Sunday, September 06, 2015

My Birthing Story - Bess Aguinaldo

37 weeks - that’s how long my baby had been in the tummy. My OB said that I could give birth any time but generally firstborns stay until  39-40 weeks in the tummy. And so, great! I have 2-3 more weeks before  we welcome our little bundle of joy. Being the usual busy bee, I attended branch visit during the weekend, engaged in field ministry,  went to work on a Monday and even pushed the grocery cart in the supermarket after work while waiting for hubby to arrive. There’s even an itinerary planned for the weekend.

 As we were about to go to sleep at 10PM of April 27, I noticed a  slight brownish mucus discharge. I remembered my OB’s words as she  mentioned that this kind of discharge is one of the early signs of labor. “Oh dear, this must be it!” I thought. I made calls to my mom and to the OB and hubby and I prepared the bags to be brought to the hospital.

 Fast forward to 1 AM of April 28. As per OB’s advice, my husband drove me to the hospital. I was checked and got advice to be admitted since I was already experiencing mild contractions, undergoing labor and was at 2cm. They strapped me in, checked my vital stats, and observed the  monitor that calibrated my contractions with percentage and baby’s  heartbeat. But I did not feel anything at all. I was even chatting, walking and dancing (yes!) with hubby in the labor room. I slept and woke up in the morning, still not feeling any pain at all.

 At 4 PM of April 28, I started to feel it. So this is what they call contractions, the one I’ve read from books and researched from Google to real-life experiences. Nurses asked me how I feel and I said “Oh, slight dysmenorrhea.” It was like a wavelike motion that move downwards. Mind you, it is bearable. Cervix had dilated for 6cm and I was asked to rate the pain from 1 to 10 (10 being the most painful) and I said “4”.

 At 8PM, I was advised to undergo epidural treatment, not because I felt extreme pain but because it had to be administered at a time when pain is still bearable. Asian Hospital is patient-friendly and allows companion from the labor room to the birthing room. As I was about to receive the epidural treatment, my mom and sister-in-law just arrived and with a big smile, I even said “Hello Mommy! Ate Rhy, hello!” Contrary to stories I’ve heard about the long needle and the pain, my epidural experience is not painful at all. I was like “That’s it?” and the anesthesiologist smiled at me.

After the epidural treatment, I was at 10cm and was transferred to the birthing/delivery room. My OB allowed the anesthesia to slowly wear off so I could feel the contractions. This helped me to push naturally. During this time, a proper breathing exercise was instructed to me so I can do the process properly. This ‘pushing stage’ was the most challenging for me yet the most empowering. A positive mindset really helped to be able to overcome this stage of labor. I remembered that I was even saying to my OB (yes, talking during labor) that giving birth was one of my greatest fears and I couldn’t believe I was there. Also, there was a time when I was pushing really hard and I pulled the arms of an anesthesiologist and a nurse at the same time. I said sorry and they said “That’s the right thing to do! Go, pull!” and we all laughed. The whole medical team was very positive and was cheering for me. Yes, childbirth is a really team effort. My loving husband, who was with me from the labor room until I gave birth, was an inspiration and I will never forget all his affectionate yet nervous cheers every time I pushed. And so after 2.5 hours (and countless sets of pushes), at 10:30PM of April 28, I gave birth to a healthy boy, Regan Bryce, via normal delivery.

 We later found out that labor took some time because he was cord-coiled both around his neck and body. But with the presence of 3 factors - continuous pushing, baby’s heartbeat not dropping and a great, expert and very patient OB, this was addressed. My heart still beats with joy and excitement as I remember this birthing story. During the ‘Unang Yakap’ or First Embrace, baby was given to me and placed on my chest. I cannot explain that wonderful feeling as I stared at him, listened to his cry and felt the warmth of his body.  As I thank my husband, my supportive family and friends, all the nurses and doctors, my OB (Dra. Leonila Estole-Casanova); I couldn’t help but marvel at how breathtaking this experience had been. And above all, I thank Jehovah God for the wonderful gift of life. Truly a treasure I vow to take care of.

At the delivery room - fully dilated and (nervously) smiling before the pushing :p

Unang Yakap - such a priceless moment!

That first cry - music to our ears

Baby's Bassinet - where baby slept while roomed in with us

Hello there, little one!

Sleeping cutie

Looking at Mommy

The best partner and the best dad :)

Loot bag for baby - Thanks Asian Hospital for the comfortable stay.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pregnancy Diary

First Trimester
When I found out that I am delayed for 3 days, which is unusual, we decided to have a pregnancy test. I never thought that those two lines would be the start of a life-changing journey. Upon getting confirmation from the OB and assessment of ultrasound results, we rejoice at the thought of having our little bundle of joy in the months to come. Of course, there were feelings of whether we’d be good parents and all, but with heartfelt prayer, a ready heart and an open mind, it was a positive experience. This was the time when I equipped myself with information. I read to be informed. I would also list down my questions to bring with me to ask my doctor during pre-natal check-ups. I filled myself with information from books and downloaded apps that provided updates such as What to Expect and Baby Center. I was fortunate enough never to experience the dreaded days of the first trimester such as morning sickness. But everything’s not perfect though. I had my own fair share of nausea, fainting attacks and dead tired weariness at night. They also say that this is the time when women get to eat what they crave for. I did not feel that to-die-for-craving, yet I found myself wanting ‘taho’ and hard-boiled egg all the time. I could eat hard-boiled egg for breakfast every day! As for taho, I regularly walked fifteen minutes a day just to buy taho in the morning. I wanted my taho with LESS arnibal (sugar syrup). I even had a funny encounter with my husband when he bought taho from the vendor in our subdivision. He regularly buys for us but that one morning, he forgot to mention that I want LESS arnibal, and that made me cry! Now, it seems like a hilarious encounter but yes, blame it to the hormones.

Second Trimester
If we are to name the golden age of pregnancy, I can say that it is the second trimester. I felt like my normal self again, with renewed strength and clearer mind to accomplish everyday tasks, except that I had to me more mindful of the baby inside me. Nausea bid goodbye and energy was restored. It is also the time when you’d feel the first movement inside you, such as a feeble and slight kick that will make you smile with joy. This is also the time when you can do the parent-baby bonding (hearing develops during this stage) or play a classical music track expecting that baby remembers it when it comes out. As excited parents, we regularly talked to our baby. Also, the baby bump develops and now is the time to show off to the world that you’re one great expectant mom. You can see strangers smiling at you whenever they see that bump. Priority lanes (together with senior citizen and PWD) become your best buddies. Another ultrasound can be scheduled during this period to check if baby’s fine inside the tummy and to finally experience the moment everyone’s waiting for – the gender reveal! Not everything turns out as expected though, as my gender reveal ultrasound experience turned out. It took 3 ultra sound appointments before we found out baby’s gender since his favorite position was crossing his legs. Feeling shy, right?

Third Trimester
The once-cute-lump turned into a big bump and it took effort to carry this baby bundle. Third trimester introduces slow walking (sometimes even duck walk) and side lying during bed time. It is also the time when expectant moms experience back ache due to the pressure of the baby’s weight. And yes, frequent urination kicks in as there is force on the bladder. I experienced going to the ladies’ room every 15 minutes. During this time, walking is the best workout. Swimming is also one of the best forms of exercise. Long travels are not recommended during this period and the waiting game is the most anticipated time of the third trimester. In my case, I kept myself busy and prepared everything I could before the baby arrives. I did not wait long before this trimester ended. Click here to read my birthing story.

Yes, pregnancy is one marvelous experience. Upon experiencing it, I can now understand when they say that the essence of being a woman is to bear a child. Every time I see a pregnant woman, I beam at her and at her bump, ensure that she gets the priority seat/lane, and think of a silent prayer to make her and the child safe.

Maternity shoot by  Baby Love Studio

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coin Bank - DIY

Look at this A DIYed coin bank! Talk about creativity and resourcefulness of a little kid - a previously-used container wrapped with used paper and there you go, savings in the making! I fully understand that it takes much effort to instill to people the value of saving. Even grown-ups have difficulty applying the 80-20 money saving formula (save 20% of your net income, and then spend the rest for expenses). So I really appreciate kids who have the discipline to save and their parents who patiently teach them how to. But then, the kid is saving for what?

KH is written on the coin bank. What does it stand for? This stands for Kingdom Hall – the place of worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Everyone is invited to freely attend Christian meetings in the nearest KH in the area. The little kid saves money, not for his own personal use, but to donate to the KH to support preaching work, relief activities and construction activities worldwide. How selfless!

A few months ago, I blogged about another kid saving in the same manner using a plastic bottle. These kids give just as what they have resolved in their hearts. These are just simple gestures, but impactful reminders to give and share. When we give, let it be with joy, out of love,  remembering that “God loves a cheerful giver,” and that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” ( Acts 20:35)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Farm Health Good Food at The Urban Farm

With its bright green signage, this restaurant never fails to attract my attention every time we pass by it along President’s Avenue in BF Homes Paranaque. After one fruitful ministry day, we decided to try out some real fruit (and other healthy viands). True to its slogan, ‘Farm Healthy Good Food’ is what it really offers. The food served in this restaurant was created by a US accredited chemist and master herbalist.

Hand-painted murals on the wall reveal uplifting messages with a sense of humor. The interiors are cozy and homey providing a feel that you are in a farm with white fences and gardening tools. Wait for a few minutes and the produce will be shortly served to you – fresh and clean.

We tried the following:
Dijon Half Roast Chicken (Mustard marinated half of chicken with gravy fries)
Salmon & Mash (Grilled salmon fillet with cream sauce and mashed potato)
Beef Steak and Frites (Imported beef fillets with gravy and seasoned fries)
Being regular brown rice consumers, this time we enjoyed black rice served with the Mains.

For drinks I ordered a Healthy Smoothie - Fresh Strawberry Mint Lemonade (with herbs, spices and vegetables).

For the Starters and Mains, serving size is big enough for sharing. Food is fresh, unique and delicious.
The Urban Farm‘s concept is relatively new since they emphasize that they only use organic vegetables and grass fed animals.Truly, out of the many sprouting restaurants in BF area, The Urban Farm is definitely a must-try for the health buffs (and curious foodies) out there.

#4 President's Ave. cor. Adelfa St.
Tahanan Vill., BF Homes Subd.,
Paranaque City

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Loom Love

Just like any other fad, I thought the loom bands craze would just go away one day. But when loving kids gave me a LoomBands 101 session, i realized the value it instills on kids - patience, creativity and thoughtfulness. And so I got my own, loomed with love by Jannah :) I chose the rainbow-inspired set because life is indeed full of colors!

Keep on looming, kids (and kids at heart)!