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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sixth Letter

Dear Beanie,

I think now is as good a time as any to start calling you by your name. After much thought, a voting process rivaling that of the last presidential elections, and guidance from higher powers ... we have decided to name you JAMIE GABRIELLE.

As you may know by now, you are going to be named after your paternal grandfather, James. It is an honor to be named after my dad since he was (or rather IS) the best dad one could ever hope to have. He was (IS) super brilliant, super giving, super funny, and understanding to almost a fault. He was (IS) well-liked by almost every one who meets him and has the unique tendency to be the life of any party. He was (IS) my inspiration to do many of the things I've done or still hope to do in my life. I just know that naming you after him would make him so happy and proud. And I know it would make you that much closer to him too and give you the chance to have him as part of your life as well. I am sure you will be just as special and just as loved as he was (IS).

Your second name, Gabrielle, is after the guardian angel, Gabriel. I've been praying to him to keep you safe during your conception and as you were growing in my belly. I know he has been your protector all this time as well as throughout your life. Angel Gabriel was also the angel that delivered the special news to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The news that through a divine miracle, she would be the mother of Baby Jesus. Your dad and I thought, that since you are our miracle baby too ... Angel Gabriel surely had a hand in sending that special news to us as well. I hope you come to love your name as much as we do. Such a beautiful and special name for an already beautiful and special little angel.

Jamie, last Wed, your dad and I went for my now bi-monthly check up at Dr. Chen's office. All is well. You are developing beautifully and I am thankful you are much more active these days. I constantly feel your little jabs and kicks more regularly. I also feel you tossing and turning in my belly. It's all very reassuring to me even when they sometimes happen at the most inopportune times. For example, last week, you were thumping away (pretty loudly and pretty strongly) during a management meeting I was sitting in on. My co-worker nudged me to show me that he could see my belly vibrating through my shirt! Also, two days ago, I was giving a workshop for about 65 people and while in the midst of my lecture, you chose the time to start wiggling around. I just hope no one noticed my belly was undulating =) But sometimes, it's quite cute too. You move around a lot when I turn up the car radio or when I'm lying in bed and reading. I sometimes stop and just stare at my belly and imagine you are amusing yourself in there.

Dr. Chen did share with us that your due date which we all thought was on March 28 has now been moved to March 30. It's not a big deal really but I was a bit disappointed since any delay in meeting you can do that to me! But Dr. Chen assures me, you could come any day between March 15 or April 15 (two weeks before or after my due date). I am honestly a little nervous about that but the anxiety is definitely overshadowed by the excitement and happiness at meeting you face-to-face. I am just super duper glad that your Auntie Joy and your Grandma Judy will be here to help out during my last month until your first two months (at the very least). Of course, your dad's family is all set to pitch in too!

Lately, I've been reading a lot of baby books and we've signed up for a lot of baby classes. Your dad and I want to make sure we are as prepared as we can be (although we both know that there's no way to be really, really prepared!). We just like to think we are getting a headstart. =)

Also, your baby shower is coming up. I'll share more on that later. But it looks like it is shaping up to be a pretty special event. I am sure you'll have fun as the "guest of honor" even if technically you are not yet due to show up for that event =)

Take care, Jamie G, we love you so much and can't wait to hold you in our arms =)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birthday

So, what's up with me? Well, recently I celebrated my 36th birthday. Yikes! I AM THIRTY FREAKING SIX! Where has the time gone? But then again, I'm not one to obsess about my age. So my birthday was pretty much a quiet event that came and went without much fanfare. I received an email from my good friend Tash and we were commiserating about how our birthdays this year (his is one day ahead of mine) were much quieter than previous birthdays. I had written to him saying that as we age, we probably become more subdued. His rationale is that maybe it is more of us being "just us" and that as we grow older, we tend to grow more into who we are rather than what everyone expects of us. SIGH. So true ... I definitely miss these kinds of talks with Tash =(

Anyway, my birthday consisted of dinner with Jojo's family the night before my birthday. I planned a Mexican themed dinner at home. I ordered Charo Fire Roasted Chicken, Mexican Rice, Soft Tortillas, their super delish homestyle salsa and a Mexican salad. On my end, I prepared Fiesta corn (which is basically shucked grilled corn with ham, onions, and red and green peppers. I had a pot of simmering black beans with Mexican seasoning. And I also had a make-it-yourself taco bar (soft and hard taco shells, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, salsa, and grated cheese. For dessert, I had ice cream and cake. It was a hit =)

On my actual birthday, co-workers took me to lunch at the Elephant Bar. Then for dinner, we met up with Atsi and Mark for dinner at Belaccan Grill (one of my favorite places!). It was a quiet weekend after that. Jojo kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday and there was honestly nothing I could think of! I guess I am lucky that way, huh? Seriously I could not think of a single thing I wanted to get. So my loving husband settled on getting me flowers and balloons ... but the bestest gift was him doting on me all weekend ... doing the dishes, doing the laundry, massaging my aching back and helping me decorate Beanie's room! Best birthday gifts ever! =)

Speaking of Beanie ... I'm almost 8 months preggers now. And my belly is HUGE. I don't know why I ever complained that it was small. These days, I have to be careful I don't tip over cause my belly is just so out there! It's not easy cause I have all sorts of aches and pains. Not to mention I am deathly afraid of stretch marks. But in many ways, it's still all good. I'm so excited cause I feel more movement now and I think Beanie is reacting more to external sounds. The other day, I swear she was dancing to music. I felt a thump-thump-thump every time I turned the car radio up. This happened at least 3 times! Who knew my baby girl would be a fan of Katy Perry's "California Girls"?

Anyway, these days we are excitedly planning the baby shower. I am excited! Here's a preview of the invitations that were sent out last week:

Hopefully all goes well. More on the shower in my next post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Health Issue

They say that during pregnancy most health issues are grossly heightened. For example, while on the family way, you are more susceptible to catching a cold and when you do, chances are the symptoms are much more severe. The same can be said for many other health issues. I should know since in the last few months, I have been to so many new doctors offices and have met with so many specialists for a variety of medical issues. I've been to my general practictioner countless times for the usual reasons. I've met with my OB-GYN regularly. I've met with a gentic OB-GYN a number of times for genetic counselling. I've seen a dermatologist for my hair issues and my hormone imbalance. I've visited two endocrinologists to get their opinions on my Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome. I've seen my eye doctor to get my vision checked this year and also my dentist for regular cleanings. I've also met with PAs (Physician Assistants) to monitor this and that - as well as a dozen or so lab technicians for countless blood, urine and glucose level tests. Not to mention meeting with medical technicians and nurses to monitor Beanie's fetal movement (or rather lack of movement!).

Today, I have to add a new "specialist" to my list. I have an appointment tomorrow to meet with a otolaryngologist. Doesn't that sound scary!? Actually I'm just meeting a ear, nose and throat specialist. As a result of my horrible cold about 3 weeks ago, I have a severely plugged up left ear. It's been on-going for almost a week. I thought if I waited it out, it would clear itself up. But apparently, it has not. Infact lately it seems to have gotten worse. I don't feel any pain at all and I can still hear out of my left ear. But it is so clogged up that I sort of feel I'm hearing things from inside a deep-sea tunnel. It's more irritating, if anything. So anyway, I saw my general practitioner today and she tried to irrigate it with warm water. No help at all. So I'm off to see a more highly trained ear doctor.

Every time I tell my husband about a new doctor I am seeing, he teases me about becoming a semi-hypochondriac. Well, maybe I am. But I firmly believe that it is better to be safe than sorry! Espcially now that I am pregnant, I think it is better to go see specialists to make sure that everything is going well and that nothing is done to harm our baby. All I can say is "thank god we have medical insurance and that I opted to take the PPO plan!". Here's hoping tomorrow's doctor visit goes well =)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Movement or Lack Of ...

Jojo and I spent the entire morning at Torrance Memorial Hospital today. Let me reassure everyone that everything is fine now but but we did have a bit of a scare this morning. Allow me to bore you with the details ...

This morning I went in for my routine check-up with Dr. Chen. Luckily Jojo insisted on going with me, even if I repeatedly told him he didn't have to. Since today was just a basic check up - nothing else, not even an ultrasound, was planned, I told Jojo he could sit this one out. THANK GOD he was stubborn and insisted on going with me. The first part of the check up went smoothly (oh except for the fact that I found out I had gained 6 and a half pounds in the last 4 weeks! Shudder!). Anyway, during the consultation portion, Dr. Chen asked if I feel Jellybean move regularly (by "regularly" he meant at least three times during the hour after breakfast and three times during the hour after lunch - among other times). I told him that I feel flutters throughout the day (mostly at night) but no real "movements" and definitely not on schedule. Dr. Chen was concerned since at 7 months, I should be feeling more than flutters - he said I should feel little kicks and jabs - and they should be pretty regular throughout the day especially after meals. He then listened to Beanie's heart rate (which was normal). But as a precaution he made me go to the Labor & Delivery Dept of Torrance Memorial for additional tests. As usual, I got really nervous and paranoid, which is why I was so glad Jojo was with me. He is very calm and reassuring at times like these!

When we arrived at the hospital, the nursing aides were really helpful. After a few minutes wait, I was sent to the testing room and had to undergo a non-stress test to listen for fetal movement. Since it was my first time, I was hooked up to this machine that read my baby's heart rate and recorded her movements. I had to stay hooked up for 2 hours so they could get a baseline rate. Everything looked normal - Beanie's heart rate was great and she was moving - only I could not feel anything. The doctor-in-charge ordered an ultrasound for me. The ultrasound showed everything was ok - Beanie was the right size and the right position. She was moving and her heart rate was strong too. Lastly, I did a quick urine test and we waited for the results with baited breath.

My nurse, Natalie, and Dr. Chen came by to tell us that basically it boils down to three things: 1.) my placenta is located in the front of my uterus (sorry for being so descriptive) which makes feeling Bean's movements hard. 2.) Bean does not move "on schedule". And 3.) most of Bean's movements are in the late afternoon / evenings (which explains why I am tired at the end of the day and am restless at night). Natalie said we have a "night baby" which may also mean she will be keeping us up at night! Uh-oh.

I am sort of relieved but not quite - only because monitoring Jellybean's activity is now doubly hard (I have to be super sensitive) and jot everything down in a journal. Keep track of any movement as best as I can. And if anything changes (drastically increased or decreased movement) we should head over to the hospital - ASAP! I mean, having them tell me to come in whenever I feel apprehension is great but having to go through these tests every single time is pretty nerve-wracking too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fifth Letter

Dear Beanie,

Happy 29th week – only about 9 to 11 weeks to go! I’ll be honest, the thought does make me a little nervous … but only because there seems to be so much left to do to prepare for your arrival. Plus the fact that the whole birthing process kinda scares me somewhat. But other than that, I am so darn excited to have you come be with us already!

Last Saturday, your dad and I went to Babies R Us to register for your baby shower. I was excited since shopping for registries is always fun. Little did we know, it would take us the entire morning (about 3 hours). And when decided to call it a day, we were only about a quarter done. It took us that long to pick out a stroller, car seat, booster seat, and a swing set. The reason it took us so long is because there was so many things to consider and so many choices to choose from! Talk about information overload. Take the choice for strollers – we had to decide if we wanted a full stroller, a mid-sized stroller, a light-weight stroller, a jogger stroller, or a convertible stroller (car seat and stroller in one). Then, when we decided what kind we wanted, we had about 100 choices and had to narrow that down by reading a ton of consumer reports and user reviews. Next we had to compare features, prices, and actual dimensions. Then we had to see the actual model and try it out (opening, closing, lifting, assembling and pretending to push it around). Our next step was picking what style, color and finish we wanted. Lastly, we had to make sure the stroller we picked was available in-store and online. Whew! We spent about an hour picking just the right stroller for you … your dad and I went back and forth. My main concern was how much use we would get out of it, how attractive it was (we want you to be a stylish baby after all!), and whether it was easy to assemble and use. Your dad was concerned about how heavy it was (he is the one doing the lifting after all), the safety features and the consumer reports. After an hour and getting the sales staff involved in our debate, we finally decided to compromise on one. We hope you like what we chose!

Speaking of your registry, we’ve been shopping for that since your baby shower is coming up. I’m so excited for that too. The shower is going to be on Feb. 5th and is being hosted by your aunts – Tracy, Marik, Len, Edel, Cha and Atsi Jen. They are still trying to confirm the place to accommodate about 60 guests. I know it seems like a lot of people – I’m not even sure how that number came up. We started with just family, a few close friends, co-workers, etc. By the time we finished our list we had about 80+ guests (we figure only 60 will actually come)! 80+ guests - that’s not even counting your aunts and uncles in Manila and in other places – just the ones that are here! That just goes to show how many people are so excited to meet you, Beanie.

The last few weeks have been relatively easy for me in terms of my pregnancy. I can’t really complain about anything other than the fact that my belly is quite big now. I am now wearing my maternity clothes (my regular clothes just won’t zip up anymore – not even with the pregnancy band). It’s ok though – to be honest, I kind of enjoy all the pregnancy attention I am getting. These days, I officially look pregnant and not just like I ate too much! It’s also a little bit weird to look down and see just my belly (I can’t see my toes anymore). Other than that, I have a few backaches once in a while and sometimes have difficulty finding a comfortable position when sleeping. But nothing major to complain about! Over the holidays, I caught a really bad cold and it was really hard for me since I couldn’t take any kind of medication (other than over-the-counter Tylenol which did not alleviate any of the cold symptoms). It was probably the worst 10 days of my pregnancy since I had a bad sore throat, a stuffy nose, constant coughing and a horrible headache. Your dad was extremely solicitous in taking care of me – even if I was a probably the world’s worst patient cause I was constantly complaining and was as cranky as a bear! Luckily I survived and am now feeling much better. I had a bit of a scare too last week since I was asked to re-take my gestational diabetes test. My first test came out a bit high and I had to go back and do the second screening. I am just so glad that the results are ok and I do not have gestational diabetes. Whew! So far, everything is going fine.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what’s been up with me in regards to you. Everything is going just fine, Bean. Your dad and I are just so thrilled that these days you are more active and moving around much more. I think it just means you are getting a bit anxious and are definitely getting ready to come on out. YAY! See you REALLY soon! =)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Eve

Last night we celebrated New Year's Eve at Marik's place. We had dinner with the family and settled in to watch a DVD while waiting for midnight. Unfortunately Jojo and I could not stay the entire evening as we are both still recovering from colds. We left around 9:30. I got to talk to my family in Manila for a while and then we pretty much continued with our mini New Year's Eve celebration at home - just the three of us - Jojo, me and Beanie! =)

Some pics from the dinner at Marik's place:

My nieces in their New Year's polka dot dresses: Maddie, Faye, Dani, MJ, Sydney and Meredith =)

My nephews: Jeremy, Jorel and Elroy =)

The Ordinario family (we're almost complete)!