My Pregnancy and Birth
It’s been a year and a half today since I gave birth to our daughter, Alyanna. It’s truly amazing to look back and think about how God laid out his plans for us and really blessed us in so many mysterious ways. My pregnancy and birth, though not quite what we planned, turned out to be what we actually prayed for. It may not seem relevant now for me to talk about my pregnancy and birthing as it seems a long time ago, but for my friends who are newly married or expecting a baby this year, you may get something from this. I hope you don’t mind if I make this as detailed as possible and this might bore you a little so I suggest you get some popcorn ready while reading this post. 🙂
George and I had been married for 2 years before I got pregnant with our first child. On the first year of our marriage, we intended not to get pregnant to enjoy our first year as a couple. We were also not ready then financially. I was hoping to land a job in Bermuda to help George with our finances, but opportunities were scarce and my qualification was not in demand. I was jobless for many months so I thought, “Might as well have the baby while I’m young and free”.
At the time when we we’re financially okay and ready to be a family, I was confronted with some medical issues which made it difficult for me to get pregnant. When I was in college, I had already been diagnosed with PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome), a condition caused by hormonal imbalance that can result to infertility among women. I had to see an OBGYN and was recommended to take some ovulating pills along with other meds to help me get pregnant.
After a few months of trying and trying and no baby still, I decided to stop taking medications. It was just a waste of energy and money. I thought that we were not that old, so why hurry (we were only 28 then). I continued looking for a job and tried to apply for a child caregiver post (nanny) and very soon enough, a Bermudian-american couple accepted me despite the lack of experience, to care for their soon-to-be daughter at the time. I couldn’t be happier when I got the job. Finally, I would be able to share with our finances and help my family in the Philippines.
Just after six months in my job, I found out that I was PREGNANT.
I couldn’t BELIEVE it. I was in DENIAL. I was WORRIED of so many things especially my job. (yeah, I’m a worrier). Not quite the reaction I expected. I was kinda hoping some happy tears or be more dramatic but then it didn’t happen. At first, I thought the test could be wrong so unless I heard the heartbeat of my baby, I wouldn’t be completely sold out.
So George and I went to emergency on January 1st, 2013 where I had an ultrasound and for the first time, we heard the heartbeat of our 6 week-old baby in my tummy. What a great new year’s gift! We were also happy to know that our baby was doing well, no issues so far.
Soon after the big confirmation, we bought some pregnancy books including of course the most popular “What to expect when you’re expecting”. Also a friend of ours, Olga Anderson lent us a book called The Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley. George found it really interesting and devoured the book in its entirety in less than a month’s time (he’s such a book worm). We learned a lot from that book as well which supplemented all the learning we got from the birthing class. We made up our mind to aim for a normal delivery no matter what it takes, as long as I and the baby are safe.
My first trimester was not as horrible as many other expecting moms. Not much throwing up, but I had to deal with a lot of heart burn and nausea at work. What made it hard for me that time was the fact that my job required physical work. It also didn’t help that l kept my situation from my employer for a month before I finally had the courage to tell them. I was worried that they would get upset and would ask me to refund them of the work permit fee since I signed a two-year contract with them, and I just had worked for them for 6 months. Surprisingly, they were totally cool with it and very supportive. Only then, I became completely HAPPY and at PEACE with my pregnancy.
During this time, I usually had my “morning sickness” in the afternoon or evening. I was feeling great in the morning but would start to feel acid reflux from 4 pm onward so I had a lot of problem eating dinner. I would go home from work feeling so beat and drained and all I wanted to do was to curl in bed. It’s the hardest part of my pregnancy- Taking care of an infant, while trying to hold back my nausea. Tums, Skyflakes and hot choco were my life-saver. I couldn’t eat much; I craved so much for Filipino food and fruits UNAVAILABLE in the island. I had some errands and late-night baby-sitting to do. Crazy times. Sobrang nakakaiyak! Thank God for the love and care of my awesome husband at this period of my pregnancy. I couldn’t imagine going through it without him. George had been so supportive and involved in my pregnancy journey that he read more books than I did.
Looking back, I realized that God gave me that job to prepare myself for motherhood. I also got a good glimpse of how western parents raise their young and picked up bits and pieces from their parenting style and devise my own.
For the expectant mommas, who are in the “crazy times” of their pregnancy now, stay cool! It doesn’t last forever. In fact, it doesn’t last that long. Don’t worry that you’re not eating enough. You can always catch up when your appetite is back. I must also say that husbands SHOULD BE INVOLVED in the pregnancy (not just in the baby making!). Keep yourself informed of what your wife is going through by reading books or watching relevant videos (youtube). Now is the best time to sign up in the baby center website for more information. And PLAN PLAN PLAN! it’s never too early to plan for the birth options, financial aspects, etc.
Second trimester (4-6 months)
It must be the best time of pregnancy. I felt awesome on my fourth month. No more nausea, I had hearty appetite for food. And soon, gained back the weight I lost on my first trimester. Our little pumpkin was growing, the baby bump was showing and I was rocking my natural pregnant glow 🙂
This is a perfect time for baby mooning too. To spend quality romantic time with your husband because I assure you, once the baby comes, everything will be different. Go abroad if you have the budget or perhaps an out of town trip or just spend some quality time in a resort or hotel in your place. I also suggest that you list down the things that you want to do with your hubby that you may not be able to do again when you have the baby. For example, a spontaneous movie date or late night pigging out. Do them while you can.
We planned our babymoon to go to Canada towards the end of my 2nd trimester, but our visa didn’t come on time so we postponed it during my 7 month.
Another highlight of my second trimester was the BIRTHING CLASS. Joining such was the best decision we made during my pregnancy. We learned so many things like the phases and stages of labor, pain management, relaxation, birthing options, medical interventions and procedures, and many more. (see the below).
We also did a hospital visit and we’re able to see the apparatuses in the birthing Room. One purpose of the hospital visit is to get familiar with place so as to know what not to bring and what to bring that can aid the labor process.
Before this, the idea of giving birth scared the hell out of me. I came out of it feeling strong and determined. (Real talk, no exaggeration!)
Having said this, I highly recommend that you sign up for a birthing class if there’s ANY in your place.(I really wished, it’s accessible to all pregnant mothers). The thing is, nobody taught us about giving birth. The reason why we are scared of it is because we are clueless of what’s gonna happen in the delivery room. Fear is your greatest enemy inside the delivery room. As they say, the greatest of all fears is the fear of the unknown. It can cause your muscle to tighten and your cervix to close, thus slowing down the normal labor process, putting the baby in jeopardy, and more chances of C-sec.
What better way to manage your fear than by being informed and learning the ropes of birthing! Having no idea or knowledge at the time of delivery is like going to a battle without knowing how to fire a gun, or who your enemies are. Giving birth is similar to a battle because it’s a matter of life and death too. It’s important to train and train harder. It’s too risky to rely on luck alone. The Birthing class (if well presented) will equip you with knowledge and boost your confidence to achieve the birthing experience you want just like it did to us, but of course you must also make an effort to apply and do whatever you have to do.
Initially, hubby and I registered for a July birthing class because I was due in August so we thought it would be good to have the birthing class close to my due date. However our birthing class instructor moved our class to May (3 months before my due date) which actually worked on our favor, because early on we learned so many things about pregnancy and birthing options, exercises that could facilitate normal labor. As soon as we completed the birthing class, we applied all recommended exercises such as walking, squatting, pelvic rocking, spiraling, positive affirmations (meditation), kegels and even the perennial stretching exercises. We got most of these tips from Robert Bradley’s book and our birthing class materials. (If you’re not familiar with the exercises I’ve mentioned, google it or search videos in youtube)
Third trimester (7-9months)
We learned the gender of our baby on my 7th month. Most parents here already know the gender of their baby on the 20th week ultrasound. It took us a while as our baby was a bit shy. We were ready to be surprised of our baby’s gender on the day of delivery until my last ultrasound confirmed we would have a girl for our first born. The news just made me the happiest. I had been silently praying for a baby girl because It’s always exciting to dress up a baby girl.
Early this time also, George and I traveled to Toronto, Canada for our baby moon. That was our last trip before I gave birth. We did a lot of sightseeing and walking there with a big load in my tummy. Probably, it also helped me to have an easy delivery. 🙂
I already quit my job when we returned to Bermuda so I thought I could enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy preparing for the big day- shopping baby stuff, sleeping (lol), and consistently doing my exercise routine. I also filled my mind with good vibes by listening to music and positive affirmations we got from youtube. George even made a checklist for me to follow everyday so I wouldn’t miss anything.(may pagka O.C lang sya).
We also made our BIRTH PLAN ready for the big day. For those who are not familiar, here in the west, a Birthplan is pretty common. It is simply a list of the preferences and choices that the couple decided and have agreed with their OB-gyn ahead of time. The hospital will ask if you have a birth plan. This may not be the case in some hospitals so I suggest that you check early on, and speak to your OB-GYN about it. This will serve as the hospital staff’s guide of your preferences during the delivery day. Having a birth plan helps your delivery experience smooth and organized.
I would also like to mention that regular check-up and monitoring of your baby’s well- being is very important in the whole duration of the pregnancy. This will give you peace of mind and will allow early detection of medical complications, if there’s any. Here in Bermuda, I had to see my OBGYN almost every month during my first and 2nd trimester, every other week during my 7th and 8th month and every week during my 9th month. I also went through 3 ultrasounds and a few blood works.(O.A na diba) It’s exaggerated and initially I thought it’s just a money-making strategy, but I now appreciate its importance. I won’t suggest that you do the same, but don’t overlook and underestimate your doctor’s appointment especially in the most crucial stages of your pregnancy and Talk to your OBGYN about your pregnancy issues and concerns.
Finally, the big day arrived. On August 7, 2013, on the 37th week plus 1 day gestation (exact full term), I gave birth to my sweetie yummy munchkin, my lovely daughter, Alyanna Georgine C. Alayon. A more detailed account of my labor and birth will be posted separately. Feel free to leave any questions, comments, tips, wisdom or anything that you would like to share from your own pregnancy journey. I’m not an expert. These are just based on my personal experiences. I hope you learned something from me today. Thanks for taking some time reading this!