Monday, April 23, 2012

Preparing for Childbirth

I wanted my husband to become more involved with my pregnancy. Now don't get me wrong, he was over the moon when we first found out that I was pregnant. He was so eager to get ready for the baby and incredibly supportive with the whole thing. Eventually though, work caught up with him. My husband is a cinematographer, he shoots films and commercials and there are times when I won't see him for days. When he comes home from a shoot, he is usually so tired that no matter how many times I thrust baby books and websites his way, he just cannot read them.

We thought it would be a good idea to join a birthing class. It will give him a more active role in my pregnancy and we'll both benefit from the class. We spoke with some friends who are new parents and they recommended we take Rome Kanapi's Preparation for Childbirth class in Quezon City. And that's exactly what we did.

Rome Kanapi. She's a certified instructor of childbirth classes and has been teaching them since the late 80's. It was extremely difficult for us to get a slot in her class because we had called so late so I had to beg her to squeeze us in. Fourteen couples, five Sundays, 8 a.m. until noon.

My husband and I in the middle and Rome is in violet, standing, at the far right.

For expectant parents, I urge you to take childbirth classes like this. We learned so much and the whole experience was very rewarding. Just some of the things that we picked up from the classes are:

1. Various exercises and ways you can ease discomfort during pregnancy
- Not just pain management during the delivery but how to deal with those back pains, the correct way to postpone childbirth with breathing, plus relaxation techniques you can still practice even after giving birth.

2. Tips, tips, tips
- An endless stream of tips, and some aren't even from Rome! We picked up so many tips from other couples like the best kinds of diapers and bottles or the best websites to check out for great baby deals. We even compared hospital rates!
- Rome also advised us on the baby essentials. Nowadays there are so many products to choose from and it can get real confusing. She was able to point out which ones are the most important and which ones we could do without. She was a practical teacher and made sure that we were realistic with the costs of having a baby. Her best tip? Borrow whenever possible!
- Do you know the right way to help a pregnant woman rise from bed? If your wife is about to give birth, do you go to the ER or the labor and delivery department? We thought we had the answers to questions like these, good thing Rome was able to correct us!

3. What to do after delivery
- From the right way to pick a baby up, give her a bath and how to put on those cloth diapers

We covered a lot of ground in a surprisingly short amount of time. Initially, I thought that 5 Sundays was too long but towards the end I felt like it wasn't enough! What made the waking-up-early-on-a-Sunday worth it was the fact that my husband really enjoyed himself. He felt more confident and better prepared to be a parent and he was even more excited about the baby than ever before. He spoke with the other daddy-to-be's at the classes and they joked and laughed and bragged about their babies. 

Some of our classmates have probably given birth by now and are practicing the lessons we've picked up from Rome's classes. Very soon, we will too :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Books and Blogs

Preparing for childbirth is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've wanted to have a baby when I got married but I've also never felt more scared and unsure of all my decisions. Most of my closest friends are single, career-oriented individuals who aren't planning to settle down any time soon. I only have one older sister who has a kid (they live half a world away) and one cousin who recently gave birth but  she also lives in a different country. My mother is gone and I didn't really know who I coud turn to. However, I was getting plenty of tips from people Im not very close to and other parents I've met are super eager to dish out tips and horror stories of their babies.

Luckily my sister-in-law gave me a book  that saved my life. Let me share with you some of the books and blogs I read during my pregnancy that have helped me in ways I cannot describe.

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. I know the 4th edition is already out but this is the one that I got and I didn't mind that it wasn't the latest. There's a reason why this is called the 'pregnancy bible', it is chock-full of tips and detailed descriptions of what a woman experiences throughout her pregnancy. Its chapters are divided into the nine months of pregnancy and touches upon preparing for a baby as well as postpartum. You get exercise tips, a guide on what your diet should be and even comes with illustrations on mommy's or baby's positions in certain situations. I must warn you that it also covers every possible thing that could go wrong. So it is kind of scary to read too. I wanted to make sure that I covered all bases so even those chapters that were not applicable to me, I stubbornly read them. I strongly advise you not to do this! I have spent way too many sleepless nights with visions in my head of the bleakest scenarios and in hindsight, I didn't need to know about them in the first place and could have spared myself the eyebags.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. This is completely different from "What To Expect When You're Expecting". It's a fun, light book that tells you what you can expect after you deliver your baby. It is also full of tips and techniques on how you can calm your fussy baby down in minutes. What I like about this book is that it is super easy to read, its fun, its playful and there are plenty of short stories from moms recounting their experiences with their newborns. There are a lot of portions in the book that seem repetitive though and Dr. Karp really likes to stretch his explanations. There are times when I just wanted him to get straight to the point and not go round and round with his statements.

There are several blogs that I also follow and enjoy reading. These sites are also extremely helpful to new moms.
~ This is the site to log on to if you're planning to breastfeed your baby. It addresses nursing concerns from mothers who send in their questions or breastfeeding stories.  It's linked with hundreds of other mommy sites that you can also check out. It contains articles and interviews from doctors and others in the scientific field to make the results as factual as possible. It allows you to comment on posts and the articles here are, most of the time, current.

La Leche League International
~ Another website for moms who are planning to breastfeed. They have got a wonderful network of experts and fellow mothers who are willing to help nursing moms all over the world. The site also provides links to many other websites that have published articles on breastfeeding and they provide all kinds of support to all new moms who have difficulty breastfeeding. I love to check this site because it is so organized, the categories are easy to spot, feedback is very welcome and even their forums will not confuse you!

There are so many others but these websites are the ones I religiously follow. Most other websites carry the same point and just present it in other ways. Oh I haven't even covered the websites that I like to visit for baby stuff! There are so many! I'll do that some other time. If you are a mommy-to-be, congratulations! It isn't too late to arm yourself with knowledge on your pregnancy and for when your baby arrives. It is always better to be informed and ready. Motherhood is not the same for everybody, nevertheless, it won't hurt to read these books and websites, follow their advice and be as prepared as you can be.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


When I found out that I was pregnant, it was the happiest I've ever been in my life. I had gotten married six months before and it was a joyous event but bittersweet at the same time. My mother was severely ill and three days after my wedding, she passed away. I was devastated. It isn't easy seeing someone you love take their last breaths in front of you, plus I had been in denial over how serious her condition was (she singlehandedly raised 7 kids and battled cancer for 6 years! She can't possibly be dying!), and when she died, I was completely lost.

After her death, I kind of folded into myself. I wanted to stay at home, had no urge to go back to work or even go outside. I didn't want to meet my closest friends and pretend I was OK. Instead, I found a hobby that I liked (polymer clay), met new people online and kept myself distracted.

I cried almost everyday. I agonized over every harsh word, ignorant comment, selfish act and thoughtless move I had said or done to my mother. Regret. It's the most difficult thing to live with. I had reached the point where I really didn't care much for anything and was praying for something significant to happen when I found out that I was going to be a mother.

I envy the pregnant women who still have their moms around to help them and give them advice. Most of the time, I am not even sure if I'm doing the right thing and I would pray every night, hoping my mother would approve of my actions and be proud of me. I think about her every day. How I wish she were still around, what I would give to see her holding my baby and beaming down at her like the proud grandmother who you just know will spoil your kids like crazy.

This is such a disjointed blog post, I'm sorry. Writing about this is still difficult for me. I don't think the ache or the loss goes away completely and when I become a mother myself in a few weeks from now, I will be gauging my actions against my mother's. Its terrifying because she was so good at raising us. If I could be even half of what she was like, I would be extremely lucky. And grateful. I miss her so much.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hi there!

I'm still here as you can see, I know it's been a while since my last post and I'm sorry for not checking in. How are you? If you're wondering how I'm doing, well, I'm almost ready to pop! The whole pregnancy thing, which has kept me busy these past few months, has boiled down to my last few weeks and my husband and I are getting pretty impatient.

I may not be blogging a lot but I have been reading a lot of blogs on pregnancy, breast feeding and preparing for motherhood. I still have many questions that I have not been able to find the answers to despite the help of Google, I assume experience will provide them to me at the right time.

For the meantime, I invite you to visit my belly gallery that I've set up on which documents my growing belly almost every week. I warn you - there will be stretchmarks! There will be huge, bulging bellies! Lol. This is also something that I highly encourage soon-to-be-mommies to do! It's incredibly fun to watch how your baby grows inside your stomach. And sometimes I look at it to remind me of how much weight I have to lose once baby is out haha!

I'm down to my 36th week and I only have a few weeks left, I'll keep you posted!