First Time Mom Diaries: First year of motherhood

Started writing this when Greyson was 11 months old but got to finish when he’s about to turn 17 months (1 year and 5 months)

11 months in and I’m feeling sad my baby’s going to be a toddler soon but relieved we are over the newborn and getting to know stage. How time flies! He’s getting heavier by the week and it’s getting hard to keep up – both in carrying him and also his activities. As his birthday draws near we look back at the 11 months of his life and being new parents to the biggest, priceless blessing in our married life.

The first 3 months or what they call the FOURTH TRIMESTER: PURE CHAOS, and bliss, AND CHAOS.

It was living in the dark inside my room. Why was it dark? I do not know too! But we were creating an atmosphere for him to sleep longer as if he were in my womb. I couldn’t move much because of my leaking wound so I would often retire in the room and just sit for long hours. I felt Grey’s cry was so loud and hearing him cry inconsolably was stressing me out. I didn’t know if he was sleepy, hungry, or cold, or worse, sick. We were always always in a rush! To feed him. He would eat for an hour and wake up the next to eat. We were hoping to catch some sleep. Every time I would face him I would pray that God would give me more milk to feed him and after praying, I would feel peace. Despite the million things running in my mind, by God’s grace I am able to talk to Grey calmly and urge him that he can do it and that he should keep sucking to draw milk out. I am amazed at how God has created the human body and given us milk to supply to our babies.

The first few months was chaos but it was pure bliss as I remember him sleeping on my chest when I burp him or as Jason burps him. He was so small, so so thin and fragile. It was also so peaceful even as I drift off to sleep. It was the best feeling when both of us would sleep at the same time.

It was so chaotic when we went back to the pedia on his 4th week. I dreaded feeding him in public. My mind was a mess, I had a hard time thinking and even deciding what to bring, what to wear, what to do. My pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit me yet so all the button downs are out of the question. I just bought 2 breastfeeding wear, I was so unprepared! Thankfully my mom bought a few that could get me by. It seems so trivial now but back then we were as confused and as lost as we could ever be! But thank God despite Grey’s cries his weight was growing steadily. Slowly but surely. I was so concerned that he looked super super thin and frail and I was kept questioning my milk supply. I was here and there! I was so anxious with his weight and would often compare him with other babies. They would say breastfed babies would often be lean but Greyson was soooo thin! It would worry us and we would often discuss if we should give him a top up of milk or just decide to mix feed him.

But all worry seemed to stop for a moment as it was pure bliss to see him SMILE for the first time sometime during the 6th week. In my confused state that time, I was honestly convinced he would feed on and on and on till he grows up. Crazy right?? So it was so new to me when around his 6th week he looked up at me, unlatched… and smiled! Then he would coo… Our hearts melted. We would talk to him and pause as if conversing with him. And he would coo. Oh what joy!! <3

By the 2nd month we were having cabin fever and we needed some fresh air – so we went out with Grey for leisure. Just a few minutes on his stroller and he was wailing! His outbursts are so loud it made me panic. We immediately packed up and rode the car so I could feed him privately. I dreaded feeding in public! Was this the way to cross cradle hold? I have no idea! I wondered if all babies cried like him, some moms would say they couldn’t stand the cries of their babies because it was too loud. But when I hear their babies cry it was just so little compared to Grey’s. The moment he cries it was so loud and high! It really made me panic and just want to stay at home until he grows up.

We tried different ways to transport him like the carrier and the stroller.  It was so confusing to use the various carriers lent to us no matter how much I tried watching youtube. I needed an actual demo. The Lillebaby worked best for me but he was still too small for it. Anyway, he would just cry in both carrier and stroller! Little did I know this was the season of letting him get used to it. There were times he would fall asleep in the carrier without me nursing him but then it would change again the next. We really needed a lot of patience and perseverance!

These were the months of teaching him tummy time to strengthen his neck! Tummy time can be done as early as 2 weeks old! He would often cry when we would turn him over. So we would pick him up again. Jason was in charge of the activities and he was so courageous in handling Grey even if he was so unsure about his daddy skills. He taught me how to hold the head properly so I could turn him over for tummy time. I didn’t have the time or energy to play with him because I was so spent just feeding him. My mom was also very helpful during these times as she would give Grey some sunlight in the morning as he had jaundice for almost 3 months! I am also thankful to my mom that it was so instinctive of her to care for Grey. It’s as if she’s been taking care of a newborn all this time! She also taught us that Grey has to have his “ME TIME” as she put him in the play mat / activity mat to look at the animals that dangled. When Grey could open his eyes longer nearing 3 months he would have his “me time”.

Websites like The Baby Sleep Site, WebMD, The Bump, and the app Wonder Weeks helped us to track developmental milestones and what Grey should be hitting every month. We would write this on our mirror. His height and weight and make a checklist if he hit his milestones. I discovered that when he would have longer waking times, he was following a schedule / a pattern. Eat, Wake Time, Sleep or it would often be known as E.A.S.Y. (Eat, Activity, Sleep. You – for me time)

Finally it looks as if we were getting the hang of it. Until the next month when this would all change again. 😛

4 – 6 months : More waking hours and personality coming out 

*More minutes awake and suddenly I do not know what to do during his waking hours! This was the time when I started to realize we do not have toys for his age that would keep him occupied and that we had to buy a few things.

*Tried sleep training for around 5 days, putting him down to sleep at 7PM and let him cry it out in his crib (just beside us) but it was so tiring and draining for us and I figured he still needs the extra feed at night since he looked so thin. We ended up with him sleeping beside me again.

*We heard some babies are already sleeping through the night (meaning 4-5 hours straight) or from 12 midnight-5am. But not with Greyson! I was still breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours but it wasn’t so bad because as soon as he latched, he would fall asleep and I would sleep as well.

*Sleep regression! was real. When we would get used to him sleeping longer now, he would suddenly wake up from 30 mins in his naps and wake up every 45 minutes at night. wahhh! Sleep when will you come to me??

*What we discovered: He was such a smiley baby! He was crying so much during the first 3 months but then by the 4th month he made up for all the crying with smiling and giggles. His personality is starting to show and we were so glad he was smiley it was pleasant taking care of him.

*We were also trying to let him sit with the tripod position wherein his hands would prop him up.

This was also the series of months wherein he was starting to get chubby cheeks and chubby legs and I was getting chubbier too! :)) I took the advice of my friend to eat lots of fatty food like a thick slab of butter on my toast, lots of oatmeal and cocoa with it. She said she lost weight anyway when the baby was 1 year old and somehow assured me I would lose weight by then too by caring for Greyson. Oh how I wish we were the same body type and had the same metabolism!!

This was also the first time Greyson developed a cold on his 4th month. It lasted about a week and a few days. I honestly thought that breastfeeding would prevent him from getting a cold but it’s not the case. It’s not the case too that he would heal faster. It was something all babies had to go through what with all the virus around, they need to be immune from the various strains. I remember it being tough since I had to sleep sitting down yet again while feeding him since his head needs to be elevated. But nevertheless we survived his first cold and his body could only get tougher!

7-9 months – The beginning of fun and messy feeding times. ALSO his waking hours just got real.

I decided to feed him his first solids on his 7th month and his first was squash with breastmilk. In my other blog entry, I recalled how difficult it was for me to collect milk. I could barely pump even if I tried manual and electric. It was normal to collect about 1.5-2 oz after every feed but I had barely since Greyson would often feed on and on. I had to hand express every time I fed him solids and I would collect another measly amount of milk.

He enjoyed his first solids and he seemed to want more! Our pedia advised 1 tsp a day was enough, and then it became 1 tsp per meal and soon we were increasing it to 2 tsps. I remember steaming them along with rice and storing them in little cube containers that resembled an ice cube tray.

These were the months he was becoming more interactive and was already showing his personality. Greyson can get easily frustrated since he would know what he want and he couldn’t communicate it.

On his 9th month, the water crisis struck us and it was such a challenging time since we live on the 3rd floor and water supply was low to none. It was so tiring caring for him, trying to stick to his routine and running the home. But I thank God for sustaining me with super energy to accomplish the things that need to be done! These were the months I started to get back up and cook at home. I started regaining energy to work at home.

Every month we would research about the developmental milestones and this would be our goal to help him reach this. At the end of his 9th month nearing his 10th, he started to stand up with support! We were thrilled but at the same time, I feel his baby-ness slipping through my fingers.

Around these months he uttered his first word “Mama” and I was floating! I loved hearing it over and over again. I have been waiting for this moment.

This was also the first few months he did his first hand signal which was to wave bye! It was so funny and he has been using it to call things too. He has been doing lots of funny things like wiping the table and sleeping. He learned his first chore probably because he can see us around the house wiping and sweeping.

10-12 months – Eating table food and walking a few steps

On his 10th month, our pedia gave the go signal for Greyson to eat table food! Of course we need to avoid salt at all costs. But when we go out to eat, I just had to choose what seemed safe enough for him. He was so fond of eating and I was so glad he wasn’t a picky eater (just yet!)

*These were also the months we intentionally taught him hand signals so if ever he needed to  communicate something, he could gesture. He wouldn’t gesture back until probably his 12th month, wherein he would gesture “more”. He signaled More because he wanted more rambutan! He is such a foodie!

After he turned 11 months, while I was on the phone and he was leaning towards my legs, he got so bored, he took his first few steps going to his play fence! I almost dropped the call to catch him on video =))

Milestones happen so swiftly!! I am so thankful to God for providing for us and to Jason that he gave me that option to stay at home for the meantime to be a full time mom to Greyson. It was so wonderful to witness his every milestone, to know what all his little sounds and gestures meant and to be able to interpret them. Sure it wasn’t everything and there were times I would feel crazy at home because time seemed to pass so slowly and yet so fast at the same time. It was like watching TV in black and white and everything was in analog. After the busy-ness and excitement of life and work, suddenly it would all be in slow motion. It takes a lot to be intentional and observe Greyson to be able to train him in the way he should go. But God is giving me the grace to endure and be joyful about what seems to be mundane things to me but exciting times for Grey. I thank God for giving me fresh eyes to see from Grey’s perspective – to see things anew, to just be amazed at this tiny little being He has given us for us to love and care for. True that some things can wait and all the things I used to do are put on hold. But seeing the joy in Grey’s face, watching him grow and all his antics, I wouldn’t trade being a mom to Grey for anything. <3

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 🙂

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.

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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.

Labor and Delivery BW20

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…)

Labor and Delivery BW14

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.

Labor and Delivery BW15

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.

Labor and Delivery BW16

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.

Labor and Delivery BW21

Labor and Delivery BW24

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!

The First Trimester: Adjustment & Bed Rest

Gallery

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JASON: Very early in the morning while it was still dark. We are getting ready to go to the Korean Embassy for our Korean Visa. We planned to travel on November. But lo and behold, for I didn’t know that … Continue reading

Waiting on God: Our Journey to Pregnancy Part 3

In 2013 when we got married we were advised to start conceiving after a year or two. But a lot of things has happened since then.

I had a major surgery back in 2014

Part 1

and a minor surgery in 2015.

Part 2

2017 – Jason’s surgery

After 4 years of trying to conceive, we had to check on Jason after my procedures were done. We found out that he had to undergo surgery too due to Varicocele (this condition produces abnormal and unhealthy sperms). We prayed and fasted at the start of the year and we decided to push thru with the procedure. It was sometime in February 2017 that Jason underwent surgery. I praise God that He enabled me to be in a job that was flexible. It was challenging to do both Jason’s work and my work but I really thank God that He prepared us for this challenge. I saw how we were able to cooperate, to be patient with one another and to be understanding. But we are still growing in these areas.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES

After the Varicocele surgery, we wanted to just enjoy this whole process. And I know it is because of God that we are having joy and peace. Sure we would long for a child, and we will do what we had to do but this time I told Jason, I’m enjoying this journey with him as we went home smelling of herbal teas from a Chinese herbal clinic.

We opted for Eastern medication like acupuncture and Chinese herbal tea since we are diagnosed “The unexplainable” with the doctors we consulted.

I haven’t tried those and I’m excited actually. The acupuncturist and herbalist diagnosed me differently. In acupuncture, I was said to have a cold uterus and I needed to drink warm water and coffee was a no-no. In the herbalist’s clinic, I was said to have a warm uterus and my tongue indicated I had poor health and my kidney was weak and so was Jason’s.

In my first acupuncture session they said I would sleep soundly! But I barely slept a wink and was tossing and turning the whole night! I poked Jason and he was sleeping soundly. Ang sarap ng tulog! I just looked at him in disdain. hahaha. Di daw kasi ako Chinese that’s why walang effect. GANUN! hahaha :p I reported this to the acupuncturist on our next session and she told me she probably touched some nerves that gave me too much energy.

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After the second session, I still couldn’t sleep. We asked how long should we do these sessions? She said until I get pregnant. engks! It was expensive and what if if took us 3 years. Then this would be draining our pockets with no actual diagnosis and we wouldn’t know what we were curing in my body.

We moved to the herbalist next and this time we had to boil tea for 45 minutes in the morning and at night. Our house smelled like burnt leaves. I would meet my clients and my perfume would be Chinese herbal tea. After 2 weeks, Jason decided to discontinue because his tea really tasted AWFUL (for a Chinese used to drinking teas. hmp :p ) To be honest I was getting used to the taste and I didn’t mind waking up early morning to boil both our teas. But it was the same.. we needed to continue doing this until we get pregnant, not to mention it was more costly than the acupuncture. We thought it would be less expensive. 😛 Sana acupuncture nalang.

SERVING WHILE WAITING

In the midst of all this, we decided to serve together and prepare to partner in discipling kids through sports!

Coaching Kids at Megasports Camp

We also began serving God in Kids church while we waited on Him. I am so glad with the opportunity! It is an answered prayer that I get to serve alongside my husband. I remember when I got married in 2013, I keep telling my single friends that I regret not being able to serve God. Of course when you get married, time gets limited with wife duties / family duties / work duties. Years after, I was so happy that God still honored that desire and may bonus pa, I was with my husband.

 It was a fun season for us. One by one our D12 mates were getting pregnant and I couldn’t be any happier for them! Back when we got married and after my painful surgeries, when I heard news about people getting pregnant it caused me joy and pain. But this time I can say I was really truly happy for these people who have grown to be my friends. I was excited and kilig with their journey. They also had their time of waiting on God and finally God has blessed them.

It gave me hope that one day, in God’s perfect time and in His own perfect way, we will also cry and rejoice and be expecting our child as we wait on Him.

We planned for Korea for honeymoon on November 2017, booked and all. If we still wouldn’t have a child, then we would just keep adding to our adventure book and travel. We also went to visit my OB one more time since my mid-cycle bleeding has returned that year and we wanted to check if it could be hormonal / my polyps have grown again.

SEPTEMBER 2017 – CHECKING WITH OUR OB AGAIN

So we went back to my OB to report about my situation. I got my thyroid test done and was negative for hypo/hyperthyroid. Still our doctor couldn’t explain why we couldn’t conceive. It seems as if we were healthy already but couldn’t diagnose our situation. I was given another dose of Clomid and a shot of follicle stimulating hormone in my belly, and of course it was recommended we set aside time to be intimate with one another.

During that “get busy” week I still had my mid-cycle bleed that never left me! and I remember the story of the hemorrhaging woman in the bible. As she touched Jesus, she was healed and her faith has healed her. How i prayed that God would stop this bleed and heal me and would open up my barren womb.

We tried to schedule our intimate times but it was really difficult because we also had our commitments in work and activities. On our “appointment day” something came up and we got so swamped and we had to let it go and just try the next day. To be honest, I got mildly irritated for a split second but then resigned that if it is God’s will, no matter the day, hour or minute! it will happen for us.

We then went back to our regular routine – having our coffee morning dates, our work out at the gym (we even got a trainer because we were training for a 15-21KM run) and eating! 😀

Sometime September though I noticed something a bit different, but I concluded and even wrote down in my journal that my period could be coming.

OCTOBER 2017

Sharing with you my personal journal.

Days leading to October 10, 2017, these verses stuck to me.

Proverbs 10:24 The fears of the wicked will all come true; so will the hopes of the godly

Proverbs 10:28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked are all in vain

 John 16:24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive and your joy will be complete.

Every time I have my devotion / quiet time with God we ask Him to prepare us to be godly parents that He wants us to be. That I would be able to conceive in His perfect time. Then these verses came to me.

Will I be having my period this time or will I not? I was feeling some things but of course I can’t be sure. I’ve had a delayed period several times but resulted in a negative pregnancy test. This time I was still feeling some cramps and other things. I kept my hopes up and I stumbled upon the following verses in Proverbs. Both say that the hopes of the godly will come true, and will result in happiness. But at the same time the fears and expectations of the wicked will come true.

I pondered on this and told myself, “Siguro if I still have a negative pregnancy test, maybe there is still wickedness in me that needs a heart surgery, that I need the Holy Spirit to reveal and transform in me”. (ni-literal???) Ouch. How did God see me? Was there going be another test for me on humility?

I praise God for my husband, my spiritual leader, that not once did his faith waver. He was steadfast in his belief that God will give us a child naturally. He always assured me of this and I do not know how he can be so sure? But maybe a long time ago a vision was planted in him of having a family and he holds this promise close to his heart. That no matter what happened he believed.

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I was expecting my period on October 1 but maybe because we had a family outing and my routine was off, it did not arrive as I anticipated it! A few days after it still hasn’t arrived. Well it didn’t happen the first time. I’ve had cycles where my period would arrive on my 39th day when it was supposed to be between 29-35.

I told Jason 3 days after my missed period if I should take a home pregnancy test. He said jokingly “wag na muna. sayang. pag 1 month na and wala parin, magtake ka na..” Wow tagal naman? 😛 Anyway… I understand him. I’ve wasted a lot of HPT’s – as soon as day 1 is missed I instantly take a pregnancy test just to find out that my period will arrive later that day…

Anyway, I still had 2 pregnancy tests at home. We always stocked up in hopes that one day, one cycle I would get to see my own two red lines and not just in google. I prayed that if it is God’s will He will allow us to experience unconditional love and love our own child the way He loves us. I decided to take one after a week of missed period.

We were scheduled to go to the Korean embassy on October 10, Wednesday early early morning to apply for our Korean visa.

I woke up around 4:45 AM bringing the pregnancy test with me to the bathroom. As I collected my urine and dropped it on the test I sat sleepily on the toilet to wait. As the color creeped slowly, one line appeared and after a few more seconds… another red line showed up. What is this?? Was I dreaming? Did this come from my pee??

  If only I could tell you how I trembled and cried and praised God for this seed of life growing inside of me. To experience this miracle, it was the happiest morning..

I took a shower quickly and when Jason saw the pregnancy kit on our bin, he asked me Kamusta? in his neutral voice. He was also concerned about me that he will not show disappointment and be as neutral as possible with his reaction. He was so used to me shaking my head and saying “Negative, we can try again next time…”

This time I ignored him (padrama effect!) I hid the PT in the other room and got my phone. Of course this merits a documentation!

See the video here

I cried, we hugged, and got ready to go. Praying and thanking God in the car on the way to the embassy.

Through it all, nothing compares to the joy and the experience of knowing God more in this journey. Of being comforted by Him, of being assured by Him through His words and promises, of knowing that we can have hope because He hears us and loves us.

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Looking back there are a lot of things I was taught leading to this pregnancy…

  1. Be my best wherever God brings me / leads me. My worth is not my ability to produce children. You are a woman, a child of God and gifted by Him with unique abilities that only you can do.  There was a time that I did feel tired about waiting and putting my life on hold waiting for something I wasn’t sure would happen. But a question was left in my heart, What was I doing with what God has given me at the moment and where He has placed me? As a wife, was I striving to be my best? In my work, was I working at it with all of my heart? Was I pleasing God?
  2. Serve God and seek His will. What am I doing while waiting? Were my intentions pure? Even if I am not a mom yet, was I preparing to be the mother He wants me to be? and What does God want me to know about myself and Himself during this time of waiting?
  3. Do our part. We had our part and God has a part… We were convicted to do what we can naturally. This 2017 we excused ourselves from the organizations we joined so we can sleep early. We used to sleep around 11 pm / 12 midnight. But that year we made it a habit to be in bed by 8pm. We also became diligent with working out and eating healthy – cutting back on sweets and junk food (for me). I was now eating oatmeal (which I hated) during breakfast. We also sought ways to cleanse our system may it be herbal tea. Really Jason would agree that my lifestyle has drastically changed – from just popping anything I see to eat in my mouth to being conscious, and from hating any physical activity to having fun sweating it out! (sorry I just had to insert this, I was not really into healthy stuff but by God’s grace He is convicting me that I should be a good steward of this body). Also we went for check ups to make sure that our systems are okay.
  4. Surrender our desire to God. God knows what we want even before we admit it to ourselves. Sometimes we tend to deny our real wants and desires but God knows it already. However much I wanted to control things and set a timeline, God knows what it is best for me at this moment. He understands me and yet His will is perfect. He loves us so much that maybe sometimes giving in to our desire will do more harm than good for us. When He enabled me to surrender my desire to Him, He just made this story more beautiful than I can imagine and even imagine to write about.

And lastly.

5. Nothing can stop the will of God. During this season of waiting I have come to know a lot of women who shared with me a lot of seemingly impossible situations on conceiving. Be it one ovary, blocked fallopian tubes, having myoma, having cyst, a degenerating uterus and yet when God said it is time, nothing is impossible with Him. During our conception, I still had my mid cycle bleeds which I still don’t know the cause of, and yet the conception happened at God’s appointed time.

I thank God and praise Him for this journey. Truly the blessing of waiting is God Himself. And I know that this child, He has given and not on our own effort and strength. No matter what herbal tea, acupuncture, medication and condition. As a beloved pastor said, this is just the beginning. Even in my Pru Life uk business, yes we are entering the looooongest stage in our lives. It is daunting but I am also excited to receive His promise, and what God has in store for us.

 If I could summarize what God has been teaching me and then God’s command in the days ahead for this chapter in my life and the next, it would be in Deuteronomy 8:1-6

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.

If you are still waiting on God for this blessing, i would like to pray for you and encourage you that God can be trusted and He keeps His promises. We don’t know the reason why He gives, why He withholds but He is good and He desires what is best for us at this time. It will not be easy but give your burden to God, He cares for you. Our life is just so short, may we all experience the joy of coming to know Him truly in this lifetime.

Waiting on God: Our Journey to Pregnancy Part 2

In the previous post we shared how we went through looking forward to conceiving and yet we found out another more serious thing happening.

Waiting on God: Our Journey to Pregnancy part 1

The recovery was difficult I already felt like I had a cesarean section. So I guess this is how it feels like. Staying at home post operation, I was plagued by negative thoughts that this pain I brought home would be worth it if I had a baby to look after and I would often sulk in self-pity. Looking back and reflecting, I feel like an Israelite. God has just answered our prayer, and here I was. He is about to lead us into the promised land but there are lots of delays because He is purifying our hearts and motives. Jason didn’t mind that we didn’t have a child and he was confident in God that He would bless us one day. But me of little faith..  I was skeptical. He would often assure me that he married me for me and not because of a baby. I would cry and be assured for a while but it would still hurt.

2014 – DIAGNOSED INFERTILE 

After the operation, we started looking for an infertility specialist. We really preferred our doctor in UST but we considered the distance should our pregnancy push through. According to the OB-gyne’s if we cannot conceive within 1 year of trying, we are considered infertile. The word infertile was so hard to swallow. It was really a blow. I was hoping that by some miracle that year I would get pregnant and prove the doctors wrong. How can we be infertile? I believe we relatively had a healthy lifestyle. I was still in my 20’s, we don’t have any vices and we would sneak in a gym workout or two in a week. Whenever people ask us if there was anything wrong with us, we just say I had an operation, maybe it was it, and we wanted to believe that it was just that and the problem was solved.

A lot, though well intentioned, would offer their theories why and sometimes it would upset me because I feel that we are doing what we can.

We went to an Infertility specialist and she recommended me to take Clomid for about 3 cycles and monitor my follicle every mid-cycle and of course we had to do our part and get busy. We kept track of the days and at times it would get so stressful that we would get irritated at one another. And at the end of the day it defeats our purpose.

I remember Jason would tell me, “If ganito lang, huwag na lang”.

In his mind the baby should be born out of our desire and love for one another that naturally we would conceive because we were filled with love – not spite or any other reason for that matter. I was taken aback but realized it was true. When I dug deep, I was so filled with pride and control issues that God was breaking me.

As for the test results, it turned out that I had a dominant follicle meaning I was ovulating and ready to conceive. But we still weren’t able to despite the 3 monthly cycles of Clomid’s and the “schedulings”.  I got tired of putting my life on hold. I felt that I was prepared (but this was just my feeling), but God wanted us to wait on Him. He was also dealing with me, with my insecurities, my feelings to please people, to give in to the pressure around me, and just for me to be joyful in Him whatever the circumstance may be.

Was the child more important than Him? Was the gift more important than the giver?

During those times I noticed that I had some abnormality with my period that I would often have one mid-cyle. I was required to do another procedure.

2014 – SISH (SALINE INFUSION Something) and MULTIPLE ENDOMETRIAL POLYPS

I underwent SISH where saline is infused in the uterus. We found out that I had multiple endometrial polyps. We consulted another OB (and we’re staying with her until now!) who is also an endocrinologist to check if I had any thyroid problems / any hormonal imbalance. According to her, this would be an obstacle for the sperms to reach its final destination 😛 Looking back I saw that my past ultrasounds indicated that I do have polyps but it was overlooked since the cyst posed a much bigger problem.

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I had to undergo another operation but this time it was minor. It was similar to a D&C. I told Jason I want to write about this, but he told me then to preserve these moments and in time I would be able to tell this story. We took some time off and then proceeded the following year.

JUNE 2015 – OPERATION (HYSTEROSCOPIC POLYPECTOMY WITH D&C)

Because of the 2014 operation, this one didn’t seem so scary. It was still very fresh in our memories. I am very thankful to my mom who was with us to help with all our paperworks because truly we would be at a loss.

We checked in during the afternoon and I was happy to see my doctor friends who were at St. Lukes that time. Nakapagchika pa kami. 🙂 Thank you for dropping by.

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Even if I went under the knife and became a certified “operada”, I was still afraid of the needle! I even told the nurse, dahan-dahan lang po ah takot ako sa needle. 😛 He went there for the IV.

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After which, we passed some time and listened to some music. Chill lang… to relax us for what was to come.

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Later on, our anesthesiologist dropped by to brief me about the anesthesia. That it would just be a light dosage and I would easily snap out of it with a nudge or when they say my name, say my name.. She was so funny it calmed my nerves. To be honest I was looking forward to the anesthesia haha – it would be my second time. She told us that she would be meeting us at around 6PM to administer the dose and Dra. Jing would follow.

Around 5:30 PM I was wheeled out of our room and into the operating room. The preps were done once again and I couldn’t care less.. Ganun talaga privacy no more. 😛 As I remember nagchichikahan pa kami ni Dra. as she administered the anesthesia. Ang dami ko pa gusto ikwento and was engaging her in a story but just like that…. I was OUT.

I didn’t know how long it took but I felt Dra. nudge me and I was having the chills in the operating room. I woke up and there were bright lights and I saw that my legs were apart like I was giving birth. A wave of panic sunk in and thoughts were racing like Oh no, I didn’t know what happened to me but good thing I dozed off again.

I woke up in the private room and all was finally well. We checked out the next day and the recovery was very very quick since it was just a minor operation called Endometrial Curettage. I was back on my toes the following day. Good thing too that I had my life insurance and we only paid 36% of the bill net of deductions from Philhealth and SSS.

I was again filled with hope that maybe this time it would turn out fine. That time I decided, one day we will have a child and started writing to him / her. Since 2015 I have written 2 letters to our unborn child and will share in a different entry.

The next step for me was to check my fallopian tubes for blockage but after the operations…. Wait lang. We had to consider our budget too and of course undergoing another painful and probe-ful procedure. We decided that I would just do it the following year.

2016 – JASON’S TURN

 As we went back to our OB, Dra. gave us the option for IUI and IVF but we weren’t ready for that. Our doctor would ask “Naiinip na ba kayo?” In my mind I screamed YES. But I blurted out, we can wait. engk. But seriously I was getting a bit impatient. Is this the millenial in me? I’m glad that God was working in me showing me that it is not about what we want but what He wills.

The next step was to check Jason’s situation. With his permission, I am writing this. After the sperm analysis test, It turns out that he had less than 4% normal sperms. According to some standard, it takes minimum of 4% normal sperm to conceive a child. His was around 2 or 3%. After a few months it went down to 1%. He was diagnosed to have Bilateral Varicocele.

NEXT STEP – FALLOPIAN TUBE TEST

Next we had to do this test to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. It was a bit expensive so we opted for a nearby one but it still was a maternity hospital. IT WAS SO PAINFUL. I was wide awake the whole time. When I asked other wives who’ve undergone this, they were asleep.. But I was awake and I was only given paracetamol. Aray.

Praise God after that very painful episode, the diagnosis was my tubes were good to go.

THE UNEXPLAINABLE

It was recommended that Jason would undergo surgery to cure the varicocele. We just need to eliminate all possible causes and problems. It may improve his normal sperms but still it was no guarantee. Some even without surgery were able to conceive considering their predicament. With all the results that came out, our OB diagnosed us we may be one of the cases that are “unexplainable.” Whut? Sounds like some kind of mystery file. I wanted to be aggressive and maybe check the compatibility of our bloods and APAS etc. but our OB does not recommend it because I was not qualified to have one.

Our problem was we could not conceive. Despite my operations, our scheduling, our Clomid, lifestyle changes.

I’m taking light of it now but back then I read this article about infertility and how I would cry and feel helpless and just long for a child to take up that empty space in our empty room. But what can we do? We talked about adopting and we considered it than have IUI.

 We ended the year still with the question left if we should push through with Jason’s surgery.. I think it was sometime towards the end of the year that an opportunity opened for us to serve in the Kids church.

We decided, we will serve Him while we’re waiting. We were just praying for 1 child but how God answers, we would be getting a lot … in Kids church!

But will this be it?

Last entry in Part 3..