On Becoming a Parent

So, for those of you wondering how Emmalee's birth went down, here is the story:

We went to the doctor's Friday December 14. I was hoping to hear the doctor say we would be having our baby girl pretty soon. EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, said my baby would be coming before her due date, almost like a promise. Well, it's a promise I was fully hoping for as long as she did not come before December 9 which was the day my mom was arriving from Panama. Nope, The doctor said the baby was not coming anytime soon and he would be seeing me again December the 21st maybe to induce labour on the 23th! Well, I started taking everyone's advice on things that could induce labour sooner and found myself drinking tons of cinnamon tea and taking long walks.

It was 2 am December 16 when my contractions kicked in. I was having 30 sec contractions every 5 minutes. "Wow, she really is punctual," I thought to myself since the 16th was her due date. Yes! I won't have to spend Christmas in the hospital and I really don't want my daughter having her birthday on such an inconvenient date. The doctor had told me not to go running to the hospital right away because if I had no dilatation they would send me back home. I waited till the contractions became more often and stronger and decided to head to the hospital al 9am. I was admitted and since I had no dilation I was sent back home :(.
The rest of the day the contractions came farther apart in time but much stronger. The doctor told me to go back to the hospital if the contractions got closer together.

At 3 am December 17 the contractions were back to 5 minutes apart but much stronger in duration and pain. I called my doctor to tell him I couldn't take it anymore and to please admit me to the hospital. He was at another childbirth at a nearby hospital, so he asked me to wait for him in the emergency room of that hospital. In the ER of Hospital San Jorge I was checked by the on-call doctor who informed me I had 3cm of dilation. "That's good," I thought to myself, "Progess!" All of a sudden I realized my water just broke. "Yes! This means I am truly on labour this time!" The doctor came down to the ER around 4 am and told us we had 5cm dilation. "Amazing. 2 cm in less than 2 hours. And they say the last cm are the fastest! Thank You God," I prayed.

We transferred to Viera Hospital which is where we planned having the baby. The contractions had now began getting closer and stronger and stronger. I think I got really close to breaking one of Rodol's fingers. Rodol was the only one admitted to be inside with me while we waited for the time of delivery. I don't know if it is true or the pain was just so much, but I think those contractions were every two minutes with a 1 minute duration each.
I stared at Rodol and started crying "I can't do this. I can't do it anymore. Please get me an epidural."
This was around 6 am. The doctor asked me to be strong because an epidural could cause problems when the time to push came. I decided to be strong and keep holding on. At 7 am the doctored checked me again. "Please, God, please let me be at 7 or 8cm dilation. Please," I begged the Lord in my head.
"6 cm," said the doctor. He might have said 1cm and the disappointment would have been the same. From 4 am to 7 am I had dilated one cm.
"I can't do this," I cried again to my husband, as I twist and tilt of pain grasping his hand almost falling from the bed.
"Yes you can! You can do all things through Him Who gives you strength!" he replies.
"It doesn't apply!"
"It specially applies!"

Breathing through each contraction is getting harder and harder as each one becomes longer and more painful. My husband breathes with me so I can follow his lead. I'm able to do this during 4 to 5 contractions when I reach a breaking point and I begin to scream and moan on the next one to come.
"No crying! Breathe!" The stern voice of my husband brings me back to my senses. "Breathe! Just a little longer and it will soon be over. Just hang in there."
I regained composure and the cycle began again: 6 contractions breathing and 1 of desperation!
It is 9:30am. The doctor is gonna check again.
"Please, God, let him say we are at 8! Please let it be 8! Let it be 8 I beg You!"
My heart had dropped so low I could feel it in my stomach.
6cm! 6cm still!!
"I'm sorry. We can't do it any longer. You need a C-Section," says the doctor, trying to say it in a way I won't lose my mind.

I turn to my husband as I mouth "I'm sorry." When I'm finally able to speak I say "I couldn't do it after all" with tears flowing down.
"You tried." my husband tried to comfort me. "You did your best. No one can argue that. I'm proud of you."

With the realization that all that pain was in vain, I no longer had restraint. Every contraction that followed made me cry and moan and even scream a little. Rodol was still trying to get me to breathe while the nurses prepped me for the OR but my mind is lost.
I had never been in an OR before. I'm scared. Rodol couldn't go in with me anymore.
"They are going to stick a needle as long as my finger on my spinal cord!" I think to myself.
"Will it hurt?" I sobbingly asked the anesthesiologist.
"No more than your contracions," she replies. Very comforting because I'm no longer afraid.
She was right. It hurt far less than my contractions. Now, without any pain, I laid there disappointed and motionless. I was so sad that this is happening I forget about the baby.
And then I heard her.
"She's crying. She's crying so hard. She's here. She is finally here!" I think to myself as tears began to flow.
All the disappointment from before was gone and my heart was so full it feels like coming out of my chest.
"She is completely healthy and beautiful," the anesthesiologist who hasn't left my side told me.
And then I saw her!
My first words: "She is so hairy!"
They just placed her beside my head for a few seconds and took her away.
"Thank You God. Thank You. This was all that mattered," I prayed as I dozed of the rest of the surgery.

 Those who visited barely spent time with me as they all couldn't stop staring at the baby downstairs. They can only see her through a window for no one is allowed to touch her. It doesn't matter much; she is so beautiful they were all mesmerized
I was able to touch her the next day when I could finally stand up.
Only mommy was allowed inside to be with her. Poor daddy and grandma only watch from outside.
Parenthesis (Please excuse mommy's tired face)

At 4pm of the second day I began having a really strong headache. The headache was so strong that it hurt in the back of my eyes and I could barely see. The pain got stronger depending on my heads position, and it hurt more when I was breastfeeding. This pain tortured me for 5 days until I finally went back into the OR to have it fixed. I had a post lumbar puncture headache. You can read more of that here. I had the blood patch done on me. Thank God the procedure reduced my headache 90% almost immediately and I was able to enjoy my time feeding Emmalee.

Being a parent has been amazing. This frightful story becomes nothing when I get to stare into my beautiful baby girl's eyes. She keeps us up all night, even when she is not crying (Paranoic mommy wakes up to check she's breathing), she makes us wonder why she cries and we run all randomly trying to figure it out, we are still scared when giving her a bath, and we can't believe how little her finger nails are.
I would do it all over again and I regret nothing.

I was beginning to sing "Your Love is Strong" by Jon Foreman to her to make her sleep but when I sang the first lines "Heavenly Father, You always amaze me" I looked at her and was astounded by how truly amazed I was by my Heavenly Father with the preciousness of my daughter that I began to cry.

Dear Father,
You always amaze me. Your faithfulnes is forever with me and it humbles me and brings me to tears and joy.
I know this child is not mine and she is borrowed. May I raise her in Your ways and teach her to live a life that brings You glory. But before teaching her that, give me the grace and wisdom to show it to her. I love You, Father and Rodol and I praise You for our beautiful Emmalee.

 first time in dad's arms

 with my beautiful grandma


Fruitty-themed Baby Shower

I know a baby shower should not be planned by the mom, but I love party-planning so much my dear friends and family gave me the pleasure of planning mine. However, they got all my ideas and made them happen without me having to worry about anything. I have to say, the baby shower was more than I could have imagined and I loved every minute of it.

Isn't the "baby shower" banner beautiful?? My dearest Jenny made it!
Thank you Rodrigo for helping me put everything up. 

For party favors we had lemon curd.. Mmmm! The watermelon  pops look cute

The sweet pizza looks gorgeous (and the taste was amazing)! This one was done by my mother-in-law and decorated by my sweet friends Dela and Izell

The cupcakes were also fruity-inspired being lemon and orange flavored. And I'm so happy we had the rainbow fruitty kebbabs!

You can't appreciate them much on this pic but we have frozen fruitty popsicles and choco bananas!

Thank you Mely for the juice dispensers and the lovely lemonade and pink lemonade! 

Another banner by Jenny welcoming our baby Girl!

Isn't the fruitty baby funny? He was a total success in the party :P

The centerpieces where simple and cute

 The mommy to be oh so happy
It was a mixed baby shower so daddy was also a part of it!

Everything was wonderful and the guest even commented on how healthy and yummy everything was! 
The games were also a great hit:
We started with Dela's word soup. It was alot of fun. 
Then we had Jenny's dirty diaper game

 it's a chocolaty dirty diaper but dad likes to play the part. 

Then we had Izell's multitasking mom challenge: carry the baby, talk on the phone, and hang the clothes.

We ended with Denise's pictionary
My lovely Denise is a med-student. Oh the words she made us draw o.O

And prayer time praying for Emmalee

After the prayer time we enjoyed the delicious dinner my dear Aunts prepared for us. 

 Aren't they all gorgeous!

And then we all enjoyed the a photobooth with props made by Izell

 My Ulloa family
 Mi amiwo!
my coworkers!
 my lovely ladies!
 Danny and Jenny
 and Dela!
mommy and daddy 
like a sir! 
 Izell and Eduardo
 My Zelaya Family! My Father-in-law is hillarious

I want to end with a note on gratitude, since I'm overflowing with it:

Gratitude, the conscious and heartfelt expression of appreciation and thankfulness is the number one best antidote for dissatisfaction. Greed says I must have more; gratitude counters with I have more than enough. Greed says My life is pathetic; gratitude says I am so blessed. Greed steals joy; gratitude restores it.
Authentic and heartfelt gratitude can hush up insatiable desires and negative att

For instance you can hate your job, hate the boss, hate the people, hate the commute and hate the work. Or you can be genuinely grateful that you have a job today. You can learn to appreciate everything about that job, even the distasteful aspects because they build your character, tolerance and compassion.

No matter what the situation, you choose your focus. If you choose fear and anger, expect depression and misery. If you choose to respond with a grateful heart, expect hope, satisfaction and joy. Yes joy,
even in the midst of adversity. (Mary Hunt)

Thanks to everyone who helped and cooked and decorated and made this day soooo special and wonderful!

God Bless!


The lifestyle I seek

Yesterday my husband, sister, and father shamelessly made fun of me when I assured them I would not scream while giving birth.
I don't blame them because I am a known pampered cry-baby that makes quite the scandal at the doctor's office. I've been embarassing my mom and even my husband with my tantrums even as an adult :S. I happily report that since I've been married I've only misbehaved once at the doctors and have been a good girl ever since.
Obviously, childbirth is not nearly at the pain level for which I've screamed before and thus they are in denial at my statement, but they forget how stubborn I can be when I make up my mind.
A dear co-worker told me that screaming during childbirth takes strength away from the baby. She is an even bigger cry-baby than me and if she can do it without screaming, I most certainly can.

When talking of childbirth and having a baby at home, people are always trying to discourage me from my desire for many children (I want at least more than 4). Most common remarks:
"Once you have your first child, you'll tell me if you still want those 5 or 6 kids."
"Sleep as much as you can because when the baby comes you won't sleep again."
"The cost for having children is too high. I only want two at the most and you should too."

Most common questions:
"Are you scared?"
"Do you know which daycare you'll use?"
"How are you going handle the new expenses?"

Sigh, I get discouraged, but not at my convictions, but at people's heart.
Lets talk about my convictions to get the whole picture:
1. I believe having children is a blessing not a burden.
2. I believe the job I have to do is care for my husband and my children at home.
3. I believe the school is an invention of the world and thus my children will be homeschooled as it was God's intention for a mother to educate her children.
4. Since I will educate my children, I seek to be the most prepared, qualified, and educated teacher for them through study and research (And a year of a Pedagogy Masters) and mainly study of the Word.
5. I believe that whatever need that may come my way, God is my provider, not anyone else, thus I do not worry.
6. I believe that a good help meet for any husband should cut costs in any way she cans. Thus, I'm planning a garden of veggies and berries, I am a prolific DIYER, I learn how to sew, I learn how to cook, I seek the grreener alternative to everything, and I do the work I can myself. So, if I can make it homemade, I'll make it homemade (This includes cleaning products). If I can use non-disposable,budget-saving, but time-consuming diapers, I'll take the time.

I'm sad there aren't many men and women, christian and non-christian, seeking this lifestyle.
Most newly couples say they need to wait till their near 30's for their first child because first they need money and a house of their own. These are also the couples that say two children or less is the best way to go.
Small parenthesis (If you are a couple that fall in this category, please know I do not judge you for your choices. I'm just painting the general picture around me).
For these couples, children are expensive because schooling, clothes, and food are expensive. This is because most believe their kids HAVE to be in the most expensive schools, have to have this or that brand of clothes, and shop at the grocery store or eat out.

There are alternatives!!! Why won't people take them?
Here are many reasons:
1. More children means less comodities.
Yes, it probably means you won't buy the cellphone of your dreams.

2. More children require more time and effort.
Yes, it means you get out of your comfort zone. It means you spend less time on the TV. It means you have less time to do nothing. It means you get more tired. You know what? God also promises strength for you and not more than you can handle.

3. More savings means less indulgence and more work.
Yes, you probably can't go to that beach resort you wanted to go and have to settle for a different vacation.
It means you spend the weekends working on your garden.

4. Surprisingly, most think they can't do it
People thought I wouldn't learn how to cook or how to sew and I'm already producing both. It's funny how they judge me because I will teach my own children saying I'm not suited for it but they paid me to educate THEIR children since I was a teacher for 3 years in formal schools. To these people I always say: Have you even tried? How do you know you can't sew if you've never tried? I've never tried planting a garden and I'm already sure I'll succeed on it, even if it takes me a few tries.

I believe God designed me to be a help meet. In this design, he intended for me to stay home to care for the ones in my family. This is not a prestigious job in the eyes of the world, but the job I was given by God.
Many christian men and women do not desire this for themselves. Husbands want their wives working outside making money to cover their expenses to live more "fully". Wives want to make a career and a name for themselves and even desire to be equal or higher than the men around them .
Right now I have a career and a work. Why? It is the help meet my husband needs right now while he finishes his studies.
"What if your husband still needs you to work outside?" a coworker asked me. "If it is what he requires of me and needs of me, I'll do it. I'm here to be his help meet however he needs it."
I feel blessed that I have a husband though that thinks the same way I do.
My husband understand NO ONE else will educate my children better than me.
He knows it's is a greater benefit for his family and his budget to have me home than outside.
He desires this for myself as well.
If I need to make money, I've been learning skills that would allow me to work from home, including the career I chose (I can program software from my home! ^_^).
The people who saw my nurseries proyects here all said the same thing to me: "These are so pretty you could sell them." Not the purpose for which I did them, but I'm glad God has made me resourceful.

To the remarks and questions made before:

"Once you have your first child, you'll tell me if you still want those 5 or 6 kids."
I don't see why I would change my mind on the convictions God placed in my heart.

"Sleep as much as you can because when the baby comes you won't sleep again."
Myth! Babies can be trained to sleep all through the night at 7 weeks of age (Even earlier). I've never done it and yet I know I'll succeed. Why? I've prepared myself to guide the upbringing of my children, not let them dictate what they'll do; there is plenty of research that proves they can be educated. And as I tell the unbelievers: "If I can teach my month old puppy not to pee inside, I can certainly teach my child what to do."

"The cost for having children is too high. I only want two at the most and you should too."
Thank you for the advice but I rest in God not in the economy or anything else for security. God says many children are a blessing and I believe Him and His Word before anyone elses. Plus, I'm prepared to make the sacrifices for them.

"Are you scared?"
Not at all. I'm anxious if anything. I wish the days went by quicker and Emmalee was already in my arms.

"Do you know which daycare you'll use?"
While my husband finishes his studies and he is able to fully sustain us without me having to work, she will stay with my mother-in-law, a godly women who is the best example of a help meet in my life who will teach my daughter like I would.

"How are you going handle the new expenses?"
Hard work. It doesn't scare us. I see many couples do it with 6 or more children. And so can we!

I just felt I need to share this. I pray more women take this path and make it the desire of their hearts to be homemakers. I pray they understand how important their design is for their families, society, and mainly God.

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.



My Felt Nursery Projects

I've been thinking this over and over.
Ever since I knew I was having a baby, I've been planning her nursery. 
It's only 8 weeks till she arrives, so I'm getting everything done ASAP. 
However, I've been fearful of sharing more projects with you.

Why, you ask?
I hear stories of ladies that plan nurseries and come back home from the hospital empty-handed. 
Boy, just writing that down brought so many tears to my eyes, you don't even know how many! 
What if I get really excited to come back empty-handed?
What if all these projects will be for nothing? 

Oh boy! Linda!!! Where is your faith? 
As I mentioned in a post before, my husband asked me once who I was putting my trust in. 
And as you know, I answered that just because I trust God doesn't mean the empty-handed scenario could not be in His plans. 
I was told I needed to monitor the babies movements every two hours. 
As you may well have guessed, I've been losing my mind! 
We've had two runs to the doctor's because I didn't feel her move in a lapse of 5 hours just to find out she is perfectly fine. The doctor sternly asked me to stop crying wolf! 
I think it's perfectly normal to feel like you don't want to be overly excited, but the alternative (fear and expecting disappointment) doesn't show true hope. 
So, I'm getting over myself and my dumb ol' fears. I'm chosing hope, excitement, trust, joy, and peace that God is in control and there is a bunch of people praying constantly for Emmalee's well-being. 
Ánd in that spirit of breaking free of my fears, I share with ya'll my felt nursery projects. 

Animal mobile:
Boy was photographing this project hard. 
Here are the best shots. 
 In this one you get a good look at the turtle, the lamb and the hipo. 
 And in this one you get a good look of the elephant, the owl and a little bit the giraffe. There was no pic where you could make out the giraffe well. 
And here a shot at the complete mobile! 

Door wreath:

This one I made with some cloth pieces my husband's grandma graciously collected for me. It didn't have a sign originally, but I felt it was missing something.

Here's a closeup of the sign! 
I LOVE her name ^_^

Emmalee name piece:
No idea what to call this piece. It's a project to put infront of the changing station. 
 I just knew I had to do more projects with her name! It's adorable!
And I couldn't resist adding more giraffes to the nursery. One of my favorites!

Animal Bottle Holders:
By now you must know that I'm making an animal themed nursery. When making an animal themed anything, people tend to chose between jungle animals, farm animals, or forest animals. I'm sorry, not me! There is no way I was having lovely giraffes and hipos and no pigs! And I have plenty of turtles and frogs in the mix too. 

 I drew inspiration for these from a cow with similar design some dear friends gave me for my birthday. 
Since I have a cow-themed kitchen, the cow will not be in the nursery but happily holding my honey bottle. 
forest, jungle, farm? Who cares, they are lovely! 

ABC mantle:
So this one is not finished yet. I'm still working on the frame for the mantle, but here's a preview. It is not completely animal-themed and again I have no problem mixing farm, forest, and jungle animals either.

 It'll look better with the frame but I wanted to breakdown the alphabet mantle for you.
 a: alligator, b: butterfly, c:cat, d:duck, e:elephant
 f:frog, g:giraffe, h:hipo, i:igloo, j:jet, k:kite
l:lamb, m:mouse, n:nation (no brown felt for nest and I just couldn't find anything else to put for the n. I tried). o:owl, p:pig
q:queen (I know I made a crown, forgive me), r:rhino, s:seal, t:turtle, u:unicorn, 
v:valentines, w:worm, x:xylophone, y:yo-yo, z:zebra.

Well, I'm not a photographer but I tried to capture them as best as I could. 
I hope you like them. 
I draw inspiration of things I see in the web. Here is my pinterest link so you can see where I find projects and inspiration for proyects here.

I have more project I haven't posted! Hopefully my girls are coming this next weekend to finish the mural. I hope you enjoyed my DIY rocking chair project here

Please keep praying for Emmalee and that we may all have her with us soon!!!!!!