A Mother is Born

Pregnancy. Having a baby. Just happened. Now that it’s almost been three months since our bundle of joy, Maria Caeli (pronounced Ma-ree-yuhh Che-lly) was born, I’m looking back at how I was thrusted into motherhood through those crazy and exciting months.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy was a beautiful understanding of my body. It was a short nine-month anticipation with our family members of the new life that will give lots of sparkle and (chaos) to our lives. Pregnancy is the celebration and birth of the mother. Her body is literally keeping another person alive! It’s amazing. If you take care of the mother, you immediately safeguard the life you will meet soon enough.

I considered that nine months as my time with my husband to cherish the few months for us to be newlyweds alone together. I was very particular about this to the point that I stressed it to him almost everyday. (Geez, right?) I would even count down the months before the beginning of our family and the final days of being just the both of us as a newlywed couple. It was a period of getting to know each other better than before and ‘enjoy’ just the two of us. We even went on some trips together. Although I admit, we took extra precautions because of all the cravings and the heaviness of my body.

Because we were newlyweds and doting soon-to-be parents, we had to balance those stages of our lives well.

Our new role as parents to our baby were slowly taking its place as my unpredictable hormones, cravings and growing baby bump were taking centerstage.

The balancing act was in enjoying my pregnancy with my husband and embracing motherhood while keeping my husband very much involved!

Embracing Motherhood

Part of parenthood was getting to know our baby. Every month, we would scroll to our Pregnancy App (MyBabyCenter) and read about how much she’s grown and how her body matured. My husband would talk and whisper to her every night and tell her what he did during the day – those conversations would always make me giggle! We both got so excited every time she would kick and make waves on my belly.

I also embraced motherhood by decidedly giving the both of us (me and baby) what I knew would be good for us. Even if all I wanted to do was binge on all the junk food I could scarf down and I allowed it for a while but I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at the tail end of my pregnancy (it’s a kind of diabetes that most pregnant women get due to the hormonal imbalances and would typically disappear after birth). That was an inconvenience but I knew that I had to be strict about watching my diet and made a point to exercise. I thought of it as the best way to prepare her for birth.

After every meal, I would have to prick my finger and have my blood tested to see if the food I ate caused my blood sugar to go up. Needles terrify me! During every blood test I would close my eyes and hint at the nurse to make it a painless extraction so I was really scared to have to do this 3 times a day but I thought of it as a way for me to get used to needles and seeing blood. Aside from that, I watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy to prep me for my stay at the hospital. I also walked and swam a lot!

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Me and Lance at our baby shower, I was 6 months pregnant

Birth

I woke up at 4AM on May 30 because I was getting contractions way more frequently than they were ever before. I noticed that the intervals were getting closer to each other. I knew that, that was it! I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I knew though that if I really let that moment sink in, I would be in total shock!

I considered it as a normal day. In my mind, it was a normal day, of a normal birth, that normal pregnant women go through when their due date was up. To stress how normal it was, I went to my mom’s room, woke her up and smiled to tell her “we’re going to the hospital… it’s time.” Insert that wide grin.

Other more important preparations before the big day were spiritual. My doctor forewarned me that we wouldn’t know the team of nurses and doctors on the day of birth. She also said we wouldn’t know if I would be getting a cesarian or giving birth normally (and boy did we want to have a normal delivery). Also, we didn’t know how my labor was going to go at all! So we just prayed for the best! I prayed for a good team – specifically for a good anaesthesiologist and for a normal birth. I prayed for a good labor. I prayed for our daughter’s birthday to be on May 30. I especially prayed for a healthy baby.

God was definitely there because the entire experience was filled with positivity and excitement. When we arrived at the hospital, I walked with a limp to the chapel to pay God a visit. I don’t even remember what I prayed about but I’m sure He was happy to see me besides He knew what I needed more than me.

I got to the labor room with a disposition to make the birth as relaxed and as easy I could possibly make it. So it ensued. Through all the pain, I desperately tried to inject humour when I talked to my doctors and nurses. Even if the labor room was making me claustrophobic, I was soothed by the messages my husband and mom were reading to me from friends and loved ones who were getting minute-by-minute updates of the progress.

And when I was in the delivery room, I asked to be blindfolded so that I wouldn’t have to see (and consequently freak out by) any blood or anything else that was happening down there. I even asked my doctor not to tell me if she was giving me an episiotomy. The TV was on and we watched Princess Diary 2 through the whole thing.

Baby Maria was born at 7 pounds and 11 ounces on May 30, 2015 (Saturday) at 3:21PM after an 8 hour labor and 1 hour delivery time. She came out crying her lungs out and pooped all over my dressing. What a happy sight.

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Hello, mum!

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A Candid take on Pregnancy

Announcement: We’re expecting a bundle of joy next year!

The Story

During the last leg of our honeymoon, there was something terribly strange about me – physically, emotionally and psychologically. I was nauseous all the time but I never vomited. The nausea would only stop after we ate something – whether it was gelato or cold cuts with cheese. Even if we were eating, I was always tired. We were going through the gorgeous Duomo of Siena and I just wanted to sit down on every bench while my husband was practically jumping around the place in excitement. My emotions were high and low and it was noticeable.

My tiredness was at its peak when we were on our way home. It was a 3 hour bus ride from Siena to Rome, a 45 minute cab ride from the bus station to the airport followed by an accumulated 16 hour flight from Rome to DOHA and DOHA to Manila and finally another 45 minutes from the Clark International Airport to the house. I dropped dead tired and until now I recall the feeling of being stuck in bed and not wanting to come out for days!

With all the craziness that was going on with me, I just knew it. I knew there was a person inside of me trying to get my attention and telling me “Hey, Mommy, I’m right here. I’m trying to get comfortable and grow. Sorry for making you feel sick all the time but I promise you it’s for my own good!

I went back to work a day after we arrived. After work, my best friend was my bed. Finally, Lance wanted to have peace of mind so we decided to buy a pregnancy test from the drug store. The result was POSITIVE.

The moment when the two pink sticks came out was when Lance was screaming, sweating and jumping in excitement and sheer bliss. I, on the other hand, had a silent experience with myself in an almost panic. There is a human being and he’s really in me. Well, I don’t know anything. How am I going to take care of myself since we haven’t exactly started our new life yet? How am I going to manage everything at home, taking care of a baby in my womb and working at an eight to five job? 

I’ve never in my life been so enveloped with worry and distress. The reality hit me big time. Albeit it’s natural. At the same time, there was a lot of relief that what I initially just knew was actually true and I could lead my life aware and ready to take care of the growing baby.

If my life were centered around myself and what I could do, I would forever be worried… thank goodness we started this relationship with God at the center of our relationship and until our married life. Putting back all the worry, this baby is the ultimate gift to our small family. A friend of my husband even said: “Isn’t that amazing that the love of your marriage has this as its fruit?”

Motherhood and Marriage

There is a pervading thought in this day and age that mirrors itself in media and common societal dispositions and its the “Me Mentality.” I have to reach this to be able to do this I need to build a business to be this Me. Me. Me.

Because it’s so common, I can hear the thought about newlyweds speak clearly in my mind: Didn’t you guys want to just enjoy each other first before having kids?

The tough part is that it isn’t impossible to start considering it as your own thought. Judging from the sound of what that question implies is that a couple should be selfish with one another first before considering having kids. I understand that many newlyweds may want to wait it out because of financial issues. But let’s be honest, who knows when a married couple is financially ready to have kids?

There are way too many statistics out there calculating how much a child would cost to be raised in this day and age but no statistics can be made of the miracles that may happen when they love the life they allow to live. Neither is there any statistic for the creativity and willpower parents will have to find ways to make ends meet.

The beautiful part about this pregnancy is that I am reminded that I’m not alone and my primary caregiver is my husband. He knows so well how I can get caught up in my own thoughts that one night he had to look at my eye and say: “I am not allowing you to go through this alone. Trust me. I’m here.

That’s when I knew I was really married.

Baby: The Real Deal

A few days later, we visited the OB-gyne and I got an ultrasound.

On the black and white screen, I saw the matchstick head sized baby in me. Besides just seeing, the most spectacular part about it was that the doctor recorded his heartbeat. My baby is just a month into life and he/she has a heartbeat that technology recorded. Please tell me that that is the clearest sign that this baby is a human being. PLEASE.

I was just reading a comment trail on a blog entry about how a lady shouldn’t push through with her abortion and so many of those comments were telling the blogger that it’s her choice whether to have a baby or not. One comment even implied that it shouldn’t be anyone’s business because abortion is way too overrated to be cared about. They were bantering back and forth about scientific data of fetus development yada yada yada. As a soon-to-be mother, my eyes just widened.

I know that that baby is a baby with a heartbeat. Isn’t that enough? When a person is near-death, the medics check the pulse of the patient and revives them with a defibrillator! I can’t imagine the kind of conscience a person who could end any person’s heartbeat – whether pea-sized or what society implies the right age to die. What makes this argument worse is that women are defending their “right to abort” while there are men willing to risk their name for abortion to end. This women’s right to abortion is defended with “I” “Me” and “Mine” statements. That says a lot about women’s purpose in life.

Since this is becoming a rather long update, I want to end it on a happy note. 🙂 Nowadays, it’s hard enough to inspire couples to get married but where life is concerned, I sure hope it won’t be as tough as a decision to keep life.

There is so much happiness in new life. I noticed that as days pass by the people around me are more and more concerned about my (rather, our) health and even get out of their way to make the simple things easier for me to do. Maybe other moms don’t have the same good fortune as I am gratefully receiving but I’m sure that one bad experience doesn’t and couldn’t possibly outweigh the good and happy experiences they received from those around them.

New life begets a new love.