My Birthing Story

My Birthing Story

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To hear about other people’s birthing story is expected when you’re expecting. Typically, mothers would recount how they endured labor pains, how they delivered their baby, and how they were postpartum. When I was pregnant, I heard countless of birthing stories from my friends and relatives, and although no two stories are the same, each of them is special and beautiful in their own way. Now that I have Lucas, I guess it’s my turn to share mine.

No one ever expected that on December 10, I will be rushing to the hospital to give birth to Lucas, not even my OB. I had my 39th week check-up the day before and my OB sent me home after we learned that I was only 1cm dilated just as I was the week before. She told me that if she will see no progress on my next appointment, she’ll be forced to get me admitted and induced.

So Mc and I went home and spent the day the usual way. I slept at 10pm and woke up 2 in the morning to grab something to eat while Mc was still in front of the TV busy with his PlayStation. Mc joined me on the bed a couple of minutes later and at exactly 3:45 in the morning while we were having a nice talk, I felt a sudden pain—a different kind of contraction that was stronger and sharper than I used to have. It was followed by a sudden gush of fluid.

My water broke!

Since all our stuff was already in the car (thanks to Mc), the only thing left for us to do was freshen up a bit, change, grab our phones and go. While getting ready, I could feel my knees shaking. I was not in a rush or anything and I knew I still have TONS of time in my hand. I could still sit down and have breakfast if I wanted to but I was a bit panicky because to be honest, although I knew this day will come, part of me still wasn’t prepared. I mean even though I learned this and that from “What to Expect…”, experiencing everything firsthand for the first time is a different story.

On our way to the hospital, I could sense in the way Mc drove that he was excited yet nervous. He was grinning and was being extra careful at the same time. I thought I was ready for this but I was not. In my mind, I was like “Bahala na.” Just like Mc, I was excited too, however, part of me was just pretending to stay calm. So to regain my composure, I prayed and started calling our family to let them know the most awaited time has come.

We arrived at the hospital 4:30 and went straight to Pre Labor Room. I was only 2 cm dilated and there weren’t any pain at all–what I felt was more like pressure—but there were lots of fluid coming out of me and it felt weird. I stayed there for about an hour and a half while being assessed. Then they transferred me to the Labor Room and by 8am, I have progressed to 3cm. This time, I can already feel the pain. My OB allowed me to have light snack so Mc sent me some sandwiches and bottled water but the pain was overpowering that I lost appetite for food. An hour later I requested that Mc be allowed to stay next to me because I needed his support. Thank God they let him in. He was my rock!

After another hour, I was up to 4cm and that was when I asked for my first epidural shot because I couldn’t bear the stronger contractions anymore. It was such a relief to get that very first shot. I was glad it made the pain manageable. I slept every time I received the drug and only woke up every time I felt it wearing off. I was able to regain a little energy, Thank goodness! I honestly think that if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have the energy to push.

When I was already 8cm dilated, that was between 3 and 4pm, my contractions were stronger and I could feel the pain even when I got continuous shots. I held Mc’s hand. My breaths were deeper and my grasp was tighter. It was a very tough moment–a true test of endurance, courage, confidence, patience, and most of all, faith.

While waiting for crowning, my doctor and I practiced pushing. I was so tired already and the pain kept getting stronger. In as much as I wanted to get one epidural shot after another, I restrained myself so I wouldn’t get so numb. I needed to feel some pain to help me push.

At around 5pm, they moved me to the Delivery Suite and everything happened so fast from that moment. There was a team of doctors and nurses and hospital staff and everyone was so busy—each of them had a crucial role to play, my OB/perinat leading them. Everything went by like a lightning—my anesthesiologist was on my side explaining something to me, while someone was doing something down there, someone was busy taking off my glasses and keeping them for me, someone was stroking my arm to calm me down (it wasn’t Mc), while almost everyone in the room was coaching me to “Inhale…then push..1..2..3..4…….10” as if they were chanting. Mc was there too, blending into the team and becoming part of it. The most important part that is.

After 7 pushes, I felt the head. Then on my 8th push, there were shoulders. Obvious shoulders! At exactly 5:36pm, my perinat announced Lucas’ time of birth. When I heard the words, “baby out”, all the pain and exhaustion went away as if nothing happened.  One of the doctors laid Lucas on my chest and there, I finally met my precious son for the first time.

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I cried. This strange, beautiful emotion filled me. I don’t know what kind it was. Even I who felt it couldn’t explain it. It was beyond relief, beyond happiness, beyond feeling blessed.

It’s been more than two months now since I gave birth to Lucas yet I can still vividly recall everything that happened that day from the time my water broke until I held Lucas in my arms for the first time. It’s been more than two months now but I still can’t believe I was capable of bringing such a wonderful thing into this world.

I’ve heard lots of birthing stories and each of them is different yet unique and beautiful in their own way.  Now that I am a mother, I have my own story to tell, and this is my story.

Lucas’ Safari-Themed Baby Shower

Lucas’ Safari-Themed Baby Shower

Milestones are meant to be celebrated with people close to your heart. Being pregnant is already a milestone let alone being able to come this far in a pregnancy that wasn’t easy to begin with. For this, our family and friends gathered together to shower Lucas with lots of love, well wishes and beautiful presents.

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Although it was our family who threw the shower, we got to choose the theme. We opted for safari/wild/jungle just because we thought it was cute. Lo and behold, the theme went well with Contis’ interiors and I think Tina of SweetTooth did a great job filling the place with nice balloons.

McCoy and I told our family that we’d take care of the souvenirs as a thank you to everyone. So we personally made these—they’re gummy candies and milk chocolate coated almonds that we bought in bulk and repacked. I designed the stickers for the label while McCoy had them printed and cut one by one.

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Of course the shower wouldn’t be complete without the fun part—games! My brother chose the games and initiated to arrange the program which he hosted together with his girlfriend. I didn’t expect the games to be that exciting, I think everyone in the party would agree with me when I say they were super fun! They’re a mix of traditional baby shower games and stuff he got from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I might create a post exclusively about these games in the future.

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McCoy and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who came to our celebration. Some came all the way from south like Alabang, Cavite and Laguna, and there was even a typhoon that day. That’s why we were glad they made it to the party despite the distance and not-so-fine weather.

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P.S.
McCoy and I would like to specially thank my parents and siblings for throwing an amazing shower! We’d like to thank also his parents, sisters and in-laws for being very supportive of our pregnancy, always sending stuff to us and Lucas before we even ask. Thank you! Hugs and kisses to you all.

Baby Shower for Lucas: Supplier Review

Baby Shower for Lucas: Supplier Review

Exactly two weeks ago, we had our safari-themed baby shower for Lucas and it was such a success that I wanted to post a review on the suppliers specifically the venue/restaurant and the party services that we hired to decorate the place. So here goes our experience with both…

The Restaurant: Contis Katipunan

Food: 5/5*
Service: 5/5
Ambience: 5/5
Cleanliness: 4.5/5**
Value for money: 4/5
Location: 4/5

We opted for Contis Katipunan among 2 other restaurants—Wheatberry and Dad’s—simply because it was the best choice in terms of location, availability, capacity, food and ambience. The only issue that I could think of is the parking space, which wasn’t so bad for us because we held it during off-peak hours when the resto wasn’t that full.

Well I heard lots of good reviews about Wheatberry where people rave about their “sulit” package that already includes a free cake, sounds system, and decors such as swags and balloons. However, I liked Contis’ menu selection, plus it has nicer and cozier interior. Dad’s was fullybooked that time and the closest available date was October 30 which fell on a long weekend, and we didn’t want to bother our friends who have vacation plans or leave for their respective provinces to celebrate Undas.

We booked the upper dining area which is good for 60 pax. I liked the fact that aside from the suggested menu package, I can customize so I chose to serve crab salad, chicken lollies, assorted mini sandwiches lasagna, garlic bread, assorted pastries, and bottomless soda, lemonade or iced tea. Total damage per head is Php450. First two hours is free, P1,500 will be incurred for every excess hour, and additional Php300 for use of electricity for 2 hours.

I cannot say that arranging with Contis was flawless because they had issues in their internal communication but I can say it was easy. Initially, I talked to Risa over the phone when I asked her to pencil book the date for me, then we exchanged emails moving forward. The only time I went to Contis prior to the shower was when my mom settled their required 50% down payment and the only time I called them was when I had the number of guests changed from 45 to 60.

Contis Restaurant Katipunan

The guests enjoyed the food and we heard lots of positive things especially about the crab salad, chicken lollies and lasagna. Some said the iced tea was too sweet, while others didn’t care. The area had enough space for games and for guests to move around comfortably. We ended up with around 45 pax and I guess it would’ve been a tight space had all 60 guests come.

Service-wise, they’re awesome! The waiters were very attentive to our needs. They even helped clean our mess each time a game ended. They were very patient and helpful even at the end of the party when we asked them to divide and sort all the leftovers for us. Because they don’t have service charge, we gave a thousand bucks as gratuity.

*based on our food selection
**restroom was wet 80% of the time making it slippery that my sister and mom had to accompany me every time I need to use it.

Decors: Sweettooth Party Needs

Presentation: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5

This is the third time I dealt with Ms. Tina of Sweettooth Party Needs and every time was a success. I didn’t want to splurge on balloons so I looked for a supplier who does simple and affordable balloon decorating. For balloonderitas, she charges only Php 15 a piece for plain and 20 for printed. Each centerpiece costs php 50 only. I ordered 50 plain, 25 animal prints, and 5 centerpieces to fill the place. Total damage was only 1,500. I gave them Php 300 tip for such great service (as always) and for helping us hang the lanterns that I brought (which they’ve been informed about and agreed to do prior to the party).

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Prizes and Souvenirs: Own Account

When my mom and sister told me they’re gonna throw us a baby shower, McCoy and I insisted that we will take care of the prizes and souvenirs as our thank you to our family and friends. Also, we wanted to do it for Lucas too. We bought assorted chocolates, a tub of Kirkland almonds and assorted gummy candies and here’s what we came up with:

Baby Shower - Assorted Chocolates
Game Prizes: Assorted Chocolates

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The candies were delicious. McCoy’s friends even asked us where we got them. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I accept orders. Feel free to contact me for inquiries. Seriously!)

Overall, we enjoyed the party so much! Thanks to both Contis and Sweettooth for delivering what they promised. Everything went well and we were so satisfied with their services–highly recommended!

Gender Reveal Party: Restaurant and Cake Review

Gender Reveal Party: Restaurant and Cake Review

I know there are lots of really awesome gender reveal party ideas on the Internet but we kept ours as simple as possible. As mentioned in my post here, it was a family-only event so there was really no need for a major party prep.

The Resto: Racks el Pueblo

Food: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for money: 5/5
Location: 5/5

For the restaurant, we chose Racks el Pueblo for its 1.) location (Our families met half-way and Ortigas is our midpoint ), 2.) parking, it was a Sunday and we didn’t want it to be a prob, and 3.) menu selection—who wouldn’t like ribs, sides and pasta, right?

I didn’t have a hard time communicating with the one in charge of booking and it was easy to make a Sunday-lunch reservation given that I only called 5 or 6 days before the event. At first, I only requested for a long table good for a group of 13 adults and 2 kids. However on the day of the event while McCoy and I were already on our way there, I got a call from Racks asking me to confirm our reservation. I did and the girl on the other line offered me a function room good for 15 pax for Php 5,000, consumable of food and drinks. McCoy and I just agreed without having enough time to think if it was a good deal or not. I found this part a little off because I think it would have been better for both parties if they have informed us in advance about this.

Anyway, we arrived and were immediately ushered to the function room. It wasn’t ready yet—there was no table setup, I knew I requested for 2 highchairs but they’re nowhere in sight and the a/c was still off so it was humid inside—but as soon as we began settling down, the staff too started attending to our needs. They turned on the a/c arranged the chairs, setup the table and handed us menus. It wasn’t a major issue for us especially that we’re just there for a casual lunch but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

We ordered a lot of food for everyone with only a little left (I think some onion rings and one or two servings of ribs) and it turned out that the consumable amount wasn’t enough that we still had to add but only a few hundred bucks which I think was pretty fair. The function room turned out to be a good deal as we got our space and privacy, but then again, they should’ve suggested it in advance. Had we known about this option way before the event day, we would’ve have decorated the room a little.

The Cake: Apple’s Confections

Presentation: 3/5
Taste: 3.5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5

For the cake, we chose Myla of Apple’s Confections. My sister found her on Instagram and told me she bakes cakes for celebs. Owkay. So I checked out her account and reached to her. She’s awesome! I didn’t have issues communicating with her. She required 50% down payment and although bank deposit is an option, we agreed to hand it to her personally when she offered to go to Medical City Ortigas on a Friday (imagine the traffic) just so we could hand her the sealed envelope with the gender result in it. We later found out that she didn’t bring a car but commuted instead. And that, my friends, is top-notch service!

For our 8-inch-single-tier cake, we chose vanilla flavor with buttercream icing. Fondant is a more popular choice of finish but I prefer frosting since it’s more appealing to the palate and for a cake that isn’t meant to be displayed, I guess icing is OK. We only paid Php 1,800 for it.

Here are our pegs:

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McCoy and I wanted the colors to be like the one on the right, and the top to be like the one on the left. I also asked Myla to add letter toppers that say, “We’re having a…”, and here’s what our actual cake looks like:

Gender Reveal Cake - Apple's Confections

Although she didn’t quite arrive at the color that we wanted for the frosting—light blue and peach instead of bright blue and hot pink—the cake generally looked decent. Because I have seen really bad cake designs, I was happy about ours. However, our sisters said they could see the inside (which is supposed to be a no-no for a gender reveal cake!) and Myla admitted that she had a hard time covering it. I used to bake also and I think it would’ve been better if she applied a thin layer of frosting first before piping the icing. This way, even if she missed a spot during piping, the sponge cake would still be concealed. Flavor-wise, it wasn’t bad. It was OK. I’d give it a score of 3.5 over 5.On the plus side, Myla was about 30 minutes early when she delivered the cake. I love it when people are prompt!

The Prize: Starbucks Card

We had a little game—wear the color of your bet. Whoever wears the winning color has the chance to join the raffle where in only one winner will be drawn. For the prize, I asked my brother to buy a Starbucks card worth Php 500. I was thinking of having a bag of chocolates but I picked Starbucks over it since one, it’s more convenient to get and two, everyone in our family drinks it.

Overall, the event went well and everyone enjoyed. We were happy about Racks and satisfied with Myla’s cake. Racks is a great place to have intimate gatherings while enjoying comfort food. Myla’s cake is good, service is unparalleled. I recommend it to people who work on a budget because hers is really affordable compared to other suppliers. As for the Starbucks card, I believe I have to thank my brother for making an effort of buying it, which he also took home after he won the raffle.

Our Little Gender Reveal Party

Our Little Gender Reveal Party

It wasn’t until my 28th week that we learned about our baby’s gender and nothing can be more exciting at that time than knowing what we will be having. Initially, we wanted to have a gender-reveal-and-baby-shower-in-one, but we can’t help but make it two different events instead because McCoy and I wanted to know the baby’s gender already and we can’t wait until we’re ready for a baby shower (that’s between 7 and 8 months and we can’t wait that long!). So we decided we will have our little gender reveal party the same weekend we had our ultrasound. We made it a family-only event and thought we could just have another gathering with our closest friends on our baby shower.

Because McCoy and I wanted it to be a surprise and learn about it at the same time with the rest of our family, we asked the sonologist to write the gender down on a piece of paper and gave her an envelope to seal it into. Then we went to meet Myla who baked our cake and handed her the envelope.

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So here’s our gender reveal cake. We wanted it simple and single tier and Myla did a pretty good job delivering what we specified.

Filled with excitement, our family gathered together for lunch (those in IL were also there. Thanks to Facetime). To make it even more interesting, we asked everyone to wear the color of their bet—pink if it’s a girl, blue if it’s a boy. Whoever wears the winning color has a chance to take home a prize through a raffle.

it's a BOY!!!!!!!! #mcbeechronicles

A video posted by Mccoy Badillo (@__mcbreezy) on

It’s a boy! Everyone cheered upon seeing the inside of the cake. I can see joy in everyone’s eyes and it was priceless.

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P.S.
Jem, my brother won the raffle. He was also the one who bought the prize. Well, at least Mc and I paid for it. Lol.

P.P.S.

I don’t know a lot of bakers here in Manila who do gender reveal cakes. I only knew about Myla through my sister who found her through Instagram, so this our first time to try her. Will probably post a separate blog entry for the review soon.

A Love Letter

A Love Letter

My Dear Lucas,

I know you are still too tiny to read this or even understand all of what mommy’s gonna say but I decided to write to you anyway because I wanted you to know how special you are to me and your daddy.

We have not met each other yet but one thing’s for sure—your daddy and I fell in love with you even before you came into our lives. You see, we wanted to build a beautiful family so we prayed hard for a baby. When we learned we are going to have you, we were beyond happy.

During the course of my pregnancy, I must say I have learned a lot. I learned selflessness and how sacrificing for someone you love deeply can be very rewarding. I thought I already knew how to love but I never understood what true love is until now that I am willing to give up everything for you. I thought I valued my family but I never really cared this much for a family especially my mother until you came. You taught me all that, and for that, I thank you.

In the first three months that I carried you, I was almost always sick—I would throw up nearly everything that I eat or drink, even water. I always felt like I didn’t want to get out of the bed at all because I was always tired. In most mornings, I would feel as if I didn’t sleep at all. I was that exhausted, and work made it worse. I worked 40-50 hours a week, sometimes even more. I had to work until midnight because that’s when my shift would end. While I was struggling, your daddy was too. He would go to work every morning but before leaving the house, he would prepare food for me and he’d make sure I had everything I need first. It was hard for him to leave me but he didn’t have any choice. Then from work, he would go home with all sorts of food for me. Sometimes he would buy, but most of the time, he would cook for me. He did all the physical work in his business and at home all while taking care of me, so he too was tired. On my sixth month, I began to feel back pains which made me uncomfortable sitting, walking, and even sleeping.

Aside from morning sickness and other weird things that happened to my body while expecting you, I also have a serious kidney condition making both of us high risk. The doctors said there is a chance I might deliver pre-term or worse, lose you because of this. That’s why daddy and I are making sure you and I get the best medical attention. Aside from the pills that I take, he and I would visit the hospital thrice a month or even more for consultation and lab works. Monthly, I would pee in a cup and the lab staff would extract blood from me which they would put in three tubes the size of daddy’s index finger.

Although things haven’t been easy for both us, all the pain would go away every time we feel you in my tummy. We would smile and most of the time laugh whenever we feel your summersaults, tiny jabs and kicks that get stronger each week. You are truly our source of joy and strength. You are special. You are priceless. And we wouldn’t trade you for anything else in this world.

Today, I continue to pray for a healthy and normal pregnancy and post-pregnancy and that you come out into this world without complications. Remember son, you don’t owe us anything but you owe Him everything so I pray that you grow up to become God-fearing, kind, loving, compassionate, obedient, generous and humble. I pray that your daddy and I become good parents to you—that we may be able to provide more than enough for you, that we become role models to you not because we want you to look up to us but so we will look up to you and be proud of the person you will become someday.

I love you so much, son. You are my life, my world, my everything.

Love,
Mommy

One Big Miracle

One Big Miracle

Not everything in this world is definite. We may have the freedom to live our lives the way we want it, plan our future, plot our agenda for the day, set goals and stuff, yet uncertainties are inevitable. And when an unfortunate thing happens and there’s no clear way of escaping it, we can only do one thing: pray. But, let me ask you a question–do you believe in the power of prayers?

Even before I got pregnant, I already knew my pregnancy would be different from the rest due to my kidney condition. I read it in blogs, support groups, forums and most importantly, my Nephrologist and Perinatologist themselves have made clear that this isn’t going to be an easy one for all of us. My Nephro has to see me every month to monitor that I’m not spilling too much protein and that creatinine level is normal, and every day I check my blood pressure to make sure it’s not soaring. Like other preggies who see their OB in a monthly basis, I too have to go to my Perinatologist that frequent, but since mine is a different case, there are additional meds and screening for me besides the usual stuff. In other words, I am high risk.

I’ve been taking low dose aspirin since my 15th week and I’ve been ordered to undergo preeclampsia screening two months ago. Apparently, expectants with a kidney condition are prone to having preeclampsia. The test wasn’t like any regular lab works that you can do anytime where results are out in a matter of hours. Doing it was different. We had to set an appointment because only one hospital does this and only 3 doctors are certified to conduct it. Also, it was already pricey to begin with so we still had to wait for 6 more patients to split the cost with before they could analyze the blood samples.

Yes, I have been forewarned. But to be honest, I never thought it was going to be like this.

“This is a serious matter,” my Nephro always tells us. I remember in my first checkup after we found out that we are pregnant, he even told McCoy that he has one request, “Pwede bang isa lang?” (Can you just have one kid?). My Perinatologist is as serious too. “Preeclampsia manifests as early as 20 weeks… My colleague delivered a 26-week old baby. Same condition as yours… Let’s hope you won’t have it, especially not early preec… If the results show you’re at risk for early preec, we’ll have to give the baby steroids to strengthen the lungs.”

Our hearts were crushed. We didn’t expect we’d only have as little as one shot to build a family, to build our future. We prayed hard when we were trying to get pregnant and He answered our prayers, and now, we couldn’t do anything but to turn to Him once again. Deep in my heart I know that He will hear us again this time, even if what we’ve been asking for is one big miracle.

We waited for the results for almost two months and oddly, I wasn’t feeling nervous the day we were about to get it. Not because I was confident that He will provide, but because I know Mc and I have lifted up everything to Him and that we were going to accept whatever it is that He has planned for us.

Down’s syndrome, result: Low, 1:32214

Edward’s syndrome, result: Low, 1:100000

Patau’s syndrome, result: Low, 1:100000

Early preeclampsia, result: LOW RISK

Late preeclampsia, result: LOW RISK

… And then there were tears. I couldn’t help it. I haven’t won the lottery but to me, this is way better than hitting the jackpot. I never felt so blessed in my life. I don’t know what I did, why I deserve it, or how it happened, but what I know for sure is that it wouldn’t have been like that if it wasn’t for Him.

So let me ask you again: Do you believe in the power of prayers? I do.

 

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

Mccoy and I are beyond blessed to have gone this far. We’re having a healthy and happy pregnancy—no pain, no bleeding, both of us are emotionally positive and most importantly, the baby is growing accordingly. The baby is now the size of a bell pepper, around 5 inches long as per my trusted reference, BabyCenter App. Last time we checked, the baby’s heart was beating at 156 per minute. Ahh… It’s music to our ears.

I remember our first ultrasound, which made me nervous more than excited by the way, the sonologist (who also happened to be our perinatologist) didn’t have a hard time searching for the baby in my uterus. When the probe went in, our baby immediately and without hesitation said hello (well there were no words but the baby did wave. Want proof? Watch the video below).

 

The baby giving us a high five for overcoming first tri challenges. ❤️ @__mcbreezy

A video posted by Arbee Mae (@chef_arbee) on

 

It was also the first time we saw the heart flickering. It was a wonderful moment. There weren’t any tears of joy but as I laid my eyes on it, I knew Mc felt the same way –suddenly, our fear of having a false pregnancy turned into relief, joy and gratitude.

But it’s not all positive…

See, I have a kidney condition making my pregnancy high risk. I found out about it in 2007 and there’s no cure to it but it’s manageable through diet and healthy lifestyle which is a good thing. Before we planned on having a baby, we sought medical advice from my Nephro, who ordered some tests for baseline, and instructed us to stop all medications a month prior to trying. When we learned that we’re pregnant, he referred us to a perinatologist who will take care of me and the baby for the next 8 months. Since there’s a risk of developing preeclampsia, I am currently taking low dose aspirin every day as a preventive measure. Also, on week 13, I got tested for preeclampsia (as of this writing, we still haven’t seen the results yet). It’s not all positive, but we keep praying for a clean bill of health.

So let’s skip negativity and focus on happy things because it’s honeymoon stage for the three of us right now.

Although there were rough times during the first trimester, I believe I am slowly picking up now.  While I used to be feeling drained all day and puking almost every night because of reasons only my hormones can explain, the past few days were different. I began to feel better on my 14th week. There were episodes of toilet-hugging but at least it wasn’t a nightly show.  To date, I have tried malling for hours, done long walks, travelled and went back to cooking. I can finish half a dozen donuts, most importantly, fruits and veggies are my friends now. Also, I plan on getting my feet back on the mat soon.

I wonder where I can take prenatal yoga classes?