Our 2020 Started in 2017

This is Fine
Our 2017 through 2020 in a nutshell.

There have been so many memes of all the things that went wrong in 2020. Daniel and I joked that being stressed out was normal for us. A pandemic? Wildfires? Murder hornets? We got this. After all, we’d been through a lot in the previous years. Working from home? Been doing that since 2018. Working from home while parenting from home, too? Yep, did that, too. Lost jobs? Twice in 2019. Hoping to avoid hospitals? All the time.

Anyone who has ever been pregnant with their first child probably knows what it’s like to dream about how it will be. Capturing all the special milestones: first steps, first words, first birthdays. Of course, the sleepless nights and endless diapers. But that’s expected, right? How about first surgeries? Second surgeries? Missed milestones? That’s never part of the dream. 

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How to Find Authentic Mexican Food and a Michelada in Durham

It’s National Michelada Day, and you want a really great michelada, but you also want good (aka authentic) Mexican food. However, you’re in Durham, North Carolina, which makes it a little bit of a challenge. After growing up in Los Angeles and Mexico, then spending eighteen of your adult years in Austin, and one year in San Antonio, you kind of took these things for granted. It’s possible one of the bona fide taquerias will have a michelada, except these places rarely have a website. It’s a gamble.

Michelada in Durham, NC
The michelada that saved my sad
cheese enchilada experience.

There’s a hip taco place in Durham, which actually happens to have really tasty lengua tacos just the way you like them. Moist, tender, flavorful, and falling apart. And you think, if they can get lengua right, surely, they have a michelada? They just rebranded their website. They have mojitos, margaritas, and milkshakes, but there’s no sign of a michelada on the menu.

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Plagiocephaly? Fooled you!

Baby Plagiocephaly | Undercover Mexican Girl
One of the first pictures I noticed showing her uneven head, when she was 6 weeks old

“C-section babies are born with perfect heads,” my boss at the time would say. She knew I’d been dreading a C-section and would say this to reassure me.

When Lucia was six weeks old and finally breastfeeding, I began to notice that when she’d lay on her left side, she looked like a normal baby with a flawlessly shaped head, a proportionally placed eye and ear, and a well-rounded cheek. But when she’d lay on her right side, the left side of her head looked a little off: a slanted forehead, a slightly twisted ear, her cheekbone flatter and the area around the eye stretched out.

Mind flipping through memories like thumbing through a card catalog at the library, back to the days after Lucia was born. Red marks on her forehead. “Why where there red marks on Lucia’s forehead?” I’d asked the obstetrician. Forceps. I clearly remember he said something about forceps.

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Congratulations, Your Baby Has a Teratoma and Laryngomalacia

A Natural Papa | Undercover Mexican Girl
Daniel being a pro as Papa

The summer Lucia was born, it seemed a lot of women I knew were having babies. Pictures going up on Facebook and Instagram, round babies with perfect heads, mothers with bright, sparkling faces. We’re happy to announce the arrival of our baby girl or boy, can’t wait to head home to our color coordinated nursery with prancing elephants and magical butterflies. And oh the breast milk! Breasts overflowing with milk for baby!

The day before we were supposed to go home, when my husband Daniel was changing Lucia’s diaper, he noticed she’d cry in pain when he moved her right leg. Something was not right—they talk about a mother’s instinct, but there’s also a father’s instinct, which is all we had. Continue reading “Congratulations, Your Baby Has a Teratoma and Laryngomalacia”

The Inevitable C-Section

Before the External Cephalic Version | Undercover Mexican Girl
Right before the external cephalic version

The bright fluorescent lights and cold air sliced through the operating room. No soft lighting from the lamp on the nightstand. No gentle breeze from bedroom ceiling fan. No walks in the backyard under the giant oak tree through hours of labor. An emergency C-section. She wasn’t supposed to be born this way.

I shook uncontrollably, stuttering over my words. The nurses wrapped a warm blanket around me and had me lay down while they continued darting around. Continue reading “The Inevitable C-Section”