1 Becomes 2

It’s been a crazy/hectic/chaotic/rewarding first quarter of 2018.

I had a baby in January, making us a family of 4. We are now parents to a 3-year-old little lady and a nearly-4-month-old baby boy. The last months went by in a blur of diaper changes, breastfeeding sessions, daycare dropoffs & pickups, runny noses, potty training (which hasbeen successful since May 2nd! Our girl is free of diapers!), house chores.

This week, I started working again after a 4-month maternity leave. So I’m in that phase where I’m trying to get a feel of what routine works best for us on a weekday. Some seem to work, but we’ll see.

The key to my sanity is flexibility.

Which is something that doesn’t come naturally to me because I love a sense of control.

But I must give myself a little credit. Over the past few weeks, I’m starting to be less rigid. Two very young chidren are teaching me to slow down, go with the flow every once in a while, admire the flowers and marvel at the birds around us.

When I try to see the world through the eyes of our toddler, I feel a little more carefree. I feel more alive. And it feels easier to just BREATHE.

It’s awesome that a tiny human can teach me – an adult – how to LIVE.

Being a mother to two is SO tiring, SO demanding, SO hectic, but OH SO REWARDING. The love I give is returned twice as much.

I never thought I’d live this life. I’m so grateful I am part of this family of four.

Advertisements

Emmanuel’s birth story

I officially became a mother of two on January 13, 2018 at 5:30 PM!

Emmanuel decided to join us nearly three weeks earlier than expected. My water broke at 3:30 AM. No contractions AT ALL. The doctor said I was 3 CM dilated then, and transitioned to 4 CM after three to four hours.

He was taking his sweet time!

I felt some contractions, but they weren’t as strong as I anticipated at 4 CM dilation. The whole experience was a deviation from when I gave birth to our oldest (contractions beginning day before the birth; water broke the next day, when the contractions were closer together; fully dilated two to three hours after water broke). I was eventually given Pitocin, and, thankfully this time around, I received epidural.

When we reached the final phase of labor and delivery, the doctor ordered to stop administering the epidural. According to her, I wasn’t pushing effectively; I needed to appreciate the contractions more, so I can push properly. I started panicking. I knew how those contractions felt at 10 CM dilation and fully effaced from when I gave birth to our oldest. Thankfully, my husband and I knew this time around what we can do to make it through that phase. We didn’t attend birthing classes (nor did we for our oldest), but I found this Youtube channel called Prenatal Yoga Center which discussed tips on how to make it through labor & delivery. Two things I learned: (1) Open throat, open vagina, and (2) 4 breaths in, and 4 breaths out.

My husband knew about the breathing technique (I told him about it). He was very instrumental in helping me focus on the breathing technique when they stopped administering the epidural. He was very supportive, and proactive as well in letting my nurse know how I was feeling, and asking the necessary questions I couldn’t ask during that time. I also have to acknowledge my nurse at that time (whose name I can’t remember now!) for suggesting ways to help the baby along. She repositioned me to allow Emmanuel to descend on his own, with the help of the contractions (which meant no pushing to allow myself to rest!). She was also the one who suggested I lie on my left side while pushing, which proved to be very effective.

My medical team was about to recommend a C-section (because of failure to descend), when I suddenly felt something like a massive constipated poop after pushing while lying on my left side, with my knees together. I knew it was Emmanuel. My body’s instinct was to lift my right leg to allow the baby through, and I told Ed I could feel his head coming out. Ed immediately told my nurse what he saw, which surprised her, coz she was already preparing the forms to do the C-section! She immediately called the rest of the medical team. Two minutes after the doctors came in, and following the “stop pushing!” order, I heard a flopping sound, and then the distinct crying of a baby at exactly 5:30 PM.

I instantly felt this rush of (surprisingly) relaxation! I never expected to feel that way after VBAC. It was a very humbling and empowering experience all at once. Minutes after Emmanuel was out, I couldn’t describe and remember exactly how painful the contractions were, and how I struggled through them. To this day, I’m still in awe of what my body can endure.

So there it is! That’s Emmanuel’s birth story. It’s completely different from Isla’s, and I think their personalities are as different as it can be as well! I’m really looking forward to getting to know this little boy while watching him grow.

Rainbow

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know that I had a blighted ovum earlier this year.

Fast forward to November 23, 2017 – I am 10 weeks away from giving birth to our baby boy!

Yes, you read that correctly. I conceived again (2 months after miscarrying, as per doctor’s advice hehe) and expecting our second child.

This has been used so many times in the age of social media, but we truly feel #blessed. We didn’t plan on conceiving again two months after miscarrying, but it happened. And we’re more than ecstatic!

Our little girl, who will turn 3 yrs old in February, doesn’t quite understand yet the impact of another baby in our life. But she knows there’s a baby in my belly. She’d kiss and hug it often. And sometimes when I find myself unable to stand up, she’d offer her hand to help me up, the way her Papa does.

Such a sweet sweet child. And I hope it stays that way when the new baby is here.

It’s just been a whirlwind of activities at home – from the usual chores to easing our girl into going to daycare more than 3x a week. We’re potty training, too! Add work to the mix, and all those things suddenly become too much of a challenge when I’m growing another human inside me. Thankfully, the husband is more than willing to take over for me when my body couldn’t handle the daily demands of the household.

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. We’ve had tons of trials to overcome this year, but much more to be grateful for. This rainbow baby is, indeed, blessing to our growing family. I couldn’t be happier.

Well. Until I give birth, that is.

Pre-preschool ongoing!

Our little girl started daycare on March 6. She’s been going to ‘school’ 3x a week. We used to bring her from Monday to Wednesday, but switched to Wednesday to Friday to accommodate a day tour of NYC when my brother and his wife were here for vacation during the last week of March. It turned out to be a better schedule for her. She has a more consistent daycare schedule this way, since most of the holidays before the last quarter of the year fell on a Monday.

Adjusting to daycare was difficult during the first 2-3 weeks. She’d start screaming and running away from me when she’d see me taking out clothes or when I try changing her diaper in the morning, even if we were only going to church on Sunday. Drop-off started becoming a nightmare on Day 2. And, at pick-up time, she’d start crying and would run to me when she realized it was me at the door (the teachers told me the ringing bell in the afternoon would make her cry when she realized it wasn’t me or her papa at the door to pick her up).

Slowly, she became attached to one of the assistant teachers. Before the first 4 weeks were over, the director told me that Isla was participating more on her own. I noticed she didn’t fret anymore when I changed her diaper and clothes before breakfast. She still preferred to be carried on our walk to daycare, but she didn’t cry anymore when we entered its doors. And the time came when  she’d walk into their classroom without a glance back to me.

daycare

Our little girl is slowly gaining some form of independence. She’s trying to experience things on her own (i.e., without me or her papa), and she seems to be having a lot fun!

Can’t wait to find out what will happen next!

One out of four

I still can’t put my thoughts into words properly today, but I’m less emotional now than 3 days ago.

We thought we had turned our little girl into a big sister. After the third checkup, doctor truly confirmed that there’s no growing fetus in the sac.

The doctor confirmed I’m pregnant. But the pregnancy is not viable.

It happens in one out of four women. It’s not unusual.

It happened to my mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. I know of friends who miscarried halfway through the pregnancy. And there are those who had a stillborn.

But knowing these things still doesn’t make me feel better.

 

The pregnancy test yielded positive results. When the nurse at the OB-GYNE clinic checked, she confirmed I’m pregnant. I am still going through “morning” sickness (I feel it almost the entire day).

It is such a cruel joke.

Some might say “Hey, at least you already have one child.”

Or: “You can always try again. You’re still young!”

Or: “At least it happened early on, when you’re not that far along yet.”

Even if I’ve had 10 kids before this, even if I know we can still try to conceive again, and no matter how far along in the pregnancy it happened, a loss is still a loss.

It still crushes my heart and my spirit. It is…was going to be our second baby.

I do hope and pray that God will help us accept the reality of the situation and help us deal with the pain we are feeling.

One day, we will be okay.

 

Pre-pre-school

My little girl and I visited a nearby daycare center who accepts kids as young as 2 years old. With her second birthday approaching in a little more than a month, it was just right for us to start looking for a good daycare center.

The facility looked good. Kids in Isla’s age group are in a separate classroom with little chairs and tables. Her group normally consists of 10 children, with one teacher and one teacher’s assistant. As a child grows older, he/she is transferred to another group.

The daycare center follows an academic philosophy, but they do have a time for naps and play after lunch. The “academic” part of the day is from 9AM to 12NN. I’m mostly worried that Isla will be too headstrong and won’t do anything she doesn’t want to, but the 3-hour “academic” activities doesn’t sound too bad! And, according to the director, it will be like playtime for her.

The best part about our visit was seeing Isla’s curiosity. When we took a peek in the classroom for her age group, she stared at all the kids and wanted to go in. She couldn’t, of course (not yet, anyway), but I hope her curiosity stays with her for when the time comes that we are able to enroll her.

While I’m worried about leaving her in the daycare center, without me or her Papa, I’m excited for her to begin making friends and learning new and interesting things! We have more than a month to prepare her (and myself! LOL!) to introduce her to a new routine. I’m optimistic that this will be a very fruitful year for our little girl.

Isla’s first trip to the Motherland

Our little girl was asked to be a flower girl in my cousin’s wedding. In the Philippines. And Ed didn’t have enough vacation hours to make the trip.

So, on Dec 7, 2016, Isla and I took the more-than-half-a-day trip in a glorified tin can by ourselves FOR THE FIRST TIME.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-08-15-27
Our LÍLLÉbaby Complete carrier with its lumbar support was a life-saver! (not sponsored)

I had to make sure I packed only one suitcase for both of us. With her stroller on top of the suitcase, I wheeled the whole thing through airport check-in while she was strapped in front of me and her diaper bag on my back. It would have been nice if a stranger offered help, but I was able to manage (the people in Davao City, Philippines are different, though. They don’t ask you if you need help. They just immediately help you with your stuff! Bless them.)

I had these visions (or nightmares, if you will) of Isla’s first intercontinental trip – tantrums thrown while on the plane; food getting thrown and landing on people’s heads; diaper blowouts; missing our connecting flight. Those kinds of stuff. I was pleasantly surprised that none of those visions came true! Isla was such a darling during the flight. She didn’t scream (except for that one time before takeoff from JFK when she needed to nurse and I had to stow our stuff in the overhead bin), and she didn’t throw any tantrum. She just watched her favorite nursery rhyme videos on my iPad or watched an in-flight movie. If you didn’t pass by our seat, you wouldn’t even know I had a toddler with me. Hihi! I was lucky! And I’m so proud of how behaved she was during our flights.

While we were in the Philippines, she mostly clung to me for security and comfort. The new environment and the many relatives who wanted to hug and kiss her were too overwhelming for her. She did play with some of our relatives, if you count holding hands with them while dancing to karaoke songs (while I carried her). We took her to two different zoos – The Philippine Eagle Foundation and Crocodile Park. We took her to the beach, which she absolutely loved! The best part of the trip is spending time with my parents and my two aunts whom I haven’t seen since 2012.

img_1552

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-08-16-42

I’m so glad I was able to bring Isla to our Motherland. Sure, she’s too young to remember anything, but we have many pictures to show her. And this definitely won’t be her last trip.