Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Benjamín Joseph Cruz came into this crazy world on January 23rd, 2016 at 8:17 am weighing 7 lbs 1 oz. He was breech and I delivered in El Paso via repeat cesarean section which Raymundo was able to witness via Facetime from our home in Juárez.

I hadn't planned for him to be able to watch, as the hospital policy stated that they only allowed still photography in the OR. I assumed Facetime or Skype would be out of the question. After I was already on the operating table, my sister asked the nurse if we could video in my husband from Juárez and they said that would be fine! It meant the world to me that he was able to see everything. I wish he could have been there to comfort me while I was shaking uncontrollably during the 3 attempts to get my epidural in, but you can't have it all, right?

My sister held the phone out towards me in the OR as Ray watched on with tears in his eyes. Now as grateful as I was that he was able to watch, it's still rough to see your wife on an operating table like that and feel so helpless and so far away. We're usually the types to accept the hand we were dealt in the way of our whole immigration situation, but in that moment it all felt pretty unfair.

After he was born, nurses whisked him off to be assessed due to low oxygen and glucose levels. My sister followed with the phone as Ray continued to look on, completely freaked out. At some point the nurse that was attending to Ben took the phone and talked to Raymundo, explaining exactly what was happening to our baby... in Spanish... via Facetime.

I still can't get over that. Bless that nurse.

For the next two days Ray and I continued to communicate via phone while Ben and I were in the hospital recovering. I had a horrible experience with my first cesarean so I had a lot of anxiety about my recovery. Luckily, my sister stayed on with me at the hospital full time while my mom and older son traveled back and forth from Juárez.

It was amazing to have my family there with me. Not just at the hospital, but for my sister and son to see where I live for the first time, and for my mom to make her 2nd trip, was really cool. I didn't envision my son visiting Juárez until he was much older, so their trip was a wonderful surprise. Honestly I have no words to do my feelings justice... I seriously do not know what I would have done without them here. Not a clue.

In the nearly 13 years it's been since my oldest was born, I had forgotten what it was like to care for a newborn. Sure, I knew I would be sleep deprived, I knew I would feel a bit weepy, I knew his schedule would take some getting used to, I knew it would be love at first sight. But knowing all those things, even from personal experience, didn't prepare me to experience them again. Knowing the date of my c-section and exactly what I could expect at the hospital didn't prepare me. Nothing can prepare you for motherhood I guess.

I learned a new word in Spanish during Ben's first days in this world as I tried to explain emotions to my husband. Abrumado. Overwhelmed.

I think my low point involved retreating to the laundry room and crying quietly (or so I thought) in the dark alone. My sister came in after me to see if I was okay and jokingly asked what I was doing in the dark and if I was "feeling my fundus." The nurses in the hospital kept telling me to massage my fundus and I swear to God I still don't know how to tell where my damned fundus is. Nor do I have the energy to Google it as Ben will be up any moment and my Googling is limited these days. Anyway the important thing is that she made me laugh in that moment of desperation, as only a sister can do, and I knew that somehow things were going to be okay.

And things really are okay. They're actually amazing. After a couple of weeks my baby blues subsided and everything started to feel a bit more normal. Ray has taken to fatherhood like a fish to water and that has been a remarkable thing to watch. His love for our son is such a beautiful thing to see and it only makes me fall for him again and again.

My recovery from the surgery has literally been night and day compared to my first cesarean so all of my anxiety was unnecessary. I made sure to get up and walk as soon as I was allowed and took special care to wear an abdominal binder which I feel made all the difference in the world.

We've had some bumps in the road with breastfeeding because Ben was born with a tongue-tie but we are taking things one day at a time. His tie was revised but we continue to have issues latching so in the meantime I am exclusively pumping. It's a stressful and time consuming process but I feel so blessed and proud to be able to get Ben my milk, in whatever manner that may be.

He's doing great and just celebrated one month in this world as of yesterday! As I shared on Instagram, right now he is really into looking out the window, white noise, being propped up, foot massages, car rides and the Lollipop song. He dislikes silence, diaper changes, wearing socks and idling on the bridge to the US! He is already bursting with personality and we are so excited to watch this little man grow up.

Even though I dreamed about it and prayed for it, I didn't ever expect to get a second chance at being a mom. And now that it's here, I couldn't feel happier or more humbled than I am right in this moment. We are so incredibly blessed.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tales From the Bridge IV

Warning: Rant ahead.

I don't know what it is about me that attracts assholes on the bridge, but where ever I go they seem to follow. I feel like I follow the unwritten rules of crossing. I keep to myself, I don't make eye contact, I don't cut in front of other people, I cross in the appropriate lanes, I don't leave massive amounts of space between my car and the one in front of me, I pay attention.

So why, dear Lord please tell me why, do I even have the occasion to run into so many lunatics while I'm waiting in line? I just want to go to work and then go home as expeditiously as possible and with little to no drama, por favor. Is that so much to ask?

Today's tale starts as I'm on the freeway driving towards the bridge. There is a truck of some sort behind me, riding my ass, even though I am going 50 mph on an exit ramp with a speed limit of 40. At this point, the truck can't pass me, but I'm not comfortable going any more above the speed limit than I already am and risk getting into an accident.

Once we get to where the lines for the bridge begin, I change lanes as soon as possible to let Speed Racer pass me because he is clearly in a hurry. He passes me of course and is now in line in front of me. At this point he rolls his window down and is glaring at me in his side mirror but I do my best to ignore him. I grab my phone and start checking emails. 

Speed Racer continues to glare.

As soon as we pass the US check point portion of the line, he rolls down the rear window of his truck and begins to take pictures of me. Oh God. Here we go with the pictures again... I'm more uncomfortable with this situation than I was with that crazy girl last year because #1 he is a man, #2 he seems genuinely angry with me and I'm not sure why and #3 I am literally about to pop and have some serious mother-bear syndrome going on. I try to call my husband to see what I should do. No answer. I carry on driving, not looking up, and trying not to cry at this point because this man is seriously starting to freak me out.

Once we pass the Aduana he pulls off to the side as if to let me pass and rolls down his window. There is no way in hell that I was going to get in front of this man so I stop my car next to his, roll down my window, and try to grow some balls as I say, "¿Tenemos una problema?"

The man goes on to tell me that I should drive ahead of him. I tell him, in Spanish, that I am not comfortable going ahead of him. I tell him I am not comfortable with his behavior or his picture taking, and that I would just sit there until he drove on. He quickly responds in English that he knows I took pictures of him and that, "if I want to play, we can play." He is also seemingly offended that I've spoken to him in Spanish... you know, in Mexico, but I guess I can never win when it comes to that? Finally he mumbles out some threat about wanting to wait for the police.

Please. I want to say, please call the police. Please call them so that you can explain why you are harassing a pregnant lady who you felt was driving too slow even though she was going over the speed limit. I'm sure they would love that.

I don't say that though. You see I am having a baby in a matter of days and it just so happens that I left work early today with a bit of a blood pressure scare. My last 3 readings have been relatively high so we are on the lookout for any and all signs of preeclampsia. I went to the doctor after experiencing a headache that I couldn't seem to shake and had actually just left their office with orders to take it easy, relax and try not to stress out.

So no, you dumb motherfucker, I don't want to play games. And I'm tempted to tell him just like that. But  instead I simply tell him that I didn't take any pictures, that he clearly lowered his window and took pictures of me and that I don't "want to play." I tell him I am tired and just want to go home.

He eventually speeds off and turns down the same street I would normally turn down. I take the long way home instead and try to stay calm. The drive home consisted of me trying not to cry (unsuccessfully) and staring out my rear view mirror the entire way to ensure I wasn't being followed.

I honestly love living in Juárez but let me tell you, the line can just really suck it out of me sometimes. And I don't think I will ever understand why people act like that. Why make a shitty situation even shittier? Why go out of your way to cut people off and be rude and make someone feel uncomfortable just so you can be one car in front of that person in a fucking line? Is getting where ever you're going 30 seconds faster really worth putting that karma out into the world?

Now instead of staying relaxed as my doctor suggested, I'm likely going to spend my evening praying that this guy's just a douche bag who might share my picture on Facebook with his friends and not actually a legit psychopath plotting my early demise.

Thanks for nothing dude.