Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mixed Emotions

Meia turns a year this coming Saturday. Wow. Whoever said that the days are long and the years are fast was correct. There were times when I just wanted the day to end so I can start fresh – a day without leaking diapers, witching hours, and bottle wars. And yet, here we are. One year gone and I honestly don’t know where it went.

When Meia was born, I promised myself that I’d stop breastfeeding when she turned a year old. I needed to get my life back, I thought. So for one year, I turned down most (if not all) invitations to hang out with friends unless (i) I could be home in 2-3 hours’ time (I really wasn’t comfortable pumping in a bathroom, and as far as I know, only Eastwood Mall has a decent breastfeeding room), or (ii) they were held in my house. I haven’t had a sip of coffee or caffeinated tea (or milk tea for that matter) or eaten anything coffee flavored since I learned I was pregnant. Exercise went out the window as it adversely affected my milk supply. Malunggay became my go to vegetable/vitamin. My pumping kit was my constant companion.

My sacrifice paid off. I am proud to say that Meia is still exclusively breastfed – almost 12 months in and yet she has never tasted formula (not that there’s anything wrong with formula). Four months in my breastfeeding journey, I had to buy a chest freezer since we needed more space to store my frozen milk. Less than two months later, I had to start donating since 4 cubic feet wasn’t enough to keep my milk stash.

At first, I pumped every 2 hours. When I went back to work, I moved it to every 3 hours. Sometime December or January, I decided to space my pumping time further apart to every 4 hours, then 5, and now 6. My milk supply has of course decreased as a result — I just found out that the yaya had to defrost milk for the first time in months today. And I don’t know how I feel about that.

On the one hand, I know that I had given my little bear the recommended one year’s supply of breastmilk (I have enough stash to last until her birthday) and that I can now transition her to cow’s milk. At the same time, I find myself reaching for another lactation cookie (my third today) that my friend, the Marshmallow Mama, generously provided me last Sunday, hoping that it will do its magic and that the yaya won’t have to defrost milk tomorrow.


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Birthdays are Special

I was never really fond of celebrating my birthday. I never really felt that my birthday was any different or any  more special than the other days of the year. Sure, I received my fair share of birthday gifts and my parents always made sure to buy me a huge birthday cake, but I knew that time didn’t stop just because I was born x years ago today. I still had to go to school (and usually our periodical tests would be scheduled right around that time – ugh), my parents still had to go to work, and when I’d watch the news, I’d learn that crimes still happened and people still suffered/died even though it was my birthday.

But that all changed when the bear arrived. I’ve come to realize that birthdays (her birthday in particular) are special.

As a mother, I have learned to appreciate birthdays as celebrations of life and love. Meia’s birthday is an opportunity for me to remember how one (lunar) year ago, the bear came into this world (a few weeks early I might add) and made Pao and I feel like the luckiest — and most sleep deprived — people on earth. While I cannot deny that the rest of the world kept turning on the day of Meia’s birth, it wasn’t quite the same world as it was the second before she was born. For one, it became less painful (I was finished with labor after all).

Happy chinese birthday, little one. I know, I know, it’s just your birthday according to the lunar calendar, but I can’t help it. I get all teary-eyed whenever I think of how much you’ve grown over the past (lunar) year. From a 5 pound eating and pooping machine you are now a 17 pound eating and pooping machine. From being asleep most of the day and awake most of the night, you now know when exactly to sleep (just as we are about to leave the house) and when exactly to wake up (when I am about to sleep). You are now smarter and more efficient in your mommy annoying ways and I love you more for it. Your arrival has made the world more beautiful, more colorful, more challenging, and more rewarding.


Posted by on 02/22/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized


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Meia’s Birthday Countdown: Birth Story

In a month’s time, Meia will turn a year old! It’s been one hell of a ride, but I’m sure that the best is yet to come. While we’re counting down to Meia’s big day (parang kasal!), allow me to reminisce and tell you all about her birth story.

As I’ve mentioned here, I gave birth 37 weeks and 3 days into my pregnancy.

That morning was like any other. I woke up, checked to see if she was kicking (due to my paranoia, I’d gotten into the habit of counting kicks) and proceeded to nest clean the house. By noon, I started feeling a bit weird, like I needed to go to the bathroom. The right side of my belly felt a bit tight but I dismissed it, thinking it was nothing.

[That’s how smart I am. I’ve been having contractions since I was 2 months pregnant and I couldn’t recognize one even if it went up to me, said hi, and introduced itself as a contraction. In my defense, I remember the intern from my last hospital stay telling me that the whole belly tightens up during a contraction. Since only the right side was tight, I reckoned it was nothing. Brilliant, Shaps. Just brilliant.]

By 3pm, I discovered an old keyboard cover for the husband’s Mac. It used to be white, but was now an awful shade of gray. I went to the sink and started to clean it vigorously. I must have spent around an hour trying to get all the dirt out.

By 5pm, I realized I was bleeding. It wasn’t like the spotting from before – there was more blood now. Tummy was still getting tight every now and then and I still felt like going to the bathroom. For the first time though, I didn’t want to check myself into the hospital because (wait for it) I wanted to watch American Idol. Ha.

I've had a music crush on Steven Tyler since I was in high school. Picture credits:

I waited a bit for the bleeding to subside but it didn’t. After a while, I told Pao we needed to go to the hospital. I also called my OB. My doctor told me that I might be in labor but I was like, nah. No contractions! Aren’t contractions necessary for labor? Toink.

By 630pm, the intern examined me and asked me if I was in pain. Apparently, my water bag already ruptured (when it happened, I had no idea) and I was  5 cm dilated. The baby was arriving! And I didn’t get to shower before going to the hospital, dammit! The doctors estimated that I’d give birth around 1am the next morning.

By 9pm, the anesthesiologist arrived. They wheeled me into the operating room so she could hook me up. (No way was I going to do lamaze.) I was still feeling a bit chatty. I wasn’t in pain but I started getting uncomfortable.

While waiting for a space between contractions so the anesthesiologist could insert the needle, my OB arrived. Then it got painful really fast. This must be how Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) felt in Aliens, I thought. My OB examined me and we were all surprised to find out that I was already at 10cm – the baby was crowning! The resident had to run to get to Pao, who was waiting in the room with my mother-in-law, to make sure he witnessed Meia’s birth. He almost didn’t make it.

And at 9:45pm, after 3 hours of “labor”, the bouncing bear made her debut to the world. She was small and wrinkly and beautiful and perfect.

By 10pm, she was wheeled in the nursery and her bassinet was placed next to a baby boy’s. Pao claims that she scowled at the other baby and he started to wail.

Fifteen minutes old and already making her first boy cry. That’s my girl.


Posted by on 02/09/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized


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Meia’s Birthday Countdown: Reminiscing My Pregnancy

In a month’s time, Meia will turn a year old! It’s been one hell of a ride, but I’m sure that the best is yet to come. While we’re counting down to Meia’s big day (parang kasal!), allow me to reminisce and tell you all about my pregnancy.

The pregnancy was difficult, to say the least. I had contractions (that I did not feel) as early as 2 months. Four months in, I was spotting regularly due to a polyp I developed presumably due to the pregnancy hormones. The good news was that it was the sole source of the bleeding (hence Meia was safe and sound). The bad news — we had to be cautious and treat each spotting incident carefully. We had to make sure each incident was caused by the polyp and not the baby. To be safe, my OB put me on bed rest. The deal was I can only go back to work if 2 weeks pass without any bleeding. As I’ve mentioned before, I ended up remaining on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy.

Sometime in my second trimester, I also got food poisoning. I was vomitting and having bowel issues at the same time, and was so afraid that Meia would starve that I rushed to the ER. After 12 hours on the IV, I was sent home. Meia was ok. Whew!

My contractions carried on for the rest of my pregnancy. I was drinking medicine to help stop it, to no avail. In any case, I remember my OB said, as long as I don’t have 4 contractions in an hour, I should be ok.

Thirty-two weeks in, 2 days before Chinese New Year, ayan na. Around noon, I had 3 contractions in the space of 30 minutes. Pao was at work so I had to call my Mom to bring me to the hospital. I wasn’t too concerned. I remembered from birth class that if I was about to give birth, the contractions were supposed to hurt — radiating pain was the term, I think. I took a bath and made sure my labor bag and cordlife documents were ready. When I got to the hospital, turns out I was already 2 cm dilated and if we didn’t stop the contractions, I was going to give birth soon. Yikes!

I remember getting a bit annoyed with Meia then. When Pao and I discussed having a baby, we planned it in such a way that I would give birth on the year of the Rabbit. While I’m not much of a believer in Chinese astrology, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to follow it this time around. I was born on the year of the Monkey, so supposedly I wouldn’t get along that well with one born in the year of the Tiger. And lo and behold, the little one insists on making her debut on 2 days before the start of the year of the Rabbit. Kakaasar.

After more than 24 hours in the labor room, the doctors were able to stop the contractions. I was then placed on strict bed rest — meaning no walking unless I have to go to the bathroom. I could only stand up after I hit 36 weeks, but we weren’t hopeful I’d remain pregnant for that long. Still, each day the bear remained in the womb was another day that would better prepare her for the outside world. (Plus, it was already year of the Rabbit :p)

Oh, and did I tell you? I hadn’t done any shopping yet! My 2nd baby shower was scheduled around my 34th week and I was waiting for that before I did any shopping. Sure, we had the big ticket items. We bought the crib locally after Mothercare failed to get ours from London (that’s another story). My breast pump and Meia’s carseat finally arrived. But that was about it. No onesies, no tie-sides, no bonnet, no swaddling blanket, no diapers, no nothing. So I had to send poor Pao to the department store to get all these things himself. Thank god his mom accompanied him that day.

On my 37th week (yes, I reached 37 weeks!), I got off my butt and started to walk around the house. We put stickers in Meia’s corner of the room and I started cleaning. On my third day off bed rest, I gave birth to the bouncing bear. But that, my friends, is another story.


Posted by on 02/02/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized


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