She’s Here! (One Month Later)

If you’ve ever spent 24 hours with a newborn, you’ll understand why this announcement is late. But for all those wondering, she is finally here! Our little one rocked our world when she flew in like a shooting star on August 8 when I was 38 weeks and 6 days into our pregnancy.

How was the birth and the month so far? I think I’ll let our little one take over from here…

delivery

Hi, everyone! My name is Aya Marikit Bituin. I was born on 08-08-19 at 5:20am via emergency CS. My mom labored at the hospital from 12am to 4am and then decided to get an epidural because she couldn’t take the pain at 5cm dilation. After that, they couldn’t find my heartbeat and when they did, it was down to 60. ☹️ Mommy was rushed to the operating room at 5am and it was baby out at 20 minutes later! They called Daddy after and so here is our first family photo together.

one month

I am now one month old! It feels like it was only yesterday when Mommy was laboring at the birthing room with songs from “The Worship Initiative Vol 17” (Goodness of God, Lean Back, It is Well, Touch the Sky, New Wine, etc.) playing in the background. Mommy and Daddy knew each wave brought me closer to them. And now, the three of us have been together for one full moon already! 🌙 

What have I been up to this past month? Well, aside from boobies galore, sleeping galore, crying galore, and pooping galore, I spend my mornings listening to Bethel TV and afternoons watching Mommy watch YouTube and Netflix. I hate baths but I love our bouncy ball. I love listening to Daddy sing! My favorite songs are “You are My Song” and “10,000 reasons”. I vocalize everyday so I can hit high notes like Daddy does! Hihi 🎶

I am excited to keep on growing! 🌟

* * *

As I’ve posted in my Twitter account (Marikit still speaking): “One month of life for me; one month of sleeplessness, sore boobies, unkept hair, quick bathroom breaks, and hurried meals for mommy! Yey!”

But, honestly speaking, it was a beautiful first month. Anything for you, little one… ❤

 

Pregnancy Game Changers

Hellooooooo! We are now at our 36th week AKA 9th month of pregnancy! My tita-mother-in-law says maliit akong magbuntis (i.e. my tummy is not as big as others) and that’s okay because I don’t think I can carry much extra weight any longer.

2019-07-19
We can’t wait to hold you in our arms, little one. ❤

I mean, have I told you of my achy body lately??? Thankfully, things have been bearable these past days. And as a milestone treat, I booked myself a two-hour prenatal home service massage from MassageMNL. I feel so relaxed. ❤  It was actually my second massage from them. I got my first one at 32 weeks and I wish I was able to have this massage earlier and more often. I won’t say it’s a must have but I would definitely say it’s a game changer in my pregnancy. With that, allow me to share some of my pregnancy game changers – you don’t need to have have them in your prego life but they will definitely make the nine months easier. So let me break them down to game-changing items and game-changing events/services.

Game-changing Items

  • Snug-a-Hug (or possibly any pregnancy pillow). I got mine towards the end of my first-trimester and I’m guessing I’ll be using it even through my breastfeeding journey. It makes sleeping so much more comfortable. I use it as a backrest, too, when I’m sitting down in my bed, working.
  • Organic Make-up. Girl, if you want to be a pretty preggy, contouring does wonders for your rounding face! Just to be on the safe side, I switched to organic, buntis-safe brands like Human ❤ Nature, Happy Skin, and Ellana Cosmetics.
  • Wireless Bras that Grow well with You. My biggest investments were from Uniqlo. And then we bought cheaper ones from O-Shopping. And then I bought nursing bras from Shopee. Okay, I have so many bras now, thank you very much. Haha!
  • Seamless Underwear. I bought these too late in the game and I wish I bought them sooner. Your butt will grow, your waist will grow – seamless panties don’t bite into your hips the way garterized ones do.
  • Belly-Support. My OB-GYNE recommended I get these once I hit the 5th month mark. I was hesitant at first but these did wonders for my lower back. I felt so supported!
  • Stretchy and Comfy Maternity/Nursing Dresses. You do you. You do your own style, but I’ve never really been out of dresses since the 2nd Trimester. For one thing, my 2nd and 3rd Trimesters fell on the hottest months in here in the Philippines and wearing pants was just so uncomfortable. Breezy, stretchy dresses were the way to go for me. I tried as much as possible to buy ones which I could wear well into postpartum. There were several items that weren’t suitable for breastfeeding – but with a pair of scissors and a needle and thread, I was able to convert them into nice nursing dresses. Yey!
  • Tums. One thing I experienced in this pregnancy that I never ever experienced in my whole life was heartburn. It was so bad from the 6th month onward. Tums has been my lifesaver.
  • Exercise/Stability/Birthing Ball. Yet another thing I wish I had bought earlier. This was recommended by the doula in the birthing class we attended. You can use this to get the baby in a good birthing position, to ease your lower back pain (I have so many issues with lower back pain, lol), to prop your feet up, and so on.  My husband even wants to buy his own ball for the office!
  • Pregnancy Apps. I used these since day one. Not just one app – but two! The Ovia Pregnancy and BabyCenter apps were my constant companions (aside from God and my husband) throughout this whole journey. You get to be updated of baby’s week-by-week development and there are helpful articles and videos with tips for your entire pregnancy.

 

Game-changing Events/Services

  • Prenatal Massage. I already mentioned this at the beginning so … Go. Get. A. Prenatal. Massage. Make sure you have a go signal from your OB-GYNE/Midwife and that this is done by a professional/someone trained to do prenatal massages.
  • Pregnancy and Parenting Seminars. Our hospital offered free seminars on these (with free food!) and we really took advantage of those. Other organizations like Mommymundo also had similar seminars (also with free food!) and these events not only gave us eye-opening information, they let us bond as a couple as well. We got to learn about labor, delivery, breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, stages of child development, sleep training and so many other things.
  • Birthing Class. To complete our PhD in pregnancy, birthing, and parenting (practicum and OJT to follow), we also enrolled in a birthing class. This one was no longer free and we attended Birthing is a Blessing by Doula Betty and Manny. It was a nice experience as the couple was more hands on with the participants. There were many activities (doing breathing, stretching, massages, artwork) and you won’t just sit there and listen. Also, it was refreshing to get the male perspective on the role the husband plays in pregnancy, birthing, and delivery. It would have been nice to also attend their After Birth Workshop but since my husband had prior experience with his nephew… I decided to trust in him and use the cash for registration for more shopping instead. Lol.

So those are my pregnancy game changers. Looking forward to sharing parenting game changers in the near future, too! ❤

 

Fairy-Tale-Inspired Maternity Photoshoot + Third Trimester Updates

OMG. We’re at our third trimester with 8-ish weeks to go! I can’t wait to finally see Milktea but she still has a lot of fat to gain so I’ll let her punch and kick it out in my tummy for now.

Last weekend, we were in Baguio City to spend time with my family. We also took the time to have an extended celebration of our 2nd Wedding Anniversary with a Babymoon and Maternity Photoshoot!

My husband is awesome. I actually just had pine trees and simple maternity outfits in mind when I suggested the shoot. Yet he turned it into something really magical. Art direction, photography, and photo edits were all done by him. I only looked for my costumes, did my make up, and posed according to his direction. 😀 Here are our best shots:

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Look how big my tummy is! Look how big I am! But it touches me how my husband never fails to tell me how beautiful I still am (“Di mo lang alam,” he says).

Who knows when I’ll get my old body back (i.e. my body when we got married) but the shoot was a great way to embrace these bigger curves and to anticipate the birth of our beloved daughter.

So we’re now at our 32nd week, a few days shy of our 8th month of pregnancy! In terms of symptoms, here’s what I’ve been experiencing so far: shortness of breath, heartburn, swollen feet, backache, leg ache, leg cramps, burping, flatulence, acne – in short, so many body pains! I’m grateful because my husband gives me almost nightly massages to help relieve the new aches that magically turn up by the following afternoon.

My next post will probably cover some of my pregnancy game-changers. Not exactly pregnancy must-haves but items that did make a huge difference for me during this pregnancy.

Until then! Love, love, love!

Milktea is a…

… Baby Girl!

I knowwww, this post is almost a month delayed. I’ve been waiting for the official baby shower/gender reveal pics but the photographer is busy. So insta-edited ones will have to do:

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Surprise! Our gut-feel screamed “boy” but turns out we’re having a princess instead!

We’re actually very excited and just happy that our baby is healthy and free of any congenital anomaly. We’re still of course praying for her continuous development.

We had fun at our Sama-Summer Together three-in-one celebration. It was my birthday and Milktea’s Baby Shower and Gender Reveal rolled into one. Friends and family were there. My parents traveled all the way from Baguio to join the party! And, seeing how big I’ve gotten, the parents are now policing my eating and exercising habits through messenger and text. Lol. Parents. Wonder if we’ll do the same with Milktea, too?

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Exciting times ahead. I’m in my 25th week now. I can feel Milktea moving regularly. I think she’s got a schedule now (“Like someone I knowwww,” the husband said this morning). She was moving when my husband had his hand on my belly this morning but he was fast asleep and couldn’t feel the kicks/punches. Haha, next time.

So the second trimester is almost over. I’m bracing myself for more body aches and wobbling. And more baby shopping! #Nesting is real.

Well, here’s a bumpie for you all. Till next time!

25 weeks
I’ve got a balloon under my dress! haha

Pregnancy Journey Recap at 20 Weeks

We’re currently 20 weeks pregnant and we have just finished the congenital anomaly scan yesterday. Praise God everything with Milktea is normal! And our little one was so behaved – we were able to know the gender! Milktea was covering the groin area at first with his/her hands but, with some tickling from the sonologist, he/she finally showed us his/her true colors. 😀 Stay tuned for the reveal!

The sonologist let me took pictures of the 3D scan as a souvenir. I think Milktea has my husband’s nose:

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Hello, Anak!

It’s so amazing now that we’re at the 20th week mark. Halfway there! And so let me share some milestones of this pregnancy journey starting from when we found out that we were expecting…

  • December 10 (4 Weeks Pregnant): We had arrived home from Baguio the night before after spending the weekend there because of my niece’s Christening. I was two days late but, then again, it happened before and it was just a false alarm. But, after our NTNP break, I though I might as well give the pregnancy test a try. Besides, I still had the (expensive) clear blue test stored away. I took the test when I woke up that Monday morning. Perhaps it was because it was the first time I tried testing again after two months, but my hands were actually shaking when I dipped the stick in the cup. After a few seconds, the second line already started to appear! It was clear and strong and I almost couldn’t believe it. But when it finally sank in, I whispered a prayer of thanks to the Lord. I also prayed that he would cover our baby and that we will see this pregnancy come to full term. After that, I decided to show the stick to my husband – no dramatic reveals, just a straightforward, “Look!” I found him sitting in the living room, fiddling with his cellphone, barely awake. I shoved the test in front of his face. It took him a few seconds but his reaction was epic! He was breathless and you would have thought that he was the one who was pregnant. Lol. We decided to wait until the 1st trimester was over to tell everyone. However, we’d tell important people we were expecting along the way. We immediately told our spiritual parents that day and we asked prayers for covering during this pregnancy.
  • December 19 (5 Weeks Pregnant): We told my husband’s best man and his wife that we were pregnant since we needed support during those early weeks. They had gone through the whole pregnancy a year before and we knew we could turn to them for help. They were ecstatic!  (Symptoms: Elevated heart rate according to my fitbit.)
  • December 23 (6 Weeks Pregnant): We told my parents, my brother and his wife that Baby Crisanto is on the way! They were so happy and the husband said my parents were actually teary-eyed. We had given them gifts containing onesies and cards saying that our little one was coming August 2019. (Symptoms: Things were actually pretty normal except that I wasn’t that much into sweets.)
  • December 29 (7 Weeks Pregnant): We told my sisters-in-law and it was pretty dramatic! The husband was acting like he would be hospitalized soon but then spun the story to reveal that we were actually bearing happy news. They were overjoyed and immediately began giving me sisterly/motherly advice. (Symptoms: I wanted to eat sour/salty things and still didn’t like sweet stuff. My sense of smell was pretty strong.)
  • January 8 (8 Weeks Pregnant): Our first OB-GYNE appointment; our first ultrasound. We were happy everything looked good so far for Baby Milktea. I didn’t have spotting; my hormone levels were okay. The doctor assured us everything was fine even after the scare I had from my medical exam because I took a chest x-ray while pregnant. (Symptoms: I felt nauseous when I had an empty stomach or when I smelled something bad but thank God I never threw up).
  •  February 3-11 (12-13 Weeks Pregnant): We made it through the first trimester! And finally, we slowly started telling everyone else. We weren’t planning on making any public social media announcement but my husband’s little sister beat us to it! Aww. ❤ February 11, I also got to hear Milktea’s heartbeat! (Symptoms: Food aversions decreasing though I suddenly didn’t like garlic. But sweets are good with me again! I had bouts of insomnia though.)
  • March 12 (17 Weeks Pregnant): The husband finally heard Milktea’s heartbeat! He wasn’t there the previous month because I thought it would be done at a separate session. But, after several anxious minutes of the doctor trying to find it, we both finally had the chance to hear it. Looking back, it’s probably because I have an anterior placenta – something I just found out from the congenital anomaly scan. (Symptoms: Swollen feet and ankles! I had to buy new shoes. And I also had pimples. Lots of pimples.)
  • March 22 (19 Weeks Pregnant): Writing it down in this blog! Whew, what a journey it has been so far! God is indeed faithful. 🙂 (Symptoms: Nasal congestion. Aching feet and such.)
  • April 1 (20 Weeks Pregnant): We had our congenital anomaly scan. The results were good; Milktea is A-ok. But since it was April Fool’s I hope the gender wasn’t a prank! But we believe in Milktea (and the sonologist). The husband wasn’t there during the ultrasound though because he got stuck in traffic coming from a video shoot. Next time, next time. We’re just happy that our baby is healthy and that we know the gender already! Weee!

And so, for my birthday, we will be having a triple celebration = birthday + baby shower + gender reveal. So exciting! Until then!

We’re Pregnant!

I know I haven’t written here in weeks-slash-months, but I come bearing good news. You read the title right – we’re pregnant!

19weeks
(Not just bloated! lol)

We’re almost near the halfway mark. I would have wanted to write about this after our first trimester check up, but then life started to pick up and things got really busy. Thank God for the second trimester energy!

If you checked the date of the last post – yes, that was exactly 19 weeks before today. And I am not making this up – Baby Milktea was indeed made in Taiwan! We will find out by the first week of April (if Miktea cooperates) whether or not our little one is a boy or a girl. But we’ve been calling him/her the gender neutral nickname Milktea because, well, Taiwan is the place where bubble milk teas came from. We’ll have a real name for baby once we know the gender, but Milktea will do for now.

God has truly been gracious to bless us with this gift of life. And to encourage anyone who is in their own #TTC journey, let me summarize what probably helped bring Milktea into being during our 11th cycle of trying:

  • Rest: The husband and I have a jam-packed life. We both have full time jobs and we’re both very committed to ministry work in our local church. Putting all that and other aspects of life (our respective families, our social lives, etc.) together, sometimes we find ourselves tired and worn out. And *for mature readers* sometimes we’re too tired for sex. So, to take a breather, we made it a point to ask for a month-long vacation from ministry work for December. Our sabbath actually started the weekend before December 1, thus Milktea was actually conceived at the very start of our rest. Still, our rest came in handy since Milktea had the whole stress-free month to “stick around”.
  • Relaxation/Recreation: I think I can say that the husband was probably the most relaxed he had ever been the whole year during our Taiwan trip. I was too, even though I was there for work and had a presentation, but I did have fun exploring with him. We enjoyed the art parks, the temples, the night markets, the hotels… We didn’t really enjoy the food though but I think the milk tea (and Milktea himself/herself!) made up for it.
  • Ovulation Tracking + Lots of Sex: Alright, this will be TMI and will be for mature readers only. But both of these helped us capture the kairos moment in Taiwan. I’ve learned how to track my fertile window somewhere in the middle of our TTC journey. For this 11th cycle, I used the cervical mucus test and the ovulation stick test. I only used the sticks once or twice, I think, once I started to get the egg white consistency. I got positive ovulation readings the day of our flight to Taiwan and so I knew it was go time! I think it’s important I/we knew this so that we wouldn’t just tour and sleep through the whole Taiwan trip with nothing happening between us. We also had sex a couple of times before our trip while the cm consistency was still watery so that might have helped, too.
  • Prayer: As a Christian, I believe that a child is a blessing from God and it is He who gives and takes away. And so, the night before the husband left me in Taiwan (I stayed a few more days after he left), I prayed in my heart telling God how I would accept it whether or not we have conceived during that cycle or not. I did tell Him (making lambing*) that it would be a fun story to tell in case our firstborn would be “Made in Taiwan” and it would be a wonderful testimony to share how our baby was conceived during a month when we purposefully decided to get some well-deserved rest. Fast forward to two weeks later when I saw that positive line, I prayed another prayer thanking God for this baby. I also prayed for covering, for the pregnancy to be brought to full term, and for His will to be done above all else.

It’s a mix of practical and spiritual things. But I believe the greatest thing was that it was all God’s perfect timing. He is indeed a good, good Father.

I’ll post a pregnancy timeline by our 20th week and share the story of how we found out we were pregnant (spoiler alert: it was nothing spectacular – I just peed on a stick. lol). And so this blog will probably keep evolving into a pregnancy blog and then a mommy blog. I’ll keep writing and probably keep this as an online baby book. But I also pray that, for anyone who will stumble on this, you will be blessed by the stories and, if you are #TTC, God will also bless you with your own little one.

Baby dust all around!

 


*Lambing –  Not sure if there is a direct translation to this. It translates to “show affection/tenderness” but in this context it was like a child sweetly, tenderly, asking for a favor from a parent.

 

Made in Taiwan?

I suppose you can make a good guess at the results of last cycle’s dry run – nothing yet.

I should be relieved because I don’t have to worry if it would be safe to travel to Taiwan just in case I was. That being said, it looks like the Taiwan weekend and the week leading up to that may be our week. Does Baby Crisanto want to be made in Taiwan?

Bahala Ka na, Lord.

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Photo from pexels.com

Dry Run (For Mature Readers Only)

So a couple of things I learned from my readings around the web:

  1. You can still actively try to conceive even when you’re actively trying to lose weight (as long as the weight loss is not drastic, it shouldn’t hamper your chances of conceiving too much).
  2. Stress doesn’t affect TTC the way you think it does. Stress delays ovulation but it does not necessarily hinder implantation or cause early miscarriages. It’s still better to relax and enjoy the process though, for your own mental well-being.
  3. My husband and I need to have a lot more sex. (TMI, I know).

What are my references you ask? Well, #1 I got from various Internet searches (discussion forums etc., so reliable I know). #2 and #3 I got from The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant .

So with all that in mind, we’re back to TTC! People still recommend taking a vacation (we’re going to Taiwan on November!) or relaxing (we’re taking a break from ministry on December!) so I’m mind-setting this month’s cycle as a dry run of sorts for the next two months. If something good happens, praise God! If nothing yet, well, it’s practice for the lots of sex coming up for the rest of 2018. Alright, I’ll stop there. Haha. Lord, let Your will be done. 🙂

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Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Take a Moment

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Photo from Pexels.com

“Take a moment to remember
Who God is and who I am
There You go lifting my load again
There You go lifting my load again

[Chorus]
No longer am I held by
The yoke of this world
Come up under the yoke of Jesus
His yoke is easy and His burden is so light”

Take a Moment (Will Reagan and United Pursuit)

It’s been another roller coaster week full of pregnancy announcements, tears, disappointments, and lost pounds. Sigh. What can I do but “take a moment and remember who God is and who I am”?

That song was part of the playlist I played during the soaking session of our retreat over the weekend. I had second thoughts about the playlist because I thought they would only minister to me (the songs were Simple by People and Songs, Rescue by Desperation Band, Nothing I hold on to by Will Reagan and United Pursuit, and Take a Moment). But God works mysteriously and the songs actually made a big impact on those who joined the soaking session.

We’ll never understand the ways of God but we must not forget to let Him be God and let Him carry our heart’s heaviest burdens.

I let Him lift my load again.

P.S. I’m now at 151.3 lbs, something to celebrate – yey!

NTNP September Update

So number one, I’m on my period today again. The good – no tears, yet! The bad – somebody asked me if I was already pregnant, I told her I was just fat. Lol.

Number two, I’ve lost 5lbs (2kgs!) since I’ve decided to #NTNP. More to go!

It’s always a challenge keeping the right heart especially when you get into these sort of conversations:

[8:42 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: I wanna ask u but don’t get angry if it’s not okay
[8:42 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Are u pregnant???
[8:43 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: 🙇🏽‍♀
[8:43 AM, 9/16/2018] Mari Anjeli: I wish I was but I am not yet 😭😭😭😭
[8:43 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Ahahahahah
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Ops!
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Mari Anjeli: Just fat 😂😂😂😂
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Please tell me if u are pregnant
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: So I don’t need to ask u
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Then I can visit u
[8:44 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Ahahahahahah
[8:45 AM, 9/16/2018] Mari Anjeli: Haha yes! Please pray for us, didn’t realize it was this hard to get pregnant!
[8:46 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: I tot it’s super easy tho
[8:46 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Coz u know tv show us super easy
[8:46 AM, 9/16/2018] Friend: Ahahahahh
[8:47 AM, 9/16/2018] Mari Anjeli: I thought so too! Like you just do it and tadaaaa
[8:47 AM, 9/16/2018] Mari Anjeli: But no, I am on my period again today so so sad. 😟

Sigh. In His time, in His time.

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Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels