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 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!
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!
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.