Look It Up!

15 January 2015


More than 7 months ago, God's greatest gift to me and my husband arrived. I gave birth to my son, Patrick Rafael, whom we fondly called Rafael (yep, no nicknames please. Daddy won't allow it.).

My expected date of delivery was June 7. During my last check-up before the 7th, my OB said that my cervix was still closed so we should wait a few more days. This despite the interventions my OB performed to induce my labor - I took Eveprim Evening Primrose Oil tablets for a week and I had two shots of Buscopan. The OB said that the baby was engaged and in the proper position. His heartbeat was okay too.

On June 9, Monday, I had another check-up and again, I was told that my cervix was still closed. I didn't really mind. I wanted my baby to come at the right time. No rush. Although I was a bit anxious about being overdue. I was told to come back on Friday for another check-up. My OB said that if I do not give birth by Friday, I might need to be admitted to the hospital for induction of labor. Brr.

Rhuel and I stepped up our walking efforts. We would frequent the malls in Alabang and would walk for hours because we were told that walking can help induce labor.

On June 10, I had some spotting. I texted my OB and she told me to observe it and if it does not progress, I should see her the following day. She told me to take it easy and to avoid excessive walking. I was not feeling any extreme pain except for some occasional back pains. Could be labor pains already because I've read that some women experience back labor.

On June 11, I went to the OB for a check-up because I was still spotting. Rhuel and I were torn on whether or not to see the OB because the original plan was for me to see her on Friday. And I didn't really understand what she meant by "progress." I guess progress meant giving birth, hehe. Anyway, we went to the doctor's clinic in the morning for a check-up.

When my OB performed the IE, she had an easy time doing it. The previous check-ups, she would always have a hard time performing the IE. It was like a wrestling match because of a tense muscle that got in the way (sorry, TMI). I was pleasantly surprised with the ease that the OB had in doing the IE this time.

And I was even more surprised when she told me that my cervix was already opened by 7-8 cms!!! I've read that you give birth when the cervix is open by 10 cms already. My OB's exact words were: "Uy, manganganak ka na!! This afternoon." I felt so happy and excited. I was not scared at all. I could not wait to meet my boy. Good thing Rhuel and I already brought our hospital bag that morning.

I was instructed to proceed to the hospital immediately. No more detours. I also had to take two tablets of antibiotic because my most recent urinalysis showed that I had UTI.

Rhuel was excited too. And he wanted to have something to remember this day by. He saw some Sports Illustrated books in Booksale in Festival Mall during our previous visit and he wanted to buy them so he can show our son that we got these books on the day he was born. (Shempre dapat manly ang libro so he got the swimsuit edition book!) So despite the OB's orders for us to proceed directly to the hospital, we made a detour at Festival to get the books. I stayed in the car and Rhuel was only gone for less than five minutes. :)

When we got to the hospital, we parked the car and we proceeded to the floor where the delivery room's located. I peed before heading to the DR. Brr, this is it!

When we got to the DR, I was interviewed and was made to lie down so they can monitor the baby properly. Some equipment were attached to my tummy.

The nurses were amazed that I could still walk around happily even if my cervix was already open by 7-8 cms. I was still not feeling any extreme pain. Back pains lang na tolerable pa. The OB on duty's IE revealed that my cervix was still open by 7-8 cms. There were times when they had trouble locating the baby's heartbeat and the doppler would capture my heartbeat instead. Akala ko naman normal lang because the baby could be moving around.

After a few minutes I was transferred to the labor room. I was so thrilled to see the nurses prepare the bassinet for the baby. Totoo na talaga. :) Rhuel had to leave to arrange my admission stuff. The anaesthesiologist recommended that I get an epidural already although I was not in extreme pain yet because he said that he might have a hard time poking my back if I waited for the intolerable pain to come.

Then my OB arrived and she read the monitor on the baby's vital signs. She worriedly approached me and Rhuel saying that whenever I had contractions, the baby's heartbeat dipped. This could mean that the baby's having a hard time already so she recommended that I undergo caesarean delivery ASAP. Aray ko! I was really hoping for a normal delivery because of the fast recovery and more importantly, because it was cheaper. Oh well, the baby's safety is more important. So we agreed to the CS procedure.

I was immediately wheeled to the operating room. I was lucid most of the time. Rhuel had to stay in the labor room and he was called to the operating room when the baby was about to be taken out of my tummy.

On June 11, 2014, Wednesday, at 2:35 p.m., Rafael was born. He weighed 7 lbs and 6 oz. and was 51 cms long.

It was lovely to see him for the first time.

We had our first family picture and he was given to me for breastfeeding.

Apparently, he had a cord coil that's why his heartbeat was fluctuating. Poor baby.

We were discharged from the hospital on Saturday.

It was truly a wonderful experience for me and Rhuel. Except that I could not sleep. Di lang yung tipong puyat na kulang sa tulog. I could not sleep at all. And this went on for days. So ang ending, I had to go back to the hospital on Monday for a back job. The trip from our house to the hospital was one of the scariest drives Rhuel and I had to make. That's something I never want to do again - ever!

I had to be admitted because my BP shot up and I felt extremely weak and I experienced some numbness in my arms and legs. My OB said it could be post-partum pre-eclampsia but the cardio said it was just hormonal. I had to stay in the hospital for two nights. And I had to be away from my baby so soon. :( Thank God for Nanay who came to my rescue and took care of Rafael while I was in the hospital.

This little bump had difficult consequences for me. I could not sleep with my baby in the evening for about a month or two because I had to get enough sleep first lest my BP shoot up again. My breastmilk supply became very low because I could not breastfeed him while I was in the hospital. As a result, we had to do mixed feeding early on. It was very difficult for me. I really, really wanted to breastfeed. And I felt Rhuel was extremely disappointed when I could not do it. I felt super weak after breastfeeding when my BP was still high. In the end, I had to make the difficult decision of giving formula to the baby. I had to think of his health and welfare, and mine too. Aanhin naman niya ang breastmilk ko kung mamamatay naman ako dahil sa taas ng BP ko.

It was difficult for me to deal with this at first. With everyone on FB bragging about the gazillion of liters of breastmilk they're producing, it was natural for me to feel inadequate and inferior as a mother. In the end, I just learned to accept my fate and I chose not to be bitter about it. I guess that was God's way of teaching me early on that I cannot always be in control. I may always want the best for my baby but sometimes, some things get in the way and there's nothing I can do about them. And that made me realize that at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that my family and I are together.

I know that I still have a long way to go with Rhuel and Rafael. It will be challenging and difficult but as long as we're together, I know that everything will be alright. :)

Good News

I can't remember when I started writing this entry. November 2013 siguro. :)

I have not written any blog entry in two months. So much has happened since then. :)

Rhuel and I went home in September. We were sad to leave such a safe and secure place. But nothing beats being home with your family.

Our boxes arrived about a week after we arrived. They all arrived at the same time so we spent one weekend unpacking everything. We were surprised that all the stuff we accumulated for the past year actually fit in our house. We thought we will not have enough space for everything.

It took PLDT about a month to install our Internet connection. That really drove us nuts. Our jobs are net-dependent. And we could not resume working without the connection. But then it gave us a lot of free time. I was able to catch up on my reading. Last night, I was finally able to finish all 15 available Pretty Little Liars books. On to the Hunger Games trilogy.

On October 25, 2013, we received the best news of all - we are pregnant! :) I did the home pregnancy test which finally showed those much awaited two lines. We've been waiting for this for the longest time so it was really a very pleasant surprise.

Early morning of the 25th, I took the test and when it showed two lines (the second one was not so clear though), I had to wake up Rhuel to share the positive news. :) Of course we were happy but we wanted to be very sure. So we got up, took a bath, had breakfast, and we visited the nearby hospital for another check. Again, the lab result showed that it was positive. Now it was time to be really sure.

We wanted to see our OB but she was not available that morning. When we checked again in the afternoon, she was not available again. So we had no choice but to wait another day.

Saturday morning we went to our OB and we finally got the confirmation. The baby was there, about 6 weeks old. :)

The pregnancy has been okay, so far. I've been on some meds to make sure the baby stays and to treat some infections. I've only vomited twice and had one bout with nausea. I had LBM because of Anmum. I've switched to Similac Mom since then. Main problem with me is fatigue. I seem to get tired easily. I have to lie down after a few hours of sitting or standing. I've been very easy on my body because I've been advised to avoid stressful stuff. I try to walk around (malls, hehe) once in a while to get some exercise. I don't want the baby to be sluggish. :)

Rhuel has been the best husband, partner, daddy-to-be ever. He has been very good in taking over my role as the homemaker - laba, luto, etc. Fortunately we were able to get a cleaning & iron lady who comes in once a week. At least that relieves him of some of the tasks. But over-all, he has been doing a great job here at home - on top of taking good care of me and reminding me of foods to avoid. :)

It's also a blessing that we both work from home now. It makes working and resting more flexible. :)

The baby is about 11 weeks old now. We still have a long way to go but hopefully, things will work out okay. Please keep us in your prayers - for a safe pregnancy and a normal, whole, and healthy baby. :)


Baby Update #2 - December 27, 2013

Our little one must be around 16 weeks old now. We've finally hurdled the critical first trimester. In my earlier update, I mentioned that everything was okay, so far. The latter part of the first trimester was not so okay.

The infection persisted but during our last check-up, my doctor said everything's okay. Hope it stays that way until the end of the pregnancy. I cannot take additional meds. I'm too much of a druggie already.

The vomiting escalated during the final weeks of the first trimester. One day I even vomited twice. Eww. Some days I would eat just for sustenance and not because I'm such a glutton (which is normally my reason for eating). I noticed that I had trouble wolfing down brown rice so we switched back to white rice. Ever since we've crossed over to the second trimester, I think I've only vomited once. I hope it goes away too. I do not want to deprive my baby of food and nutrients he/she needs.

An aside. I'm very lucky to have a husband who does not mind rubbing my back whenever I puke. I know some people vomit just at the thought of another person vomiting. But he's been very good at dealing with me and my episodes. Madami daw siyang kapatid na lalaki and puro lalaki daw kasama nya sa skwela hanggang high school kaya sanay daw siya. Whatever the reason is, I'm just grateful for his "talent." :)

During the first trimester, my meds were kept to a minimum. Basically, I was just taking folic acid. But once the second trimester started, I was prescribed a million vitamins and supplements to take. I have folic acid, iron, calcium, omega something, mega juice, and one other vitamin. I take 3 vitamins each after breakfast and lunch then 2 more after dinner. I'm still adjusting to some of them. I hope my doctor reduces the number of vitamins. But if they're good for the baby, then I guess I'll have to take them. :)

I've switched milks again. Similac Mom was okay but I found the Vanilla flavor quite strong. I wanted something chocolate-y but Similac did not offer that flavor. We finally chanced upon Enfamama in Chocolate flavor. So far, so good, although I still skip drinking milk whenever I feel that I'm on the verge of vomiting from food and the vitamins. But otherwise, it's okay. I love it especially when I add in two ice cubes to make it really cold.

The baby bump's slowly showing. I might need a change in wardrobe soon. I got 2 new dresses already but I have yet to wear them. My jazz pants still fit me so I guess they will still be serviceable. I need a new pair of shorts though. And I cannot find a maternity/nursing bra for my size. I had to make do with a normal bra first. Hopefully when the time comes when I really need it, I can already find something that will fit me.

Wala pa rin akong pinaglilihian. Which I personally think is a good thing. I do not want to burden my husband with running around all over the country to find a food I'm craving for. Sabi niya mukha nya lang daw ang pinaglilihian ko. And that's fine with me. :)

The fatigue issue has become more manageable although I still feel ill once in  a while. I've finished reading a number of books already due to my self-imposed bed rest. I had a bout with headache the past few days but it didn't come back today. Buti naman. It's just the bad burp moments that I still need to deal with. Mostly due to bad food choice siguro.

I'm applying Moroccan Argan Oil on my tummy to prevent stretch marks. I know there are other creams that can be used specifically for that purpose but I want to try the oil first. It's very convenient to use because it also serves as my moisturizer and eye cream and hair oil. I'm also using Mustela Bust Support cream. Thanks to my brother's girlfriend who gave me a lot of Mustela products for Christmas. There are a lot of kikay stuff for me and baby to use after I give birth. I cannot wait. :)

We're having our next check up in a week. Hopefully we'll get a better ultrasound picture this time so I can finally post the announcement on Facebook. Being the private and anti-social person that I am, I'm not really into social media announcements. But the husband has been bugging me about it since day 1. I told him to wait until the first trimester's over then for Christmas, then now I've bargained to wait until we get the next ultrasound picture. And I think he's genuinely exasperated with me already. So I guess it's time to have that shout out. Okay na rin, baka naman isipin ng mga tao nag-adopt kami pag bigla na lang ako magpost ng baby picture, hehe.


Baby Update #3 - January 7, 2014

We had another check-up last Friday. So far, everything seems to be going well. Here are some updates from the doctor:

  • During the December check-up, the doctor said that my placenta was low-lying. However, she assured me that it was normal during the early stages of the pregnancy and usually, the placenta moves up as you go along. This time around, the placenta's high already. Yey! Hope it stays that way until I give birth. :)
  • The baby smiled during the ultrasound. So cute! :)
  • The baby could be a boy. The doctor is not yet 100% sure though. 
I was given the same set of one million vitamins. But at least taking them is more manageable now. 

I vomited again last night. It started out as a coughing fit caused by me choking on my own saliva. Then I puked the mangoes and bagoong I had during dinner. Boo. I think it's the third time that a vomit session was preceded by a meal with mangoes and bagoong. Sayang. 

Our house help's also pregnant. Rhuel and I are happy for her and her husband but of course we cannot keep her here until she gives birth. It's way too risky and we cannot really afford to care for another pregnant woman and a baby. It would also restrict the chores that we can assign to her. We asked her to inform us if she can no longer hack the household chores. If she's amenable, we're letting her stay until she's 6 months pregnant then she can rest while waiting for her big day. At least her husband is working on a construction project so they'll have a source of income. I just hope the husband will be extra hardworking now that he's about to be a father. We noticed though that he's not so helpful when he's here. 

Next check-up will be in February. Check-ups always make me anxious. I cannot wait to see how the baby's doing because I want to make sure that everything's okay. I always breathe a sigh of relief everytime the doctor tells me that everything appears to be going well. :) 

We've checked with our doctor re the hospital where I'll give birth. We were hoping that I can give birth in the nearby Southern Luzon Hospital. It's less than 5 minutes away from here. But my OB does not recommend it because it does not always have OB residents on duty. The residents are only available on certain days. She also mentioned in the past that the hospital does not have a blood bank. So she recommends Asian Hospital instead. We're quite aware that Asian Hospital provides superb service and has great facilities. It's quite pricey but the husband and I have decided that we'll make it work. There are cheaper options but we want a nearby hospital and we want the best for the baby. :) 


Baby Update #4 - February 6, 2014

We had another pre-natal check-up last Monday, February 3, 2014. We normally go to the clinic in the morning, but this time, we went there in the afternoon. Rhuel was excited to watch the Super Bowl game that ABC 5 was airing live. Being the supportive wife that I am, I agreed to move the check-up to the afternoon. Unfortunately, his team was massacred. :D

We had another ultrasound to determine the baby's gender. The doctor seemed confident that the baby's a boy. Yey. We hope she's correct. :D

The baby appears to be growing normally. His measurements are within the prescribed ones for his age, according to the doctor. My weight gain (1 kilo from the last check-up) is still within bounds but the doctor still advised me to watch my diet so as not to have a super huge baby. She says I can take a 6-lbs baby. Parang ang liit no?

Some people have noticed that I'm putting on weight and my tummy's beginning to show. I don't really mind, after all, I am pregnant. I guess I just have the misfortune of being surrounded by uber thin people. If the baby's a boy, I hope he gets his Daddy's height but be a bit heavier. If the baby's a girl, I hope he gets Daddy's height and build.

I was still prescribed the same vitamins plus a new one - moringa zinc. Moringa is malunggay. The doctor says it will help me produce milk for the baby. I'm really praying that I will be blessed with an abundant supply of milk. I want to breastfeed the baby for as long as I can.

Next month, I will be having a number of tests. One is the Congenital Anomaly Scan (CAS). It will check for any problems that the baby might have at this early stage (brain problems, heart problems, etc.). It's making us anxious but hopefully everything will turn out okay. My doctor does not do that procedure so I need to have it done in a clinic at Festival Supermall in Alabang. The clinic offers a CAS package that comes with a 4D ultrasound (Php5,200). 4D gives you a video of your baby while he's moving about (hopefully he's not napping or shying away from the camera) in your tummy. 3D ultrasound will give you still photos but 4D seems to be more entertaining. You can get a glimpse of how the baby looks like. Exciting diba? But my doctor's advise is to have this done around the 26th week so that the baby will look more like a person. This time (I'm on my 21st to 22nd week) the baby might still be thin and bone-y. So we're waiting until maybe the 3rd week of March before we get this done. Looking forward to it although it's quite expensive. But when it comes to this pregnancy and the baby, Rhuel and I are quite OC and competitive. :)

I will also be having a complete blood test next month. Hope everything turns out okay. I'm anxious about my blood sugar levels because there's a tendency for pregnant women to develop gestational diabetes. I've been watching my sugar intake and hopefully that will help.

The baby's still in a breech position. Hopefully he'll move in the following months.

I feel some fluttering movements in my tummy once in a while. I'm not sure if it's just my hungry tummy grumbling or if the baby's been doing somersaults in there. Exciting. :)

I still listen to the classical music playlist that Rhuel uploaded in his iPod. I also find time to read aloud for the baby. I normally read fairy tales and kiddie stories but Rhuel also wants me to read business news to keep the baby smart, hehe. Sana effective.

I guess that's it for now. Hope to have juicier details to share next month. :)

Baby Update #5 - March 3, 2014

Today, we had our check up for March. We had to go to the clinic extra early because I also had my complete blood and glucose test. I had to fast from 12 midnight and be at the clinic by 8 am. Gutom!

When we got to the clinic, the nurse had to extract blood from me for the complete blood test. She tried getting blood from the usual spot (opposite the elbow) but my vein disappeared after she stuck the syringe in me. She tried to revive the vein but she just could not find it so she had to move to another spot. She injected the part opposite my wrist. She mentioned that it's a last resort because that part hurts more. So not helpful, ate! It was not that bad though. Yes, it was a bit more painful than the usual spots but I'd rather have it there at one go than have 2 different spots being tortured.

After the blood extraction, I was made to drink a liquid that was too sweet. According to the nurse, it was water with glucose. I had to finish the glass of liquid within 5 minutes. I did it in maybe 2-3 minutes. I guess it helped that I was hungry and thirsty. It tasted okay but it was just way too sweet for me. And that's saying a lot for a girl with a sweet tooth like me.

I was still prohibited from eating and drinking anything for the next 2 hours while my body was in the process of absorbing the sweet liquid. Had time to read some e-book and sleep for a few minutes.

I was quite anxious about the glucose test. Pregnant women are prone to gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy). Being a lover of sweet stuff, I was scared that my blood sugar level would be higher than normal. I have tried so hard to control my intake of sweets ever since I found out that I was pregnant. I'm successful most of the time (no more soft drinks for me) but I can't help it in some instances. I'd cheat by eating 2 little pieces of chocolate for dessert. But I've noticed that I already have low tolerance for sweet stuff.

When the 2-hour waiting time was almost up, my OB arrived and called me to her clinic for my check-up. Told them about my bout with cough and colds the past week. I was advised to take some organic medicine for a week.

No ultrasound this time because I'm having my CAS in a week or two. The doctor just listened to the baby's heartbeat. Kilig. :) My lungs sounded clear so no worries there.

I gained almost 2 kilos from the last check-up. Tsktsk. Must watch my diet. Good thing the doctor seemed to be in a hurry so she did not have the time to scold me hehe.

The doctor prescribed the same vitamins for me.

After the pre-natal check-up, the glucose test was performed. It was fast. They just pricked my ring finger and they already knew the result. 113. I thought I was in trouble because I read somewhere that the normal range is up to 110. Brr.

When I went back to the doctor's clinic, my OB announced that the result was normal and I tested negative for hepatitis. Whew. The other results will follow. I hope they're all normal too. Afterwards, I was able to munch on some crackers. Yey! :)

This month's check-up was more expensive than usual (almost twice the price). But that's due to the blood and glucose test. The nurse explained that I can opt to skip the other tests for now but I would need to have them done before I give birth. Er, I'd rather do everything together.

I had another LBM episode earlier in February. My suspect: the bagnet with bagoong from Pino. Sayang, masarap pa naman. I think it was compounded by the Chicken Joy I had from Jollibee. Oo na, baby, ayaw mo ng fast food. Max's na lang tayo lagi, hehe. I had to undergo some test to make sure I did not have amoebiasis. The results were okay, I was cleared. I just need to be very careful with the food I eat. I notice that I also have lower tolerance for salty food. Good, good.

Rhuel has also been sick the past few weeks. He had LBM too. Suspect: all those sandwiches at Richmonde Hotel in Eastwood. His head ached for a few days and he has yet to gain back his appetite. I hope he fully recovers soon.

Baby had his first gifts from Tita Joyce and Tita Diana (my high school classmate). So lovely. So dapat boy na talaga siya. Will post pictures later.

Can't wait to undergo the 4D ultrasound and CAS. Hope everything will be normal there too. :)

Baby Update #6 - April 4, 2014 (My birthday!)

March was a busy month for us!

The other tests done at my OB's clinic all yielded good results. Hopefully, things will stay that way until I give birth.

March 17 - We had our Congenital Anomaly Scan at the OB-Gyn Ultrasound in Festival Mall in Alabang. The doctor said everything appeared normal and she did not see any anomalies. Whew. We're praying that the scan was really comprehensive and she didn't miss out on anything. It was so nice to see the baby move, yawn, open his eyes, etc.

The doctor finally confirmed for sure that we're having a boy. Yey! Another Mercado in the family. God has been so good and generous. When we were praying for a baby, of course, we were not so choosy. We just wanted a baby - girl or boy. But as a footnote to our prayer, we told Jesus that we would prefer a boy and He gave us one. :)

We got the CAS + 4D package which cost Php5,200. The baby was not so cooperative during the 4D/3D part. He'd cover his face with his arms or legs. Ang tagal namin. The doctor asked me to walk around for 30 minutes and to come back but we still got the same results later on. So she gave us the option to return within 2 weeks during her schedule so we can have another 3D/4D session. We agreed to return the following week.

March 24 - Second try at 3D/4D. The baby became even more uncooperative this time. Shy type daw sabi ng doctor. Hehe. I think we got better shots during the first session. After several futile attempts, we decided that we're contented with the photos and videos we had.

We got the CD of the photos and videos after 3 days. Kakatuwa. Rhuel finally had something to post on Facebook. Excited e, hehe. :D

We had our monthly check-up this week. Same vitamins were prescribed, no new ones. My doctor sort of scolded me for gaining about 4 pounds in a month. She asked me to watch my diet. Bawas daw sa rice. Or try brown rice daw. :( We were using brown rice before I found out that I was pregnant. But during my first trimester, I could not hold down the brown rice so we had to switch back to white rice. I'm not sure if I can take it this time.

Anyway, I'm watching my food intake. Sorry, baby, diet ka rin. :)

I'll be having check-ups every two weeks now that I'm already on my final trimester. Here's hoping that everything will turn out okay. Brr. Can't wait to see and hold this lil boy. :)

Baby Update #7 - April 22, 2014

I had a check-up last week and again, I was reminded to watch my diet. Boo! The doctor says my tummy's size is still within the prescribed measurements but she expects it to balloon as my due date draws nearer so I need to pace myself. I guess it didn't help that I spent the previous week in a hotel where Rhuel had a seminar and I had buffet breakfast for 5 days. Don't worry, I made up for it by eating oatmeal for lunch.

Anyway, the check-up was a routine one. The doctor just listened to the baby's heartbeat and measured my tummy then we were free to go. Next check-up will be in a week.

I'm beginning to have panic/anxiety attacks. I started researching on the stuff we need to buy for the baby and the list is quite overwhelming. He is our first baby so we really need to start from scratch. I panicked at the thought that I am already in my final trimester and we have yet to buy anything for the baby. I didn't even know what types and the number of clothes we need to buy for him. And where to buy them. Thank God for the Internet. The attacks have become more controlled now.

We had some items purchased from the US - an Avent breast pump, an Avent electric steamer, and 3 swaddle blankets. The first 2 items are way cheaper there compared to those sold here. We're fortunate that my brother-in-law has a friend who regularly ships a box to the Philippines so we had the items delivered to his house and we're supposed to get them by next month. Only problem Rhuel sees (which we realized belatedly) is that the items might be 110 volts, while we use 220 volts here. We'll see when we get the goodies.

The swaddle blankets are not exactly cheaper but they're very easy to use. I want to make things as easy as possible for me and Rhuel because it's our first time. We can use all the magic and miracle we can get. On hindsight though, I should have purchased fewer pieces because they say that babies outgrow swaddling very fast, some of them even hate it. Oh well. (PS We never got to use the swaddle blankets. And they are sold locally! Cheaper pa! Hmpf!)

We also got a little cabinet for the little boy. We're lucky to have a Uratex/furniture shop near our house. They assemble and deliver stuff for you so you don't need to worry about anything. My initial idea of a cabinet was a kiddie one - similar to what my siblings and I used - complete with drawings of children. But I'm lucky to have a practical husband who insisted that we get something neutral or something that our son can use for a long time. Of course, the size is still small since it's still a kiddie cabinet but the design's more neutral. It's very affordable but don't expect materyales fuertes. It would have to do for now.

One of the first things we bought for the baby were children's books. We chanced upon a sale in National Bookstore and we hoarded all the kiddie books we can get. This started our kiddie book addiction. We proceeded to hoard books from Booksale. Admittedly though, the baby won't be reading some of the books until he's maybe 3 or 4 years old. Eh mura eh, sulit naman. :D We want our son to love reading too. :)

During my research for baby clothes, I read that SM department store is still the best place to visit. They sell generic stuff at reasonable prices. But Rhuel hates going to department stores, especially SM kasi madaming tao. Hassle daw. Good thing I found some sort of warehouse that sells baby clothes which are export over-runs. It's  located in Makati so it's somehow convenient for us.

We went there on Black Saturday and it was baby clothes heaven. Rhuel didn't seem excited at first but when he saw that they were selling sporty stuff, he began digging through the items too. Sayang lang because they were selling mostly American football stuff although we did manage to get a Lakers hoodie. We had to get 2 different sizes because Daddy wants the baby to wear it as a going home outfit. :D

The shop is called Hello Baby. They have a factory in Bulacan and they export stuff to the US. The over-runs or the rejects are sold in the owner's house in Bel-Air Makati (48 Zodiac St.). The shop is managed by Manang Vicky, an old lady who must have been a yaya earlier in her life. She's very helpful. When she learned that we were having our first baby, she knew immediately that we were a clueless couple. Although I had a list of the stuff I wanted to buy with the corresponding quantities, seeing all those baby clothes was quite overwhelming for me. Manang started shoving stuff on my face, "O ito, kuha ka ng 6 nito, ito kahit 3 lang, wag madami kasi kakalakihan din agad. Balik ka pag 3 months na." And I happily hugged the items she gave me. Rhuel was a very involved husband - he would veto some clothes if he thought the colors were too girly or not solid enough. We got a lot of stuff - tiesides, onesies, towels, blankets, booties, mittens, caps, frog suits, bibs, hoodies, lampin, comforter. We bought a lot of items that we had to withdraw some more money to pay for our goodies. Wala kasing credit card. But I think everything was worth it.

After the trip to Hello Baby, we decided to get our baby's crib too. Although we have not been buying stuff yet, we have been actively canvassing since early this year. I checked stuff online and we also checked out baby stores in malls. Deciding on what crib to get was quite difficult. We wanted the wooden ones but they're just too expensive. :( The Cuddlebug convertible cribs (can be converted to a toddler bed, day bed, and eventually a full bed) are soooo nice. But we have to be practical. We wanted to get a crib that can also be used as a playpen so the baby can use it for a long time. The problem was everything seemed to be made in China. One salesman even told me, "Eh lahat naman ho yan China." Oo na. But I was still apprehensive about getting one. It didn't help that one of the brands we were considering was not only made in China, it was also manufactured by a Chinese company. Double whammy.

When we had the chance to go around Greenbelt 5 last month, we visited Youji and Me. They were selling a Cuddlebug crib/playpen at 50% off. The brand was manufactured by a Taiwanese company. The design was okay and it came with a changing pad, mosquito net, 3 bears, a vibrator, and it can be used as a rocker too - all for Php2,499. It was the cheapest we have seen so far so we decided to buy it. We even got 2 cribs so we can have one for our room upstairs and one for day use downstairs. Sulit naman. We considered co-sleeping at night pero baka delikado. So we got the 2 cribs. (PS One crib would have sufficed. The baby hates staying in the crib. And we're co-sleeping too! Oh well, everything's really trial and error, hehe.)

Initially, I wanted to have the baby clothes washed and ironed already. Excited. We got a Cycles mild detergent for babies. But when I researched, I read that some babies were allergic to the detergent. I consider my husband and I to have sensitive skin so I didn't want to risk it. We decided to return the item and get Perla laundry bar soaps instead. Some pedias recommend Perla because it's gentle and mild. Alas, on the day we were supposed to return the item, I sat on the detergent box which caused it to be deformed. Di naman nabuksan pero nagkaron ng konting butas. Buti deadma si ate sa Shopwise. I was still able to return the item despite the box's dilapidated state. I've controlled myself too and decided that the clothes will be washed in May. :D

I still have a long way to go before I finish my shopping list but I expect to finish by next month. Siguro, isang trip na lang to the mall and we'll be ready. Brr.

We've decided to use cloth diapers on the baby because it's more economical in the long run, apart from being earth friendly too. Nakakaloka nga lang mag-research about cloth diapers. Info overload and there are a lot of brands out there. I've spent maybe the last 3 days reading up on cloth diapers and I have yet to make up my mind on what brand and type to use. At least I've narrowed down my list and I think I'm close to making a final decision. Concerned nga lang ako how soon the baby can use the cloth diapers since we plan to have him circumcised already. Gotta read some more.

Indeed, having a baby is life-changing. And overwhelming! Don't even get me started on the stuff I've read about giving birth itself. Baka di na ko makatulog if I keep on thinking about them. Ang iniisip ko na lang, as long as we do our best, I'm sure we'll be fine. We will never be the perfect parents but if we keep on trying, I think we'd be close enough to achieving that. :)

Baby Update #8 - May 16, 2014

And we're down to the last stretch!!!

The past month, I had pre-natal check-ups every two weeks. This time, I will be having weekly check-ups. I'm quite anxious because I have not seen the baby in almost 2 months (no ultrasound since March). Although we always listen to his heartbeat every time we see the doctor, it's still different when you actually see him on the screen. I'll have an ultrasound next week and I can't wait. Maybe we'll have an idea too on whether he'll be delivered normal or through CS. Brr.

I think we're done shopping. Of course, the shopping will never end but I think we've covered the basics. At least the baby won't be naked when he arrives. :D The nursery's full of his stuff already, although we have yet to assemble the crib. His clothes and cloth diapers have been washed. Our hospital bags are 80% ready. Just need to add a few more items on the day itself. We have not washed his feeding bottles yet and we're still waiting for the items arriving from the US. Over-all, though, I think we're ready in this department.

Where will I give birth is the next big question we need to deal with. I think the husband's made up his mind but he will defer to whatever decision I make. The problem is, I cannot seem to have that final decision. I'm torn between two hospitals. Let's just say it's a battle between Makati Shangri-La and Holiday Inn. They're both good hotels with their own pros and cons. I'm aware that one hospital will provide superb service and amenities. The other hospital seems okay, albeit with some issues discussed by the OB. Based on the initial fee computations, the rates of the two do not seem to be that different from each other. But, the husband and I are aware that the risk of paying more expensive "miscellaneous" fees in the other hospital may be higher. So here I am, less than a month away from my estimated due date and with no final plan on what hospital to choose. In my heart, I know I want to go with Makati Shang. But I do have to grow-up, mature, and be practical. Hay, growing up sucks. Oh well, by Wednesday next week, we will most likely have a final decision because that's when doctor's giving me my admission order. So help us God.

I've been brushing up on my birthing knowledge. Initially, I did not want to read What to Expect When You're Expecting because I read somewhere that it's bound to make you paranoid about so many things. But I've succumbed to the pressure. I do not want to be utterly clueless when I give birth so I started reading the book. Okay naman siya. It's been helpful and informative so far. I guess it helps that I'm way past the first and second trimesters so there's really no use in worrying about all the other stuff. I have other books lined up and hopefully, I'll be able to read all of them before the big day.

Fatigue has revisited me again this month. It's as if I have a self-imposed bed rest because I can't seem to get enough of my bed lately. It's still more bearable that what I went through during the first trimester. At least I am no longer vomiting this time. But I get tired so easily. Yesterday, Rhuel had a racket in QC so I went to Marikina while waiting for him. I was a spoiled passenger all throughout (thanks to the husband and the brother), I was able to rest a bit in Marikina, I was well-fed, but I still ended up super tired. Maybe it's the heat. I don't know. Still need to recharge to get back my energy. I plan to be more mobile once I've reached full term. I'm kinda afraid to move around a lot these days because I don't want to risk any pre-term labor. I think I just have a week or two to go before the waiting game begins.

Rhuel has been a very helpful and supportive husband for the past 8 months. He's been taking good care of me and even scolding me if I do not follow doctor's orders. He constantly reminds me about watching what I eat. I would not have survived without him. And I find it really cute when he asks me about how to carry the baby. I think he's asked me about 3-5 times already. Kinakabahan din. I'm sure he'll make an excellent father.

Time for my morning rest. Hope I can give weekly updates. :)

Baby Update #9 - May 23, 2014

We had our weekly check-up last Wednesday. My OB performed an internal examination and it was quite traumatic. Same culprit: that hard bone/muscle that becomes even harder when I'm tensed. While I was repeatedly told to relax, I think I became even more tensed. Hay, what to do?

The doctor also performed an ultrasound. The baby's engaged according to her, meaning, he's in proper position already. (Please stay that way, babe!) But my cervix is still hard to reach and it's still closed. So I was prescribed Eveprim to help ripen my cervix. I have to take it 3 times a day for a week. Estimated fetal weight is around 6.6 pounds. I'm not sure if he'll grow bigger by the time I give birth. Basta yung kaya i-normal keri na. :)

I'm still required to take the same vitamins minus the Advanced Omega. The doctor's pleased that I don't have tummy stretch marks and pamamanas. She always asks me about the oil I apply on my tummy.

(Aside: My other OB, the main OB's daughter, is also pregnant. 6 months daw. Coolness.)

I was given instructions to monitor my baby's movements at least once a day. I should note the first movement after breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Then, I should be able to count at least 10 movements within an hour. If that does not happen in one day, I should go to the doctor's clinic the following day for an ultrasound to make sure that the baby's okay.

I was also advised on some labor symptoms to watch out for. Bleeding, contractions that start from the back and are 5 minutes apart, breaking of the water bag. If it's the first 2, I was advised to call the doctor first to confirm if I should proceed to the hospital already. If it's the last one, I should immediately go to the hospital. But because I'm a neat freak, I asked if I could still take a bath before going to the hospital, pwede pa rin naman daw, hehe.

I was given my admitting orders. I'll be free to move around first without IV, I can eat light meals, epidural once I'm in active labor. The doctor insists on epidural because of the hard muscle/bone I have. She also prefers that I give birth in Asian because of this although the admitting order will also be accepted in Southern Luzon. Decisions, decisions.

Another check-up next week. Hopefully the IE won't be that bad.