It’s been one month since we took Dawn and Rain home, 5 weeks since I delivered them via emergency c-section, 40 months since they were conceived. This week would have been the week they’re due had they been normal, full-term babies. But maybe that’s just it.. these babies are not normal. Born 5 weeks short of full-term, these babies are so special God had to give them a surprise grand entrance. :)
Needless to say, it’s one of the best, if not the best, months of my life. But it wasn’t an easy month too. It was a time of transitions, big and small changes, recovery, learning, growing.
I had to recuperate from my first ever major surgery, discharging a lot of postpartum blood and taking in hypertension meds and pain killers in the process. Our body clock is a wreck, 3 straight hours of sleep is a luxury. Newborns have to be fed within 2-3 hour cycles—imagine having to feed 2 babies one after the other! I have to pump 6 oz of milk every 3 hours if I want to exclusively breastfeed them. We still don’t have a yaya too and we don’t exactly live close to my Mom’s house. That means we have to do the babies’ laundry, wash dishes, sterilize bottles, keep the house clean, cook meals, all of these on top of changing diapers, pumping milk, and taking care of two delicate, premature babies.
I cried a lot. Out of exhaustion, out of frustration, out of joy.
I remember the first time I lost composure and bawled over my new role as a mother. I was alone at home feeding Dawn when Rain started crying. It was the first time the twins did a bawling duet on me, and the first time my husband was not around to nurse the babies with me. I pretended to be the strong and composed adult for the first few minutes. I held on to Dawn with one hand and freed my other hand so I could calm Rain. But shifting positions made Dawn lose her latch and start crying too, so I ended up with two hungry babies who wouldn’t stop crying and two hands which were both full! It was a havoc! I panicked like crazy! Soon, their duet became a trio, with their mother crying with them.
I was only capable of nursing one baby so I decided to focus on Dawn while Rain cried like she couldn’t breathe. Crying and struggling for composure in the process, I finished feeding Dawn and attended to Rain after. I held on to poor baby Rain with tears in my eyes, frustrated at myself for being such a failure. “Sorry baby, sorry, sorry, sorry,” I whispered to Rain as I hugged her and soothed her cries. I was tired, overwhelmed, and upset with myself for putting my babies in so much trauma. For a moment there I wondered what God was thinking entrusting these babies to my care.
Suddenly, the door opened and my husband came in, catching me in my moment of vulnerability. Relief washed through me. It was as if God was reminding me that He hears our cries, that I’m not alone in this journey.
I’ve never stopped learning since that day. Dawn and Rain would still do bawling duets, especially now that they’re starting to hear and imitate each other. But I know how to handle them now. And yes, I did learn some mommy tricks here and there.
You’ve probably seen a lot of happy photographs on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, but in between those happy, colorful moments are vulnerable moments that make us—all four of us—grow.
It wasn’t a particularly easy month for us and our babies (we’re all new at this!) but it’s sweet November nonetheless. After all, it’s the month where four lives became a family, our house became a home, and I, a Mom.
This Pregnancy Series, over and out. :)
Marking this experience in this blog, before it becomes a distant memory.
My room of “deliverance”, for everything that word means.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.”
Whoever said that child birth is such a beautiful experience has placed the expectations up too high. In my experience, the only moment that was beautiful about it was when I heard Dawn & Rain’s first cries—Rain first, and 2 minutes later, Dawn. The rest of it was like a nightmare (or a bad horror movie!) that I just wanted over and done with, and now I’m glad was over.
What should have been my weekly OB check-up led to an emergency confinement starting Saturday, October 20. I was having contractions and my cervix was open 2 cm. My belly was so huge I could hardly breathe. I was only on my 34th week then so I had to stop contracting (it wasn’t time!), and the babies needed steroids for lung development in case I needed to go into c-section earlier than expected.
Which is exactly what happened. As soon as I reached my 35th week, my OB decided it was show time.
And hey, which part of the whole delivery experience was beautiful again?
Husband and I had a fun time opening presents from the baby shower, even though we still haven’t figured out how to use half the stuff we got! We have a little less than a month to get the nursery together now (I know, we’re crammers like that), but my oh my, exciting times ahead! :)
On another note, what I love most about these photos* is my husband’s wacky face. Haha! Sometimes I wonder if he’s fully aware that he’s going to be a father soon. I think he forgets sometimes.
I guess we can tell now which one of us will be the babies’ favorite. Haynakuuu! :)
*Photo is an animated GIF, it might take a while to load.
And I’m not about to tell you what to eat, what to do when your feet are swollen, or what’s the best sleeping position with a huge watermelon-sized tummy. There are gazillions of websites for those tips already (try Baby Center & What to Expect), and surely they know more than I do.
What I’ve been meaning to share is something that is both biblical and practical, and something that’s truly worked for me: First, that you wait until you’re married to get pregnant, and second, that you marry someone who will take care of you in the course of pregnancy (and beyond!) and will take responsibility for your future babies as much as you do.
Photos are from my 26th week, we have not taken maternity shots in a while.
You see, pregnancy brings about a gazillion of changes in your body, emotions, personality, schedule, and in everything that you are. To start with, pregnancy makes you cranky, and crave for all sorts of food, and pretty much tired all the time. There are days when you feel ugly, and your body will undergo physical changes that are not exactly.. pretty. And then you find yourself crying even more than usual, not just because of the pains but because of hormones as well.
When your baby bump is bigger, you have to be literally pulled out of bed in the mornings (or in the wee hours of the night) because you can’t get up by yourself anymore. You feel pain everywhere, pains that don’t exactly have medical cure, so you need a massage in lieu of pain killers.. or, when the massage does not work, a comfort hug that reminds you that you’re not going through this alone.
Through all these, you need someone patient enough to be around, to support you, and to lovingly be at your beck and call.
And I know it must sound like I’m telling you to get a private caregiver, lol, but mostly what I’m saying is.. aside from the fact that sex and pregnancy are designed by God to be within the bounds of marriage, pregnancy is team effort. It’s hard and challenging, but it becomes so much easier when done as a team.
I salute single mothers out there who’s done pregnancy on their own.. but for you who still have a choice, I’m saying, don’t screw up the timeline, friend. Engagement, wedding, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood—each one is a beautiful phase to savor and enjoy, one phase at a time.
So get married first, and go through pregnancy with your husband. You will definitely need lots of help, lots of love, & lots of attention! ;)
I’ve been going through a lot of rough days lately. I wake up and go through the day with all sorts of pain in literally all parts of my body, and I have to endure looong trips from home to work and back each day. Sometimes I can’t point exactly where the pain is coming from anymore; all I know is, sleeping, walking, standing up and even breathing takes a lot more effort now than ever.
Plus my baby bump is HUGE! The photos above were taken about a month ago, so I’ve grown significantly bigger since then. To illustrate how big my bump is, last week during my pre-natal checkup, two other pregnant mommies were in the waiting room with me. After some small talk, I learned that they were already in their 9th month of pregnancy.. and yet, my 30-week old tummy was still bigger than theirs. It’s heavy, and it’s no joke having to carry around additional 40 pounds of placenta, amniotic fluid, and two actively kicking babies, while balancing them with my short, chubby legs.
But God sends angels to help me through each day—strangers who willingly give up their seats for me in crowded trains, churchmates and colleagues who thoughtfully bring me cookies and pastries, godmothers who hands-me-down maternity dresses, family and friends who volunteer to drive and run errands for us, prayer warriors everywhere.
And then there’s my husband who tells me I’m beautiful even when all I feel is fat and ugly, who holds my hand through a contraction or a cramp, and listens intently when I rant about the challenges of my day, and makes room in our budget for occasional shopping sprees when I’m feeling sad about not having anything to wear anymore, and picks me up from work everyday without fail.
And then there’s this two little angels who nudge me from within—fetal movements that, to me, translate to “We love you, Mommy!“, or “We’re okay Mommy, don’t worry about us!“, or “You’re not alone Mommy, we’re here.”
I’m surrounded by love everyday.
Sure, there may be moments of weakness.. days when I wish for this phase to be over and done with already; or moments when I feel sad about not being able to wear heels; or times when I get scared about going under the knife. But mostly there is just pure joy, and sheer excitement, and childlike wonder, and a lot of marveling at how intricately God creates life and how He takes care of His children.
This pregnancy is doing me good. I want to remember this time of my life forever.
*Word art by Paislee Press, thank you.
It’s like, better than horoscope! Not that I read or believe in horoscope—I don’t, let me make that one clear. It’s just that.. it’s cool how this website (and its tiny iPhone app) knows exactly what I’m going through in my pregnancy, sometimes even predicting what’s going to happen in the next couple of days.
This is what WTE tells me this week:
This is it — you’re two-thirds to the finish line at 28 weeks pregnant, as you enter the third trimester! And what a difference a trimester makes. Gone, most likely, are the days when you could call pregnancy “comfortable” (that is, if you ever did). These days, your baby’s kicking (or lack of) is keeping you up at night and worried during the day, your feet are swollen, you’re getting tired all over again, and your backache is a pain that just won’t quit. And even though he or she hasn’t started crying yet, it may seem that your baby’s getting on your nerves already — literally.
As your baby gets settled into a proper (you hope) position for birth, his or her head (and your enlarging uterus) may rest on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of your spine. And if that happens, you may feel sharp, shooting pain, tingling, or numbness that starts in your buttocks and radiates down the back of your legs — otherwise known as sciatica. The pain of sciatica can be quite intense at times, and though it may pass if your baby shifts positions, it can also linger until you’ve delivered.
A heating pad, a warm tub, stretches, or just some self-imposed bed rest can help with the discomfort. So can some complementary and alternative therapies.
What do you know, I’m now in my third trimester. And I’m feeling… everything WTE says I should be feeling. Except maybe that part where the fetal movements should start getting in my nerves by now—they don’t, really. In fact, given all the pregnancy pains and woes I’m feeling right now, it’s surely the best times of my day when the babies move and kick and have a little party inside my womb! :)
This morning in the train, one of the twins kicked from within the side of my belly and the lady who was sitting right next to me felt it! She gave me a smile and a “WOW”.
Well, WOW indeed.
A little less than three months to go. Please say a little prayer for these two little kickers (and their clueless Mommy & Daddy) when you have time.