Meeting “Igby”: Xavi’s Birth Story

“…I was at 9.5 cm, and then she asks me if I wanted epidural, I said yes but I knew that was a trick question.”

Igby is the bump name/ fetus name (or whatever you call it) Marco gave our little boy. I don’t know why but he likes giving them weird, unconventional, unattractive names (Cassie’s was Spriki short for Sprikitik), I love him so I just roll with it and besides it’s only temporary until the baby comes out.

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Proud daddy Marco

With the successive change in our lives, I wasn’t surprised how different the two pregnancies were. This time around I found myself in Muncie, Indiana, blessed to have insurance coverage through Marco’s work (although we still have the deductible and of course eventually our share to pay) so at least we didn’t have to worry about that, an OBGYN referred by Marco’s physician uncle and a hospital close to home a.k.a Marco’s workplace. Another thing that I had to deal with was not having my family around, it’s a good thing my sister Pauline from Houston stayed after the holidays to help me during the last stage of my pregnancy.

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Cassie reading to her baby brother.

I had my last doctor’s appointment a week prior to giving birth and from the looks of it we could all tell that the baby dropped already but I was only 1.5 cm dilated and it stayed like that for a few more days. Fast forward to the day of the pregnancy, I was already feeling some pain in the morning but I still equated it to Braxton Hicks so I went along my merry way doing the usual cleaning the house. Yes, at this point I was still bending down and climbing on chairs (don’t worry they weren’t really high) even though my doctor and Marco already told me off. Pauline offered to help me out, she always does but I like being on the go, so I still bathed Cassie, cleaned her room, fixed our bed and even vacuumed the house. I was feeling pain all throughout the day but nothing I couldn’t handle, I was still convinced it was Braxton Hicks. Marco came home from work around 5pm, I already texted him earlier that I was feeling some pain but they weren’t consistent yet, he was pretty sure I wasn’t in labor yet so as soon as he got home, he changed and headed out to dinner. He was scheduled to take out the residency program applicants for a pre-interview dinner and it just so happened that his cousin was one of those applicants so I told him to go.

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Always the first one to change the baby’s diaper.

He left at 6pm and around 7pm I felt the contractions more consistent this time so I started timing it. They were still approximately every 7-8 minutes and they lasted for 25-30 seconds so I was thinking maybe I’ll end up giving birth early tomorrow. Nope. The contractions got stronger and so my sister texted Marco about it, he got home around 8pm and timed the contractions himself, they were every 4 minutes and they lasted for 40 seconds, I was in labor and we needed to head to the hospital ASAP. Every STOP sign was a pain in the a**, I literally asked him if he could break the law and not stop just coz it hurt every time he would. We got to the hospital around 8:30pm, Pauline dropped me, Marco and Cassie at the entrance as she parked the car and he wheeled me into the Labor and Delivery section. I was in pain alright, I’d make a face every time the contraction came but still managed to take an IG video/ snap while heading there.

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Cassie touching her brother’s head for the first time.

I walked in and they asked me the standard questions,I even managed to reach for my wallet and handed my insurance card (only to find out that I handed my car insurance card, hahaha). Name, Doctor, how far along, due date…I verbally answered them in between contractions while Marco filled up the remaining forms to fill. Finally, they had a nurse check to see how dilated my cervix was—I was at 9.5 cm, and then she asks me if I wanted epidural, I said yes but I knew that was a trick question.

They wheeled me into a room and had a LOT of nurses and that’s when I realized, “oh crap, the baby is probably going to come out any minute coz they’re all scurrying around like its an emergency”. My doctor walked in and she explained to me that it will take time for epidural to kick in and the baby will come out before it does so here we go— ALL NATURAL NO EPIDURAL BIRTH and I wasn’t ready. Oh well, C’est La Vie. They broke my water (which probably was the only thing that was stopping the baby from coming out) She told me to let her know when I start to feel the urge to push and I’m telling you in between the contractions you suddenly get that urge to let the baby out. My husband who was holding my hand had to ask me to let go mid-way coz I was crushing it, I guess you don’t really know your own strength until you push a baby out.

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I don’t know how I did it but I focused on my doctor’s voice and importantly followed her directions, when she tells you to push, no matter how  tired you are you give it your all and you PUSH. They were giving me updates like, “his head is coming out”, “oh, he has a lot of hair”, “you’re almost there”, you listen to those words and let it motivate you. Just when I thought I couldn’t push anymore coz I really felt exhausted, I gave it one LAST.LONG.PUSH to the point where I couldn’t breathe and then I heard it—I heard my baby’s cries, I finally get to hold my little Xavi They cleaned me up as they were cleaning him up, I felt them taking out something that felt like a big blob and then they stitched me down there. I think what I hated the most was when they pushed my tummy to check if blood was still coming out from wherever its supposed to come out (I’m pretty sure theres a medical term for that) but if you ask me what the whole process felt like, it felt like I released one BIG, GINORMOUS poop after a month of being constipated (sorry for being grossly graphic).

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At 10:03 pm, I gave birth to Jose Inigo Xavier. He weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 21 inches long. Thank you Lord for keeping me and Xavi safe.

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Our first family photo
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Taking him home for the first time. It was one cold night

 

~Rhea (now officially a mom of 2)

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Easter Basket Ideas 2017: Toddler Girl & Baby Boy

It’s a week before Easter and I’m not even done with my Easter basket for the kids, I usually take this time of the year to purchase from small handmade businesses to support them but since I’m out of time and handmade products usually take a week or more to ship I’ve resorted to our local Walmart and Amazon ( Prime FTW).

Fun Fact: When I asked my husband if it’s okay to get the kids Easter baskets (that was a rhetorical question) he said okay thinking they were going to be empty. I told him we have those already for the Easter egg hunt (He’s probably like..uhhh Xavi can’t even crawl yet), this one was going to be filled with goodies and little presents, apparently he didn’t know that was a thing.

My one last attempt to explain: “It’s like handing them Christmas gifts but on Easter.” Haha.

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1.Piggy Paint ||

Cassie knew she wanted to color her nails as soon as she saw me paint mine, I’m just glad theres a way to do that without exposing her to strong nail polish chemicals.

2.Disney Princess Royal Shimmer Doll ||

Who doesn’t love the Disney Princesses? I mean, c’mon. We started collecting these dolls last October when someone gave her 2 for her birthday, we still have quite a few more princesses to go but for Easter I decided to get her Mulan.

3. Melissa and Doug Water Wow ||

The best carry-on activity that keeps her busy at the doctor’s office, the church during mass and even on long road trips. I bought her second one just to switch ’em up so she doesn’t easily get bored, one more won’t hurt.

4. Petit Et Maman Kids’ Wooden Duck Plate ||

There actually was a cute bunny plate but she personally picked the duck one while we were looking at it online.

5. Natural Signature Beauty Trio||

Not only has she shown interest with nail polish, she also started going through my purse and my make up bag. I found this beauty trio at TjMaxx and it’s a lot cheaper than the one I found on Amazon, it has lippies and a roll-on perfume that’s kid friendly.

6. Easter Stickers ||

Just any stickers really, even the ones from the dollar store.

7. Little People Big Dreams Book ||

Two Words—Girl Power. We’re slowly building her Little People Big Dreams collection and this one is her 5th book from this series.

8. CraZArt Washable Kids’ Paint ||

Every mother knows how important the word ‘washable’ is, if its paint, it has to be washable.

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1.Wooden Toy Camera ||

2. Lil Libros book ||

3. Wooden Animal Teether ||

Just something I’ve been meaning to try with Cassie but never had the chance to. I just want to see if a wooden teether is better than the traditional one.

4. Bunny Romper ||

Bunnies + Babies = Easter cuteness overload

5. Braided Leather Pacifier Holder |

6. B. Toys B. One Two Squeeze Blocks||

It’s educational and colorful, something he’ll enjoy even when he’s a bit bigger.

7. Moccasins ||

The one I have up there is from Starry Knight Design, I can personally vouch for their quality and they’re not as expensive as the other handmade moccs but for the Easter bag, it’s totally up to you what footwear you want to get your baby— baby sneakers, maybe baby sandals for the summer. Filling up his Easter basket is just another good reason to get him a pair of shoes.

8. Bandana Bibs ||

This one loves to spit up and we’re always scurrying for a napkin or the burp cloth when he does. Having him wear a bib just somewhat makes our lives easier so you have something to wipe him with instantly. The solution is to get a LOT and its a plus that it looks cute on.

 

~Rhea

The Thing with Xavi

From his gender, to me not getting an epidural while giving birth, to having a newborn photoshoot done, to loud whiny cries—everything has been unexpected with this little guy.

We weren’t going to do a newborn photoshoot for Xavi, a lot has been going on and I didn’t even bother doing my research for local photographers just because our schedule (or Marco’s, rather) hasn’t been that flexible and that would definitely be an additional expense so I didn’t dwell on it.

In an unexpected turn of events, we ended up doing one for him and we were blessed enough to work with a very nice local photographer. Amanda Hakes of Betty and Bobby Photography was very professional and she handled Xavi wonderfully, she was very pleasant to work with and was very patient with him. When he wouldn’t cooperate anymore, she waited while I fed him until he was satisfied and there was no pressure in my part at all. Here are some photos of her beautiful work.

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 This boy looks like an angel when he’s asleep but he can cry LOUDLY when he’s hungry

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She got promoted to BIG SISTER

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I already know he’s going to be a Mama’s boy

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Of course daddy is the happiest, he has another player on his team

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With our little, handsome newborn

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I know you’re an Ate now but you will always be mommy’s baby

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Our latest family photo— Daddy Marco, Mommy Rhea, Ate/ Manang Cassie and Xavi.

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I decided to share these photos today as Xavi turns three weeks. He had his 2-week appointment a few days ago and we were a bit worried that he wouldn’t gain his birth weight back because we had that problem with Cassie. From 7 lbs. and 13 oz Xavi’s weight went down to 6 lbs and 11 oz on his first doctor’s visit and we’re happy to say that he gained his birth weight back and more, he’s currently 8 lbs and 11 oz. My little man feeds a lot, I don’t remember breast feeding Cassie this much but when he asks, mommy gives and believe me he asks a LOT.

Post partum recovery for me is a lot better this time around in both emotional and physical aspect. I’m more mobile and at three weeks I’m doing chores like I didn’t even give birth and I find that pretty amazing considering that I didn’t have an epidural during labor. I’ve lost 20 lbs. since giving birth and I need to lose 15-20 lbs more, so far so good. Cassie has adjusted pretty well with the presence of her little brother, of course she acted up the first few days when we brought him home but recently she’s asked to take part in taking care of him, throwing his dirty diapers and putting lotion on him. Hopefully in the next few weeks, we can fully adjust with the new baby in the house and establish a new norm for our growing family.

~Rhea

Hospital Bag Checklist: Mommy Edition

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#1. Classic Black Vera Bradley Microfiber Diaper Bag

In this aspect, I’ve learned through other mothers that the choice of what kind of hospital bag is really a matter of preference. I know of some moms who have brought hand carry luggage spinners, others use travel totes or oversized duffels while some moms-to-be use their baby’s diaper bags. It really depends what you decide to bring to the hospital.

In my case, I’m using the Classic Black Vera Bradley Microfiber Diaper Bag that I’ve converted into my maternity tote since we were also gifted with another diaper bag for the baby. I attended a church baby-items-exchange event where you bring your used baby items that you don’t want or need anymore and if you see something you like from the items the other mothers brought, you can go ahead and grab it; the rest are donated to a charity picked by the church. Although they’ve discontinued this particular style, the newer Vera Bradley diaper totes retail for $178 and I’m just pleased that I got mine for free.

#2. Secret Treasures Women’s Super Minky Plush Sleep Robe

During my first pregnancy in Texas, I opted to bring a thin light silk robe for the hospital but here in Indiana, I felt the need to get myself a thick plush robe for the winter and I was lucky enough to find a very comfortable one at our local Walmart on clearance for $15. They actually had a bunch of other designs that I wanted but I picked the plain white one to give me that warm comfy “hotel-feel”, you’d be surprised how a little bit of imagination can go a long way especially when you find yourself bound to a hospital bed.

#3. Ralph Lauren Button Down Pajamas

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I actually got both of these pajama pairs at Goodwill (of course I washed them and soaked them in warm water for a long time), each pair were priced at $3.99 instead of the usual $30 and up that it retails for and it even came out cheaper than the button down pajamas at Walmart that they were selling at $10/ pair, which wasn’t so bad either.

I usually go for a nightgown instead of pajamas but again its still winter in this side of town so I needed that extra warmth for my legs. The “button down” part is non-negotiable for me since I intend on breast feeding my baby as soon as he comes out, believe me any outfit with buttons and zippers in front tend to be a fashion staple for nursing moms. As for the color red, I think I unconsciously picked red pajamas because of the post-partum bleeding and the possibility of leaking, at least if I do stain my pajamas its not completely out there for everyone to see.

#4. Going Home Outfit

Some women, after giving birth, like to look cute and pretty and made up especially when they take their new bundle of joy home so they prepare a cute outfit, maybe a dress. Ideally, that would be nice but with my last pregnancy, I realized that I didn’t even care how I looked that time, I just wanted to be comfortable and I wanted to take my baby home.

I suggest going for comfort over aesthetics— yoga pants, loose tops, buttoned tops, nursing tanks, oversized sweaters, maybe even your plush robe, it’s totally up to you but hey, if you can look cute while being comfortable then why not. For shoes, I suggest nothing closed and tight since some women might still have swelling on their feet, closed shoes might just give you discomfort.

 

#5. Bright Personalized Toiletry Bag

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The reason why I emphasized “bright” and “personalized” on the toiletry bag is just so it could easily be found in an oversized hospital bag not only by you but also by anyone assisting you at the hospital during labor, may it be your husband, your sibling, your parent, your friend or even the nurse.

I actually got this 3-pc set (missing one in the photo) from my MIL and I love how it’s bright, personalized and transparent in the middle when you unbutton it. Sometimes we forget where we pack things especially with these “pregnancy brains” of ours and its nice to see whats inside our toiletry bags without the hassle of having to open it. I think these were made in the Philippines and I haven’t found anything online close to these particular ones but if I do, I’ll go ahead and update the blog with a link to that.

I am not going to discuss the type of toiletries you want to bring because we all differ in that aspect, other ladies use conditioners, others don’t, others prefer dry shampoo over the regular ones, others prefer body wash over soap, others wear makeup, others don’t but I think it’s definitely important to bring your deodorant, tooth brush and tooth paste…..or maybe not, haha, it’s all up to you.

#6. Generic Furry Babba Soft Furry Critter Slipper/ Flipflops

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I got these slippers for my last pregnancy from Walmart for less than $10, I checked online recently and they no longer have this pair in stock but a lot of stores are selling  something similar. I love these bedroom slippers just coz they’re not bulky and they’re very easy to pack. They’re kinda like socks, they’re soft, they cover my entire feet, they’re cozy and they keep my feet warm but they have the bedroom slippers’ non-skid soles which makes it okay to use in the bathroom.

#7. Maternity Non-Skid Socks

If your pair of bedroom slippers isn’t enough to keep your feet warm, you can throw on a cute pair of maternity socks with “pun-ny” labor-related quotes made with that non-skid material that you can get from Amazon for cheap or order personalized ones from Etsy.

#8. Loose Comfortable Underwear a.k.a Granny Panties

You just gave birth and as much as you’d want to get back to your nice cute undies you might want to wait awhile for the sake of comfort. Give your ‘down there’ some time to relax and breathe and give it time to heal, besides I don’t think you’d want to ruin your nice underwear by getting some blood stains on it.

#9. Loving Moments by Leading Lady Maternity Wirefree Softcup Nursing Bra with Full Sling, 2-Pack

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For the first few weeks, your breasts are going to be sensitive and tender especially while waiting for the milk to come in, I personally opted for wire free bras just so I don’t feel too constricted in that area and the lace detail, I think, is just a cute bonus.

#10. Important Cards

Nowadays pre-registration is something that’s processed a few days or maybe weeks before the expected date of delivery so you don’t have to worry about anything other than the process of labor . I’m pretty sure most of us at 30+weeks have picked a hospital or even toured it but pregnancies being unpredictable can have you giving birth at an any place at an unexpected time. It’s always best to have your Driver’s License and Insurance card ready at all times. To those who have birth plans, make sure to keep a copy in your maternity bag.

#11. Comfort Snacks

Adding the word “comfort” to snacks is such a crucial thing because after going through the process of giving birth, the word “comfort” is all that matters. Other moms-to-be advice to bring “healthy” snacks but seriously if you aren’t a health nut to begin with, eating those snacks after labor will probably just make you feel worse so go for those feel-good foods but don’t pig out, just snack in moderation.

P.S: I also suggest bringing CASH or LOOSE CHANGE just in case you want to grab something from the vendo machine.

#12. Post Natal Care Items

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter – my  cousin referred this little baby during my last pregnancy and it was literally my best friend. It took care of any dryness, pain and cracking by keeping the nipple area moisturized. Its also baby friendly, you can apply it anytime even before feeding. The only thing you might have to watch out for is the smell, its a bit funky and not everyone finds it pleasant although personally it didn’t bother me.

Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray- although I haven’t used this yet, I’ve heard good reviews about this product and would trust it because of its the same brand as my trusted nipple cream. During my last pregnancy, I got two bottles of sprays that helped me numb ‘my down there’ from the hospital and it did wonders relieving me of my perineal pain.

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads- very convenient to have, they have two adhesives in the back so you could attach it directly to your shirt but advisably on your bra. Its comfortable to wear and prevents any leaking accidents; yay to NO MILK STAINS.

Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear- one of the best things on this list, EVER. I don’t know how I missed this during my first pregnancy but after I ran out of those gigantic pads that the hospital made me use for my postpartum bleeding, I started using these and they literally are like underwear and pads combined, its very convenient, can be easily disposed and the best part is you don’t have to be washing any blood stained underwear.

#13. Electronics

Phones-the most basic thing to have for whatever reason—to communicate with family members and friends, for documentation, taking videos and photos, baby announcement, etc.

Phone Charger– make sure to bring those 6ft long ones, you don’t know how far the sockets are from your bed

Cameras (Canon, Nikon, GoPro, Instax, etc.) – to document your baby’s first moments

 

To all expectant moms out there, I hope this list somewhat helps you decide what to pack in you maternity bag and if you feel like I missed out on some “must-haves” , please let me know so I can update this list for (future) baby #3.

Hope y’all have a safe and uneventful pregnancy, Happy Pushing!

~Rhea

DIY Winter Maternity Shoot: 37 Weeks

Being pregnant can toy with your emotions and affect your self confidence especially when you’re used to being small most of your life. It’s like one day you wake up and look at the mirror and there it is…that big bump and that large behind. Based on my first pregnancy I already knew that I wasn’t one of those women who carry their babies small, it’s always my behind and my belly that go first; the arms, the face and the rest of me follow.

At 37 weeks I knew I didn’t want my pictures taken because I was scared to see a planet in the photos plus its been snowing here in Indiana and all I wanted to do was stay warm indoors but my sister Pauline convinced me to do them, nothing fancy just some DIY project that we both could work on. And it just so happened that it was her birthday that day and she suggested that we could do my pregnancy photos, how could you say “No” to the birthday girl, right? So I took out my brand new portable makeup train case with the light-up mirror that Marco gave me for Christmas and had Pauline do my makeup.

I didn’t have anything to wear since this was an impromptu thing but having a theater background assured me that I could scrounge up some things I could use for the photos. I’d have to admit it’s not the best but I think it’s pretty okay considering that I didn’t have a lot of winter-apt stuff, I barely could fit any of my old clothes and we were chasing good lighting a.k.a Mr. Sun.

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So here’s what I came up with: my DIY Flower crown from years ago, Tassel earrings on sale at Walmart for $2, my thrifted fur find from a garage sale in 2007, a plain white tank top that barely fits me, a knitted sweater I thrifted from Goodwill, a tulle maxi skirt from the Philippines that doesn’t fit me at all. (unzipped skirt clearly not in photos,haha) and Zara nude flats that I risked in the snow (btw, they survived).

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…And we were lucky enough to have light snowfall while we were taking pictures.

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I’m sharing some of my raw and unedited photos just to continuously remind myself how beautiful and wonderful pregnancy is no matter how ugly I feel inside and out and after I give birth I’m going to make sure that I wear my ‘battle scars’ (aka stretch marks) with pride.

They say the biggest blessings come in small packages, I guess this little one is an exception because this tummy of mine ain’t nothing like a small package. Haha. I can’t wait to meet you my little Xavi.

~Mommy Rhea