Vacation during a pandemic

Okay, so I know I’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks. I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing, besides that its a little difficult blogging while on vacation.

 In the past several weeks, there have been a million things going on but, we still managed to take a break and get out of town. We usually go to San Diego every summer in June but, this year was completely different. First, we didn’t have one baby; we had two, and then on top of that, we are in the middle of a pandemic. 

  Due to all of the unknowns, there were many things we had to consider. I would recommend that if you’re planning a vacation soon to do your research as well. 

  1. What precautions and procedures are in place at the hotel
  2. what are the rules in the state or country you’re going to visit
  3. what restaurants/businesses are open that you may want to visit.

Before we left on our trip, I contacted the hotel to see what rules may have changed and how they handled Covid-19 in the hotel. Our particular hotel was not providing room service/ housekeeping until day 3 of our stay. Therefore I had to prepare for small things like cleaning the bathroom. Also, our hotel specifically required a mask to be worn when we were not in our room. Second, I looked up the places we wanted to visit and contacted them. For example, we wanted to go to Seaworld but found out it was still not open. I then contacted the Bellmount park in San Diego to see if the rides and beach were open. Last, I looked up the change in hours at certain restaurants and contacted them about what they do for bigger parties.

Now for the packing, we have two kids under three, so there was a lot to consider when packing. How will we carry them? How will we protect them from being exposed to COVID-19, where will they sleep, and what foods to pack. Here was our packing list.

  1. Graco Pack N play
  2. Baby carriers (ErgoBaby 360 & Infantino)
  3. Stroller (Contour Options Ellite)
  4. Blankets (2 linen, 4 receiving, 2 soft blankets)
  5. Four warm outfits (depending on Wheather)
  6.  2 outfits for everyday traveling (For accidents)
  7. Life jackets/swimming diapers/Swim trunks
  8. Diapers (we took an entire box for 5 days)
  9. Wipes (3 packs)
  10. Formula (12oz can and 30oz can)
  11. Baby food pouches (25 for 5 days)
  12. Thermos (for hot foods) (Chicken noodle soup)
  13. Snacks finger foods (gummies, goldfish, pretzels)
  14. Shoes
  15. Mask/face coverings

For our bigger kids, it was so much more relaxed we matched up their outfits and packed. Of course, we had to make sure we had masks and mask filers but, other than that, the big kids were easy to pack for. 

`The biggest thing to be concerned about is making sure you have enough stuff to keep your family, especially the kids, safe in a different environment. I went over and above to make sure we all had masks and Mask filters. I packed extra blankets for when we took the babies outside versus when we were in the hotel. Also, when the kids were in the stroller or carriers, we made sure they were facing towards us to prevent weirdos from getting too close or trying to touch the babies. As far as food, I decided to make sure we had easily accessible things; therefore, we had uncrustables, bread, sandwich meat, pop tarts, instant oatmeal, and several snacks. 

  As far as keeping the hotel room clean, I requested new towels every day, and I took my cleaning supplies and small trash bags that we would empty before we left every morning. We cleaned our room every day before we left and then would request new towels.

Overall, Vaccationing during a pandemic can still be enjoyable; you just have to take a few more precautions and wear a mask to prevent exposure as much as possible.


” I HATED my child”

Towards the end of my second pregnancy, I was working full time, I was still in school completing my internship for my master’s degree, and we were preparing to move into our first home. At 28 weeks pregnant, I began to have problems. I started having dizzy spells, losing my vision for a few minutes at a time, and would regularly have a headache. After a couple of stress tests, significant amounts of blood work, and multiple 24-hour urine collections, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and was placed on bed rest. Although I still had a lot to focus on, being on bed rest helped to relieve some stress and allowed my blood pressure to go back to its normal range. On April 9, 2018, we had Our son Elijah.

This time my experience would be different than it was with our first child. With our first child, we did not plan on getting pregnant. With our first child, Mike wasn’t even there for his birth. I did not have help with the responsibility of having a child. I had to do everything by myself – feedings, doctors’ appointments, and bath time. With our first son, I was still in school, working full time, and I was only able to spend the first six weeks with my newborn. I didn’t have time to breastfeed or attend mommy and me classes. However, this time was different because we had a plan. I was going to breastfeed instead of formula feeding, I was going to attend mommy and me baby classes, and I had all the newest baby gear (You Know! The stuff that I couldn’t afford the first time around). I was excited that I would be off the first three months, and then Mike would be off the next four months. I would focus on the kids, and he would focus on the bills.

After we had Elijah, my recovery process was more challenging then I expected. I had my second c-section, and this time I could barely move. I mean, it was to the point where I couldn’t lay down because I didn’t have the muscle strength to sit up. In the first three weeks, I had to wake Mike up to help me get out of bed. I could remember thinking, “What happened during surgery? Why can’t I move?.” It wasn’t like this after my first c-section. I was able to get up and walk, and I didn’t have any of these issues.
But This time, I struggled and was always in pain. I was sluggish and was bleeding more than usual. And to top it all off, I wasn’t sure I had the breastfeeding down. All I knew was PUMP! PUMP! PUMP! So we went home, and I immediately did just that, PUMP…  to get my milk supply up.

Slowly, but surely, I became overwhelmed, exhausted, and had difficulties breastfeeding. My son would only latch on to one boob. I was continually pumping, my boobs hurt to the point that one of them became discolored. I continued to pump because that’s what the nurses told me would help to get my milk supply up. It wasn’t until my boob turned bright red, and I started having a fever that I went to the doctors. I explained what was going on, and the doctor prescribed me medication for Mastitis. Unfortunately, it was the wrong medication, and I wasn’t until my next appointment with the OBGYN that I was prescribed the correct medication. At this point, I was still exhausted; my milk supply had dropped significantly due to not being able to pump because of the pain. I was determined to breastfeed, but I began to realize I wasn’t able to keep up with my baby’s needs.
Furthermore, I still couldn’t figure out how to sleep when the baby would sleep, I had to pump, and whenever I attempted to lay down during the day, my baby would wake up. The worst part about it was I was too prideful to admit I needed help. I didn’t need to do it alone I wasn’t a single mother anymore but, my husband was working full time, and I felt that I couldn’t expect him to help me after he worked all day.
So, I kept it to myself instead of telling my husband I was overwhelmed and needed help. Often times, I found myself crying alone. It felt like I was failing as a mother and a wife. I didn’t want to cook, do my hair, clean, or do things with my other kids. I honestly wanted to run away. During the day, instead of picking up my child when he cried, I began to ignore him. I started thinking that I didn’t want to be his mother anymore. At one point, I began questioning God like, “Why would he give me this baby that doesn’t love me? I can’t make him happy, produce enough milk, or stop him from crying. I’m not good at this; Elijah would be better off without me. I was so used to being in control and having a plan and a schedule that this was something I did not know how to handle.
It continued to get worse, to the point I resented my husband. I hated that he didn’t have nipples to breastfeed and that he didn’t have to wake up all night to breastfeed. When he would come home from work, I would nag about things that didn’t even make sense. I still didn’t tell him what was wrong or that during that day, I would put the baby in his room to cry to prevent myself from shaking the shit out of him. Yes, I had wanted to shake my baby, and at one point, I felt that I hated my child.
I went on like this for about a month and a half before I decided to seek help. I knew of postpartum depression, but I figured it couldn’t happen to me because I was a therapist. It’s my job to help people with depression. I am supposed to see the signs and not end up needing help. So I called my mom crying, and I told her that I thought I was depressed. Her response was, “You ain’t depressed. Just get some sleep, and you’ll get over it.” Needless to say, her response was not very supportive. I was at a place where I was not sure how to get over this. So I began to reflect on what was happening to me. It wasn’t that I hated my child; I loved my child, but I was not too fond of the situation and what I was experiencing. Something had to change, so I decided that I would start by ending the breastfeeding journey. I also began to look up things like Colic and temperament. I realized my son just wanted to be close to me. So I started Co-sleeping. I would fall asleep with him on my chest so that he could feel close, and I could get sleep for more extended periods of time.
Also, I told my sister and my husband what had been going on. I explained that I was frustrated and exhausted, that I couldn’t control my emotions. I discussed with them how I felt like a failure and guilty at the same time for not wanting to be around my child at times.
I continued to struggle; I did not go to the doctor to get help, but I was able to get out of my depression by using my family’s support. My mom would watch my baby on the weekends, and my husband would switch off more nights throughout the week.
Through this experience, I know that having a child affects you both physically and mentally, and that not every pregnancy is the same. My now 2-year-old is still my child that worries me the most and probably causes me to cry the most, but he’s so loving and has the funniest little personality. I’m so grateful that what I went through was not worse and that I was able to admit that I needed help.

New Beginnings

In the summer of 2011, at the age of 21 years old, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I remember being in the doctor’s office and the nurse saying Congratulations; you’re pregnant. I immediately began to cry and couldn’t stop thinking how. Well, we all know how it happened but, I was more so in shock like why me? Why now? I took plan B how could this be happening. I started freaking out and thinking how in the world am I going to be able to feed and provide for another human when I can barely feed and provide for myself. I was terrified to tell my parents. Here I was only 21 years old; in college had hardly been able to afford my rent with a roommate. At one point, I had even scheduled an appointment and thought abortion was the best way to go. Yes, abortion but, looking back on the decisions I’ve made, I’m so happy that I did not abort my child.

I ended up telling my parents and, of course, my mother somehow already known. I guess it was a mother’s intuition or something. So, in the summer of 2011, I decided to continue my pregnancy and continue to finish college. I had my baby on March 3, 2012, at 22 years old, and I never looked back. It wasn’t easy at times, and having a child made me more mature in a lot of areas in life. I no longer had a lot of time for friends and to go to college parties. For the first three years of my son’s life, I had to focus on school and motherhood. Looking back, I’m always amazed at how I was able to do it on my own. Granted, I had the help of my parents as well as my sons, other grandparents. At the time, I was a single mother; I had my apartment working full time at the University of Phoenix and trying to finish college. When my son’s father came back from college, we did the whole joint custody thing. Doing a joint custody agreement was probably the hardest of everything. Of course, I knew my son was safe, and his dad loved him, but that was my baby. I carried him for nine months and then woke up with, fed him, changed him, and took him to the doctors, Up until this point, my whole life had been rearranged to meet his needs and to have to even think about my son sleeping in another bed or home besides mine was strange. Eventually, I got used to the joint custody thing, and by the time we had gotten used to it, we had worked out our relationship and had moved in together. It’s funny looking back on my years of being a single mother, and at the time, I could only focus on surviving each day. I had little regard for my future and what would happen next.

I say all his to say that sometimes we may not be prepared for certain things in life, but life has a way of just happening to us, and it’s really about our resiliency. My transition into motherhood has been not only the most challenging experience in my life but also the most rewarding experience. How was your transition into motherhood?

Jaden’s First time at the San Diego Zoo 2014 (age 2)