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…)

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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.

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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 :)

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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

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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 :)