Category Archives: Life

“Mga Sabi-Sabi”: Infant Care Myths

We’ve all heard these warnings before. From pregnancy to birth, I’ve heard so many old wives’ tales (tama lang old, kasi always “may edad” ang nagsasabi sa kin) about pregnancy and children that I’ve come up with a “sabi-sabi” poker face in order to maintain respect to these well-meaning people. Here’s a handful of these infant care myths:

1. “Hamog”

If you expose your baby to “hamog”, they will get sick. And “hamog” appears at dusk and you shouldn’t bring out the baby by then. I don’t believe in “hamog”, neither does my pedia and neither should you. I do believe in fresh air and if the only tolerable conditions to bring out my infant is at 5pm, the onset of “hamog”, I don’t care. You can take your “hamog” to your albularyo and make it patawas.

2. Colic is kabag.

No, it’s not.

3. If you eat raw eggs just before you deliver, your “entrada” will be madulas and the baby will come out easier.

This one was shared by a neighbor and cracked me up. I don’t think she’s ever heard of salmonella and would feed me raw chicken while I was pregnant.

4. Drinking cold water will make your milk supply dry up.

And here I am drinking a tall glass of iced water with porno-star proportion breasts because of my overabundance of milk.

5. You should feed your baby from both breasts at each session because one breast is the “kanin” and one is “ulam”.

Someone call La Leche League! This is a scientific breakthrough!!!

6. Pinching your baby’s nose will make it “matangos”.

Stop mangling my baby with your hands and your colonial mentality, please.

7. Breastfeeding for more than 6 months will make the baby attached to you.

Better me than the yaya, the TV or a DS Lite, thank you.

8. You have to be super super careful with the baby’s pusod. And use a bigkis.

Dr. Elizza Senseng grabbed my hand and made me poke Basti’s umbilical stump to prove to me that it was a dead nerve. Using a bigkis does not protect it any more and neither does it prevent a baby from having a big tummy. Newborns are naturally frog-bellied. Deal with it, lolas.

9. If you’re pretty while pregnant, then you’re having a girl.

I had a boy, thanks. And, yes, I was pretty while pregnant.

Mga Sabi-Sabi….

We’ve all heard these warnings before. From pregnancy to birth, I’ve heard so many old wives’ tales (tama lang old, kasi always “may edad” ang nagsasabi sa kin) about pregnancy and children that I’ve come up with a “sabi-sabi” poker face in order to maintain respect to these well-meaning people. Here’s a handful:

1. “Hamog”

If you expose your baby to “hamog”, they will get sick. And “hamog” appears at dusk and you shouldn’t bring out the baby by then. I don’t believe in “hamog”, neither does my pedia and neither should you. I do believe in fresh air and if the only tolerable conditions to bring out my infant is at 5pm, the onset of “hamog”, I don’t care. You can take your “hamog” to your albularyo and make it patawas.

2. Colic is kabag.

No, it’s not.

3. If you eat raw eggs just before you deliver, your “entrada” will be madulas and the baby will come out easier.

This one was shared by a neighbor and cracked me up. I don’t think she’s ever heard of salmonella and would feed me raw chicken while I was pregnant.

4. Drinking cold water will make your milk supply dry up.

And here I am drinking a tall glass of iced water with porno-star proportion breasts because of my overabundance of milk.

5. You should feed your baby from both breasts at each session because one breast is the “kanin” and one is “ulam”.

Someone call La Leche League! This is a scientific breakthrough!!!

6. Pinching your baby’s nose will make it “matangos”.

Stop mangling my baby with your hands and your colonial mentality, please.

7. Breastfeeding for more than 6 months will make the baby attached to you.

Better me than the yaya, the TV or a DS Lite, thank you.

8. You have to be super super careful with the baby’s pusod. And use a bigkis.

Dr. Elizza Senseng grabbed my hand and made me poke Basti’s umbilical stump to prove to me that it was a dead nerve. Using a bigkis does not protect it any more and neither does it prevent a baby from having a big tummy. Newborns are naturally frog-bellied. Deal with it, lolas.

9. If you’re pretty while pregnant, then you’re having a girl.

I had a boy, thanks. And, yes, I was pretty while pregnant.

Thoughts on Nursing

Ever since I got pregnant, Orley and I decided that we were going to be a breastfeeding family. I did everything to prepare myself as well as I could. I took classes, I spoke to other breastfeeding moms, I put my lactation consultant and breastfeeding counselor on speed dial, and really searched for a pediatrician who would be on my back about nursing. Now, after almost 3 weeks of the ups and downs of purely breastfeeding, I’ve got thoughts, both nice and not-so-nice, to share to other moms out there.

1. Educate yourself.

Breastfeeding really isn’t a “oh the baby has natural sucking instincts” thing. You have got to immerse yourself in all the information about latching, feeding times, feeding patterns and the benefits of breastfeeding. Knowing what to expect helped me get through the most difficult transitional period. Really, really take in the benefits of breastfeeding and think of how much a can of formula would cost. Those thoughts alone got me through the pain, which brings me to…

2. It will really hurt.

Any breastfeeding advocacy and education counselor/website/article will always have the line: “Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.” Yes, it shouldn’t, once your baby learns the proper latch. If you’re lucky enough to have an infant born with a perfect latch then do believe what they tell you. For most of us, it’s a painful learning process that could take days, even weeks, and with that comes the bleeding, the soreness, the peeling and the pain that comes from poor latching. Lanolin kept me sane. For those nights that Sebastian was feeding every 30 minutes, I had Orley’s hand to squeeze while he rubbed my legs that were clenching from the pain. Be prepared for pain because it will be there. Be assured it will go away.

3. Don’t give yourself a way out.

When you’re under so much pain and haven’t slept a wink, it’s easy to give in and say, “That’s it. I’m giving you formula now.” Night after night, Orley would wake to find my head drooping from exhaustion while Sebastian was precariously balanced on pillows, nursing away. Other nights, he would wake up to a my yelp of pain as Basti latched, or sobbing because I haven’t had time to heal and Basti was asking to nurse again. We made it a policy not to keep a can of formula on standby and the bottles that Badette gave me for the baby shower remain unwashed and unsterilized.

4. Don’t hesitate to call friends who’ve been there or going through breastfeeding blues.

What you will go through is not unique. It helps to hear it from those who’ve done it and survived. I constantly called Leah (who breastfed Skye till she was three) and went on texting marathons with Audrey, my classmate from birthing class. Friends who were also mommies gave words of encouragement and kept the baby blues at bay.

5. Arm yourself with nursing gear.

Ok, so they say that you don’t need anything to successfully breastfeed but I beg to disagree. I love my nursing clothes and I love my nursing cover. There’s nothing more awkward than balancing a squirming baby and trying to roll up your shirt at the same time. I’m lucky to have chanced upon Mommy Matters and their bundle sale, where I was able to buy 12 nursing dresses/tops for only Php2,500.00. Gel got me a nursing cover from her sister Bessie’s site, Nursing Mom and I bought nursing bras from Mama.Baby.Love. I need more actually as it looks like nursing wear is all I’m going to be in for a couple of years.

6. Learn the side-lying position.

I abandoned the side-lying position after being traumatized with it from nursing while recovering from a C-section in the hospital. I adopted the cradle hold position from that point on because I felt it brought me and my baby closer. Now, after backpains and sore forearms from holding Sebastian for sometimes up to an hour while he nurses, I’ve gone back to side-lying for night nursing. It took a while for Basti to like it, but it helps us get more sleep now.

My next challenge will be moving Sebastian to his crib in a couple of weeks. Now that I’m all healed from the C-section, it’s time to get him into the crib so Orley can go back to the bed after weeks of sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I hope we transition without too much drama.

My Birth Story

God has a plan for everyone. As much as Orley and I had our perfect birthing plan in mind, things don’t always go the way you want them to go. This is my birth story.

I felt birthing pains starting 2am of April 27, Tuesday. I ignored the initial pangs, not quite sure if that was really IT, despite having the first sign of labor discharge the day before. By 6am, contractions were coming at 6-minute intervals, and even though I told Orley to stay home first because I still wasn’t sure if that was IT, he decided to come anyway. I calmly told my mom to please come earlier (we were scheduled for an OB appointment that day).

By the time I arrived at The Medical City, the contractions were getting stronger and coming every 5 minutes. Upon my doctor’s checkup, I was pronounced to be in active labor, dilated at 3cm and wheeled off to the pre-labor room. By 4pm I was hooked up to monitors at the Lamaze room of TMC, with Orley in scrubs on the sofa, watching Animal Planet.

A note about the Lamaze room in TMC. It’s really just a room where a husband can stay in. They may call it a “lamaze room” but they will treat you as if you don’t intend to do lamaze. They were quite surprised we were attempting it actually. My requests to not be hooked up to an IV and monitors were denied and they didn’t have any lamaze tools, not even a medicine ball. Orley and I were able to apply the breathing techniques, but we couldn’t help thinking afterwards if labor could’ve progressed a little faster if I had been walking around.

I was able to hold on until 7cm. I feel like I could’ve pushed my threshold of pain even further, if not for the oxytocin drip that pushed the contractions into overdrive. There was no speak of building up the pain tolerance once they had the drip going. I gave in and asked for an epidural. My anesthesiologist later explained that an epidural helps relax the mom, therefore relaxing the cervix, causing it to dilate more. In my case, I needed to be more relaxed because I wasn’t dilating as well as my doctor would’ve liked.

I was at 7cm for what felt like forever. There was a point where my doctor said if you don’t move in another hour, we’re going to have to perform a CS. I think fear of a C-section drove my cervix to dilate, eventually opening up to 10cm by the time midnight rolled along.

And then here came the problem. I was fully dilated, my pelvic opening was adequate, and Basti still wouldn’t come out. He simply wouldn’t budge. No amount of pushing could coax him out of his little shell. An hour and a half later, my doctor gave in and said, “We have to do it. I have to open you up.”

I have to admit I cried. I remember looking woefully towards Orley and saying, “I’m sorry.” He shook his head and said, “You have nothing to be sorry about. You tried your best. What’s important now is that you and Sebastian will be safe.”

I was scared. I have never been operated on in my entire life. When I was on the table, with two arms bound and harsh lights in my eyes, I could see the reflection on the overhead lamp of what they were doing to me beyond the curtain. I tried not to look, but it’s hard not to. Numb below the waist, it felt like something out of a cut-and-slash movie. What broke my fear was when Dr. Mike put on some music. When I heard the opening bars of Lady Gaga, I somehow knew I was going to be okay.

Somewhere in between “Insomnia” and “Mad”, I felt a huge lump taken out of my tummy (much like a big, stubborn booger you have finally fished out) and heard Sebastian’s first wail. I cried again, this time tears of joy and I heard Dr. Mike ushering in Orley into the OR (against TMC hospital rules, I’m sure). We took our first family picture right there on the operating table.

TMC has a great breastfeeding policy and I’m lucky to have found Dr. Elizza Senseng for a pedia (thanks to Pia and Tasha). A true breastfeeding advocate, she gave orders for Basti to be brought in to me every hour to nurse while I was in the recovery room, still numb from anesthesia. By 9am, he was roomed in with me and feeding using the side-lying position.

Our first night was horrible and I think my mom deserves a medal for what we went through that night. I was tied down to a bed with tubes running down my back and arms and legs, and my mom had to stay up with Basti and bring him to me when he wanted to nurse. He was awake from midnight to 7am, and I think she literally shoved Basti into Orley’s arms when he came in the morning to relieve her.

I was off the tubes by the next day. First thing I did was had the sheets changed and a sponge bath. Our second night was better. Having learned my lesson, Orley let me sleep the entire afternoon, then took a nap after Basti was fed. We were able to get through the night without much drama.

We were discharged the next day and were in the house by the afternoon. The wonders of medicine had me back on my feet as if I delivered normally. Orley and I still can’t believe I’m up and about a week after surgery with the smallest of scars.

Now at just over a week into motherhood, I’m still coping. Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to leave this house again. Sometimes I feel like all I am is breasts on legs. I’ve cried not just once, and I’ve cried for all the reasons and for no reason at all. Sebastian keeps me going, and my husband is my rock. I’ve confirmed that motherhood is a secret society and your friends will help you get through. Knowing they’ve been there and turned out fine helps in getting through every hour of this most demanding stage.

I can’t wait for the day when the three of us will go off and have adventures together. For now, we just have to get through this stage and get to know each other more and more.

And on a side note, I want to say a belated 35-year sorry to my mom and dad for sometimes being an ass while growing up. If I only knew what you guys put up with when I was a new baby, I would’ve been a better-behaved human being overall.

A Few Moments…

Because that’s all I have. A few moments. I gave birth last Wednesday to Sebastian, at 12:56am, and my world hasn’t been the same ever since.

I will blog about the birthing experience very soon. But right now, I’m just relishing the eye before the storm. It’s a few minutes before Basti is due for another feeding. In between nursing, burping, diaper changes, and trying to get some sleep when the Basti sleeps… well, there’s very little time left to do anything else.

At this point I would like to thank my friends, moms and single women alike, who took the time to send me a Facebook message, an email, a text and every other way they could to encourage me and get me through my post-partum baby blues. These first few weeks are not easy and your words are pulling me through. Thank you.

One week into Basti’s world and here are my thoughts:

1. If you are a woman who says you don’t want children, I respect your decision. Being a mother is not easy and if you are brave enough to say that you don’t want to deal with it, then so be it. You are not a lesser woman because of your decision not to procreate.

2. Though I am a breastfeeding advocate and will always champion the benefits of pure breastfeeding, I will never judge any mother who chooses to feed their children formula. Breastfeeding is 100% commitment. It hurts like hell and you are the only one who can do it for your child, no matter how supportive your husband is. You will have to be the one to wake up at all hours, endure painful breasts and think of sleep as something you used to do.

3. What pregnancy has done to my body is downright depressing.

4. I look at my previous albums posted in Facebook and think what a far cry my life is now compared to before. I am so glad I did it all – worked in China, saw Mt. Everest, had broken hearts and love affairs – before settling and having a child. It’s time for new adventures, and they’re not about me anymore.

And on that note, I can hear Basti whimpering for mama’s milk. Till next time.

Baby’s Firsts #1: First Toy

So after buying and inheriting all the required baby necessities, I went and bought the first “non-essential” item. A toy. (Though they are truly essentials, I mean, what are you going to buy them for their mental development, a netbook? That’s for me)

I just found this too cute, so I bought it:

I like that there are different textures, which are so important for a baby to explore. I want Sebastian to be open to experiences and starting him off on textures is the best way to establish that. The “musical” part of the inchworm isn’t that impressive, but I didn’t buy it for that. I can just imagine Baby Basti carrying this around with him. So cute.

I almost bought this from a Multiply seller. I actually bought a number of my maternity, nursing and baby things from Multiply sellers because they are generally lower-priced than department stores. This one was being sold at a Multiply site for Php1,500.00. I found it at Toy Kingdom for Php799.95. That’s just about a hundred bucks more expensive than Amazon.com. Miss Multiply seller, you’re overpricing!

The Lamaze toys are all cute. I think we’ll get a couple more while Sebastian is growing up. My 7 years as a Gymboree teacher really taught me to be picky with toys. My next stop is the bookstore for baby’s first soft book and first bedtime book. I think his first CD will be the Beatles.

I’m at 39 weeks and not a sign of labor. All my classmates from childbirth class are popping infants out one by one. Now that Orley’s back from his Cebu trip, maybe I can give birth.. tomorrow? Oh please. It’s not easy being pregnant in this heat.

A Life Devoid…

.. of holidays.

Adel‘s tweet about the coming long holidays on September 7 and 21 didn’t incite even a small *whoop* from me. Since I’ve quit all jobs and became a stay-at-home-wife-and-soon-to-be-mom, joy over long weekends have become a thing of the past.

A normal day for us: Get up when we want, eat. Hubby paints, I tinker with my Mac. We eat again. We chat, we tinker with the Mac, we get sleepy. We nap. We wake up, eat, maybe take a walk, then hubby paints again. Sometimes I go do the groceries, and I used to go to the gym. Then we eat again. When Orley tires of painting, we watch a DVD. When we get sleepy, we sleep. Repeat.

The highlights of our days are a trip to Megamall to attend exhibits and harvest art scene gossip. Sometimes Orley gets bored and we go to Manila Bay to a museum and take a walk. When we tire of the food at home we go to our favorite “paluto” places and trip on seafood. And sometimes, we pack up, lock up the house and fly to Orley’s hometown in Cebu for an indefinite period of time. We get sidetracked most of the time. I found myself on Panglao Beach not really remembering the steps on how I got there.

It may seem boring, but life with an artist never is. This is my view from my computer nook:

And my monthly shopping list reads like this:

  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Laundry soap
  • Cadmium red
  • Yellow ochre
  • Titanium white
  • Sansodor
  • Linseed oil

Life as a painter’s wife is hushed and frenzied, a lull and a storm, a bunch of contradictions wrapped up in paint, turpentine, beauty, pain and creation. It’s exhilarating.

I always asked God to lead him to the best life for me and my future family. True to His word, he gave it to us. For that I am thankful, grateful and blessed.

Getting Into The Blogging Groove Again

The hiatus from regular blogging has left my blogging mindset somewhere in year 2007. I used to be able to take out my camera on the fly, and blog about everything that peaks my interest.

Today I saw my little baby, lodged quite decisively and stubbornly in my “belly” (excuse the loose term. I don’t want to reduce anyone with a Y chromosome to jelly). And I forgot to take a pic of the screen. Hello?

You wanna know what I took a pic of???

My husband’s Bread Talk hot chocolate

Quite pathetic, I know.

Boring life events aside, it was nice to be in Rockwell again after a long time. I used to spend every single waking moment of my life in Rockwell, working at Gymboree for 7 days a week for a few months (where I got the energy, I dunnow). I was surprised to see a “Gymbo is coming back” banner on the top floor of the mall. I didn’t take a pic of that either. (Boo to me)

We passed by this art exhibit at the North Wing:

On exhibit are:

1.  2.  3. 

4. 

  • 1: Buds Convocar – I found this painting different from other ones I’ve seen of his in other exhibits.
  • 2: Buddy Ching – Different from the realism-slash-abstract stuff I saw at the GSIS competition and the Saturday Group exhibit at Art Center in Megamall. I quite like it.
  • (Picture censored by Photobucket): Ojing Obemio – A refreshing break from his harvest series that he was doing for the longest time. The 2nd breakaway piece I’ve seen, the first being his GSIS entry.
  • 3: Sunshine Plata – First time I’ve seen her work. Very whimsical with varied subjects, set apart with her choice of medium – Coffee on paper. Uh-huh. Coffee.
  • 4: Nic Masangkay – Not really familiar with Nic’s work, but I recognize his name from all the art talk I’m inadvertently exposed to.

My favorite from the whole set is:

This is Ross Capili’s mixed-media piece. I find the mix of subjects interesting and was moved by the composition.

Sunshine Plata had a significant number of pieces in the exhibit. I wonder if she’s an in-house artist with Yellow Door Gallery.

Disclaimer: I am no art expert. I am a noob at this whole art scene thang. All opinions are my own, not influenced by my husband. My opinion is based on my own personal taste.

Whew. Not too bad. Maybe the groove will come back sooner than I expect.

Breaking Ground

I always say it. New life, new blog.

Long have I been a blogger here, and here. I have my fair share of readers, mostly friends and acquaintances, people who actually know me and like to amuse themselves with the adventures of my everyday existence. There have been a few.

When the adventures “stopped” (read: got married and settled in Manila), the blogging sort of waned. (Oh right, there was also Twitter) I had to adjust myself to the new meaning of “adventure” in my life. and rewrite my About Me page.

The first entry is always the most tedious. You never know what to say.

In the meantime, in case you are one of the few stragglers who bumped into my blog by accident and is mysteriously and inexplicably drawn to my personality, get to know my past here:

A Ding In The Universe

And I’ll happily, hopefully see you again here, in my present.

Cheers!