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Pagbabago


Sep02
Somebody said that changes in our lives are perceived differently by those around us. To others it may seem to be the death of your loved one or a triumphant event that changes you. However, the significant moment for you could be the simple shutting of a door, the glimpse of a small, secret smile or a leaf falling. For me it was a small strip changing color that rendered my universe virtually unrecognizable to me.

Oona!

This is Oona, my first born daughter. She celebrated her 3rd birthday last August 15 and as she blew out her candles, I couldn't help feeling that my baby seems to be growing up too fast for me.

Was it only a few years ago that I was “Boss Laya”, driven workaholic, weekend wanderer and tough bar regular?

With kindred free spirits!

My life has never been the same the moment I found out she was coming. I always felt I was too much of a free spirit until I met my husband, but it was only in 2007 when the home pregnancy-kit showed two pink strips did my world totally turn upside down. I actually never thought I'd get married, let alone have a child!

At first I felt numb, shell-shocked as I heard it to be. Then, nervous and not just a little afraid. Suddenly all these questions, insecurities and issues started popping out from nowhere! Would I be a good mother? Am I ready to be a parent? What do I DO now? I started to reach for a cigarette but caught myself in time. I quit right then and there, cold-turkey and sucked on a mint instead. Drinking booze and coffee went out the window too. Sooo many things to consider, adjust, change!
For pretty much the whole 9 months, I was in a state of mental and emotional upheaval. Not to mention the physical changes that terribly upset me. I felt that I lost all sense of control. My world had spun off its axis, I was at such odds with myself and my body had betrayed me: the dizziness, the mood swings, the bloating, the aches and pains, ad infinitum, ad nauseatum.  My morning sickness did not just attack in the mornings, by the way, nor did it limit itself to just a month. Bleh.

surprise baby shower at the office

My beloved hubby RF and I had been married two years, living on our own in a small apartment in Makati. Life had a hectic regularity of work, home, occasional breaks and more work from our BPO jobs. It was an awakening for me how sharply the feelings of isolation this new state of being could bring me. At work I was surrounded by kids just out of college and most friends my age were like me, worked hard and partied even harder. All self-possession and confidence deserted me as I could not find anyone to relate to and I felt so alone even as I felt the tiny being grow inside me. I think it would have helped if I was closer to family but it was impractical given my delicate condition and unforgiving working hours to be commuting everyday.

Make no mistake, though, we were really happy to find out we were pregnant. It was all just so unexpected for me, so unforeseen that I, the girl scout, was caught unawares.
I was also so very hungry and thirsty all the time! It was horrible when the food cravings or paglilihi started because not only was I very picky, the mood swings coincided with whether or not I got what I was craving for at the moment. Blame it on the hormones and the intense feelings these new changes brought about, but I truly craved the wholesome, home made comfort food of my childhood. You know how it is at times of uncertainty when you hark back to a simpler, uncomplicated, secure time, right? Home, childhood, the warm womb of family...What I remember was that I craved Dinuguan like my granduncle in Mindoro made, the Sinigang Na Baboy only my mother makes and the Nilaga my grandfather used to cook when he was still alive. Tall order for my poor hubby or the Kuya I asked to find me lunch everyday! They would try to find these in the nearby restaurants or eateries but it wasn’t everyday that any of these choices would be available.

Goldilock's Pasong Tamo, my saviour!

Strolling home one evening I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a nearby Goldilocks branch. I remembered their Mamon and decided to buy some. When I entered, I found out that Goldilocks not only served cakes, pastries and breads, they had also begun serving full meals! At first I was skeptical but I couldn't resist when I saw right up there among the food choices were the meals I had been hungering for. Sinigang! Nilaga! Dinuguan! There was even Kare-kare! Oh, I was so very HAPPY! I couldn’t make up my mind what to try first!


Nilagang Baka

After what seemed like forever, I went with the Pork Sinigang, being pregnant and wanting something sour! I was happy with how much their servings were and my first spoonful of that soup sent me reeling back to a warm, happy place! Happy me! Happy belly! Happy baby! I ordered Dinuguan and puto (and extra rice) next (yes, I pigged out!) and for my take home baon, I had Nilaga wrapped up. Perfect for when I woke up at 3am, hungry for something warm and soupy!



I went home with a bellyful of happiness. I know, I sound unbelievably shallow when I say that food stabilized my teetering world! But it did, that night. All was right again. Imagine, I could have a taste of home any time I wanted to now! Apparently, on a deep psychological and emotional level, I equate food with comfort and security (like every other creature! Haha!). How the universe provides for us, doesn't it? It was a big bonus for me too that this branch in Pasong Tamo closed late so every time I was on night shift, I'd buy enough food to last me until the wee hours of the morning! 


Dinuguan

Of course, it was still different when it was my mom's cooking or my grandparents', but Goldilocks gave me a sense of what a home away from home is like, giving you comfort, a sense of security and that everything will be alright through all the changes you may go through. 




Oona, Olly and Daddy

So all throughout my pregnancy, Goldilocks nourished not only my baby, that little girl Oona, but also nurtured my sense of well-being and reminded me of family. The family that surrounded me, reaching through time and distance and the family I was about to have, assuring me that I wasn't alone, I would be fine and that these changes are part and parcel of the celebration of life.



My beautiful, intelligent, spunky little daughter is the spice of our lives! (She's now a doting Ate, by the way!) She's got as much personality as the Sinigang, warms your heart up like the Nilaga with her sweet ways and is as incredibly interesting as the Dinuguan is to a foreigner who's never had that dish. Hahahahaha! :) 


Thank you, Goldilocks! We probably should have named our daughter after you! :D 




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UPDATES and RENOVATIONS UNDER WAY!


Oct16
Yes it's been quite awhile since I've been around. So much has happened and is still happening that I only really have time to check email and my facebook account. THAT'S IT. So updates in a nutshell would be:
1. I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant...between 5-6 months. Surprise baby, baby! Needless to say we're happily surprised and anxious, given how difficult the first pregnancy was.
2. Oona is 2years and 2months and is proud/excited to be big sister.
3. While I'm still mobile, I'm happily driving around in the little red family car. I terrorize all along the highway hell that is EDSA, plying the QC-Makati-QC route almost everyday to bring hubby to work and back home.
4. Still happily not working and relieved to be off my feet, so to speak. I'd rather use my precious time, blood, sweat and tears to raise my kids than raise other people. I'm happy to leave the conquering of new territory to others and the world can save itself without me for a good long while. Meanwhile, this new adventure is an awesome experience too good to pass up for ANYTHING. How can you exchange baby kicks and little kisses for a dog eat dog rat race? Yes, even with potty training and screaming mega-tantrums. I'll probably work at home, part time when the little ones permit in the future.
5. Our condo is up and we can move in by 2011. I'm looking forward to out-fitting the place up for our little family. I'm thinking the 3rd room could be our workshop/playroom. I've been daydreaming about getting back to painting. Of course the heavy mediums would be out for now since the kids would be in danger of the toxic materials. So I'll stick to aquarelle, gouache and pencils. The kids can even join me! That would be so exciting!!!
6. RF is going on the CIMA work-study program this coming year. It would accredit him internationally and personally, I think it'll be better than a Master's degree. After he finishes the course, he'll be more than eligible for posting anywhere in the world. A myriad of opportunities awaits him! I'm spanking proud of the hubby and I can't help but be inspired to think about study as well. We agreed that when time, finances and the kids permit, I'll pursue the design courses I've been keeping my eye on. Maybe even get a 2nd degree.
So far, these are the things I can post for now. So much other negative and positive stuff has happened but I haven't the time to expound. Suffice to say, real life has me heavily involved in offline activities so I haven't even gone back to Plurking (sigh). While I do miss my online sisters, it's either the preggy hormones demand I eat or sleep (at least, not forced bed rest) OR wifely/motherly duties prevail. Besides, the BPOs weren't the only ones affected by this year's financial crisis. You really find out what the luxuries in life are and what you can live without.
With Ondoy and Pepeng, we're also trying to help in our little ways. Oona experienced being the youngest "volunteer" at a soup kitchen my sister and her friends participated in for devastated Marikina. My dad has been going around to document the recovering displaced victims of the storms and calling his friends in various orgs to action, focusing on the psychosocial adjustments of children and families. So far, his efforts have not been in vain and they've started with medical missions as well. My mom cooked batches and batches of yummy arroz caldo to distribute to the tent cities around our locality. We may not have much, but we have willing hands, a few bucks for gas to get around and some means to help spread the word around for those in real need. Of course, I'm the designated driver and as much as I want to do more, it's really all I can contribute in my condition. Nevertheless, I'm still happy to have been able to do at least a small thing to help.
Anyway, I'll be renovating this blog and the others as well when real life permits my online life to resume. I do miss writing and I've such a backlog, I wouldn't know where to start when I do get back to writing here again. But I'm ok, the tribe's increasing and we're surviving.
I miss you all and I hope all is well with everybody too. :)

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KEEPING HUMOR WHILE WAITING TO HATCH: VIDEOS!


Oct07

While it's a warm fuzzy feeling connecting with your little tenant for 9 months, it can get infinitely boring staring off into space while you're bed-bound.

Here are some video websites I went through while surfing during The Bean/Melon's down-time (when she's not feeling out my kidneys or tracking my intestines).

You Tube ... Search Funny Commercials. Worked for me!
Ask A Ninja ... On days when your hormones are raging, "I look forward to killing you soon!" will become a favorite quote.
Aske A Ninja.com ... In case you want to check out the Ninja Mart Store. Maybe they have "Ninja Uniforms" in baby size.
Moymoy Palaboy ... Too bad I only saw them now. Would've given my happy hormones a boost. I watch them with Oona now. Start 'em young!
Moymoy Palaboy on Bubble Gang ... I can't decide if they're funnier here or during their early days. You guys decide.

WARNING: EXCESSIVE LAUGHTER MAY CAUSE CONTRACTIONS (I'm serious!)
... Yes, I am serious. It does happen. If you're due at this time, keep your celfone charged, loaded with credit and always near you. Put your OB, your hubby and your parents on speed dial, in that order (I'd recommend it!). Breathe deep and don't panic.


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THE FIRST NINE MONTHS


Sep10

I was largely uncomfortable when I was pregnant.

AND uncomfortably large. I ballooned to 200 lbs. and the bad part was that I didn't look pregnant. I just looked FAT.


I also felt so over-heated that I needed the air-conditioning on with the electric fan. RF would swear he was in the Arctic Circle, freezing his butt off while I would be complaining that the Gobi Desert was probably cooler than our room at high noon.

I had food cravings, aversions, mood swings and crying bouts. I'd get irritated with RF but didn't want him out of my sight. I cut off my long hair because it was falling off in alarming amounts. Then I regretted it big time. I felt ugly. I waddled. Nothing would fit me.

Hay! That's not even half of it.

Nevertheless, making my pregnancy album took me back to that time and surprisingly made me laugh. Sure there was pain, nausea and Goddess knows what else, but there were pay-offs that continue to this day.

I'll be sharing the album I made as a series with a trimester-ly write up, not only to share what I and RF went through, but also to help others out there who was as clueless as I was.


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Oona's Growing Up


Sep08

Oona's becoming more and more pilya.


Oona with an electrical cord (NYAAA!).
Don't worry, that's not the business end of it. She also doesn't put it in her mouth.
Plus she's well supervised. So lay off the lecture, self-righteous people! Get off my blog!

Of course, she's still as lovable as ever, and getting more so everyday. She's also developing a sketchy sense of right versus wrong already, but I'll be darned if she actually knows what right or wrong really means. Sometimes she thinks it's a game, until her plans (like opening the kitchen cabinet doors and going through the bigas) is foiled.

She knows that when Lola or Yaya Rina says "No" or starts shaking their heads, it means that whatever she's doing is, er - unadvisable. She merely takes it as a suggestion though. She somehow knows how to get around them by appealing to their tender-hearted natures with a sad, saaaad face.


She'll also appeal to her doting father with the look. I think all babies have that innate ability to look at you and make your insides melt at will. Ooh, POWER!!!

(<--- That's the "I am not amused" deadpan/blank stare.)

She's also developing a few impish tricks of her own.

An example would be, whenever she wants to go to the space behind the sofas (forbidden because we put the electric fan and the cables there, out of her reach), she'll "accidentally" drop a toy there and point to it. As soon as you move the barricades to pick up the toy, she'll make her move! She'll scoot past you on her little butt like greased lightning, laughing all the way! (She can toddle but she can't crawl on her hands and knees.)

Of course, she'll cry at the tragedy of being picked up and put out of harm's way when she's noticed. She'll sniffle a bit but she'll try the trick again...and again...and again.

I think the only way to counter the look is by developing the voice. It's a mother's most powerful tool, next to mom's the stare. Since the stare only seem to affect older kids than Oona (it varies or so I've heard), the voice seem to be a good alternative to develop.


I'm not so hot on spanking my kid, I mean jeez! She just turned one. I'm not about to yell at her either. But I figure we have to aggressively start her on discipline for her own protection. It's about time for her to learn that not everything is safe for her.

So far, when I use the firm tone in the voice she seems to be responding. She'll shake her head and pull her hand away from whatever dangerous thing she's bent on examining.

Then she looks at me. She grins.

. . . And does it again.

Sigh. I have an adorable imp of a daughter.

***

It brings to mind the blog series I wasn't able to finish. The last entry was about how we were just given the news that Oona, then called the Bean, was not attached to my womb securely. There was a threat that we could lose her.

***

The Clinic Chronicles: Part 6
Keeping The Bean

“It’s going to be okay.” The doctor said as she patted my hand. “Just keep on drinking the medicine and taking it easy, alright?”


I just nodded and thanked her as Mr. F helped me out the door. I wanted to escape so badly but needed to keep as much dignity I could muster.

Can you imagine how it’s like to swing from ecstasy to utter despair in the space of a few minutes? I could be schizoid for all I know, but given the circumstances, I would have a legitimate excuse. I now felt like a baseball bat walloped the back of my head, my throat was too tight, and my heart was too big for my chest.

It amazed me how these doctors could take on that kind of responsibility. They literally have their patients’ lives in their hands. They could make or break a person with a few words.

How do they handle it, facing mortality every day?

I think Mr. F and I just went on home afterwards. It was exhausting: exhilaration and the dregs in one unbeatable combination. We just ate something to dull the headachy feeling and talked.

We knew we wanted to keep the Beanie Baby, as the sprout was now called. I’ve stopped smoking (cold turkey since the day before), stopped drinking (last drop of alcohol was the week before), and we agreed that I’d have to stop the helter-skelter pace of my work life.

Curled up on our comforter, we cover random stuff, basically musing about how we would be parents. I wondered which of us would be the disciplinarian and the devil’s advocate. Of course, Mr. F claims to be the spoiler.

“You would be the Supreme Court. I’ll be the Court of Appeals!”

I scoffed at Mr. F.

Right. Like that’s going to happen.

***

Of course now, she's as rambunctious as they come and RF is the spoiler! Hehe!

Time flies so fast!


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The Clinic Chronicles: Part 6


Jul17

Keeping The Bean

“It’s going to be okay.” The doctor said as she patted my hand. “Just keep on drinking the medicine and taking it easy, alright?”

I just nodded and thanked her as Mr. F helped me out the door. I wanted to escape so badly but needed to keep as much dignity I could muster.

Can you imagine how it’s like to swing from ecstasy to utter despair in the space of a few minutes? I could be schizoid for all I know, but given the circumstances, I would have a legitimate excuse. I now felt like a baseball bat walloped the back of my head, my throat was too tight, and my heart was too big for my chest.

It amazed me how these doctors could take on that kind of responsibility. They literally have their patients’ lives in their hands. They could make or break a person with a few words.

How do they handle it, facing mortality every day?

I think Mr. F and I just went on home afterwards. It was exhausting: exhilaration and the dregs in one unbeatable combination. We just ate something to dull the headachy feeling and talked.

We knew we wanted to keep the Beanie Baby, as the sprout was now called. I’ve stopped smoking (cold turkey since the day before), stopped drinking (last drop of alcohol was the week before), and we agreed that I’d have to stop the helter-skelter pace of my work life.

Curled up on our comforter, we cover random stuff, basically musing about how we would be parents. I wondered which of us would be the disciplinarian and the devil’s advocate. Of course, Mr. F claims to be the spoiler.

“You would be the Supreme Court. I’ll be the Court of Appeals!”

I scoffed at Mr. F. Right. Like that’s going to happen.

Nevertheless, we still felt depressed about the news the doctor gave us.


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The Clinic Chronicles: Part 5


Apr21

The Delicate Balance

I was giddy seeing the bean for the very first time.

I forgot about everything else: the thing stuck in my insides, my nerves, my fears. All I could think of was, “That’s our baby! We have a baby!” I was still in shock, but I was now happy shocked.

“Is everything alright with our baby?” We asked excitedly.

“Well, let’s have the doctor interpret these images for you, okay?” the nurse said.

Blissed out, we were content.

Back in the good doctor’s little office we went to wait while she signed for the ultrasound images.

“Well, congratulations! You’re going to be parents in roughly 8 months!” she grins.

”You’re four weeks along and the baby seems to be holding on.”

We beam at each other. We beam at her and back at each other again.

“However…”

However?

There’s a however!?

“We need to put you on this medicine. Do you see this dark area here…and here? There shouldn’t be any. It means the little place where your baby is living in is not fully attached to your womb.”

And that meant?

“We need to help the baby attach more firmly or we could lose it.”

Whoa.

I couldn’t breathe. I think I crushed Mr. F’s hand but he wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t want to look at him at all.

“It isn’t your fault or anything. This can be brought on by the holiday stress, your travelling, work…there’s a lot of factors involved so we really don’t know what caused this. It just means we have to take it easy and be careful from here on.”

She began writing a prescription but I was barely listening.

I thought it wasn’t going to mean much. I honestly thought I was afraid to have the little bean. Now that I’ve seen that it was growing in me, I felt more afraid of losing that little pulse beating in my belly.

“So don’t drink, don’t smoke, watch what you eat, sleep early and lay off the stress. We’ll keep you on this for two weeks then you come back to me and we’ll see. Okay?”

Mr. F answered for us both. “We’ll see you in two weeks, Doc.”


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The Clinic Chronicles: Part 2


Feb26

The OB-Gyne Lottery

So I loosened my death grip on the lounge chair and went inside.

“Dra. O will be with you shortly” the nice nurse said with a warm smile as led us into a little office.

It was definitely quiet in the little office with fresh pastels all around. Since it was a little bit cozy, I felt myself begin to relax.

“See? It’s not that bad, right?” said Mr. F.

I managed a smile. Yeah, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Wow! Pastels really do calm you down! I could feel myself actually loosening up.

I couldn’t care less if we got an old prude. We can always change doctors and never come back here again. Maybe a motherly type would be nice. You know, to take us by the hand and guide us through our impending parenthood?

The knob turns and in walks…a young girl. Who let the interns in!?

“Good morning! I see you’re here because you suspect you’re pregnant?” she smiles and looks up from my patient profile on her clip board.

Good God! Not only was this OB young, she looked exactly like one of my aunts! I can almost see her running straight to my mom to tell her about the nitty-gritty of my inner plumbing as soon as we’re out the door.

Shock must have registered on my face because Mr. F elbowed me into closing my mouth.

“I’m sorry. You look so young and you look like my aunt! I’m seriously weirded out” I say.

*Elbows*

“Sorry!”

The young doctor laughs with my aunt’s laugh (déjà vu) and say she’s pretty sure we’re not related.

Turns out she’s had a few years worth of live babies under her belt, a couple of hospitals residencies, and a big boy of her own.

Besides, she said, virtually her entire family was in medicine. Her father is also an OB, having delivered her kid (his grandson) via cesarean, her oldest brother is in general surgery; her other brother is in neonatal care and pediatrics, and their youngest brother ended up in pharmaceuticals (you know…just for a change of pace).

“So what does your husband practice?” we asked in awe.

“Ooh! I met him on a blind date!” She laughed.

“He’s in construction. So different, no?”

Mr. F and I couldn’t agree more.


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The Clinic Chronicles: Part 1


Feb21

Modesty Aside

The day after finding out I was pregnant found a blissed out Mr. F with me in tow at the local family clinic to have myself checked out.

It was pretty much standard: vital stats, BP, weight check (so that’s where all the donuts went!), and the numerous forms to be filled while waiting for the OB to see us next. I know the nurses have been probably been through this hundreds of times being in the biz and all but I still felt ridiculously shy. Even if I had been reading up a bit on what to expect on my first Pre-natal visit, it was hella different being actually here.

“Babe, just the fact that we’re here announces to the general public that we’re most likely having sex” said Mr. F ever so succinctly.

I guess that’s why they put you through the nurses first, so by the time you get to the doctor, your modesty’s been shell-shocked to oblivion.

I’ve never been truly modest but surprisingly, I still managed to blush when asked about my LMP (Last Menstrual Period) to determine when I possibly conceived. I honestly couldn’t say when we “planted the seed” so we just hazarded an educated guess.

What was really worrying me however was that I’ve never revealed so much about my personal hygiene to just anyone!

I couldn’t even imagine talking about my sex life with own mother much less reveal details to someone I just met. I also had issues about possibly being “felt up” by a perfect stranger. I wasn't kinky that way and from what I heard about IEs (Internal Exam), I just knew I wasn’t going to like it.

We’ve never met the OB on duty at the clinic either so for all I knew we could be getting a prudish old geezer we might shock to death if we ever even mention the word “sex”.

I was working myself up into a real basket of nerves.

By the time they called us in, I had decided to just wait outside and let Mr. F find out what was what. He would’ve done it too if not for one tiny little detail.

I was the one who had the ovaries and the womb.


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In The Pink


Jan14

At 17, I had my life all planned out.

Work hard, party harder, and retire to a little cottage on the beach.

I’ll be everyone's favorite grand-aunt; the eccentric old lady who cooks with her own herbs, the one with all the stories, and drinking wine like it was water. I’ll have a merry, rollicking love life and be the living muse of rock stars, painters and poets.

All shall love me and despair!

Ten years later, I’m dry-heaving into a toilet bowl. Not quite the picture I saw in my head. The toilet bowl was a familiar sight on Saturday mornings after a Friday night’s drunken debauchery. Things were different this time though as beside me was the number-cruncher I married two years ago and I was dry heaving for an entirely different reason aside from too much alcohol.

At least I suspected as much.


Mr. F, my beloved number-cruncher, excitedly whips out a candy pink box and presents it to me. If only it did contain candy.

"It’s a pregnancy kit!” F said as he was opening the box.

“Why wait for a clinic check up when we can find out now?"

How he managed to get a hold of a home pregnancy kit at six in the morning is beyond me.

"Aren’t you excited!? ComeoncomeoncomeOON!”

A pee drop later found Mr. F and I staring in fascination at the two tiny windows that were about to change our lives forever.

“Pink line! PINK LINE, BABE!”

“That’s a fiber, hon” a bit unsurely.

Another minute passes.

“That’s definitely a pink line babe.”

“Yeah but there should be a line in both windows.”

“There’s another forming now.”

“The pee hasn’t gone that far yet!”

As I watched the moisture creep up the pregnancy strip I was suddenly struck with how surreal all this was. Shouldn’t I be excited? What if I am pregnant? Do I want to be pregnant? Why wouldn’t I want to be? What was one supposed to feel in these kinds of situation?

A litany of thoughts started crowding my already throbbing head and, in spite of myself, the suspense was killing me. I plop on the living room couch while Mr. F stays in the bathroom waiting for the result.

Three minutes passes. Total silence.

“So are we or are we not, hon?”

He comes out of the bathroom, holding the thing. He looks at me without saying a word. His face just about breaks my heart. I knew right then he was going to start tearing up, my big softie. I run up to give him a big hug.

“It’s okay, honey, we can try again. My period might just be around the corner. We’ve had a stressful holiday season that’s why my cycle’s all messed up.”

*sniff*…mumble.

“Please don’t be sad, hon!”

More mumbles. I squeeze him tighter, letting him know how much I love him and thinking he’s going to be a great dad someday.

“You’re cutting off my air, babe…and we’re pregnant.”


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