Sunday, October 31, 2010

I don't want to buy another tube of toothpaste!!!

I thought about this today and have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks. Sasa is still in the NICU. Since we are FL residents with FL Medicaid and I gave birth in NY, we are having problems with getting an O2 monitor for us to go home. I have no idea how long it's going to take to get the monitor, but it better be before I have to buy another tube of toothpaste! I guess I'm trying to give myself a goal to get to: "We will be home before the toothpaste is finished". Do I think it will happen? Well, considering this is the third time I've said this, no. I'm struggling to get though it here. I'm in such a unique situation that I don't think anyone can relate. Yes, there are many preemie parents out there, but any who aren't even in a state bordering their home state? I don't think so. There were so many "I want to be home before..." dates including, the end of September, ...before their due date, ...sometime mid-October, ...before Halloween, and our new one ...before Thanksgiving. If I'm not home before Thanksgiving, I don't know what I'm going to do.

UPDATE 11/23/2010
We made it home on 11/9/2010. I didn't have to buy toothpaste and we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our family in FL. God is so good!

The Sunday Social Network Exchange 10/31


Friday, October 29, 2010

I Miss My Mami

While I was Blog Hopping, I came across a blog post by My Life on Haber Way She wrote about how she misses her father. I can relate to that. I lost my mother when I was 10 years old and her sudden death still impacts me today. I don't think you ever get over such a loss. Every now and then the death of my mother smacks me in the face. We missed out on so many things together, graduating high school and college, getting married, being pregnant and now my bundles of joy Sasa and Mimi. It hurts every time. Although I have an amazing family who supports and loves me, I missed out on going to my mom while I was pregnant and venting to her, asking her what it was like when she was pregnant with me. I miss my mother so much and the memories I have of her are few in number, but strong. I love my mother and sometimes I can't believe she's gone. I'm saddened by the fact that she didn't see me grow up, fall in love, get married, and have children, her grand-children. There are so many times I wished she were here. I remember wanting that when I was pregnant with the girls as my pregnancy was no walk in the park. I can't turn back time and what is done, is done. My mother isn't here and my girls will never meet her, but they will know of her. They will know how much she loved me and cared for me. They will know about that time she took my sister and I to the Oval Park Clean Up and that time she hosted an entire block party to raise money for security camera's in our building on Dekalb Ave.. They will know about the time she gave me pow-pow for smacking my lips and the time she danced with me because she didn't have to cook that night. My mom was the most amazing woman I know and her life ended too soon at 37. My girls will know her and they will love her as I do. I love you Mami...

Big and Scary Haunted Blog Hop!

Join us for a

Grab the Button!

Hosted by:
Just Married with Coupon
Shibley Smiles
Family Friendly Frugality
The Chickenista
Mother of Pearl It Is
It's My Life

To Participate:
-Creep to each of your host's haunted blogs & follow them.
-Leave a creepy comment & we will follow you back.
-Crawl to as many blogs as you like, follow & comment
-Follow back anyone that follows you!
-Run if you see dark shadows lurking about

Busy Blogger Weekend Blog Hop!!

Weekend blog hop button
Here are the details for the Busy Bloggers Weekend Blog Hop

Welcome to Busy Blogger Weekend Blog hop! A cool new blog hop that is open to everyone!!! It will run the last weekend of every month (Friday thru Sunday).

This blog hop is all about having fun, meeting new bloggers, and building new readership. So, please make sure you follow the rules. It is important to make a post on your blog with the blog hop button to make new potential readers comfortable and to make it easy for them to find the correct place to respond!

Blog Hop Rules

1. Please follow Shhhhh! Just between u&me and Non typical mom and we WILL FOLLOW YOU BACK!

2. Post the Busy Blogger Weekend Blog Hop button on your site so new followers will know where to leave a comment when they stop by your page.

3. Post the direct link to that blog post in the linky forms below, where the blog hop button can be found.

4. Leave a comment on the blogs that you choose to follow letting them know your are following them.

5. Follow back anyone that follows you and take the time to go to their page and follow them back.

Reflecting On My Journey

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about Sasa and her journey in the NICU. Since then I can't stop thinking about how far both of my girls have come. I never thought in a million years I'd be pregnant with twins and they would be born three months early while on vacation in NY. What are the chances of that happening?!?! I pray that I never forget my experiences this summer. As terrible and traumatic as they have been, I have been shown God's awesome power and unconditional (agape) love for His creation. Some may say "Look at what God has done to you and your girls. How can He let that happen?" God has made a true believer out of me and I pray that others can find it in their hearts to find answers for themselves. My girls are alive, healthy and growing stronger everyday. I've said it before, nobody can look at my girls and say that there is no God.

In this blog I try to be as real and true as possible. I want my readers to really grasp the emotion and drama of the events that have taken place this summer, but sometimes there aren't words to explain it. When I saw my fragile little girls, the pain and guilt that overcame me was unbearable. I was numb and felt horrible. I was on the verge of tears every single time I saw them. I would often burst into flat out crying sessions before I saw them, after I saw them, at home thinking of them, but never in front of the girls or any nurses. I could cry now just thinking about it. I don't wish these horrors on anyone.

What pulled me though it all was God. I looked to him every time and every time He picked me up. Again and again without fail my Savior stepped in and gave me hope and comforted me. And look now, Mimi is home and thriving and Sasa will be home soon, just waiting on her O2 monitor. You never know what you can handle until you've been brought through it. When you reflect on it you realize you've become a new person, a very different person. I thought I couldn't go through anything worse than losing my mother at age ten and growing up without her. What have I learned while walking through this wilderness? I know that the Lord is on my side and I will trust His path for my life. Thank you Jesus for the health you have restored in myself and my children! Amen!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twitter Hop Thursday 10/28/2010

Welcome to Twitter Hop Thursday, hosted by Simply StacieThe King’s Court IV, Little Yaya’s, and Review Retreat!
Would you like more Twitter followers and be introduced to more neat blogs and businesses out there? Come and join us!!
1. Add your Twitter to the MckLinky (you only have to add it to one and it will appear on all).
2. Click on the Twitter for the four hostesses and follow each of them on Twitter. We will follow you back.
3. Follow as many people on Twitter as you like, but make sure to leave comments with links so they’ll know where to follow you!
Spread the word and add this MckLinky to your blog! Write your own post or copy and paste this one. Below the MckLinky box, you’ll see “Want to be a part of this Blog Hop? Click here for instructions and code”. Have fun Twitter-Hopping along!
We have selected a Twitterer of the Week from last week’s entries and the lucky winner is Minding Spot! They will be in the #5 spot! We will choose next week’s winner from everyone who participated today.
Please only add your Twitter url. All other entries will be deleted. Thank you!!!

Breastfeeding Is Officially OVER!

I fought tooth and nail against what was going on inside my body so that I can start breastfeeding, well pumping, for the girls. I wrote about that experience in an earlier posting, Who Said a 2lb. Baby Can't Breastfeed?!?! I still believe breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby, but my battle with it is over.

Up until Mimi came home I was the pumping master, every 3 hours like clock work. Drank water like camel and ate all kinds of milk producing foods (oatmeal, broccoli, peanuts, and chocolate). I still didn't make enough milk for both of them, so they were getting half breast milk, half formula. I didn't like the idea, but they had to eat. When Mimi came home I tried to jump to breastfeeding her every feeding. That didn't work. I had to work up to it, so I fed her half and half and continued to pump. Taking care of an infant without help, bottle feeding her, pumping, cooking, and laundry, it was a mess. Mimi was terrible during her feedings! She was gassy, in pain, and textbook GERD. The doctor put her on anti-acid medication for the GERD and I  tried 3 different formulas before I tried Similac Alimentum. Mimi was doing ok, but something was still off, she was still having a hard time eating. She wasn't getting enough to eat when I breastfed her for an hour or more. It just wasn't working. I was getting so frustrated, I was scared Mimi wasn't gaining weight or getting the nutrition she needed. I started to bottle feed her more, but pumping was becoming less frequent. One day I didn't have any thawed breast milk and gave her a bottle of full formula. She was a completely different baby!! That's when I started to give her just formula. Her feedings became peaceful, less frustrating, and I could feel that we were bonding instead of fighting.

I wish I could have continued breastfeeding, but there are a lot of things that didn't go my way from pregnancy to delivery to living in NY for 5 months instead of vacationing for 2. I guess that's what you call God's plan. You want and plan one thing, but His plans are so much better than ours. What's comforting is that I know He has my life in His hands and I couldn't trust anyone more than God to lead me and guide me. I know that He will provide for me and my family as He has done these 3 months my husband has been unable to work his normal job. I'm glad I was able to give my girls breast milk for the first 3 months of life. I have to do what I can with what I have. Maybe I'll pick it up again when I finally get back home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sasa Is Coming Home...On Oxygen

I just got the word today that my baby girl who has fought to breathe her entire life is coming home on oxygen. You would think the doctor would call you to tell you about it, but I had to find out from the nurse during my usual check-up call. I'm happy, but my heart breaks for her. She's been through enough already, now she has to travel back to FL on a monitor. So frustrating.

Let me backtrack a bit and tell you about Sasa's journey up to now. When I was pregnant with her she always had her head in my pelvic bone and was suppose to come out first. During the c-section it was easier to take Mimi out first. She was immediately intubated because she couldn't breathe. Sasa started off on an oscillator, which scared me because her chest was moving so fast I though she was going to explode. At that time I really thought she wasn't going to make it. She was also under a tent that moisturized her skin because, according to the nurse, she would've evaporated. She was so fragileand small. She stayed on the oscilator for a few days, then put her on a high-flow nasal canula called a vapo-therm, but didn't last long and had to be intubated again.

Sasa was on the ventilator for a while, which actually caused a lot of the problems that she's going through now. The ventilator does damage to the lungs after being used for an extended amount of time. Sasa also had a heart murmur that was complicating her breathing and lung development. Medications to close it didn't work, so surgery was the only option. On August 6th she had her surgery. It was the worse 20 mins. of my life. Anything could have gone wrong. The surgery was a success, but she was a respiratory mess for 2 days after. I was a hot mess. She finally pulled through. It took a couple of tries (the first try she actually extubated herself lol), but she finally went back onto the vapo-therm. She graduated to a regular nasal canula and I thought we were home free until she took a whole bunch of steps backwards. Sasa was taking a 42-day cycle of oral steroids which ended on September 11th. She regressed so badly that she ended up on a C-PAP, it looks like a football helmet and she was so uncomfortable in it. It was terrible, yet again I thought I was going to lose her. Do you have any idea what it feels like to think you may lose a child? That you might have to except this tragedy as part of your life? It was an emotional roller coaster. She eventually worked her way back down to a high-flow nasal canula, then a regular canula. The nurses tried to ween her off of the oxygen, but it became clear that she wouldn't be able to come off for quite some time.

My first thought, how in the world are we going to get home with one baby on an oxygen monitor? It's just one thing after another! I'm so happy that Sasa wasn't taken away from me. The anxiety and nail-biting is over, but now comes a new obstacle. Soon, we will be home soon.

Wordless Wednesday

My miracle babies!! This was the last time Akira and Sakura were together in the NICU. They will be reunited soon!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Preemie Baby Carrier Problems

If it weren't enough that my girls were (and one still is) in the hospital, when they get out, the necessary products they need aren't available to them because of their small size, one item being baby carriers. Mimi is home with us and she is a crybaby, just like her father, and wants to be held all the time. I don't have a problem with that. My baby wants to be held, so I'll hold her. Those special moments were taken away from us for the first 2 1/2 months of her life, so I don't mind catching up.  I didn't think I'd be a "babywearing" mami, but I'm open-minded and the idea is becoming more and more of a reality. A friend of mine, Huppie Mama, sent me an article Ten Reasons to Wear Your Baby. The first reason being it's convenient. I would get so much done if I were able to carry or "wear" Mimi around. Other reasons are having a happier baby, good exercise for mommy, and better communication between you and baby.

Back to my issue: baby carriers start at 7lbs., which would be for a full-term baby. My girls are barely 5 lbs! Not only is it unfair, but it also puts preemies in danger of being put in a carrier not built for them where they can fall out. It also doesn't allow preemie parents, such as myself, to be "babywearing" parents if that is what they wanted to do. Coming from experience, there are a ton of things that you dreamed of happening while you were pregnant that are thrown out the window when your bundle of joy comes 3 months (or more) early. Some sense of normalcy and parts of that dream can still be a reality, we just need the right products to do it. Annoying isn't it?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What is with this Bendicion thing?

You meet someone, fall in love, get married, and have children. Now two people raised in different households have to somehow merge values and traditions into their new family. So what stays and what goes? My husband and I agree easily on the "tough love" approach both of us were raised with: not in our household. My father is Puerto Rican and, thus, very "old school". There are A LOT of family values and ignorance that will not be passed down to our girls.

We talk about most things and have compromised, but there is one thing that gets under my skin and bothers me. Some Hispanic families have this tradition where children are taught to say bendicion to their elders. My husband was raised with it and still does it. I was not and don't care for it. Yet another way to keep children "in-check". He has told me about times when he didn't say bedicion and was ignored. Just 10 mins. ago he was scolded for not saying bendicion to a family member. It's ridiculous, he's a grown man! The meaning of bendicion has been diluted to a tradition that no one can explain. My husband and his family want the girls to say it, and I surely don't.

Why am I against it? I've seen a little girl look like she was about to go into the time-out corner because she forgot to say bendicion and was scolded for it. She doesn't understand what it means. She knows that she is loved and needs to listen to her elders, why can't she say "Hi, I love you!" I will be so upset if someone ignored or scolded my girls because they didn't say bendicion even though they already greeted them with loving delight.

How did we resolve this issue? In my opinion bendicion has biblical ties that have been lost. In those days parents would give lengthy and heartfelt blessings to their children, not just a response "Dios te bendiga". Blessings are prophetic and spoken in faith and with wisdom. Blessings open up the doors of Heaven to Divine favor in one's life. Why would you take all that away from my girls, or any child with just a quick, automated response. After lots of talks with my husband and members of his family (and lots of opposition from me) my husband came up with a good idea. We will teach our girls to say bendicion, but then they will ask for the adult they are talking with to pray for them instead of an automated response. Our girls will be raised in a Christian home and will understand the meaning of prayers and asking for a blessing. We're putting the meaning back into bendicion. We're starting a new tradition. Hopefully we'll lead a few hearts to the Lord as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stuck in NY OR Blessed to be Here?

When I traveled with my husband to NY for his work I completely intended to be back in FL well before my due date to give birth. As you know, that totally didn't happen. I have gone back and forth on my feelings about being here. At the moment I feel stuck and anxious to get back. I've asked God countless times why am I still here and why doesn't He just heal my daughter so we can leave. I know that I'm here for a reason, God has a purpose for everything even if I can't see why. That's why He's God, right? We are away from home and everyone we know. The lack of support is killing me. The medical bills are in the thousands because we have out of state Medicaid. We are struggling financially because Juan's work went back to FL without him. I don't feel settled here at all. This is NOT my home. Yet, this is where God wants us to be. Is it because the girls and I got better care here then back home? Or maybe we spoke into someone's life since we've been here. Maybe God wants to teach us something. I think all of these reasons (and others) are the right answer, but it's still a hard pill to swallow. Can you imagine wanting so badly to go home and then feel horrible because your daughter is fighting to breathe and all you can think about is how hard your life is.

I trust that God has our backs and will provide for us. We will come out on top, we will get home and the girls will be healthy. It just takes some reminding sometimes.

The Organic Food Frenzy

When I was pregnant I wanted to provide the best environment possible for my girls to grow in. I was into eating healthy before I got pregnant, but when I had two lives growing in my body it became more important to me. I wanted to eat as organically as my budget would allow, but I didn't know what I should buy organic and what I don't have to buy organic. I came across a list called the Dirty Dozen. It's made up of the 12 fruits and veggies you should definitely buy organic because of the amount of pesticides found on them (and sometimes in them). The list is updated every year, sometimes with new products on there. You can get more info here. You can also read about the Clean 15 you don't have to buy organic.

I am all for eating organic foods, but sometimes it's not in your budget to go 100% organic. So, knowing which key foods you should buy organic in order to keep as much pesticides out of your body (and the growing life/lives inside you) is a great start. Here's to healthy eating and a slimmer America!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who Said a 2lb. Baby Can't Breastfeed?!

I decided before I was pregnant that I was going to breastfeed. My mother breastfed me and I wanted to do it for my children. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding for both baby and mom. When I found out I was having twins, I still wanted to do it (I've got two to use, right?) When the girls were born at 28 weeks I knew that breast milk was going to be essential to their development. It's the best food for them!

I had major complications with this delivery. I was unable to pump right away because I was in the recovery room for a couple of hours and I couldn't move much anyway. When I finally got a breast pump I pumped every 3 hours to stimulate lactation. When I was discharged I still wasn't making any milk. For a whole week at home I pumped every 3 hours and still no milk. I didn't know it at the time, but my body was host to an infection, which was delaying my healing and my milk production. I was re-hospitalized for the infection and stayed in the hospital for another week. To make a long story short, I struggled for a long time with the breast pump before I finally started getting milk in. I was so close to giving up. Again, I felt like a failure. Yet another way I couldn't provide for my girls. I prayed and prayed about it. then one day it happened, I was getting my milk in, and I was so relieved.

The girls were very small (1lb 11oz and 1lb 12oz) and in no position to breastfeed, so pumping my milk was the only way they could get it. They were fed through feeding tubes. They weren't able to breastfeed until they were 1 month and 11 days old. Akira was (and still is) bigger than Sakura so she was allowed to breastfeed. The doctors and nurses were against Sakura breastfeeding because of her size. She was 2lb 3oz. The lactation consultant said she would give it a try. Sakura breastfed like a champion. She was better at it then Akira! I was so grateful to Char and I thanked God for giving Sakura the ability to do it.

On August 27 2010 I breastfed for the first time. It was the most amazing experience ever! Finally I felt like I was doing something for my girls, providing for them, being a mother to them. I got all teary-eyed when I got home that day. I couldn't wait to do it again! New moms and moms-to-be I encourage you to breastfeed your children, preemies and full-term babies alike! You can find out more info about breastfeeding at

So, how did it all start?

Juan and I (mostly I) wanted to have a baby. I couldn't stop thinking about babies and being pregnant. Every month a assumed all my monthly cycle symptoms were pregnancy symptoms. I started to pray about it intensely. I also started to educate myself on all that is involved with being pregnant such as caring for myself and what happens during development. I learned a lot! A month after Juan and I got married, around mid-January I became pregnant. I didn't feel any different and my clothes fit the same, but my period was late. On Juan's birthday, 2/1/2010, I took a pregnancy test. I was convinced it would be negative just like the 4 previous tests I took. Not this time! I called Juan to tell him, he was on his way to work, and just like that we were parents.

I screamed when I saw the lightest pink line appear on the stick. I was excited beyond words that I was pregnant. I didn't have insurance so I got Medicaid right away. Prenatal care is very important. When I was 9 weeks pregnant I went to the doctor. I knew I was there for my first sonogram and I couldn't wait, but I was in the shock of my life. The sonogram was done trans-vaginally because the baby is too small to see over the stomach. When I saw those two beans I was speechless. I knew it was twins, but I couldn't bring myself to say it out loud. The tech said "looks like you have two in there!" I said "My husband is going to flip!" And that he did.

We didn't tell anyone until I was 3 months We knew that there was a chance of losing one or both babies in the first 3 months and we didn't want to go through telling everyone bad news after sharing good news. If I had only known then what I know now LOL.

Those first feelings I had when I first saw that pink line are still so fresh it makes my heart skip. Although all the plans I had for pregnancy and birth totally went out the window, I'm still happy and blessed to have my girls. Never in a million years did I think I'd be here. God is great.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"You're So Strong"... NOT!

I can't count the times I was told how strong I am, how brave I am. I just don't feel that way. Things have calmed down a bit, but 3 months ago I was a wreck. My daughters were born at 28 weeks and fighting for their lives. I was an emotional wreck and felt I failed as a mother, that I put my children in danger. I was not exuding strength and bravery as others thought. I was clinging to whatever sanity I had left.

I know that there are people who thank God for getting them through a rough patch and never look back until the next one comes along. When I say that, if it weren't for the life saving breath of God, I would have gone off the deep end I mean it. There were plenty of times when I was standing at the edge of a cliff ready to jump, but the Spirit given to me by God to guide me held me firm to ground and eventually back to green pastures. The are no words to explain that place I was in. It was a black hole of pain, anxiety and loneliness. It was the lowest I've ever been. Through continuous prayer God showed me that He was in control and He was by my side. No matter how many times I was at the edge He pulled me back every time faithfully. Two Verses I cling to are "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4) and "God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask for or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). Praise God for all he has done these last three months. I cannot look at my daughters and say that God doesn't perform miracles anymore.

Be Informed

Finding out you are pregnant is the most exhilarating moment of your life. There is life growing inside you! It's such a beautiful experience. I encourage expecting moms to educate themselves about pregnancy and find the support they need. You can find information everywhere.

For Information and Support Visit:

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