As Long As It’s Healthy– Right?

We’ve all heard it. I read it in my Facebook feed all the time– usually whenever someone asks about a baby’s sex, many parents will respond with the same canned, well-meaning response: “Oh, we don’t care, just as long as it’s healthy.”


I know you’re probably thinking I’m an insensitive jerk. Believe me, I don’t mean to be. In fact, I wish for the well-being of all of my friends’ and loved ones’ children. And it’s a perfectly natural parental desire to pray for a healthy child.

I’m sure my parents did.





I’m sure my parents stressed out endlessly and spent many a sleepless night, worrying about the health and well-being of their unborn baby back then. Any good parent does, although I’m no expert.

No, I’m not a parent. I’m not that kid, either. I’m the other one. You know, the one you prayed your heart out that your child wouldn’t be anything like.

The unhealthy kid.

Before this turns into a folic acid debate (don’t we just love those?), please keep in mind– I was born before the medical community was seriously beginning to talk about how to prevent spina bifida with the public. My parents weren’t warned about how beneficial folic acid might be before pregnancy. That being said, they did everything they knew to do to ensure my health and well-being from the start.

I’m sure my parents felt they had been kicked in the gut really hard when they found out I was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, neurogenic bladder and Arnold Chiari malformation, among other issues, all serious conditions that would require surgery in a matter of hours.

I’m sure Mami woke up feeling disoriented and confused when she found out that, instead of sleeping beside her, I was, at less than a day old, recovering from my first surgery– in an incubator away from her, in another hospital.

And, I’m sure Papi felt completely torn in half at having to rush between visiting Mami, who was recovering from a C-section and peppered him with questions about what I was like every chance she got, and visiting me, this girl he just met, who was completely dependent on doctors and nurses to keep her alive. Mami didn’t get to see me at all for five full days.

I know they felt helpless.

Mami recalls sitting in the surgery waiting area while I was having one of many shunt revisions (brain surgery, for the freshmen). Another family was waiting for a woman to give birth, and they were speculating whether they would need to buy blue or pink clothes. Mami felt livid. She thought to herself, “I wish I had their concerns!”

Thirty years and 19 surgeries later, my parents are undeniably happy. They adore me, and I adore them. Indeed, if anything, living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus has brought us closer, and it gives me such a great peace of mind to know that, challenges and all, they wouldn’t change me for an instant.




Their “unhealthy baby” became a polished public speaker since elementary school, being invited, often as keynote speaker, at fundraisers and benefits for different charitable organizations.

Their “imperfect child” graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A.

Their “sick kid” fought to make her community college accessible to all students, and met with the college’s senior administration to make it happen.

Their “disabled daughter” (ugh– the worst!) started a non-profit organization at age 27, The Laurita Spina Bifida Project, connecting people all over the globe who live with spina bifida, thereby fulfilling a childhood dream.


13001256_10101818402943293_2563871721784946785_n (2) (1)


They no longer wish for that “perfect, healthy baby.” (And please, define “perfect.” I’d love to hear that definition!)

They wish and pray for my health and well-being, whatever that means for me at any given time.

They cry with me during my setbacks, and they rejoice in my triumphs and accomplishments. We work alongside each other, we pick each others’ brains, and we travel together– a lot. We eat, drink, and are merry. We go to Church, and then we go to Happy Hour. We entertain friends and family at our home.

We live a great life. It is not perfect, and yet, it is ours.

I no longer feel afraid that my parents grieve what could have been. I no longer fear that they are waiting for that “healthy baby.” They know now what’s possible, and whatever seems insurmountable to us, we muddle through it with faith and love for each other.

And, rest assured, we are never bored. Perhaps “healthy” is overrated, after all.

Your Journey: Who is Riding Shotgun?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive some compensation.


They say the journey is as important as, if not more important than, the destination. It sounds cliché, but you know what? I believe it.

As the new year kicks into full swing, I can’t help but reflect on how much has changed– and how much my life has changed– since springs past.

Spring is supposed to be a time of “renewal” and “change.” In reality, every season of every year can bring changes, good or bad.

Although I no longer have a designated spring break per sé, this past spring break was quite the memorable one, having been named one of La Prensa’s Mujeres Destacadas (Outstanding Women) in the Central Florida community earlier this month. I will be eternally grateful to those who have supported me, encouraged me, and advised me throughout the years. But I also need to take a moment to reflect on how I’ve managed to help myself, because personal growth has been such an important factor in the equation of my life.

Overwhelmed with joy at receiving the “Young Leader” award during La Prensa’s Mujeres Destacadas ceremony, alongside some pretty amazing women. The most amazing of all, Mami, is to my left. :)


If someone had told me five years ago that I was going to become a blogger, I would have laughed in their face. Hard. I didn’t think I knew how to “do the social media thing.” What I really wanted to be was a traditional journalist– in either  print or television broadcast media.

I remember in 2008, attending a ceremony for a journalism scholarship I received from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I couldn’t believe I had been selected for such an honor. It was completely unexpected. That trip to New York City in March proved to be one of the most memorable spring breaks of my life, as I shared that moment with my family.

Fast-forward to five years later. I have a lot more confidence than I used to at that time, and I realize now that people are often really seeing me, and not my spina bifida. To me, that is just amazing, after a lifetime of fighting to be seen and heard for my own merits, and not my physical traits.


Carrying a lovely floral arrangement during the NAHJ Scholarship Gala in 2008, in New York City.


That Saturday evening in March, when I stood up in shock to receive the Mujeres Destacadas award, I marveled at how it had all come to pass. As I looked around the room, I saw many faces I recognized, starting with my mother’s. My family has been with me through all the vacations, the road trips, the plane rides, and yes, many a spring break, whether here or elsewhere.

I realize now that it really doesn’t matter where you’re going, or what you’re actually doing on the journey. We each have our own personal journey, and what matters is who chooses to ride shotgun with you. 😉



**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Britax (follow on Twitter) and I will be compensated. I am a member of the Britax Latina Advisory Board. All ideas and opinions are my own.



Get a FREE Baby Carrier When You Purchase a B-Agile Stroller

 For all you parents of young children, you’ll want to read on to find out about this great deal from Britax!

Until September 30th, when you buy a B-Agile Stroller, you will get a baby carrier FREE. Yep, I said the magic word! 

Get a FREE baby carrier with the purchase of the B-Agile stroller. Sweet deal, eh?


This innovative stroller is “Travel System compatible” with Britax car seats, as well as with other major car seat brands, when used with the Britax infant car seat adapter (sold separately). 


The three-wheel stroller is designed to improve steering and maneuverability, and when it comes to your little one’s comfort, the possibilities for reclining are endless! Plus, with the All-Wheel Suspension, your tot is guaranteed to have a smooth ride. 

Check out this entertaining video featuring the quirky members of Britax’s B-Ready Stroller Street Team! They took New York City by storm as they demonstrated the strollers to eager parents. One lucky dad was the winner of a stroller for his child! This is perhaps the best way to see these sets of wheels in action. 



So, parents, don’t wait too long to get this high-tech set of wheels for your child. You only have a week before this opportunity rolls on by. 


**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Britax and I will be compensated. I am a member of the Britax Latina Advisory Board. All ideas and opinions are my own. 

Announcing the Winners of Our First BRITAX Giveaway!

For a week, moms of young children, as well as expectant moms, filled this blog with excitement– and comments! I want to thank each and everyone of you who entered our very first giveaway with Britax.

And so, without further ado, the envelope, please…

The lucky winner of Prize Pack 1, which includes the Head & Body Support Pillow as well as an EZ-Cling Window Shade, is….


a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Astrid Rivera!    And the winner of Prize Pack 2, which includes a Stroller Board and a Kick Mat, is…   a Rafflecopter giveaway


Natalie Shmigelsky!


Congratulations to both winners! They will both be notified by E-mail today. Please be sure to respond to me with your shipping address so that Britax can send you your prizes. :)

Thanks again, and look forward to more giveaways– as well as more great content in general– on Holdin’ Out for a Hero.



Laurita ♥

Safe Travels for the Little Ones: Our First BRITAX Giveaway!

**Disclaimer: I did not  receive any compensation or products to write this post. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 


Remember back in April when I made the exciting announcement about my partnership with BRITAX USA along with a dynamic team of Latina bloggers?

Well, back then, I promised there would be giveaways— and today, I tell you, I won’t disappoint. 😉


As I explained in my previous post about this partnership, BRITAX is all about child safety, particularly when you’re on the go. (And anyone with young kids is most likely “on the go” quite often!)

Traveling with a kid (or several kids) in the backseat ain’t easy. Any parent can attest to the hours of careful planning and preparation it requires– what snacks to bring for the road, what toys they’ll take along for when they get fussy. Sometimes the wrong decision will find a parent scraping cereal off the roof of the minivan!

But indeed, the most critical decision any parent will make before hitting the road is how to keep their child safe and secure in the backseat. So, it is with much excitement and great anticipation that I’m sharing with you all that I’m giving away several items to two lucky winners that will hopefully help you all hit the road more smoothly– and safely.

Here’s a cool graphic that my friend, Mirna Arce, of Ahorros con Cupones, created to show off the awesome prizes! (For more information and detailed descriptions of these and other products, please visit the BRITAX USA Web site.)

Image courtesy Mirna Arce of

Image courtesy Mirna Arce of


The Fabulous Prizes Packs:

Prize Pack 1:  

One (1) Head & Body Support Pillow                                                                                                          

One (1) EZ-Cling Window Shade              


Prize Pack 2:  

One (1)  Stroller Board

One (1) Kick Mat                                                      


And…you get to enter to win whichever prize pack you like/need the most! 


How to Enter: 

*Leave a comment below this post mentioning which prize pack you want to win the most (the “why” is optional!). Don’t forget to include your E-mail address to be notified if you win! This comment serves as your official entry for the giveaway.


Additional Entries: 

To get more chances to win, do any/all of the following as extra entries.

*”Like” Britax Los Lleva Seguros (“Britax takes you safely”) page on Facebook – 1 entry

*”Like” Holdin’ Out for a Hero on Facebook – 1 entry

*Follow @SafeConBritax on Twitter – 1 entry

*Follow me, @Laurita86, On Twitter – 1 entry

*Subscribe to Holdin’ Out via my RSS feed or by E-mail – 1 entry

*”Like” my other blog, Espresso con Leche, on Facebook – 1 entry

*Tweet the following: “Enter to #WIN 1 of 2 great prizes w/ @Laurita86 & @SafeConBritax:  #safety”  – 1 entry


**Make sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below for either giveaway after you complete each task (i.e., indicate that you left a comment, Tweeted, etc.).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
You must reside in one of the 50 United States in order to enter.

You can only enter to win ONE of the fabulous prize packs. Please select the one you would like to win the most . 

You must leave a comment and mention which prize pack you’d like to win to be entered into the giveaway (1 entry), and include your E-mail address in the comment. 

Each additional task you complete will earn you one (1) entry

The giveaway ends on Wednesday, June 13th at 11:59 p.m. Entries submitted after that date/time will not be counted.

Winners will be announced on Holdin’ Out for a Hero on Thursday, June 14th and will be notified via E-mail. 


Best of luck!!

♥ Laurita