Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pregnancy Journey - RJS 1

For those who know me and R personally, you would know that we did not plan of having a mini-me until after a year or so. We initially wanted to enjoy each other's company as long as possible. But due to certain medical circumstances and we felt God aligning everything, we decided to do a leap of faith. We even went to 2 see 2 OBGYNEs to ensure that we find the right one that matches our personality, we ended up with our family doctor. haha. We consulted her twice one August 19 and October 18. We tried. It was scary since we thought it would be easy but apparently not. After 1 or 2 failed attempts, we had double lines on November 6 2016. I wanted to keep it as a surprise from R, but I could not control my excitement. I told him and he was very happy (almost cried daw but my timing was not ideal since we were busy packing up).

On November 9 2016, our doctor confirmed that I am indeed carrying a life form within me. We were both grateful that God blessed us with a baby. But due to the paranoia of all the questions and stories I have heard, my mind had a lot of questions. We visited our doctor quite frequently (twice a month) to ask our questions. By March 2017, we were just visiting once a month.

Knowing the gender was another roller coaster, our doctor told us baby was a girl then a boy then finally a girl March 27 2017. With finality of the baby's gender, we thought of her name the same day since we already had shortlisted names. Her english name meant Pledge of Attachment to the Vine (John 15:5).  Then on May 11 2017, we also finalized her chinese name with the help our a friend Ting. We wish her to be kind and farsighted so we chose the name 蘇善睿. 

Travel. I was so blessed to have a strong willed baby. She was able to travel abroad to 4 countries inside my womb. She went to Korea November, Hong Kong December, Taiwan February, and Japan March. Besides that she also attended parties, meetings, weddings, expositions (lots of Mom expo), trainings (NewBorn Care), and even seminars (finlit summit, livestock, ecopig, taxation, labor laws, hr management, company policies). She is a rock star. She is not even picky even when I eat spicy food. I am still able to eat as much spicy food as I want.

With more responsibilities in mind, I was forced to be more resourceful and creative in the way I do my business and investments. I got into a lot of business ventures, researching and meeting a lot of business owners. She is my inspiration. I am really blessed to have a supportive husband who is willing to accompany me when his time permits, I especially remember he accompanied me to a Waldorf school orientation. It was crazy since its too early but I appreciate that he respects my craziness. 

Last June 10 2017, she even had a baby shower. I was really surprised that our friends and family still went through the effort of making one. I nearly lost hope that anyone would care. But my dichi did and she pulled everyone together. High School friends, college friends, my sisters, to my husband's cousins were present that day. 

But not everything was great. I also had several cases of Urinary Track Infections but later on was questioned since when I tried testing my urine from St Lukes and Hi-Precision both had varying results. So it could be that my urine was okay in the first place. Then I also had pre-diabetis which caused me to cut down a lot of sugar intake. And there was the instance of non reactive Hepa in my bloodstream even though I had records in my baby book and the prior OBGYNE shot me with a booster. So I had to take my series of shots starting May, June, and last November 2017.

Latest update was I can give birth as soon as June 29 2017, but I am hoping that she waits until July when everything is settled down and just let nature take its course. (I will update this section after I have given birth). 

So... I gave birth. As agreed with our OB-GYNE, we went to her clinic on June 29 2017 for a check up. I did not know it was an Internal Examination already. I still do not know what it was just after I gave birth. Our doctor instructed me to walk, do squats, and do breathing exercises... come back tomorrow. I still did not know the gravity of what happened. Apparently, she started the ball rolling already. It was my regret that I did not take the walking seriously. I should have walked plenty.... June 30 2017, another check up, it felt uncomfortable so our doctor asked me to come back July 3 2017. So I went about my weekend just like any other weekend. Cause in my mind, I still have about a week or so. To my shock, July 3 2017... our doctor said I can be admitted to the hospital that night. I was sure my baby was still high up. But I trusted the doctors judgement and went home to take our hospital bags. By 7:30 PM I was at the delivery room, getting checked by nurses. Then contractions came, stronger and more consistent. I was brought to the "labor/waiting room" (not sure what it was) and my OB was there the whole time monitoring my progress. I started around 9 PM and by 12 midnight, I was being prepped for delivery. My doctor said that my progress was really good and it gave me hope that this pregnancy will go by fast and good. By 10:30 PM, the doctor ruptured my water bag. I was given epidural which made everything easier too, they gave it to me when I was around 7 cm. Then during the pushing phase, that is where everything turned sour. There were 4 doctors pushing my tummy area, they were saying I am constipated and had too much poop. I also remember them hitting and pushing my tummy really hard for baby to come out. Beforehand, I was confident about my breathing and pushing since the doctor said I was doing good at her clinic. They hit my tummy "blue" to the point that I puked and they decided to do an emergency CS on me for baby's safety. They asked me to sign a waiver and I kinda passed out since I do not remember anything afterwards. At 1:53 am July 4 2017, RJS1 was introduced to the world. When I came to around 5:00 AM, I was at the Recovery Room with RJS1 in my arms. She was lying beside me, then nurses came took her to get her vitals checked in a nearby machine within my eyes reach. By 7:00 AM, I was brought to our room and I saw my husband for the first time. I was with IV fluids, baby was roomed in with me, husband was there all relieved to see both me and baby. I too was happy seeing him there, it hasn't registered to me yet that I had a CS operation and had a cut down there. Once the medicines wore off, I noticed the bandage and had difficulty moving my body. R then relayed the story on how he was called in the operating room when they were about to pull baby out of my body. He was shivering and scared when he saw my cut open state, good thing the anesthesiologist told him everything was okay since my vitals were alright and baby was crying. He said he could not see me like that, he was so scared that something might happen. Then we had our first family photo taken by my OB GYNE, I was responding but I really cannot recall anything. I was confined from July 4 and discharged July 6 lunch time. I had the worst July 4 ever since I ate the hospital food and apparently my body was not ready and it made me very "sick" that I puked many times. My MIL instructed me to only drink fluids until I could fart. By July 5, I farted and could eat soft diet. I started eating soup with fish. My dad, college friends (Andrew, Patty, JP, MC), HS friends (Ene, Esme, Jade, Esme dad), dichi visited us. By July 6, my dad's sister visited us. Throughout our stay at the hospital, I felt sad that I had a CS and worried if baby was getting the love/care she deserves. Thank God for nurses who taught us how to burp, wash her, feed her. RJS1 is such a trooper from day 1 she already new how to latch and I had no problems in feeding her except for my supply. 

July 6, we were discharged and we got home. The walk from the garage to the guest room was like the walk of shame. I hated myself for being so weak that I could barely walk. I cried so much when I reached the bedroom, I saw RJS1 at the bed and I could not even reach her. I felt worthless, I could not even recognize nor control my own body. From July 6 to July 13, it was hell. I was almost crying every night out of frustration and depression, i could not accept that I had CS wound...I was so weak...I could not feed baby the way she needed me to...I could not understand her...I could not get any decent sleep. Everything was just pure sadness and regret that i failed to see God's blessing in the situation. God did not allow any complication to happen to either baby or me, we were both healthy. I was too tired to be grateful. Thank God for my mom, she pushed me to do side lying position on July 14. It was only then I started to get decent sleep and I could feel my body slowly recovering. July 12, we went to the pedia. It was my first out of house trip with the baby and clearly my body was still too weak and I still had a hard time walking. Thank God that by the time it was our turn, the pedia was kind enough to walk us through first time parents questions like how to wash the genitalia area, ideal temperature, how much to feed, etc... Our families were also very supportive especially r's sister and cousin, they were our go to resource for any questions. Thank God for family.

July 17, as I am writing this, I feel like I am on my way to recovering fully. I can now say it was due to a reason that things turned out the way they did. I am done with the self pity and regrets. I want to love baby So with all my heart as i love my husband. I cannot wait to see how God will unfold things. Pls continue to pray for us as we do our best molding this gift from God.

So what are the lessons I/we have learned:
Besides online stores and expositions, I usually go to the Parenting Emporium and The Nest Attachment for my purchases. Do check out Mommy Mundo and The Parenting Emporium for pregnancy classes. They did help me and R gain confidence especially since this is our first baby.

Essentials/ Must haves/ Nice to haves:
1. BLANQI OVERBUST SUPPORT TANK TOP of Urban Essentials P4290 > I really love this but I purchased it too late (3rd trimester). But it became essential esp during the last trimester when my back was hurting. It really gave me back support and the belly assurance that I needed. So I ended up buying 3 in total since I loved it so much and kept 1 for next pregnancy back up. It does cost a lot so budget for this. A piece costs P4290. I purchased my first piece from Expo Mom, and 2 more pieces via the website. I paid via bank transfer and it was shipped the next day. Very efficient!!! <3 With this, I also purchased 1 BLANQI MATERNITY BELLY SUPPORT LEGGINGS P3599 (love this! gave me the support I love about my overbust top) + 2 Ingrid and Isabel SEAMLESS DROP CUP NURSING CAMI P2390 each + 2 Wink ULTIMATE POSTPARTUM ULTRA BIKINI P4990 each + 1 BLANQI HIGHWAIST POSTPARTUM + NURSING SUPPORT LEGGINGS P3599. So as you can deduce, I purchased a lot after I purchased 1 BLANQI product.

I was able to compare the BDA Leggings of Belly Bandit P2500 with the Blanqi Support Leggings P3599 and the P1099 difference really does make a difference. The Blanqi one gave more support and comfort that I needed, the fabric is thicker too. I definitely recommend the Blanqi one over the Belly Bandit one. I bought Bandita nursing bra P2350 and Belly Bandit Corset P4800. 

For the post pregnancy support, over Belly Bandit VS Wink. Wink definitely out performs Belly Bandit corset. I could not wear the Belly Bandit corset since it was too long and uncomfortable. Whereas the Wink Postpartum Bikini support was God Sent, on my Day 3 I wore Medium. By Day 13 I wore Small. It gave me the comfort and flexibility that I needed with my CS wound. I definitely recommend Wink over the Belly Bandit one.

2. Kbaby Playmat P7500 > One of my earlier purchases since I really planned to buy this ever since I saw this on the Superman Returns korean reality show. The playmat is a good place for the baby to chill at since its stainproof, waterproof and firm. I plan to let baby R lounge there when she can do tummy time or wants to play. I will not be as worried since she will be on the floor already so no more falls or trips. I sent a viber message to the owner Wini, she was very accommodating and answered all my questions. Paid an additional P300 for the delivery. Upon payment, she immediately shipped the items the next day. Very efficient transaction. They are also selling a lot more variety of baby products like Baby Wipes, Baby Bottle Wash, Baby Laundry Detergent, RayQueen Sterillizer (P9500 promo price), GGumbi Bumper Bed P14500, pit balls, and gates. Initially, I planned to buy the GGumbi Bumper Bed and RayQueen together with the playmat but R said we can buy it afterwards since he wants to assess how baby R is first. But the thing I really liked about Wini was that she told me that by just buying he GGumbi Bumper bed is sufficient since when collapsed its a playmat too. So this just proves that she is not after profit but usability. Love Miss Wini. The natural organic wipes, wash, and detergent were all also very good. They did not have any residual smell and did not hurt my skin during usage (I have sensitive skin). These products are very useful and they usually have promotions that bundle these products. I suggest you maximize them. <3

3. Upang sterilizer P13500 > Upon extensive research early 2016, there were 3 main sterilizers in the Philippine market Ecomom (Urban Essentials), RayQueen (Kbaby), and Upang. (Now there is a new player UVCare which we just saw at the MomZilla event, they were selling like pancakes since they cost about P8000). All three initial brands were korean made and only UVCare was US made. Initially we were assessing whether to buy the steamer type or this UV sterilizer type which was about 3-5 times more expensive. R's inclination was to buy the steamer type since we really do not have things to sterilize, but once R did his own research on the benefits/reviews of the UV sterilizer... he decided that we needed one to be sure. This was something that he thought would make our lives as parents easier since it can sterilize and dry, so we do not have to worry about wiping baby R's stuff once the have been cleaned which are prone to molds. Also they can be used by us as well when we sterilize our own utensils. Question now was which one. Our korean friend recommended Upang since it is what his family is using too. #Blessed, my mom purchased the sterilizer on our behalf since it was a big purchase. She purchased Upang since they incidentally have a 10% off promotion for mother's day, communicated via viber with Chinky then paid and shipped the next day for free. Again another efficient transaction. Upon getting the sterilizer, we unboxed it and sent them the DR for registration of the warranty. It was lighter and smaller than expected but it did not matter since we were after performance. It has 1 year warranty and replacement P1485 of UV lights and infrared bulb is recommended to be done on a 6 month to per year basis depending on use. It can be purchased from them directly or from their partner stores like mothercare.

4. Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Carrier P8999 - Since we will have an upcoming family trip later this year, we need a reliable carrier for baby R (and parents since we will not bring a stroller). With the Complete All Seasons carrier, we do not need to worry about baby R getting cold or getting warm since this carrier is fully adjustable. Plus it is very ergonomic that even small human babies can be secured. It has a lot of features that supports the parents body too so that it does not tire out immediately, so getting this is definitely not a question. It even supports breastfeeding, so yahoo! We need this for our daily trips and our occasional abroad trips. Cannot wait for baby R to appreciate her travels.

5. Baby Cuddle Co-Sleeper Bed P2699 - My very first purchase. Saw this on facebook and immediately purchased it. Miss Lenie was very accommodating and modified my custom order since it was not supported by their website. I paid via bank deposit and 4 days after I received baby R's bed. I also purchased additional head pillow, bed cover, and bag (all for P4000 in total) for days that we travel or wash the sheets. We purchased this co-sleeper bed, instead of just sleeping the baby beside me, for extra peace of mind. Since its padded, we think it will keep the baby in place and keep me from accidentally squishing baby R when sleeping. It's filling is made of 100% polyester, cover is 100% cotton, and mattress is 100% compressed polyester soft cotton. Another thing I like about this bed is that its Pinoy made. Hope baby R likes it too. We have been using this since day 1, it gave us comfort that baby R stays in a cushioned area while we are working or doing something. Though it is a bit too small already for RJS1, I think it will only last her until month 2. Also I did not like that the cover could not be changed, it was stitched. I purchased a bed cover but when we got pee on the bed and tried to change it, it was only then we realized that it was stitched and we do not understand how the bed cover fits well with the stitched one. It was a poor design for us.

6. Red Cross Lifeline Kit P3000 - With all the calamities going on, I purchased a Lifeline Kit for a family from Red Cross Boni. This is to ensure that at least my family will have a basic grab and go bag to use during emergencies. I still have to supplement this with baby R necessities and R's specific necessities. There are different kinds of kits available in PRC but they are usually the basic personal kit that costs P750. Bigger kits are very easy to be out of stock so it pays to call the branch nearest to you. Though upon my visits to varies PRC branches, the best chance you have to get a kit is from PRC Boni Edsa branch. My contact is Melissa 09957869826. But sadly their service is really poor since they gave me an incomplete set and until now I have not received my complete kit. Though the products included are not necessarily high quality and some of them even looks easy breakable, but this is perfect for those busy people who do not have time to build their own first ad kit. But you can definitely build a better and more relevant yourself.

7. Inay Moments Nursing Bra P750 - Met the owner Joana Marie Ramirez at Momzilla and bought nursing bra (P750 each), extenders (P10 each) and pads (P100 each) from her. She even sells postnatal shapewares, binders, pregnancy belts. With just a first glace I knew her products were nice since the material was really soft. At least now I know where to buy nursing bras should I need more when I am nursing. So happy!!! 

8. Baby Steeckies Onesies P2100 - The baby expert when it comes to cute baby clothing. Bought a set of onesies from 1 month to 12 months (varies in size depending on month) P2100 for baby R's memories and another red swaddle set since its just too cute. Spent P3750 for these seemingly unnecessary clothes, but they are just too cute to let go. We just have to make sure that baby R uses them. Do check them out since they have a lot of designs to choose from. It took me months to finally say yes to a single design. 

9. Iflin Facetowels, Burping Bibs, Nursing Covers - I could not believe that I would love their product so much. I have been using their products everywhere everyday. I esp love the burping bibs since I use them as alternative to bra since they do not scratch my boobs with its very soft material. Nursing Covers are also very smooth and nice to use so I do not worry when baby R feeds. Lastly, the facetowels, I did not realize that I would love these things so much. I use them as baby R's pillow (not to scratch her pretty face), wipe her spit ups, face towel during baths. They are very soft and we love using them for baby R. Super recommend this!

10. Cotton Balls / Baby Wipes - Must have esp the cotton balls, since you will use this to clean the private parts of the baby. Make sure to use soft cotton since I realized that even with a soft material it can wound the baby since they have super sensitive skin. :( We haven't used wipes so much after the pedia's visit since she said we use cotton balls instead.

11. Diapers - MUST. We currently use MamyPoko. Initially we use Pampers Premium but they kept falling off, so we tried using MamyPoko since its thicker.

12. Waterproof changing towels - usually the common brand is Bloom. But we tried many brands and they all work. This is a MUST have since baby usually have accidents with their constant movements. 

13. Alcohol - MUST. Use whenever you touch baby's hand or face or do diaper change. Make sure to buy 70% ethyl alochol without moisturizer as per pedia. 

14. Malunggay Supplements - currently using Natalac. I have Mega Malunggay on the shelf. Nursing mothers NEED this. 

15. Diaper Rash Cream - MUST. Your baby will definitely have diaper rash. Baby R has hers as early as our pedia visit, we did not even know it was a rash. :( We use mustela diaper cream.

16. Moisturizing lotion/cream - MUST. Your baby will have cracked skin due to the change in weather. Baby R had her whole skin cracking. Pedia said its normal. But we use mustela lotion and plan to use Cetaphil Baby Cream afterwards.

17. Stemcord - Nice to have. Just like insurance. Proven to be able to cure blood disorders, potential to cure other brain disorders. R and I decided to get this for RJS1 since we would regret it if the time comes that she needs it and we did not made it available for her. We decided to get the annual payment since upon computation even with the discount we can earn more from the money if we invested it elsewhere. We listened to both Stemcord and Cordlife, at the end, we decided to go with StemCord since their presentation is data based and have less technology promises than CordLife which for us sounded more realistic. Our assigned agent was Ms. Lovelle Herrera 09175303987. She was very professional and straight to the point which we appreciated, this is also the reason why we got stemcord instead. She gave us the answers we needed, Cordlife was very convenient since they had a 24 hour service number and they had an office in st lukes which was where I gave birth at. The whole process was seamless according to my husband, they were able to collect my cord blood and cord tissue. Got them shipped to singapore and stored.  

Expense Breakdown
For the expenses, I would say we could been wiser. We just had too many purchases we do not need yet. But we are assuming that there are expenses that will no longer incur on the next pregnancy since many will be hand me downs from RJS1.  
1. Doctor check ups / Lab works / Medicines - P52,000
2. Baby Essentials - P106,000
3. Stem Cord (Initial Enrollment) - P120,000
4. Hospital Bill (CS Delivery Day) - P150,000 (room per night P4292, professional fee around P100,000)

So as you can see, having a kid is not easy and its definitely not a joke on your finances. Make sure to plan accordingly and be healthy so that when your little bundle of joy comes you are more than capable to take care of his/her needs. Hope this entry helps. Just comment if you need any advise. We realized that there are just so many things that could have prevented R and I from suffering if we only knew the answers or if people warned us about it beforehand. So R and I are here to give advise to new parents like us who have a ton of worries and questions. As one mentor of mine said, don't sweat the small stuff + everything is SMALL STUFF. We can do this!