Monday, August 8, 2016

Observations of a Co-Parent

My eldest is in school and she's not coming home until around 3PM, my son is still asleep, my husband in having lunch while I watch my baby sleep, and what do I do? I flip my netbook open and read about baby poop.

I was just reading this blog post about how motherhood could totally eradicate your social skills and a life outside the four walls of your house. I think truer words have never been said, but with that new lifestyle also comes new opportunities to socialize and venture into new things. Sometimes, maybe it's just on us?

Here's what I mean. I pick up my child everyday from school and every day that I do, I have to wait for her outside the gates just like all the other moms. And I just sit there, browsing on my phone, Facebook-messaging my sister, the sort. And then I think about my mom who used to do the same exact thing when I was a kid but she talked to other moms and even made friends with them. Me? I keep to myself and patiently wait for my child to turn up in the corner.

I guess I might be a little asocial, meaning I could sometimes be indifferent with other people and I don't necessarily feel the urge to talk to other people to make friends. I can make new acquaintances but I don't feel like I should get in their face and become BFFs. I like my silence. But I don't necessarily call myself a loner or an introvert because when I'm with family I just can't shut my mouth.

So I would sit at the school gates and wait and wait and wait, and I would overhear all sorts of conversations about their kids, where they live, homework, and frankly I don't care unless I'm actively involved in the conversation. I certainly got my allergies from my mother's side of the family, but definitely not their social prowess.

Best way to describe it would be sitting at the bleachers watching a game without really have a care what the game was.

Aside from this blog and talking to family and closest friends, I just really keep to myself. I'm not a big fan of gossip, and these mommy-cliques at school are the ultimate breeding ground for gossip. First of all, I don't exactly know these people and I know the only thing we have in common is that we're moms and our kids go to the same school. Other than that, I'm fine with just saying hi and hello and we'll be on our merry way.

What I think I'm missing out on though, if anything, is networking. It's a free networking stint. Especially if you're already in the sales business, being chummy with these other moms is a gold mine. There's definitely opportunity there, and it's something I know I got to learn after all, even if I don't necessarily want to or need to. My family is in the sales business and it definitely wouldn't hurt to try. I hope my asocial self could eventually adjust though.

But until that happens, I'll be sitting quietly in the bleachers, minding my own business.
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Booby Business

Before I had my first baby I was decided on breastfeeding her for as long as I could. I have a Nursing degree and I know the benefits of breastfeeding and I thought, “how hard can it be?” To me it would just be a matter of offering a boob and bonding with your baby as he feeds.

But when I gave birth to my daughter I realized I made a huge mistake of thinking it was a piece of cake. She just wouldn’t latch on for long and sometimes she just wouldn’t latch on at all. So to keep my daughter fed I had no choice but to feed her milk formula. It was the only way she would thrive.

Now, the formula vs breastfeeding debate has been going on forever and I wanted to write about this because for baby number 2, my son, I’m exclusively breastfeeding him and whenever people compliment me about how I’m breastfeeding exclusively, I should be happy but I also feel sort of uncomfortable.

To be perfectly honest, I feel like I’m being indirectly responsible for shaming moms who don’t, can’t, couldn’t, won’t breastfeed whenever other people think I’m a saint for doing it. I’ve been on both sides and I completely understand the pros and cons of each. Nothing is 100% perfect, no one is perfect, no matter who you are or how you feed your baby.

Right now I’m comfortable with this set-up of exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) and in fact there’s a half-empty can of milk formula somewhere in this house because it came to the point that my son didn’t want to drink from bottles anymore. So why is there milk formula in the house, you ask? My son started on formula because he stayed in the hospital nursery right after he was born, and because I had him via C-section it was impossible for me to breastfeeding on the clock. He eventually weaned off the bottle until he just exclusively wanted the boob. So if you reading this is an expecting mom, please know that it’s never an easy thing to start and everyone who wants to go the EBF route starts their journey differently. Do not be ashamed.

I wasn’t a breastfed baby, neither of me and my sisters were, because my mom had inverted tatas and didn’t have enough milk. At least that’s what she said. But I didn't judge her for it, and no one should. I turned out fine and dandy. Anyway, because she didn't have much experience on the matter, everything that I learned about breastfeeding was either from school or the internet.

Going back to subject of being complimented on because my son was on EBF, I wonder if they would have praised me too if I said he was mixed (BF and FF) or if he was exclusively FF (formula-fed). I want you to know that I had to suffer before I got here.

I used to hear stories of other moms who say they almost feel like being bitten by teeth during breastfeeding, having fever, rock hard boobs, mastitis, etc. I thought it was all overreaction until I experienced it myself. For many weeks I used to cry and scream in my pillows whenever he would drink out of the right boob (I don’t know why just on the right), but even on the left it was painful although more tolerable. That, on top of the C-section pain in my abdomen, was hell on earth.

But it’s just one of those things about being a mom. All the pain is worth it for your children and the pain just becomes negligible before you even know it until it disappears altogether. After a couple of months, the pain during nursing sessions disappeared, I’ve learned his hunger and satiety cues, I learned which boob is full enough to feed with (gentle pats and jiggles required lol), I learned when he’s not getting enough milk (greenish, liquid poop) which means he’s not being fed long enough, I learned when he’s getting enough milk (rich yellow thick poop), I learned that EBF babies don’t necessarily poop daily, I learned that what I eat has an effect on mine and the baby’s BM, I learned that I absolutely hate pumping and I still avoid it (unli-latch is the way!), I learned which nursing positions are best for me and baby, and so many other things that I keep learning as we go along. You can read all the books and articles there is about breastfeeding but to be honest it still all depends on what works for you and your baby.

The bottom line is: be proud of how you are feeding your baby as long as you are feeding your baby. Formula or breastmilk doesn’t matter. I’m not one of those extremists. All I know is, that, and your love and care, are enough. So good job, momma!
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Chronicling a Crazy Sick Week

Currently my kids and I are unwell. Basically I'm writing this all down for the purpose of note-taking, and because I need somewhere to vent that it's been a crazy craaaaazy 3 months+ and the past few weeks have definitely been the most challenging.

July 15 - Iaine was taken to her pedia for a checkup due a cold and cough that was already 1 week+. Meds prescribed. No blood tests done.
July 19 - Iajin was taken to the hospital to have CBC done. Low hemoglobin level determined.
July 21 - Iaine still had a cough. No colds for days now. I also started to cough.
July 22 - Iaine's colds have returned.
July 23 - Iajin was taken to SPHMC for blood transfusion. My cough is definitely worse.
July 24 - Iajin was discharged from the hospital less than 24 hours after admission. BT happened at around 12 midnight. Felt he was feverish at night, it was. 37.7C. Iaine's cough is back to its bad state and colds have definitely returned. I got a full-blown cough now with phlegm.
July 25 - 3am. I awoke to a feverish Iajin with a temperature of 38.1. Iaine is currently at the doctor's clinic for a follow-up check-up because of persistent cough and colds. As of 12 noon, Iajin's fever has disappeared and temp is down to 36.3. Also, I don't have a voice and Iajin has started to cough...

These are trying times and I'm praying for our fast recovery. Uggggghhhh.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dust

As the dust settles
the glass spills
flooding everything in its way
inch by inch you go farther

No longer in our reach
leaves falling to the ground
no longer there is green
but a void

The life that you shared
etched eternally in ours
memories left in the wake of your wave
crashing down on our thirst and longing

As the stars in the night
your memories stay
in the darkness of our grief
your love lives on forever

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Positivity

I was supposed to start a post about a totally different topic, but as soon as my Blogger dashboard loaded I immediately saw a new post from one of the other mommy bloggers I've been following since 7 years ago. It's again another rant about how fed up she is with her kids and other negative shit. And sadly it's made me realize how she heavily influenced my posts way back during my first pregnancy. She's always talking about how shitty her pregnancy is and all the other disadvantages that she could think of. I'm not sure if this is her gimmick, if she does this to separate her 'brand' from all other mommy blogs, or just to come up with controversial material for her book... But if you're a new mom, if you're expecting, my two cents is steer away from these types of material. Pregnancy and motherhood is hard but to me, growing your child and raising your child shouldn't be put in such a bad light. You created them. No sense is taking whatever your frustrations are on them. I'm not saying that mommy blogs should just sugarcoat inconveniences but making it a habit and spreading the bad vibes just isn't right.

If you're pregnant right now, please don't let the aches and pains, whatever negative emotion you may have, make you not enjoy the fact that you're growing your child inside of you. If you're a new mom who's looking for advice, there's no book on perfect parenting so making mistakes is something to be expected, no matter how hard we try to do everything right. If you're already a second-time mom or have been a mom for many years already, your honesty and support for other moms would be a huge deal. Keep spreading words of encouragement, and moms, please pay it forward. We all have our struggles and sometimes we just need to hear that it's going to be okay.

Sending positive vibes your way, Mommy. It's not easy, but it's going to be okay.
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Love is Not Anyone Else's Business to Measure

It's only a matter of time before we take my grandfather to his final resting place. Every morning I wake up dreading for that day to come, and now it's only a couple of days away. My mom asked me to say a thanksgiving prayer but I don't know how I'll be able to start one.

I am trying to spend as much time as I can at his wake, just like when he was in the hospital, when I was trying my best to see him as often as I could. Now he's gone, and the least I could do is spend time with him in the last days with us. This is something that not all people understand. The connection I have with my grandfather isn't just an ordinary grandpa-granddaughter relationship to me. He was another father figure. He was someone I wanted to live forever. Losing my grandfather hurts, but sadly like I said, not all people understand that in these last moments, I want to spend as much time as I could with him, watch him in the deepest slumber. I talk to family about our memories with him, we comfort each other's grief, we receive consolation in the recalling the memories he has left behind... We want to ignite his legacy.

But like I said, sadly and disappointingly, not all people understand. Family is family. Love for family is love. That's it. And it's not anyone else's business to measure.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lolo Victor

This is about my grandfather.

There are no right words to properly express how I feel right now. There is a void and it's something that nothing can remedy.

I'm the eldest grandchild among 15 grandchildren, 18 if you count the great-grandchildren. A brief background about my childhood... My mom came from humble beginnings. Their livelihood was fishing and selling these fish in the wet market. My grandfather would fish and then my grandmother would sell them. Their children already finished college but they still kept working for some time. They lived in a concrete 2-storey home somewhere by the river outside the city proper which wasn’t always concrete. You would have to cross a bridge to get to their island, or I think it was. I can't count how many times we've crossed that bridge. It used to be made of wood and bamboo, but every time a storm passed it would collapse and there were times when I would need to ride a boat to get from one side to another. Now it's made of concrete and it has withstood the storms. Crossing that bridge meant I was going to see my grandparents which was a weekly tradition when I was younger. We were always excited to see them for two things: they had a small sari-sari (variety/grocery) store where they sold snacks, drinks, medicine, cigarettes, school, supplies, etc., and it was a place for the whole clan to bond. As children we always got free treats from their store and as kids we were so happy that there was this place where we could ask for whatever we want -- chips, chocolate, soft drinks, pens and papers to draw with. But as time passed and we got older, that's when we realized that we were taking their livelihood away from them. We stopped getting treats but my grandparents still generously offered some.

Looking back, I don’t remember if I slept next to my grandfather whenever we stayed over but I do remember always seeing my grandmother say a morning prayer as soon as she wakes up. Some of the memories I have of me and my grandfather in that place that stand out to me were:

· He taught me how to drink creamed coffee when he let me take a sip from his cup
· He would always make me a hula-hoop or some other type of play thing made of some type of wood (maybe from bamboo shoot?) whenever I watched him build an improvised fishing net made of the same type of wood
· I remember him laying out kamias to dry them out under the sun
· We would sift through rice to pick out the little rocks
· He would give me treats from his store
· He would make me coffee pangsabaw sa kanin
· He used pray with other Couples for Christ members in their home
· He would sit alone and wait for customers in their sari-sari store
· He would always ask me if I was on the honor roll at school
· He would tell stories… like when he was a child during the Japanese invasion and he would hide underground with his mother

But the dearest memory I have of him in that old house was a time when we were sleeping next to each other on a banig (mat) on the floor, or rather, I was just watching him sleep and I was watching him breathe. I put my hand on his big tummy and I was in awe, realizing for the first time that adults take longer breaths than kids.

How I wish to see him breathing again…

More than a decade ago there were talks about the 'island' being reclaimed by the government so my grandparents’ children decided that it was for the best that they move into the city. They built my grandparents a new, bigger home in a nice subdivision. They had to leave their sari-sari store together with their old home and put it up for rent.

The weekly tradition of visiting them moved to a new venue but years passed. I grew older, he and my grandmother grew older. Their children and grandchildren grew older, life happened. We were engrossed in growing up while they were growing old. Complete attendance during those Sundays became rare, until the tradition wasn’t weekly anymore. There were times when no one would visit them on a Sunday.

But I realized our mistake and we were all accountable for that. So as much as I could, later in his life, I wanted to see him as often as I can. I lost my paternal grandfather already and there were just so many regrets that I don’t want to happen again. I tried to make my maternal grandfather feel loved in the last years of his life. He would say he missed my kids and my sister’s son, so I tried my best to make time for us to see him. His face would always light up whenever we arrive.

How I wish to see his face light up again…

In their new home we made more memories together. One of them was when I asked him to pick up a kitten for me who was crying in the middle of the street in the rain. I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up myself, but I had to ask my grandfather to do it. He and my grandmother celebrated many birthdays in that house. We made it a happy new home for them over the years.

He was the patriarch; he was everybody’s rock. He built his legacy and our family’s legacy from the ground up. My mother would tell stories about how hard he worked at the time when he still had strength working as a fisherman.

But as he got old he has lost his strength because his lungs have gone bad in the later years of his life. He used to be a chain smoker and it took a toll on his body in his old age. He has been in and out of the hospital since I can’t even remember when, and on July 3rd, past 1am, he breathed his last breath.

Before that unfortunate day, every time my grandfather was taken to the hospital because of his breathing problems (he has COPD) he would eventually recover one way or another. He would regain his strength and come back fighting. He would be back to normal like nothing happened. We would again visit him at home on weekends, I would see him watch movies on TV, play with my daughter, we would eat merienda, etc. But the next time we visit his home he would no longer be there and this is one of the hardest realities that’s hitting me hard.

My grandfather was admitted in the ICU of a local hospital in June and it was only last week that they took him home like he and my grandmother wanted. But on the night of July 2nd we were all in a panic because my grandfather was having so much difficulty breathing that we had no choice but to send him to the hospital again. The only difference is, this time, he was going to be taken to a regular room, as the family’s decided to no longer have him intubated.

With that in mind, I knew that the inevitable would happen soon. Things like a wake, a funeral… These thoughts came to mind but I tried to dismiss them. I was in denial but there was no denying that my beloved grandfather was already suffering so much that no medical intervention could save him.

Timing… Two priests who were friends of ours came over to our house that night, and I kindly asked that they come with me to the hospital to bless my grandfather. I am so relieved that we made it in time, and my grandfather was anointed with Oil and blessed.

I held his hand and I cried and cried. He had gotten so thin and frail, his skin was in bruises from all the needles, he was a picture of suffering and exhaustion.

His doctor came and laid out the facts, he could give antibiotics but without a tube the effects were going to be futile. At this point my sister had to ask him if we were just going to be waiting then… Waiting for what, I already knew. But we were still hoping so desperately that we even talked about his condition when he comes home, that he might not be able to walk anymore, and that we would still ask the doctor to start the antibiotics.

His stats kept on dropping lower, his breaths irregular, and I knew from his blood pressure that it won’t be long. But I still hesitated to think he would leave us. Most of our family who surrounded him that night were crying with me, and they were saying thank you to my grandfather as if he was really going soon. But I couldn’t say thank you because it would mean it’s really the end… I didn’t want my grandfather to think that or hear that, at least not from me. I don’t know how conscious he was, how much of it all he heard, how much pain he felt from gasping for air… He looked like he was drowning outside water… Until sometime later he would stop breathing for more than 10 seconds… Then he would gasp again for air, cough, and he would stop again… Every time he stopped I would panic and call out to him… I didn’t want him to go…

My sister would whisper in his ear that we were going to be okay… We’ll take care of our grandmother and his worries on earth…

Timing… My grandmother and cousin arrived. My lovely grandmother was heartbroken as she didn’t expect to see him suffering like this, and she was still unaware of what was about to happen. But soon she understood and cried. My grandfather wasn’t responding to us, gasping for breaths, not breathing, not opening his eyes… My grandmother leaned over to hug him and speak in his right ear, and when she did, my grandfather’s oxygen saturation and pulse shot up to 100 for several seconds. All of us in the room looked at each other in amazement. Even for a very short while, there was a glimmer of hope.

But then the stats disappeared, as if the machine couldn’t detect anything. We thought maybe the pulse oximeter wasn’t properly in place, we thought this, that… But it was already the end.

Medical staff rushed in and took his blood pressure, we tried to look for a pulse, they tried to use an ECG to check his heart… These attempts were nothing. There was nothing.

At that point, it was already the reality. We all cried and cried, and didn’t care how loud we were. We were, and we still are, in pain. We knew they would take him away and we wouldn’t be able to touch him, hug him, kiss him anymore. We couldn’t do anything else but cry, express our gratitude for all that he’s done, kiss him, and cry some more. But the most memorable words I heard from my grandmother as she was crying were, “Hindi ko na mayayakap (I wouldn’t be able to hug him anymore)” and “Aalagaan mo si utoy ha (please take care of our son).” referring to youngest child who passed away when he was only 5 years old. My grandmother kissed and kissed my grandfather’s face, arms, hands, caressed him like there was no tomorrow, because there wasn’t indeed no more tomorrow for them. No longer would my grandfather be able to come home to their house to share meals, to sleep next to each other, to live together.

They asked for a blanket… A blanket to warp him around so they could take him to the morgue. We were sent out of the room so they could clean him up, take out all the tubes, etc.

Family started to call other family to tell them the sad news.

At one point I went back inside the room because the staff had left and there was no one with my grandfather, and I was in disbelief seeing him in a new state. He was wrapped up in blankets; a sight I only saw in movies or TV shows. It was awfully quiet. Only minutes ago I could hear his breaths, as difficult as they may have sounded, but now the silence was deafening.

I didn’t imagine my day to start out like that. I just sat there, looking at his body, talking to him, saying thank you, I love you. It was an image that I didn’t know I would see yesterday, the week before, the months before this. I didn’t know it was going to be his last birthday last April. I didn’t know that last year was our last Christmas together, that last January was his last New Year’s. I didn’t know that his last father’s day would be weeks ago. We all didn’t know.

I’ve been trying to visit his wake every day since Sunday. He’s wearing a navy blue coat and striped tie, and he still looks so dashingly handsome even after life. I keep telling people he gave me these high cheekbones.

More and more flowers arrive each day and people keep coming to see him. The family has already decided to have the interment on Sunday, what we should all wear, where the mass will be held, etc. So, I went to the mall yesterday looking for something to wear on the most devastating day of my life this year, and I was thinking about how to commute from the mall to the hospital… But realized, oh wait, it’s not the hospital anymore.

I compiled his pictures and currently I have 421 of them, 421 moments frozen in time, playing over and over on the flat screen at the wake so that everyone could see moments of his full life. These are times when he was smiling, frowning, eating, walking, hugging, kissing, laughing. Times when he was full of life and love. And we are all wishing to see him do all these things again.

I am grieving from losing my dear grandfather. We all are and it’s difficult for everyone, but I don’t know how many people know or understand my special connection with him and these memories I shared with you, or if other people see it at all. But of course I’m sure we all do, because my grandfather has touched the lives of people in so many wonderful ways.

I have mostly accepted that fact he has gone to be with the Lord, but sometimes I would think back and remember and cry.

I used to pray for him, that he be healed from his illness and live a normal life again and in the prayer it also has a part that says:
However, if his (my) healing is not part of Your will for his life and if his suffering will help in glorifying Your name further for the salvation of the world, then help him offer it to You wholeheartedly. Please grant him the grace to have the courage and the faith transcend this human predicament which both you and Padre Pio fulfilled. Please stay by his side, Jesus. Let Your love console his heart and make his mind realize the meaning behind his suffering so that It could be a source of inspiration to souls who are searching for Your wisdom and love.

So I keep thinking that when his stats shot up to 100, maybe he went without pain. If it was adrenaline rush from hearing my grandmother’s voice, I don’t know, but maybe the Lord finally took the pain away in the last moments.

I remember my grandfather telling us that he saw Jesus at a time when he was in critical condition in the hospital. And right now that’s all I want to happen, that he would stay in the loving arms of Jesus and God our Father in all eternity.

I’m sharing all this with the world because I want his memory to last forever and that I’m so proud to have had a truly awesome grandfather like him. It will be painful to no longer see you sitting outside your house just looking around, but your memory and legacy will live on.

Thank you to everyone who took care of him.. My sister, my cousin, my mom, everyone who made sure he was well taken care of, thank you.


We love you so much, Lolo. We all miss you, so, so much. Until we meet again.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Courage

My son doesn't even know it yet.
But he is easily, easily the bravest person I know.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Staying Home

How do I do this again?

I now have a two-month old and a 6 year old who has just started first grade. Last night wasn't the best night; I had a lot on my mind. Everything is overwhelming and it feels like waves are crashing down on me.

I just started my extended leave just right after my maternity leave of 78 days and I've gone back to being a stay at home mom. All my heels and office clothes are now tucked away in the depths of our bedroom. I don't even remember what those look like anymore. Now it's just the comfiest, lightest house clothes with a ponytail or a hair bun to match. My face hasn't been this make-up free in a long while and the corporate look has definitely taken a back seat.

I'm having some help with my kids and I can't imagine how much - what's the best term - busier my life would be without support. I'm essentially pain-free now but I'm still very much in the recovery period and not having a nanny to do the little things sometimes take a toll. I still feel a little but of pain along my cut every now and then because I sometimes need to exert physical effort to get things done. The pain is negligible but noticeable.

I'm back to being a stay at home mom. It's familiar territory but I can't help but be overwhelmed with a ton of additional worries and responsibilities that goes with having more than one child. Motherhood has become a balancing act more than ever.

But on a lighter note, it's all challenging but rewarding. On top of these everything, I get to take care of my new born son and exclusively breastfeed him and I also get to experience more Iainisms first hand. That's a term I coined for my eldest's quirks and these started when she was just a baby. To recap a brand spankin new Iainism that happened today, here's my Facebook status a posted:

Iaine came to me crying, voice trembling.

Momma I'm going to tell you something...
What is it?
Later na lang...
What is it about?
*NAME* HAS A CRUSH ON ME BUT I DON'T WANT HIIIIIM! (more crying ensued)


Our conversation continued with her in my arms, and me telling her it was normal and she should stay nice to the boy but she doesn't need to like him back. She also told me the boy told her himself. Kids!

I just had a talk with my 6 year old about crushes. Shit just got real waaaaaaaaa.

Nothing could have prepared me for that conversation. 

This entry probably isn't the most cohesive and I was only able to do this today because I'm on a break. But another topic that popped into my head is to create another blog for another hobby. Nothing's laid out but it would be more time consuming than this motherhood blog. Would probably be a work in progress for a long time.

My eye lids are drooping. I need to catch some Z's before the little man wakes up. Bye!










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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Junior Savers

Gotta start them young!

My son just got Baptized last Saturday, June 11th, and he received a lot of monetary gifts as per custom. I don't want his money lying around the house and I don't want his money saved together with mine, so I made the decision to open bank accounts for him and his big sister- their very own!
My babies' passbooks =)

If you plan to open a BDO Junior Savers account for your child (0-6 years old), this list of requirements might help you:
  • Just to be sure, make an initial deposit of 500Php
  • Photocopy of his birth certificate (bring the original for reference just in case)
  • If you're married, bring a copy of your marriage contract (bring the original too for reference just in case)
  • Some branches ask for yours and the child's 1x1 photos (my branch didn't) but just bring a couple anyway just to be sure
  • And this is very important: your 2 valid IDs with the same signature. My signature evolved over the years so my older ID got rejected. I had to get a barangay clearance just because my signature was different on my passport. They used my barangay clearance as a subsitute and it served as the 2nd valid ID.
  • Your child doesn't need to be present with you at the time of account opening if he is 6 years old or below.
  • On the phone they asked me to bring my child's school ID and school registration form (enrollment receipt perhaps?) but they didn't ask for it in the bank. Weird.


A few things to note:
  • If your child is 7 years old and above, you need to take them with you to the bank as he needs to sign the paperwork himself. Bring the same requirements above to be sure.
  • Only children who are 7 years old and above are granted an ATM card. 6 years and below are only given passbooks.
  • Unless the child is granted an ATM card (7 years old and above), there is no way for you to check their account balance unless you ask over the counter or if you have an account yourself with BDO. They might be able to connect your accounts together or something. That, I'm not sure, because I don't have an account with them.
  • I was told that there is a monthly interest of 500Php which I think is a tad too much for a Junior Savers account, but doing my research it's .25% annually. I don't know which to believe but I was in a hurry so I wasn't able to clarify with the teller.
  • The child needs to have a minimum balance of 100Php in his account.
Hope this helps out other moms who'd like to take the same step in teaching their kids the value of money.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

1 Month



My son just turned a month old on May 11, 2016, weighing 4.5kg.
We are incredibly thankful.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Family of Four - A Birth Story

April 11, 2016 was the day I gave birth to my wonderful baby boy! Funny how my blog post on April 11 was about how impatient we were getting to meet this baby. Little did I know it was gonna happen later that day!

I line jumped and I line jumped hard! My son was born at 38+2 but he was born healthy with an Apgar score of 8,9. I don't have a lot of dramatic details to share because this was another planned c-section but I would have to say overall that it's a positive experience and I'll share as much as I can.

Birth story time!

Prologue

I was scheduled for a follow-up checkup with my OB in the morning of April 11th and we've decided to have the c-section the next day. Husband and I went home and I was pumped to get the last minute items packed for my early morning hospitalization. However like I said, we had to make the decision to have the c-section later that day at around 8-9PM. I had to be on fasting starting 1:30PM which was no fun because I couldn't even have water. I was texting my OB and he ordered that I should get admitted after lunch and not later because I needed to get hydrated so Jai and I hurriedly got ready and we decided to leave my MIL and Iaine home. I messaged family members to tell them that plans have changed then my dad picked us up...

At the ER I was all smiles. I knew it would be the start of the pains of birthing this child but I was just happy to be there. After choosing a room I was hooked up to an IV and waited to get wheeled away. After a long wait (ER told me they had a difficult time contacting my doctors) I was sent to my room.

While waiting for Jai and my dad to unload our stuff from the car I felt super drowsy and dozed off. I actually didn't want to because I knew I would just sleep and sleep after the CS, but I guess everything that transpired before my hospitalization caught up on me. In a couple of hours my in-laws arrived with my daughter but for certain reasons we had to relocate to a better suite not long after. I was fine with this because it would be inconvenient to have the rearrangements after the operation.
Suite 3
We finally got settled in this time and I was just waiting for 8PM. I was excited to finally get it over with but still scared of the pain. Soon my mom and other relatives arrived and this made me feel less nervous...

Baby Time

(L) Last photo as a family of 3 / (R) Before I was taken to my OR theater
I changed into my gown and was sent to the OR with my husband was in tow because we were hoping he could scrub in and watch the birth. I was greeted by my super nice anesthesiologist who asked me some questions then I was taken to the theater. Sadly, we had to leave Jai behind. I was kind of disappointed because I was really hoping he would be present for this birth unlike the first one, but hospital policy has never allowed a significant other to be present during a CS operation. He handed his GoPro camera to my sister who works in the same hospital so she could take the videos so I was still happy that I'll get to see the action after the whole thing is over.
My sister likes selfies.
After another set of questions from an OR nurse, in a couple of minutes I was lying in the OR table chatting with my anesth and my sister for what felt like more than an hour. I kept asking my sister to check up on the husband who was left in the waiting area. She told me he was anxious, the poor guy. The operation was delayed because we had to wait for my OB to arrive (I overheard comments from staff that he had a long day) but I didn't mind the wait honestly. That extra time allowed me to have small talk and some laughs with my anesth and my sister which calmed me down. I was way more relaxed this time unlike my first CS where my knees were shaking in fear; I was mortified out of my mind. Now there was less fear of the unknown because I already had an idea what would happen after, and everyone in the OR made me feel at ease.

I heard my anesth say that my OB was almost ready so she started prepping me by giving me something that made me groggy as f. My vein didn't hurt as bad as my first time and it's funny to think back at that moment because I knew I would get sleepy and could pass out any second. What happened after that is a blur but I have some recall of what happened. I got turned to my right side and I had to hang on to one of the OR assists (I remember feeling super relaxed, didn't even feel the spinal, and was super comfortable clinging onto a stranger's arms. LOL drugs)... Then, drapes in front of my face... Then my anesth asking me some questions to check on me... Then my OB's voice...

My consciousness was on and off like if you watch a movie with some parts on fast forward or skipped and you have no idea what's happening. Although I do remember quite vividly how the doctors yanked at my abdomen-- I was certain they were having a hard time pulling my son out. I remember the assistant doctor's voice was quite in a panic and I was feeling a lot of pulling and yanking behind the drape below my chin. I didn't feel any pain but I felt a lot of pressure even up to my ribs. I also learned just recently from my sister that my doctor had to make the cut a little longer because they were really struggling to get him out. Ouch..

A New Life
At 9:31PM, my son whom I have been praying and waiting for for years and years, Iajin Alfredous Jye, was born. They told me they would just clean him up before they show him to me. I remember his loud, strong, very boyish cries at the far end of the room as the pediatrician prepped him on the warmer while I waited, and when I finally saw him the feeling was just incredible. I was filled with so much joy! I now have a bouncing baby boy and with so much black hair too! I didn't have my glasses on (not allowed) but I knew he was beautiful. I thought, he is finally born, and he's okay.
But because I was drugged, I had no idea that initially it wasn't okay, and that they had to stimulate my baby different ways such as ambu-bagging his foot so that he could cry/breathe. My sister who witnessed it thinks the baby might have went into distress as they struggled to pull him out because he was so stuck in utero. Normally during a c-section, with one forceful push a baby's head would pop out of the cut, but not my son because of his position. This doesn't really surprise me though because in the last weeks of my pregnancy I kept feeling him squeeze into the corners of my pelvis. Also I realize now that had I chosen to go through with the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) I could have ended up having a c-section anyway.

After my initial encounter with Iajin I might have been put into a deeper state of unconsiousness because I wasn't sure what happened before I was sent to the recovery room or how long it took for my OB to stitch me back up. I just remember being lifted to another stretcher that will take me to the RR. I remember looking to my left and seeing 2 other patients. Anyway, the RR staff were checking on me every once in a while and they were really nice and reassuring. At one time though I think I was woken up by one of the doctors who was loudly talking from afar about how my sister shouldn't come into the NICU (Nursery) because she worked in the ICU hehe. I also overheard my sister standing at the RR door saying she wanted to see me up close but they didn't allow her. Honestly, I don't know how long they kept me there.

Before they discharged me from the RR I think they changed my diaper and this was when the pain started. Two nurses assisted me and one of them warned that I would feel pain and holy shizballs. He pressed on my uterus repeatedly to discharge clots and I could only helplessly moan my way through the ordeal.
Before I exited the OR complex we made a stop in the hallway outside the Nursery (I had no idea so it was a nice surprise) and once again they showed me my baby boy. He was already swaddled and all cleaned up. The nurse put him next to my face and even though I knew I shouldn't kiss his face because of how sensitive it is I couldn't help myself-- my son was just so adorable (moment frozen in time in the picture above). He has very kind and curious eyes and I adored how he gently blinked as I spoke to him. After about 10 seconds they took him back to the nursery and I was taken to the elevator.

When I arrived at my suite everyone was quiet. Might have been because everyone was sleepy; it was already so late at night when I got back. My mom greeted me at the door and asked if I was okay with a thumbs up and I answered with a nod. Last time we were both an emotional mess hehe. She and my mother-in-law told me not to speak to prevent gas. I was lifted back to my hospital bed and the long road to recovery officially started...

The Pain

Pain deserves its own section because this is the part I was dreading for 9 months and the pain that comes with childbirth demands to be felt.

First night after the operation I awoke in the middle of the night moaning in excruciating pain because my uterus was contracting. To be honest I forgot that this was even a thing. Yes ladies, you may be done giving birth but the contractions will linger. It was unforgiving at 8-10 on the pain scale. I wanted to scream but I can't or else my stomach will get distended so helpless me just cried with gritted teeth. My uterus and my whole pelvis went stiff and I was shaking in so much pain. I had no control over it as it happened again and again. My loud cries woke up my husband and he sleepily held my hand tight and wiped my tears.

Early in the morning my anesthesiologist dropped by to make her rounds to check on me and was pleased to hear that I didn't have much pain when at rest and that I was able to move my legs and feet.

But! The contractions kept coming back all day. The nurses gave me pain meds but even administering those were painful and swelled up my vein. And as much as I would like to lie still, I needed to take baby steps to recover as soon as possible by ambulating (walking around) within 24 hours after the operation. Getting up from bed was torture in itself but I needed to do it. At 1PM they took out my urinary catheter so later that day I had to walk to the bathroom and take my first leak post-op. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I expected (previous CS experience: first pee after CS felt like my insides were being sliced by a knife) and I should have known better that this should be the least of my worries. I regained control over my bladder which was good because I could stop for a bit when it got too painful. I also farted which meant my GI tract has regained function. So glamorous.

But forget about food. I couldn't have anything other than a soft diet and sips of water after passing gas but I didn't eat until later that day because of lack of appetite. Or maybe subconsciously my body was scared to put effort into pooping. Overall, the first day post-op was hell but I got the best consolation: I mustered up all the strength that I got so I could see my son at the Nursery that night to hold and breastfeed him for the first time. Visiting hours were over but I took my time bonding with him. I was in awe of the new life I created and I was cherishing every second of it.

2 days post-op I was still woken up in the wee hours of the morning by contractions. Pain seemed to be getting worse when I should be getting better and I thought that I would just be in pain forever. Ambulating only became slightly easier but I had to suck it up or else they won't send me home. That afternoon, My OB did his rounds, changed my dressing, and told me I was good to go.

I am typically a little vain about my looks, but while I was in the hospital I couldn't care less. I was just a disheveled, puffy faced, cranky, tearful, whiny lady who was transported into the bottomless pit of pain.

Home and the Road to Recovery

Unlike my previous birth where we had lots of visitors who came to see us once we got home, this time we arrived to a quiet house and me and the baby were able to rest for the rest of the day which was exactly what I was hoping for. I was so exhausted and didn't have the energy to entertain guests.

It's been over a week now and my husband has been my primary caregiver while he is on paternity leave. I needed to have almost everything done for me. I literally didn't go downstairs until 6 days post-partum as I was on bed rest with bathroom privileges. My son is 9 days old as of this writing and the pain has drastically improved, but without my abdominal binder the sharp pains are still magnified (not to mention my insides feel like spilling out). Recently though I haven't been wearing it all day to let my skin breathe . I've already developed nasty heat rashes on my belly that are now wounds because I scratched too much. Not pretty.

Recently I've been able to do much more on my own, like sorting out our stuff that just kept piling up in the bedroom since we got home from the hospital and giving my son phototherapy in the morning, but I still need help getting up from bed or picking things up from the floor sometimes, basically activities that require ab strength.

I've been on a ton of meds and vitamins to maintain my milk supply, prevent infection and counter the pain, and I need laxatives to make sure I go number 2 because for some reason my bowels don't seem to be cooperating very much. Also my sleep pattern is whack but I guess it has its advantages because while my husbands sleeps, I'm on night baby duty.

I'm anxious about my husband going back to work because that would mean I need to be 100% hands on on the baby even though I haven't fully recovered but I'm lucky to have some help with my first born. It also helps that she's already six and is already quite independent.

How is Baby?

First night at home. Eyes were puffy from the body wash they used in the Nursery.
Iajin is a wonderful boy and I'm not just saying that because he's my son. He's not a fussy baby at all, although he's a very loud crier and a light sleeper! Swaddling does nothing for him but I notice that he sleeps better squeezed in between bolster pillows or co-sleeping with me and his Poppa. He likes to hear us sing and hum while he stares with his big expressive eyes. When he's fed and clean, he stays calm even without being played with.

I'm trying to exclusively breastfeed him but it's difficult right now as I'm just starting to build up my supply. From 2 ounces each breast last week it's now going up to 5 ounces which is awesome. And by the way, I salute all moms who can exclusively breastfeed-- it's a piece of work! Waking up and walking around with leaking rock hard tatas and growing 1-2 cups larger is painful and you have to feed and pump regularly or else you'll be in so much pain and become at risk for mastitis.

Iajin has a bit of jaundice in his eyes (hence the daily phototherapy) so I'm looking forward to seeing his pedia and understand how we can better manage it.

His skin is just starting to exfoliate in some parts which is totally normal, and...

He's already fallen victim to his father's crazy antics.
Rock and roll!
Epilogue

Sometimes I catch myself in disbelief that the hardest part is over. My baby and I are here, we are both safe and we have started to live a brand new chapter of our lives as a family of four. My eldest Iaine is so happy to finally have his baby brother home and she's such a sweetheart to him. She's so proud to be a big sister! Even though she told me and her dad that she was a little jealous, I'm proud to say that she's not acting out and instead she's willing to take part in taking care of her brother. Aside from our usual bonding moments, I give her small tasks to make her feel that she's involved and that we don't love her any less.

A new baby changes everything. You feel it in the relationships around you, your home, your career, your wallet! Right now I don't know what's in store for me as a new mom of 2 and how our lives will turn out having Iajin in our lives, but I'm hoping for the best that I can raise my 2 children to be healthy and well-rounded individuals despite having weird crazy parents.

I'm so excited to share his milestones with you all. Thanks for reading, and please wish me luck on this new adventure with Iajin Alfredous Jye!
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