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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tenth Letter

Dearest Jamie,

I think the time if finally here ...

This morning, I woke up to a slight pain in my belly and saw that I had started to leak a bit of blood and mucus (I know it sounds gross but it's a good sign). We went to the hospital for my scheduled NST (fetal monitoring) and it showed that you were very active but there were little to no contractions yet. My nurse, Diane, thought it would be a good idea to have me go for an ultrasound just to make sure. During the ultrasound, it showed I had a huge decrease in fluids in my belly. My last fluid check was at 11 (I don't know the unit of measurement) but today I was at 5.1. They notified my doctor who asked me to go home and rest (it was around 11:30 AM). We were asked to return at 7 PM and they would begin to induce my labor.

Jojo and I drove home. We were both excited (to see you) and a bit scared (about what to expect). We were in good spirits though and texted the rest of the family to share the news. When we got home, we decided to invite Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy for lunch. It will be some time before I can go out to eat ... I couldn't really decide what to eat. They kept asking what I wanted for my "last meal" before you arrive and I totally drew a blank. We finally decided to go to Island Burgers. This will be a new family tradition. When Grandma Judy was pregnant with me, she also went to the hospital the morning she thought I was coming. Turns out she was also sent home to wait a few more hours. To kill time, my mom went out to lunch and treated herself to a meal of hamburgers! So that's what I wanted to do today too.

After a delish meal of Mushroom burgers, we headed home where I tried to rest and nap. Woke up around 5 PM to mild contractions. At first, I thought it was just a stomachache. But it came and went - maybe every 20-25 minutes and lasted maybe 10-15 seconds. Nothing earth shattering but I could definitely feel each one. It's kinda sorta like strong tummy cramps. I was a bit scared but mom and my mom-in-law assured me it's all good that I am contracting on my own. Maybe it means my induction tonight won't be as long or as intense as we fear. Either way, it's good to know you are on your way!

My dear, Jamie, the long wait is almost over. Hopefully at this time tomorrow (give or take a few hours), you will be with us and we will be holding you in our arms. I am so happy, excited and just giddy with anticipation!

I pray for both of us (and your dad too). I think we have a long night and day ahead of us - it may get painful and scary and intense at times. But I know it will be worth it in the end.

Love you, Beanie. Looking forward to that first hour after birth when our little family of three will be given our "Golden Hour" together.

See you soon, Little Angel.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

False Alarm

Yesterday, at around 4:20 in the afternoon, Jojo told me he had a backache (he had spent a good part of the day reviewing for his CCENT exam and studying while hunched over a computer does nothing for his back). I told Jojo to lie down and take a quick catnap (he also didn't get to sleep much the night before). I was contemplating on going to the salon for a quick hair trim. Jojo didn't want me to go by myself and was insisting he would drop me off when he woke up. I told him he was being silly and that I was perfectly capable of making the trip myself. I was on my way to the phone to call the salon to see if they could squeeze me in for a trim. That was when I felt a trickle of water down my legs. I was very calm at that time. It didn't even register that perhaps it was my water breaking. I just wiped it off and went back to the phone. Then, it happened again. This time, I looked and saw a very clear (water-like liquid) down my legs. No color, no smell, but definitely continuous streaming down my legs.

I walked into our room and calmly announced "Ni, I think my water broke". Jojo was just about to drift off into sleep but despite his groggy state and despite his backache, my heroic hubby sprang into action. No words can describe how fast he got up and was raring to go. In less than 5 minutes, he had changed into his "Lucky shirt" (which he had planned to wear to the hospital). He grabbed our hospital bag and my pillows and loaded them into the car. He ran back to take an Aleve for his backache. Stopped by the office to get our phone chargers and Ipod. Ran to answer the phone (it was ringing). And hurriedly got everything else we needed. He was literally working on super speed!

I, on the other hand, was surfing the internet trying to google "How to Know if Your Water has Broken". I was really calm and was reading articles to see if I was truly going into labor. Jojo told me we should just head over to Torrance Memorial (which is what we were taught in our childbirth class). I was hesitating because there didn't seem to be a lot of water that came out (not the gush I was expecting) and by this time, it seemed to have stopped. But Jojo was insistent. So we loaded up and headed to the hospital.

We got to Labor and Deliver at 4:55 and I was in bed by 5:05 - strapped to a machine which monitored my contractions and my baby's heartbeat. It did show I was majorly contracting but honestly it must have been very mild because I felt nothing (just very mild flutters). Jamie's heartbeat was great and she was moving all around (another good sign). I was hooked up till 7 pm then my nurse came in and did a urine test (to see if I had an infection) and a litmus test (to see if my water did break). She also did a pelvic exam to see if I was dilated at all. The pelvic exam showed I was not yet ready to deliver (dilation was still 1-1.5 cm only) and the baby was still "high" and now yet "low enough" for labor. We had to wait an hour and a half for the two lab tests (urine and litmus tests). Had my litmus test come out positive (meaning my water did break, they would keep me for observation and would probably induce me if it didn't happen naturally).

Jojo and I settled in to wait. We watched tv, played Word Mole, and talked. We had some sandwiches and juice from the labor family nourishment center. At about 9 pm, the nurse came in with good and not so good news. Good news is I had no infections. Not so good news, my water had not broken. (I still don't know what that "water" streaming down my legs was!). We had to wait another hour for my doctor to sign off on my release. Before leaving, they did another pelvic test which showed I had not increased dilation. After filling out some forms and getting my release papers, we finally left at 10:30 PM. 5 and a half hours at the hospital only to find out it was a false alarm.

The three things I am glad about though was:
1.) We had a great dry run for what to do on the "Big Day".
2.) The nurses and staff at Torrance Memorial are really great at their jobs (even with minor delays that caused us to have to wait, they were very thorough and I felt well taken care of).
3.) An amazing husband who is extremely level-headed and very efficient when it comes to emergencies. He is truly my hero!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Nothing ...

Last Tuesday, during my non-stress test at Torrance Memorial, I had very mild but very far apart contractions. Yesterday, during my routine check-up with Dr. Chen, I was already 1.5 cm dilated. But, so far ... still ... nothing ...

Lately, I've been dealing with a bit more aches and pains. Nothing major. And maybe somewhat psychological. But it seems my wrists and knuckles are a bit tender (completely normal as per Dr. Chen). Also, my feet and fingers are puffier (a.k.a. "manas"). Nothing too noticeable - but I can tell cause my shoes are tighter and I can barely get my wedding band on and off these days.

My belly is carrying low (as per some folks) but not yet "low enough" (as per others). I am tired more easily as my belly is really heavy. It's an effort getting in and out of bed (which is ironic since I now have to pee every so often). Jamie's diapers are getting mighty tempting to use! =)

I haven't really gone through the "nesting stage" wherein I'm suppose to like fixing things and doing housework. I guess my personality of not liking to do housework has overridden this supposed maternal instinct. Thank god my mom and sisters have more than made up for my lack of domesticated abilities.

My hormones are sort of out of whack (nothing new here). My mom and Joy went to spend a few days at Atsi's place. They will be gone exactly 5 days and already I felt so sad when they left. Good thing Jojo has been my Rock of Gibraltar (such a solid support!). Don't know how I could manage all this without him.

My sleeping pattern is still good (I still get much needed sleep). But I do wake up a lot more at night (not just to pee but also to find a comfortable position). It's hard with a belly as massive as mine!

Trying to get in my 2-3 hours of walking a day. Yesterday, was not a good day though since we lazed the morning away, planning to walk in the afternoon. Then it rained and we were stuck at home. I tried to walk around the living and family room - but it's hard to walk for 2-3 hours in such a small amount of space. Today, we will do much better as we plan to combine our errands with my exercise.

I'm getting sort of anxious - not so much because of the thought of labor - but rather just anxious as we wait for THE BIG MOMENT when Jamie is ready to come out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Any Day Now

Any day now. Any day now. That's my mantra =) It's both very exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking too. This morning we went for another non-stress test and Jamie was showing off her acrobatic skills. She was uber active which all the nurses said was an excellent sign. The only thing is I was not showing any significant signs of contracting yet. I had two minor contractions in the last hour and both were insignificant enough that I did not even feel them. It seems Baby Jamie is doing just fine but is not quite ready yet to leave her snug little home in my belly.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr. Chen and he will be doing a cervical exam just to see if I'm dilated at all. Hopefully there will be some progress since I don't relish the thought of having to be induced. The thought of labor is already freaky enough ... the thought of being induced for labor just adds a whole other dimension to freaky! =)

Also, my nurse (Laura) was saying that first time moms usually go into labor the longest ... with inducing the baby (that makes the process even longer). The chances of having a C-section also increase. Hopefully we won't have to go that route and things just happen on time and naturally. I'm staying positive =) It helps that I have so much positive affirmation from everyone and that I'm rather calm throughout this whole process.

I can't believe the wait is almost over. Any day now. Any day now. =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ninth Letter

Dear Jamie G,

This week is your 38th week. It's literally any day now. Everyone who sees me says I am now "carrying low" which means you are in position to make that grand entrance ... we could not be any more excited!!!

Your Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy arrived last week. So did your Auntie Jenny. Between your three "fairy godmothers", there has been so much hustle and bustle as we prepare for your arrival. Your room is spotless (and I mean spotless!). You could probably eat off the floor if you wanted to - it is THAT clean. Your closets and drawers are sparkling (Auntie Jenny has done wonders making sure they are pristine). Auntie Joy had wiped down your crib and bassinette. I know that we'll spend many times burping on them, spilling things and changing dirty diapers on them - but for now, it would be hard to find a single germ on any of your room's immaculate surfaces. Grandma Judy has brought you so many nice things from Manila. My favorite is a paper mache mobile she got from Bangkok. It is a beautiful hanging decor with lots of little bunnies (to celebrate the fact that you will be born in the Year of the Rabbit). You also got so many wonderful presents from family and friends from back home. I wish you could see all your beautiful things =)

As if that were not enough, today we went shopping for some more items to complete your wardrobe. We got the essentials, of course. But aside from that list, your Grandma Judy insisted on getting you an additional 24 (yes, you read that right - TWENTY-FOUR) brand new outfits. Honestly, I don't know when and where you will wear all of them! Most of your clothes are for 0-3 month olds and we don't want to keep bringing you out till you are at least 2 months old. So I guess we'll just have to do fashion shoots and pictorials at home to make the most of your beautiful new clothes! You sure are a lucky, lucky and soon-to-be very fashionable little baby.

Yesterday was my last day at work. It was bittersweet. While I am happy to get time off (it's been harder to walk around and actually work 8-hour days), I was also sad since everyone has been extra nice to me lately and it sure felt like I was leaving my family and close friends. My team took me out for shabu-shabu and when we came back they threw me a mini baby shower with all my other co-workers in the staff lounge. I was a bit emotional (as usual) and promised everyone I would come back to visit with you (since everyone is so excited to get to meet you). I am scheduled to go back to work in September (that gives us plenty of time to be together, my dear baby girl, before I head back to work).

Auntie Joy is planning her wedding for next year and we have already been talking about your flower girl dress for that special day. I am so sure you will be the world's cutest and most adorable flower girl!!! I am already being teased for being such a stage mother =) Hopefully by then, you will already be able to walk down the aisle on your own and your daddy and I will proudly watch from the sidelines. If you are not yet ready, no worries, your daddy and I will take your hands and walk along with you. Just as in any other time in your life, my dear Beanie, you can trust that we will either be close by and cheering you on ... unless you need us to hold your hand and walk beside you.

Be well, my darling Jamie G. We love you.

Friday, March 04, 2011


I had a bit of a minor meltdown the other night. Jojo kindly turned a blind eye to what can only be referred to as my pregnancy hormones going on a rampage. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that I really went through a “feeling sorry for myself” state. I guess it was because of … well, everything that has been going on lately. For starters, work has been busy (not stressful, not hard, and not overwhelming). Just BUSY. Then there are so many classes we are taking and so many doctor’s visits and lab appointments. Can you imagine I had two separate doctor visits, went to the hospital twice for fetal monitoring and two baby classes just in the last 5 days! Added to that, I am under pressure by my OB-GYN to walk at least 2 hours a day. TWO FREAKING HOURS! I don’t even have two hours to sit much less walk around! Then there are a gazillion little things we need to do around the house. Jojo has been truly amazing with picking up more than his fair share of housework. But there is always so much to do. Not to mention, my sister and mom are coming on Monday and we have been preparing for their arrival too. Fixing rooms, packing stuff, moving furniture, buying things they’ll need. The list is endless. Of course there’s preparing Jamie’s baby stuff too. Not to mention the fact that I am now as big as a hippo. I now waddle instead of walk. I now have to go pee every hour on the hour. I now get tired so easily. And I have all sorts of little aches and pains. All normal according to my OB, but definitely slows me down!

Anyway, yesterday, started as a typical day. I had an early day starting with a doctor’s appointment at 8:00. Worked an 8-hour day. Came home pretty exhausted. It was raining so Jojo and I had to skip the walk. Instead I tried to walk around the house and do some light housework (picking up stuff, light dusting, and rearranging a cabinet). I made dinner (turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwiches). Then I did the dishes. After that, Jojo and I decided to tackle a Jamie project – we tried to put her bassinette / play yard / changing table together. We worked on it for an hour and a half (so frustrating!). I swear the instructions were no help – unless its purpose was to start a major argument between my husband and I! It was close to 10 PM when I finally gave up and decided to prepare the ingredients for beef nilaga for lunch the next day. While chopping cabbage, I dropped the knife on the kitchen floor (under our butcher block). I couldn’t reach it because of my humongous belly and so I sat down on a stepstool trying to angle my body around. Now at almost eye-level to the floor, I noticed how the floor had not been mopped in almost a week. That’s when I started feeling sorry for myself. Jojo was in the other room still working on Jamie’s bassinette when I started going off on how there was no time to do anything and how busy I was and how huge I was getting and how upset I was over every little thing. Jojo would nod and say “uh-hmm” every few minutes but kept on working on the bassinette – which for some insane reason made me even more mad. So I stalked off to our room and sulked in bed. By the time Jojo came in about 15 minutes later, I was already deep into the “feeling sorry for myself” state. Jojo, God bless him, tried to talk me out of my mood … but let me tell you that reasoning with a pregnant lady, in the state I was in, is a lost battle. It is comparable to trying to reason with an angry grizzly bear, after you just woke from him hibernation, after accidentally setting fire to his cave.

Luckily, Jojo knows me very well. He knows when to just keep quiet and let me vent. He gave me a back massage while I gave in to a good cry. I fell asleep shortly after that. The next day, we woke up and Jojo tentatively asked if I was ok. Of course by then, I don’t even remember half the things I said the night before. And I was pretty much as good as new.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eighth Letter

Dear Jamie,

You are officially 9 months already, my darling baby girl! Your dad and I are on pins and needles knowing that any day now, you could make your grand appearance into this world. I cannot begin to express how happy, excited and emotional that makes me feel. Just thinking about you in my arms helps calm fears I have about going into labor or helps ease the little day-to-day stresses that I experience. Just knowing we will have your beautiful smile to look forward to makes me a wee bit more confident that we will learn to cope with the new challenges of first-time parents. Bear with us, Jamie, as we will all be learning together and adjusting to life as a family. I know it won’t be easy but if we do it with an open mind, trust and acceptance, and a whole lot of love – well, we will surely, by hook or by crook, get it right!

These days work has been incredibly hectic. Last week we had an on-campus career fair and an open house which were two events that took a lot of time and energy. And this week, our entire campus is packing as we prepare to move to a new office location (two miles down). So to say we are “busy” is an understatement. Plus, this is my second to the last week at work before I go on maternity leave, which means that aside from my day-to-day activities, I am also preparing turnover reports and training the person who will be taking my place. Whew! Every evening, your dad and I go on long walks because Dr. Chen has now ordered that I walk one to two miles every day (if I want a normal delivery, which I do). And when we get home, we have so many projects around the house as we prepare for your, Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy’s arrival. Lots of cleaning, organizing, packing and moving things around.

This week we also have a lot of doctors appointments and prep classes to attend. On Monday, we met with Dr. Chen. Today (Tuesday), I had to do a non-stress test and ultrasound at Torrance Memorial (we now have to do this twice a week till I deliver). On Wednesday, I have an appointment with Dr. Cheung, my endocrinologist. On Thursday evening, we have our first Infant/Newborn Care class. On Friday, I have my routine non-stress test at the hospital. On Saturday, I am meeting with the lactation specialist at Healthlinks in order to prepare me for breastfeeding. On Sunday, Luisa is coming over to help clean the house (especially your nursery).

I also have some good news to share, Beanie. Last week, your dad’s youngest brother, Tito Jay, and his wife, Tita Cha, invited the whole family to dinner. We thought it was because Tito Jay got a promotion at work. But towards the end of the meal, they shared with us that they are also expecting a baby! Such wonderful news =) Another cousin for you to grow up with. Not that you don’t have enough – on your dad’s side you already have 12 cousins – but I’ve always wanted one to be closer to your age. And now you do, with Tito Jay’s and Tita Cha’s baby on the way (which will be due later this year). Both of you will be born in the Year of the Bunny =)

We have so much to be grateful for, Jamie. This morning, during the ultrasound, the technician mentioned she may have seen you smile … and that made me glad … because whenever I think of you, I also break into a smile. I can’t wait for the first time we will be able to smile at each other, face-to-face. See you soon, Jamie.