And all of a sudden, Elena and Yael are turning one.

It feels so surreal. Yes, time flies. Yes, it’s one of those things that everyone says more and more as they get older. Yes, for those of you with children of any age (even adult children) I am preaching to the choir. It still doesn’t make it any less emotional that my babies are officially ending toddlerhood. It has been an amazing and gratifying experience thus far, while also being the most difficult.

Let’s be honest, it is easy to look back and only remember the good, which is why I think people are able or willing to have another child, but the reality is that there are moments when you want to throw in the towel. Those first three months, especially, are brutal.

I have this vivid memory of a Sunday night where Elena had been crying for what seemed like hours. It wasn’t crying as much as it was screaming. Nothing calmed her down for more than a few minutes: the sound of running water or the AC worked until it didn’t. I was sleep deprived and all I kept thinking was the estimated amount of time left before Yael would wake up for her next feeding. My mom was with me that night and I remember crying as I held a screaming Elena and saying, “Can I return her?”

Nights like that seem like a distant memory now. Sure, we have bad nights here and there, but nothing compared to what it was.

What I truly remember about the past year, though, is the amazement as one or both of them do something for the first time. Yael’s squeal of delight as she stood on her own for the first time in her crib. Elena triumphantly spitting out food when she realized she could do that if she didn’t like what was in her mouth. The two of them exchanging pacifiers and laughing hysterically. Each of these moments make my heart fuller. I don’t know how else to describe it because it’s truly this warmth or pull I feel in my heart and gut. They bring me joy just thinking of their cute little smiles.

From day one, each girl has had their unique personality. That personality has and continues to shift as it forms. One day Elena seems like the extrovert, while other days it is Yael. What I can tell you for sure is that Yael looks at everyone quizzically at first; she needs to determine whether she can trust you. When she decides you are worthy, she smiles at you with her eyes. People think she’s toothless because she rarely gives a wide open smile. She will, however, happily observe her surroundings without necessarily needing me nearby. Elena on the other hand will smile at you just for looking her way. She also laughs loudly when I tell her not to throw food. She does get antsy if she realizes I am not around.

Yael cries when someone else gets hurt. She gets frustrated until she can do something well. And she uses any means necessary (rolling, dragging, crawling) to get where she wants to go. Elena turned out to be the laid back one (after those early months of hysteria). She could care less if she stays in one place. I thought she would never crawl. She is very verbal though and gets her point across.

They both love books, their walks and the bath. They are pretty good eaters (when not throwing food on the floor). Salmon, lentils and pancakes are some favorites, while overly lemony chickpea burgers are not. Yael squeals a lot and Elena says “mas”, “bye” and “oh, wow.” They cover their eyes or at least their nose when we play peekaboo.
Ultimately they have changed my life for the better in ways that I could never have imagined. There were moments in the year where I thought there was no way I was going to make it through as a single mom, but somehow I did and will.

I can’t wait to go in their room tomorrow morning and wish them a Happy Birthday. It feels incredible to have made it. In the words of Elena, “Oh, WOW!”

2016 – The Year That Changed My Life

It seems cliche to write a blog post recapping the year on New Year’s Eve, but I am going to do it anyway.

Exactly a year ago today, my second blood test confirmed that I was pregnant. Even though I was still cautious of making it through the first trimester, I ended 2015 with so much hope for the year to come. 2015 had been a rough one personally. It was a year of living in 2 week increments pumped with hormones and false hope.

While a lot has been said recently about how 2016 sucked, for my personal life it has been the best year of my life. My kids may end up taking history classes on 2016 being the year the world changed, but I will always remember it fondly as the year I became a mother.

Nothing is without its rough starts. The first few months of pregnancy were filled with nausea and light headedness, which I took in stride because I was so happy to be pregnant. The first couple of months of motherhood were brutal, yet amazing. It has truly been a year I will never forget. I had always fantasized of what it was like to be pregnant and a mother, but the reality was quite different both in regards to the highs and the lows.

There is nothing like seeing their faces light up when you get into their sight line or smelling their perfect baby smell (even tinged with formula) or seeing them do something new for the first time. August 22nd was the BEST day, but every day since has been a wonderful adventure.

Whatever 2017 has to offer, I’m ready to take it on with my family of 3!

Gender Obsession


That is usually what anyone I run into while out with the girls will say. Sometimes they don’t even say it to me, but I hear them say it to whoever they are with.

If they are talking to me, the next thing they ask is whether they are 2 boys or one of each. When I respond that they are two girls, they look at them closely and usually continue with some comment about how they don’t look like girls or I should dress them in pink (sometimes they are) or I should pierce their ears (I did). Only one woman has responded by saying, “I love that you dress them in blue.”

The obsession with gender since before they were even born has been pretty surprising. I have never much cared if someone is pregnant with a boy or girl. I don’t think it’s something that I have even asked someone, but it was the main thing I was asked while pregnant by people I know and by strangers. I spent the majority of my pregnancy explaining to people that I didn’t want to know the genders. This bothered people a lot. They could not understand how I could prepare myself if I didn’t know the gender. It’s not like I was going to create a pink ballet or blue baseball themed nursery. Random people would make definitive statements to me about the baby’s gender based on my belly shape and size. I was walking on the sidewalk of a strip mall, when a man yelled from inside a T-mobile, “It’s a boy!” I had a standard response to these people, which was “Well, there’s two of them.”

This fascination with gender shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. My mom has always told me stories of having me in dresses and people still saying, “Oh, what a cute baby boy.” The thing is that babies are pretty androgynous. Depending on the angle I look at my girls they can look more feminine or masculine (and really what does that even mean at that age). It doesn’t bother me that people think they are boys, it bothers me that they seem annoyed to find out they are girls.

I don’t consciously make it a point NOT to dress them in pink, but I dress them in the clothes that I like. Sometimes there is pink involved and a lot of times there are flowers, but many times it is blue. I do refuse to put them in those huge headbands with flowers or bows bigger than their heads. It’s just a matter of my taste. I am fully aware that when they are old enough to choose their own clothes, I can end up with one or both of them wanting to be in head to toe pink or in a constant princess costume. Until that day comes, I will dress them like me: I love dresses and skirts more than pants, but I also gravitate to blue, black and gray. I don’t care too much about my shoes (comfort over fashion), but LOVE purses.

That’s the thing, there’s no standard way to be male or female, especially not as an infant. Once I tell you that they are girls, just smile or nod or simply walk away if you don’t like how they are dressed.


Those of you that have been following since I first talked about becoming a mom, or those of you that read back to past entries, will remember that one of my initial hesitations was what the community might think of my choice. It wasn’t going to sway me enough to change my decision, but I was concerned as to how it would be received in my “small” Jewish Hispanic community.

It has been truly overwhelming at how much I have been embraced and how sincerely happy people are for me and my family. I am pleasantly surprised. From the moment I announced I was pregnant, it has been nothing but an outpouring of love and support. Some have joked that I have a fan club. I know there are plenty of people who are disapproving and are keeping quiet (for the most part), but that is fine with me.

The only negative reaction has been somewhat an anonymous one. As is Jewish tradition, when a girl is born, she receives her name officially when someone (usually the father) goes up to the Torah. As soon as I gave birth to the girls, my father reached out to the Rabbi so that he and my brothers could go to one of the services and make Elena and Yael “official.” At first it seemed like the Rabbi was stalling and that he was the one disapproving, even though he had initially reached out with congratulations. When he finally spoke to my father, he advised that he was in full support, but he was hesitant to make a big deal of their birth as some others in the community may not feel as comfortable with my choice. In the end they were named and no big deal, whatever that is, was made. It wasn’t like we were planning a huge event. At the time this was happening, I was consumed with new motherhood and gall bladder surgery, so I did not let it get to me. I am OK with people not approving. I am not OK with people denying my girls the opportunity to be welcomed into the Jewish community like any other child.

Anyway, back to the positive. Last my mother held a tea for all the ladies to come and meet my girls. It was like their introduction into society without all the debutante stuff! Again, I was overwhelmed by how happy people are for me and my daughters. I know that the majority of the community has embraced our little family and that makes me happy. I am well aware that as they grow up, there will be questions from them, from their friends and others about our non-conventional family. I’ll be as prepared as I can to deal with that and make Elena and Yael feel appreciative of the unit that the three of us are. For now, I am extremely grateful for the warm embrace we have received from those near and far!

Can I Half Go Back To Work?

Is it even possible to gradually go back to work?

This is what I keep asking myself as I slowly dip my toes back into the work pond while wondering if I’ll just end up engulfed by it. I wasn’t planning on going back for at least 6 months (was hoping for a year). Part of me left thinking I’d never go back. Here I was, though, exactly 12 weeks after giving birth, driving to the office to meet one of my employees who was resigning.

I haven’t been completely disconnected. I’ve answered emails here and there, but they were mostly dumb process questions. It had not been anything that would suck me in to the same old drama and stress. One of the pluses of working for the family is that I get a say in how slowly I want to ease back into work. I’m not going to lose my job if I don’t go back right now. However, my personality doesn’t really allow me to shut off completely and not care about my team being left without a leader.

So here I am getting ready to go back part-time. One half day in office and some work from home time the rest of the week. Time will tell how much time I need to put in and how I can set the boundaries. I’ve already spent every day this week on email and as soon as people see me in the office on Monday, the flood gates will open.

I’m hoping that I maintain the boundaries needed because I do not want to miss out on this time with my girls. Every day they surprise me with how much they are growing and developing. I love our morning walks. I love our hugs (well, me hugging them). I love everything about them. I want to be here for everything and as they become more and more interactive, I want to be physically interacting with them.

What Now?

Yesterday I took my 11 week old daughters to vote with me. I held it together while voting for Hillary and when taking a picture of us with the “I Voted” sticker. As I started walking home, tears streamed down my face as I thought of the magnitude of a female president less than 100 years after getting the right to vote. Yesterday was full of hope for me and my daughters.

Today I woke up to the news and shed a different type of tears for the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the next four years. We now have a President elect that has proven himself to have the temperament of a six year old child. Not only will he have the greatest power, but he will also be accompanied by a majority in the House and Senate making it that much easier to use that power. This is a man that exemplifies behaviors that are the opposite of what I will teach my children.

I did not vote for Hillary solely because she is a woman. It was an added bonus, but was not why I voted for her.

Several years ago, I changed my party affiliation to Independent because I realized that my voting habits were based on the candidate I thought would do the best job, not on him or her being a democrat. I try to look at which candidate is the better of the two or sometimes the least objectionable candidate. Had the Republicans ended up with a different nominee, then perhaps my vote would have gone there. I do believe that Hillary is extremely qualified for the job whether you agree with her or not, whether you like her or not.

Trump to me represents the opposite of what I believe America was meant to be. I don’t know what it was or what it is or if it ever was great. I do know that it was meant to be a country that was accepting of all people regardless of where they come from or what they believe in. This includes exercising their freedom of speech. It also includes someones right to not stand up for the national anthem if they so choose. Freedom is what this country was built on (whether it actually was or not is another story) and telling someone that they have to stand for something is the opposite of that. Some of Trump’s supporters (the ones that spew hate and beat people up that don’t agree with their unwavering love for Trump) represent the antithesis of the country I want to live in and that I want to raise my children in. These people who say we are trying to take their constitutional rights by setting gun control laws are the same people who want to take Colin Kaperneck’s freedom away by shaming him for not standing to the national anthem. The American idealism is about our freedom to express ourselves. It is about immigrants creating better lives for themselves and their children. It is about accepting different views and religions. Based on our country’s history, it can be debated whether this has ever been the case. I believe that it is where we were meant to go.

Many people will say in the coming days that the fear some of us feel is unfounded. I have to tell you that it is very REAL. Domestically the risk is overturning laws that have given our citizens basic human rights, like Roe vs Wade and marriage equality. Globally we are looking at the high possibility of war. I am not being dramatic. Obama was not incorrect in saying that someone who cannot be trusted with Twitter, for certain can cot be trusted with nuclear codes. None of this is a joke. It is Reality TV on an international stage.

All day as I looked at my daughters, I thought about what I can do to make sure that they grow up in an America where they feel safe as women, as Jews, as humans. I know that I have been complacent all these years. I don’t actively engage in politics, vote on non-presidential election years, etc. Where do we go from here to ensure that we preserve our rights in the next four years and the ones to follow?

The first is in the power of a united voice. We all have to become more engaged. We need to understand what laws or bills are being reviewed by the government and make sure that we make our voices heard. We can’t sit back and just let things happen.

The second is more of a hope than something that I can actually impact. I hope that this election shakes up the current political party system. It’s obvious that it is broken and has been for some time. We saw throughout the race that there were many GOP leaders that were not with Trump. They did not endorse him, they may or may not have worn white to vote for a Democrat, they even spoke openly about voting for Hillary. It is time for those people to re-evaluate what the Republican party truly stands for. The outcome might be more than one party. The same thing goes for the Democratic party. We might be looking at redefining what we each believe in and stand for.

I know that nothing changes overnight. I am not someone who is going to lead a movement. I am simply someone who feels a little helpless today and is trying to find a light or something that we can hold onto to provide some hope.

Yesterday I felt so hopeful and I am hoping that I can still find a little bit of that hope. Let people’s anger and sadness turn into positive action to propel the country forward and not backward. Hillary said it best in her concession speech when she said, “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

Feeling like myself

This morning as I took the girls for a walk, I realized that this is the most I have felt like my normal self since they were born. It could have been the cool (for Miami) breeze that made me feel like something had shifted, but the reality is that I have been a bundle of nerves and anxiety for weeks. I don’t even think I realized how much it was affecting me.

When the girls were first born, I kept hearing from people how amazing it was that I was so relaxed. I didn’t know how else to be, but I also knew that I wasn’t as relaxed as I guess it outwardly appeared. As the weeks went by, however, I got more and more anxious and I’m sure it showed. Some of it was just related to being a new mom and navigating all this newness, as well as the added immense responsibilities that comes with it. A lot of it was due to the baby nurse I hired. It’s hard not to feel like you are inadequate or don’t know how to do things when there is someone wanting to do everything differently than you planned. Maybe I don’t know what is best for my children, is what I kept asking myself.

As time went on, I couldn’t stand her. I knew that it was going to be hard for me with whoever it was because I am used to living alone, but this was on a whole other level. I did not feel comfortable in my own home and that sucked. Even though her 3-4 hour naps in the afternoons bothered me, it was also a time when I didn’t have to deal with her.

I was paying her to do a job and she was taking tons of breaks, while I was waking her up at night because she couldn’t hear the girls crying when it was time to feed. One more funny instance not having to do with the girls was when I asked if she needed anything when I went to do errands. Her initial response was, “You know my grocery list.” Then she added that the mangoes that I bought the last time were no good. What?! Like I have control over that? All I could do was laugh and tell her that it was no longer mango season.

Once my issues steered more towards how she was taking care of my girls and how she was a roadblock to me sleep training them, I knew it was time to look for someone else. What I was not expecting was her to walk out in the middle of the night after an argument.

The thing is that the next day I already felt better without her. Fortunately, my mom had already been putting out feelers, so I was actually already able to replace her and it has been a complete shift. Not only do I feel better, but I can see that so do my girls. While Elena still has some fits, her screaming is down several notches. She was probably reacting to my anxiety or to the bad energy that was in the house. I could immediately see her take to the new nanny and both of them are calmer and at peace.


Here is a picture of our morning walk. It’s part of our new routine and phase 1 in our sleep training. I am loving it as some time alone with them outdoors!

I have a screamer

When you have an infant that screams as her form of communication what do you do? They are way too young to learn a lesson, but at the same time you don’t want them to think that the world is about instant gratification.

Elena is a screamer. Like crazy screaming where you wonder if anything will calm her down. It can be hunger and until you get her bottle ready she’s uncontrollably creating a scene. It could be that she wants her pacifier, but then is too frustrated to feel it in her mouth. If you think it’s a dirty diaper and decide to change her, good luck to you. Sometimes running water calms her down and sometimes it doesn’t. Other times the AC running does the trick. But many times it is nothing in particular that gets her to stop (and then start again).

Once she’s calm, though, she’s like a little angel. One minute I want to return her to the sperm bank and the next minute I want to squeeze her and kiss her to pieces.

I think the screaming has gotten a little better or maybe I’ve grown more immune. The crazy thing is that I took her to a lunch this week with 40 people and she barely even opened her eyes. There was tons of noise and she slept through the whole thing! It was as if she thrives in noisier environments. Maybe she is an extrovert.

When she’s being difficult, I think about how at least Yael has a calmer temperament. She can have her fits and crying, but it is much less often.

Bottom line is that Yael may be the one that looks like me, but I think Elena might have my temper!

Sundays pre and post baby

Still being in your pajamas at noon on a Sunday, pre-children, is a sign that you are having a relaxing weekend. You may have spent the whole morning sleeping, watching random movies on TBS, wasting hours on Facebook or whipping yourself up breakfast that you ate in bed or the couch. All those are the makings of a great Sunday.

Now, with newborns, being in pajamas at noon on Sunday (or any day) means that I’ve been up since dawn, but between feedings, diaper changes, keeping pacifier in babies mouth, etc., I have not had a chance to pay attention to myself. If I ended up with a few minutes, I probably used it to eat a bowl of cereal or whatever quick breakfast I could muster.

This is just one of the many changes with 2 newborns in the house. Right now, I’m sitting right next to my daughter in her Fisher Price thingy, so that I can put the pacifier back in her mouth every time it falls out (every 3 minutes or so). If I don’t she will scream.

Don’t get me wrong. I love these little girls more than I’ve ever loved anyone or anything, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I didn’t think it was, but just putting the reality out there. There’s a monotony at this age that I know changes as they become more interactive. My day may be redundant and exhausting in a way I didn’t know existed, but I would not trade it for anything else.

What a Difference a Year Makes

It’s been a year since my first IVF egg retrieval. Even though that cycle didn’t work, I’m lucky to be writing this with my 2 girls asleep next to me.

I remember feeling like I was never going to get pregnant. I had done 5 failed IUI’s without a break and then jumped into IVF. I had been injecting and ingesting lots of hormones. There was so much stress. Not only was there the pressure I was putting on myself, but there were so many timing variables. With IVF you are going in for monitoring almost every day, but you don’t know until 1-2 days before when your retrieval will be. I knew someone had to drive me to the retrieval, but that it was likely to fall on Rosh Hashana and possible to fall on the same day my sister in law went into labor. Somehow it ended up falling on the 2nd day of the holiday and the day before my niece was born.

Besides the timing, there was the overall stress of going into a procedure you’ve never done before. I was going to go under anesthesia. I was going to need to stay in bed rest the remainder of the day. How many eggs would I get? Would they fertilize? Would they make it to transfer and freeze?

That cycle wasn’t meant to be. There were likely a lot of factors of why it didn’t work. With hindsight, I think a big factor was all that stress. It was heartbreaking to then get the chemical pregnancy, but I do think that the resulting break I took, helped the December IVF cycle be successful.

I fee so lucky that I can write this today as the mom of two amazing, healthy babies.