The Day My Life Changed Forever

It’s been about three months since I gave birth to our son. It has been such an emotionally overwhelming, difficult but beautiful experience! So much has happened in the last three months that I could write a whole book about it! It’s crazy how life changes in an instant. I love being a mom and every day brings new challenges. I would like to take this opportunity and share how it all went down the day our baby boy decided to join us. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this story too! Ready for this long post? Here we go…

On Monday June 8th 2015 I headed out to work just like every other day. My thoughts were on my husband, Frankie Frankie “FF”, and the importance of that day for his career. It was the first day of the 2015 MLB Draft. (For more info on the story behind my hubby’s career and how it affects the family you can click on this link here). He had already been in Arizona for two weeks at the Draft Meetings preparing for this big day and this was it. For all the marbles. All he needed were these three more days in Phoenix, AZ to start and finish the official MLB draft. I took a look at my maternity bag on the floor next to my bed but opted not to take it with me this time. (Of course). You think you know where this story is going…?? Read on…

At around 2:30pm I was in the middle of a conversation with some guests at our office when suddenly I felt a tiny bit of water in my underwear. Since we were laughing so much, I thought, “oh I peed myself!” So I went to the bathroom and the thought of my water breaking crosses my mind. “Nooo, it can’t be. It’s like three drops.” I went back out and asked my boss about her experience when her water broke and it was quite clear to me that I was nowhere near a water breakage. I had heard various stories about women whose water broke and some felt like the Hoover Dam had opened the gates while others just felt a trickle down their leg. I had neither, so I assumed it was nothing and attempted to not think about it. However, something didn’t feel normal and my gut was knockin’ on my door. After some deliberation, I called the doctor and talked about the incident and how I wasn’t sure whether it was “time” or not. I was at 39 weeks, so anything was possible. They told me to come in to make sure everything was ok. I said goodbye my work peeps and swore I would see them the next day. We laughed and drove to the doctor’s office.

As I am sitting in the waiting room with my dry panties (sorry if you think this is TMI but I’m trying to paint a picture here :-) I decide to call my mom. FF and I had always planned to have my mom fly and be present for my delivery (and she was obviously NOT going to miss this for the world!) however, she had planned to fly in this same afternoon as all this was going on. Before she actually booked her ticket, my hubby decided it would be best to have her in Miami two days before that. Thankfully, we all agreed and she had already been with me. She answers the phone with her sweet “Hello” and I proceed to tell her what’s going on and how I debated whether to tell her because I didn’t want to freak her freak. “Well I’m glad you told me because if this is really IT then I have some tome to finish marinating the chicken, grab your bag and go!” Smart cookie. I opted to not call FF until I had a definitive answer from the doctor because I didn’t want to distract him.

As I walked into the examination room, I was feeling a bit stupid because I was 99% sure that this was a false alarm. I mean, I was feeling perfectly fine and there was no liquid trickling down anything. I mean, you would have been confused too if it was your first time! Needless to say, as soon as the examination started, it was confirmed that my water had broken. The NP said “Oh! Today is the day! Your baby is coming today!” Wide eyed I responded “Seriously? Today? Oh my God!” All of a sudden, everything shifted into high gear and nothing would ever be the same.

I immediately called my husband who was in the draft room ready to start the MLB draft. Yes… Our worst case scenario was actually taking place. The distance wasn’t ideal but given the nature of his job, the likelihood of him not being able to attend his child’s birthday was high. I understood that completely and there was no way in hell that I was going to give him crap for it. It is what it is and we promised each other that we would be ok with the outcome as long as we did everything possible to have him present.

“Hi honey! My water broke. This is no joke. I’m in labor.” He responded, “Seriously??? Ok! Bye” It was Go time people!!! No time for perfectly formed sentences and thoughts! I subsequently called my mom and she was already done marinating the “pollo” and my brother, J’Andrés, was on his way to pick her up.

Meanwhile, I park my car at the hospital garage and make my way to the maternity floor. Yes, I drove myself across the street from the doctor’s office to the hospital. I wasn’t feeling a thing and I was only 1cm dilated so there was no hurry and no need to panic.

I was very calm during my whole pregnancy and I wasn’t freaked out about labor either. I was able to relinquish all control for everything. I figured, I’m not the one calling the shots so why bother stressing out about it. So there I was, walking into the maternity floor looking like I was about to visit a patient. I registered and then walked over to the massive delivery room where the nurses were prepping everything. I’m talking to my husband who is in a cab on his way to the airport. He was hoping to get into the next direct flight into Miami but could only find a direct flight to Fort Lauderdale which is about 45 minutes from the hospital where I was giving birth. My mom walks in and sees me calmly talking on the phone and asks, “Are you really in labor? ‘Cause you sure don’t look like it!” I nod and finish my conversation with FF saying “i love you so much and please know that whatever happens we will still be a family at the end of it all. Safe flight and don’t get arrested.” (My hubs lacks a bit of patience, so in times of high levels of stress I felt like I needed to emphasize the need of control over his actions). Lol!

Talking to my husband as he was making his way to the airport
Talking to my husband as he was making his way to the airport

It was about 6pm and I was throwing on the fancy hospital gown (it should NOT be call a gown btw). My two brothers had already arrived, my dad and my mother-in-law were already making their way to the San Juan airport to catch the next flight in and the entire family on both sides was informed of my status.  My bff Allie came by just when my contractions started soon after the pitocin was administered. I hadn’t dialated at all. The contractions were small at first and didn’t hurt but about 20 minutes after she left I was reaaally feeling them!

zania hospital bed
When can I eat pizza?

I wasted no time in pushing the button on the side of my bed… “Yes?” A tender voice answered. An equally tender voice responded… “Hi! I would like to request the epidural now. Thank you!” ” Ok. A nurse will be right with you.” Perfect! I always wanted the epidural. Why feel pain if I don’t have to? My mom, who birthed two children naturally sans drugs, was a bit thrown off by this decision and didn’t completely agree. But who the freak cares what other people think? My body. My child. My rules. It was awesome.

Epidural was administered and I didn’t feel a damn thing. The contractions were a lot worse than the insignificant pinch of the injection. Suddenly, my heavy breathing had stopped and I was in druggie heaven without the daze. I was completely competent, present, awake and loving it! I was able to briefly go back to my weekly guilty pleasure show “The Bachelorette” Kaitlyn’s season. This was the episode where Nick made his first appearance. What a chaotic season that was! Wheew! I was only 4cm dialated at this time so there was still a ways to go.

By this time, my dad had arrived from Puerto Rico. He came by my room and kissed me, hugged me and told me he loved me. My father-in-law was already on his way too. No sign of FF yet. For all I knew, he was flying over somewhere in the US nervously checking the weather patterns on his iPad while getting online updates of the draft and hoping to get to the hospital on time. He later told me he got into the plane and had a quick conversation with the pilot, “While I normally like to fly around bad weather (which I don’t know why you guys do anyways), my wife is in labor in Miami and I need to get there as fast as possible.”

About 1.5 hours after I had the epidural administered I started to feel contractions again. My index finger knew exactly what to do, Buzzz!,  “Yes?” The tender voice answered. As always, I politely respond, “Hi! I think the epidural is wearing off on my right side.” “Ok. The nurse is on the way.” Maybe it was a recording but that voice made me feel hopeful at all times.

My lively nurse from Barbados, Sherryll, arrived 5min later but it seemed like 15min to me. She aggressively opened the curtains that were blocking nothing and said, “Honey, the epidural is not wearing off. It’s time to push that baby out.”

Shocker. Of course I was. I went from 4cm to fully dialated in 1.5 hours and with no additional pitocin. Our son was ready. I was game for whatever had to happen. Only the people that were to be present during the birth were allowed to stay at this time. So my younguest brother, Tony, left which I’m sure he was happy about. I don’t think he could endure seeing me go through another round of uneven, inconsistent contractions.

It’s midnight. My mom calls my mother-in-law who has already landed in Fort Lauderdale and was waiting on my husband along with my brother-in-law who has just driven from Ft Myers, FL to meet her there. FF had just landed. There was still a long drive up ahead.

So there I am, wide open for the world to see and not giving a crap about it. My mom on my left, Sherryll on my right and the doctor is telling me what is about to happen. “We’re going to start with a few practice pushes” he says. Bullshit. I know what a doctors means when he says “practice”. A push is a push, is a push. So lets push.

Twenty minutes later I was pushing as hard as I could and I realized that the entourage of nurses that you usually see in the movies was nowhere to be found. It was just the four of us. I took the oxygen mask on and off during this time as a precautionary resource. I tend to get light headed when I don’t eat and my last meal had been at 1pm. I was afraid of having no energy and then having my sugar drop in the middle of all this. I pushed during every contraction and the pain subsided with every push. I would push, lay back down, breath and do it again. Over and over. It was exhausting.

The entourage of nurses started coming in to prep the room. Now it really felt like game time. The lights were shining bright and there was action. I was fully focused on helping the baby get out of there. Then, amongst all the commotion, I hear a familiar voice behind the curtain. “I’m the dad.”

I broke. My heart skipped a beat. I saw FF and tears ran down my face. He made it. With no time to waste, he grabbed my left arm and would gently grip me to help me.  My delivery went from determined and focused to determined, focused and complete. Our son stalled. He wanted his dad to be present.

I kept pushing to the point my mom and FF got scared because I turned purple in two instances. The baby had the umbilical cord around his neck so that meant I had to push harder, faster. He needed to come out. As I look at my husband, I notice he is pale. “Are you ok?” I asked. He responds, “I haven’t eaten since 10am and I’m getting light headed but don’t worry I’m good.” I know my husband and I knew he was not ok. Once he made it to the hospital, the rush of adrenaline subsided and his sugar levels started to drop. I know a thing or two about that so I quickly sent my mom to call his mom and get him something to eat. Meanwhile I ask the nurse to get him an apple juice too. He sits down for a bit and eats his sandwich. All the while I’m still pushing and simultaneously telling people what to do. I got this.

FF finished half of his sandwich and his color was back. He went back to my side.  The next minutes were a blur. I kept pushing. Sherryl is yelling “Harder Harder!” in her thick Barbadian accent and out of nowhere a random Cuban nurse was also screaming “¡Dale mamita! ¡Mas fuerte! ¡Como si fueras a cagar!” Wtf? Where did she come from? And what’s with all the yelling? I was only 2 feet away from them.  Was it necessary? Meanwhile, my sweet husband is stroking my hair and holding my arm and saying beautiful things and my mom sounds like a hypnosis tape recording “Just breatheeeee, get reaaadyyy and puuush.” You’d think these people would distract me but I was hearing them all and listening to no one. I knew I was giving it every single last ounce of energy I had.

Then at 1:02am, after an hour of pushing, our little boy came out crying. They put him on me as I cried my eyes out and I had no idea what to do with that slimy, red-ish, white-ish and purple-ish baby. FF cut the cord and they grabbed him to clean him up and do their thing. Both him and FF were by my side the entire time. Pictures were taken, hugs and kisses were given and there was a lot of love in that room. But it wasn’t over yet.

I had heard stories about having to give birth to the placenta so I was ready to keep pushing. The doctor looks at me while holding this wobbly thing in his hand and says “Look! This is your placenta!” He proceeds to poking it. I kinda smile. Oh good. No more pushing.

A nurse interrupts, “Do we have a name?” We knew the first name but couldn’t pick a middle name. We discussed some options but decided to not decide at that time. There was too much going on. “Don’t let your family’s opinion deterr you from choosing your boy’s name” says the doctor. Noted. We Looked at our brand new baby and knew that his name would be Alfie Grey.

alfie's first pic
My little Alfie

By the time everything and everyone was clean and the entourage had left and the family came in to meet our little Alfie, FF and I were head over heals in love with all of the 6.6 lbs of baby in front of us. He was ours. I was so happy. We were a family now and I was a mom. It all felt so natural and nothing else mattered.

Alfie’s birthday is by far the best day of my life.

Thanks for reading!

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