Amazing Boy

First, I wanted to say thank you to all of you and for all of your comments.  I would love to comment back to each of you individually, but life is just so crazy right now…so thank you all for your love and support and for sending your prayers and positive energy our way.  It is definitely being felt and totally working!!!

So this past week has gone by so quickly.  The back and forth to the hospital,  caring for our 3 other kids, and the holidays have just completely whooped us!  Callie is back to work tomorrow and she is taking it even harder this time around.  Not being able to spend a few hours with Austin Ryan at the hospital is very difficult for her, and getting about an hour a night after work just doesn’t seem like enough. I feel so terrible about it, and I wish that I could trade places with her or that I made 100k/year,  but one thing that I’m learning through this experience is that life goes on outside of the 4 corners of the NICU, and we have to do our best to be present in it.  It’s just so so hard.

Everyone is doing great otherwise. The boys are doing as great as ever, Mary has been challenging but she’s healthy and her report card was AMAZING so we’re doing something right, and aside from being sad about going back to work, Callie is doing awesome.  Our relationship was going through a bit of a rough patch recently, but this little boy coming early has really put us in a place where we realize how much we need each other and how much we love each other and rely on each other for support.  It’s been pretty eye opening.  I found myself noticing how I was speaking to her and apologizing (GASP!) more often for being a little snot.  I can be kind of mean when I’m stressed, under pressure, or convinced that I’m right.  I have never been so thankful to have her or so appreciative to have someone who understands me and how I function.  She truly is my better half and I have never been so in love.  

Austin Ryan really is something else!  This kid is unbelievable and such a little fighter! At 9 days old (yesterday) he was off the CPAP completely, since he’s been breathing on his own since day 2.  He’s been tolerating all of his feeds, and went from 10cc’s of breast milk to 16cc’s in one day, and then from 16cc’s to 25cc’s in one more day!  Since he’s getting everything he needs from mama’s milk, they don’t need to give him intralipids through his IV (I’m pumping every 2-3 hours and getting about 30cc’s [a little more than an ounce] each pump!).  This, friends, was the greatest Christmas present we could have gotten.  For Callie’s birthday yesterday, the best gift?! This… 

 Kangaroo care with our little buddy! 

Mamá got some snuggles too! 

 And he is the perfect combination of Levi and Noah! 


Things are going very well, and Austin amazes us each and every day with his will power and strength.  My little Chispa will be home before we know it, and we can’t wait!

Austin Ryan – A Birth Story

Tuesday was a great day.  It was my second time dropping the boys off to daycare on my own and beginning to get into the swing of our new routine.  The boys were so happy to get to school and see their teacher and their new friends, and I was happy that they were happy.  I kissed them goodbye, waved through the glass and walked out the door and back to the van.  I drove about 5 minutes down the road to the closest train station, found a parking spot, and got on the train to work.  It was as normal a day as ever, until I was starting to feel what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, but nearing 30 weeks, I figured it was normal.  I didn’t think anything of it, since they were sporadic and inconsistent and only happened a few times (that I noticed) throughout that day. 

Work was great that day, but around 3pm I got a call at work that poor Noah had a 100.8 fever and that someone would have to come get him from school.  Luckily, Callie was already on her way since she had finished up her work for the day.  I gave my boss the heads up that I probably wouldn’t be going in on Wednesday since there’s that whole “24 hour fever free” rule at the daycare center. The director said that Noah didn’t have any symptoms of sickness (I’m guessing it’s the 4 top teeth he’s cutting this week) so if he was fine the next day, it would be totally fine to bring them in.  Sure enough, that night, they both started coughing, both had 101.7 fevers and it was a pretty restless night for everyone in our house, except Mary, who somehow slept like a rock through all the crying (and moms cursing!).  

Next day, I stayed home with them, called the pediatrician, and was off to see her for a 10:30am appointment.  Only thing was, we’re a 15 minute walk away, uphill, and Callie accidentally forgot to leave me the van key! We only have one key, and with her an hour+ away in Brooklyn, I strapped the boys into the stroller and took the walk to the doctor.  No infections and no bronciolitis, so back home we went to watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and have a good old cuddle.  During those cuddles, I started feeling some tightening and lower abdominal pain. 

I figured it was either Braxton Hicks again or maybe some gas pains, since I hadn’t used the bathroom that day.  It wasn’t consistant enough for me to even THINK it was contractions but now that I look back at it, it was probably the very early stages of labor.  Wednesday night, I was on the phone with my mom around 8pm for a good hour and a half.  During that call, I was telling her that I was feeling a little weird and not like myself and that I was gettin some weird pains that seemed like contractions, but that they weren’t regular so there was no way they could be.  She told me it was probably gas, to call my OB in the morning, and to go and lay down and relax and not do anything too strenuous.  I actually had an appointment with my OB on Thursday (the following) morning at 10:15, so I figured I would just talk to him then.

That night, things got real! I tossed and turned the whole night.  The boys had another tough night, what with fevers, coughs and new teeth, it was a terrible night.  I noticed that every time I went to get up out of bed, my belly would get extra tight and it would sort of take my breath away, sometimes even having to hold onto the footboard for a second.  You would think I would have known I was in labor, but it didn’t feel like what I imagined it would feel like and the contractions weren’t coming in any type of consistent interval. 

Woke up in the morning to see Callie off to work.  She asked if I was still having pains, which I was and suggested that I call the OB ASAP! I told her my appointment was In a3 hours, so I’d ask him when I got there, but I started noticing the pain was coming a little more consistently now.  The Boys got up around 7, so I dressed them, fed them breakfast and then Callie’s mom came over to watch them at 9:30 so I could head off to my appontment.  At this point, I was very aware of the pain and contractions were every 10 minutes on the 8’s.  8:38, 8:48, 8:58… The minutes ticket by and I new exactly what time it was based on the pain.  I mentioned to my MIL that I would give her a call because I was having contractions 10 minutes apart and they were probably going to send me to the hospital, so she might wanna be prepared to call out of work (since Cals was at least an hour away in Brooklyn).

Into the doctors office I go (but not before calling Ticketmaster about 148 times for those DAMNED Adele tickets!!!!) and let him know the second that I walked in “I think I’m having contractions every 10 minutes and I haven’t felt the baby move all morning and he’s super active and I’m freaking out a little so please give me an ultrasound!” all in one breath!  He sent me into the NST room, set me up on the monitors, where I was beyond relieved to hear the baby’s heartbeat loud and clear and STRONG, but also ridiculously nervous to see the peaks and valleys of the contractions registering on the red-lined paper.  The doctor came in about 10 minutes later, “You are definitely having contractions and they look about 3-4 minutes apart…you need to head over to the hospital right away.  I’ll call them and let them know you’re on your way.” 

Now I really start to get a little nervous because I’m not even 30 weeks pregnant yet, hardly finished reveling in how amazing it is to be pregnant and feel the baby moving around, or even believing this is actually happening.  After a few phone calls walking through the parking lot, (my MIL would stay with the boys, Callie was leaving work, and my younger sister was on her way to stay with me while Callie made her way over) I make the 30 minute drive ON MY OWN to the hospital a whole state over! With contractions 3-4 minutes apart! Making it safely there, I made my way to labor and delivery, where the nurses were waiting for me with a wristband and a gown.  They set me up to a monitor that the nurses could also see in the nurses station, and about 15 minutes in, at around 12pm, the doctor on call (who was INCREDIBLE!!!!) walks in, and asks if it’s ok to check me.  She wanted to swab me and check if there were any proteins, because proteins mean exposed membranes which means chances are, my water would be breaking soon! After the swab, she did a quick (painful) check and I was ridiculously surprised to hear that I was 6cm dialated and she could feel the membranes bulging! 

They moved me into an L&D room, set me up with an IV fluid drip, magnesium sulfate drip, and gave me a steroid injection to help babies lungs in the event that he made his appearance MUCH earlier than anticipated.  My sister gets there.  Unfortunately, because of the magnesium, I needed a catheter which I was less than thrilled about.  Next thing I know, nurses and doctors are showing up, Callie shows up, my youngest sister leaves to get my niece at school, my sister Raquel shows up, and we get all the information we need, because apparently this baby was coming TODAY! All of this happening while I am doing my best to breathe through my contractions which are now coming about 1-2 minutes apart, lasting about a minute each.  3 hours after arriving, the doctor comes in and we are just talking about getting me comfortable and what I wanted for my delivery. She offered an epidural and I refused, mainly because the pain wasn’t unbearable.  For the most part, on a 1-10 (10 being KILL ME PLEASE!) my pain was manageable and at about a 7.  I figured, “I’ve already gone more than half way, let me just stick it out!”  With Raquel and Callie rubbing my hands and shoulders, playing Spanish Christmas carols, being silly, and Facetiming my mom to help coach me through contractions, things seemed to be going pretty well.  My doctor came back in at about 4pm to do another check.  “Well, there’s no cervix there, baby is engaged, 100% effaced…you’re having this baby soon! I don’t want to break your water.  I want it to happen on its own because he so small, I don’t want him to be distressed.”  For another 30 minutes I breathed though contraction after contraction, sometimes back to back with no break between.  I started to feel a lot of pressure on my bum, like I had to move my bowels, and I started clenching down and forgetting how to breathe, but Callie was reminding me that I was doing so well and to not forget how I got that far and to keep breathing through the contractions and not against them.  I told her to get the nurse because I was ready to push.  The nurse called the doctor, and upon a quick look, she called Callie over. “Is that his HEAD?!?! With all that HAIR?!?!” “Mmmm hmm!”  And she took a picture and showed it to me, and I saw his little head, and as my pain reached a 10, I just knew, with every ounce of who I am, what I needed to do!  My doctor told me how to push (chin to my chest after a deep breath in,  and push with my bottom) and I pushed. With the first push, my water broke, sending a spray of fluids that got my sister and Callie, my doctor and me! I pushed with everything in me. I pushed to the point where I thought I would likely pass out, and I felt his head come out, and then this wave of euphoria and uncertainty and love for my child and my wife and I knew that I needed one more good push, and the contraction came and 4 minutes after I started pushing I felt his shoulders make their way out, and he was here, and I laid back, and cried my eyes out, and my wife kissed me and told me how proud she was, and it was done! At 4:53pm on 12/17/15 my boy was here, just 5 1/2 hours after getting to the hospital!

Callie cried as she cut the cord, and the NICU doctors checked him out.  The little guy didn’t even cry. He was laying there on the table with his eyes wide open, looking up at the people around him, not making a sound.  Just flailing around waiting for someone to bring him to Mama.  He finally decided he’d let us hear his little voice so they wrapped him up like a 15″ burrito, and I got to hold my son for the first time.  We kissed him, and held him, and said a little prayer, and they whisked him off to the NICU.  I delivered the placenta, and the Dr, gave me one stitch for my first degree tear.  The whole time I was there (those 5.5 hours) all I wanted was a cheeseburger! “I wish I could have a fucking cheeseburger” must have been said about 15 times in that time.  As soon as I was stitched up, my doctor gave me a high five and said to no one (or everyone!) in particular, “Someone get this girl a fucking cheeseburger!!!” 

After all that hardwork, that cheeseburger was well deserved…


23 Weeks!

23 Weeks!  It’s been a pretty awesome few weeks.  This pregnancy has really been good to me and I am really enjoying it.

How I’m Feeling this Week: This week has been pretty great.  I had a lot of stuff going on and finding out the babies gender last Friday was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be.  Now I feel more connected to Biscuit, trying out names and seeing how we feel about them.  Still feel excited about having seen Biscuit on the scan (the sonographer was horrible but at least we gout one decent [???] picture). And the profile looks similar to Levi!



How Big is Biscuit: Biscuit is about the size of a Spaghetti Squash!  Those things are pretty huge, but the way this baby feels, and all the movement, I really swear it’s bigger then that!  Also, the size of a football, which is great because, well, football season!  LET’s GO GIANTS!

Baby Bump News?:  The bump is huge, my friends! I have to say, I have never, in my life, have felt as sexy as I have being pregnant.  Which is weird, because I thought it would be the complete opposite.  I think it might be how much Callie touches me, or the attention I have been getting because you know, maternity has brought out the femme in me, which i didn’t expect.  We have loads of movement, enough that when Callie and I lay in bed, she has actually felt the kicking.  It’s so awesome to be on the other end now and see how excited she gets, because I remember that, so vividly.  Also, hiccups!  Lots of Biscuit hiccups!



Sleep:  I’ve been a little more uncomfortable when it comes to sleep.  It takes me a little longer than usual to go to sleep (I’m one of those people that knocks out the second my head hits the pillow!), but once I do, I’m out for the count!

Food Loves/Hates:  Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches! So damn delicious!  But that’s about the only thing I’ve been eating because nothing is really appealing lately.  Nothing has been like, “oh yes!  I HAVE to eat that!”  Everything has just been, well, blah.

Symptoms:  I have been getting lots of numbness in my right leg.  I will be walking or sitting and suddenly, the right side of my thigh, from the butt to the knee will go completely numb.  Still waiting for my doctor to email me back, so we’ll see, but every woman who has ever been pregnant that I have spoken to seems to think it’s my sciatic nerve.  Makes sense, except the only symptom is numbness and no real pain (not that I’m complaining!).

Next Scan:  We have an appt on 11/19 for another glucose tolerance test and BP check.  Lat appointment my BP was down from 142/91 to 134/80, so I’m really happy about that.  I have been doing my best to try and watch what I’m eating, eliminating salt from my diet, and drinking loads and loads of water.  The doctor and the perinatologist seemed pretty please, and that paired with a great result on my glucose test made ME happy!  Next scan is 12/4 just to measure baby but another peek at Biscuit will be great!  MIght actually splurge and spend the $150 to go to one of those 4D places in 2 weeks.

Sex:  If we are talking about the babies gender, well, we definitely know now, and we’ll be sharing once we tell our friends and families this weekend.  But if we’re talking about actual, mind blowing, earth shattering, boundary pushing, physical sex, yeah, we’re having that.  A lot.  Every night all this past week.  Some switch inside me just went off, and I can’t get enough of it.  Callie has been more than accommodating.  Switching “roles’ and everything…it’s been fun and interesting, to say the least.

Overall Feelings:  This experience so far has been better than I ever imagined it could have been.  I’m really, really enjoying this journey.

Something I Didn’t Expect:  Seriously, all joking aside, I didn’t expect to feel so sexy and free.  I thought pregnancy would restrict me, make me feel gross or unattractive, but it has done the complete opposite.  I has really been a positive experience for me, and I hope that it continues to be that way until the end.


SO we bought a minivan, and moved up to being real soccer moms.  Mary LOVES the new car, and has not stopped talking about all the features.  It’s got automatic doors and trunk, leather interior, lots of space, 2 TV’s, middle section of chairs swivel and face the back and you can place a table in the middle where they can play games when we road trip, navigation, rear camera, and an awesome center console with loads of compartments for all kinds of crap.  It’s a road-tripping family’s dream!  Callie never thought she would like a minivan, but she loves it!  She loves it so much she should marry it!  New Car



levicarWe also went to my nephews 3rd birthday party last weekend, and the kids got to show off how freaking adorable they look in their costumes!



Sunday we spent the day at the NY Hall Of Science Museum before heading home and watching our beloved Giant’s spank those cowboys!  I knew they would have loads of cool stuff for Mary and my niece to enjoy, but I didn’t expect them to have nursery/toddler area where little babies could explore science too. Noah, Levi, and my little niece Jezenia, really enjoyed playing with scarves, climbing in the foam mats, and playing the drums.  They LOVED those drums!





It’s been a couple of really great days!

19 Week

19 weeks!  It’s just crazy!  Time has gone way to quickly!

How I’m Feeling this Week: It’s been a tough week for me, relationship wise.  Callie and I had a tough go this week, mainly based around finances (her being offered a job making REALLY good money and deciding against it, although I completely understand why, but doesn’t mean I’m happy about her decision! No matter what I support her and we’ll figure it out).  In regards to pregnancy though, it’s been pretty great!

How Big is Biscuit: Biscuit is the size of a MANGO!  Yummmm!  I remember my first month of pregnancy and all I wanted was to eat mangoes all day and night, and now our baby is the size of one, and growing rapidly from here, which is what i understand.  Something about a growth spurt these next 2-3 weeks.  Also, for you like minded folks who find these fruit comparisons have too many variables, Biscuit is the size of a softball.  Imagine?! 

Baby Bump News?:  I’ve noticed that I am definitely looking more pregnant and all of my button down shirts have started to to struggle with the buttons a bit.  Otherwise, this baby is growing. Also, MOVEMENT!!!!  I wasn’t convinced at first, but now i KNOW this baby is moving around.  I’m still not used to feeling it, so most of the time it totally catches me off guard.  Callie can’t wait to be able to feel it, and I remember being in her shoes not even a year ago.  It’ super exciting to actually start feeling what pregnancy feels like.



Sleep:  No issues with sleep at all…yet…not even having to pee in the middle of the night!

Food Loves/Hates:  Cheese sandwiches!!!  YUMMY!  And still don’t really want salad…it’s weird because I LOVE salad!

Symptoms:  Nothing at all actually…not even a headache in the past week.  Actually, I take that back.  I think I may be experiencing some slight round ligament pain.  I think that’s happening…

Next Scan:  My next appointment is scheduled for October 8th, for the anatomy scan.  Still can’t decide if we want to find out, but I’m leaning more towards yes…kinda…maybe…

Sex:  Because of the crappy week Callie and I had, we barely cuddled so it’s fair to say sex was non-existent this week.  Also baby sex/gender area, still no idea, but I’m dead set that it’s a girl  Haven’t even looked at any boys names at all…

Overall Feelings:  I’m excited about actually looking pregnant, so that’s making me feel really happy.  Also, being almost half way, and also a few weeks away from viability makes everyone feel awesome, or is that just me?!

Something I Didn’t Expect:  I wasn’t expecting what it feels like to have a baby moving around inside of me.  I always thought it would be just, I dunno, very exact and obvious, but it wasn’t.  It’s weird, but also really comforting.  I’ve been using the doppler less, because with all the blood pressure stuff I was freaking out thinking that this baby was not ok, but with the movement, I didn’t expect to suddenly just feel relief.  I don’t have that overwhelming feeling that things are gonna get all screwed up and something terrible is gonna happen.  I didn’t expect that almost half way through, I would be embracing this pregnancy and really starting to live it.

And as usual, no post would be complete without these guys!playing Turtlesfacetime raincoat1 raincoat2

8 Months Old and 16 Weeks

Good GOD, the boys are 8 months old!  How awesome is that?!  Things are a-changing around our house, and some space has to be made in order to accommodate 2 growing (and now two mobile!) boys.  Both boys are really doing awesome and meeting milestones left and right!  It’s so exciting and awesome to watch them grow.  I just wish I had more time with them during the week, but that just makes the time that I DO have with them so much more special and cherished.  They are both understanding English and Spanish, and we can tell because when I say “leche” they both start opening and closing their hands rapidly which is the sign for milk.  They constantly look for each other when the other isn’t around, and they give each other food from their trays when the other starts grunting.  It is ridiculously cute and melts my heart every time!  GUYS, I just can’t sometimes!musicians hat BWW bathtimeLEVI
My little Casanova!  This kid can get women to flock to him like there is no tomorrow!  He is gentle and caring ( you can tell already!) when he rubs your face and looks deep into your eyes with his blue ones, and just smiles at you while he does it.  He can be caught several time a day, just patting his brother on the head, almost like giving him an, “I love you bro!”  He likes to sit most of the time, but about a week ago figured out how to army crawl.  He has been navigating his way around our living room and kicks his legs in excitement whenever he reaches his goal.  He laughs at just about anything, especially when Mamà pretends to be shocked, and eats like a champ!  He is still very cautious and very aware of his surroundings.  He is hesitant to stand but loves moving around the house in his walker.  He maneuvers it like he has been using it for weeks, but just started in it about 3 days ago.  He can even back up and around corners with ease.  He loves music and singing songs, and is starting to be able to do the gestures to a Spanish song I sing to them about birds in the sky (flapping arms), fish in the sea (putting their hands together and swishing) and horses in the forest (holding reigns and bouncing).  He loves playing by himself, and can keep himself entertained for long stretches of time. Something tells me his is going to be our laid back, practical joker, musician .  I look forward to seeing if that’s true.musician2 levipaintNOAH
My little daredevil!  This kid is gonna give us a run for our money when he actually starts walking, which I don’t think is far off, considering that this week, he has let go of his standing toys a handful of times and stood unassisted for a few seconds, before becoming distracted and wanting to move, realizing that he can’t and sitting quickly on the ground.  We’ve had to lower his crib and move all breakable things out of the way.  This kid crawls, and FAST!  Like, turn around for one second and he is down the hallway, fast!  He has no sense of danger and tests his bodies limits constantly.  We may have to get him some soft climbers because he is constantly on the move and climbing over everything, especially his brother!  He doesn’t do well with new food textures and it takes him a little time to acclimate to new tastes, but he is really good at picking up loads of cheerios and puffs and shoveling them into his mouth.  He doesn’t really babble and is a lot more quiet than his brother, but when this kid smiles, oh those dimples!!  He loves reading and books (especially eating them!) and is our champion sleeper (we’ll leave it at that!).  He’s an easy baby who loves adventure.  He’s gonna be our athletic, kindhearted, gentle book-worm!  It’s gonna be so awesome! musician1 noahpaint


How I’m Feeling this Week: I’m actually feeling pretty great this week.  I have loads of energy back, I’ve really been spending a lot of time with Callie now that school is back in session and all children are in bed by 7:30, and I have my first hike of the season planned with my best friend Marco.  That first trimester was NO JOKE, but this 2nd one is pretty great so far.

How Big is Biscuit: About the size of an avocado!  I just had one with dinner last night, and almost brought one for lunch today.  That’s kind of big!  Also, for people like me who find that those kind of things fluctuate in size, that’s about the size of a Campbell’s Chicken Soup can.  That’s nuts!  Also, this little person is finally able to hear Mamà, so I’ll be singing and talking to this baby much, much more now!  That makes me really happy!

Baby Bump News?:  Well, I DEFINITELY don’t fit any of my regular pants anymore, so today, for the first time, I am wearing maternity jeans.  Not my style at all, but I am coming to terms and really surrendering to the fact that maternity clothes for gender non-conforming individuals is going to be difficult, so I was handed down some stuff that isn’t SO terrible.  So, today, I actually FEEL pregnant.  Some co-workers have mentioned that I’m glowing (I don’t see it!) and that I am definitely starting to show.  That’s pretty exciting!

Sleep:  I’ve still been having pretty weird dreams, but they aren’t every night anymore.  I think I have definitely been sleeping more soundly, mainly because of not having to get up to pee in the middle of the night.  But I will say, when I sleep on my stomach, it feels like I am laying on top of the remote control.  It’s really strange to realize that it’s NOT the remote control, and totally, Little Biscuit.

Food Loves/Hates:  Still don’t want anything to do with salad, but corn beef hash over white rice?!?!  AMAZING!  I’ve had it twice in 7 days!

Symptoms:  A serious case of bad gas again, but otherwise, more energy is definitely a plus.  Also, I haven’t really been hungry much.  I know that’ll change in the next couple of days with a growth spurt on the horizon.  Something about double in weight and size in the next 2 weeks or so!

Next Scan:  My next scan is scheduled for October 8th, for the anatomy scan.  I really want to keep the gender a surprise but everyone’s been hounding me and calling me selfish for not wanting to find out.  So I’m sitting on the fence.  Mainly because I am totally convinced that Biscuit is a girl, and I want to know if my “intuition” is right!  I also have an appointment on September 24th (possible ultrasound) to check my blood pressure and to do a non-fasting glucose test to see where my sugar is since it’s been pretty borderline for the past 2 years or so.

Sex:  It’s up and down the past 2 weeks, but also, doing respite care for a 7 year old girl for a week who’s sleep patterns we don’t k now, is tough.  Mary sleeps like a rock…this kid, not so much!

Overall Feelings:  Hella excited to be able to go hiking on Sunday (and football obviously!), since my pregnant body is finally catching up to my barely pregnant brain and is FINALLY allowing me to do the things that I THINK I can do, but my body and exhaustion wouldn’t allow.  Also, feeling like, this baby is getting more and more real as my body starts changing.

Something I Didn’t Expect:  For real, for REAL, I didn’t expect maternity pants to be so damn comfortable!!! I might live in these for the next few months, and maybe even more than that!  I really wish they were more my style, but this will have to do in the meantime, and the comfortably factor counts for way more points then style factor, that’s for sure!  I also didn’t expect that these subtle changes in my body would warrant me wanting it to change faster and be MORE pregnant, but all in due time, I suppose.

Friends, this pregnancy so far, has been pretty awesome! And don’t laugh, but my first official internet “bathroom break bumpie”…