"A portrait of Ana every week for a year."

Babies cry. That's what they do.
Ana cries, but fortunately for us, she doesn't have that insatiable constant crying that makes us want to pack her up and return her! She cries when she needs to cry. We don't let it bother us and even let her cry when we know she's fine but just wants to let out steam. She's at 7 weeks and has been increasingly fussy in the late afternoon, I guess it's normal.  
A friend told me about Priscilla Dunstan who paid attention to her own child's cries and discovered that he would make the same sounds for certain situations. She summed it up to 5 different sounds babies make to communicate their needs: 
  • neh = hungry
  • owh = sleepy 
  • heh = discomfort (temperature, clothing, diaper, etc.)
  • eair = lower gas
  • eh = burp (air in the upper part of the chest)
I can easily identify eh and neh, but the rest I still have a hard time figuring them out. 


"A portrait of Ana every week for a year."
My view of Ana in the sling. I've been taking here everywhere I go and this is her favorite (and mine) means of transport. Bulky strollers are hard to push around and in the sling she can see the world and then fall asleep. 


weekly portrait of our daughter Ana seems like a great project to follow.
I've been meaning to start editing some photos and create an album of her first year so I think this will help me keep track of her growth, her smiles, her milestones, her memories!
For a first portrait I want to include Pedro. We are parents now and as parents we are a team. He has been the best I could possibly ask for. Thank you my love!

The day Ana was born

The day Ana was born was supposed to be a very long day. 

On the morning of the day Ana was born, we got up early to go renew our drivers license: our visa had just been approved for another 2 years and this was the last day before our licenses expired.

The day Ana was born we finally got around to taking some nice pregnancy photos, something we had been postponing for several weeks and decided that day would be the day.

The day Ana was born we were going to spend the day cleaning out our new place of all the dust, dirt and paint to get it ready for the move in that was going to happen the next day. These were the final days of our lease on our old place, so we had to move fast.

The day Ana was born I spent the most part of the afternoon on all fours scrubbing the dirt and paint stains from the floor of our bedroom, thinking if nothing else is clean, at least our bedroom would be ready for Ana. I  had been feeling pressure on my cervix and so down on all fours was the best position to be in, apparently, this helps labor babies! 

The day Ana was born my water broke at around 7pm while I was taking a break from scrubbing the floors. Pedro was beside me and we both smiled with anticipation and panic: she was coming on the worst possible day! She was coming 2 weeks early, at 37 weeks. 

The day Ana was born, we calmly took a deep breath and called all our family and close friends. We headed home for a shower and a meal, got everything ready for the hospital and prepared ourselves for a long night ahead.

The doctor was called: "Don't worry, this takes long. You can either come to the hospital and wait it out and we might have to induce it, but the best would be to stay home and come in in the morning."

The day Ana was born, I started feeling very mild cramps about an hour after my water broke which quickly became less mild and very close apart: 3 minutes! Early labor contractions are usually 20-30 min. apart, so we got worried. 

At around 8:30pm contractions became more intense and water was gushing from inside me. All I wanted to do was sit at the toilet. At around 9pm contractions became unbearable, lots of pain and 2min apart. I remember thinking: if these are early labor contractions, I don't want to know what active labor feels like. 

The doctor was called again: "okay, if you feel pain, then come in". She probably thought: "yeah, yeah, another paranoid first time mom..."

The contractions got so bad we headed immediately to the hospital at around 9:30-10pm. Those was not normal early labor contractions: super intense, every 2 min and water kept on coming out. 

Breath Isabel, breath! 

The day Ana was born the receptionist at the hospital said: "please fill these papers out". I grabbed Pedro, with a puddle of water around my feet and yelled "I feel like pushing!" This was when she realized I couldn't wait for paper work and called a nurse who forced me onto a wheelchair and into the delivery room. Our documents were left on the counter, our car in the temporary parking spot. 

The day Ana was born, I was 8cm dilated by 10pm! This girl was coming out fast not waiting for the doctor who was still 25min away and a back up doctor was being called. Nurses were all around me with needles and monitors. I asked for an epidural, they laughed: "you are too far in labor for that". I was grateful. I always wanted Ana to be born with a natural, drug free labor and that's what I was getting!

So suck it up Isabel, you are doing this! 

The day Ana was born there was no time for the playlist on my phone, no time for the nice hospital gown I bought, no time for photos. 

The day Ana was born I had Pedro smiling and encouraging me on one side of the bed and a Scottish nurse on the other helping me breath through every contractions: breathing is what made the pain bearable. Pushing felt so relieving. Her head was out and then her body and then she's placed on my chest: we finally saw her and she's beautiful with a full set of hair. 

Ana was born after 10 contractions and 5 intense pushes at 10:53pm with 3.145kg, 51cm, with no tearing and no stitches. Thank you Ana. 

The day Ana was born was the most amazing day of our lives.

3 years

Three years today I married my best friend. What a great day to remember and think about what we've accomplished in 3 amazing years together. We are good together and you make me a better person. At the end of the day, I think that's what marriage is all about. 
Photo by Twiggs

This old house - part 2

And the work continues... 
The bathroom ceiling had a water infiltration from the skylight that we've been postponing to patch because of its size. It required drywall replacement and an extra load of Youtube videos! Pedro finally got around to it. Now all we need is to sand the spackle and get fine white dust all over the place. Hopefully it won't need any more spackle and we could paint the bathroom this week. 
Here it is, part two of lots of work. 

This old house

This month of March we are up to our elbows in work and crossing our fingers that our daughter isn't born before her due date. We just got our own place, a 2 bedroom apartment with high ceiling in the living room and full of natural light. The challenging part is that it needs a face lift, a major face lift! So we rolled up our selves, spent our afternoons strolling through the aisles at Home Depot and watched a ton of YouTube videos on "How to everything!" The first thing we needed to do was prep the walls for new paint. Not an easy task considering all the holes and imperfections the walls, ceilings, baseboards and trims had: large holes from old electrical sockets, tons of small holes from hanging frames, dozens of nail pops, cracks and paint drips from a previous paint job gone wrong. I can now say we are experts on drywall rehab!
Pedro is putting together time-lapses of our progress, here's the first video, enjoy! 

not so super woman

These past few days so many opinions have been written and shared around International Women's Day, centered on empowerment, rights, gender equality, super women, super moms. In our society, you are a part of this list if you are able to work, have babies, manage a household, keep up with family and friends, stand for something meaningful. I don't consider myself on this list: pregnant and jobless. I keep busy with a list of things that need to get done, but I'm still a house wife with all the its ups and downs. It's not easy to acknowledge this mostly because of all the negative connotations it involves. Super women are those who can do it all and I surely don't! But as I say this out of a privileged situation: I have a wonderful life partner, a home and we are starting a family. Life is good. 
Before going to bed we practice thankfulness: we write down a few things for which we are thankful for each day to remind us of what is truly important. It also helps us retrospect on what went well during the day and what didn't. I honestly feel that this practice has helped me to be more accepting of my life and focus on the good things that come with it.  
I may not be a "super woman" but I feel fine just being a "woman". 

my pregnancy rant

I don't usually complain much about my pregnancy, I've been having a excellent 32 weeks. But today... today I just want to moan all day long. So here it goes:

  • I realize pregnancy dramatically changes your body, but acknowledging it and actually going through it are two different realities: no woman is prepared for an unrecognizable body.

  • I have also perfected the very well known yoga position of "tying shoe lace forward fold" it's supposed to be very good for the lower back! 

  • Pregnancy insomnia is another one of those incomprehensible symptoms: I don't want to prep for the upcoming sleep deprived months! I want to sleep as much as I can. Today I woke up at 3:36am and couldn't fall back to sleep no matter how many sheep I counted! I got up twice, had breakfast at 6am and finally fell asleep on a reclining chair at around 7:30 right before Pedro got up for work. 

  • I've always had good skin complexion on my face, but pregnancy hormones have made it red and with rash-like pimples. No matter how many layers of foundation I put on, my face is still red. 

  • Acid reflux is something I had no idea what it was until my belly started growing and creating pressure on my stomach. Lately, I can't bend down or eat anything without feeling an intense burn up my neck. 

  • I am a sleep-on-my-belly type of person, so spending months rotating between left and right side does not amuse me. Thank you Michael for my snoogle, don't know how I would sleep without it!

  • My breasts are growing to proportions I never thought I'd have... then they leak colostrum! Not sexy. 

  • Oh and then there's constipation and bloating and bleeding gums and spider veins. Fun, right? 

  • On the upside, we found out today she has turned head down! That's good news! 

    DIY: how to fix a broken USB pen drive

    All the work I've been doing in Portugal for the book editorial was all very nicely stored in a pen drive. And only a pen drive. I've been meaning to back it up for a while, but kept on postponing it. I had the pen hanging from my computer until this weekend when the USB connector broke off from the card shaped holder were the data is stored! So basically I had all my work stored in a chip that wasn't accessible! This is where I panicked, serious panicking! I had gone to Portugal for 3 weeks in January to finish off my work and now I couldn't retrieve it!
    Naturally I called Pedro. With little expectation of fixing it ourselves, I called IT repair companies for quotes: between 100$ and 550$ to fix the pen and retrieve the data! 

    Since we do believe in doing it ourselves, Pedro got home from work and dismantled the whole thing. What need to be done was rewire the pen to a new USB connector. To do so he need to cut up a USB cord exposing the wires, figure out the order of the wire color scheme (black, green, white, red) so not to burn the chip, somehow establish a solid connection and then hook it to the PC and pray it worked! 

    Instead of soldering the wires to the chip, as all the tutorials he had watched required, he connected the wires with tape! After long periods of holding my breath, we hooked it up to my laptop and then we heard the beautiful sound of an device activating! This is when I copy/paste all the files to my desktop and sighed in relief. Lesson learned: always backup files!
    Oh and did I mention how amazing my husband is!?