In the Philippines, we have sari-sari stores — small shops usually attached to a person’s home, selling different sorts of goods. As a child, I dreamt of having my own, but I guess this is the closest I’m ever going to come to it. Sharing different stories — sari-sari stories — most especially from my experiences and learnings as a daughter of the King of Kings, as wife of my husband King, and as mom to our three princesses. 😊
In our home, King and I always remind our daughters that the tongue has the power of life and death. God knows we struggle with this too, but it’s easier to point it out when we hear our kids saying negative words. Story of our parenting lives right? Practice what you preach. Preach what you practice. Note to self! 😂
Anyway, a few days ago, Danae had a stomach ache and even after treating it (with water, fruits, veggies, erce flora, and prayers) she still kept complaining about the pain. Every time she’d come out of her room or come into our room, she’d say “ow my tummy hurts.” I felt bad for her, but declaring that her tummy hurt over and over again didn’t seem to help (her OR me 😂). “How about say I am healed in Jesus’ name?” She did, every time I reminded her.
I believe there is a shift in our mind set when there is a shift in our declarations. Of course it works the other way around too — change mind set first, then declarations/words/actions change. But sometimes our minds are clouded, by our emotions, or when our senses are disturbed and we experience pain. Instead of giving in to it, we fight by moving in the opposite spirit. Instead of focusing on the pain or the problem, we declare faith. We declare healing. We declare the goodness and power of God.
Speak life to your own situation. Speak life to yourself.
The next day, Danae came to me and said she felt better!
Little did I know that the littlest one would pick this up as well. I was feeling down the other day. The humid weather triggered my allergies and despite meds, I was sneezy, teary, and my head was heavy all day. At bedtime, while I already had my eyes closed, Gianna spoke. “Are you healed, mommy?” Always so compassionate towards me. I didn’t want to sound negative or faithless, so I told her “almost.” That apparently was not good enough because she told me, “Say I am healed, mommy.” She made me smile. I did as she asked and I thanked her. Touché my dear! 😂
Amazing how our kids use our own words on us. It really keeps us parents on our toes. It keeps us accountable. It keeps us humble.
When one daughter complains about the other’s attitude and behavior, I always tease (and remind) them that they are the same. “Mirror, mirror” or “have you met yourself?” or “speck, meet plank.”
But really, God always reminds and rebukes me — my children are a reflection of me. I am the same too. He’s just more compassionate and less sarcastic than I am. Lord help me! 😂 ❤️
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:20-21
I don’t know if it’s because she is the youngest or because it’s just really her personality, but Gianna is majorly clingy to me. She really loves me and even though we are constantly together, she still tells me that she misses me and wants me….. to do everything with her, even though there are other members of the family. 😂 She also has so much compassion for me. She’s happy when I’m happy, cries with me when I’m sad.
A few months ago I learned that, for some reason, she has this fear of me dying. She has told me quite a number of times already, most often out of the blue and when it’s quiet and we’re about to sleep. With a sad face, she would say “I don’t want you to die, Mommy.”
At first I thought it was ridiculous. Clinginess overload. But I couldn’t tell her that that would never happen. That would be cruel and dishonest. So instead, I told her that I won’t die yet. That I will die when I’m old, when she is already an adult, married with kids. But then she told me that she doesn’t want me to grow old so I won’t die haha. I just hugged her and assured her that I’m still here. She has told me enough times for me to take it seriously and not laugh it off.
A few days ago, she said it to me again, but my response was different. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it sooner, since we always teach our girls to pray to thank God, to declare God’s promises, to ask for help, to ask for healing (even for the smallest owi), to ask for forgiveness, to help others too. But I told her to pray. Pray that God would take care of Mommy and Daddy, that we will be healthy and strong, and live a long life. I prayed first, and then she followed. And you know, since then, she has blurted out prayers or announcements that she will pray, when in bed, while she’s watching tv, and once while I was in the bathroom! She came in, told me she needed to pray for me, and prayed that God would take care of me. When I wasn’t feeling so well the other day, she prayed for me. I thanked her, and she proudly told me that it was what I taught her. I don’t hear her say she doesn’t want me to die anymore. I just hear her pray. When she is reminded of her fear, she now knows how to respond!
Wow. That is the power of prayer! My words were never enough to give her the assurance that she needed. There was always a follow-up to her worries. But prayer brought the peace of God into her heart, and continues to do so each time she fights her fears with it. Miraculous work that the Lord is doing in my little girl’s heart. Gianna does not know it yet, but she is already practicing Philippians 4:6-7. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ❤️
May we learn from the example of a young child, to trust the Lord and receive His peace, despite the enormity of our fears and the vastness of our uncertainties.
I think it was last week when Danae stayed with me in the supermarket after dinner, while King brought the two younger girls home. I appreciated the company, especially because she’s not anymore the toddler that she was, who would get her own cart and stash sanitary napkins and other things in it. I also appreciate one on one time with my girls. It’s more peaceful because no one is competing against the other for talk time and attention. Just picture 3 talkative girls coming at you all at the same time. Hahaha.
I like to goof around with my kids, and Danae, even at her age, still likes to goof around with me. She’s not too cool for me yet, though sometimes she begs me to stop hahaha. At the cashier, while waiting for our turn, we were laughing about something. Danae suddenly mused that she wished she was still the only child. Awwww. I told her that was really sweet AND really mean at the same time.
I love that she enjoys spending time with me and just me. She enjoys going on solo dates with her dad as well. What a boost to know that for somebody who loves being with her friends so much, she still needs her time with mommy. Although it was mean of her to say that she prefers to be without her sisters, it also warmed my heart. It wasn’t even a date date. We weren’t doing anything special. We weren’t at a place she really really wanted to go to. It was simply quality alone time between mother and daughter.
When it was our turn at the cashier, Danae suddenly sang and danced Grease Lightning. I mumbled and danced along with her haha. The cashier lady commented, “ang cool nyong mag-ina.” That made me smile. I always want to be the mom my kids can count on when the going gets rough, the mom who teaches the tough lessons of life, but also the mom who laughs hard, plays around and is unafraid to be silly with them. ❤
Thankful for the privilege of being a mother. ❤
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. Psalm 127:3-5
I am a stay-at-home mom. Even though my older girls go to school everyday, I am with them at breakfast and after school. It’s not often that I go out, though I do drive them to their after-school and weekend activities, because the littlest one is with me. I have to plan my moves. I’m blessed that my mom stays with us and I can now leave Gianna with her sometimes. We have a Manang and the two older girls can pretty much fend for themselves. Many times, I bring a kid or the kids along when I have a meeting in church on a weekday and King can be bothered. There is strength in numbers, so I feel safer when all 3 or 2 are together at home as opposed to leaving only 1 at home alone with Manang (on the times that my mom is not around). As much as I can help it, I don’t stay out long either. In other words, we’re together a whole lot.
But, on the rare occasion that I leave without them, they’re always chatty when I come back! So chatty, that they fight for my attention. “Mom! Mom! Look at this.” “You know what, mom?” “Mom, look what I made.” “Mom, look what I can do.” “Mom, can I show you something?” “Heeeey, I was talking to mom first.” The littlest one now knows to say “Mom! Talk to me.” Hahaha. Sometimes they overwhelm me. King jokes that they miss me. We’re always together!
But I realize that my children love to talk to me. They want to spend time with me. They enjoy my company. They’re not tired of me (yet). Even when I embarrass them (deliberately or accidentally), I know they secretly like it. They laugh at and with me. They want my attention, my affection, and my opinion. The older ones complain when they notice that I leave home like 3 days in a row. It’s tiring at times, and the pressure is incredible. But you know what, it’s a good thing! My kids not only love me. THEY LIKE ME! They really really like me! Hahahaha.
When Gianna knows I’ve parked, she already goes to the window and screams for me. “Mommy? Weeeeee mommy’s here!” Sometimes she’ll say “You’re back, mommy? Yay!” She makes my heart smile each time. I think (I hope) she is past her recent phase of wanting me by her side at all times, like she would call me IN A PANIC, once she realizes that I’m not near her. She would cry for me not to go to the bathroom! Anyway, the older girls don’t get as excited, but they’re always happy to see me too.
Thank you Lord for this massive blessing. To be loved AND liked by my kids is indeed a good thing. ❤
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
“Can I have rice please?” When the bowl of rice is an arm’s reach away.
“I can’t find it.” And IT (whatever IT is) is right there in front of her.
“Mommy, look!” “Mom mom, look!” “Mommy, look at me!” All at once.
“Mommy o!” “Mom, she (insert verb) me!”
“Stay here, mommy.”
“Don’t go, mommy.”
“Stay with me.” When we’ve been together ALL day, EVERY day.
“I’m scared. Can you come with me?” To the kitchen, in our house.
“Can you feed me?”
“I’m hungry.” After just having a meal.
“I’m thirsty. Can you get me water?” “I want milk.” When you’re already lying in bed.
“Mom? Mom? Mom? (tapping or shaking your arm) Can I (insert verb)? Can I have (insert noun)?” While you’re fast asleep.
“No! Please? 5 more minutes (which always translates to more)?” When you’ve already told them 5 minutes before that we’re leaving in 5 minutes.
“Aww, please mom? Can I just…..? It’s just so and so pesos. But you said….. But we haven’t…. But my friends…..” Negotiation after you’ve already answered their question.
“I don’t like the rod.”
“Mom, I don’t get it. Can you help me?” And then she’ll fight with you because she thinks you’re making it harder.
“Can you hold this?” “Can you put it in your bag?” Like the baby isn’t heavy enough.
“Awwwgh….” When you ask them to do you a tiny favor.
“Why me? I didn’t make that mess.”
“I want to buy this.” “I want to get that.”
“How come he/she (friend or cousin) is allowed?”
“Can you read with me?” When you’re already so so sleepy.
“Can you make chicken ala king and phoebe for lunch?” When it’s 30 minutes to lunch time.
“Ow, ow, oooooowwwww….” With so much tears and loud crying.
“I don’t want to sleep!”
“I don’t want to take a bath!”
“Waaaiiiit.” After the nth reminder.
“It’s so hard.” “I never get to have any fun!” “It’s always NO.” Sweeping statements of ungratefulness, even after a fun vacation.
“What if someone asks me on a date?”
“I think he has a crush on me.”
“I think he has a crush on ate.”
“He’s cute…..” If only I could put into words the sound of King, loading a shotgun. 😛
So many words, so many needs, so many wants, so many delays, so many excuses, so many arguments, so many questions. Mommy this, mommy that. These are the things that make me tired, exasperated, feel pressured, feel frustrated, and feel panicked. And at the same time, these are what make me GRATEFUL for being their mommy.
Motherhood is a joy. Quality and quantity time. Family. Fun. Games. Tickles. Piggy back rides. Laughter. Silliness. Dancing. Food. Trips. Dates. Memories. Service. Car rides. Times of house arrest. Sickness. Errands. Budget concerns. Conflicts of schedule. Conflicts of interest. Clash of personalities. Arguments. Stress. Bonding. Growing together. It’s not always great, but by the grace, love, and redemptive work of God, good always comes out of anything bad. We rest in the promise of God that as we walk in obedience to Him, we will EAT THE FRUIT OF OUR LABOR. The sacrifices we make are worth it.
Motherhood is a privilege. Secrets. Open and intimate conversations. Inside jokes. Family meetings or one-on-one talks. Sensitive topics. Senseless topics. Friends. Feelings. Hurts. Heart issues. Dreams. Likes and dislikes. Crushes. Movies. Shows. Music. Social Media. Quirks. Habits. We have the opportunity to knit a close relationship with our children. We have the privilege to be part of their lives, to KNOW them, to WATCH them, to LOVE and ENJOY them.
Motherhood is a stewardship. Teaching. Training. Listening. Learning. Discipline. Teamwork. Character building. Strengths building. Life skills. Discovering and developing talents. Discipleship. Volunteering. Church. Worship. Prayers. Faith. Bible. Wisdom. The Gospel. Loving and honoring God. God gave us captive audiences since our children were conceived in our womb. We have the opportunity to teach, inspire, impart, lead, empower, equip. We need to BE DELIBERATE in using, and not wasting, this opportunity.
Motherhood is a gift. Smiles. Hugs. Regular kisses. Eskimo kisses. Nguso kisses. Thank yous. I love yous. I miss yous. Sorries. I forgive yous. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Yes, we have the opportunity to give it to our kids, but we also have the opportunity to receive it from our kids. They not only need us. They love us, despite our failure to love them. They love us, just because we are MOMMY. ❤ ❤ ❤
Thank you Lord, for making us mothers.
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMMIES OUT THERE! ❤
Facebook reminded me this week of something I said two years ago.
Actually, King was the first one to remind me. He wished me a happy birthday on Gianna’s birthday, and said he remembers everything. I just smiled. I honestly did not think of it. But as I was watching a show the other day, I suddenly cried seeing the daughter hug her mom so tightly, thankful that her mom is alive. You see, not to sound overdramatic, well okay maybe a little, I almost died.
FEAR OF PAIN
I was scheduled for a c-section on August 12th, so I had to be admitted the day before. I don’t know why, but through the difficult pregnancy, I had so much fear. I feared pain. I don’t know if God was already warning me about things to come, but I struggled with it. I would cry because I was afraid of the pain I MIGHT experience. I’d given birth to Danae normally — that was painful even with epidural. I’d given birth to Noelle via emergency c-section — also had epidural and recovery was painful. You would think after two births, I’d be more confident. But no, I was seriously afraid.
August 11th, my spirits were high. King, the kids, and I were excited to be at the hospital. I wanted the girls to be with us overnight so they could meet Gianna right after she came out. To keep with tradition since Danae was also there in the hospital when Noelle was born. 🙂 I tested positive for GBS (Group B Strep) and so I needed to be given antibiotics intravenously 24hrs before my c-section. I was told to shower with an antiseptic and wear the hospital gown, so they could test my skin for a reaction (or non) to the antibiotic and also insert the IV. I was ready. Bracing myself, but ready. The nurse inserted the needle….
and I WAILED IN PAIN. I cried so loudly that my girls cried with me. I had never experienced that before in my 3 previous hospitalizations. That was just the beginning. To make the story shorter, almost everything I went through was painful. Plus I guess I was super emotional. King was not allowed to stay with me in the labor room and I had no phone, so through my tears I occupied myself with singing my first favorite worship song, Great is the Lord and Most Worthy of Praise.
I sang it even while they were getting Gianna out, and King was by my head. There was no pain at that point but I had difficulty breathing. That was normal, I was told, because of the spinal anaesthesia they gave me. It was quite different from the epidural I’ve had in the past. I kept thinking, I wanna hear the baby. I’ll be okay when I hear and see her. When she was out — her skin so fair like Noelle, chubby and chinky like Noelle, and she cried softly (like neither sister hahaha) — I was relieved and happy. I even made sure my doctor fixed my fallopian tubes. She assured me that she was ligating me, haha. They put Gianna on me so she could latch, and we could have some skin-to-skin contact. ❤
AFTER CHILD BIRTH
They brought me to the recovery room, and they would not bring me and Gianna to my room because my blood pressure was high. I kept looking at the monitor and I would see it at 160 over something. I thought that was odd because with my first two, my blood pressure normalized as soon as I gave birth. I was in there by 2:30. When Gianna cried, we would try to breastfeed. I tried to sleep and relax. By 8 or 9pm, I asked the nurse if she could bring Gianna out to meet her sisters. She obliged and I thank God that happened because the girls did not see her again till she got out of the NICU. More on her birth here.
I was brought to my room around 11pm. They gave me meds for my BP and monitored my urine for 24 hrs. When they removed the catheter, I was able to stand up and move. I would get dizzy and have a hard time breathing, but surprisingly my wound and stomach muscles did not hurt much. On the 15th, I was given the go to be discharged. My heplock was removed. I had no dextrose anymore by the 14th actually, but the thing was still in my vein till they removed it the next day. So you know, I thought I was fine and healthy. I did keep asking about my swollen ankles and legs. My edema would usually disappear as soon as the baby came out. I thought something was not right, but they kept telling me it was normal. We opted to keep the room and wait till Gianna was finished with her antibiotics in the NICU.
Not long after that, a doctor came into my room and told me that I had pre-eclampsia. I was so annoyed that I asked her why she’s saying pre-eclampsia when I’ve already given birth. Isn’t it supposed to be post eclampsia? Haha. It’s called pre-eclampsia because it is a condition before eclampsia. Eclampsia is high blood pressure and seizures in pregnant women. The usual cure for that is to give birth. Mine was post partum pre-eclampsia, meaning after I’ve given birth. She told me I would need magnesium sulfate for 24 hours, I got more upset. I told the attending doctor that I did not want to be IVed again. I said I was done. In my head, I was thinking that they were mistaken. Not after Gianna, needing to be in the NICU. No way. It was just too much. They said they would just relay it to my OB-GYN.
My lovely doctor, Dra Guinto, came into my room early that evening, and pleaded with me, not just as my doctor but as my friend (her words), to get the treatment. I actually had pre-eclampsia severe — severe because I had more than 3 symptoms of pre-eclampsia. It was good that we found out while I was still in hospital, because it would have been more dangerous undetected at home. There are too many complications if we don’t treat it — seizures and nerve damage. I cried because I did not want to do it. I did not want another IV insertion. I did not want additional pain — I was told it was going to feel hot in my body. I did not want a catheter. Hearing it straight from my doctor (and because she allowed me to not wear a catheter) and with King encouraging me to just obey, I eventually agreed. Thank God my children weren’t there. They were still with my in-laws.
My God takes the broken and makes it whole again. My God takes the broken and makes me whole again. #thankYouLord — this was my post from a song I heard that day, Aug 15, 2014. (I wasn’t able to capture the memory, sorry.)
That night, they brought me to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit. I was already in the groove of going down to the NICU to feed Gianna each time she needed feeding, but I couldn’t go to her again for 24 hours. I was emotional, eyes swollen from all the crying. Praise God the IV didn’t hurt and I did not feel the heat in my body. But in my heart, I kept asking the Lord to keep me alive. I did not want to let my girls feel abandoned. I did not want them to be at a loss, devastated by news of me dead. We had not seen each other at that point for 4 days. Imagine thinking everything’s fine and then your mom is suddenly gone. I did not want them to have to go through that. I was afraid that they’d get angry with God. I did not want Gianna to grow up without a mom. She’s too little. Writing about it still gets me emotional. Kawawa naman ang mga anak ko, I told God. I did not want to die yet. King did not show me, but he was also concerned. I guess he prayed like he never prayed before.
I was at the same time, concerned for Gianna because she was in the NICU. I kept hearing in my head, or was it in a song or I saw it in one of the movies, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I told God that I don’t think I was ready to say that if He took Gianna away. Oh the tears!
After 24 hours, even my doctor was stumped. My blood pressure was still high. I asked her what might happen and she said my heart could fail from all the pumping it’s doing. I think that’s when she talked to King outside and they both decided to get me out of that unit. The place was causing me stress. I could not wait to get out and hold Gianna. We moved to a small room and by the grace of God, they released Gianna around the same time too. I got to see her and be with her again. My blood pressure went down, though still elevated. And by next morning, I was deemed healthy enough to be discharged — for real. Whew!
Later that month, I realized how much worse it could have all turned out. I was still having high blood pressure, dizzy spells, and an overall sick feeling. My friend whose son was in the NICU for 2 months, told me about a baby also in the NICU whose mom was in a coma. When I asked why, I learned that she was in A COMA BECAUSE OF PRE-ECLAMPSIA. Days or maybe weeks later, she was gone. It just became so real. My fears were not baseless at all! I cried then, feeling bad for that baby and her dad and THANKING GOD THAT I WAS ALIVE. I seriously could have died too soon. Thank God my doctor insisted on treatment and King urged me to do it. Otherwise, I would be in heaven and that would be great for me, but not so great for my family.
I thank God for my life! Despite that health scare and though I am still taking medication for high blood pressure, I am still here. God chose to not leave my children motherless. He chose to give King and I, the girls and I, our whole family more years together.
Exactly two years ago, we brought Gianna home from the hospital.
Now she’s 2, and we are both alive and well. God is sovereign and God is good. And King is right. It is also my birthday. We are deeply grateful. ❤
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46:10
The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. Psalm 135:6
The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9
Motherhood. It’s probably one (out of 3, I think) of the craziest things I got myself mixed up in. Fulfilling and life-altering, but crazy nonetheless. 🙂
From painful labor and difficult, scary, and potentially life-threatening deliveries, from bringing the breastfeeding baby wherever I had/have to go, breastfeeding while driving, playing, eating or homeschooling, drinking hot soup while carrying a sleeping baby, carrying a baby with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other, taking a bath with an audience (baby in stroller or crib right by the door), to traveling with an infant, traveling with a toddler, traveling with a pre-schooler and a baby without King, traveling sick with two kids, and then soon (hopefully never ever again sick) traveling with three!
From juggling schedules especially during summer, driving them to and staying with them at parties, play dates and classes, to homeschooling one child and then two, homeschooling two while pregnant, and then homeschooling two with an infant.
From fun, laughter, joy, interesting conversations, quality and quantity time together, playing and reading, making memories everywhere we go, to heartaches, disappointments, tears, fights, heartfelt confessions and heartfelt cries, deep conversations, and hard lessons on love and forgiveness.
I tell you, it’s a crazy ride, but one that I am willing to be in. Through the incredible ups, frightening downs, exciting loops, surprise turns, and even the steady (or messy) transitions, I’m all in. No matter how painful it has gotten or it might get, no matter how close I have been to giving up (a bit overdramatic maybe? hehe), no matter how many times I have actually said I give up (because trust me, the nappy changing and sleepless nights are the “easy” part), no matter if I could turn back time and other less crazy rides were offered to me. I would still get on this one. I love my children. They are each a blessing to me and King. And by the grace of God, I will get better and better at loving them the way He wants me to.
I am a perfectly imperfect mother and I pray that through my imperfection, my children will see and learn how much they need God. That God is the only One who is constant, the only One who is always there, the only One who is truly reliable, the only One who knows and gives what is best, the only One who loves perfectly and makes us whole. As a mother, even with the help of my most awesome husband, I experience this truth every single day. I need Jesus. I can’t do it without Him. And though consistently inconsistent me has had days or moments of doing motherhood without Him, I pray that He will enable me to always go back at His feet, humble myself before Him and give up the reins, receive His mercy, and entrust to Him the hearts and lives of my children. 😊
Thank you Lord for this gift of motherhood! Thank you for blessing me with three beautiful warrior princesses. Thank you for the honor and privilege to co-parent with King, to raise and take care of our girls. Thank you that even though it becomes overwhelming, your grace is sufficient. I am comforted by the truth that I don’t have to be everything to my children because YOU are everything. 😊
It’s 2015! And before I can think about what I’m looking forward to this year, I need to share what I am grateful for the past year. God, family, friends, church, ministry are constants, but there are 3 specific things that stand out about my 2014. I want to begin with the obvious – Gianna.
Oh, my Kaitlin Gianna. God has blessed me with such a beautiful baby girl! She was born on August 12, via c-section, and right away we noticed that she didn’t cry continuously. Danae and Noelle were both big cryers, but Gianna had a gentle cry and was just quiet some of the time. She was fair and chubby at 3.1kilograms. It was the first time I experienced “skin to skin” and immediate latching with my baby almost as soon as she came out of my womb (they cleaned her a bit first). They didn’t do that with my first two, maybe because it was in a different hospital.
Another great thing about St. Luke’s is they consider the mom and the baby as one unit. Where mommy goes, baby goes too. At first I wasn’t too happy about it because I’ve experienced rooming in and not rooming in the baby, and rooming in exhausted me. But then I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. It was best for baby.
Gianna was with me in the recovery room, where I stayed a few hours because my blood pressure was not yet stable. I was there so long that I thought to ask the nurse if she could bring Gianna out to meet her sisters. She accommodated me, even though she couldn’t contact King right away. The sisters met for the first time that night, before the two big sisters went off to stay with my in-laws.
I didn’t get to see my older girls that night anymore because we were moved into my room really late. Our first night with Gianna was good. She cried, but she would latch onto my breast fairly easily, and then she would fall asleep. The nurses were helpful in changing her nappy. By morning, however, a doctor came in to tell us some news.
The doctors extracted blood from Gianna while I was in recovery to run some tests. I can’t remember if it was protocol or a precaution or both, but I never expected the results we got. Gianna’s white blood cell count was markedly high, about 25,000 more than normal. They said clinically, she was alright, but her white blood cell count could not be ignored. She had to be given AT LEAST one week’s worth of antibiotics intravenously, and the hospital policy was for her to be monitored in the NICU. They took her away that morning.
All day I could not go down to breastfeed her because the catheter was still in me. Good thing they sell pasteurized breast milk in the hospital so they could feed Gianna. They are very strict about giving babies breast milk –- no formula and no sugar water. As soon as they removed the catheter late that night, I went to see my little love. It felt good to hold her again, but it hurt to see her on IV. On her third day in the NICU, I saw that she had nothing connected to her, and the nurse said they were going to reinsert AND draw blood. I couldn’t help but cry for her at that point. It was my first time to have a child stay in the NICU.
It was also sad that the two other girls could not visit their sister in the NICU. Children not allowed.
In the NICU, the pedia extracted Gianna’s blood so they could do a blood culture. After the first day upto the last (I forget how many days were necessary), no growth had formed in the blood culture. Her bilirubin levels (jaundice) were also high but not high enough to require phototherapy. They also extracted blood to check her white blood cell count again after so and so days. What was supposed to be 7 days of antibiotics became only 5 days! It was not any particular infection, but we were just grateful that nothing worse came up. She entered the NICU on a Wednesday and was discharged on a Sunday. We were able to go home the next day!
We had some issues during the first two months. Gianna lost weight on her first two weeks of life. We got concerned because although it is normal for an infant to lose a little weight after being born, Gianna still did not gain weight after two weeks. I was still emotional and all, and it made me sad to even consider giving her formula at such a young age. I was determined, however, to help increase my milk supply by eating more malunggay and being faithful in taking my malunggay supplements. By our next appointment, she had already gained weight!
I was so happy to hear about the weight gain, but then at 5 or 6 weeks, her jaundice had not disappeared. Daily morning sunning for about two weeks should have done the trick, but it didn’t. The pedia required a blood extraction to check her bilirubin levels again. The result was extremely high. If I remember correctly, the normal range is .2 to 1 (I don’t know the unit of measurement, sorry). Gianna’s was in the mid twenties! I was ordered to stop breastfeeding for a while.
It was inconvenient, because I had to pump my milk to keep the supply going (I would much rather feed directly) and wash bottles and all that, but I obeyed. I was concerned that Gianna wouldn’t take to the bottle and the formula, but to my surprise, we had no problems. It was a first for me to give my baby formula so early and she was/is the first among the three girls to be okay with drinking from a bottle.
My poor baby girl had to go through more blood extractions that week. King was the brave one who held her through it. My heart could not take the sight of her getting hurt. I just comforted her afterwards. Thank God her bilirubin levels went down enough that we did not need to confine her for phototherapy, and it was a confirmation that her jaundice was caused by breast milk and not problems in her liver. I also finally got the go signal to go back to full breastfeeding!
SUCH A HAPPY BABY
Gianna is now nearly 5 months old. She is healthy and strong, and she is such a happy baby. We immediately noticed her smiling while she was asleep as a newborn, and when she was about a month old, she smiled in response to our voices and faces. I was even honestly concerned about her eyesight because she wouldn’t focus on my eyes. I remember the two older girls looking at me while breastfeeding, and Gianna did not seem to be doing that. What a joy it was to finally lock eyes with her when she was more than a month old! And now the looks that she gives me – oh so heart melting. She looks, sometimes stares at me, and then when I acknowledge her, she gives me the sweetest smile. And she ALWAYS does this, even when I’m across the table from her. Sometimes she stops from feeding to give me a smile haha. That always makes me giggle in glee.
The way she responds to King and her sisters is just priceless too. She likes to “talk” to and “sing” with King. I guess she knows how loved she is. Her sisters can’t get enough of her, and she most of the time doesn’t mind being “man-handled” haha. She reaches for and touches our faces now when we are near her. She just really makes our hearts smile.
Her cries are louder now, but she’s still a very good baby. She enjoys her mini baths, although she didn’t at first haha. I’m excited to get her a bathtub and see her enjoy being IN the water. Sometimes she’s just quiet in bed or her carrier, checking out her surroundings, and so I get to eat and not get frazzled when we’re out (well most of the time, haha). She’s usually calm when I change her diapers too. I literally thank her for being such a good baby.
When she wakes from sleep, as long as she has had enough sleep, she doesn’t cry. I catch her awake, entertaining herself with either looking at the light, checking out her hands, or “talking” and kicking her legs. And then that smile…..sigh. She has started laughing too, but we find that a tad difficult to elicit haha. It’s such a joy to wake up seeing this pretty baby beside me every morning. Weird, but I really feel so loved when I see her.
Just like her sisters’ first names, her first name Katilin means pure. Gianna means God is gracious. And God has certainly been gracious to us, blessing us with such a beautiful princess. I am just so grateful for her. I can’t wait to witness God display His grace in and through Gianna’s life. 🙂
You are two of the greatest gifts God has given me. I became a mom because you came into my life. It is my honor and privilege to be with you nearly 24 hours of every single day, loving you, teaching you, disciplining you, playing with you, goofing around with you, going out with you. It is exhausting and frustrating at times, but I will always choose to be hands-on with you two. No amount of money or potential of a career will keep me from being a stay-at-home mom while you are young. Those just don’t matter to me as much. I believe that’s how God wired me, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity and choice to live it.
Looking back, I might have known how different you were going to be from each other since the day Noelle was born. Danae was born tiny and brown, while Noelle was born big and white! You both of course have my trade mark lips hehehe. Your ways and personalities differ, but I believe you have the same qualities of being loving, kind, compassionate, generous, affectionate, thoughtful, grateful, obedient, and wise. You just display them differently and at varying times haha. It’s amusing to see my traits and your dad’s traits in you. Sometimes, you are walking contradictions really. And I’ve had that said about me too – that I’m an oxymoron (see dictionary for meaning hahaha). But no matter, I love you both so much anyway. I don’t think there is anything you can do (but please please please don’t deliberately try to find ways 🙂 ), to make me unlove you.
I know I have not been the “normal mom” for the past months, neither have I been the perfect mom over the years, but thank you for being so patient and understanding. Thank you that despite my shortcomings, you are excited for our baby and that you already love him/her so much. The greatest gift you two have given me through my difficult first trimester, though, is loving each other. Yes, you still argue and bicker, but I have seen you grow so much closer. The bond that I prayed that the two of you would have as sisters, I am already seeing with my own eyes. I am so blessed to see you help each other, depend on each other, serve each other, and just love each other.
I am 36 now, but even as I grow older, as long as you need me to play catch, stay in the ball pit with you, skate or swim or zipline with you, I will do it. (Promise to do math and all the hard stuff with me too, okay? Hahaha). Your smiles, laughter, and squeals of excitement are a joy to me. I don’t mind getting tired or putting my needs and wants aside for you. Seeing you happy makes me happy. As long as you let me have my alone time with daddy, we’re good. 🙂
Thank you for appreciating me and loving me. I do what I do for you because I love you deeply. God entrusted me and your dad with you girls, and we are fully committed to obey Him, to do our part as parents in raising you. You may not completely understand our ways and our reasons sometimes, but I believe you will when the time comes. It’s a tough job being a mom, but I thank God that He gave me the best husband as my partner and He gave me two tough, but awesome chicks to raise and love. I know you will be tough enough to be awesome moms one day too.
I don’t know how you are going to choose to live your lives as wives and mothers in the future, but I pray that you will always choose to love and obey Jesus. That you and your husband will teach your children to love and obey Jesus as well. That family will be your priority over your careers (not necessarily giving up your careers, but being hands-on moms nonetheless – yes I see it with super moms nowadays – it can be done). That you will spend quality and quantity time with your children, getting to know them and their hearts by talking to them, dating them, playing with them, and taking them on wonderful road trips and vacations. That your children will give you as much or even more joy, as you two give me. That you will see your children as blessings, as gifts, as students, as the church, as the future, as individuals who need the Lord as much as you do, as individuals with God-given destinies. That you will see and experience that being a hands-on mom is wonderful and is absolutely worth it.
It’s mothers’ day and I thank you for your sweet greetings and notes, but you girls give me sweet drawings, notes, hugs and kisses every single day. Despite my occasional sighs and grunts and our occasional arguments, I really don’t need a special day for mothers to feel special. I am already special because I have the two of you. I love you, my princesses. Thank you for making my everyday a happy mother’s day. 🙂
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.