When my first daughter was born I felt confident I was ready, but I was unequivocally wrong. My delivery was like a marathon I did not train for; it lasted 23 hours, 16 of which were with zero pain medication. I passed out in between contractions, and Sofia was born blue with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Thank God, we both survived perfectly healthy, however, taking care of a newborn after 23 hours of fighting is an incredibly arduous situation.
I had planned to nurse Sofia and she latched on right after being resuscitated, as if she was born in one simple hour. She woke up to nurse at 45(+/-)min intervals and was really fussy. I was zombie exhausted and couldn’t catch up physically. There was a moment when Sofia was crying that I began to cry, and was too weak to wipe my own tears. My husband, George, could see it in my face. He offered to take the baby so many times, and constantly asked what he could do to help. Nothing could be done; all Sofia wanted to do was nurse.
At home a day later, while Sofia and I were crying at the same time again, I felt soft bee stings in my breasts and the flush of glorious milk came pouring out. I was certain this was the problem, my milk must not have come in and Sofia was just not getting enough. She ate like a refugee, and like atomic clockwork, she began crying shortly thereafter. Her pediatrician said it was probably colic because she was otherwise perfectly healthy, and to keep nursing (easy for him to say). He recommended I begin removing certain things from my diet to help her and while I was in accordance, something just didn’t feel right. When Sofi cried it looked painful.
For the first time in my life I was so defeated, living in a paradox of new motherhood where I studied everything available and felt like I knew nothing. I had taken every real food out of my diet hoping this would spare her stomach pain, and much to my chagrin she was the same. One day, Sofi cried on and off for 16 hours; medieval torture had nothing on her. I did everything I could; we danced, I rocked her, I vacuumed, I bathed her, I cried, prayed, begged and practically stood on my head. The next day, and six weeks after she was born, I took her into the doctor and told him he was wrong and that she didn’t have colic, it was my milk. To this day, I don’t know why I KNEW, but I did. Truth be told, I felt it in my gut right away, but he was a doctor for goodness sake. I shed the skin of defeat and put my Cuban back on, and made him help me fix this. I gave her soy formula on the way home. My poor baby took the entire serving and fell asleep for three hours straight, something she had never done before. It turns out Sofia had an intolerance to milk protein and the exact thing that made her feel better (nursing) was the exact thing that was making her sick! It was a foreshadowing to her childhood; she has a life-threatening peanut allergy. I paid my dues with this one, but I’m a better mother for it. Sofia turns 8 this month, happy birthday to my soulchild.
The key: be brave enough to believe yourself in any aspect of your life, always.
Trina M. Fresco, Vice President of Operations for the IT firm smarTECHS.net since 2007 and NBCLatino Contributor, was named one of “50 Powerful Minority Women in Business” by MEA Magazine. Fresco is the Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women Investment Subcommittee and serves on a number of additional boards & committees. Fresco resides Chicago with her husband, George and their three children Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo. You can contact her at FrescoRealTalk@gmail.com or on Twitter @trinafresco.