Where It All Began

little dreamer

Little Girl with Big Dreams

 

 

 

 

I always knew I wanted to be doctor since I was a little kid. Those are the typical, most common words you hear from every person who wants to be a doctor. But its true, and as far as I can remember the desire arose when I was around 5 or 6 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was exposed to the medical world at an early age by accident…..literally. It was a bad accident and a very traumatizing experience to have to go through at such a small age. I want to say I was about 3 or 4 years old. I have never really asked my mom exactly how old I was but, going off my memory that sounds about right. I know this for a fact because it happened before I started kindergarten. I have memories of that day but just images here and there. I remember seeing my baby sister in her stroller or some kind of carrier and she had a bottle but it was a glass Gerber bottle, the old ones they used back in the days. I remember taking it from her and my mom getting mad at me because I was too old for bottles. I remember my mom sending my older sister down the street to the neighbors and I went with her. I had the bottle in my left hand and was walking in front of her and from what I was told I tripped and the bottle broke in my hand when I fell onto the ground and I do remember that we were walking on the street. But from my recollection I could have sworn my sister accidentally stepped on the back of my heel. Anyways whatever happened was not good and it did not end well either. I remember being picked up rushed home to my mom and my mom panicking and hysterical. Til this day I can vividly recall how bad the hot running water felt on my skin, yup my mom put my hand under hot running water I guess to help with the bleeding I don’t know why, but mom was no expert and it burned like hell. I was screaming and crying and trying to jerk my hand away and there was blood everywhere on the bathroom sink and the bleeding would not stop.

That’s the last thing I remember of that day……

      Next thing I know we are packing and on our way to what would be my journey through a couple of surgeries. And they didn’t go so well at least not with me; nope I was not having any of it! I was the terrible, typical stubborn toddler who just did not want to be touched poked or even looked at. My next recollection is being in the operating room and they are about to put me down with anesthesia and I put up a fight. I don’t know exactly what happened but I remember looking to my side and seeing a Surgeon doing something to my hand and I am just pulling away with all my tiny strength. I was mortified, terrified and felt so lost in a world I knew nothing about and the doctors and nurses were like aliens to me. Eventually they won because I woke up and I was in this beautiful place it was quite magical, at least that’s how I saw it from my perspective as a little kid. It was the famous Ronald McDonald House of Charities and I just remember it was this really nice place. The place gave me comfort, made me and my family feel welcomed and made our stay very pleasant. For me it was over the top because there were so many toys like I barely even had one toy back home and here I was in this place and lots of toys. I wish my parents had pictures of me in my little gown and my hand all bandaged up but they could not even afford the medical bills let alone one camera. All I have are good memories from that place that gave my mom and dad some peace while going through a difficult time.

From then on I had a couple more surgeries and lots of physical therapy and as time went by I actually looked forward to the doctors visits. I was very observant, there were so many things done to me along the way it was very interesting to watch. Like for example, getting my dressings changed and sometimes I had special things done to my finger with metal insertions here and there so it was cool to watch everything unfold. I just didn’t like when they did all the cleaning on my incisions because it hurt but it always felt good to have my dressings changed and feel fresh and renewed with each passing time. Each passing visit I grew stronger and tolerated more things along the way. And like I said I was very observant, so I was just analyzing everything they did to me and found it really interesting. Also, all the staff everywhere and anywhere I would go, would always treat me and my mom really good. She is the one who always went in with me the majority of the time. Unfortunately because I was so young the Surgeons could only do so much for me at the time. My mom was told that I would require more extensive surgeries and they suggested she wait until I was a little more older. I was actually a good patient only and if they weren’t trying to put me under. Its kind of funny looking back because I remember putting up a hell of a fight each time. It was like I was getting murdered and I was fighting for my life. I think I remember punching and kicking a Surgeon and he was over it, like OK I’m done with this kid. Yeah I was that bad when it came to the operating part.

       So it was left at that and I continued to go to physical therapy for a few years but after that it became hard for my mom especially because of financial problems and as time went by life happened and I grew up and we never followed up again. Well actually we did and I was already a teenager but by then supposedly a Surgeon we consulted with said it was to late to anything for me we waited to long and what not. So what happened in the accident is that piece of glass went right through my hand in between my index finger and my middle finger. The piece of glass cut right through my tendon as a result I ended up with lots of damage including the inability to bend my finger. It could have been worse but I was lucky, by the way the same Surgeon that said nothing else could be done suggested that I get it amputated. Heck to the no was I going to do that it was still useful to me. My finger however never grew, as I got older it stayed the same as when I was a toddler. But I have tried my best to use it as much as possible. It can be challenging sometimes and every now and then (not always), it hurts because I have to strain it to put it to use. And when its winter time I have to make sure its kept warm because any exposure to the cold causes it to get stiff as a board and it starts to hurt. I used to slice it on accident when I was first learning to cook and used to bang it here and there while doing things growing up. It was challenging as my movement was very limited but I didn’t let that stop me from doing anything!

 

 

 

 

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Little Dreamer

1st grade

 

”Papi cuando you cresca yo quiero ser como Selena.

Sonriendo y mirando hacia arriba a mi padre, asi le dije una vez.

Acariciando mi cabeza me respondio mi padre.

”Si mija okay.”

 

 

Smiling and looking up to my dad one day I told him, “Daddy when I grow up I want to be like Selena.” My dad patted my head and replied, “yeah, okay mija.” Selena was someone who I admired as a little girl. Although I very much liked singing and dancing, I didn’t want to be a singer like her or famous I wanted to be someone important. I believe I was 6 years old when I told my dad this but at that time I was already dreaming about my future and who I wanted to be. I dreamed of reaching far in life and being someone important. I heard my calling as a little kid I always felt some kind of way since I was little. Like if I was destined to do something, I cant explain it but I have always known that I was on a mission.

As a kid I was very happy, outgoing and very friendly, I was also very observant and curious about everything. I had a very strong, vivid imagination, I was always day dreaming and thinking about the future. To this day I can remember a lot of things from my early childhood. As early, as before I even started preschool. I can recall writing my first little chapter book in second grade it was hilarious. I put together a couple of pages cut them and stapled them to look like a book. I remember showing it to my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Miramontes. She looked at me and said, ”you did this?” I nodded yes and she started laughing and said, ”this is good, its funny”. I was very creative and had quite an imagination.

My earliest memory of wanting to be a Doctor was at the age of 5. I would always find my parents first aid kits or anything and everything that I could find to bandage myself up or to play with. Sometimes there was nothing wrong with me, other times I had scrapes and bruises from your typical kid getting into things. I always had something wrong with me fake or not. If I didn’t have an ace wrap on my ankle it was a sling that used to be my dad’s from his previous accidents that he kept around. Or my hand would be wrapped in an ace wrap. My neighbor would always question my dressings and of course I always lied, especially if there was nothing wrong with me. Oh I sprained my ankle or oh I fractured my hand! Looking back it’s funny now, but that was me. However, I never went to my parents when I got hurt. Instead I would take care of my own scrapes and bruises. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I accidentally sliced my finger pretty bad one time trying to cut open a frozen ice pop. It was my disabled finger the same one I had surgery on. It was always in my way when cutting things because I couldn’t bend it. I grabbed a knife while my mom was making dinner and being the little independent kid that I was I decided to cut the ice pop open myself. It did not go so well and next thing I see is blood and it hurt like a mother, but if I screamed and started crying I was going to get it. So I forced myself to shut up and smoothly left the kitchen and as soon I was in the living room I made a sprint to the bathroom. I started jumping up and down, and shaking my hand as if that would make the pain go away which only made it worse. My finger was burning, then I look up and there was blood splattered all over the bathroom. I was like oh shit I am really going to get it now. I grabbed a bunch of toilet paper and put it around my finger and just pressed on it really hard but the bleeding would not stop. Then I decided to look for an ace wrap and there was one in the bathroom. I wrapped it around my entire hand and made it pretty obvious, but my main concern was cleaning the blood from the walls. My dad would be getting home soon and if he found out what happened he was going to spank me for using the knife and cutting myself. Thankfully, the cleaning was easy because when I barged into the bathroom my older sister forgot to lock the door and was taking a shower. So the moisture made it easier for me to clean the walls. She kept asking me, ”what are you doing” and I just tried to play it cool and said, ”nothing”. Believe it or not she never even looked and I cleaned the walls before she got out of the shower, she had no idea. She probably would not have snitched but I was not going to take my chances of getting a spank. The hardest part to clean was the top of the ceiling but for that I went and grabbed the broom and put a cloth over it and used it to reach the top. I was a quick thinker and great at improvising too. And even though my parents were used to seeing me with ace wraps this time I had to hide my hand for a week from them. 

I liked playing doctor as a kid, I had to have the little toy doctor kits with the little stethoscope and fake bandages and the cute little medical carrying case. My mom used to get the kits from the Walgreen’s toy section. Its crazy because even though I had an unpleasant experience when I first got exposed to hospitals and doctors I ended up wanting to be like the doctors and nurses. After doctor visits I would go home an mimic what they did to me and did pretend play with my stuffed toys and talked to them like I was their doctor. And that is how it was from then on. Becoming a Doctor has been my lifelong dream. Only I knew that I wanted to be a doctor, but it wasn’t until I was older and married that I felt comfortable opening up about it to my family and close friends. I have always kept it to myself because it means the world to me. Thankfully my family has been very supportive especially my husband, he is truly amazing ! There is more to my story, hopefully one day I can write a book and share my journey in depth. Life happens, it’s unpredictable and of course there are challenges and obstacles that we go through. But it is through the challenges that we learn and grow as individuals. It has definitely been a tough journey for me but I am not about to quit! So you might wonder and ask why am I sharing this now? Because as I start preparing to apply to medical school, I realize how far I have come and how much I have accomplished all through my hard work and dedication. I feel that it’s okay to let other in on this next phase of my life. If I am going to get into medical school, it’s going to be because I got myself there. 

Since I was a child I always felt special, as if I had a purpose in life. I had a dream and I didn’t know how it would come true, I just knew that one day it had to come true. I was determined since the age of 5, and I don’t know why it just came to me. Maybe it was the fact that I had been exposed at an early age to doctors and hospitals. Or maybe, just maybe, it is my true calling and destiny. I don’t know, but what I do know is that my whole life I’ve had this dream, and no matter what situation or circumstance in life I was in; it was my dream that always kept me going. 

Thug Life

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My childhood friend, my mom and his mom were best friends. He is currently married to my best friend almost 20 years.

I couldn’t live a normal life I was raised by the streets of Odessa, West Texas. But I always knew that education was the key to success. Quitting school was never an option for me. Never crossed my mind. I was just a little gansta wanna be, trying to survive in the hood as someone I wasn’t, let alone wanted to be. My dream always kept me going and also kept me out of bad situations and trouble most of the time. Thug life? What exactly is thug life? Some people might think oh my god its a criminal, the worsts of the worst etc. Actually it is the life one must lead in order to rise through the everyday struggle. Coming from nothing to something. Beating all odds and managing to overcome obstacles to become something. ~Tupac Shakur~

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January 11, 1999. I was barely coming out of my Chola days losing the look but I was still a little gansta. And in case you are wondering yes that was the name of my Junior High. In Texas middle school is referred to as Junior High. This school was named after a Confederate Army General by the name of John Bell Hood. The school had a bad rep or so people made it look that way but it was actually a good school with great teachers. We were referred to as the Hood Rats by the locals.

I grew up in an undeserved community, my mom bought a small duplex with the money she got when my brother died. Little by little my mom worked hard to fix it up and turn it into a house for us. Living in the hood was hard, I had to constantly watch my back to and from school because bad kids would beat me up for nothing or take away my things. Sometimes we didn’t have a car and we had to walk to school, which was about a mile away. Cold, snow, rain or shine we had to walk I still remember those days, I hated it. Especially when my mom had to walk back home by herself after she left us. Sometimes we would ask for rides but most of the time we didn’t like to bother people. We always had people breaking into our house and cops constantly roaming the streets arresting people. I was only 10 years old when we moved to that neighborhood and I already knew what a raid was and seen needles scattered throughout our neighborhood. Around my house at the local park and in the alleys. Every now and then there were drive by”s because just a few doors down from where we lived was the hot spot for the dealers. I remember seeing undercover cops make moves on bad guys and sometimes police chases on foot right in my very own back yard. It was definitely a hell hole. Overtime things changed and calmed down in the hood. Most of it had to do with the home raids and police cracking down on the drug dealers. As fast as those people were going new people were coming into the neighborhood. And that is where things got better for me and my siblings to run around loose in the neighborhood. It was a privilege and a curse at the same time. We had so many neighborhood friends sometimes we didn’t go inside the house until 10pm. There is a park within waking distance from my home and that was our hangout place or my house when my parents were not home which was a lot. My mom was always at work and she worked night shift and my dad….well if he wasn’t working he was out somewhere getting drunk. One of my favorite things to do was climb the tree that was at the back of our house. I would climb that tree whenever I wanted and just sit up there and wonder about life. Eventually after sometime I got tired of my moms yelling getting on to me about going up there. The house was old and the roof was not in good condition. And I knew that walking up on there was scary but I still loved it especially at night laying on the roof looking at the stars feeling the cool breeze.

 

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I was always smiling that was just part of my personality. Always happy ! I was not mean nor was I cruel but if you got on my bad side, I was a whole new person ready to lash out.

Who was Luz Elena?

Luz Elena was a dreamer, she was smart, creative, she loved school, she loved learning and engaging in deep conversations with her teachers. But it was a constant struggle, it was like a tug of war. I wanted to do this and that but my parents didn’t have money. I loved sports but never asked for anything because I knew we couldn’t afford it. In elementary I participated in all of the after school programs because they were free. I played volleyball, basketball, softball, I did it all. I also was in choir and music class. I wanted to play the violin so bad but because I had a small disability with my left index finger I had to have a custom made violin so that I could use my right hand. Again I knew my mom couldn’t afford it so I opted for the bass instead. It was so cool I loved playing that huge thing. The challenge was getting it to and from school, by now we had an old station wagon and if my mom could she picked me up if not I had to drag that thing home.

My teachers all loved me and saw potential in me they constantly kept me engaged in school. Even though I was trying to be all cool and try to act gansta they didn’t see that in me they saw someone else. I never disrespected any of my teachers, I had nothing but respect for them. But there was a time when I was out of control I think about sixth grade and I was giving my teacher hell. Her name was Mrs. Love, I liked her but I was going through a rough stage in my life and my attitude was bad. Mrs. Love didn’t give up on me she knew me well and I can recall that one time she made me cry. I think I got into a fight and she pulled me to the side in her room and she looked me straight in the eyes and told me that I better get myself straight because that was not who she saw in me. She had this look in her eyes like she genuinely cared about me. She really touched me that day. She was constantly on my butt making sure I was turning in assignments and doing my school work. That year the D.A.R.E program had a contest for an essay. Each school from the town participated and only 3 students were going to be chosen from each school. Each student was going for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for their school. and I ended up winning 3rd place for my school. The essay was on why drugs were bad for you and why you should stay away and we were suppose to write about how drugs had an impact in our lives or community. When they held the award ceremony, they had gathered all the schools at an auditorium and when they called out my name for 3rd place for my school I was like what, I really won? I put my heart into that essay paper and I was proud of myself. Unfortunately for me the proud moment only lasted shortly. It was towards the end of my 6th grade year and I was about to go through some challenging times.

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1999 This was the last of my Chola days.

Going into 7th grade I started hanging out more with the cool kids and most of them were in gangs. That essay might have helped convince others to stay away from drugs but it didn’t work with the own person who wrote it. That year was the first time that I ever tried weed and I knew absolutely everything about the drug and why I shouldn’t do it. I was so scared I really didn’t want to do it so many things were crossing my mind. So basically I was walking home one day with the cool kids and after only three of us were left. So two of the cool guys that were walking me home they were cute and all and popular. We were walking and one of them says, hey have you ever gotten high. I was like oh gosh please no this cant be happening…… I do not want to get high. I knew where the conversation was leading. I said to them no I haven’t and I was thinking to myself okay, they know that I don’t know how or ever have before, so maybe they wont offer. Wrong !!! They said what, no way, well today is your lucky day. So I was like shit ugh here we go and I was scared as fuck! I was trying so hard to keep cool in reality I just wanted to go home, my hands were shaking. So they said, follow us and we went behind a building and they were getting it ready and while they are doing this I am thinking about that essay I wrote and all of the things I wrote on what do to when someone offers you. I wrote about peer pressure and what not and here I was about to take my first hit for the first time. I wanted to speak up but at the same time I felt like I was going to look weak, So what I did was not inhale it, I acted like I did but I just held it in my mouth and blew it out. I didn’t like it, and saw no point to it. After that day I was like what the hell did I do. I think I came across four or 5 more times across moments like in my life around other people, but I never showed interest to my friends in smoking so they never really asked me and so I just watched them when we hung out. I didn’t like getting high let alone doing drugs which was never a problem because weed was pretty much the only thing I was ever exposed to. I didn’t like any kind of drug period especially after experimenting with weed. To me it was pointless and my mind was always off wondering about how I was going to become a doctor.

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With my sister (far left) and my friends from Hood Jr. High. Just hanging around the neighborhood.

 

That year was my roughest year I was going to parties, sneaking out the house, stealing my parents car and my sisters too. I was very disobedient came and went to the house whenever I wanted to. It was a constant tug of war because I loved school and knew where I wanted to go but at the same time I was struggling with living in the ghetto and trying to fit in. I was acting like someone who I wasn’t on the streets and  in class I was myself, observant, learning and engaging with my teachers challenging them with different topics and subjects. I would get these weird looks from some teachers who didn’t know me, because here was this gangster looking girl talking smart and actually doing her work.

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This was in 8th grade I believe it was a Valentines Dance. I was over dressing as a Chola, my circle of friends was changing and I was discovering things that were important to me and also who I really was.

That was Luz Elena…..there she was, walking home everyday dressed like a gansta with her dads Dickies that she stole from his closet, flannel shirt and Nike Cortes. In her hands up to 6 textbooks, sometimes more. I was always at the school library and when those were not enough I would ask my mom to take me to the public library. After awhile however, I couldn’t check out books because I always had late fees from turning them in late. My mom would get mad at me and after a while she stopped taking me. I also loved to read the newspaper. I learned to cook on my own since my mom was never home, my first attempt was with eggs and from there pancakes and so and and so on. I learned to bake my first cake around 10 years old. I was always trying out new things on my own, very independent, observant of my surroundings and always willing to take on new challenges. Fixing bikes was my past time, also because that was my form of transportation once I got older and started running around the streets with my friends. I learned to drive my first car by stealing my moms car and taking it for a joy ride. I had previously had some minor pointers from a friend however I never really drove. That’s how I learned to drive I think I was 13 years old. My moms station wagon was all banged up thanks to me and you would think she would notice but she didn’t catch on until after awhile. I think in part because my mom thought she did those bumps and scratches to her car. My mom was a paranoid driver she didn’t like driving especially at night. It wasn’t until I got caught driving my sisters Monte Carlo that she then realized that I had been taking her car when she wasn’t around. It never crossed my moms mind that I would do such a thing that’s why she never could put two and two together. I mean sure I would get in trouble here and there but my mom didn’t think that I would go to such extreme. Looking back when we talk about it we laugh about all the things I used to do, but deep down inside my mom always knew I was special.

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I skipped a grade because I went to a teen pregnancy school. which enabled me to get ahead one year. I was in the 11th grade here. But I was dealing with depression and ended up failing that grade. This was mid spring sometime before the end of the school year in 2001.

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Somehow I always managed to keep my sense of humor. On the outside you could not tell I was suffering I never let anyone see my pain and suffering. I could fool anyone but my mom. My mom helped me get through one of the hardest most challenging times in my life. Here hanging out with my favorite person who always made me feel safe and loved my grandma. I loved going to her house just to feel her love. I was doing homework and listening to music at the same time in this picture. Everyday during this time I would show up to her house and she would teach me how to knit. We started a blanket that year and I never finished it. She got mad at me one time when I told her laughing, grandma I haven’t finished the blanket. She was mad, she said you should be embarrassed of yourself. I thought it was funny but in reality I realized that I put all my sorrow into that blanket when I was dealing one of the most difficult times in my life. I never finished it because touching it brought me back memories of one of the most painful times in my life. . Before my grandma died I made a promise to her that I would finish it.

 

Life in the hood was a constant struggle there was not a day that went by that I wondered about my future. Who I wanted to be and if I would make it, I was constantly struggling one part of me wanted to run free and be wild and another part of me was eager for knowledge and wanting to reach success. Outside my bedroom doors I was this girl with the image of a Chola, judged by many because of how I dressed. I had this attitude like don’t fuck with me. I was just putting up a front because in the hood if you are weak people prey on you. I had to put on a front to survive in the hood and be able to walk around the neighborhood without anyone beating me up or disrespecting me. Most of the time I was cool I didn’t go around looking for trouble but sometimes trouble found me. I fought a couple times in my days. I didn’t like it I had a lot of anger problems at one point and in part it had to do because I used to get bullied in 4th grade. I started to follow on the same route and would take out my anger on other kids. I didn’t like that person who I was becoming and one day, I looked at myself in the mirror and cried because that was not who I was. My fights in junior high were dumb pretty much over stupid things but honestly I didn’t like to fight. I avoided fights at all costs, because I could go from 0 to 100 real quick and I didn’t like the person I became when I fought. I was scared of the dark person that came out. I took out my claws and fought like a tiger. If I was going to fight someone that person was going to have to hit me first. One day this girl that used to be my friend was threatening my little brother because, her little brother was friends with mine and they had an argument. Well she was like 14 years old and my brother was like 10 years old and she picked up my brother and threw him in the trash can. So someone came to my house to snitch what she did and me and my little sister looked at each other and she said I’m not going. In my head I was like I don’t want to go because I am going to beat her ass up. But my sister said someone has to defend him. My blood was boiling I still remember it like it was yesterday. I walked out of my house looking like the devil and all the neighborhood kids had already gathered. We exchanged a few words, I believe I gave her an opportunity before I kicked her ass to apologize to my brother and she refused, then we went at it. I was defending my blood because nobody throws my brother in the trash can. That was my last fight as a teen and I felt bad after and every time I drove by her house I wanted to go say sorry to her. Aside from everything I went through in the hood I was still a good person with a good heart. I had an enemy one time, well she was just mean all around to everyone, but she had a brother with a disability and me and her could just go at it all day long at school and just talk smack to each other. But if I ever saw anyone make fun of her brother I would defend him. I didn’t like people making fun of him and I defended him a lot.

I got jumped into my first gang when I was about 13 years old, it was an all female gang. We thought we were the shit, we never really got into big fights and that was cool with me because I was a lover not a fighter. I just wanted to hang out at parties with a click, and nobody really tried to mess with us because we were always in our neighborhood. But if we went into other neighborhoods with rivals we were asking for trouble. Every now and then we had little confrontations at the mall or elsewhere but nothing serious just throwing up gang signs to each other. It was dumb but that was life growing up in the hood. As if things weren’t hard enough on the street for me, things at home were worse. My parents were never home I didn’t have a relationship with my mom. I was constantly arguing with her slamming doors, sneaking out with friends and just pretty much doing whatever the hell I wanted. I hated coming home to a broken home a drunk father and having to constantly be reminded that we had nothing. My father was always breaking everything in our house, furniture, tables, tv’s you name it. Anything nice we ever had was all gone. He would go on a drunken rage and start throwing things out of the house. In the beginning it was scary with time I just got used to it. My mom would take me with her when I was little and we would go looking for him at the bars at 3 in the morning. Then the arguing would start and then the breaking and smashing. My poor mom worked so hard, sometimes holding down two jobs and my dad sometimes got laid off or was jumping from job to job. We could barely pay the bills and my mom was always going to local churches for food donations. Sometimes her best friends would bring us food boxes. When I was younger I would always accompany my mom to the local food pantries provided by local churches. We would shop at the salvation army and going there to me was like going to Walmart. I didn’t care if I got used skates or toys at least I had some. Growing up we never really had Thanksgiving let alone a Christmas. If we didn’t get invited to family holiday gatherings our Christmas consisted of donated food boxes and midnight mass with my mom. I took my mom for granted growing up, she tried so hard to provide for us she was a great mom but during those hard times I didn’t see it that way and instead of trying to be a good kid and make it easy for her I only made things worse. But trust me I paid for it.

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My depression took a toll on me my junior year I could not concentrate in classes and was falling behind. I lost a great opportunity playing soccer for one of the highly recognized high schools in Texas. I got kicked out of the soccer team and didn’t make the cut I passed the fitness portions but because of my grades they dropped me. Even though I failed the 11th grade I ended up going straight to 12th grade. Caught me by surprise but yeah I sure did and ended up graduating one year earlier than the class that I should have graduated with. You see I moved to another state and I was sad at the fact that I had failed 11th grade, however when I registered they said I had enough credits to go to the 12th grade. Boy was I overjoyed!!!! This picture was taken the fall of 2001 @ Tolleson High School.

I remember looking around one day and thinking what would my future be like, because every time I looked around my surroundings I didn’t like what I saw. I thought well is this is what I am destined to as well ? I started asking my mom and dad and family questions about any educated family members, and come to find out we didn’t have any!!! No lawyers, no doctors, no firefighters, no policemen, no nurses etc…..and hearing that broke my heart. I felt that maybe too I would end up doing nothing with my life. I knew since I was around 5, that I wanted to be a doctor. But as I got older and things got harder in my life that dream seemed impossible and not reachable. But I never stopped dreaming.

My Angel

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15 years old…..Shortly after giving birth to my baby in the year 2000.

 

By the time I was 15 years old I was already a mother and a grieving one as well. I did not want to get pregnant, it was never on my list of things to do as a teenager. In fact having witnessed the lives of my older sisters as teen moms, had an impact on me growing up. Seeing my sisters struggle and sometimes even babysitting for them made me not want to even have kids. I did not want to follow in those same steps and that was something that I was constantly putting in my mind. I was so sure of myself and always thinking to myself nope not me I’m not dumb, I am going to do something with my life. I was so naive…… and I let my guard down………….. and there I was a mother at the age of 15.

 

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I held my baby for hours she, she felt so warm her cheeks were so soft and she smelled just like newborns do. I kept her clothes in a small box and I never washed them. Every now and then I would take them out to smell them and could still feel her presence when I did.

 

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In my eyes she was so beautiful, I couldn’t believe this baby was mine.I also couldn’t bare the fact that I was not going to create memories with her.

 

I took a pregnancy test one day, I had suspicions because my body was feeling all kinds of ways and I was sleeping a lot which was not normal for me. When I read the results my heart literally wanted to jump out. I sat on a stall and I started to cry and my first thoughts were my parents were going to kill me. Like really kill me. Then my second thoughts were my dreams are shattered. I will never get to do any of the things I have been dreaming about, going to college, traveling, becoming a Doctor. I was devastated I never wanted this to happen I did not want to be a teen mom.

 

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After a baby dies in the womb within a few hours after death the skin starts to peel off. The Doctor wanted for me to wait to give birth whenever my body was ready for labor. I couldn’t, the instant I found out I wanted her out because it was traumatizing and heartbreaking to me to know that I had to carry around a dead unborn child. I think I would have gone crazy if I did, so they provoked my labor the very next day after finding out she was no longer alive. My actual due date was January 21st 2000.

 

I kept my pregnancy hidden from my mom, (so I thought) for about a month. I never understood what my mom meant when she would always tell me she always knew everything even when I hid or lied from her about pretty much everything. Now that I am a mother I know exactly what she was talking about us moms have that special maternal instinct or whatever you want to call it. I couldn’t face my parents and tell them to their face that I was pregnant in fact it was embarrassing for me, heck I was disappointed in myself ! I always felt different from my siblings I always felt like I was going to go far and do great things in my life. I had high hopes for my future I had dreams of making it big someday and making my parents proud. I didn’t want to be pregnant as a teen, I wanted to break out of that circle because I saw teen moms all around me and I refused to be one of them. During that month that I hid my pregnancy I tried to figure out what I was going to do and whether or not to tell my parents. My first thought was to have an abortion, but I couldn’t there was no way I could go through with something like that and live with that decision for the rest of my life. I said to myself nope you got yourself into this mess you get yourself out. So you are going to suck it up and take responsibility for your actions. So then I started analyzing things and tried to figure out how I would go to school and work to provide for my baby. I was not alone, but I was looking at all my options because once reality hit me….this baby was MINE! And I was ready to face the world and do everything to protect and care for my child. Dropping out of school was never an option!!!! I kept telling myself its okay you got this you can figure it out. So once the fear was gone and the maternal instinct kicked in I loved my baby and I was ready to accept whatever came my way. So I packed my clothes and I ran away from home. I couldn’t face my parents, I would just leave and figure out life on my own. When I didn’t come home my mom went looking for me the next day. I talked to her by phone and she asked me why did I run away from home and in a very low and sad voice I told her because mom I am pregnant. I expected my mom to scream at me and just let me have it. But she didn’t she told me that she already knew I was pregnant, her exact words were; out of all your sisters you were the one I would not expect this from, I thought you were smarter than this but you proved me wrong……..so you ran away from home because you are pregnant, no you come back home I am not going to let you ruin your life. Come back home we will figure this out together. I hung up the phone and I was happy because I felt a huge relief that my mom was not mad or going to kill me. Plus I wasn’t ready to leave the house even though my house was full of tension all the time I was not ready to leave.

January 19, 2015

With my parents on a beautiful and special ceremony for my Angel Baby on her would be 15th birthday. (January 19, 2015)

 

I gathered all my things again and went back home, but as I walked in the door my mother was waiting for me on the couch. She was looking at the wall she didn’t turn to acknowledge me when I walked in the house. I will never forget the look on her face, she was heartbroken, I saw sadness in her face and disappointment and she had tears rolling down her face and that really hurt me. That’s when I realized I really fucked up !! As I walked to my room I whispered to myself, its okay mom I will make it up to you someday, I will make you proud of me I promise…….. I’m sorry. I went in my room and jumped on my bed and started crying.

My dad could not even look at me, we avoided each other all the time it was hard and I was Daddy’s girl. I know I hurt my dad too he always kept his feelings locked away but I know he didn’t take it well because he was drinking more than usual.

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Baby Desiree aka (Baby Desi) born January 19th 2000

 

I had a good pregnancy, unpleasant in the first trimester but overall it was good. I was in love with my child. I talked to my child all the time, I sang to my child I would even put headphones on my belly and play music. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experience a woman can go through and even though you carry the child for 9 months you love that child from day one. I felt a strong connection with my child I loved the kicks and knew what foods she liked and did not like. I got to know her before even meeting her. Everything was going great until one month before her due date, I was feeling weird I was not being my normal self and I was not sleeping well either. I would go into these sad moods for no reason and I was very emotional. Well one night a few weeks before I had her I woke up drenched in sweat, crying hysterical. The dream felt so real as if my body was preparing me for something to come. That night I had a dream that my baby died it was such a scary dream and felt so real I was so scared. In the following weeks I was just always in a sad mood as if I was waiting for something to happen.I was enrolled in a teen pregnancy school and every time some girl would loose her baby I felt bad for them. I never thought that it could happen to me, I would think oh that is so rare I will be okay.

 

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On January 18, 2000 I went for one of my weekly visits as I was nearing the end of my full term. The nurse put the heart monitor on me as usual but this time it was different, she tried not to scare me but there was no need I could feel it coming on I knew where this was leading. She tried to stay calm and said you know we have to do an ultrasound because the baby is hiding. So we went into the ultrasound room and as soon as the nurse turned it on I saw the look on her face. She called someone else into the room and said, do you see what I see. The other nurse said yes, and she replied ok just wanted to confirm. My heart sank but I stayed quite I thought no this is not happening. That day my mom went with me to the Doctor visit, my mom never went with me to Doctor visits. They called my mom in and told her that the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and that there was no heart beat. I lost it after that. After speaking with a Doctor I was given the choice to let the labor happen on its own as I was only 3 days away from my due date. I said no that is torture I can’t walk around with my dead baby. So he said okay we can induce your labor. So that is how it happened the very next day I was in labor.

 

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I was rolled into the operating room, I was scared. I look up and I see these bright round surgical operating room lights. I thought this has to be some big mistake, they made an error. The baby is about to be born and she is going to come out crying. I was hanging on to some hope that maybe just maybe this could all be some crazy mistake and everything would be okay. I look up to the lights and wonder what could possibly be the reason why I am going through this. God what are you doing and why are you doing this to me? Push !!! I could hear the nurse telling me. One more push ! I was calm as if expecting my baby to cry I was waiting for her for the moment they would all see that they made a mistake. I was nervous, scared and excited to finally meet my baby girl. Come on you got this one more push !!! There she was she came out just perfect, but wait whats going on, whats that? I sit up to look closer and the Doctor is taking off the noose around her neck. I waited for a cry, but when nothing happened I laid back down and started crying. They tried to put her on my chest and I couldn’t take her I couldn’t handle the pain it was like getting your heart ripped out. It took me awhile to come around and finally hold her, she was beautiful and so soft she just looked like she was sleeping. I finally accepted that she was gone and just cherished some time with her (2 days to be exact) before we had to prepare her for the burial.

 

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I held up strong for a few moths then I just felt like I couldn’t go on. There were days when I just could not get out of bed. One day I just let God have it. I cursed him, I yelled at him told him that he didn’t exist. If he knew this was going to happen then why did I have to go through the full 9 months pregnant and let me love her, only for him to later take her away. (Fuck you, you don’t exist! I don’t believe in you anymore! I hate you for doing this to me! You are not real, if you are then why are you doing this to me! What did I do to deserve this! Common, where were you when I needed you the most, show yourself to me! ) But its as if he didn’t care that I did that to him because after my loss, I felt like he took me by my arms and lifted me and taught me how to fly. For a long time I didn’t want to see it that way because I stopped believing in him and lost my faith, but every opportunity he had, he proved me wrong and showed me who was the boss.

 

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I don’t need anyone’s sympathy or people feeling sorry for me. I used to keep my past to myself especially about my baby because it was so sacred to me! But I want to share my story with everyone especially young girls and let them know that, hey its okay……..whatever you are going through in life you can get through, just stay positive and seek help if you have to. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams and know that out of something bad or tragic something good always comes, you just have to be strong, ride out the storm, be patient, have faith and trust your journey.

 

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Balloon release for Baby Desiree’s, would be 15th birthday!

One Way Ticket

        I battled depression after losing my first child for a long time. After that day at the park I managed to get by everyday just by staying busy with work. I was not doing good in school, I was in my junior year and I knew that I was not going to pass. Even though I knew that I had to continue on with life and I already knew what I was going to do with my life, everyday was a struggle for me. It was spring and summer was just around the corner yet there were days that I just could not get myself out of bed. I wanted to sleep the pain away and forget the nightmare I was living. My mom noticed that I was not eating and I was losing a lot of weight, so she took me to the doctor. He prescribed me some medication for depression I really didn’t care the only reason I was there was because my mom forced me to go. I remember going home straight to bed and my mom knocking on my door. She came in to check on me to make sure I would take my medication. She stood there with water and opened the water for me and handed me a pill. Then she handed me the bottle and told me make sure to do as the Doctor said. She waited until I put the pill in my mouth and the she left. As soon as she closed my door I spit the pill out. I laid there on my bed holding the bottle in my hand and stared at the bottle. In my states of depression every now and then I would have my moments when I just couldn’t face life, but I knew that I had the strength inside me to pull through and I knew that these pills were not for me and I didn’t need them. In that moment I was realizing, ”I got this I can pull myself up I don’t need this shit !” So I got up and I went to the bathroom and I flushed all the pills down the toilet.

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This picture was taken a year after giving birth to my daughter. Sometime in the spring of 2001, I was battling depression. Pictured here with my niece whom my mother was raising and right before I left Odessa, Texas for good.

As school came to an end I was ready to face my future. I had a talk with my mom after  school was over and I told her point blank, ”I want to move to another state”. At first she looked at me confused, but after she straightened her look and just replied, ”are you sure?” I said, ”yes.” My mother never questioned me, never asked me why, she didn’t even try to object with my decision of moving away. I think that as a mother she just wanted me to be okay and in that moment it was the best decision for my well being. I had though about this for a long time I knew that I was walking away from a lot of things. My home, my family, my friends Odessa, Texas was all that I knew and I was walking away from it all. I knew that I would never come back because I had set my mind on building my future away from home. I wanted to find myself, to explore life to venture out and work on my goals, but I also knew that what I was looking for was not there in my small town.

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My beautiful mom, my idol, my best friend, my hero!

 

It didn’t take long within days my mom had already purchased a ticket for me. We didn’t talk much in those days but I could see the sadness in her eyes because she knew she wasn’t going to see me for a long time. And she was right because I had no plans on ever returning back home. My mom drove me to the airport and I was actually excited. I was ready to face life, but I also had a lot of mixed emotions , one thing I knew for sure was that it would all be worth it. Saying goodbye to my mom was hard, my mom was crying I hugged her, told her I loved her and walked away. Walking away to board the plane I would glance back at her and see her standing there crying and sad, but all I could think of was its okay mom I will be okay I will come back one day and make you proud.

I boarded the plane for the first time in my life all by myself, I looked at the ticket as it read one way…..I thought well this is where my journey begins.