Motherhood, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Happy birthday Gianna (and me too?)

Facebook reminded me this week of something I said two years ago.

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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.)

NOT AGAIN 

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!

STILL ALIVE!

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.

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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. ❤ 

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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

 

 

 

Family, FEATURED, TRAVEL

The Luge

On our last night in Singapore, after King and the girls swam, we decided to catch The Skyline Luge Sentosa before it closed at 9:30PM and just have dinner afterwards. We got there at the perfect time. No lines, no crowds, in the coolness of the night. We knew we wouldn’t be able to ride the cable car anymore, so I thought riding the Skyride (like a ski-lift) would be the next best thing. We needed to ride that to get to the top of the hill, and ride the go-cart going back down. King availed of the family package for us and the kids, meaning 2 rides up the Skyride and 2 rides down on the go-cart. Sounded like great fun!

We were all excited till we realized what we got ourselves into. It was nice and cool, but it was dark. There were no crowds, therefore it was quiet. Too quiet. It was like riding a cable car, except in a cable car, you’re inside. On the Skyride, you feel the wind and your legs are hanging. Well, at least ours were. Noelle’s legs reached right onto the not-so-protective “protective” bar!

Instead of appreciating the Singapore skyline for its beauty, we appreciated it for the distraction it gave us and the kids from our own fears. We were pretty high up and we had no idea how long the ride was! We haven’t even gone halfway when King and I were already backing out of the 2nd ride. King even forgot to take pictures haha! WE WERE SCARED. Danae was expressive of her fear but she wasn’t frozen much by it. We kept telling her not to move abruptly and not to look down. Noelle was quietly groaning and saying that it was scary. She stayed absolutely put, but actually said at one point “yay, this is fun!” I was so scared that she would freak out and get up to hang on to me! There was nothing keeping her legs or her whole body for that matter, from doing that. I was barely able to keep from freaking out myself! I’m so proud of her for handling it like a champ!

We were so glad that shortly after, the ride was done. I was so happy to be touching ground! We got our helmets and hopped onto our go-carts. Noelle was with me, Danae was with King. It was soooooo much fun! It was just us on the trail down, and the lights were really nice. That was enough to get us to abandon our initial plan and get us excited for the next trip on the Skyride. As King was saying that we would leave the kids with my mom, who was waiting for us by the ticketing booth, Danae protested. She still wanted to come! Noelle, of course, had enough and opted to stay with Wowa. She’s only 2, after all.

Our 2nd trip on the Skyride wasn’t as scary anymore. Only Danae was with us, whom I was pretty confident about. We also knew what to expect and we knew we already survived it once. I had a revelation right then. The unknown makes us afraid, but faith makes us hold on and break through. (We were literally praying on the Skyride. Even Danae was!) As we see that we are actually able to endure the challenge, we can face the next one with more boldness. And in the end, stepping out in faith, or in our case grabbing on to faith because we didn’t even think twice when we got on the Skyride (no faith required or so we thought haha), is all worth it. We would definitely do it again!

The Luge experience was unbelievable. We couldn’t get over it haha. It was really scary, but really fun too! And I’m so proud of my girls! They displayed great courage! Fear was present, but they remained strong in the midst of it. My kids are amazing. 🙂

Just My Thoughts

Worth Risking

Visiting Coron made me appreciate the beauty of God’s work once again. (Check out the videos below, on the left side of this page.) The islands, the beaches and the clear blue water were spectacular. From the boat, I could already see the different colored corals. I was amazed to see pink ones, bright yellow ones. Then I thought, well God was the one who created all these colors, so it’s not surprising that such colors exist in the ocean. God’s beauty is boundless and it shows in His creation.

While I was underwater snorkeling, however, I found myself somewhat near the drop off. Remember in Finding Nemo, when Marlin freaked out when he found out that the kids were going to the drop off? Right by the corals, you’ll just see a vast expanse of blue. It was peaceful, but it was just too huge for me. I didn’t freak out like Marlin did, but I did get scared. It got me thinking. What if a huge fish, maybe even a whale, suddenly showed up in front of me? How would I react? I’d probably freeze in astonishment or scream in fear and excitement! The sea and everything in it is so beautiful, yet it’s so terrifying. The fish, the corals, the marine life are so wonderful to watch, but then you get a glimpse of the long spikes of the black sea urchin and you remember how dangerous the ocean is.


The more I got to thinking, the more I realized that most things, if not everything beautiful, are also terrifying. The strange rock formations in Coron were so beautiful and mysterious, I wanted to explore and check them out up close. But one misstep and the sharp rocks could definitely hurt or even kill you. My favorite animal is the tiger. It’s such a beautiful creature, with its beautiful striped fur, huge paws, cuddly face. But as much as I want to touch and play with a full-grown one (as I’ve already cuddled a cub), it’s risky because the danger is very real. Climbing up the Empire State Building is an experience and New York City is such an awesome site, but the strong wind and the extreme height can be pretty scary too.

Committing forever to a man I hardly knew (13 months to be exact haha), knowing that it was God’s will and timing, was one of the most beautiful things I ever experienced. Yet the uncertainty of our financial future was indeed a concern. Giving birth to my babies was an incredible experience, but it was also scary to be aware that anything could happen, complications and all. Many mothers have died from childbirth. Raising children is the most fulfilling, most wonderful thing in the world, but our responsibility to care for them and teach them is immense, making it terrifying to think of all the ways we can screw them up. Committing my life to the Lord was the most important decision I ever made. Because of it, I discovered the beauty of God — His love, His forgiveness, my freedom, my identity, my new life. But with it came giving up my old ways, giving up relationships that I was clinging to for security, tearing down my comfortable wall of anger and pride. Being vulnerable and unguarded can definitely be terrifying.

So do we let our fear keep us from experiencing the beauty of such things? Do we remain scared and be frozen by our fear? No. We go ahead, take a leap of faith even. We risk it, terrifying as it may be. Why? Because it’s worth it. I risked the danger of getting hurt, of being humiliated, of being uncomfortable, of making mistakes, of flaunting my flaws, of being different because it was worth it. Exploring the ocean was worth it. Marveling at nature was worth it. Enjoying New York City was worth it. Marrying my husband was worth it. Having my daughters was worth it, and raising them is worth it. My relationship with God is worth it. 🙂