Friday 13th

It’s been a very busy work week — me catching up on my new role with an ongoing transition, and the husband caught up in their upcoming weekend release activities. Despite this, we were able to squeeze in some family time to mini-celebrate this important date – our Friday 13th.

People who know us must be tired of hearing how special this day is for us. Heck, I started this day thinking that this date might be starting to lose its meaning as we grow older and be occupied with more adult-y things. Until I got a message from a friend: Randomly remembered you. Happy Friday 13th.

And it instantly reminded me to keep holding on to our little things — the little things that are ours and ours alone. That no matter how old we get or how adult-y things become, we don’t forget to be silly and be giddy and believe in seemingly illogical things like fate and luck.

I’m happy that we get to celebrate this date now with our Bellabot. She was almost born on a Friday 13th, did you know? But the rulers of the fate must have decided that enough is enough and so they willed all of their powers to let Bellabot out in this world a day before.

Forgive me, my imagination goes wild when I’m happy.

Warrior 2 for Our Warrior 2

The past 9 months has been a roller coaster of emotions. On the first weekend of March, we found out that I’m pregnant. This is a very much welcomed news because for the past 3 years, we’ve been praying for a rainbow baby. Prior, I’ve met with several OBGs from different hospitals and clinics just to get the best advise and medication for my PCOS. They were years of hopes and wishes, and heartbreaks and fears. So this was, of course, an ecstatic moment for us.

A mere 2 days after the good news, however, I had bleeding and was diagnosed with threatened miscarriage. I was on bed rest for a whole week, only allowed movement when going on bio breaks. It was a very nerve wracking moment for us. Memories of my past miscarriage kept going back and it didn’t help with my stress levels.

In the midst of this is the growing concern about COVID-19. News of increasing death toll around the globe was getting alarming that we weren’t really surprised when the President announced that the country will be on quarantine. We weren’t allowed to go out unless it’s for a necessity. Work from home was mandated by both of our companies. Although it took away the toll of daily commute and dangers of being exposed and contracting the virus, it was still generally a big stressor for us.

I was about to make a big life decision but when the news of the pregnancy broke and upon learning about our delicate condition, I decided to park them. In my mind, the baby is our #1 priority. I also requested my manager to pull me out of a highly-stressful engagement because it wasn’t helping with my overall state. He was kind enough to agree.

I was on progesterone for the whole of my first trimester to make sure that the baby stays safe, and to avoid another miscarriage. I was looking forward to the end of our 12th week when a friend announced her unfortunate miscarriage. She just completed her first trimester, which got me asking: I thought we’re generally safe when we get past the first trimester? Is there no safe time for pregnancy?

Then came a celebrity’s sad news about her baby dying after delivery. Photos of her crying with her husband on the hospital was all over Twitter and it’s enough to break anyone’s heart. Which got me asking again: Is there no safe time for pregnancy?

Some people think that the moment you get pregnant again, you automatically get over a previous miscarriage. Not sure with the others, but that’s not how it worked for me. Having this baby did not prevent me from thinking about and talking about Ezra. He will always be a part of our family. He will always be “my firstborn”.

Although I did not want my experience to maim me in what’s supposed to be the most exciting moment of our lives, it was hard not thinking about what could go wrong. There were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream — a dream where either I had a miscarriage again or I delivered a stillborn.

It was really hard so I just kept reminding myself that I have to be strong for our baby.

When I got cleared by my doctor to resume physical activities after our first trimester, I immediately geared towards making myself stronger and healthier. After all, a strong and healthy mama helps in having a strong and healthy baby. I was also aiming for a vaginal birth at that time so it was really important to build my stamina and strengthen my mindset so I don’t easily give up when the pains of labor comes in.

Slowly but surely, I was able to establish a routine and I’ve never felt more disciplined than ever. I found comfort in yoga and meditation. And since I cannot run outside, I tried doing pregnancy-safe cardio and strength exercises, too. Day by day, I felt stronger and more confident with my pregnancy. The oxytocin from my daily workout also gave me the boost to get thru my day.

Although, to be honest, there was still a part of me that held me back from giving general announcements or organizing baby showers and the likes. In my mind, I need to focus more on what matters to us the most: preparing for a safe delivery with no complications. It doesn’t matter whether the baby’s a boy or a girl, what matters more is I get to see him or her alive and hold him or her in my arms. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have baby showers; we’re on lockdown anyway. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have the big baby announcements; the people who matters to us the most already know.

And honestly, I found it sweet to be with and grow with the baby in our semi-secret state. All 9 months of it.

Fast forward to today, I am now a happy mama to a healthy baby girl. Although I wasn’t able to achieve my target vaginal delivery, I felt that the preparations that I did was not in vain. My labor story was something else, but it’s an interesting topic for next time.

The preparation gave me the strength that I needed while enduring the pains of labor. It also kept my fears at bay. According to one doula that I followed during my pregnancy, “the more you know, the less you fear”.

My being strong did not end upon my giving birth. Being a mama to a newborn is not a walk in the park. The cute photos and videos, the funny coos, the addicting baby smell… all comes with fatigue, restlessness, worries, and, yes, frustrations. So I’m thankful that the mindset, discipline, and patience that I learned during my pregnancy are still very helpful now. Whenever my mind drifts towards the negative, I let it. But then I stop, take a deep breath, and pull it back to a place of calmness and gratitude. I remind myself why we prayed for this baby for so long. And now our prayer has finally been granted.

In my mind, I need to be a warrior for our little warrior.

Note: I realized that I was not able to publish this at the time of writing (December 4, 2020) so I’m doing this now. How apt since our dear Bellabot is 9 months old today. From 9 months ago to 9 months after...

Daydream Believer

Back in 2016, we had a shoot for our Save the Date video. It’s one of my favorite moments during the wedding preps because my husband and I love conceptualizing things that stretch our creativities.

We had our official photographer attend the shoot so he can also get some BTS shots to be used for our wedding guestbook. But the video itself was only shot by our friends, and later on edited by me and Cris.

Until now, this is still one of my favorite things that we did together:

During the wedding preps, we tried to stray away from all the (unnecessary) glitz. Instead, we focused on what matters most: just getting married. Simple.

After all, whenever we talked about and thought about our wedding before, we mostly talked about the future — OUR future, which is what this video is all about.

This made me realize that we’re slowly living the married life that we used to just dream of. You see, earlier this year, we found out I was pregnant and we couldn’t be happier. It was three years of praying, wishing, hoping, and heartbreaks so hearing this news from our OBG felt like it’s been a long time coming.

8 months into our pregnancy, Cris asked me to do a shoot. This totally surprised me because he’d rather take multiple photos of a building or a plant or his action figures than take a single photo of me without making a face (true story whenever we travel or go somewhere nice).

Due to the pandemic and the restrictions of my swab test, we cannot go out so we just maximized our place for the shoot. Which reminded me of this video. Why not recreate some of them into our shoot?After all, there are some elements there that now holds true today.

Rewatching the video and looking at these pictures made me truly excited about the present and the future — both near and far.

It’s lovely when daydreams turn into realities, don’t you think?