as many of you know, pregnancy has been so complicated for me health-wise in many ways that i would have never expected. i am having serious trouble even beginning to cover all the expenses that go with it, and am asking that anyone please help out with whatever they can.
Since the moment we found out our little family would be growing, we have been so excited to welcome our first child into this world. Unfortunately, the journey to bring baby Teo to us has been and will be a lot more difficult than ever expected.
Early in the pregnancy, it was discovered that Caterina has a condition called uterus didelphys. Basically, this means that the uterus is divided into two halves and the baby can only occupy one half, giving him half of everything he needs in order to develop healthily. Among other complications, it also means that there is a high risk for extremely premature labor. In order to avoid this, Cat will need to begin weekly treatments of progesterone shots. This will cost us $85-$100 per shot.
Cat has also been extremely ill with hyperemesis gravidarum, a complication of pregnancy that causes severe, constant nausea and vomiting. Because there is very little that she is able to eat or drink, the amount of necessary nutrients that she and the baby receives is very limited. She has been hospitalized for dehydration, which poses a threat to both her and little Teo. Although no medication has worked very effectively, there are a few that help temporarily alleviate symptoms just long enough to be able to eat. Consequentially, we have found ourselves needing funds for these meds as well as for the hospital visits so that Cat can receive fluids via an IV drip.
All of the above-mentioned medications, in addition to frequent hospital and doctor’s visits, has done serious damage to the little savings we had to actually cover the regular expenses of raising a child. Not to mention that it has been financially impossible for Esteban to make visits from Providence to Miami in order to give Cat emotional support. We really need your help. Cat is unable to work and has no job. Esteban is a full-time student and is struggling to balance three part-time jobs, yet still earns extremely little.
We have nowhere near the amount of money we need in order to cover our medical expenses in addition to baby expenses once Teo arrives. The list of necessary expenses goes on and on, spanning a lot more than just what has been mentioned here. The bare minimum of what we need is $5,000. We are asking the people in our lives to please, please give anything you are able to. We are endlessly grateful for your generosity and truly value any and every donation! Thank you for helping us in the fight to have our baby make it to us safely and healthily.
pregnancy means that a lot of weird, new things are going to suddenly happen to your body beginning about two seconds after you put down the pee stick. some of these things are less sucky than others. naw, they all suck. sorry. one of these sucky things is a little surprise called HORMONES. SO MANY HORMONES. i read about this little surprise at the beginning of my pregnancy and thought to myself, “pshhh, i can totally keep this shit under control.” no. no, i can’t. i find myself crying or getting emotional at the weirdest shit. i am realizing that my boyfriend probbbabblly gets the bad side of this phenomena more than he deserves, and it is probably really important that he realizes what’s going on. so, i am going to take advantage of this likely fleeting moment of clarity to be straight-up about things my boo should know if we’re both going to survive the next five months. so here you go, booboo:
as mentioned above, the most obvious thing to know is that i am hormonal, and as a result, a lot of my actions and behaviors should be blamed on this. not all… but a lot. i am going to be irrational about things, even though it seems to me like the most rational thing on earth at the moment. does it make sense that all of the sudden i’ve broken out sobbing because this strawberry was too squishy? does it make sense that i just threw a chair across the room because i can’t find a comfy position to sleep in? YES. YES IT ABSOLUTELY DOES MAKE SENSE. (moment of clarity: fleeted)
in the past few months, my body & i have gone through things i didn’t even know it was possible to go through. eating a burrito that contained beans landed me lying down in the bathtub, sobbing, wondering if i should go to the emergency room because of the severity of the pain (remember that fun night?). eating or drinking something that stays in my system for more than two hours is a beautiful, beautiful victory. being able to shower without fainting makes me feel like an immortal goddess warrior. waking up without excruciating back pain tempts me to say rosaries of gratitude. your complaints mean nothing. too much homework? oh, so sorry your ivy league school is making you move your hand back and forth. didn’t sleep well? oh, is your pelvis and tail bone shifting to make room for the enormous sack in the middle of your body, too? unless your head is falling off, it doesn’t matter. and even then, it would really depend.
i know that normal people leave the house once in a while. i know it doesn’t seem like much to you to walk to the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of water. but i’m really, really tired. pregnancy makes even the most active individual exhausted. combined with my hyperemesis, which severely limits the amount of nutrients i am receiving and causes me dehydration, i’m lucky if i make it to the bathroom without my head spinning. please just understand that i want to sleep or at least be in bed for 99% of the day. and if for some miraculous reason i feel like moving my body, seize the opportunity like it’s the last one you’ll ever have.
back to those hormones… sometimes, i feel like being really mean to everyone. it’s easiest to be mean to the people who are in closest proximity to me. that means you, lucky lil duckling. don’t take it personally. i am going to be not-so-nice to you and probably already have. 99% of the time, it has nothing to do with you. know that i am not my normal, logical self, and i will most likely be singing your praises about two minutes after i send you to hell. tune it all out if you need to & just smile and nod.
if i want fries, like right now, i want fries RIGHT NOW. and if you go out and get me fries, only to return and find that i think fries are the most disgusting thing in the world, i’m sorry. my cravings & desires change from one moment to the next. cravings excite me and give me a sense of urgency because i hardly ever actually feel like eating. so when i do, i am eager to take advantage of this opportunity to actually enjoy something. but my body works in mysterious ways that i have little to no control over. this goes for everything. i may suddenly get super pumped to take a super exciting walk around the neighborhood one second, but then be way too exhausted to even think about lifting a pinky two seconds later.
everything about pregnancy so far has been really miserable. that’s the truth. i wish it weren’t, but it is. i pray to anything & everything that things change real soon. but in the meantime, everything sucks, and it’s all your fault. yup. i am aware that it takes more than just sperm to make a baby. but sperm is a necessary ingredient, and you put that shit in me, so that automatically makes everything your fault. and it will continue to be your fault until our baby is born & is super cute and enjoyable, at which point i expect you to continuously praise me for being the amazing baby-making warrior that i am.
i love you, and i know that you’re going to be an awesome father. i recognize every tiny grain of your immense kindness, even though i don’t always properly express gratitude. but TRUST ME, i’m so thankful. so keep being awesome. you are appreciated.
Today marks the birthday of the late legendary Afro-Cubano singer Celia Cruz, born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad, the Godmother and Queen of Salsa.
Here she is performing her song ‘Quimbara’ in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1974 with her band The Fania All Stars. 80, 000 fans were present for this occasion which was part of the famous Ali vs. Foreman fight known as the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.
this post is long overdue. it is one of anger & frustration and maybe all i need to do is get it out. BUT SERIOUSLY, i knowwww for facts that other pregnant people relate to at least one of the things on this list, and i urge you to please take something away from it.
so HERE WE GO, in no particular order…:
touch my tummy - perhaps one of the most universal frustrations of pregnant individuals everywhere. and rightfully so. would you touch my stomach before i was pregnant without my consent? no… hopefully not. then why would you touch it without consent now? my body is still mine, regardless of the fact that my mid-section is expanding. i don’t understand why people are so inclined to touch the tummy. you’re not even going to feel anything except my fat. what is wrong with you people? i don’t get it.
comment on my weight gain or loss - as anyone who has been pregnant knows, any added weight to your tummy in the verryyy early beginning isn’t due to baby yet. it’s definitely there, and it’s definitely due to pregnancy, but it’s likely because of bloating and your stomach being like, “wtf what’s happening in here ugh this is weird.” when i was maybe four or five weeks pregnant—the babe inside me isn’t even a fetus yet, and is about the size of a mustard seed, ok—my stupid fucking mother-in-law commented upon gazing at my stomach that i must be having twins. are you fucking kidding me? first of all, i hate her so much. second of all, pregnancy has been difficult for me personally as it can be for many because it really challenges my commitment to body-positivity and resistance to fat-shaming. i readily admit that i have struggled with not feeling shitty about myself because my body is morphing quite disproportionately as it expands and my waist line thickens. none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit me anymore. normally, i am not thin. i am curvy and a little pudgy in certain areas. but i know i am not fat, maybe not even chubby. i don’t know. i do know that being fat or chubby, just like being thin, is not bad. all of us know that keeping this mindset can be nearly impossible in a world that constantly shames mujeres who don’t fit society’s ideal size standards. so it’s hard, man. why do you have to make it harder by being a total dick and commenting on it? weight gain during pregnancy hasn’t been the only source of criticism, however. i suffer from hyperemesis, ”extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that can lead to dehydration.” this has done incredible damage to both me and my body. i have been vomiting everything i attempt to eat for exactly two months now. as a result, i’ve lost close to nine pounds. i hate that i’ve lost that weight. it’s unhealthy for me and my little love and it’s a visual reminder of the extreme pain and suffering i have endured every day for what seems like an eternity. people telling me that i’m too thin for a healthy pregnancy is one, big, fucking DUH. believe me, if i could find a way to stop vomiting, i would. i would swim to antartica if that was somehow the magical cure. truly. why are you making me feel worse about something that’s out of my control?
"are you really allowed to have that?" - this is a question i have heard about two million times, phrased numerous ways, that is guaranteed to receive a death-glare from me. first of all: it’s my body. i can put anything i fucking want into it. if you are concerned that i may be doing something seriously unhealthy, you can find a better way to bring it up. secondly: as my baby daddy knows, pregnancy has caused me to obsessively research each and every little thing that even goes near my body. can i take this pill? have this type of cheese? continue using my face wash? dye my hair? CUT MY HAIR?! seriously. if i have eaten it or put it on my body, i promise that i have read at least five articles and ten forums about it first. i have checked what the fda thinks about it. i have checked what other countries’ regulating institutions think about it, knowing that the fda sucks. questioning if i’m “really allowed to have that” is a) condescending & rude, b) totally saying that you don’t think i care enough about my health or the health of my little love to know what i can or can’t do, and c) expressing a disrespect for my choices. there are some risks that i’ve decided i can take during pregnancy, while there are others that i am not comfortable with. for example: i feel safe having caffeine via soda regularly because while i shouldn’t have above the recommended amount, soda comforts my sick body and i don’t think any research indicating harm to the fetus is strong enough. on the other hand, my DOCTOR told me that i could take an occasional excedrin pill for my frequent migraines, and i have decided not to because i do not trust aspirin’s possible effects on my child regardless of what my doctor may think. this is my choice. the question is particularly insulting from people who have never even been pregnant before. y’all need to sit down. (i’m looking at you, dad.)
tell me what my body needs - similar to my previous complaint, but different. this time, the “friendly advice” comes almost entirely from mothers. ok, so, i really understand that people are coming from a good place with this one. i do. and i appreciate the willingness to share and offer advice. however, there is a clear line for me between “this really helped me feel better during my pregnancy” vs. “this is definitely going to help you and omg why isn’t this helping you yet you aren’t doing it right.” telling me what worked for your morning sickness is totally cool. if it’s been suggested, i’ve tried it. i’m fucking desperate for relief. but i need you to understand that i’m not suffering from regular morning sickness. i’m suffering with a condition that can be life-threatening. and i really need you to understand that every body on earth is different. this continues for pregnant individuals. just because we’re all pregnant doesn’t mean we’ve suddenly joined a league of identical internal body structures. (that’d be a really weird league.) our bodies are still different, regardless of our shared journey of pregnancy, and what works for you may not work for me. in fact, nothing that anyone has ever suggested has worked for me. which makes me super sad obvs. you being frustrated that your magic remedy isn’t working for me just makes me more frustrated. besides the advice for sickness relief, i hear a whole bunch of other stuff—mainly from my mom—concerning what someone thinks my body needs. like, a 10-minute walk outside would totally do me good. or, just shower and you’ll feel better. ………no. exercise is healthy but i’m incapable of it right now. i have no energy because I AM RECEIVING NO NUTRIENTS. i need to rest 99% of the day. and a shower would sound nice for a normal person, but for me, the heat lowers my already low blood pressure and causes me to feel faint and even more nauseous than i already am. i am almost guaranteed to vomit after every shower, so please don’t judge me if i’m skipping a day or two. you would, too.
question my parenting (before it’s even begun!) - sigh. parents everywhere: i applaud you for being the warriors that you are. i really get it now. everywhere you turn, someone is going to dislike whatever decision you’ve made about how you’d like to raise your child, no matter how seemingly small you think that decision is. this constant challenging of personal values has already begun for me in milder versions. it started in the doctor’s office, when i found out my little love has a penis (i saw it, and it’s no joke, either). shortly after, my mom began talking to me about the process i need to go through for my child’s circumcision. i politely and casually told her i would not be circumcising my baby. this isn’t something my baby daddy & i have discussed extensively, but i know that he feels the same way about the subject. i respect every parent’s choice in this matter, truly, and i expect the same respect back. well, my mother was horrified. her face said that i might as well have told her i wasn’t going to celebrate any of the child’s birthdays. she began on a rant about all the reasons circumcision is healthy and necessary and blah blah blah whatever trailing offzzzzzzzzz. it’s not necessary, first off. secondly, while i am sure there are benefits, the cons outweigh them for me, and my decision is final. the end. this shouldn’t be a debate about circumcision. this should be an issue in which your views differ from mine, but you respect my choice as a mother. unless i am deciding to do something that would cause obvious harm to someone, why does it matter to you? why do you care about my baby’s penis? weirdos.
invalidate my physical and/or emotional feelings - i hate, hate, hate, when people attempt to belittle or invalidate me in any way. it’s so triggering. these attempts skyrocket during pregnancy, the time when everyone besides you knows best, of course! physically… i felt (and continue to feel, quite often) my little love squirm around inside of me, but because i’ve just entered my second trimester, “it has to be just gas.” i know what fucking gas feels like. i know what cramps feel like. i know what my uterus expanding feels like. i know what my ligaments stretching feels like. pregnancy makes you really good at telling these weird body things apart. it’s my baby moving, you fuckface. let me have this little joy. i have felt my back and hip burning in pain, pain, pain like no other, but because my tummy isn’t huge yet, i must be just “sleeping wrong.” AHA, THE DOCTOR SAID THIS IS DUE TO MY LIGAMENTS STRETCHING BEFORE I EVEN ASKED HIM ABOUT IT! so check that one off. i have felt my titties get huge… ok, so no one’s invalidated that one yet, because it’s undenniaaabble ;). now, emotionally… this is a big one. i have always wanted to have more than one child, ideally three. this is my first pregnancy, and i have learned how my body reacts to it, and it hasn’t been good. in fact, it’s been awful. if i’m going to be honest, it has made me suicidal more than once. so when i say that i’ve decided i do not want to become pregnant again, believe me. don’t shrug it off and say “oh, you’ll change your mind when you see your baby!” maybe i will, but maybe i won’t. and dismissing my emotional decision is such a slap in the face and is a complete invalidation of the serious suffering, both physical and emotional, that i have gone through. me being a cis mujer and being super fertile (seriously… i am SUPER fucking fertile) does not automatically mean that i am destined to house fetuses just because i can. i am grateful for my fertility and very aware that other people do not have that same privilege. but my condition has caused me serious damage, and i’m not even 16 weeks yet. believe me when i say that i can’t do this again.
act more concerned about the fetus than about me - this one shakes me to my very core, and if this list were numbered, would likely be #1. it’s been an unforeseen issue that in actuality has been really interesting to deal with. as i’ve mentioned, i deal with hyperemesis. people know this. good/normal people will check up on me to see how i’m doing. i really appreciate that, and have felt loved by the investment of others in my well-being. however, there has been a clear divide between the people who seem to be more concerned about the well-being of the baby than about mine. and, so tellingly, all of the people whose main concern has been the baby instead of me are people who i know are religious and anti-choice. these have been my parents’ friends and people i am related to… a.k.a. the only ways i’d have this type of person involved in my life. and the other side, the group of individuals who show a clear concern about my health first and foremost, is made up of my friends and justice-minded people. i am, of course, incredibly concerned over my little love’s health. i have a high-risk pregnancy aside from the hyperemesis and my boyfriend knows that i’ve spent nights sobbing over the possibility of losing my child. i appreciate that other people are concerned as well. however, i think a line gets crossed when i report that i feel like shit, am not getting better, and feel like dying, and the response i get is that “at least the baby’s ok.” what?! no. no no no. how can something inside me be ok if i’m not ok? how can it be ok that i feel like this, as long as the fetus survives it? it can’t be. when i found out i was pregnant, i decided that i wanted to have this child, and i still feel that way. and i want my little love to be super healthy and make it to me safely, so so so badly. but my own health remains my number one concern, so why isn’t it yours?
flush the toilet when i’m not done vomiting - seemingly petty, but incredibly frustrating. listen, i really appreciate someone being there for me when it’s ugly, and i hate that this complaint goes mainly to the two people who have been most active in my pregnancy (baby daddy & my mom). y’all have helped me soooo much and i love you for it and couldn’t do it without you etc etc. but why do you flush the toilet when i’m not done vomiting? i appreciate you being there for me… but i vomit a lot, like a lot a lot, and i’m a pro at doing it alone. so if seeing my puke in the toilet grosses you out, i very strongly prefer you just leave me in the bathroom alone. i really don’t want you to be grossed out. the last thing i want to have to worry about while vomiting is that it may be grossing someone else out, and flushing the toilet from behind me also makes me feel rushed and fucks up my rhythm. don’t rush my puke, bro. i know what i gotta do. wait outside with cold water. <3
impose gender norms & binaries on my child before it’s even born - alright, so as a cis mujer who’s considerably femme, i live trying to be ultra-conscious of gender norms & binaries… and destroying them. i really examine my thoughts and carefully review my words so as to not enforce the systems that oppress trans* & gender-variant individuals. as a womanist, i yearn to crush imposed gender norms and expectations and try really hard to do so. but i have to admit, this pregnancy has really caused me to slip up, and i have found myself being shitty in ways i never thought i’d be. this has happened when thinking about & discussing the baby’s gender. from the start, i wanted a girl. because girls rule the world, duh. but what does it mean to want a girl? is it to want a baby with a vagina? i didn’t have to ask myself this or even think about it to know that that is what it has meant for me. and i know that’s fucked up in different ways, so i keep catching and correcting myself. i find myself having to catch and correct other people, too. why does it matter to you that there is both blue and pink on my baby’s registry? why are you already talking about the roles my child will have as a man? i have found that it is really difficult to raise a child as gender-neutrally as possible before they are able to communicate their gender identity or desired gender expression. but fuck, i’m going to try my hardest, and i expect no shit from other people on this.
question my choice to have the babe - this would definitely compete for #1 on this list. it’s happened only twice but once is enough to enrage me. it’s obvious that this pregnancy was not planned. that’s no secret nor do i intend it to be. i’m sort of young, and know maybe one other person my age with a child. my baby daddy & i are not in a good financial situation. he’s still in school. we don’t even live in the same state because of it. we don’t have a place we can both call home together. i don’t have a job. he has three and still earns shit. my uterus is deformed and poses a real threat to the development of a fetus. there are definitely many factors that would have influenced us into deciding not to have the baby… and trust me, we thought a lot about it. but i really don’t need to explain my decision to anyone. really. in fact, i haven’t, and won’t. i’m not even going to explain it here. because it’s MY decision, and you need to respect it, whether you would have made the same one or not. questioning it truly makes me see red. and questioning it can be subtle, and come in the form of snide remarks, too. i know who really loves me, because when i announced my pregnancy happily, all of those people were happy, too. no questions asked. and that’s the way it should be.
in conclusion: in order to avoid making it onto this list, it’d be great if everyone could just leave me alone and talk to me only to ask if i want something and the end. xoxo
Babywearing. A tool to accomplish things, to teach, to love, to nurture. And in some cases, to heal. To save.
“The next few weeks were a whirlwind of tears, the same feelings for me, and fighting the voice that told me that I didn’t want to live. Medications. Doctors. Tears. Wash, rinse, repeat. After about 2 weeks of this, I was finally mostly in control of myself as far as actually fearing self harm. Those thoughts were still there, but they were only thoughts. I still struggled to be in the same room as my daughter. I would pet her soft hair, or her plump cheeks, kiss her sweet head and be overcome with such failure that it took my breath away. There is no fresh hell like being emotionally unavailable to love your own child, so I started googling ways to bond with a child you couldn’t touch.”
“There is nothing BAD about Postpartum Depression, except for how it makes you feel, and how others make you feel about it. You did not do anything to deserve it, you are not a bad mother. And everyone has their thing. This was mine. This changed me. So to a mother with Postpartum, a mother with weary arms, a mother with an overwhelming need to just scrub the damn floors because it’s NORMAL, and you’ve forgotten what that is.. Wear your babies. However, why-ever, whenever you want. You never know how it may change you.”
this is actually a veryyy amazing, insightful, and interesting piece that i encourage everyone to read.
Maybe together, we adults can make the world in which our little girls are growing into wonderful women a better place. Please help me. We’re the adults. My daughter, and probably yours, needs our help.