Christmas has a sting

This post is a bit hard for me to write. I hope you take a moment to sit next to me while I take you through why Christmas stings......just a bit.

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When Manny and I got married in 2009, we immediately began trying for a family. Little did I know it would take almost 6 years. In the beginning I was naive, unstained, unmarked and unbranded and really unfamiliar with the term Infertilty. We started trying in September of 2009...I had timed it perfectly, we would get pregnant and make our announcement on Christmas day. Everyone would rejoice and be glad, blah blah, Christmas miracle blah blah. It didn't happen. Shortly after, I became OBSESSED with a Christmas pregnancy reveal. OBSESSED. Christmas would come and go and my arms were still empty. The hope had faded. Holidays didn't hold any meaning anymore and I hated them. Putting up Christmas decorations became physically painful, and going to church to see rosy cheeked children dressed in their holiday attire was like a stab in my stomach leaving me bloody, broken, weak, and shattered. 

Then, I had a wise idea (sarcastic). Let's plan our first IVF (remember we ended up doing 3 IVFs), around the Holidays so we can announce our pregnancy for Christmas! Brilliant idea Marilyn. Just Brilliant (insert eye roll). Our first IVF failed. And I found out on Christmas day. I remember getting the phone call from my nurse late that 8pm. LATE for someone waiting so desperately to hear their test results from a blood test taken earlier that day. The nurse's voice quivered on the phone as she prepared to deliver the bad news...on Christmas Day. "Its negative", she said. I remember hanging up the phone and doubling over in agony, gripping my stomach as high pitched sobs quickly escaped my throat. My heart ached. ACHED. It felt like I was on fire, it pained soo bad. I imagine thats what acid feels like when flesh is introduced to it. I remember running upstairs and collapsing outside my master bathroom. Manny scooped me into his arms and we both held each other crying....

Our second IVF was similar, but I was becoming stronger at coping with the bad news. I became angrier. I no longer cried. My wounds had begun to heal into deep crooked scars that I would gently visit in grief and sorrow as the holidays passed each year.

In 2015, I finally had the chance to announce our pregnancy during Christmas. Even though they all failed every Christmas before, I was insistent in announcing my pregnancy for Christmas. It was my dream. I could taste it. And I did. It wasn't without hesitation, without pain. It still felt unreal, like a lie, almost as if a theif would come and steal it during the night and leave me lifeless and deflated. 


Even though this is our second Christmas as a family of three, I would be lying if I didn't admit that during the quiet hours when I am alone, I sting a bit. I can still see those crooked scars. I gently visit them in silence and I remember Christmases past, praying, hoping, waiting, and brokenness. 


When I hold Mila, I hold MY miracle. That is what Christmas means to me. Not just the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ born of a virgin.....but my Mila, born of a woman who wished and prayed for her so badly. A woman who had lost all hope despite of the brave mask she would put on each day, and peel off each night. A woman who was never diagnosed with the reason why she couldn't get pregnant. A woman who year after year felt broken, shattered, and was just a hollow vessel floating around. Then flashing forward before THAT woman got pregnant through her THIRD IVF, she decided to STOP measuring what she didn't have with every holiday passed. That woman decided to piece her self together....slowly, but she did. That woman became a warrior. A strong, solid, bold, fearless warrior. That woman was me. I felt like an Olympian. I still do. 

As I snuggle my girl this Christmas, pools of tears stream down my face in gratitude, my crooked scars fade again, and the sting is less.....stingy. But I still remember.

To all my beautiful warriors who find themselves with empty arms this Christmas, I am with you. I hold your hand in mine, your head on my chest, and we cry together. I love you deeply. Keep fighting, find strength, cry out loud, and stay bold. You aren't alone.



Mila's birth Story......

I have been wanting to document this story for a looooong time. I never want to forget the very little details of the arrival of our miracle girl. A moment we had waited for, for a very long time. Five and a half years to be exact.

I was 39 weeks pregnant. When I woke up that Tuesday morning (May 31st), I felt different. It wasn't the typical pregnant Marilyn everyone had gotten used to. Exhaustion had claimed me during my third trimester. I fell asleep, everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The swelling in my feet was so obnoxious and I no longer walked with one foot in front of the other. I had mastered the pregnant shuffle. Imagine for a second how penguins walk. That was me. The nausea was back full force and I couldn't keep anything down. Getting up in the middle of the night to puke was eventful. I remember thinking that someone needed to invent some sort of device that could help pregnant women physically get out of bed, like an escavator or a pulley system or something. I couldn't bend, so rolling out of bed was no longer a metaphor but pure reality. HA. Gosh, I miss that big belly and those sleepless nights. ANYWAY, that morning was different. I woke up with so much energy. I was feeling so so good. I remember blasting my music and twerking to a Pitbull song. Yes.....I did say twerking.....and although it was a very awkward twerk sesh, I still feel like I looked better than Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs. (proof below)

At that time, my mommy was here from Colombia. She had been taking care of me for weeks and helped me get our home ready for the arrival of my girl. That day, I was craving a turkey burger and fries. But not just any turkey burger my husbands homemade grilled turkey burger. It was a blessing Manny worked from home that day too. So at around 4:30pm, my mom and I went to our local grocery store to buy all the turkey burger fixings to make at home. I wore a bright blue swing dress and a denim jacket. At the grocery store, I waddled up and down the aisle, when I felt a, I had gushed like this before, and went to L&D, for them to tell me I had just pee'd my pants BAHAH (that happened 3 times BTW). This time felt different. My belly felt like it was pulling down. I wasn't contracting, wasn't in pain, but my belly felt like it was just dropping down, down, down and my gut knew.... it was time. I told my mom what was happening and she insisted we leave immediately, get Manny, and go to L&D. On the drive home to get Manny, I explained to my mom that Manny doesn't do well under emergency situations (like we are talking Captain Panic), so I told my mom that when we got home, we had to act non-chalant, like eh, no biggie, buuuuuut convince him to take me to L&D stat. (Little did I know that my mom was in full panic mode inside). Soooo, we walk in the house and Manny is working in the office, and I say "Hey babe, I think I pee'd myself again, but I want to go to the hospital just to make sure since I'm so close to the due date so can you take me to the hospital". Manny says "Okay babe, I'll take you". And he mosey's on upstairs to change. He was taking his sweet sweet time. Probably man-scaping, who knows, when all the sudden I heard my mom yell at Manny "Manolo, tienes que salir ya, rapido" (Manny, you need to leave NOW, quickly). We get out the door, and drive to the hospital.

On the way there, I still wasn't having contractions so I honestly convinced myself we were going more for a peace of mind kinda thing. We get to L&D, (its about 5:30pm by this time) and I tell the nurse at the front desk, as calmly in the most non-urgent way (because like I said, I wasn't feeling anything and didn't know I was actually in labor HAHAH) that I thought my water had broken but I wasn't sure but wanted to get checked out just in case. The nurse told me not to drink or eat anything until all testing was done, and since I obviously wasn't panicking, they had no sense of urgency to get me seen, so they ushered me to a waiting room. Manny went and brought me a hamburger and fries and a Diet Coke, because no one tells pregnant Marilyn when she can and cannot eat...(but also, I truly thought I was going to be sent back home). I inhaled that delicious burger, and as I was wiping any evidence of ketchup on the corners of my lips, they called me into an exam room. After pricks, pokes, ultra-sounds, labs, and manual checks in the hoo-haaa, my ER nurse walked in at 7:30pm and said "Well, Marilyn, you are in labor and you aren't leaving the hospital until you deliver that baby girl". All of the sudden, it was like I forgot that I HAD to actually give birth. It was happening. My body began to shake uncontrollably. I shook so hard from the very top of my head, all the way down to my toes. My core, my teeth, everything in my body was shuddering. Warm tears streamed down my face, as I realized "Holy shit, this is happening".  


They moved me into my room. My nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural (I wasn't in pain, or uncomfortable). But, I had remembered that my girlfriend Terry, from California, told me once that if I was offered an epidural, take it as early as you can, even if you aren't in pain, so you are as comfortable as possible and so you can rest before delivery. So that I did. The anesthesiologist, the kindest most caring person, met with me to administer the epidural. He explained that it would feel like a bee sting, but that I wouldn't feel anything after that. He was right. He instructed me to roll onto my side and Manny observed in horror. To this day, I don't know how big that needle was, but the look on Manny's face said "Holy shit balls, that is huge". We waited 10-15 minutes for the numbing to take effect. When it did, the nurses came in to move me. That. was. weird. Being paralyzed by this medicine from the waist down was mind blowing. I watched the nurse pick up two large lifeless legs to hoist them over to the right. When I realized that they were my legs. I almost puked. I do not recommend looking when that happens. Anyway, at around 8:30pm, my husband needed his work materials (laptop, paperwork etc). He needed a way to communicate with work through email blah blah, deadlines blah blah, big boss kinda stuff, and I called the only person I knew would come through without hesitation because we just have each others back like that. My girl, my bestie, my Laura Gleton. Everyone needs a friend like her. I am so so so beyond blessed to call her my friend. She drove to my house, picked up Manny's belongings, and drove 45 min south to the hospital for me. Some may say "oh that was nice", but for me, it meant the universe. She spent some time visiting with me in the hospital that night and it was so special. 

At about 11pm, the nurse checked and mentioned that I wasn't dilating at all!! But she could see on the monitor that I was having some pretty serious contractions. They contacted my Dr. and she instructed them to start Pitocin to get me going. It was a loooooooooooong night. Nurses checked in on me every hour, and sleeping was pretty much impossible. The best part though was that I wasn't in any discomfort or pain. 

At about 8:30am, my Doctor (Dr. Parrett), came in and said I was dilated at a 7. She checked Mila's positioning and Dr. Parrett noticed Mila was in face position. Face position means that Mila's head was tilted face up with her neck back, which meant vaginal delivery was literally impossible, and very dangerous. Dr. Parrett told me that she would give Mila an hour and come back and check to see if she changed position. During that hour, I pressed my belly to try to nudge her to change positions but she wasn't moving. An hour later, Dr. Parrett came in, checked again. I was dilated at a 10, and Mila's face was in the same position but now, her head was wedged way way down my pelvic bone. When my doctor discovered this, she immediately and urgently called in her staff, tossed Manny scrubs, and said "Marilyn, we need to get Mila out now, you are going to have a c-section". As those words were coming out, I already had nurses prepping me quickly for emergency c-section. I began to convulse, as adrenaline, shock, and fear poured over me. It happened so fast, but I remember every detail.


At 9:15am, They rolled me into a very sterile white room with metal tools and knives that laid on small tray tables around the hospital cot, with large circular bright lights that aggressively hovered around the ceiling, and a medical staff of at least 10 filled the room. My anesthesiologist pulled up a stool and sat behind me with his assuring hand on my shoulder the whole time. He promised to take good care of me and communicated with me during my surgery. I needed that badly. I truly thought I was going to just fade into darkness. As the medical team prepped my body, my anesthesiologist had increased the dosage of the medicine so I couldn't feel anything from my armpits down. It was a weird feeling. Dr. Parrett announced that they were going to start cutting me open, and Manny's mouth dropped to the floor. I remember him looking at me saying "Babe, do you feel that", and I was feeling loopy and replied "Nope". Gosh I am grateful for modern medicine.

At 9:55am, on Wednesday June 1, 2016, Mila Snow Gomez was born. She measured 21" long, and weighed 7 lbs 15 oz. She was perfect. I remember waiting to see her and envisioning what she would look like. I laid behind that blue curtain as the medical team stitched my belly up and Manny had left my side to go meet Mila. My anesthesiologist kept telling me it was okay to close my eyes and to relax, but I couldn't. I wanted to meet her so so badly. Even though it was completely unexpected, I was glad I had a C-section. It was actually a really good experience. I also, loved the very fact that it was my husband that got to see and hold her first. I had the privilege of carrying her for 9 months, and I got to selfishly feel her nudges, flutters and kicks in my belly. So to know that my hubby got to meet and hold her first was the best gift I could give him. After what felt like 10 years, Manny walked over to me while he held Mila (at 10:08am), and he brought her up to my face and laid her there. She was mine. I closed my eyes and inhaled her sweet heavenly scent and just praised God. She was mine. She was the missing link and I was finally complete. I choked back tears and was overcome with the purest happiness.


She was here. The battle was over. We had won. 

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5 ways to raise a Smart Baby

Anyone else miss the Starbucks red cups for Christmas? I am currently sipping on a Grande Soy Chai, sitting on a stool at my local Starbucks, watching people scurry in for their daily buzzzz. Anyway, the cup almost looks like a coloring book. Black and white drawings, depicting Christmas, with presents, trees, ornaments sprinkled throughout the cup with pops of red peppered throughout. I kinda like it. Reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas. Which is presents, obvi...........juuuuuuuuust kidding, its togetherness (insert silly face). 



Yeeeowzaaa, you must be thinking " Okay Marilyn, please move on to the topic of your bloggity blog post".

I receive tons of DMs and messages from new mamas or moms in general wanting to learn more about Mila's learning lessons, and what/how I do them. I keep them quite simple actually and below are the 5 key how-to's.

To START, Here are some FACTS:

(image from Buzz South Africa)

(image from Buzz South Africa)

The first THREE years a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood. Little neurons are tripling at the most fastest rate ever. Now, I am not an expert in this, however, there are hundreds of supporting research studies that this is true. Knowing all of this, I felt the biggest responsibility in my life to maximize and take advantage of my baby's development and capitalizing on the possibility of raising a brainiac.  A child’s senses report to the brain about her environment and experiences, and this input stimulates neural activity. Speech sounds, for example, stimulate activity in language-related brain regions. If the amount of input increases (if more speech is heard) synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often. 

1. Talking. I talk to Mila allllllllll daaaaaaay long. But NO BABY TALK, and NO MISPRONOUNCING words to make them sound baby-like. I talk and have talked to Mila like an adult, however, I do use a higher pitched voice, since studies show babies/toddlers respond and listen better to higher pitched voices.  I started this when she was a newborn. What do you talk about you ask? Everything and it starts with every morning. I greet her with an "Hola, buenos Dias hermosa" (Hi, Good morning beautiful). Then, I go and open the window curtains, as I tell her exactly what I am doing. Basically, in summary, I explain everything I am doing and why. Early on in the newborn stage, she just listened and you may think they aren't paying attention, but they are. Now that she is 17 months old. She responds to what I am doing, a "Buenos Dias", is replied by her saying "Hola" as she flops her little hand around in her attempt to wave. Talking, and explaining, "this is a light switch, this is what it does", "We have to feed the dog, he must be so hungry" (examples). 

2. No TV. Hard right? But there are NO benefits to putting your baby/toddler in front of a TV. There isn't. So don't do it. I didn't realize how much I needed the TV on, until I was intentionally trying to keep it off. Look for activities to keep your baby/toddler busy in a pack n' play so they learn independent play and problem solving. Now, yes I am a culprit in turning the TV on for Mila for me to do quick tasks like cleaning up after meal time or answering a quick email, but I set my timer to 15 min. and try to stay in that range. Now that Mila is a little older (17 months), there are a few 15 min educational shows I will let her watch, but we interact with it together so she isn't just plopped in front of the TV. It also keeps me from sitting back and wasting time on social media .  Some of our favorite shows are (Pocoyo, Little Baby Bum (the counting and shapes episodes,  Word Party). 

3. Our hard lessons are only during meal times. We sit together during every meal and eat together. During that time we play music to start off. It has been so funny to observe what kind of music she likes. So far, Despacito is her favorite and we have listened to it so many times, that I have grown to hate it. HA. Her favorite genre though are the 80's, and that fact alone makes me so freaking happy because I cannot get enough of Toto. ANYWAY, I use an iPad for our lessons, and google search images. When we started our lessons, I kicked it off with animals. I would google different animals, click on images, show her the image, say what it was called plus if there is a sound related to it, I would make the sound. I show her 3 different ones and then start again and ask her "What is this", "What noise does it make". I introduce a new category every few weeks depending on how she does and get more creative on how we revisit the category throughout the day and week. So if we are learning about animals, I would make it a goal to go to the zoo, shelter etc. so she can experience it live. The categories we started off with are the following: Body parts, Animals, household items, outdoors (trees, plants, flowers), vehicles, colors, numbers. (still working on colors and numbers). This may feel overwhelming, but it really isn't. Just sit with your baby/toddler during meal times (because that is when you will have their undivided attention and they can't go anywhere). 

4. Know your baby/toddler and capitalize when you notice that they are really into something. For example, several weeks ago, Mila kept saying "Nay, Nay, Caballo" (horse). So I catered our lessons around horses, their colors, we went to a local horse farm, fed them apples etc. Get the picture? Doesn't have to be formal, just make it fun. Listen to your child. There have been a few days where I tried to give her lessons and she flat out said "No, No, NOOOO", with a dramatic head roll and finger waving. So did we do lessons that day? No we didn't. But I did come up with other ways for her to learn. 

5. Have Fun, be creative, and become a kid again. This is the best time of your life. Maximize the little moments you have together, put your phone aside, and let your house get messy and just submerge yourself in the imaginary and big world your child is experiencing right now. Put yourself in their shoes, try to see what they see, feel what they feel and connect with your little one in a way where you both speak the same lingo.

Also, if you are running out of creative play and learning ideas, below are a few pages in IG that I like to reference: @happytoddlerplaytime, @playfullittlelearners, @earlylearning101

Now, I do not claim to be an expert in anything, and kinda winging this motherhood thing. I do know one thing though, and that is the importance of teaching your child through consistent talking and being purposeful and intentional about the time you have together.

I hope you find this helpful and please message me if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading, love your face.


Hello from the blogging siiiiiiiiiide (in Adele voice)

Mila is down for the night (me doing the Carlton in excitement). I am sitting on my fluffy white bed, sipping on hot chocolate with Curb your Enthusiasm re-runs playing on the TV. Anyone watch that show? It. Is. Hysterical!

I used to blog yeeeeeaaaars ago (you can read here Since then, we moved to Utah, built a home, adopted a dog, did IVF 3 times, got pregnant, had a BABYYYY, and basically here we are, living the dream life. Why am I blogging again? I love to talk, share, communicate, I am opinionated, open, and I love to write. Plus, we have family allllllll over the place that want to keep up with La Casa Gomez (translation: The Gomez house, for those that don't know español), and so it's nice to have a little space here on the interwebs to share all the things. Many things. Many great wonderful things. Many great amazing, wonderful, beautiful things. Okay, I will stop. 

Hey, thank you for sitting here with me. I promise to be vulnerable, real, authentic, and kind. I like you.