Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Meet Mateo

Mateo Luis Perales  "Teo"  Born: June 7th 2016 at 8:41am  Weight: 7lb 11oz  Height: 20" 3/4


The night before Mateo entered our lives, we'd finally let go of any bits of stress or worry, and we finally felt "ready" to meet Baby Perales. (I swear that even after meeting him, I just kept calling him Baby. It felt weird, at first, calling him by his name.) The week before, I felt nauseous even thinking about finally becoming parents. But that morning, when we got the call, the ish really got real!


In the fog of half asleep and half awake I know as the pre alarm early morning, I stretched my hand out searching the bed franticly for the buzz of an alarm. Erika’s phone was the culprit, but in this case it was not the alarm that set off the noise but two missed messages from Tina. From what I remembered it went something like, counting contractions ……headed to hospital. I softly tapped Erika on the shoulder with the phone. She was not happy. As a matter of fact she said in a code yellow voice “stop. tapping. me.” As soon as I mentioned it was from Tina. The whites of her eyes lit the room. It was go time. 

On the drive to the hospital I felt calm, positive and open minded to how everything was going to play out. No expectation. I was just going to let the birth come to me.

This song started playing as we pulled up to the hospital.
It then continued playing on our ride home from the hospital.

Things don’t always happen as we plan. In a seemingly short three hour span of doctors coming in asking questions, typing up forms on the computer and offering a variety of possible scenarios, I could tell by the tone of their voices, this was not going to go as planned. The seriousness of childbirth smacked me in the face. No one ever said the words that baby or Tina were in danger, but in the back of my head I thought it. As quickly as we got to the hospital, the doctors prepared Tina for the operation. In an unplanned scenario, Erika was allowed in the operating room with Ricky.  I was left to sit and wait 4 feet from the door. 


The decision to let me go back there was very unexpected. The nurses decided, last minute, to give me an extra set of scrubs so that I could be there to witness the birth of our baby. I didn't even have time to think. If I could compare it to something, it kind of felt like pushing me out of an airplane without being told how to use the parachute.

Tina's husband and I were directed as to where we could be during the surgery. I stood by, tense and quiet, watching and waiting on the "action side" of the partition. There were a lot of doctors in there and I didn't really have a clear view. But the second I saw baby's little knee, my heart stopped and I totally lost it.  Before I knew it, they lifted baby up and a nurse called out, "What do we have?!" Then the doctor announced, "It's a boy!" They were holding Mateo. 

...I don't know how I stayed standing in those first moments. 

Once they had him wiped down, I was motioned to come over and trim the chord. Totally not mentally prepared for that. We'd always discussed that Luis would be doing that part. So I shakily held the scissors and cut through the chewy tube. They then carried him over so Tina and her husband could meet him. I only wish she could have seen me see him for the first time. Through the rush of all of the stuff that went down in the hospital, Tina was always calm and focused. It really helped me to see her have such peace.

They then wrapped him up and handed him to me. I could not believe it. I was looking at my baby. I was holding my son. 

The next thing I got to do was walk out of the room and introduce him to Luis.


Before Erika came out I cried…. I cried not for sadness or fear. I cried for joy. The tears, conversations, frustrations, dreams and prayers given to this moment and to this little life was about to make its way into the world. In a few minutes, I would be a father. I had passed the time softly whispering the names that we planned. They were both beautiful. I knew the operation was over as several doctors started to open and leave the room. Two or three had walked by and said some positive comments “baby has a really good cry,” “everything went well,” “ they will be right out.” 

Erika gingerly walked through the door holding our little baby and she managed to get out the words, "here is our baby Mateo." 

Words would be inadequate to express the feeling of seeing your baby for the first time. I think the most important thing that came from that moment was the realization that I could no longer say would be. I can now write I am a father. I am a dad. I have a son.

Our first selfie. He had a small fever, so we hung out in the nursery for a few hours.

We then spent the next few days in NICU so he could get treated for a possible infection.
It felt like a lifetime.


Having Mateo finally disconnected from all of the wires and monitors from NICU was the most fantastic thing! He was finally ready to come home!!!

Finally in his own bed.

This is a page from Sophia's Broken Crayons,
the book I gave Tina's kids which explained everything so beautifully.

Since that first day, we've just been chillin at home. We're a happy little family, just figuring out this new life.

Yesterday at his first pediatrician appointment! The doctor said he's perfect! 
Happy One Week!!!

He's my new accessory.
First family photo.
Oh wait! We forgot somebody!!!


"It's been a week and we still cannot believe you're here! We've already endured so much together in just that short time. Tears, tests, midnight freak outs, even earthquakes. Every time we look at you, we are in awe of who you might become. We'll look back at these first moments as if they were from another lifetime, but we plan on soaking up every second with you. I want time to freeze and somehow live in these moments forever. But I know that over the days and years to come, we're going to have many more amazing moments together. And we'll just continue to breathe as we watch you grow and as we fumble through this new life as parents."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Arlene recorded this real quick of us showing Mateo the world, while also calming him down after a cry in the hallways. "We're pretty good."

Untitled from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

...and then our hearts exploded.

"14 years ago Daddy said "one day we'll have a family.' ...That time is now. You are our little gift from heaven, a hope we held onto for years....  I can't believe you're here... I can't believe you're ours.... I look at you in total amazement and awe. As you lay on my chest, I hear your little breath... and feel it against my skin. I'm addicted. You are the most mellow little man and I know you had a rough day today.... But I promise I will always be here to love you, comfort you, and hold your hand. We love you with a love so big and so strong. You are the absolute love of our life. Thank you for letting us love you, our mighty Mateo."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ready or Not


I went into a quick panic at baby's 39th week. It hit me. We're going to be parents. And it can happen at any moment! Luis and I have been through so much in this lifetime together up until now and it's about to change. A completely new part of our life is about to start, and our old life (as we know it it pre-baby) is about to come to an end. It's not sad. It's just super surreal. I'm ridiculously excited to start this new chapter, it's just hard to wrap my head around it. Just yesterday someone said, "you almost don't even remember what that life was like...."
10 years ago

But today we're at 40 weeks. Today, June 5th, was baby's due date. It's pretty much come and gone, but I honestly feel that baby has just been waiting to make sure everything is totally ready for their arrival. Well, now we are definitely ready... as ready as we'll ever be.

carseat in!
(we had to take it out and do it again after this so it could go in the middle.
Me and Arlene took like an hour trying to do this by ourselves....)
Doll we took to our baby classes. 

NOT ready....

 And the AFTER...

Thank you to everyone who helped make this nursery possible. People who made, bought, and donated amazing
gifts for our baby's space. People who came by and helped clean, organize, and paint... you guys are amazing!
 It's better than I could have hoped for and we could not have done it alone.
Like a friend said today, "...you have a SOLID village."

We've taken a couple of classes and finished up the nursery finally! We've taken some time for ourselves and tried to get caught up on cleaning and rest (something I've heard there will be little opportunity for later....) We've had dinner dates and gone on walks with Tina. It's been a great week. But I think next week is going to be even better.

Ready to go! Come on baby! We wanna meet you!!!

"About a month ago I felt that absolutely nothing in the house was ready for you... now I feel like everything is starting to go at warp speed, but finally things are starting to come together. I know that our hearts are ready.... to meet you, hold you, love and cuddle you. We are so beyond ready for that."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby