Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Birthing Story - The 2017 Edition

Baby Boy
 
My target date to give birth was March 13 thru CS section. But fate had a different plan for me when the bundle that I've been carrying in my tummy decided to make an appearance on March 4, 2017 at 3:12 in the afternoon. Weighing in at 7 lbs and 6 oz and measuring 59 cm in length, he made quite an entrance.

The Waiting Game

I've been on maternity leave since February 21 when I was having irregular contractions. I was supposed to start my maternity after March 3 but it was becoming difficult to go to the office due to the heaviness of my tummy.

My due date as per my first ultrasound was March 19 but as per my last menstrual period, it's March 11. My OB, Dr. Regina Manahan (who was also my OB during my first pregnancy), opted to be conservative and used the first ultrasound instead. So my 39th week should fall on March 12. She refused to do a CS earlier than the 39th week or if I suddenly contract. 

I didn't know if it was a good idea to go on maternity so early as I was able to finish so many things in my to-do list that I became so bored waiting for my baby to arrive. I took to walking at the mall daily and finish some puzzles to help me cope.

Unlike my previous birthing, we opted for Asian Hospital this time around as we had to take into consideration the horrendous traffic at the Skyway unlike before where taking the Skyway meant faster travel. Moreover, we don't have a nanny yet so we have to stick close to home.


This Is the Day!


Early afternoon of  March 4, my OB called me and asked if I was having any contractions and if I could come over so she could check. So my husband and I brought our things to Asian Hospital and had me checked in at the Genesis center.


We arrived sometime after 1PM where I was immediately hooked to a machine which monitored my contractions as well as the heart rate of the baby. Amazingly, I was already contracting (which I've forgotten hurt like hell. And I've also forgotten the breathing exercises that helped me cope during my first pregnancy) and as per the resident's IE, I was already 1cm dilated. My OB then decided to perform my CS on that day which definitely sounded good for me.

They called in the resident anesthesiologist,  Dr. Cristina Tiongson, who delivered spinal anesthesia in preparation for my CS. This was different from the epidural that was given to me during my first delivery. Instead of sitting down, I was made to lie down on my side. It worked fast because it was less than a minute that I couldn't feel anything below my waist.

They wheeled me in the CS room and prepared me for the operation. However, I began to panic in a sense that I was telling the anes that I couldn't breathe. She mentioned that I have oxygen and I remember trying to move my hands which was secured on the side. Next thing I knew, I was asleep.

I recall waking up just in time to hear everyone call out, "Baby Out!" and I heard my baby cry out LOUD! Boy, was he loud. He was a direct contradiction from his older brother who barely whimpered when he was taken out of my womb 8 years ago.

They immediately brought him to me where he instinctively latched on my breast. Good thing my husband was in the room and took the necessary pictures.

From there, it was another wait for them to sew me back up and brought me over to my own recovery room.

One thing I like Asian over Makati Med, was that the former is more peaceful and quiet. Makati Med was just so noisy and quite a lot of people who will ask you the same questions over and over again. Not surprising considering they are a teaching hospital. At Asian, I had my own recovery room and I liked the care that my son and I got.

My baby and I were brought together to my room at 8 in the evening, 7 hours after I was admitted. I was exhausted and feeling was beginning to return to my legs.And with it, the PAIN.

Pain with a capital P! P%$&*^ I^!


Painless IV insertion FTW!


Since my last operation was 8 years ago, somehow the pain was forgotten. I don't know if it was age or I deliberately forgot the feeling but this time around, everything hurt like hell. My OB gave me three kinds of medication to manage the pain. But when I started breastfeeding, the contractions brought about by the release of oxytoxin hurt a lot. All I could do was whimper every time I would feed my son.


My catheter was removed Sunday evening and I tried sitting and standing up after then. The binder that I was wearing somehow gave me the assurance that everything that should be kept inside is still inside. I walked to the rest room and tried to move around as I wanted to get used to walking immediately.

Sleep was already forgotten as my son would feed almost every hour. As he was purely breastfed, I had to be available all the time whenever he wanted milk. And he can be quite vocal over his demands.

Breastfeeding Friendly

I liked it that the hospital is breastfeeding friendly. They had specialists teaching me to breastfeed and the nurses even know how to make the baby latch. Quite a different experience from MMC 8 years ago (sorry, I just had to make that comparison. I hope that they have improved the last few years).

Breastfeeding is not easy and I envy mothers who are pros at this. I'm glad that Asian has a good support system to ensure that the new mother is equipped with the knowledge as simple as having the baby latch.

Prepubescent Milestone - Done!

Like his older brother, we opted to have our son circumcised immediately after birth. We were pleasantly surprised to know that the pediatric surgeon, Dr. Rodolfo Tuazon, who worked on my older son, also has a clinic at Asian. We contacted him and scheduled the operation when Bennet was 48 hours old.

Actually, some pediatricians and obstetricians can also do the circumcision but his pedia, Dr. Victor Morada nor my OB can do the procedure. Nevertheless, we prefer the surgeon as the process can be quite delicate considering how tiny he is.

We were taught how to clean the small organ (which only involves Betadine) and I cringed when I saw how swollen it became a couple of days after. But afterwards, it cleaned up pretty good.

Price Tag

Ribs

Steak
 
At Makati Med, I remember our bill reaching P180K including all the PFs and the 4 day stay (excluding the horrendous parking fee. Boo MMC for not offering free parking for your in-patients. Another plus for Asian as we had free parking the whole time I was confined). Eight years after considering inflation and additional tax of the doctors, my total bill (including that of my son's and his circumcision procedure) reached P230K. I had a small private room and all the professional fees of the doctors were paid directly to the hospital. Another wonderful thing because the last time, I had to go to the doctor's offices and pay there.

I think the price increase is relatively small and I'm happy about it. My OB's fee doubled from the last time and we somehow expected it. However, it's still relatively modest compared to that of other doctors. She's worth it though as she took really good care of me and according to my husband, my CS scar is unnoticeable until I pointed it out to him.

There are also additional perks for giving birth at Asian:
- Steak and ribs dinner for two
- Baby bag with free diapers

I don't know if there are others but the dinner was wonderful and delicious.

Oh, and they send text messages for reminders (about my son's birth certificate) and even messaged me asking me if my wound has healed.

SUMMARY:

Hospital: Asian Hospital
Date of Confinement: March 4, Saturday; Discharged on March 7, Tuesday morning. Was only charged for three days.
Procedures Involved: Cesarean for me; Circumcision for baby including the following tests and vaccines -- Hepa B (given immediately after birth), BCG; Newborn hearing screening, cardiovascular test, Newborn Screening, blood typing
Obstetrician and Gynecologist: Dr. Regina Manahan
Anesthesiologist: Dr. Cristina Tiongson
Pediatrician: Dr. Victor Morada
Pediatric Surgeon: Dr. Rodolfo Tuazon
Total Hospital Bill + PF: P230K








Sunday, February 26, 2017

US Vacation 2014 - Fr. Gino's Ordination

One of the reasons why we visited the US last 2014 was to attend the ordination of my husband's cousin to his chosen vocation. It was the first time that I attended an ordination and in another country, to boot.


The ceremony was held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart at New Jersey. It literally felt like a wedding as we were all decked in formal attire (barong for the males). There was even a reception at a hotel afterwards.

One noteworthy moment was that the photographer that my husband's aunt hired was also our wedding photographer, John Mateos Ong. He shared with me that it was the first time that he will cover an ordination. I'm sure he captured the moment well.



The picture below is me receiving the first blessing from Fr. Gino. I remember shedding tears as his prayer was personal and heartfelt. 


US Vacation 2014 - Disneyworld


This post is so long delayed. I've grown to rely on FB as my memory album but I know nothing beats a blog. With my really undependable memory, I should resolve to write down stuff again before I forget.

My husband and I first visited the US together in 2011. At that time, it was only the 2 of us as it was a delayed honeymoon of some sort. When we got married in 2007, we jointly applied for US Visas and was approved. But before we could book a flight, we found out that I was pregnant. Thus, we postponed until 2011 but we decided to leave our 2 year old son behind. When he turned 5, we decided to bring him with us thinking that he wouldn't be too much of  handful as compared to bringing a toddler.

Of course, the first thing to do was to get a visa for our son. I blogged about it here. When he was approved, we looked around for flights and we settled with Cathay. When we first went to the US in 2011, we rode Eva Air where the stopover was in Taipei. It was the first time that we considered Cathay as previously, their port of entry in the east coast was in JFK in New York. But they recently opened flights going to Newark, New Jersey which is nearer to my sister. Since we heard good reviews about the airline, we booked 3 tickets with my friendly neighborhood travel agent.

We left Manila on May 16, 2014 and it was such an exciting day. Though we have previously traveled as a family, it will be our first long flight together! I prepared myself as much as I could by bringing my son his art materials, crayons, and of course, the ever reliable iPad. However, it can only entertain my 5 year old as much.

The MNL-HKG leg was uneventful and he had a kick exploring the terminal. However, the HKG-EWR leg was the killer. He fell asleep sometime at the start of the flight but he woke up 8 hours into the 15 hour flight and started screaming inside the plane out of sheer boredom. It was the nightmare of parents! Fortunately, we were able to calm him down enough and make him sleep again until we finally landed at Newark at 940 in the evening.

Our schedule though was a killer. My sister was prompt in picking us up and bringing us to her house where we stayed most of our trip. However, we had to be awake at 3AM as we had to catch our 6AM JetBlue flight going to Florida for our Disneyworld adventure! I think I only ended up sleeping for an hour or so before we had to get ready.

JetBlue was a budget airline so not much frills about it. The flight was around 2 1/2 hours long and my son was able to sleep on the plane (again) but I couldn't. Probably from excitement as we'll be going to the most magical place on earth!

Day 1


We arrived in Orlando at around 8:30 in the morning where the Disney bus picked us up. Just sitting there and seeing the monitor with the trademark Disney castle really made my 38 year old self all hyper. Though how old you are, Disney brings out the child in you.

We were booked at Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside. One of the numerous hotel resorts in the humongous place. After an hour of riding, we arrived at the hotel. Unfortunately, our rooms were not yet available so we had to wait. There were 4 families so 4 rooms--and our room was the last one to be ready. By that time, I was falling asleep at the really nice lobby as jetlag was catching up. When we were firmly ensconced in our rooms, we decided to take a nap as we're scheduled to visit Animal Kingdom in the afternoon. However, the nap turned out into a long deep sleep. My sister kept on calling us and we eventually just decided to meet up with them at the Animal Kingdom lodge to have dinner.


One cool thing about the whole experience was that we all had to wear the bracelets like the one above. Each family had a customized bracelet which we use in lieu of bringing cash and IDs. We just swipe whenever we need to buy something or even for fastpass purposes. Really you can walk around the park without worrying about cash. If I'm not mistaken, it's waterproof too.

Anyway, here's a pic of our bed at the hotel. I really like how they did the mickey logo with the towel and look at that awesome headboard!






The lobby of our hotel has an arcade place and out of all the hundreds of things that one can do at Disney, my son decided that this arcade game is the best. At his age, he was a bowling fanatic and we could just leave him there for hours without him getting tired. Like father like son as his dad is not a fan of amusement parks. I remember during out first date at Enchanted Kingdom, he never rode any of the rides. I had to ride the rollercoaster all by myself. He did however, accompany me at the Ferris Wheel.

Anyway, we managed to bargain with him to go around the resort with the promise that we will begin and end our day at the arcade.

After a sumptuous dinner at the lodge, we went back to our hotel where we got our much needed rest.

Day 2

The next day was the real start of our adventure at the happiest place on earth. We decided to visit the Magic Kingdom theme park first. Kids were encouraged to be in costume so my son decided to go as Spiderman.

Before meeting up with the rest of my family, we took the chance to explore our hotel/resort. 



Facade of our building where are room is located

Gazebo by the lake



at the hotel lobby

with the kids dressed up for Magic Kingdom

We wanted to have breakfast near Magic Kingdom so we settled for 1900 Park Fare Grand Floridian. It's such an awesome place. While having breakfast, mascots go around and you can take pictures with them.

Selfie with Tigger

With Winnie the Pooh

Everyone crowding around Mary Poppins! And she speaks with an English accent too

with Alice

amd the Mad Hatter

Trying to take a pic of the humongous lobby of the restaurant's hotel

After that very filling breakfast, we excitedly lined up at the theme park. The kids were excited but Basti and hubby are not fond of rides so he was content with having his face painted and I just hung around with my mom.

I think we left the park early but my little family left for Downtown Disney where we explored the place. My son was happy that we found a place which has bowling a bowling alley and he bowled a few games while we had dinner. Instead of taking the bus, we took the ferry from our resort all the way to Downtown. Definitely faster than the bus and it lets us off near our hotel too.

Day 3

Our third day at Disneyworld was spent at Hollywood Studios. Back then, there was the American Idol experience. Now that there's no more AI, I'm not sure if they still have that in the park.

The American Idol Experience

We also visited the Pixar Place and the ride where we went through scenes from different movies. 


The shot below is interesting as the backdrop is actually just painted and not an actual sky. 


For dinner, we went to Yachtman Steakhouse. I think we rode a boat going there.

Day 4

The last theme park in the place, EPCOT or as what my husband told me, is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. What makes it notable is the big golf ball in the middle of the park.

Posing with the golf ball

The golf ball actually has a ride inside. They also have different places around the park that features a different country. By then, I learned that one of the "things-to-bring" in Disney is sunscreen. Though it's not as humid as here in the Philippines, the heat can easily bake you. 

That sky is real

Basti finally completed his autographed book

That night, we went back to Downtown Disney where we met up with a former boss.

Day 5

Though we haven't been to Animal Kingdom, we didn't want to go there so we went back to Magic Kingdom to find the Frozen dolls that people back home seem to want as pasalubong. Fortunately, we were able to buy some.

Disneyworld was definitely an experience and one I would hope to experience again. As my husband and son are not fans of amusement parks, hopefully, I can visit again with other members of the family. I love rides and would certainly want to experience more of this magical place.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bank Hopping

I went bank hopping this morning to facilitate refunds for our event that will not push through. Good thing that most of the banks that I need have branches outside the village so it's just a matter of walking from bank to bank.

Doing this exercise made me test the customer service and facilities of the different banks. I therefore conclude that BDO has the best and BPI and Metrobank has the worst.

BDO

My first stop was BDO at the Richville Center branch. My bank of choice is actually BDO and I maintain accounts with them at my branch at One McKinley at Taguig. I'm glad to see that their customer service is uniform across all branches. I had multiple transactions and they were very patient with me. They even scolded me when I lined up as being pregnant, I should have gone straight to the new accounts area where there are seats. When I had to use the cash machine, an employee was waiting in the wings just to assist me.

I also went to another branch in Molito and it was the same experience. Even though I'm grumbling about their fees which they will charge soon for online transfers, their service makes up for it.

Summary: Great customer service, boo for the charges for deposit to provincial account as well as for send money transactions. But the cash machines is a work around for that. 

BPI

Next one was BPI which was at the next building at Unioil. I also had multiple transactions so I meticulously entered them in their machine. After which, I scanned the room and saw that there were no available seats as the branch was fully packed. I waited for someone to offer me a chair but the customers were all impatiently waiting for their number to be called. I pointedly looked at the guard manning the door and he just looked right back at me. So I just stood there for several minutes until finally, a seat was vacated. The numbers were still in the 30's while the numbers I were holding were in the 70s. I was prepared for another long wait when one of the tellers called me. Apparently, I can jump the queue since I was pregnant. I was pleased but it did not diminish my disappointment about their lack of concern for pregnant women and PWDs.

Summary: I haven't had a good experience with ANY BPI branch. Their cash machines are not that user friendly if you intend to deposit to another account (you need the card number of their ATM instead of the account number). However, their "any branch is your home branch" facility rocks. No charges for deposits to provincial accounts and you can book an appointment if you do not want to line up. However, you can only do this for up to 5 transactions only. 

METROBANK

My next stop was Metrobank, which was at the Alabang Business Tower--also next door. My transactions were deposits to a provincial account so I was looking for a cash machine so I can save on the service charge. When I entered the branch, I asked the guard about it and he just looked at me and abruptly said that they don't have one. I asked where is the nearest one and he said it's just at Ayala across Honda. So I walked down Acacia looking for the branch but I didn't find it. I just took a jeep (yes, I hauled my pregnant self into a jeepney!) to Molito where I know there's another Metrobank branch with a cash machine.

When I got to Molito, I searched for the cash machine. It's not located inside the branch but inside a hot stuffy room with the ATM with its own entrance. But I couldn't stay long inside that room because the machine was not user friendly and it kept on spitting out my bills. In fact, it tore the P500 bill which I inserted which the teller fortunately replaced. The heat did not help and there was no ventilation inside the small room. I went back and forth from the branch and the machine but in the end, I gave up and just did an over the counter transaction and paid for the P50 each charge for two non-NCR accounts. I asked the teller why the machine was not accepting my bills and he said that the machine does not accept P200 denomination. *facepalm*

Summary: Metrobank branches are hit and misses. There are times that you have to line up for an hour just for your number to be called. And my first time to use their cash machine is quite a disappointment. The grumpy security guard was also a turn off. One thing I learned about branches is that the security guard is the first point of human contact of the customer so it should count. Apparently, manong guard didn't get the memo.

LANDBANK

For a bank with a few branches, I was glad to see that they had one here at Alabang. However, I wasn't able to push through with my transactions as I was told that the service charge for deposit to a provincial account was P100. And I was only depositing P750. At least the security guard was friendly and answered my questions for me. I don't know though if what he gave was correct but the point that there's a charge was a disappointment.

Summary: Pogi points for the helpful security guard but boo for the charges.





CHINANBANK

I was supposed to have one transaction with this bank but backed off when I found out that there's also a charge for deposit to a provincial account. Again, it's also at P100 and I'm only depositing P750. I did not even make it inside the branch!

Summary: Come to think of it, I didn't see a security guard at the door. Once I entered the branch, I was immediately greeted by their new accounts teller who answered my question.

UNIONBANK

I've always had good experiences with Unionbank in whatever branch I go to. The one that I visited was at Alabang Town Center and I was the only one there. Great thing was there was no service charge for an over the counter transaction. Too bad it was only one account though.

Summary: the branch in ATC is a small one but everyone was so helpful.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Oh, Sherlock!


Pic grabbed from the BBC page

I'm a late fan of the series. I just started watching last year and binge-watched everything. I was surprised that it has been running since 2010 and that there are only 3 episodes per season. Nevertheless, watching it turned me into a raving Cumberbitch and a lifelong/obsessed fan of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict plays such smart characters well and him playing Sherlock is no exception. Since he became famous, there was a long gap between Season 3 and 4. They actually had a special episode last year but it was enough to make me thirst for more.

This season is as superb as usual. I'm excited for next week but sad at the same time because it will be the last episode and reportedly, the last time that Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, playing Dr. John Watson, will be reprising their roles in the small screen. I will truly miss them.

Out of all the 12 episodes I've seen, probably my favorites are the one featuring "The Woman", John's wedding and the Episode one of Season 4 with the last one reducing me to tears.

Maybe someday, they can make a movie out of it. Though there have been movies already inspired by Sherlock (that of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), I would love to see Cumberbatch and Freeman on the big screen. Granted that each episode is 1 1/2 hour long, it's still different watching them in a movie.

In today's episode (S4E2), there were two lines that stuck to me and I'd like to share them here:

"By saving my life, she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend." - Sherlock Holmes

"It is what it is." - mentioned by almost every character in the show and it different contexts which made it more poignant.


Thursday, January 05, 2017

I Recommend...

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid whatsoever for this post. These are based on my own experiences and have not contacted the vendor to ask for remuneration.

ZALORA

I love this shopping site. All of the stuff that I bought from them fit me perfectly. Whenever something arrives that does not fit, I can easily return them through LBC. And if they cannot find a replacement, they just credit my e-wallet. I really do not mind as I find their inventory really extensive. Maybe the only drawback is that they only sell clothes and accessories. But their customer service is quite excellent.

ALEX FRANCO

It's been almost 10 years since I got married and that was the last time I dealt with Alex Franco. But his cakes continue to haunt me as they are absolutely delicious! I again tasted his cake during our NewlywedsAtWork Christmas party last December and it's as wonderful as I remember them to be.

I called him last week as we wanted to order a cake for Alden. But he's fully booked. However, what amazed me was that he still remembers me after almost 10 years! I'll definitely buy another cake from him in the soon--for personal consumption!

TCAT

For a shopping site that's not well know, all my ordered items were delivered promptly and with no delay. Don't expect high-end products though as you get what you paid for. I'm just impressed with their delivery turn around time and I never had to email them to follow-up my orders.



I Do Not Recommend...

I do not hesitate to recommend stuff or places whenever I have good experiences with them. But at the same time, I will not hesitate to share not so good experiences.

As I have not updated for a long time, here's my new list:

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES

This may not be a surprise for some as there have been a lot of horror stories about this airline. Though how tear jerking their viral video in FB, it will not diminish my hesitancy in flying or dealing with them ever again. Odd though that whenever I fly using PAL for work-related instances (or at least for local or Asian destinations), I never had any problems. But this incident really takes the cake.

For my 40th birthday last 2015, my mom booked me a flight to LA to celebrate with my twin sister at Las Vegas. On my second day in LA, we learned that my uncle in NY passed away. There were plans of moving my flight from LA to JFK and postpone the LV trip. But we decided to push through with the LV celebration.

On the night before my departure back to Manila, I tried checking in but could not. We found out that I was supposed to fly from NY instead of LA! Apparently, my mother's secretary rebooked my flight, but since we decided to push through with LV, we did not pay the rebooking fee. However, PAL still rebooked the flight without the payment!

But it did not stop there. When we asked them to return the booking back to LA, they wanted me to pay $495 for the rebooking. Though how much we argued, they would not budge and since I wanted to fly out so badly (and I was by myself!), I paid for it. When I got home, I filed a complaint and fortunately got a voucher for the same amount, 11 months after. I asked it to be transferred to my mother which they readily did.

This morning, I called their hotline so my mother can use the voucher and the person who managed to assist me had to consult with different people before my query could be accommodated. Moreover, she gave me incorrect information wherein she said that the voucher can only be used upon booking of the flight at the airport. I argued with her that how can we do that when the security won't let her in without the flight booking? Adding fuel to the fire, they wanted to know how I came about with the voucher--and I had to rehash everything all over again.

Ending, we still cannot use the voucher as only my mother can use it. Even if she will be booking with a companion, the voucher can only be credited to her airline ticket. I can understand this but getting to this answer really taxed my patience.

I do give credit to the customer service person who assisted me earlier because she was friendly and called me back immediately to give the correct information but it resurrected the negative feelings I had with them before.

Lesson learned. Try to avoid PAL at all costs unless left with no other choice.

LAZADA

Lazada's inventory can be quite impressive. However, you really have to read the fine print when you buy from them.

I recently bought a maternity top from them last October. However, it turns out that it's not available locally and it was shipped from abroad. When it arrived, I tried it on but though the size is right, the sleeves were too tight.

I tried returning it but they called me back to say that they cannot accept the return as it's from an international merchant. I guess I got used to ZALORA that accepted my multiple returns that Lazada's reason really disappointed me.

Lesson learned. Read the fine print before buying an item and check if it will come from abroad or sourced locally.

GOODS.PH

Their site was included in a list of top 5 shopping sites in the Philippines. I purchased three items from them on the last week of October as I wanted to give them as gifts for Christmas. After a month, I still did not receive the items so I filed a complaint. Though they were prompt in answering emails and giving me feedback, I cannot figure out why my items were so delayed.

They were kind enough to give me a refund although I can't understand why the bank teller is saying that my account number could not be found. I sent proof of the existence of my account number to belie their claim.

Lesson learned. Go to other shopping sites instead.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Pregnancy Announcement

My pregnancy announcement posted in my IG and FB accounts

I just realized that I did not post this in my blog when I announced my pregnancy last July 23, 2016.

It's really amazing as I didn't know nor did we plan this pregnancy. We've always wanted another baby but I accepted that we will only have one child when I celebrated my 40th birthday on December 2015. 

But God had other plans.

I went to Japan last June for a work-related trip and all the walking restarted my reproductive system. There were no obvious symptoms of my pregnancy and I was not really expecting it. I did notice that I would get frequent flare-ups of my allergies (hives and asthma attacks) and I would be so tired at the end of the day. One morning, I almost fell asleep on the wheel of my car driving to work--to think I did not drink any medicine and slept within the proper hours the night before. I shared this with my colleague and she was the one that prompted me to take a pregnancy test.

Still disbelieving, I went home that night and took one. I shouted in the bathroom when I saw the two lines. After all those years of testing, there are two lines. I called out to my husband and he was also surprised (although I did give him a smack when he asked how it happened. Duh! He was there and participated during the whole thing!).

When it did sink in though, I started crying. For one, I was not prepared for it. I've already conditioned myself that I will no longer be caring for an infant and my husband and I are already 40 years old! How old will we be when our youngest reaches college? But what really contributed to the tears was that I was not taking care of myself the past few weeks. I was drinking antihistamines to address my allergies and I couldn't remember if I drank any alcohol the previous weeks.

I immediately had an ultrasound which confirmed the pregnancy and the presence of a heartbeat which also made me cry. Regardless of my lack of knowledge, my baby was ok.

However, I got sick the week after with the flu. I had to drink antibiotics which made me worry more. I was on leave for a week as the fever wouldn't abate. I was so worried about my baby but it turned out ok. And then my allergies also got worse wherein I would cough badly at work. Turns out, I was having full blown asthma attacks. I was made to rest again and was pumped with 3 different kinds of inhalers.

Here I am on my 29th week, almost at the finish line. We're having another baby boy, much to my consternation, but my husband's contentment. I really wanted a girl but as long as this one is healthy, I'm ok.

Prayers are very much requested as I'll be having another caesarean operation and I'm fearful that recovery won't be the same as my first considering my age. This pregnancy is so much different compared to the first that it's more difficult.




Anemia Problems

My Red Blood Count and other related items during my CBC are always low. However, in my recent blood test, I saw my hemoglobin count at its lowest. I was really alarmed. It was normal considering that I'm pregnant but it seems I really do have thalassemia, contrary to the test conducted 9 years ago.

Nevertheless, I'm striving to pull that up lest I would need a blood transfusion during my caesarean operation this coming March. I had to take a leave today as I woke up feeling dizzy--an effect from my anemia. I thought I can sleep it off but I felt really awful the whole day making me miss the birthday dinner of my husband's nephew.

I'm already taking iron in my supplements (Sangobian Pre-Natal) and Folic Acid with iron. But it feels like it's not enough so I need to eat more green leafy vegetables to bring my iron up. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow. I need to hit the ground running this January considering I'll be going on maternity leave by March.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

2016 Recap

I usually make year-end recaps but I’ve stopped for the past few years. Considering how eventful my 2016 was, it deserves to be noted down so I will not forget.

HONGKONG TRIP / BASTI’S 7TH

As our 7th birthday gift for Basti, we celebrated it in Hongkong. Unfortunately, he did not love Disneyland but enjoyed the trains and the hotel more—so that was what we did.

ALDUB FANGIRLING / ADNFEST 2016

On January, Vic Sotto married his fiancée, Pauleen Luna at St. James. And for the first time in my life, I gatecrashed a wedding so that I can see my favorite LT, Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards. I had the opportunity to be near them and I was just stunned.

On February, I again had the chance to see them when I was invited, for the first time, to go to Broadway to watch Eat Bulaga! live. It was such an experience that I will always treasure as it was during their 7th monthsary and it was one of the rare times that they’re both in the studio.

On June, my friends and I managed to raise funds for the Isang Lapis, Isang Papel project of Eat Bulaga! and we again when to Broadway to deliver the supplies that we raised—worth P200,000! Too bad Maine and Alden were not there.

 October 16, 2016 was the 15th monthsary of ALDUB. A group of friends and I put together AldubNation Fest which gathered fans from all over the Philippines and the world. We did not announce that Alden and Maine will be coming so imagine the chaos it brought when they arrived. It was the pinnacle of my fangirling and I had the opportunity to sit and chat with my two favorite celebrities ever. What made it more notable was that the fans also appreciated the effort and it was also the highlight of their year. 

A week after that, on October 22, we had the privilege of attending the Kalyeserye wedding of Alden and Maine held at Christ the King at E. Rodriguez (near Broadway). I was so emotional that time as it felt so real when we knew it was just meant for the show. I guess what made us feel that was that the vows that were said by both transcended the show and meant for their non-showbiz selves. Nevertheless, it was an event that I will forever treasure.

LES MISERABLES

I’ve always wanted to see Les Miserables ever since I heard the soundtrack 25 years ago. Whenever I’m in the US, I never can seem catch it in Broadway. That’s why when they had a show here, I grabbed the chance and booked front row tickets. I was ecstatic and cried when I heard the opening strains as well as “One More Day”.

JAPAN TRIP

For the first time, I visited Japan for a work-related trip. Good thing I had a day and half to go around and was able to see a bit of Tokyo. What made it exciting was that I went around by myself. I was able to navigate the complicated train system but I got lost finding the right exit. I also did 30,000 steps which is equivalent to 22Km in a day!

MIGRATION OF MY FAMILY 

2016 was also a year wherein the rest of my family decided to settle elsewhere. Ten years ago, it was my mom and twin sister who settled in the US. This time around, it’s my dad and brother. My father purchased land in Cagayan de Oro where he built a house near the beach—his retirement home. My brother’s Canada immigrant application was approved and he left last November. For the first time in my life, I spent Christmas Eve without my family. Technically, I still have a sister here but she had plans during Christmas Eve. It felt different and I can’t wait for the time that I can spend Christmas with them once again.

PREGNANCY

My husband and I have been trying for another baby since 2011. In our family plan, we wanted to have a second baby by year 2012, wherein Basti would be three by then. But it was futile so when I reached 40 last December 2015, we just accepted that Basti will be an only child. But lo and behold, my Japan trip (and the 30,000 steps) managed to reset my reproductive cycle. Probably the wondrous thing there was that I had no idea that I was pregnant. I felt nauseous but only during in the car which I attributed to me using my mobile phone. My allergies resurfaced but I just ignored them. It was my officemate that suggested I take a pregnancy test when I shared with her that I felt really sleep when going to the office one day. So I did. When I went home that night, I took a test and shouted in the bathroom for my husband. Both of us were surprised but my husband was quite happy about it. He couldn’t let go of my hand the whole night and kept on hugging me.

I don't know how to top this year or if it could get any better. That's why my wish for this year is to make it if not equally stellar, but at least kind.

Happy New Year everyone! May the odds be ever in your favor and may the force be always with you!

Joyfully Japan

In June 2016, was in Japan for four days for business. I was initially not excited to go as it would entail me traveling almost by my lonesome and my family is not with me. After my very traumatic experience last December, traveling by myself is the last thing I want to do. Although I'm with a group, most of them have their own agenda so I basically had a day to myself.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and the weather was not cooperating. A small group wanted to go to Shibuya to see the crossing but it started raining. We initially did not want to buy any umbrellas but when the drizzle became a downpour, we had no choice but to buy some.



It's supposed to show where the vacant seats are available. Took us time to decipher this.

My little cubicle.

My first ramen in Japan

Posting with my cute umbrella (which I could not bring home because of the size)

Behind the bright lights of Shibuya

The neon signs are absolutely breathtaking


After walking around, we were pretty hungry already as some of us haven't had lunch yet and it was past 6 in the evening. We ended up in Ichiran where we basically figured out their ordering and seating system. We each had a cubicle where we ordered our personalized ramen and ate in silence (and hunger).

We then explored Shibuya afterwards where I ended up in a store to buy the pens of my friend.

The next day was our planning session so we were stuck in the conference room for half of the day. Afterwhich, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant where I saw how beautiful a prepared Japanese plate could be. Then, we attended another session with our host, JCB where they treated us to dinner afterwards.

The fun part happened on Saturday.

We woke up early where a couple of colleagues and I went to Tsukiji market to taste some of the freshest sushi that I've ever tasted. We took the train and we ended up here where the lines of people greeted us outside the restaurants.

People lining up for their taste of sushi

After patiently waiting for half an hour, we were seated where we ordered our own sushi bowls. The colors were so beautiful and it did not disappoint. I completely demolished this bowl including every grain of rice. Everything was just so fresh!

my sushi bowl over rice
After breakfast, we ventured back to our hotel where I planned my route for the day. We went our separate ways and my first stop was Akihibara where I checked out toys and video games for my friends. Finding that everything was as expensive, I went to another mall where I bought a pair of sneakers for hubby from Onitsuka Tiger. I then went to Ginza where the Pandora shop was located so I can get my mandatory charm (I buy a charm from every country that I visit).

I managed to successfully navigate their complicated rail system but managed to get lost in the exits

I was pretty beat when I returned to the hotel as I have already walked more than 25,000 steps (I got lost while looking for the exits at the station). We visited a nearby shrine/temple and had merienda at the local Shooters. Afterwhich, we had dinner at a nearby ramen place.

I really fell in love with Japan. Other than the US, I found a place where I would want to settle down and live. People are SO polite and the city, considering its population, is so peaceful. We were supposed to return this year for our 10th year wedding anniversary but I got pregnant so so much for that plan. Hopefully, we can make the trip soon.