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.