He said I was intubated and sat next to me until the baby was born then they rushed both of them out of the OR. I woke up sitting up and feeling the immense pain!!!! I started yelling “it hurts, I can feel it”. Someone forgot to give me the pain meds before waking me up!!!! While in recovery, the nurse was still trying to track down the medication!!! It felt like an hour but Brian said is was about 20-30 mins that I sat there without any type of pain medication for the cesarean. I couldn’t see straight because of the pain... a nurse comes up and grabs my breasts to get some colostrum for the baby... it hurt!! Brian kept trying to hand me the baby but I couldn’t take her. I was in so much pain!! Finally, a little pill arrived and we were taken into our room. I was plugged onto all the monitors and was given more pain meds. I don’t know how long it had been but I was finally able to hold my baby after a few hours. I felt as if a bus had run me over!! I then began to nurse my baby girl.... she latched great! I was excited.
The next few days went by really fast. I was becoming engorged with my milk supply, my blood pressure began rising a bit. Blood was taken to check for postpartum preeclampsia, which I had with Quizani. Everything came back fine but my blood pressure was in the 150s. We were released on Friday evening. We came home to our girls who were so excited for their baby sister!!
That weekend, I was so engorged that Tonaliztli couldn’t properly latch on... she bit the tip of my nipples off, there was blood and tears as a result. I decided to stop breastfeeding then.
A week after being released, I went back to the hospital with my blood pressure being in the 190s! I had a huge headache and knew to check my blood pressure and call the doctor.
I was given two medications in the hospital, one as a pill and the other in an IV. The IV was magnesium which is to protect my brain from a stroke or seizure due to the high blood pressure. The pill was to bring down the blood pressure. The magnesium felt terrible and caused palpitations which felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. It made me dizzy and not feel well. I had to stay overnight and was finally released on Nifedipine which is to help bring down the blood pressure for the next 30 days.
A week into the medication and I have my days were I feel great (if I sleep well) and others where I’m constantly dizzy and can’t walk on my own. I am still at risk for a seizure, stroke and even a heart attack if my blood pressure rises too much. I am lucky to have people around us to help with the girls and to keep an eye on me. We’ll get past this!!!
Tonaliztli is now a month old! I have switched medications to help with my blood pressure and it has been working great, without all the side effects and dizziness!! Yay!!! Follow up appointments to come but we are on our way to healing!