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At 34 Weeks

Yesterday has been quite a ride. It was just midday and I’ve just logged in two hours of work when I felt something odd. Since I came back from Morocco, I’ve noticed that the baby has significantly decreased his/her movements. Before, I would wake up to the baby’s kicks, and I would feel him/her moving around my tummy after meals. But for 24 hours now, I have only felt ten movements at most. I told my mom about it and together with my brother Rad, they picked me up, and brought me for checkup. Since it was midday, no one was on queue just yet and I was first in line. The obstetrician could hear the baby’s heartbeats on Doppler but was concerned about the lack of movement; so, I was brought to another room for further examination and the baby was put under a fetal monitor.

Since I was feeling that the baby must just be tired from our recent trip, I told my mom that I’ll have Ichi, my brother, just pick me up after his training. My mom is supposed to have her clinic on this day which is a good three hours away from home. I told her not to worry, so together with my brother Rad, off they went.

The monitor ran for 30 minutes, and the doctor expected at least three movements. But there was none, so the doctor requested for an extension of 30 more minutes. There was none again. I was then requested to get an ultrasound but in this hospital where we went to, the radiologist already went home; and so, I was requested to get an ultrasound elsewhere as soon as possible.

At this point, my mom and brother were already on the road, and my other brother was one hour away but already on the way to pick me up. I started feeling my breath going faster, and my train of thought just wouldn’t stop. I’ve never felt so scared in my life, because being in the hospital in the middle of this situation feels like this little part of me that I love so much is starting to slip away from me. I knew I wasn’t “alone” in every sense of the word; but while waiting for my brother at the hospital lobby, on my own with only my small bag and this little me in tow, everything that I’ve been through since the start of this pregnancy just came rushing through my head. I never thought that certain triggers could evoke emotions so much.

I stayed at the hospital until late at night, and guess what? My mom and brother Rad drove back immediately to join me in the hospital, my brother Ichi went back home and brought my hospital bag (good thing I’ve already prepared it a month ago!), my brother Ren cut short his date to visit me, and my Dad, just arriving home from meetings in Manila, went to the hospital immediately. When I went out of the examination room, I wanted to tear up (but fortunately, I was able to hold it in) because of all the support I got from my family. Another part of me wanted to tear up because the situation reminded me of a particular absence, yet this place has been replaced by so many people who are so committed into loving and nurturing this child.

Mother Teresa-minI still feel overwhelmed with all the love and support I’ve received yesterday. I may not deserve all this love and kindness, but I know this innocent child does. After everything that we’ve been through since the very start, I know that the best thing that I can do for him/her is to work to the fullest to be strong physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually every single day. I should remind myself that I should channel my energy on those who truly love and care for me and this child; not on those who choose to bring us down.

The obstetrician believes that this decreased fetal movement is due to low amniotic fluid, that’s why the baby has gone weak due to dehydration. I’m going back for another checkup today and I’m praying that the baby is all good and healthy.

I wish to thank not only my family, but also everyone I’ve met yesterday who made this day so much easier: the midwives, doctors, nurses, and security guards who’ve been so kind and understanding of my worries.

Truly, it takes a village to raise a child!

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“We Have a New Baby, Now What?!” Workshop

As a first-time mom, I have loads of questions on how I can best prepare myself for my new upcoming role in life. Although I get tips from many important women in my life, like from my mom, mom-in-law, grandmothers, and aunts, I still want some sort of structure on what I exactly have to do so I can minimize surprises due to my ignorance.

So, I signed up for the “We Have a New Baby, Now What?!” workshop offered by Pinay Doulas Collective, a group that provides emotional and physical support for pregnant women from birth to after-care. I’ve never really considered signing up for doula services not until I experienced a learning curve a few months ago that encouraged me to sign up for this support group.

Geared for first-time moms, this workshop is Part 2 of 2 sessions offered by the group; however, due to schedule conflicts, I had to attend Part 2 first. All sessions are scheduled on a Sunday.

Coverage of the workshop is as follows:

  • What to expect for the fourth trimester and first 1,000 days
  • Newborn appearance and newborn care
  • Physical development for a healthier baby
  • Brain development for a smarter baby
  • Delightful sleep for baby, mommy, and daddy
  • Care for the new mom (physical recovery, hormones, dealing with postpartum depression)
  • Planning for your birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding
  • Hands-on sessions on breastfeeding, infant bathing and massage, cloth diapering, and baby wearing.
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Trying out my new baby carrier. I fell in love with the fit, the colors, and all the hard work that went into making it! 

After the workshop, I bought a baby carrier handwoven by the group’s partner community in La Trinidad, Benguet. It’s the perfect fit amongst all the options I’ve tried and I’m glad to have found it here! I even won an anti-stretch mark cream, and got to bring home hypoallergenic detergents, baby bottle and dishwashing liquids, and talc-free powders courtesy of the group’s sponsors.

It’s a Sunday worth spending all my time and road travel for. I can definitely say that first-time moms should consider attending a workshop like this as it eases out the stress and worry (a bit!). There’s still so much to take in and I already acknowledge that I may make mistakes along the way, but at least I know that I am doing my best to empower myself.

I’d like to end this post with this powerful quote from Pinay Doulas Collective:

You are the author of your own birth story, and you have the power to write it beautifully.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

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My Pregnancy Journey

At exactly 6:40 AM every single day I wake up to the baby’s kicks. Throughout the day, I could feel him/her rolling around, switching between feeling happy, sad, peaceful, and as tired as me. I never thought that these little movements can mean so much: how these can make me feel so thankful for this gift of life, and how these can make me feel so humbled to be chosen as the carrier of this specific soul. It is such an amazing experience and I never thought that I could love this half-of-me so much– and I haven’t even held him/her just yet!

I am now on my 26th week and fatigue is, for the first time, taking over my day. I have been quite robust since the start of my pregnancy, saved from extreme morning sickness, mood swings, and cravings. Tuesday last week has actually been the very first time that I had extreme morning sickness and felt so sick that I threw up in our garden as I was preparing to leave home. To my surprise, my oldest dog, Kitty, hurriedly shuffled her way beside me and gazed at me all the while that I was throwing up. She was just staring at me all that time, and I felt her kindness and compassion, so pure and true, piercing through me– and all that, uttered without even a single word.

At that point, I felt all the more in love with Kitty. I had her when I was 18 as a birthday present from my Tito J. and Tita S., having just lost my dog just then. She’s been a witness to my ups and downs, and 11 years on, she is still here with me, supporting and loving me without question. I am really happy that she will also be a witness to seeing my mini me!

Happiness-min.jpg

Photo credit: tuanawebtasarim.com

I choose to keep the baby’s gender a surprise until my delivery, which I think is a nice way to welcome my first born! It can be quite difficult to contain the excitement given that the radiologist herself finds it hard to keep it a secret. But it is a promise she kept and will keep until late June, my expected date.

One thing that I’ve learned so far that stuck ever since I had this baby is the importance of a disciplined mind, and disciplined action. Knowing that another soul is dependent on me makes me want to focus on what’s important, address my thoughts as just thoughts, address my opinions as just opinions, understand my feelings as just feelings, and recognize chaos as just a play on my wisdom. I know that this baby is growing calmer because of these learnings as I am, too.

I’m thankful that the Universe has finally allowed me to go on this path set for me at its right time. Pregnancy is such a humbling experience, and I thank all the mothers, especially my own mother, for all the love and teachings passed on through generations across time and space. I’ve read somewhere that worldwide, four babies are born every second. While every mother’s experience is different, I wish that every mother’s journey  in every part of the world becomes a unifying factor to lift every woman up; not tear each other down.

Good night from me and my little Anthroonfoot 🙂