Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club review

When it was just me and Jason, we were game for any out of town place. But since having Greyson, we consider if the place is child-friendly. Can I say this place is perfect for emerging toddlers! Just 2 hours away from the Metro via SLEX and located in Lipa, Batangas. The air is cooler as there are lots of trees, the grass is perfectly manicured – good for walking barefoot for the toddlers (no trash, debris, very few insects), the roads are safe for strolling and biking. Prepare to walk though since the amenities were pretty far from each other. You can use a golf cart too / their shuttle service but we like walking to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air away from the Metro!

But first things first! We went here to join my family and this was one of the few places available in Batangas that Father’s Day weekend so this became the choice. Good thing too because it was such a nice discovery!

We booked via Agoda since it was cheaper than walking in or booking via their website, plus I could avail of my Agoda discount.

We went to the Country Club to check in and were escorted to our room in Tanguile. We were at the 2nd floor and had a nice view of the mountains and trees.

We were also walking distance from the huge pool which was around 4-5 feet tops!

Nearby was a kids playground which my toddler enjoyed so much! (I did as well!)

The playground is built for kids and adults alike 😂 We had so much fun here!

The pool wasn’t crowded too and the weather was perfect because of the trees.

It was so nice breastfeeding here as it feels a bit private plus the view is awesome – greenery everywhere, mountains, water. I wish we stayed longer! Not to mention there was a lottt of water in the shower 😂 It’s been 4 months now since the water crisis and it just feels so nice to have good water pressure and a heated shower 😂

Bikes were available for rent at Php 150/ hour. So it was perfect to tour the area!

Just 2 things though, there doesn’t seem to be an attendant always like when you would use the gym, no one was available at the reception area. The price at the restaurant was also around 400-500/head a la carte so best to bring snacks and quick meals if you are on a budget. Their buffet though was sulit at 600/head! :)

This reminds me of Las Casas in Bataan! Overall our stay here was awesome. I would like to live in a place like this 😂 I feel that this would be our new go to place if we want to breathe in fresh air and have a safe space where the kids can swim, play and run around. Big thanks to my cousin for discovering this family friendly place which is now our new favorite! ❤️

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Mount Malarayat

Breastfeeding Basics

When I started to breastfeed it was like learning a whole new language! There were so many “terms” that I needed to study and look up to be able to articulate what I need and what I mean.

What is a let down? What is exclusive pumping? Websites like kellymom.com, instagram account of legendairy milk, and fb group Breastfeeding Pinays helped a lot!

Also I didn’t know there were different types of breastfeeding. I didn’t have a plan because I initially thought breastfeeding was just baby feeding from the breast. But pumping your milk and having baby feed through the bottle of expressed milk is also considered breastfeeding. 😱 Anyway… it was my goal to breastfeed my child not only because of the bonding but also the benefits. I feel that this is the design of our body to be able to nurture our child.

I was not able to prepare for breastfeeding and only learned as I went along with the help of friends and breastfeeding groups. This was what I understood and have read so far and sharing with you the basics should you decide to embark on this beautiful journey.

Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong:)

As you begin the journey of breastfeeding you have to decide if you will directly breastfeed / bottle feed / cup feed / mix feed.

1. Direct breastfeeding – when baby will latch on to your breast and feed from there

2. Bottle feed – when baby will take your milk from the bottle.

3. Cup feed – when baby will take your milk from a cup.

4. Mix feed – when baby will drink breastmilk and formula milk. It may also mean drinking from the breast and bottle.

Of course when you decide to bottle feed you’d be needing either an electric or manual pump, sterilizer, milk bags (Orange and Peach has breastfeeding essentials like milk storage bags, nipple balm, nipple puller), a freezer to store the milk bags and a bottle / cup. This is usually an option for working moms or even SAHM’s who would want a break from the breast at times / for whatever reason. I couldn’t get the hang of this since my son was hungry all the time and latched all the time that I could barely pump milk. When I did I could only produce 0.5 oz!! Rare are the times I could produce max of 2.5oz. I found it pointless to keep collecting a measly amount and had to keep washing, and sterilizing big and small pump parts that I gave up altogether.

The basic rule: The more you empty / drain your breasts efficiently, the more milk you will produce.

For around 2-3 weeks we mixed fed baby G, then opted to directly breastfeed eventually. It is more convenient.

Some breastfeeding positions we tried:

Got this image from youbabyandi.com

At the hospital they usually teach the football hold and it is so difficult to be honest. It needs a lot of practice! This is recommended for CS moms as it does not put pressure to the abdominal area.

Cross cradle – I use this when outside when baby can’t support his head yet.

Side lying – is the most comfortable and I can also rest while doing this. A friend taught me how to do this and it has saved me a lot from sleepless nights.

Now that baby can stand up with support at 10 months, forget these positions! he nurses in different positions as he pleases 😂

The battle of directly breastfeeding though are common breastfeeding problems

1. Clogged ducts – which happens when baby does not drain milk from your breast. Needs to be drained asap or else may lead to mastitis.

2. Milk blebs – blisters in your nipples caused by poor latching. Has happened to me several times and I wish I could get the hang of how to treat it but it’s different at times. There are times I could handle it myself, but recently I needed the help of a lactation consultant.

3. Sore nipples – usually just happens the first two weeks / when baby is teething

4. Mastitis – the worst possible to have. Thank God this has not happened to me.. and I hope it won’t ever during this journey but it could have if I am not able to release milk from my clogged ducts. An indication of this is usually sore breasts and fever. Ouch!!

When those problems happened, it felt like holding my breath because I didn’t know if it would resolve like the last time. I held my breath for I anticipated another sleepless night as I keep hand expressing and keep urging Grey to latch and suck the clog out – he is usually the solution but it’s challenging for him because they say that the milk tastes different when we have clogged ducts. When all that’s done it was like a big whoosh! and a sigh of relief as the pain would disappear and Grey and I would go back to our breastfeeding symbiosis.

When you breastfeed you would usually have several let downs (when milk would gush) I was only aware of this on Grey’s third month when I would see long and drawn swallows, then it would be back to his usual short sucks. It would usually make you feel drowsy. 🤪

Breastfeeding must haves for me:

1. Nursing pillow! I used one from Bloom given as a gift. This was essential during the first 3 months as baby could not support his head yet and he would usually drink long and seemingly endlesssssssss hours. 😳

2. Nipple cream – I used one from Medela and Lansinoh. This was so important during the first few weeks to heal my breasts. I also had to bring it out again from my drawer when baby started teething and I developed blisters. I had to keep moisturizing it.

3. Nursing cover – At first the ones that you hung over your head – the apron type worked. But when Grey was getting more mobile I used one that’s like a poncho for more coverage as he would kick and pull down the top part.

4. Nursing bra – You will need around 3 or 4! There are lots in department stores, and for tops that are off shoulder I use Bench’s bandeau. Be careful though not to wear this for long periods as to not restrict the milk flow and to avoid clogged ducts.

5. Breastfeeding friendly tops / dresses – button down or those with cut outs underneath. Try searching in Shoppee, Valiannes Trends, Elin. There are actually a lot of online shops offering these. I prefer to use my old clothes, sadly some don’t fit anymore 🥴. But for those that do, a friend recommended Uniqlo’s airism top that you can wear underneath any dress or top. Just pull up your top, pull down Uniqlo and nurse anywhere! :)

6. A support system 😂 I wouldn’t have continued this journey if it weren’t for the moral support of my husband and friends whom I can ask and share my burdens with.

If you decide to pump, there are more things that you need to bring like a cooler, milk bags, bottles, pump etc. Exclusive pumpers are those who just pump and wouldn’t let baby latch. But since I directly breastfeed I would just need a cover and that’s it.

10 months in and it has been a wonderful journey of bonding with my son. I initially planned at least 6 months but I am currently pushing to a year and I thank God for providing me with ample milk for my little one. Not too much and not too little, just enough for his appetite. This is one of the memories I wouldn’t forget and I hope Grey doesn’t too! :,) Seeing him satisfied the first time, his first smile as he paused momentarily from feeding, our little game of nose-nose-mouth as he looks up at me and I would hold his hand and point it to my nose and mouth as he feeds, when he would teeth / have his first cold and he would be comforted by latching, when he would be in a new place and hide under the nursing cover. I hope he would remember our bonding! This journey is just beautiful with its hills and valleys, I hope I don’t have to wean him and he would just wean on his own. For now enjoying this time while it lasts :)

Applying for Philippine passport for minor and Renewal for parent

One of the to-do things for us for Grey’s first year is to apply for his passport. It was timely too since my passport was expiring this July 2019 and I could renew my passport while applying for his. We found out that children aged 7 years old and below had a courtesy lane so no need to set an appointment!

On that day, we planned to leave when Grey first wakes around 5AM for a diaper change but he chose to wake up at 7AM! 🤪So we rushed out of the house and were greeted by bad traffic. We took our chances even if we arrived a little past 10AM at DFA Sm Megamall and friends advised to go early since they would just serve the first 100 or so for the priority lane. At 10AM on a Thursday we got #65 (given by the guard at the entrance).

Jason was allowed to accompany us inside and it was convenient for me since I had to photocopy the front page of my passport (i only had 1, but apparently we needed another to be attached to Grey’s documents) and rush around. Plus we were still breastfeeding so the bags and documents were just everywhere. 😳

To apply for a renewal I needed the following:

1. My Birth certificate

2. Front page of my passport – photocopy

3. My original passport

4. Application form filled out

Application Form – Renewal Adult

For a new application for minors we needed the following

1. Grey’s birth certificate – photocopy

2. My marriage contract – photocopy

3. Front page of my passport

4. Application form for minor filled out

New Application Form for Minor

Step 1: Check documents

If you’ve filled out the forms and completed the requirements, you can have it checked immediately at the counter and they will give you a new number for queuing. It could have been faster but I just filled up the application form there.

Step 2: Check documents

As our number was flashed on the screen we went to window 2 for our documents to be checked again. My passport was also disregarded and I am unable to use it already although the visas inside will still be valid.

Step 3: Cashier

Cashier. We paid around 1,200 each for 6 business days.

Step 4: Photo

There will be someone along the hall to hand you a number for queuing again for Passport picture to be taken.

Of all times, this was the time Greyson got sleepy and had to breastfeed. As soon as he went under the cover my number was called! Had to fuss around underneath the cover and in a hurry too. Note to self: get a bigger and more enclosed nursing cover.

Greyson at 9 months had to sit atop a box so he would be leveled with the camera. They were pretty good at catching the attention of kids so he would look at the camera. (They used a laser pointer pointing to the camera, and one guy played Pikachu in Youtube and he was pretty serious doing this it was so funny 😆 )

Just a few reminders: For ladies please don’t wear earrings, hairpins etc. I had to remove this. I totally forgot how it’s done!

And double check all information as they encode it!

Step 5: Pay for courier

I had to pay 150 each for both mine and Greyson’s even if our address is the same. I wonder why?? They said that it is the protocol. Huhu. But it would still save us time, traffic and effort of going back to pick it up.

We were done at about 11:45 and had our lunch. Greyson got tired after that he dozed off soon.

Finally! New passport applied and renewed for Grey and I! 😄 yay we’re ready to fly ✈️ when we can 🤪

Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao

If you would like to wake up literally beside the beach and enjoy a wonderful view of the ocean you might enjoy Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao.

For the annual family trip last December, we were able to stay at Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao, Pangasinan. It was a 6 hour drive from Manila and probably the farthest resort in Bolinao. Bringing a 6 month old along was quite a challenge especially it was his first long drive and out of town trip – we didn’t know what to expect! We had to buy a car seat immediately for the trip. It proved useful… at least for the ride going there. But from there going back to Manila, baby wanted to be breastfed and carried. Hubby had to be extra careful!

We arrived around 12:30pm and were famished! There was only one restaurant at the resort (and what seems like a coffee shop beside it) and of course being the only one, the prices were a tad high at G Resort just right beside Veue. They served Filipino dishes such as bulalo, bangus, pinakbet. We had our lunch and soon it was check in time. There wasn’t any receptionist in this place. There were only 2 caretakers who would clean the 6 cabins and communication to them can be made through a two-way radio.

Each cabin had 2 sofa beds (can probably accommodate 4 adults), a dining table, cable tv, kitchen with all utensils, cooking equipment,microwave, fridge etc, and a shower room. It also had an outdoor shower so as when you go the beach you can remove the sand and go straight to the bathroom. You need not pass through the main door of the cabin.

Veue Beach Cabins was a self-service type of place. Your home away from home. Everything you need is there (except food!) I forgot to read the memo so I just brought snacks and coffee with us thinking that we could order food there anyway! But but but….. unfortunately this place is ideal for bringing and cooking your own food. All utensils for cooking and dining were complete. We realized we were the type of travelers who would go out of town or out of the country not just to explore, have an adventure but also to rest a bit from the daily household chores! Haha 😛 Seriously!! Thankful to the in laws who shared their baons with us and cooked for the family 😅

There was only 1 pool in the area surrounded by the 6 cabins. It was not deep maybe around 4 feet something. As for the beach, Bani beach was not that ideal for swimming especially with the kids since it was too rocky. The main beach was more “swimmable” but you had to trek over mountains of rocks. It was a nice little adventure for families with toddlers and young adults since the obstacle would be suitable for their age. Since we were carrying baby, we decided not to because a minor trip on the rock could be fatal. Oh well maybe next time when he’s a bit older. :)

For breakfast, you could request through the radio and the server of G Resort will just go to your cabin. If there are lots of visitors, prepare to be served last since they would prioritize those at the restaurant than the cabins. This was where our snacks came in handy. We got the Danggit, Pusit, Tuyo combo for breakfast and it seemed a bit worth it for that price.

There wasn’t much activity to do here but you have the option to go outside the resort, visit the lighthouse and the caves.

Some thoughts if you decide to stay in this place.

  1. Bring your own water. There is a water dispenser but it was in G Resort.
  2. Bring your own food to cook! – You would be able to save a lot since the food served here was pretty much ordinary home cooked food :)
  3. Bring insect repellant… there were a lot of insects especially at night. And lastly,
  4. Deeply breathe in the salty air of the sea and enjoy the wonderful view at Veue. Because it’s not everyday that you wake up next to a view of the rising sun and the calm waves of the ocean. :)

Wore a breastfeeding friendly swimsuit from Float! so baby can nurse anytime anywhere while on the beach :)

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Veue Beach Cabins

https://www.veue.ph/

Float Swimwear

https://www.floatswimwear.com/

Blue Water Maribago in Cebu Review

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Every year it has been our goal to travel at least once. The vacation we took was a plane ride to Cebu, our final rest and recreation before we become 3 in our family.  Everything was smooth from the airport … Continue reading

To my dear husband, thank you for weathering seasons with me

To my husband of 5 years, my friend of 12 years, the father of my child, the love of my life,

This is it! We are now a family of 3. A dream we had longed for and prayed about. It was not what I imagined it to be at the start, but thank you for weathering that season with me. I knew it drew out the best and the worst in me. Yet I thank you for still choosing to be with the messy me.

Thank you for being strong when I was weak physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I could not forget how you treated me so gently after I gave birth when my wound was leaking horribly. How persistent you were in treating it, changing my gauze day and night for almost 10 weeks and kept strong while I was in tears. It probably changed how you saw me, with how awful that leak and the holes in my wound looked, but you weathered that season with me. How you comforted me when I had a meltdown (due to Greyson’s confinement, breastfeeding issues… but the trigger was that all my clean clothes were used up plus I had no more sanitary pads :p) on my 7th day at the hospital . It was so silly but you did not laugh at me and you did your best to go as fast as you could to the convenience store. :) Thank you for being humble asking for help from friends to help us in this journey, it made things much easier to carry.

Thank you for having a bright disposition despite spending your birthday and first Father’s Day at the hospital as Greyson was confined due to fever. He was admitted again just 2 days of us going home after a 7 day stay at the hospital. It was so disheartening and devastating for me that Greyson had a sudden onset of fever that he may have a delayed infection. It could be threatening since he was a newborn. Plus it really entered my mind that we used to really celebrate your past birthdays. I felt so bad that it should have been nice to celebrate your first birthday and first Father’s day as a family with our loved ones and with good food. But you didn’t mind at all. You shrugged it off and bought Max’s chicken and pancit sa suking hospital restaurant with all smiles and a heart that trusted that everything was okay with Greyson. It turned out that everything was okay with Grey, praise God.

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Thank you for being a good father to Greyson. When he first came out, you were so scared to hold him! But you eventually overcame your fear and carried him and you were able to master it before I did! You patiently gave and served Greyson to me multiple times a day so I could football hold him to feed him. I could not pick him up, nor lean forward for fear that it would aggravate the holes in my wound. You fed him while I was pumping because I was on antibiotics for days. Thank you for weathering that season with me. It was so exhausting for you taking care of baby, me, and the business. You were so exhausted it triggered your stomach problems. But you went through it all without complaining. Too bad even if you wanted to hide it, I saw how bad it was because you got sick to the stomach :p

Thank you for teaching me how to parent Greyson as we both navigate this new chapter. For studying him and sharing with me your new discoveries (whether it be how you rocked him to sleep, how to give him tummy time, sit ups etc.). For taking the night shift, standing up quickly when Greyson is finally awake and carrying him outside so he can get his daily dose of sunshine. Just thank you for being a good father. I didn’t have one growing up and I did not know how it looks like. I do know that God is real and I have experienced His goodness and faithfulness in many ways – how He loves us without condition, accepts us over and over when we fail, how He disciplines us, comforts us, secures us, been our rock and our shelter, how He answers our prayers according to His plan. But by becoming a good father to Greyson, God our father is more real to touch and to experience for me. I am coming to know God all the more not just because what this new chapter is teaching us, but also how I see you with Greyson and with me.

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Thank you for pursuing me relentlessly to be your partner in everything – even things I don’t know about like business. You would always find ways to partner with me even if it meant us discussing a lot which leads to an argument at times. But at the end of everything you would still want me to be your partner. I would just like us to do our own thing sometimes. But you would not let it go and find things we could do together so we would always be together. Not that I don’t want us to be together, I enjoy your company so much it’s just that I’m afraid that I may not be able to do things on my own without you. Thank you for weathering my insecurities and doubts. Thank you for continuously weathering those with me.

Thank you for finding ways to provide for us and being generous to people. By God’s grace He has blessed the work of your hands and may He continue to bless the work of your hands. Thank you for modeling generosity to me. You got that from your mom and dad. I know it is hard to let hard earned money go but you trust that God is your provider and He is your shepherd, you shall not want. You have taught me that we cannot out give the giver. I pray that Greyson will get that from you among other (admirable) things I see in you.

Lastly, thank you for staying true to your word (so far:)) Many times I would like to quit but you would always fight for me. Thank you for keeping your promises – you said that parenting will be a challenge but it also would be the happiest. So far it is! It may be frustrating at times, scary and whatnots but you have been assuring me and not judging my honest thoughts and fears. It is the happiest because you have seen me disheartened, maddened and back up. Since we were young and now we’re a bit older, thank you for weathering the different seasons with me. I thank God that He has given me a complete family through you. Wherever you are, there my home is. Journeying with you, the gloomy seasons do not seem so dark and the sunny seasons seem brighter.

 

Our Breastfeeding Journey (so far): The Struggles & Victories

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I’ve made up my mind that when I have a child, I would like to breastfeed him/her exclusively… It was probably me and my idealistic self thinking about the beautiful bonding between mother and child. I’ve asked a few friends … Continue reading

My Labor & Delivery and how God delivered me

My due date was fast approaching and I prayed for the following things.

1. That I will begin labor early morning (because, TRAFFIC plus it was also very rainy and there may be floods so I was praying that we will not encounter these things.)

2. That my sister (staying in SG) will be able to see Greyson since she will just be home for a few days. That my aunt’s family who came home from the US will be able to see Greyson too since they will be staying for just 3 weeks.

3. Normal, safe delivery and healthy baby.

We were scheduled for check up on Thursday June 7, 2018 to check if I was dilating. So far baby’s head is engaged already and we were just waiting if my cervix would open. Prior to this we have been walking and walking and doing some squats as to facilitate labor quickly. I was instructed that we go to the delivery room if any of the 3 conditions happen -bloody show, contractions, and water breaking.

 June 6, 2018 We visited our friends, brother and sister Ian and Sheena in their new home and also to congratulate Ian and Joan as they just had their wedding in Baguio which we were supposed to host but we are scheduled to give birth around their wedding date. I had to go up a flight of stairs (maybe this triggered my labor! :P) and then chatted for a while with our friends. I noticed there was a dot of blood when I went to pee, but it was so unremarkable that I brushed it off. I mentioned this and joked that maybe tonight is the night I’ll go into labor!

We left their house and had dinner at Alex III. It was pouring during that time. I remember telling Jason what if I go into labor and it was raining this hard, maybe we should go to St. Luke’s our bags are packed anyway and with us in the trunk of the car. But since there weren’t very real visible labor signs we went home.

June 7, 2018 around 1AM. I got up to pee and went back to bed. As I wrapped my legs around the pillow to get back to sleep I felt as if there was a short gush like pee. Maybe I was losing the muscle and was peeing uncontrollably. I told Jason that maybe my water broke, he told me to just observe. I got up again went to the toilet and there I saw some weird looking material / discharge. I looked up what a mucus plug looked like and yup it was my mucus plug. Shortly after water with a tinge of pink came out and it wasn’t like the movies wherein water would pool at the floor! It was just some drops on the floor. I told Jason that my water broke. I texted my OB. I was so excited! Could this be the day? I still remember my excitement and anticipation! I was trembling in excitement. I was excited to go into labor to really experience how it feels to push, to finally see my baby!! Jason finally got up and I took a shower and we prepared our snacks. By around 2 AM we reached St. Lukes QC. It was raining lightly and there was no traffic – an answered prayer!

2AM : I went to the Delivery Room at the 2nd floor bringing with us our admission order by our OB Dra. Jing Fernandez. I told them that I think my water broke. I was instructed to wear the hospital gown and the first IE happened. To be honest if I were to rank pain it would be in this order 1. Breastfeeding 2. IE 3. Contractions. That was how painful the IE was of the resident doctor huhu. It was confirmed that my water did break and I was already 3cms dilated (didn’t feel anything up to this point). Actually the IE I think depends on the doctor, the other resident doctor’s IE was uncomfortable but not painful.

4AM : We were transferred to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit since our request was that Jason join me. They gave me antibiotics thru IV and I was just laying down the whole time. Jason got some coffee.

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Labor and Delivery BW2

5AM : I was able to sleep since I didn’t feel any pain still and around 545 an IE was done again.

6AM : I was given cervix softening meds – Buscopan? (3x during the day) From this time until the afternoon nothing really happened I was just laying down and watching TV. My mom arrived and there wasn’t really much action going on. I was still able to eat light food, it was a bit boring just waiting for things to happen. I wasn’t allowed to stand up to walk so I was given a bedpan.

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Doc Jaycee, my ate’s friend who so happened to be mentored by my OB Dra. Jing, visited us during the day to give tips and encouraged us when labor happens and to stimulate contractions. She also advised that I need to reserve my energy to push during labor.

3:30PM  : Around this time I felt some contractions and when I timed it, it was between 3-5 minutes for around 30-60 seconds. It was tolerable, I need to remember the cleansing breath (this was all I remembered in a free birthing class we attended). I was 4cm dilated around this time.

6PM – Induced : Finally Doc Jing arrived and induced me with Pitocin to speed up dilation and contractions. I was on a catheter too around this time.

9PM – The intense contractions came : Then came the painful contractions! Even if I tried to breathe it was tolerable but I guess anticipating the pain made the pain worse than it actually is! I asked for epidural and my anesthesiologist, Dra. Marzo came around 30 minutes later, good thing she just lived nearby and she was able to arrive soon! I was asking Jason for lower back massages to distract me from the pain. I was already 5 cm dilated! I guess when Pitocin was administered it did speed up the contractions.

Labor and Delivery BW11

They wheeled me out of the HRPU to the delivery room to administer the epidural. The delivery bed was narrow I felt I was going to fall off with my huge belly! They instructed me to do the fetal position it was so painful to hold still, a male assistant had to hold me still in the fetal position but I really couldn’t! So I was instructed to sit down instead. This was so much easier to be in a crouching position and Dra. Jing was holding my hand during these moments. As soon as the epidural kicked in WHEW! I felt that I could go on and push. I was like BRING IT ON! Haha. It was a bubble though because I was given a few doses only so I can feel the next dilation coming along! The epidural wore off as the centimeters got wider and as the pain intensified I just gave in and asked for epidural.

JUNE 8, 2018

1AM at 7CM : It has been 24 hours since my water broke but I was still at 7cm. The progression was very slow but I was successfully dilating.

3AM at 9CM : I was finally 9cm! But baby’s breathing dipped a bit with my contractions. But the belt that was strapped to my waist kept falling off / it had to be readjusted every so often so… This time Dra. Jing told Jason that I had to undergo CS because of baby’s breathing. At this point I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted a normal delivery and I wanted to experience the pain of delivering normally! But I also wanted to see our baby and his safety is a priority!

4AM : I was wheeled out once again into the Delivery Room. Dr. Marzo gave me more anesthesia and Jason followed soon after.

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I really appreciated Dr. Marzo telling me what’s happening and she was also the one taking pictures since Jason was already in gloves to prepare to cut the umbilical cord. (Unfortunately we had to forego this…)

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I was sleeping some of the time during the procedure due to the anesthesia. Before Greyson came out, Dr. Marzo told me I would be feeling a pressure! I didn’t realize it would be so hard and intense! They were pressing on my chest and my brain was telling me I should panic because I had a hard time breathing, but because I was a bit groggy I was calm. The pressure was because they were pulling the baby out.

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5:39 AM : FINALLY BABY IS OUT! Greyson Maddox Tan was born on 06/08/18, a combination of our birthdays… Jason was born on 06/16, I was born on 08/08.

But when Greyson was pulled out, he didn’t cry! Meriting him an apgar score of 6. They had to rush him to the corner to check on him and then he finally cried which raised his score to 9. I was a bit worried when I heard “baby out” but I couldn’t hear the cry.

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They also had to forego the cutting of umbilical cord since they had to check him. After a quick family picture they rushed him to the IMCU (immediate care unit) just beside the NICU.

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8AM : They were done with the stitches and I was wheeled to the recovery room. I was able to drink water by that time. My mom and Doc Jaycee visited me there and checked if I could raise my legs which signaled that the anesthesia has worn off or something like that 😛

10 AM :  I was able to go to my room and I was informed that Grey may have some complications due to the prolonged labor. He is presumed to have sepsis and they had to do blood culture, cbc and Xray.

Labor and Delivery BW31

My heart sunk. Hearing this was hard to process for me since I thought that I would be able to see and hold my baby right after I give birth and eventually be beside him in the hospital room. I thought that we would go home in just 5 days maximum but we had to stay for 7 days because Greyson was given antibiotics. I was hoping that my labor and delivery would be so uneventful like I would just “poop” my baby out and then be on our way home (I just packed for 5 days) but here it was. I wasn’t even allowed to do Unang Yakap because he was whisked off to the IMCU. I was disappointed, to say the very least and the room was so quiet as I still stared at that empty space beside my bed on the day of my delivery. I didn’t know how to feel but I felt a deep sadness.

4 PM : I was given morphine to ease the pain of the CS.

10 PM : We were visited by friends – the Disciples, Josh and Corinne . We really appreciated their presence as we were at a loss on how to handle this new stage and also this unexpected outcome that we had no baby in the room! It was also a relief to share how labor and delivery went, our disappointments, and frustrations. We were also very thankful that they prayed for us as we were at the most confusing time in this season!

JUNE 9 – I was finally able to see and hold baby in my arms…

Labor and Delivery BW29

Labor and Delivery BW30

I thought about baby and this gave me the courage to immediately stand up from the bed and visit him at the IMCU. I thank my aunt from the US who helped me stand up and recover quickly.

Jason was the first to visit baby and he was able to do KMC. I asked him how baby was and I got a bit envious he was able to hold baby first (no wonder baby is now a daddy’s boy :) .

The following days were a blur as we had a very difficult time breastfeeding, plus I had seroma – I was leaking lots of fluids from my CS cut which lasted for 9-10 weeks. I was in between emotions – I was ecstatic, frustrated, sad, joyful, thankful to God, felt bold and brave for my baby and battling some misgivings about breastfeeding. I couldn’t feel my CS pain as the pain from breastfeeding was so intense! (All in the next entry)

I was sad I couldn’t rejoice 100% since I had to visit Grey at the IMCU which was totally unexpected. I was also in pain and didn’t expect that breastfeeding would be so difficult! I thought that you just had to stick baby to the breast and that was it! But no….

I was also frustrated and felt hopeless that my CS wound leaked so much that it seeped through the many times the gauze was changed and placed – I had to use a maternity pad (that thick and that long) to cover my wound and yet it would still get soaked (then my wound opened which could fit around 5 cotton buds). I couldn’t just expose it for it to dry up because then it would drip everywhere (clothes, floor etc.) and I would probably need so many hospital gown changes in a day. When asked what caused this, the doctors couldn’t explain it and they just said it just happens…though very rarely! It was so rare I didn’t know anyone who had the same situation though I searched so much in online support groups and told people about this. At that time it was the least of my concern as we focused on baby’s well being, and that he should be able to get food from me.

 But God was in control the whole time and I felt I was being refined and tested in spite of all these. Would I still praise Him? Would I still have faith? Despite all these, I was just so thankful to see my baby and finally hold him.  I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining us, and giving us the grace to endure and also financial providence. For me it was the darkest time – I was in pain all over, we had a baby that could be sick, and who possibly couldn’t be getting enough milk (formula was not allowed at the hospital and we had to keep going at latching, pasteurized milk was also scarce) and who had to go back to the hospital just after 2 days at home. Though it was the darkest time by far, it was also the time I saw God the most. I felt that I was being taught to be humble but God didn’t leave me there broken and discouraged. Whenever I would feel at my wits’ end, He would always come to rescue me. I just feel so grateful. 7 days passed and we thank God that baby was safe from sepsis. Our prayers were answered , he was healthy though just not in a way that we expected it to be.

Looking back, I am very thankful how God delivered us from this ordeal. We were not in control of the people, of the circumstances, but He was. It was also best that Greyson wasn’t roomed in with us immediately because I had time to rest and recover – ready to face the challenges ahead. I was able to sleep and relax and still have my baby taken care of at the IMCU with pasteurized milk initially. Every time I would feel like I would have a meltdown, He would always rescue me – whether it be thru my husband, my family especially my ate who was emotionally supportive of this new phase in my life, thru friends, for a new found friend and ate in Doc Jaycee, and even strangers like the nurses at the maternity wing. I praise God for them – we had the best mother-baby care at St. Luke’s QC because of the nurses and staff. It was a nursing aid who helped me realize I already had milk which came in on my third day.

I thank God for The Disciples’, The Santos’. My mom who was always there. Our family and in laws who helped us adjust to normalcy. Many more who visited us, prayed for us! For our godparents, Ninong John and Ninang Maeva for visiting us, Tita Julie and family who sent their love through a beautiful bouquet that made our room feel less empty. Even during breastfeeding I was led to depend on God to help both Greyson and I. That he would be able to get milk from me. I was praying every time we tried to latch and whenever I would give up, God delivered me… He came to my rescue and baby and I would have the perfect latch. I realized that it wasn’t about this one time moment. It was about who God is all this time and how He never failed us and was so faithful to us in these trying times. Indeed, when I called He answered
And He came to my rescue and I just want to be where He is,

By God’s grace it has been almost 5 months since I am writing this entry and looking back we would not have survived and would have drowned if not for God’s goodness in our lives. I thought that after our problematic latching which lasted for a couple of weeks, we wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. But as I write this entry, I type with my left hand and baby is happily breastfeeding on my right breast. I am looking forward to know God more as we begin this journey of parenting and we pray that Greyson grows up to know God and love Him with all his heart, mind, and strength because truly knowing God here on earth will be the greatest treasure that he could have. <3

The Third Trimester: Unexpected Dry Run to the Hospital

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30th Week Symptoms

Gia: The final stretch has arrived and we couldn’t be any happier. On the 30th week we wanted to have a glimpse of our baby in 3D/4D but Greyson didn’t want to show his face completely! So the ultrasound was a fail and the sonologist said it was really chance and luck that parents see their babies on 4D .

After my first check up in the third trimester, we ate outside and I chipped a tooth and swallowed it. It was just the beginning of the disaster to follow. As we went home that Thursday night my stomach had a violent reaction, I was throwing up and having diarrhea. I didn’t know if it was the food or my tooth, but it was the worst. I was so worried about Greyson and I could only pray that he was okay. I couldn’t take meds and my OB just recommended that I drink Gatorade only to hydrate myself. Praise God that the following day – Friday , I was relieved of this condition.

That Saturday, since everything was relatively normal, we went to church to serve. Then I experienced weird palpitations that I had to go to the clinic to have my BP checked – it was normal.

Plus I had a headache and some pain in my jaw, shoulders and upper back. It was the first time that I felt it and I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I remember praying and asking Jason to pray for me because I was panicking and I was palpitating.

Jason: I’m not good with first times. My wife knows this and God surely knows that. So we had a delivery room dry run one Sunday when Gia felt some palpitations and muscle pains which made her lose sleep that night. It was a false alarm, but we had the experience to test the traffic, the D.R. service – where to go and what to do. It was a nice experience and both of us reacted calmly and we were in a good mood during that experience.

We praise God that the baby is okay and that my BP is okay. It was concluded that I was overfatigued (maybe due to diarrhea), muscle pains were due to my heavy bag and the dental activity earlier that day (wherein I had to open my jaw for a long time.) Whew!!

31st Week symptoms

Our last vacation was a plane ride to Cebu, a final rest and recreation before we become three in our family. Everything was smooth, from the airport to the resort and the experience was quite good. We were able to have our quality time. It will be different after the arrival of the baby. But it will be different in a good way and we are excited for the next level. The next stage of our adventure. Family life.

We had our babymoon in Cebu. Because we knew that it would take us some time before we can travel again – just the two of us. More on our trip in another entry. 

  • Acid Reflux
  • Felt some nausea
  • More baby movement <3
  • When I ask Greyson, do you hear Mommy? He moves! all the time, Jason would testify!
  • Anxious! I could not rest when he moves and I am worried when I don’t feel him moving – I would poke at my tummy or drink cold sweet juices.
  • More trips to the CR but I could control it this time unlike the First Trimester wherein when I felt like going – I really had to go!!

32nd Week

During our check up, it dawned on us that I can give birth in 5 weeks!! Whoa.  We went into panic mode. It was still my 7th month but I felt so unprepared! We were supposed to host our baby shower / thanksgiving party with our family and close friends but we realized that it may be too late to plan it already. I could give birth in my 8th month. Plus we haven’t bought baby stuff yet. We suddenly rushed out to buy some baby items just to get started. First thing we bought – pack n play Crib!

crib

Our generation has made having a baby so overwhelming! Praise God for family and friends who went ahead of us, we had so many free hand me downs on baby stuff. We also started to fix the baby room.

I thank God for sisters-in-law, Ate Christie and Maica who gave and lent us baby clothes and even baby products like a baby carrier and Smart King stroller. It saved us a lot! I started nesting as soon as I received this and I started daydreaming about baby again as I held and folded the clothes that he would be wearing. 

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33rd Week

This week I “seemed” to have infection so we went to my OB to do a pap smear. It was sooo painful! But little did I know this was just 1% of the pain that was yet to come. Xp The results came out normal :)

We checked the birthing packages in this hospital and found out that Normal Delivery was around 80-100K, and CS would be 100-150K. We were hoping for Normal delivery, but God had other plans again for us :)

35th Week

We are thankful to SNKC family who threw us a surprise baby shower on our last day before we take a leave! I was really surprised I didn’t know what was going on but we are thankful to them.

snkc

Our Dgroup family also gave us a baby shower and we thank them for their generosity and efforts <3 

dgroup

And of course our family :)

family

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36th Week

The last week of my 8th month, we did a final urinalysis test to check for protein and sugar and it came out normal! I was pretty much healthy during the whole pregnancy and I thank God that He has protected me and my baby. It was an answered prayer. Sure there were hiccups but it only taught me to trust in God and depend on Him. I did not have any control of this pregnancy and I could only do what I can, but He is sovereign.

*Jason also did a maternity photoshoot of me and he painted my belly with a grey wolf. 😛

*Began walking in malls to initiate labor!

photoshoot

photoshoot2

39th Week

We didn’t expect it, I thought I would give birth on my 40th week but baby was excited to meet us as we were with him. Will share our birthing story in another entry :)

The Second Trimester: Gender Reveal and A Setback

After an eventful first trimester, I couldn’t wait to just settle in what they say as the “easiest” trimester RELATIVELY. They say that in this period, pregnant women usually feel more like themselves…(usually). But then again, every pregnancy is truly different. I still hear stories about moms vomiting all throughout their pregnancy and I really feel so bad about them. I experienced a bit of morning sickness but it is usually due to hunger or because I ate something bad.

I am not exempt from the fears. There are times I get so paranoid about the food that I eat – that it’s not cooked enough, it has mercury, the utensils in restaurants are unsanitary. All these crazy things I put in my head that strike fear to the already fearful first timer moms. But whenever these attacks come to me I am reminded to just keep praying. This just teaches me to be more dependent on God and I praise God for stretching me. I am not in control and worrying does not add a day into both our lives (Matthew 6:27). Worrying just gives me an illusion of control but really… I will never reach that state.

16th Week Symptoms

We were glad to finally be with the rest of the family to celebrate Christmas! Some of my symptoms were

  • Feeling breathless sometimes when I sleep on my right… but when I turn to my left..
  • …I have some pains in my ribs. It’s as if someone is pressing down on my ribs
  • I get sharp pains in my uterus that lasts for about 5 minutes

During the second trimester I was advised to drink Iron and for the info of first timer preggies, the first time I drank iron and did #2, it was so scary! So be prepared and apparently it’s normal because the body is getting rid of the excess blood I think. (I’m not a doctor)

17 weeks

18th Week Symptoms

I was sitting down on a chair waiting for Jason to check in (we were having a staycation for New Year’s Eve) and I suddenly felt this wave in my stomach! They said that the first time you would feel the baby is this fish feeling. 

Could this be our baby?? I was so happy with the movement I felt inside, I think the baby was stimulated because of the noise of people around.

Most would say that it is usually during the 20th week that they’d feel a distinct movement, so part of me was shrugging it off but part of me was excited that baby made itself known a little early. We were looking forward to seeing the baby in the Congenital Anomaly Scan (CAS) which happens during weeks 20-24. 

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20th Week Symptoms and Finding out the gender

Weeks leading to the CAS we were praying that baby was healthy and normal. Before this scan, baby was a bit heavy and advanced for his gestational age. If the baby’s supposed GA is 1 week, it always turns out 1 week and 5 days old. Doctors would say it is normal. But anyway the moment of truth has arrived. 

20 weeks

We found out we were having a baby….. BOY <3 In the first trimester I was given a dream that we will be having a boy weird as it may sound. But anyway… it was so easy to spot his gender. :)

CAS lasted for about an hour because the baby was active and it was hard to measure his limbs and everything. Everything was thoroughly checked, his fingers, toes, limbs, his heart, his face. This was the first time we saw his face and my heart melted.

We just prayed for a healthy child then and though I initially preferred a girl (because I was so clueless about boys!), I was reminded of our earnest prayer to conceive a healthy child and here we are – in God’s faithfulness – halfway there. I remembered my worry of how I was going to raise a boy – how am I going to teach him how to pee! But then it dawned on me that Jason was there and I was not going to raise him alone. Jason also reminded me that God knew and God gave this boy and He will provide the wisdom on how to raise our child. 

  • First time to feel your soft kick (it was so tiny!) But I felt it and took a video of it.

Since we found out the gender, we want to celebrate it with our family. We conducted a simple gender reveal party for my side – the Tan family because we have more kids who would enjoy the concept of a reveal party. They voted a boy and they won! 

gender

For Gia’s side, the Mendoza family, it was more simple. We ate at Silantro and they voted for a girl except for Pau, Gia’s sister who came from SG and gave us so much baby products. Since it’s a boy, we named him Greyson Maddox Tan = GMT, same as Gia’s initials and the commercial building. We decided that if it will be a girl, she will have my initials CJT.

Greyson means son of a steward. He can still be part of the many meanings of our vlog Project G – project Greyson. 

Super proud of the hubby for setting up this gender reveal party! He is the one behind all the DIY and designs. I saw him poring over Pinterest :)) to see how to set up the house. He is such a blessing! Where I lack (in arts and stuff), he completes! Truly, he completes me.

gender2

gender 3

Week 20 and that gush of blood

We were almost back to normal, working and doing ministry every Saturday night in kids church. But that particular Saturday I had a gush of fresh blood as I went to the toilet. I felt so faint and I got so dizzy. I panicked and told Jason. I rushed to the bed, put myself on bedrest, lay down on my left with a pillow in between my legs and prayed that our baby was okay. I thought that time I was miscarrying because there was a significant amount of blood. God spoke to me through this verse again which also gave me comfort during my 1st surgery,

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, I am with you, be not dismayed I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you and will uphold you with my right hand.

I was praying and crying and I immediately texted my OB Dra. Jing. She immediately called me and asked a few questions.

God enabled me to surrender this to Him too and I just observed what would happen during the day.

Praise God because it turned out I was just having some hemorrhoids. (things that happen sometimes during pregnancy)

  • New symptoms I experienced were backaches
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding gums

21st Week 

We attended a free birthing class from Rome Kanapi at an event, Pregnant Pause. We missed a lot because we arrived late due to a change in their venue. But I feel that we were able to heart the most important part which is the exercise – Pelvic Rock! I needed that during those times and it gave my lower back so much relief! It was good that Jason was able to attend too because he would know where my most painful part would be – lower right back. Since the third trimester he would regularly massage this part using a peanut ball. 

22nd Week Symptoms 

Found out I gained a lot! Let’s not talk about this. Haha let’s just say I’m a happy chubby preggy. 😀 The most important part was that baby is healthy and has a healthy heartbeat of 145.

  • feeling occasionally nauseous
  • can’t breathe when lying straight
  • when laying on my right, I feel baby g’s legs doing some bicycles as if a hamster on a wheel. I think he does not like me laying on my right. It feels as if I’m squishing him.

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24th Week Oral Glucose Challenge Test

During the 24th – 28th week, preggies are required to do the glucose test – either the OGCT or OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test). The difference was the former was a shorter and quicker version while OGTT was more intensive and it takes half of your day. I took the test at Marikina Valley Hospital which costs around 600. This test is to determine if we have Gestational Diabetes or a diabetes acquired during pregnancy. Something like that… (I’m not a doctor)

ogct

For the procedure of OGCT this is what happened

  • No fasting needed
  • After breakfast I had to wait an hour
  • Had to drink an orange liquid within 5 minutes
  • After an hour, they took my blood sugar.
  • Got my results at 12nn!

It was really quick and praise God I passed the test 84/146. I was expecting that it would be elevated due to some sugars I’ve been craving and eating. 

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In just 4 more weeks we’re about to enter the third trimester! I’m so excited. So for me I would say it is true, that during the 2nd trimester, I felt more like myself. I was able to go back to the gym during my 22nd week, meet my clients and go to work. I’m hoping this energy would last until the third trimester. In the meantime, we are excited to plan for an out of town trip – probably our last for the year. :)) 

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We thank God for everyday – for this life inside of me. I thank God every time baby G moves in my womb, I never thought we would come this far after the bleed in the first trimester. I thank God for sustaining us everyday despite of our lack in judgment on what’s good for us. I may not be confident about the pregnancy and about the things we are learning or even applying but during these times, I am taught to be confident in a good God who is loving and all-knowing and gives us what is best for us. 

Now on to the third trimester!