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Didn’t Know I Could

I saw this crazy thing on my instagram feed called the Reverse Prayer Pose, from my fitness inspiration, which is a crazy arm stretch done in Yoga. ‘Wow, I probably can’t even make my hands touch’, I thought and I went on with my day, without even trying.

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After Bodypump today I felt like some extra stretching wouldn’t hurt. So I did my usual stretching, and then BAM I remembered the Reverse Prayer Pose, I was feeling adventurous so I tried it. Guess what? I could do it! I did not know my arms could do this. I was shocked and impressed with myself.

Then I tried it again, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. And again, and I this time I had my niece take a picture so I can see it myself.

I didn’t know I could, turns out that I can.

I had this self doubt, without even giving it a try first. It made me wonder how many opportunities and chances have gone by because of this thought that ‘No, I could never do that, me? No way’.

I am letting go of this thought, changing it to, ‘Hey, try it, you can do it’.

A year ago, I did not see myself where I am today. I didn’t know I could be this brave, that I could survive being a single mom, that I could simply breathe again. I didn’t know that in the middle of all this emotional struggle, I could pick myself up and be ok through it all. Turns out that I can.

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Finding Myself

The other night I was transporting some photos from my phone on to my lap top.  Apparently I can’t have 2,000 photos on a phone that has 32GB of storage. I actually took the time to look through these pictures. The first few pictures were from a little over a year ago and I couldn’t help but go back to the place I was at then. I was in a marriage I felt suffocated in, at a job that I felt no inspiration in and emotionally I was numb.

My life took a drastic turn, the day I went into an Allstate Agency (I know sounds hilarious), looking for car insurance. It was September 30th and I had been driving an uninsured vehicle for about 3 months. My ex kept saying he’d re-add me to the insurance, for some reason he had removed my vehicle and I was informed of being uninsured when I needed to renew my plates. “Hey my plates are expired I need to get car insurance” I remember saying this a couple times, “No, I already told you, I will call today and have the vehicle added, it’s stupid to have separate insurance plans”. “Ok”, I would agree… over and over.

Finally I decided to go get my own insurance before getting a ticket for driving around with expired plates and no insurance. I walked into Allstate, and saw no one around. “I’ll be right with you”, I heard a voice coming from the other end of the main entrance. “Have a seat!” I walked towards a desk with two chairs at the front, picked the chair on the right side. I took a seat and clutched both hands onto my raggedy looking purse.

A middle aged blonde woman came out from the back and talked me through their policies. I asked questions, told her about my children, and she carefully explained everything. “You need reliable transportation, especially with two kids. How will you get to your job, how will you get them to school if anything happens?”. This Allstate lady cared more about the safety and well-being of myself than my ex. I found the perfect policy for me and signed up.

Through the process I was asked about my previous policy and well I had to explain that my then husband had removed me from the policy and I didn’t know about it until recently. I don’t remember what else I shared, but before heading out the door, this woman said, “Wait, I have something for you,” she rushed to the back, “We just got these in, you are the first person I give this to… We are going to start handing these out tomorrow because October it is domestic abuse awareness month.” She placed a purple key chain in my hand and looked me in the eyes, “Financial abuse, is a form of abuse.” At that moment I started crying, in front of this complete stranger, now my car insurance agent. She hugged me and told me I was a strong woman and that I can do anything.

I don’t know what she saw or heard that day in me that compelled her to give me this key chain, but it saved me. That day I made the choice to fix a simple issue before it would get worse and I ended up making the same choice for my own life.

The last year has been quite a journey. When I went through the pictures on my phone the other night, I saw what a blessing this year has been. A year of finding myself, a year of healing and a year of finally breathing.

An Hour and Thirty Six Minutes

Finally, I made it to the Manitou Incline, a trail made up of 2,744 steps. This is apparently only one mile up but it felt a lot like a thousand miles! Since last summer I have been obsessing about going to this place and I knew I would make it up in 45 minutes tops.

I arrived around 9am and it was a pretty hot day, I immediately regretted not wearing shorts. I gazed at the Manitou Incline, taking in the impressive view of the trial, trees and adventurers. I was so pumped and I just knew that I was in perfect shape for this type of stuff.

I can’t remember if it was 10 or 20 steps up that I began heavy breathing and dripping sweat from my elbow-pits (wait, elbow-pits sweat?). I took a few breaks and 30 minutes up the Incline I started to ask myself things like, ‘How many steps more? How many miles is this? Has anyone ever fainted and rolled of the Incline and died? What if today I faint and die rolling off this hill? Why did I ever think this would be fun? Why me Lord?’.

Forty-Five minutes up I was finally at the half-way mark. ‘Alright, I think it’s time to head down now, half-way is good enough, plus I can’t feel my legs anymore’, I tried convincing myself. The view below was breathless, and I could see I still had a ways up. ‘I need to reach the top’.

So I kept going, I stopped at almost every shady area, took a seat, checked my pulse and tried to catch my breathe. I also soaked in the view as much as I could at every stop and took some selfies. Finally I could see the end of the trail, people were cheering for their friends and I pretended they were cheering for me. I made it, in a whopping hour and thirty-six minutes, I made it!

I was first worried about the timing of it all, I wanted to be fast. But making it up there was fulfilling to me, it didn’t matter how long it took me. I thought of all the moments on my way up that I wanted to give up and make my way back down but I didn’t.

There were plenty of moments that getting to the top of the Incline seemed impossible. Getting to were I want to be in life personally also seems impossible at times. ‘It’s way too hard, it’s taking to much out of me, It will take to long for me to get there, I’m struggling way too much, I’ll just do what I know and what is easy and comfortable.’

Reaching the top of the Incline was important to me, it was a reminder that I can accomplish what I work hard for and I will get there, no matter how much time it takes.

Teammate

A few weeks ago, at my gym, I noticed a group of girls hurdled around a fallen teammate. I was walking around a track so I didn’t see how this player got hurt but I could see her on the ground holding onto her ankle sobbing. I could also see her coach right in front of her, making sure she was alright and her teammates around her with concerned faces. Man down (little girl down), game stopped and everyones eyes were on the fallen girl. I kept walking around the track and soon I realized the game continued and the little girl was fine.

Days after I witnessed something similar happen. The TV at Applebees happened to be on a pro basketball game and then it happened; player down, the coach and team hurdled around their hurt teammate. This time the player had to be taken off the court by a stretcher.

I thought of my fallen moments, the moments in my life where I have gotten hurt and like the little girl, could just hold on to my pain and sob. I realized that although this pain is emotional, I have my teammates that hurdle around me to make sure that I am fine.

Like the time I had an emergency c-section at 30 weeks of pregnancy and lost a ton of blood, I waited in the recovery room and I remember my mother, oldest sister and oldest niece at my bed side all with one hand on me. The time in cheerleading that I got kicked in the face and needed my lip stitched up, my best friend never left my side from the moment of the face kick to the last stitch in the emergency room, it was as if she had gotten kicked in the face, she was so pale the whole time, she felt my pain.

Like in sports teams, my teammates help me get through the hurt, realize everything is ok and get back in the game.  And it’s in these moments when you see who is on your team.

BUTI Yoga Experience

I had never heard, seen or thought of BUTI Yoga before last Sunday. I agreed to go with my sister because I was feeling adventurous. I wore my usual and basic exercise clothes and my sister let me borrow her mat (although, according to her, having your own personal yoga mat is extremely important and you should never let anyone step on it, touch it or look at it).

I walked into this BUTI Yoga studio, it smelled like organic body soap bars, the kind they sell at Whole Foods. My arms tightly hugged my borrowed pink mat across my chest as I looked around suspiciously. My sister looked at me and laughed, “Relax you look scared!” she laughed. I rolled my eyes at her and tried to act totally cool but still kept the mat hugged and secured.

The back right corner looked like an awesome place to lay my mat. I was far from everyone but I still had a good view of the instructor. I had tried normal beginning yoga before and it was completely fine, so I repeatedly told myself, ‘This is totally fine, it’s going to be fine, really I’m good.” I get unnecessarily anxious when trying new things and I was totally out of my comfort zone. I like my normal loud music beast mode workouts. “You need this, to listen and connect with yourself”, my sister had told me the day before.

The instructor turned on, what she called Tribal Music and the BUTI YOGA began. I was pretty excited to be barefoot and the first minute went great. But then we began some, what I would describe as, very intense hip moving squats. First circulate the hips one way, then the other. I was glad there were no mirrors or anyone behind me and just focused on the movements.

There was one pose, where I had to stand on one foot while the other one was lifted, foot touching the inner thigh, that really challenged my balance. “Stay focused and really use your 3rd eye to hold this pose”, the instructor said. ‘Third eye?”, I thought. Apparently my 3rd eye, is sort of like my gut feeling. My 3rd eye is the me I have to connect to and listen to. I kept my sight focused on a spot on the wall and held the pose like a boss.

For an hour I was challenged in stretching, standing/sitting/squatting in uncomfortable positions, hip movements and breathing and I actually enjoyed it. But out of the whole BUTI experience, last few minutes were my favorite. I played on my mat face up, eyes closed, hands on my heart. I took deep breathes and just played there. I felt like I was floating and I could really feel peace. There was no weight, no stress, no worries for 5 minutes. “When you feel called to, slowly get up”, whispered the instructor. I didn’t feel called to get up at all, I wanted to remain in that peace.

I rolled up my mat, and proceeded to put my shoes on. I felt I was able to let go of a few things in that class. Let go of the things that have been haunting me through this whole divorce process; worrying so much, self doubt and fear. Although it’s a physical activity, it felt like therapy as I was reminded to stay focused, breathe and trust myself.

As I walked out of BUTI Yoga, I saw a sign that read, “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own Being”, it was when I read that, that I felt called to keep going, to get back up.

I Choose You, You Choose Me

Play-dates are always awesome, especially with my sister. Her 2 eldest are the same age as my two kids so they call each other best friends. It’s very convenient; 1. My sister and I get along very well, 2. Emma loves her cousin Grace and 3. Mateo loves his cousin Marco, we all have our person. We keep in touch weekly, to make sure we are surviving motherhood and life.

Yesterday, during our play-date, we were discussing how people in our life choose to be there effortlessly. “I choose you and you choose me,” (total Grey’s Anatomy moment) my sister said to me. It’s so effortless, after a few days I miss her and my niece/nephews and I feel the urge to text her or stop by for a quick visit or she’s already sent me a message asking how life is.

Going through a divorce, makes me feel so lonely sometimes. Some people magically disappear from your life others think talking to you is not appropriate anymore because well, words out that you’re a crazy woman.

Then there are the people that, although you are a mess,  still choose you. So much is going on in their life; but they can meet for a cup of coffee, have a dinner date, a play date, a phone date, send a nice message, be your gym buddy, send an occasional hilarious meme they know will make you laugh, all because they think of you, care about you and choose you.

Birth Plans Suck

At least in both of my birthing experiences, creating and thinking about my birth plan… sucked. Here’s why the first one did not go as planned:

I was a first time pregnant woman at the, yes I know, very young age of 21, full of joy, excitement and also complete horrified TERROR. But then, one very rainy day, a nice lady pulled me into her office and asked me about my birth plan. “What?! I get to plan it? YES! I’m going to make sure it will be so wonderful. I’ll listen to my favorite Taylor Swift songs, the poofy-est pillow, a warm blanket, my favorite PJ’s, some chapstick, a headband (because it’s on the list of suggested stuff to bring but I hate these things on my head) and a plathora of snacks”, I thought.

So, this woman and I wrote down my excellent plan. I knew the things I would bring. And this is how it would all go down: Soft music would be playing, I’d have a mirror available just in case I wanted to see the birth, there would be a bath tub with warm water I could hop into for dealing with the pain (because under no circumstances was I going to take any pain medication), some sort of bar I could hold onto to be in a sitting position which would allow the baby to come out easier – because gravity (not sure what this would look like but I agreed), apparently no snacks because they are not aloud during labor :(, Emma would be born, dad would cut the chord, she would be quickly transferred to my chest for skin to skin time, then she would nurse and we would live happily ever after. The birth was going to be absolutely perfect, OK, now I was excited.

March 31st rolled around and I was 34 weeks pregnant. All I can remember is that I was very exhausted that week and it was the first time I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoe, so I cried. I was in bed reading, “Brain Rules for Baby”, it was around 11pm. I stood up to use the restroom and noticed blood on my sheets. Seeing blood, while pregnant, probably the most horrifying thing ever. I went to the restroom and still more blood. I called my oldest sister, who had already had 3 babies so she would know what to do. “I’m seeing a lot of blood, what do I do?”,  “Go to the hospital now!”, “Are you sure? There’s no pain?”, I said trying to not freak out. “GO!”

We rushed to the hospital and I kept bleeding. I noticed it was more gooey so I thought, “OK this must be the mucus plug! I just read about this on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting””. Being a young mother, the nurses and Dr. Yang sort of chuckled and said, “You still have 6 weeks left, everything looks fine, go home.” At this moment I started to feel extremely painful cramps. “But, I’m in pain now, it hurts, ” I whined as I held onto my belly. “Ok, so what’s your pain on a scale of one through ten”, asked the blonde ponytailed nurse. I observed the little pain chart they had on display. One had a green happy face and ten had a red face that looked like death. It wasn’t one because I definitely wasn’t smiling, it wasn’t ten because I could still function and handle the pain… “It’s a 7”, “A 7?”, asked the nurse skeptically.

So we drove back home and the pain continued. I tried to sleep, but the pain would not. Anytime I tried falling asleep, a sharp excruciating pain would wake me back up. “This pain is not normal pain.” I worried. Around 5am I got up and paced around the living room and tried very hard not to cry. I grabbed a paper and pen to write down the times I would get the pain, which by now I knew they were the dreaded contractions. I was getting contractions every 12 minutes. My mom and dad came to my rescue by this time. Mom asked me about my visit to the hospital, complained about the doctors, called my aunt who is a nurse and Dad quietly made me some chamomile tea with honey and said, “Drink this, the contractions will either stop or continue”. I drank the tea while I continued to pace, mom took over keeping track of the time, “Ok they are 6 minutes apart now, call the nurse”.

I called and the nurse who told me to call and make an appointment, I wasn’t supposed to have my baby in another 6 weeks. I was just being a young nervous pregnant lady. Mom then took the whole matter in her hands, woke up my now ex-husband, and sent us off to the hospital and also she came with us to make sure the nurses were doing their job, oh and she was also on the phone with my aunt who’s a midwife, the WHOLE TIME, giving her details about me, how I looked and felt.

We arrived to the hospital and this time, I was dramatically wheel-chaired into the hospital. The nurses started the process all over again, asking me a lot of questions, for some reason these nurses weren’t allowed to check my cervix because I have to clue why. They explained but I did not need a half hour explanation on this.

“Ok the doctor will be in at 9:30am, so for now we will wait, she will see what’s going on.” I looked at the clock and it was around 8:00 am. I could see my mom pacing in front of my hospital bed on the phone with my aunt, then pausing and looking at me, “Why aren’t they doing anything?” she asked me a couple of times waving her free arm up in the air.

At around 8:45am, the nurses informed me that the doctor had arrived. “Finally the doctor is here!” my mother informed my aunt in Spanish. By this time I became a mad woman and could not take the pain, “MOM SHUT UP, GO TALK OUTSIDE!”, (I apologized about this weeks after). At 9am, Dr. Andrews gracefully waltzed in. She was there to finally check my cervix. This process was not even awkward anymore, my legs were up in the air and I could see Dr. Andrews’ eyes widen as she felt my cervix, “You are 8 cm dilated, you are going to be a mom!”, “Wait, today?”, “Yes your baby is coming, it might be another couple of hours!”. She again waltzed around the room ordering the nurses around. I couldn’t hear anything but my thoughts, the contractions were just getting more painful, “Can I get the epidural?” I managed to say, “You’re too dilated now and you’ve done a good job dealing with the pain all this time, you can handle it.”, I heard a voice explain. BECAUSE NO ONE BELIEVED I WAS IN LABOR my mind yelled. Everything became a blur and I began to yell. ” I feel like I have to poop”, I lifted my bottom off the bed, the pain was too much. I began to yell over and over again, “I have to poop!”. Dr. Andrews walked in once again, since I wouldn’t shut up, and again, proceeded to check my vagina.

“Give me a big push.” I pushed with all my might, the pain was too much, I set my head back and thought, I can’t do this. Dr. Andrews must’ve hear me because as soon as I lifted my head back up she looked right into my eyes and said, “OK one more push you can do this, you are doing such a great job.” Emma was born at 9:36am. When I saw her I laugh-cried and was completely overjoyed. The nurses took her right away and handed her to me rolled up in a white blanket. They then took her again to get her on oxygen and off they left to another room who knows how far and where. This was not part of my birth plan. She wasn’t even allowed to stay in the room with me.

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A few hours later, not sure how much time it seemed like hours, they took me to see Emma in what they call a NICU. I rolled in on my wheelchair and Emma was the only baby there in an incubator. As I got closer I saw a huge yellow tube taped to her little face. Her chest was moving up and down forcefully, and I could hear her making a little sound as the tube allowed her to exhale. There were wires all over her chest and band-aides on both feet and an IV on her hand taped with a foam taped to her hand and arm to keep it in place. I began to sob uncontrollably. “Is she going to live”, I asked. “Yes she is ok, she was just born a little early we need to make sure she can breathe on her own and eat on her own.”, still I couldn’t stop crying, what was going on?

This is why, birthing plans SUCK. But my baby was still perfect. ❤

Emma was in the NICU for 10 days before we brought her home. Today, April 10th, marks the 6 year anniversary of her coming home <3.  This is Emma on her first day home. She was 4lbs 12oz her birth weight was 4lbs 11oz. I had her coming home outfit picked out since the day I found out she was a girl. New Born size was too big.  392494_3680936227309_1711648252_n