How She Became A Mom

It’s 2:30 in the morning. I’m visiting my parents in the Bronx. I’m currently 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, laying down next to my youngest brother after stuffing our faces with Chinese food, and watching silly movies all night. I’m starting to get uncomfortable, and I figured the food is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m giving it time to get better… but at 3:20am, I decided it was time to go home. I ordered an Uber and I snuck out of the house. I most definitely did not think I was in labor, but every part of me just wanted to be next to my partner, Steve.

I arrive in Harlem at 4am, still feeling weird. It wasn’t a sharp pain or anything, but it didn’t feel normal. I shake Steve a bit to let him know I’m home because I know the last thing he’s done is check his text messages, especially since I heard a little snore while I tippy-toed in the house.

He’s been in pain lately, mostly in his back, since he sits so much at work, and he has a shift in a few hours. The last thing I want to do is wake him up for no reason. I laid down for about an hour, tossing and turning. It wasn’t working. I decide to take a warm bath so I can relax, it was now 6am, and the water covering my body felt so nice. I kept rotating in the tub. I felt like a rotisserie chicken.

Once it was 7am, I figured I held on long enough. Maybe I should head to the hospital, “just in case”. Every part of me did not think I was in labor. This isn’t how it looks in the movies. My water definitely didn’t break, at least I think it didn’t— since I was submerged in water.
Nonetheless, it was time to wake up Steve, and as I walked to the bed, dripping water all over the hardwood floors, I still felt guilty for waking him up.

Steve wakes up, in complete confusion. These past few weeks he’s been on high alert, just in case I tell him it was time to go. Naturally, his first response is “Is it time?” Except I don’t have an answer. I’ve never done this before!
“Umm, I don’t know… but maybe we should go? I don’t want you to call out of work if you don’t have to”
“Ok, but what if it is?”
As I struggle to throw on the first pair of sweats I see, I overhear him on the phone ” I think the baby is coming.”
My heart smiles, and then I’m brought back to reality to the pain that kept getting closer.
The cab ride, luckily was quick, except for every single bump on the road, I felt. Which did not help. When we arrived at 7:30am, I start to begin the process of checking myself in. Due to Covid protocols, temperatures need to be taken before entering almost anywhere, it’s this whole ordeal. The security guy screams across the hall that visiting hours are still not available.
I mentioned to him how I think I’m in labor, and he quickly changes his mindset–“Oh, go upstairs! You don’t need to do this, go!”
I waddle myself to the elevators.
Steve checks me into Labor + Delivery… turns out, I’m already 4cm dilated. I’m told to stay, and I was reassured this baby was coming today.
For the past month, I’ve been wondering when you would arrive, turns out you wanted to make a grand entrance on Easter… the day of resurrection. Wow, girl.

Everything after this felt like it happened so fast. I, who rather have more information than less in every aspect of my life, ask in what time frame you normally start to dilate. I was told about a centimeter and a half per hour, at the rate I was going. So according to my calculations, I needed 6 more cm’s before it was time, which means by 2pm, I would be holding her in my arms.

Now that I know indeed that these are contractions, they seem to hurt way more now, and they’re coming closer and closer together. I’m sent to a room, where I’m being monitored. I had every intention of everything being natural. `Yeah, that wasn’t happening. I opted for the epidural, and thank goodness I did.
Her blood pressure was dropping. She was fighting the contractions. She wanted to get out of there so badly, I even had to get my water broken by one of the doctors. The more contractions I had, the more her blood pressure dropped. I was being rotated at every angle to see if it helped. It didn’t.

I was told I needed a C-section, and I did not want that at all. I kept denying it, and Steve, as amazing as he was, knew that I didn’t want that either. He kept advocating for me, holding my hand, and kept telling me that it was all going to be okay. God is with us.
I teared as I was rushed to an emergency C-section.
I was scared, and the tears kept forming. Everything happened so fast. Next thing I knew I was in a bright white room full of doctors. Not like I could barely see anyway, I had blue tissue paper blocking my view from my neck down. I felt the pressure on my abdomen, Steve walks in in full hazmat gear, tells me they’re cutting, and then I hear that loud cry… that’s my baby’s cry. It slowly started to fade, since she was being walked to the other side of the room, while I’m yelling, “Is she okay?” I feel another doctor shove their whole hand inside of me, it felt like what dough would feel like if it was being kneaded.
Steve rushes to her and yells “She’s healthy!” Her little cry is everything— the doctor brings her around, Steve over my head now holds her, and this time the tears of being scared turned into happy ones.
This is my daughter. I have a daughter.

Travel : Washington D.C. 2019

Sometimes it’s time to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC, and find some bustle somewhere else.
    Weekend getaways tend to be my favorite. I can pack a small backpack with me, have a new adventure and go back to work on Monday like nothing ever happened.

A friend recently told me about Bolt bus (and yes, I may be late to the party.. even though I took one about 5 years ago to get to Boston, and completely forgot they existed) and it was time to hit the road.
I visited Washington D.C. a long time ago as a kid. I must have been around 10 years old. I still remember the bright baggy mustard pants, and the turquoise and purple windbreaker jacket I was wearing(It was the late 90’s okaaaay) Think, little Dominican girl dressed like The Fresh Prince, hahaha. My dad’s car ended up leaving us on the side of the road, and our choice was to rent something, anything to get there the rest of the way.    The closest rental car spot only had a limo left…it was the best entrance I’ve made to the white house. How can you possibly beat that?
Adulting is a little different, I hopped off the bus and roamed the streets, taking  in everything so I can remember it this time.
Getting caught in the rain, and not really caring about my hair or clothes was just an extra touch of freedom.
One of my favorite things about has got to be the endless amounts of free museums. If you find yourself visiting, I promise you,your biggest expense is going to be getting there and figuring out where you’re sleeping. And that wasn’t even too costly. I didn’t really do any bar hopping, but museum hopping was all the rage this weekend. Check  out The Smithsonians if you plan on visiting.

Illustration: Pero Like it’s Curly for Pride

I was in the mood to try something different, and boy did that work out in my favor. When Buzzfeed’s Curly, posted up this image on his instagram, I just knew I had to draw it– and right on time for Pride!
Not only is he extremely charismatic, but a looker too! I wanted this drawing to express how vibrant his personality is. I added a lot of pink and blue tones to the lighting, and even debated if i should, but I just had to go with my gut. I absolutely love this piece and can’t wait to keep trying some new things!
Check out more illustrations on my instagram, and check out Curly’s web show “Pero Like” HERE.
Want an illustration of your own? Reach me HERE.