Saturday, September 13

Niko's Birth Story

I tried to publish this story while I was still on ML. Obviously I wasn't able to. But better late than never. :p

This is another wordy entry so I will sprinkle his newborn photos throughout the post.

My due date was smack on our anniversary. However, given that I had a C-Section with Fiona, my OB scheduled me for April 15.

I was very atat to give birth though since I was much more uncomfortable with this pregnancy.

I had planned my March calendar very carefully. I intended to finish my deliverables and transitions before the month ended. I aligned WFH for the 1st week of April. I also aligned a published ML start of April 8, even though I will still be working in the background. I thought I was giving myself enough leeway given that I was put on bed rest at 37 weeks last time and that Fiona was born a week later.

But still Niko wouldn't work with my schedule. :p

At 34 weeks (early March), my blood pressure went up so I was given medication. After a week, my blood pressure, while technically within normal range, was still considered high given that I was taking meds. Just to cover all bases, my OB made me undergo a non-stress test. It turned out that I was having frequent strong contractions (which I again didn't feel.. oops :p).

My OB wanted to admit me already to make sure that I wouldn't go into premature labor. But thankfully I was still allowed to go home provided that I would be on strict bed rest and will go straight to the hospital on the earliest signs of labor.

A day before the next week's checkup, I had a bloody mucus discharge and frequent contractions. It being a Sunday, our yaya was on day-off. Good thing Gabs' parents were visiting us so they were able to bring Fiona home with them. Then off we went to the hospital.

At the pre-labor room, my contractions were already close together. Unfortunately, they couldn't reach my OB. As I still haven't reached 37weeks, they injected me with something to relax my uterus. For the next hour, my contractions subsided. As they still haven't gotten hold of my OB, and since I have a scheduled checkup the next day anyway, they finally allowed me to go home.

The next day during my checkup, I again underwent non-stress test. Once again, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. As I was still a few days short of 37weeks, I was admitted already and was on complete bed rest.

Those few days were most uncomfortable. I barely had any sleep, what with nurses and residents coming in every few hours. Having a huge watermelon for a belly also made it impossible to find a comfortable position. And they wouldn't let me eat on that first day again! Just because my doctor might order a CS anytime!

We were waiting for Thursday, when I would finally reach 37weeks.

Wednesday at 6pm, my OB checked up on me. Her IE revealed increased dilation. Then she noticed that my water bag was already leaking. So she immediately ordered for a stat CS. Good thing I was able to eat right before she came! It was a measly cheese roll, but better than nothing. :p

I was wheeled in the operating room at around 7pm. However, we had to wait for the anesthesiologist for about an hour. It was another hour of huge discomfort as I was already strapped in the operating table and couldn't move. Not to mention, the operating table was barely wide enough to accommodate me.

Finally, they started operating around 8pm. I was more awake this time than with Fiona. Granted, it was 8pm vs 1am. And I came from 3days of bed rest in the hospital vs a full day in the office. :p

I could feel all the tugging within my midsection. I also knew this time that I only had a few minutes to wait before I get to see my baby. The atmosphere was light; my OB and her attendants were merrily chitchatting as if they were having coffee instead of huddling over a bloody mess. :p

Finally, at 8:26pm, Nikolai was pulled out. He cried very heartily as if protesting being forcefully kept in my belly for too long. :p I heard the attendants exclaim at his size. Rightly so. Being technically premature by a few hours, Niko's a big one at 7lbs 2oz. :p

They brought him to me for immediate skin-to-skin contact and to try to latch. My first thought was he looks like Fiona. :p

After I was stitched up again, I was wheeled to the recovery room. I was again less groggy and was bothered by the light and the noise. Niko was brought again to latch.

Back at the room, I tried to get some sleep as I knew sleepless nights were ahead. :p

My recovery was better. I was able to roll side to side with minimal pain. The first time I stood up also wasn't as painful as I was expecting. And I was able to go to the toilet on my own. :p Must be because my nerves in that area are already dead. :p

We roomed in Niko on the second day. Thankfully, I was able to breastfeed him immediately. I wouldn't want him to lose those big cheeks. :p

Our little family. :)

Friday, September 12

Nikolai Elmer

Introducing Nikolai, the newest member of our family.

He is now 5 and a half months old though. :p

Friday, July 12

One Year Flew by So Fast

I still can’t believe our little girl is now 1 year old*. It seems only recently that I could barely function on almost zero sleep and with a bawling baby. :p

Although I admit, pregnancy amnesia is already sinking in. But not yet to the point to make me want to go through a second round already. :p

So before I completely forget, here are random stuff about Fiona at around the 12 month mark.

-          She’s a little kiti-kiti. Ever since she learned to walk on her own at 11 months, she has been a non-stop walking machine. When you carry her, she will keep wriggling until you put her down.
-          She won’t sit idly. On a high chair, even with straps and all, she’ll manage to stand. :p
-          She likes books. Books are likelier to keep her entertained than toys.
-          Unfortunately, she resorts to eating her books after a while. So board books are now kept away lest she ingests all the pages. :p
-          She mouths everything. Everything.
-          She prefers drinking water from a glass than a bottle or sippy cup. And says “ahh” after.
-          She dances by waving her hands and banging her head.
-          She kisses you by planting a big mouthful of saliva on your cheek. :p
-          She claps when you say “very good!”
-          She prefers to play with household stuff like palanggana and plastic containers.
-          She doesn’t like staying in her playpen and will try to find ways to climb out of it.
-          She loves saying "bye-bye" although she doesn't really want you to go.

She's quite a handful. But very adorable nonetheless. :)

Our lovely little girl.

I hope she doesn't grow up too fast! :p

* Currently she's now 14 months old. It took me too long to finish this little post. :p I wanted to add more stuff, but I figured she'll be 2 years old before I finish. :p

Saturday, September 22

Fiona at Four Months

Time sure flies...

...when you're not sleeping. :p

Fiona is now four and a half months old. Here are some milestones reached and some random things:

  • She now smiles and gurgles (at us) a lot.
  • Unfortunately, she also likes doing those at 4am or 6am. :p
  • She has rolled from tummy to back a few times.
  • But she totally hates tummy time.
  • Still, she's pretty good in the baby push up department (not that I have a comparison point).
  • She loves eating her hands.
  • And her toy caterpillar.
  • And her cloth book.
  • And her lampin.
  • And my hands.
  • And my arm.
  • Her sleep is still irregular. Good nights mean around 9 hours with 2 wakings in between. Bad nights mean waking every 1-2 hours. Really good nights which happen rarely mean 6-7 hours of straight sleep then a feeding then 2 more hours of sleep.
  • She can roll to her side.
  • She has said mama. Although while crying. :( While I was in the office. :(
  • She now weighs 14lbs (vs 6.3lbs at birth).
  • She hates traffic.
  • She raises her eyebrow a lot.
  • She demands your undivided attention.
  • She loves being carried in a sitting facing out position as she's very curious about her surroundings. :p
  • She loves playing clap-clap-clap.
  • She has learned to pull mommy's hair.
  • When placed in her playpen at the right time (not hungry or sleepy), she absolutely loves her mobile and would scream-gurgle at her toys complete with extreme leg drumming.
  • Otherwise, it's a different kind of screaming. :p 
  • She likes the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Oh we just can't get enough of this little girl. :)

Sunday, August 5

Fiona's Baptism: At the Church

While we were preparing the venue, Gabs was in charge of getting Fiona dressed and ready for her big day. :p

Unfortunately, she's still struggling moving on to bottle feeding. So when the time came for her baptism ceremony, she was pretty hungry.

I tried to soothe her and prevent her whimpers from becoming all out bawls by bouncing her. I think she can smell my milk though, so she continues to cry. :p

Nevertheless, I think it wasn't so bad. The priest carried on as if she wasn't crying. It was actually a very cheerful and upbeat ceremony, despite Fiona's whimpers. And we still had nice photos. :p

my favorite. thanks Jun! :)

all out bawling now :p

with the ninangs (with Liezl as proxy for Lanie who was sick, and with Ma'an missing because she couldn't go home from SG)

with the ninongs (with Potch missing as he was a bit late :p)

Saturday, August 4

Fiona's Baptism: The Details

I started thinking about Fiona's baptism around the start of my second trimester. At that time, we still didn't know our baby's gender. All I knew was that I definitely wanted a themed reception. I should, after all the Pepperfy! parties I've styled. :p

When we found out the gender by early March, just like I immediately knew I wanted pink and black for our wedding colors, I immediately gravitated towards this theme:

I also wanted our baby to be baptized in UP Chapel since we are both from UP and it was where we first had mass together. Then the logical and feasible reception would be Balay Kalinaw. That the place would match the theme perfectly was a great bonus.

But I didn't really get around planning until after giving birth. I was a bit superstitious that something might go wrong during my pregnancy or while giving birth. Or it may turn out that there was a mistake in the ultrasound and our baby was a boy instead. :p

But thankfully nothing went wrong and there was no mistake. :p So after giving birth I then imagined the theme elements already.

Unfortunately, imagining was all I could do for quite a while. Despite having a yaya and living at my parents' house for a month, I didn't seem to have much free time. We also couldn't book the church yet since we needed to wait for Fiona's birth certificate to be available.

I was able to work on the invitation though.

When we finally had the birth certificate, we went to Balay Kalinaw only to find that someone booked our date a couple of hours before us, and the next available slot was in September. :(

So we went instead for Our Lady of the Abandoned and Kapitan Moy in Marikina. Both pretty nice actually and just across the street from each other.

Another thing going against me was the inability to leave Fiona. Checking out venues, buying Fiona's binyag outfit, and buying materials for DIY were done in mad dashes to squeeze into the couple of hours that we can leave her with our parents. Checking out caterers, booking and dealing with our chosen caterer, and dealing with our dessert supplier were all done via internet and phone.

So I'm really thankful for the help of Ais, Jeanie, Maj, Sol, and Jun in transforming ideas into reality.

The lace and burlap inspiration transformed into wood, lace, and doilies. I also updated the color scheme to be happier. :p

I scoured my room for wood and wood-like items we could use for height. :p

The name banner above was made by Maj.

The cakes and cupcakes were again sourced from Sweetbox Pastries.


A week before the baptism, I had a DIY session with Ais and Jeanie. While waiting for Jeanie, Ais and I made poms and tags for the souvenirs. When Jeanie came (along with her dies :p), I cut the packaging, Jeanie cut the doilies, and Ais continued with the tags and started folding the packaging. After cutting, I moved on to folding and Jeanie to finishing the assembly. After the day, we had 30 finished products and 70 folded and filled packaging.

finished product

Throughout the week, I continued finishing the souvenirs and also made the tags for the gifts for the ninongs and ninangs.

I also made signs for the gifts, souvenirs, guestbook, and the fauxtobooth.

The guestbook above was made by Jeanie.

The day before the baptism, I had another DIY session with Maj, Sol, and Jun. Maj and I made more poms while Sol altered Fiona's binyag outfit (it was very hard to find pretty binyag clothes that will fit a 2-month old!). Maj started with the paper flowers. But when Jun came, he boxed her out and made this cascading design instead.

The shoes were embellished by Sol.

The day of the baptism, we had a call time of 8am at the reception venue. This meant waking up at 6-6:30am, dragging ourselves from whatever little sleep we had. Ais and Jun both came from night outs til past 4am. Maj slept over at Sol's, and Sol was cramming the headband and shoes. Fiona decided to have a very fussy night, so I also got little sleep. :p

We actually arrived around 8:30, giving us roughly an hour before we need to get dressed and go to the church. I set about arranging the tables we need. There was a poms committee the whole time as fluffing out the poms took major work. Lesson for next time: either use poms sparingly, or use only when there are hours of prep time available. :p

The fauxtobooth was a fail though as my ixus suddenly froze so we didn't have a camera setup. :( And unfortunately, I wasn't able to study the light direction so the backdrop placement wasn't optimal. Still, we were able to make use of it somewhat.

Overall, I think we did pretty good considering the roughly 2 weeks preparation time. :p

happy newly baptized baby :)

Tuesday, July 24

Fiona Katlyn

My maternity leave is nearing it's end, and I'm totally dreading going back to the office.

I figure I should get Fiona's birth story published before I forget the details. Even now, things are starting to get hazy. :p

This is a very lengthy wordy post, so I'll sprinkle Fiona's photos here and there. :p

So based on my LMP, my due date was May 24. With that, I was full term by May 3 and should be able to give birth any time by then. However, according to my first ultrasound, my estimated delivery date was May 30. This was the date that my OB wanted to follow.

Come May 2 close to midnight, I've had major cramps but I'm not sure if they were contractions since my idea of contractions were supposed to be bursts. What I was feeling was constant pain. It would subside after lying still for quite a while but would start again after any movement. Getting up and walking was extremely painful. Still, I waited until the afternoon of the next day before going to the hospital to catch the clinic hours of my doctor.

By then, the pain subsided already. So when I was checked, I only had 1 major contraction in a half hour. So I wasn't going on labor. But to be sure, my OB advised me to go on bed rest for 5 days and gave me meds to deter contractions.

I went for a follow-up check-up on May 8. During this check-up I found that the hardening of my full stomach was actually a contraction already. And that had been happening for a whole while without me feeling anything. :p But I was only 1cm dilated, and since I'm ok to give birth by May 9 already, my OB then advised me to start walking already. :p

So I went back to the office on May 9. I had lots of meetings and I went for a lunch out with Ais and Sol. People were asking me if I'm not yet due. I told them not for a while yet. Some people thought I gave birth already because of my long absence (I worked from home on April 30 and May 2 so I haven't been seen for more than a week :p).

When I got home, Maj called me to give her happy news and I say I had a false alarm but I think the baby won't come for at least a week yet. After dinner, Joan texted out of the blue to check how I am. I told her I went to the office that day after a long absence but I'm still fine and I think the baby won't come for a while yet. And then I wasn't able to answer her last message anymore... because my water broke already. :p

The first thing I felt was confusion. Did I suddenly pee involuntarily, as in preggo incontinence? But there was just too much and I couldn't stop it. And it was coming from somewhere else. :p I shouted to Gabs, who was finishing up washing the dishes.

Good thing I already started packing our hospital bag. The only stuff missing were Gabs' things and those that we were still using daily. Also, my labor admittance papers were already in my shoulder bag to be ready in case I go in labor while in the office. I should also note that I've already tied up my work stuff so I can suddenly go on labor without people in the office needing to consult me during my ML. It's just my OOO message that I needed to update, coz the start date I placed was May 17. :p Yes, I was so ready and excited to drop work! :p

So anyway, I was giving Gabs instructions on what more to place in our hospital bag while I tried to contain the fluid. :p When I felt that the flow would stop for a long while (it has been stopping only to start again in a bit), we finally went down to the car. We called our parents and told them we were on our way to the hospital.

At the hospital, they again measured my contractions and dilation in the pre-labor room. But as the baby was still in breech position, what we really needed to wait for was for my OB to arrive and for the operating room to be ready.

While waiting, it was still feeling surreal to me to be about to give birth. I'm not really a panicky person, but things that could go wrong were trying to enter my mind. So I had a repeat mantra of just relax and breathe going through my mind. Since it was to be an operation, Gabs couldn't stay with me. He couldn't even go in the pre-labor room. Well, the pre-labor room was small. And there were all sorts of people trying to examine me, asking me questions, taking my blood, testing and writing on my skin.

Finally, they wheeled me into the operating room. It was so freakin cold. That's very cold, given that while pregnant, I haven't needed any outer layer in airconditioned rooms, despite people around me being in jackets. :p I was really shivering and my teeth were chattering.

After waiting a bit more, they administered the epidural. After a while, my limbs went numb. It was so uncomfortable. I felt that my leg was in the wrong position before the anesthesia and now that it has taken effect, I couldn't move it and I so wanted to. :p

My OB came in and exclaimed what have I been doing to suddenly be in labor after our checkup the previous day. :p

After a series of testing on the extent of the area covered by the anesthesia, I didn't realize that they have started operating already. Unlike Aissa, I couldn't see the reflection of my cut up belly. And if I could, I don't think I would have stared. :p

As it was after midnight already, and as I was also drugged, I was really sleepy and fell asleep through the operation. It was a light sleep and I would wake up every few minutes (although at the time it seemed much longer). At one wakeful moment, I could hear the anesthesiologist talking to someone that she likes that SLR (she was taking photos) and she's thinking to buy the same model. At that time I didn't know where the camera came from. We forgot to bring a camera and they wouldn't allow an ipad in the operating room. But apparently, my parents came and lent my dad's camera.

After a few minutes, I could here the doctor urging a baby (my baby!) to cry. At this point, everything is really hazy. I don't remember hearing the baby (my baby!) cry. What I remember thinking is, it's done?

Yes, it was. Our darling baby girl was born on May 10 at 1:21 in the morning. :)

There's a photo of taking her out of my belly and cutting the umbilical cord, but I won't post it coz it's a bloody mess. :p

While I was being stitched back up, they cleaned her up and took her footprints (as well as my thumbprints).

And then finally they bring my baby next to me for some immediate skin-to-skin contact.

No, I didn't cry. It was still feeling so surreal. And I couldn't really hold her, since my arms were still dead and tied down. :p

Then they took her out to run newborn tests. I was again drifting in and out of sleep. That was the theme of the whole day.

After getting stitched and cleaned, they wheeled me into the recovery room. I seemed to have spent ages there, still drifting in and out of sleep.

Finally they wheel me to my hospital room and I got to see my husband again. What seemed like noon was actually only 7am.

Unfortunately, the huge downside of a caesarian birth is that you couldn't eat anything! You couldn't even drink water! My first sip of water was at 3pm! It was agony. By 7pm, I could have clear soup. What a treat (rolls eyes). The next day, I could have soft food (ie, lugaw) for breakfast. My lunch was still regulated. Finally, by afternoon, I was given the go ahead to eat anything.

That first day, I was so groggy and woozy. I was slipping in and out of hazy wakefulness and light sleep that seemed hours but was in fact only minutes. I told Gabs I could only handle family as visitors. Time was passing painfully slow (specially because I couldn't eat :p).

The next day, I was a bit more awake and rested. But the downside was that it's when the pain kicked in. I wanted to cry the first time I tried to get up and go to the bathroom. I may have had tears in my eyes. It may have took me 5-10mins to go from my bed to the bathroom, which was around 2 feet away. And even with 10+ years of togetherness under our belt, I think our relationship leaped to a whole new level with going to the bathroom after a bikini-cut c-section. :p

But look at that angelic face. I could stare at her for hours. It makes all the aches, pains, and sacrifices worth it and more.

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