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Thursday, June 30, 2016

My 1st Born







       Ten years ago, I found myself in the hospital room. Doctors had me hooked up to machines monitoring the baby and I. He was two weeks over due and I was not dilating. Later that morning, they informed me that the best option was to deliver via C-section. I was so full of emotion; I cried as I was nervous and didn't know what to expect. I just wanted my baby boy to make his way into this world with no complications. 

You see, in 2004, I was told there was a big chance that I may not be able to have children due to polycystic ovaries. I cried at the news because I always dreamed of being a mother, and here some doctor was telling me it may be possible. But I believed deep in my heart, God had other plans for me. 

July 1st, 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy, who would be known to the world as Nandiel. He is my first born, my heart, my reason for everything. He welcomed me to mommy hood and the life has not been the same ever since. He's brought joy into our lives as we watch him grow from an innocent baby full of life to a sweet boy with a big heart and a desire for more in life. A boy whose heart has experienced loss at such an early age. A boy who had to grow up faster than other kids his age. A boy who is wise beyond his years. A boy whose birthday wish is to be able to see his sister again. 

Every night I ask God to protect him and guide him; to steer him away from the negativity and evil that lives within others. Every night I pray that my baby boy continues to grow, learn, live and love. 



 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In my feelings.



Ever have a random conversation with someone, and you walk away you have what feels like rocks in the pit of your stomach and a knot in your throat for no apparent reason? 
I mean the conversation was a no brainer; nothing meant to cause those feelings. 
Yet, I had to fight back the tears that were patiently waiting to be released. 

When I was living in Florida in 2012, I came across a saying that I didn't much get at the moment. People used to say how they were "in their feelings" and I would just think it was a down South thing because this North East girl had no clue as to what was being said. 

But now I say that I must be in my feelings. 
I am feeling a bit fragile and it's impacting everything around me. 
A conversation with someone, a book I'm reading, a series I am watching, a song I am listening to... They are about to ignite the explosion to these emotions I am harboring.  
Ever since I can remember, I have always been one to be in touch with my feelings. 
"Oh, you are too sentimental" I was once told. 
When asked how I am doing, I tend to say that I am okay. 
There is no way I can explain to someone else how I am feeling if at times I do not understand it myself. It is much easier to nod my head and smile as I say "yes, I am okay". 
Trying my best to hold the strong front; though, inside I feel it slowly slipping away. 

In the mean time, I need to remind myself that it is okay to be able to let the guard down. 
It is okay to cry the tears imprisoned. 
It is okay to scream the thousand screams that have been suppressed as the years have passed. 
It is okay to just be in my feelings. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Breathe.

While the Internet has proven to be resourceful in many ways, it can also be a curse. 

I remember being on the 7th floor pediatric oncology unit back in June 2009. I was sitting with the doctors who were explaining to me Nayelis' diagnosis. (I had already Google searched leukemia in children, so I had a few questions of my own.) I went on to tell the doctors my findings, and they said not to let what I found on the Internet drive me crazy. 

But that's just who I am. 
You give me information I am not knowledgeable of, and I run with it on every search engine available to see what I can find. That's what I did then, and that's what I've been doing now. 

Let me backtrack a bit. 
During my 5-6 month pregnancy ultrasound for Neymar, doctors informed me that the ventricles in brain appeared a bit larger than they should have been. They closely monitored me during the remainder of the pregnancy to make sure the size was not increasing as it would mean there would be some delays. 

When he was born, everything appeared fine. 
Doctors would schedule an ultrasound of his head  at two months just as a follow up. The ultrasound showed no changes, yet they did say they saw "blob" and weren't sure if it were anything of concern. Yes, they said "blob". I didn't realize that was a medical term. Doctors then followed up with a sedated MRI to take a better look. While the "blob" proved to be nothing at all, they did notice the ventricle's size slightly increased. A referral to a neurologist was done, and at our first visit, the neurologist explained a bit more about what the increased fluid in ventricle meant. He stated that it wasn't much, and he would follow Neymar. He then stated a special MRI would be scheduled to look at fluid itself. That MRI came and went, and the results came in. A bit more fluid, but it was considered stable because there was not much that could be done. The fluid was/is not causing pressure on Neymar's brain at the moment. 


 

Fast forward to this past Friday. 
Neymar went in for this third MRI since being born. Sedation was not needed as it was a quick brain scan. But I had to get in the MRI machine with him to make sure he didn't move. Neymar did an amazing job and they were surprised how still he stood. I, on the other hand, had to close my eyes and take deep breaths because enclosed locations like that cause anxiety to build. In a matter of ten minutes, we were done and getting ready to head to our next appointment. 
The appointment with the neurologist. 
Yes, my nerves were getting the best of me.
I was having scanxiety. 
Scanxiety is feeling stress before and after scans. I had experience the feeling with Nayelis everytime she went in for CT scan, PET scan, and MRI. 
The nurse called us in and took Neymar's vitals. Everything was on point. She brought us back to room and we waited for the doctor to walk in. 
When he came in the room, my heart started to race because that's what happens when anticipating results. 
I immediately asked if the results were in and of course they were. He said there was an increase in fluid and went on to explain what this may mean. And though I was there throughout the whole conversation, only bits and pieces stood out more than anything: 

Fluid increase...CNS...mild hydrocephalus...options...next MRI...some of his delays maybe related to this. 


Breathe Yvette. Just breathe. 
I asked questions. He provided answers as best he could. Next MRI would be in July, and we will take it from there. If the fluid continues to increase, we will need to set up a plan. One option we are looking at is surgery. 

I looked at him, pleading with my eyes.
He understood as he knows of our history with Nayelis and what this all means. He assured me, or at least tried to, that what Nayelis went through is something very different to what we are dealing with now.  He said, "try not to read too much on the Internet, which I understand is hard because I do the same." 

To tell me that is to push me towards reading more, and I tried my best not to read, until earlier this afternoon. I read about why hydrocephalus is, what causes it, the symptoms, the options. I read it's rare and that only 1-2 babies out a 1000 are affected by this. How rare that it was my child right? I was told the same about AML in children, and yet my daughter was the one diagnosed with it. With all that we've been through, and yet here we are facing another battle. 

I have to remind myself to breathe.
To remain positive. 
To have faith. 
To stay away from the search engines. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Neymar Abdiel

Just 9 months ago, I gave birth to this beautiful baby boy: Neymar Abdiel. Today he is 9 months old, and I love him more with every day that passes. He was sent to us when we needed him the most, and he's brought joy, light and hope to our lives. I only pray that God continue to bless him with love and health. 



 

Tomorrow, he will be going for a MRI/Quick Brain Scan. It will be his third one since being born. The doctors are monitoring the ventricles of his brain as they appear to have a bit more fluid than they should. Doctors actually caught this during my 5th month ultrasound, and had me closely monitored until Neymar was born. The last MRI, done in May, showed a little increase of fluid, but doctors are saying he is stable because there is nothing much that can be done at this moment, only just monitor it. 

I've been keeping myself positive about this. Not trying to let the negative thinking get to me. He will be fine. He IS fine. 


 


 



Friday, June 17, 2016


This road I am traveling is unveiling things about myself I didn't know before. 
I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin. 
I am learning that's it's okay to fall down as long as I get myself back up. 
I am learning to be kind to myself mentally, emotionally and physically.

I know I am not the prettiest, the smartest or the fastest. What I do know is that I am a woman of worth; able to push against the crowd and be my own person. 





Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 16 ... I remember...

June 16. 
Something as simple as today's date can trigger a dam of emotions to erupt. Though it's been 9 years, the events of that day will forever be engraved in my memory. The mind can be very powerful as it plays tricks on you; bringing things to the present as if it were happening in the now. 

I remember every little detail of that day. 
I remember staying home from work that day because Nayelis' fever was still on and off, ranging from 100 - 103. 
I remember sitting at my mother's kitchen chair when she lived on Noble Avenue as I tried calling the pediatrician for the umpteenth time. 
I remember him saying that if her fever was still high to just take her to the emergency room again. Mind you we had just taken her to the ER two times in a matter the past 4-5 days. 
I remember Omar arriving to my mother's place after a long day at work.
I remember packing up Nandy and Nayelis into their respective car seats and making our way to Bridgeport Hospital. 
I remember getting there, being at triage then placed in a room. 
I remember Dr. Rao, who we knew from the SouthWest Clinic, being the doctor on call that day; I remember reiterating to him what we had told the other ER doctors in the past few days. 

"Yes Dr. Rao, her fever has been on and off for the past week. Yes we have been giving her Motrin and Tylenol every four hours. She's been very sleepy and barely eating. When she does eat, she then throws it up. She's had chest X-ray done, but everything looks clear. Her urine was checked to make sure it wasn't an infection. These spots? I asked the doctors and they said it was just a rash. Do you think it's something else?" 

I remember him saying that a nurse will be coming in to do blood work. 
I remember the nurse came in, took a few Tubes of blood and went to send them out. 
I remember Dr. Rao coming back and observing Nayelis again; his expression was of concern, as though he suspected something and wasn't telling us just yet. 
I remember him leaving the room again and just leaving us in the room trying to figure out what else it could be. 
I remember him coming back and telling us they wanted to admit her overnight for observation. 
I remember deciding I would spend the night with her and Omar would go home with Nandy. 
I remember this feeling in the pit of my stomach that just wouldn't go away; a mother's sixth sense they call it. 
I remember walking along side the crib, as it was being wheel'ed to the 7th floor. 
I remember the nurse introducing herself and getting us comfortable for the night. She stated the doctor would be in shortly. 
I remember this older doctor walking in; he had salt and pepper hair; grandfather looking. He introduced himself and just keep looking at Nayelis with a sad look as though he knew something he was not telling me. He asked for Omar and I told him he had gone home with out other little one. The doctor requested that I called Omar back so he could tell us both what was going on. 
I remember my heart dropping. 
I remember taking a deep breath and telling the doctor that of it were something wrong, he had to tell me first so I could know how to break it down to Omar. 
The doctor looked at Nayelis again, and went on to tell me that her blood work came back with two many white blood cells, and some were blasts. He explained that although the blood work showed that, there were other testing that needed to be done and The Children's Hospital at Yale had the best equipment for that. He stated there was an ambulance on its way to pick us up and rush us there. 

I remember looking at him like he was an alien with three heads. Calmly, I looked at him and demanded he tell me what this all means. 
He went to explain that Nayelis was showing symptoms of leukemia.

Leukemia? That's cancer Doc. 
You are telling me my daughter has cancer, but it can't be. Not my daughter. I only hear about this on television when the St. Jude's commercial comes on.
How naive I was at that moment. 

I remember looking at Nayelis as she smiled at me.
I remember looking at the doctor again and wondering if what he was saying could possibly true. 
I remember picking up the phone as tears started rushing down my eyes. Slowly I marked Omar's number, and took a deep breath as I calmly told him he had to get back to the hospital because the doctor wanted to talk to us both. 
I remember him getting there at the same time the ambulance had gotten there.
I remember climbing into the back of the ambulance alongside my 8 month old daughter and speeding down I95 towards New Haven. 
I can still hear the sirens, I can still feel my stomach drop as it did then.

June 16, 2009. 
It might not be remembered by many, but it is a date I will never forget. 







Friday, June 10, 2016

Bits and pieces of me

Sometimes I sit and go through old pictures and my old journals. I think of what was, and what is. Last night I came across this picture: circa 1995, my 8th grade class picture. I may look different of course because I'm older, but thinking about things, I still find myself feeling the same way. Then, I was trying to find myself, yet I was blending in. Now, I'm still trying to find myself and what my purpose is, but with more confidence in who I am. 💕

 I can't be the only one who is still trying to find out what their purpose is... Can I?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Throwback

It’s no secret that many marriages fall apart after the death of a child. Losing a child completely tears you sort. You’re the same people, but at the same time, you’re really not. You are left broken and hollow; a piece of you is missing. 

In our case, I believe it has brought us closer. When Nayelis was diagnosed in June of 2009,  everything changed; how could it not when you are being told that your child has to fight for her life when she was barely 8 months old. At one point during her three year fight, my relationship was on the rocks because we were two individuals trying to be strong for our children, and dealing with the process in our very own ways. 

When we were told by doctors that it was no longer about the quantity, but about the quality of life, man we cried and we prayed. We prayed for the miracle we've been waiting for since she was diagnosed. It was in that time that we decided to finally get married because I wanted her to be there with us. We were running against the clock, and we weren't sure how long we had. We married there at the garden at Yale, and just five days later she passed away. 

I want to believe that she was our miracle. She brought and kept us together during one of the toughest moments of our lives. She made sure that mommy and daddy would be there for each other when she no longer was here. This picture here was taken on 9/29/2012, what should have been her 4th birthday as we celebrated her life with family and friends. 

Love is powerful. It can make you or break you. 
To the man who holds my heart in his hands, I will forever love you.