Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Birthing Story with Georg Daniel

We celebrated our baby Georg Daniel's third month yesterday at my parents' house. How fast time flies! Why do babies grow so quickly?

Baby Georg Daniel after his bath yesterday.
It has been three months since I gave birth to him and yet I have not found the time yet to document his birth story through a blog post. I was so caught up in the breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, bathing, soothing and many other duties which also include caring for his two older brothers and homeschooling them. I sometimes wonder why we need to sleep! There is so much to do even when you're a stay-at-home mom! hahaha

Our Baby Georg Daniel all set to celebrate his 3rd month.
He's wearing the outfit given by my mom.
I wanted to make that blog post as beautiful as possible... Thus, this perfectionistic tendency contributed to the delay. Today, I've decided to let go of that desire. I choose to simply dive into writing this post and do my best to make it as beautiful and memorable as I can.

My due date based on most of my ultrasound results predicted that I would give birth on December 4, 2014. My doctor said that since he is my third baby, I can give birth a week or two earlier than my expected due date.
I hoped and prayed that I would give birth as close to my due date as possible because my second child's birthday falls on November 19. I wanted to make his birthday celebration extra special because he will be a big brother soon. Thank God! I was still able to organize a nice and fun, intimate birthday party for my second child before I gave birth! :) (You may read about it here.)
Aside from that, I also had projects that I wanted to finish. One of them is our maid manual that I wanted to update, my 4-week cycle menu plan and grocery list. I wanted to finish these projects before I give birth so that even during while I'm on maternity leave, my husband and maids can use these as guides or references if I cannot take on these tasks because I'm recuperating from childbirth.
Thankfully again, God answered these prayers of mine and I finished all these before I gave birth to my third child.
I still remember that day when after eating lunch, I went to the comfort room to pee. Then, I saw that I already have a bloody discharge. I thought that this could already be my mucous plug.
I promptly informed my doctor and she said that I should go to the hospital right away. I informed my husband too. He was in the office then.
Good thing, it was my husband's lunch break so I was able to talk to him. There are days when he is in a meeting most of the day so it's hard to contact him when this is the case. I thank God that on the day that my mucous plug was removed, I was able to contact him easily.
I took a bath right away. Asked my maids to help me get my things ready (which I already put in a big bag) while waiting for my husband to arrive from his office.
The traffic then from our place to the hospital where I was supposed to give birth was moderate. To state it plainly, it's not as fast I we hoped it would be. Thankfully again, my contractions were not yet as strong to make me panic or give birth in our vehicle. We still made it to the hospital.
In the hospital, we were given a choice by the residents who checked on me to go back home or to get a room already. My cervix was not yet dilated big enough. If I remember it correctly, I think it was only at 3 cm. We waited for my doctor to arrive for her clinic schedule that afternoon. My husband and I watched episodes of The Flash while waiting. I also felt that the contractions were getting stronger as we waited outside my doctor's clinic.
My doctor did an internal examination (IE) of my cervix when she arrived. She advised that we just get a room already since our house is far from the hospital. When she did an IE on me, my cervix was already between 5-6 cm dilated.  
Like in my past experiences, I made a birth plan which was signed by my doctor. We simply implemented it when we checked in.
My goal was to give birth without any medication and as little intervention as possible. I did not have an IV. I was allowed to eat until I was not yet in active labor. I was free to move around my room and do whatever exercises and positions I felt were comfortable for me and were helping me.
I kept walking and squatting repeatedly, knowing that these movements would help make labor progress faster. I was determined to apply what I learned the birth class that my husband and I attended years ago in preparation for the delivery of our first child.
I also rested when I felt tired. I either sat or lied down in bed and continued with our The Flash marathon.
When night came, I tried to sleep as much as I could.
In between, a resident doctor would do an IE to check the progress of my cervix' dilation. I really didn't like this procedure. I found it painful. I tried to delay the IE as much as I could, unless my doctor tells me it's necessary.
I was able to have some sleep that night and eat breakfast a bit of lunch that day. My doctor came to have her rounds I think after lunch. When she checked my cervix, she said that the dilation progressed again and it was time for me to go to the Lamaze Room of the hospital. I gave birth to my second child in the Lamaze Room also the last time.
I liked it there because I was the only pregnant woman giving birth there unlike in a usual labor room. I did not like my first birthing experience wherein I could hear the other pregnant women crying or cursing because of the pain they were experiencing. Their sounds distract me from carrying out my own birth plan. I also believe that fear is contagious. So, when I learned from my doctor that the hospital already has a Lamaze Room, I told her that I want to give birth there.
My doctor estimated that I would give birth to my third baby around 5-6 pm that day. The contractions were already stronger and more frequent. They were still tolerable though. There were also times when the contractions slowed down or were less frequent. Since I was already strapped to a baby monitor, my doctor told me to stimulate my nipple whenever the contractions subside or stop so that my labor would not be prolonged. I did what she advised.
I'm really glad that I learned techniques on how to deal with the contractions especially during active labor. Learning these techniques did not take away the pain but they helped me give birth again without any medication. I kept in mind, with the help of my husband (who is my birth coach as well), that the contractions are my friends and that the stronger and more frequent they come, the better. These will speed up my labor. These will help my baby come out faster and easier.
I do not remember my water bag breaking. I just remembered that the pain from the contractions were so painful already I was having a hard time focusing on what I needed to do. When my doctor came around 5 PM, I was already about to give birth. She hurried her team to prepare my bed and the rest of the equipment and things that they need. Everything happened so fast. Before I knew it, I could already feel the baby crowning and I was already asking my husband and my doctor if it's time to push.
I remember being asked to push thrice. I was already feeling weak. I only had water being wiped on my lips since my last meal. I'm still thankful to God though that I had the energy and strength to still bring out my baby naturally.
I was relieved when I heard my baby cry and they said that the baby was already out. After that, everything seemed to unfold at a much faster rate. 
Thus, on November 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm, our baby Georg Daniel was born!
I'm glad that my doctor and her team still followed the First Embrace or "Unang Yakap" protocol which is also in my birth plan.
I remember seeing my baby and breastfeeding him right after giving birth to him. I remember my husband cutting his umbilical cord.
As agreed, my doctor used topical anesthesia while doing the repair in my perineum. My husband said that I quickly dozed off after this was administered.  
I rested in the Lamaze Room for a few hours before I was wheeled back to my room with my baby. My baby was roomed-in right away so I can breastfeed him on demand. We did the same thing with my second baby.

Baby Geordan at the hospital before our discharge.
My parents and two older kids went to visit us that afternoon. My brother drove for them.
My kids were very happy to see their baby brother. They even brought a book to read to him.
My parents were very happy to see their third grandchild.
They went home around evening. Actually, it was a challenge for the boys to go home and stay there while my husband and I were still in the hospital. They were crying at night and they kept calling us in the hospital. It broke my heart to hear them cry and to know that they missed us. But we had to endure that. Good thing that my mom was with them to comfort them at night.

We went home with our newborn baby on December 1. We were greeted by banner that our eldest son made for us. It was hang on our front/main door.

I praise and thank God for keeping me and my baby safe during my delivery. I praise and thank Him that He made all things fall into place... that He answered my prayers and delivered me from all my fears. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Lenten Journey (2015)

Lent has started! It's almost the second Sunday of Lent and I praise and thank God for the wisdom and grace He has given me and my family to continue our Lenten family traditions and to start new ones.
I consider this is a miracle because I have a newborn baby whom I breastfeed on demand. I thank God for sustaining me and giving me energy to lead our devotions and activities. I thank God also that it seems that my two older boys are enjoying our activities.
Let me share what we have started so far. 
Ash Wednesday was a full day in our home.
We changed the curtains and throw pillow cases changed into lavender. We also changed the cover of our altar into the same color.

My eldest son made Lenten banners.

My two older kids made the Alleluia banner and hid it.

I asked my eldest son to write "From: Jesus" in the gift tag
and on the opposite side of it, "salvation" and "eternal life."
We started using the Lenten calendar I printed the day before. For alternative Lenten Calendar ideas, click here.

Lenten Calendar from Catholic Icing blog.
The kids dropped coins on our alms box (a cereal box turned into a coin box covered with purple paper and with the word ALMS written on it).
I declared that for the entire season of Lent, our family will fast on our favorite dessert: ice cream and chocolates. So on the night before Ash Wednesday, my husband and I had a brief Valentine date at a nearby ice cream store. ;)
We've started observing the abstinence of meat on prescribed days like Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. I put to use the 4-week Cycle Menu Plan for Lent that I made . Click here to go to my post about meatless Fridays of Lent.
And since we love music, we started reviewing and singing songs usually sang during Lent. Last week, my eldest son who can play the piano oido and who is starting to learn how to read notes learned how to play the song Hosea.

We went to Mass on Ash Wednesday and had ashes on our foreheads.

It's our baby's first Ash Wednesday!
As part of our new Lenten tradition, I have started reading the Bible or Bible stories from the kids' Children's Bible over breakfast. Then, I reinforce with a bit of storytelling as well when I read from my Bible.
After our storytelling and Bible reading, I sometimes ask the kids to make a drawing based on the story that they just heard. Sometimes, I ask them to color coloring pages about the stories that I told them. I also ask my eldest son to answer some worksheets related to our topics. Sometimes, he answers word searches, mazes, questions or fill in the blanks worksheets. I search the internet for ideas. I also get some help from the Holy Heroes site for inspiration and activities. I choose only what I think my kids are ready to do at this time/age.
Just like in the past, I reinforce these lessons and stories by letting them watch some videos on our topics/Bible heroes/characters. One of the recent videos I let them watch is about the 10 Commandments.
The kids so far are enjoying these activities. I hear them a lot talking about the Bible characters and stories we have discussed so far. Sometimes, these stories become the theme of their pretend plays. 
We have also resumed our night prayers as a family. For a while we just listen to the kids say their night prayers in the past months after I gave birth then we send them to bed to sleep. This Lent, we started praying again with them after they say their night prayers.
Lent is indeed a season of grace and I thank God for His grace that is new every morning. His grace is what enables us to keep on keeping on in our faith walk. It's what enables us to be faithful even after we fall and make mistakes along the way. It's His grace that reminds us of His unconditional and steadfast love. It's His grace that gives me encouragement to continuously strive to be more like Him in all things, especially in parenting my kids.
This year, I do not have a new verse to guide me throughout my Lenten journey. I have decided to stick to the verse that I adapted years ago. I believe that I need to be reminded of this verse a lot so I can grow closer to living it out. My verse for Lent again this year is: "Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
I pray that God would continue to bless the rest of our Lenten journey.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Georg Daniel's Christening at Max's Restaurant (#NinongkosiMax)

Our third baby is now a Christian!
We named him Georg Daniel. Georg was inspired by his Daddy's name but with a slightly different spelling and Daniel was inspired by Daniel of the Old Testament. My prayer is that just like Daniel, he would have strong faith and commitment to God even in the face of threat or danger. I also pray that God would bless him and bestow His favors upon him just like what He did with Daniel.

I initially planned to have our baby baptized towards the end of January but the people in the Philippines got busy during the Papal Visit so we decided to delay it a bit. Moreover, I still felt tired and sleepy a lot of times due to irregular sleep patterns of our baby and me. Organizing and coordinating an event was not very attractive to me at this time. So, the timing is just right. Our baby has just turned 2 months old. It's such a joy to look at him now -- very healthy and filled up. My reward for breastfeeding him exclusively and taking care of him these past 2 months.
Since we had our second son's baptismal reception at Max's Restaurant three years ago and we had been reaping the benefits of their Ninong ko si Max promo, I've decided early on to have our newborn baby's baptismal reception at Max's Restaurant also. We just held it in another branch that is closer to our new home.

Here are the perks of having Max as your child's Ninong. ;) 
  1. Christmas Gift - This is given every year until the 7th birthday of the child. So far, based on our experience, it was usually a whole fried chicken.
  2. Birthday Gift - This is also given every year until the 7th birthday of the child. Our second child received a whole fried chicken also in the past years.
  3. Free Max's Corner Bakery product for every store visit with a minimum purchase of P200.
  4. 15% discount on the child's 1st and 7th birthday celebration at any Max's Restaurant nationwide.  
To claim all these, you need to present your child's Ninong ko si Max card.

There are two available themes for the baptismal package: Noah's Ark and Blessed Baby. I chose Blessed Baby this time because we already chose Noah's Ark three years ago for our second child.

I also believe that our baby is very blessed to have as one of his godparents our priest-friend, Fr. Jonathan "Jojo" Letada, SVD. He was also the one who baptized Geordan.

Georg Daniel wore the same Barong Tagalog baptismal attire
used by his two older brothers.

Georg Daniel wears a white crochet bonnet made by my mom. 

Two of his Ninongs didn't make it last Sunday. But we are still very happy to have them as our baby's godparents. One of them is a fellow author and speaker and the Director for our community's (Light of Jesus) Campus Ministry/Missions, JC Libiran. The other one is one of my former co-servants in my previous community for single professionals, Rommel Escoto. He also owns a Kumon Center so in case Geordan needs help in Math (that his Dad and I could not solve), he can ask the help of his Ninong Rommel. ;) Thankfully, his Ninong Ryan was present last Sunday. He's one of our good friends from LOJ since my husband and I were still single. Geordan can learn a lot from his Ninong Ryan about finances since he is a RFP and entrepreneur also.

With Georg Daniel's Ninongs and Ninangs

Geordan's Ninangs include Christine Bellen and Sha Nacino who are both authors. Christine is an award-winning children's book author and playwright. Sha is a prolific author whom my mentor Bo Sanchez calls as an Ebook Queen. ;) She's also a speaker who advocates that people make their passions their professions. This is something that I also advocate. I hope that Geordan would be inspired follow in my footsteps and his Ninang Sha's footsteps of making his passion his profession. His other Ninang is a friend of mine who is also a leader in the Focolare Movement. I admire and love her passion in sharing the Word of God to families. I hope that our son would be inspired by her life and devotion as well. Geordan's fourth Ninang is one of our friends in our parish. She is actually one of the catechists and lectors/commentators in our church. I'm confident that my husband and I can count on her help in passing on our Catholic faith to our son. I also pray that her life of service in the church would inspire our son. 
I find Max's Christening Package budget-friendly and very convenient. Aside from the use of their venue (for 2 hours), the restaurant will take care of the food and drinks, decors (balloons, centerpieces and tarpaulin banner), invitations, cake, sound system, souvenirs and guest book. They also give a gift to the baby which is a chicken stuffed toy and a blanket. Basically, the family will just go to the venue and everything will be taken care of by the restaurant staff.

Here are some pictures at the reception.

I would suggest, however, that you assign a family member, close friend or relative to check for you if the restaurant staff has provided all that was included in the package. I forgot to do this plus I was too busy during the reception that I didn't notice or didn't get to check if everything is in order. Based on our experience last Sunday, one main thing you need to check is if all the food in the menu that you chose has been served to your guests and that they were served on time. I learned from my mom that in their table, they were not served the appetizer. The viands didn't get served promptly also. Although, I gave verbal instructions to the staff assigned to us, I didn't have time to check per table. I just assumed that since I gave instructions already, the staff will carry them out. I suggest you ask someone else to do this for you since the mom and dad are usually busy with the baby or talking to guests. I also noticed that the gifts table was not covered with cloth just like in the brochure.

The shade of blue used for the balloons was also different from what I expected and from what was showed in the brochure. They used bright blue balloons instead of light blue balloons last Sunday. They also did not provide a pen for the guest book. My husband and I had to look for a pen at the last minute. These are minor glitches anyway aside from the food issue. They could be prevented if there's a specific person who will coordinate with the restaurant staff on the day of the event. Maybe, you can also call the restaurant and ask how many staff or waiters would be assigned in your event to make sure that your guests would be served promptly.

I just looked for a photographer who will cover the event. I looked for one who included the photo album (32-paged 8x6 inches) in the package. Fortunately, I found one who fits my allocated budget. For P6,000, two photographers took photos of our baby from preparation at home to the church and then the reception.

It's your big day, baby!

These were the same attire and shoes that his Kuya Mateo
wore three years ago.

The church provided plain white candles only.
So I bought these pale blue cup cake liners
that were both decorative and useful.

Then, we also bought a nice notebook (from National Bookstore) where we asked our guests to write blessings or prayers for our baby boy because guests can only write their names in the guest book.

We didn't have a program anymore. My husband simply welcomed our guests and led the prayer before meals. We passed around the guest book and notebook for the blessings and prayers. Then, before we went around from one table to the next for picture-taking, we shared some things about our baby to our guests like how we came to choose his name and some details about his birth. It was a relaxed, intimate party wherein we had time to share updates with our closest relatives and family friends.