Pregnancy Diaries

Daily Post #56-57: Sunday Lunch

A fairly new-found friend messaged me the other day if we could meet up yesterday. It has been three months I think since I last saw her. Since it had already been that long and she offered to pick me up from my place and drop me off afterwards, I said yes in an instant. She also told me that we can just have lunch in his fiance’s place so that I can see the newborn baby.

It is not her baby by the way. Her fiance is living in a two-bedroom apartment and he is sharing it with one of his close friends who I’ve already met as well. Said friend has a family who also came here a month after he arrived. He has a wife and a two-year old son. Since his wife was 8 months pregnant then when they came here, they also brought in his mother-in-law to help them during his wife’s pregnancy and after she gives birth.

We were not able to push through yesterday since the family went out. My friend asked me if I am available in the evening since the family will come back in the afternoon but told her that unfortunately, I am not. So, we moved the supposed visit and meet-up the next day, which was earlier today.

We were still at the doorway when their friend’s 2-year old son run towards me. He was so excited to see me it was as if he had already seen me before. I gave the little boy a big smile and patted his little head before he ran back again to the living room. My heart melted as I know that a few years from now Aaron and I will have a little toddler that will run towards us when he catches even just a glimpse of us in the doorway. We followed him to the living room and it was only there that I saw how the atmosphere drastically changed with their friend’s family in there. I had been in their apartment once but it was more lively and much more home-like now compared before.

There was a stroller in the hallway, a crib near the window with the newborn baby sleeping in there, the Filipino Channel is playing on the TV and a wonderful, very Filipino aroma that’s coming from the kitchen. The baby is a month-old. She looks so fragile but so peaceful sleeping there, doing her own thing, not minding our noise. She is so cute but I did not dare touch her even though I badly wanted to.

It was the first time that I met the kids’ mother. She has a warm smile. After exchanging pleasantries, she told me about her recent labour experience. I will be having my labour in the same hospital that she did so to hear that she had a great birthing experience in there had a real reassuring and calming effect on me.

Nanay, who was the reason behind the lovely aroma that I smelled when I walked in the house, told us that lunch was already ready. She cooked some Lumpiang toge (spring rolls with vegetables and bean sprouts) and Pancit Canton (stir fried noodles with veggies and meat) which made me drool even more. I did not waste time and grabbed and ate one of the golden lumpias on the table. Oh how I missed that taste! I love Lumpiang toge and I remember it being my default snack when I was still working in the Philippines. But ever since I’ve read in the internet that I should be wary of any kind of sprouts especially undercooked ones now that I am pregnant, I steered clear of eating any bean sprouts from then on. So as I was eating the lumpia, I was also pulling away any bean sprouts that I was seeing. Nonetheless, it did not diminish the experience and happiness that I felt when I was eating it. I think I ate 3 in one go and I would have probably eaten more if I could still squeeze in more in my belly!

It was a simple Sunday lunch really and a simple gathering. There’s nothing much to it but what I loved most about it is that it definitely reminded me of home.

Daily Post #54-55: Laziness

Laziness. When I’ve become pregnant, I’ve been so lazy during weekends that I usually just choose to stay in the house. Yes, I still go out but only if I go to my yoga classes, attend my driving lessons, go to mass and do my grocery shopping. Other than that, I just choose to stay at home, cook my food, do a little bit of writing, do some household chores and read my piling stack of books that I’ve either bought or borrowed from the library.

The moment I set foot back in our house after I’ve done all of my outside obligations and chores, I usually feel so tired and in dire need of a nap. Whenever I let myself indulge in a “quick nap” immediately after I’ve gotten home, the nap usually stretches beyond how long I intended for it to be. The nap becomes a full-blown sleep which interestingly makes me even lazier and in turn gives me more reason to just stay on the couch and continue lying there until God knows when.

That is why before I give myself the license to lie on the couch, I finish first all the writing that needed to be done and reading that I wanted to do. I still do try to be productive so as not have that feeling of regret or guilt when I decide to allow myself to succumb to laziness’ luring.

Now, I am trying to remember if I’ve been like this even when I was younger or only after I’ve become pregnant. It’s hard to tell now. I do know that I am a home-body but I do remember that I do get excited and pumped up whenever I am about to go experience something new. Whenever weekend is about to approach, I always see to it that I stay updated with new restaurant openings or know what events are on around Manila that time so that I could go and check them out. This is surely not something naturally lazy people would do, right?

Also when I’ve set foot here in Australia, I didn’t let a week pass by without chasing after novelty - may it be dining in a new restaurant, taking a different route or just exploring. Was it just because I am in a new place and now that the novelty is starting to wear off I’ve already reverted to my old ways? Was this really my old way or am I just in a phase where I have been changed in one way or another by my pregnancy. Much like the concept of having a baby brain where in my brain is not functioning to its normal potential just because I have a baby inside of me.

Anyway, I do think that this is not the time for risk-taking and exerting much effort. If my body needed to be lazy so that I could feel recharged and could function better then I’ll give it to my body to do so. The fact that I am pregnant and my body is undergoing a lot of changes right now to accommodate another life is already work in itself. It is just saddening to see that sometimes the hard work my body is doing right now is not apparent to other people, and sometimes to myself. Yes, I do feel frustrated and guilty at times for not being that productive, for not being able to do what I wanted to do, for not being bolder than I should be but I have to always, always remember now that this is not the time to push myself to the limits. It is not only myself now that I should look after. I always have to be mindful now of the repercussions of my actions to not only me but most importantly towards my baby’s health and wellbeing for whatever it is that I am feeling, I know my baby is feeling it too.

For now, I’ll just ride the waves and let him grow happily, steadily and healthily in my belly until it is time for him to come out to this world.

Daily Post #45-49: The Glucose Tolerance Testing

I had my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) earlier today. Despite reading and hearing a lots of complaints from women with regards to some aspects of the test such as the fasting, the very sweet concoction that they give you to drink and the long wait that you have to endure before all three samples would be taken, I am happy to say that my experience was relatively good and manageable.

I woke up at around 5:30 this morning and went out an hour after that to commute to the hospital where I will have my GTT. Since my midwife told me during my last appointment that women were already piling up in the pathology section’s area starting at 7 am, I made sure to come in earlier than my scheduled appointment of 7:30 am so that I could be served immediately. The commute was a breeze as I was already in the waiting area before 7 am.

When I arrived, a lady was already sitting in there waiting for the receptionist who’s going to hand out numbers to arrive. Yes, at least, I was second in line. Pleasantries and conversations ensued. She asked me how long I am in and I told her that I’m already on my 27th week. Apparently, she’s also on her 27th week. She told me that she arrived at 6:30 am because she needed to get out of there as quickly as possible. Same sentiment here, since I still had to go to work after that. When the conversation died down, I took out the book that I’ve been reading for two weeks now to pass time. It’s a good decision that I brought the book (even though it was heavy) because I was able to read lot a while I was waiting for my turn. ♥

Five minutes before our scheduled appointment, the receptionist came in, placed a box of laminated numbers on the desk and asked each of us to grab one. It’s actually amazing that all of the ladies there know where they are in the sequence even though we were not in any line whatsoever. If we’re in any other country, I don’t think that would be the case! After 10 minutes, they were already calling out the numbers one by one and getting our appointment forms.

At 7:45 am, one of the collectors called out my name and led me to one of the rooms there. She took the first blood sample and then explained to me that she will again call me at 8:45 am to take the second sample and lastly at 9:45 am to take the last sample. She also gave me a plastic bottle which, by the looks of it, contains the controversial drink that every pregnant woman in Australia knows. She instructed me to consume the drink within 5 minutes after she had taken the first sample. I already had a preconceived notion how’s it gonna be because of the stories from women I had talk with and had read. I was already preparing myself for the worst! This could be the worst drink that I could ever have tasted just yet. While I was sipping away, there’s only one thought that had popped into my head: “This is not so bad!”. It actually tasted nice for me. Well, that’s coming of course from someone who generally appreciates everything edible. ♥

The collector led me again to the same room and took my second sample. She inserted the syringe back to where she had inserted it earlier. God, It was painful! It would definitely bruise, I thought. The collection lasted for a bout a minute and off I go to the clinics’ waiting area. After 5 minutes of sitting there to continue on with my book, I heard my name being called out. When I checked who it was, I saw a cute midwife in a uniform wearing a pixie haircut. I jumped to my feet and approached her. She greeted me with a smile and made me at ease as she led me down the hallway to one of the clinics in there.

As I entered room, I noticed that there’s another person already sitting there. I initially thought that we were approaching the wrong room but it turned out she is another midwife and Alison, who called me in earlier, was a student midwife. So that explains the uniform she was wearing.

As we sat down and got comfortable, Alison started by asking me how I was feeling. I told them I was feeling great. They were both in shock as normally pregnant woman especially those who are approaching their third trimester would not be so inclined to use the word “great” to explain what they are feeling. But I really do and they told me that it was good to hear that. She continued on by explaining what the GTT was for and proceeded on checking the results of my previous blood tests, which according to them looked fantastic. She also iterated that if there’s some problem with the results of my GTT, the hospital would call me to inform me about it but if I haven’t heard from them in the next couple of days then that means that all is well. ♥

After the discussion, they asked me to lie down so that they could check the baby’s heart rate. Alison checked where Bibibam is by lightly pressing on different parts of my belly. When she found him, she then placed the gelled doppler on my exposed belly to search for his heart rate. Every time Alison places the doppler on my belly, she would get a hard kick from Bibibam and he will move to a different position. This went on for more than 5 minutes. I can’t help but laugh every time he kicks the doppler or Alison’s hands. Alison would laugh a little too every time he does it. He is still in my belly and he’s already stubborn and very aware of his private space!

Since I was already feeling that Bibibam was giving Alison such a hard time and he will not stop anytime soon, I asked him to behave and cooperate. Well, he did not respond positively immediately so the other midwife stepped in and took the doppler from Alison. Again, when the midwife pressed either her fingers or the doppler on the part of my belly where Bibibam was, he would kick it hard and went deeper into his position. “Oh, hello there!”, the midwife just said and proceeded on to look for him. I asked again Bibibam to behave and not give them anymore a hard time. After pleading twice, he eventually succumbed and listened to me. At long last, the midwife was able to find his heart beat. We listened to his heart rate, which sounded like a galloping horse, for about a minute before finally concluding that he is indeed a happy baby. I just smiled when I heard it. ♥

It is funny to observe the feeling of pride when midwives or doctors would praise Bibibam or comment positively about him. I also feel deep joy whenever people notice him or how big my baby bump is becoming. I adore it when he does new things, when he kicks or nudges me hard or when I feel him move swiftly in my belly. Always would I share it with Aaron and I even try my hardest to capture videos of him moving whenever I could so that Aaron could see what all the fuss is about. I usually wear tight clothing and refrain from wearing ultra loose blouses that would cover him up as I love to show him off to the world. When people ask me how my pregnancy is coming along, I do not think twice about showing them my tummy. Yes, he is still in my belly but I am already very proud of him and his achievements.

After the antenatal visit with the midwives, I again headed back to the pathology section’s waiting area and waited for the my final blood sample for that test to be taken. A new collector called me in, led me again to one of the rooms and asked me to sit back and relax while she prepped. I asked her to take the sample on the other arm this time.

“No news is good news”, she said to me while she was taking the sample.

After pulling out the syringe and covering it up, she told me that I was already finished for the test and was done for the day. She reminded me to not do any heavy lifting or put any unnecessary stress in my arms so that the covered up parts would not bruise.

Although I had not been feeling any pangs of hunger then, I still took out the cookie that I packed and ate it while I was waiting at the bus stop. I was able to munch the cookie down even before my bus had arrived. Eating it was pure bliss.

I went straight to work and I still was able to work for 6 hours before calling it a day. It is only when I got home and took my jacket off have I realized that the cover-ups from the blood sampling were still there stuck on the inside of my elbows. Taking them off slowly as if it was an important and big reveal, I’ve noticed that the side where the girl took the 2 samples did not have any bruise although it hurt and bled a while back. Interestingly, the other side which I thought will not have any bruise actually bruised. Oh, well.

Daily Post #44: The Day Prior Glucose Tolerance Test

Why is it that most of the time that I'll have a doctor's appointment the following day, I do end up getting slightly sick they day prior, just like today? I'm just having a cold now due to the hot and windy weather earlier today but no biggie! There's nothing that can't be remedied by water and a good night's sleep.

I'll be having my Glucose Tolerance Test tomorrow which apparently is a must for women in Australia who are in between their 26 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. This is used to diagnose gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy). A pregnant woman's body has to work doubly hard to produce insulin, which regulates the amount of sugar in our blood. If the woman's body is not able to cope up, there is a high potential that she can develop gestational diabetes. I hope my constant sweets intake during the last couple of months won't have an adverse effect to the efficiency of my pancreas. 

Even though it is really not good timing to have a cold right now as I have a tendency to eat a lot when I'm feeling sick, I still needed to adhere to the rule and to fast 12 hours before they take a sample of my blood for testing. Anyway, I've already ate a lot of rice earlier today and I think that would already be enough until I get to eat again tomorrow!

Daily Posts #41-43: Weight Gain and More

I’m currently in the 26th week of my pregnancy and I already feel really huge! My belly is now all-day hard unlike before when it was only after I have my meals and during night time that it becomes hard. Now, even when I’m on my bed, either lying on one side or on my back, my belly is already bulging out. Bibibam must really be a big boy!

 

First Trimester: Strict but Deprived

During my first trimester up until the early parts of my second trimester I have not really took notice of my weight. It is because of the fact that I do not care if I gain much weight as long as I eat healthy. I was very strict with my diet then, I only ate real foods, I increased my daily intake of fruits and vegetables and if I were to eat meat, I only did so sparingly. I only increased my rice intake and I rarely had sweets and junk foods but even though I was eating healthy I felt really deprived.

Since I had been reading a lot of do’s and dont’s in the earlier part of my pregnancy, there came a point that I got really scared of eating and exploring other food options. I just stuck with ingredients that I know and whenever I do try to experiment (because that’s just who I am, I can’t not explore), I always become wary that it might hurt my baby.

When I read that raw and even undercooked eggs might be bad for my baby, I freaked out that starting from that moment, I had always overcooked my eggs. Since some cakes also have raw eggs in them, I steered away from them too. And when the temptation to eat a slice came as the cake was just there staring back at me and it was hard to block it since it looked really yummy and delicious, I would just go near it, sniff it and then turn my back, fill my drink bottle with lots of water and drink it up so that I would become really full, hoping the craving would creep out of my system. Usually I was successful but sometimes, I would just go ahead and pinch myself a slice and put it in my mouth right then and there. It was horrifying then, I felt like I am a mad woman or something.

It was crazy.

I also did not have any cravings of any kind. I only stock 1 bag of chips to satisfy my tongue when it felt like eating salty food and a tub of coconut-based ice cream (the healthier alternative!) when it felt like eating anything sweet, which would already last me for 2 weeks.

I only gained about 1.5 kilos until the 16th week but when I hit the 17th week, even though I was still strict then with my diet, my weight gain went crazy fast. I were then gaining about 500 to 600 grams a week, not to mention I really ate a lot when my husband went home again here in Melbourne for 5 weeks.

 

Second Trimester: Over-indulgent

He cooks amazingly and he did cook us lovely foods that I really missed back home. When he was here, all my inhibitions about food flew right out the window. I just felt that since he was here and he approved, I had the license to eat anything I wanted. I just went crazy with food but amazingly I felt like I had more energy and I felt really satisfied so I continued on. I still ate a lot of real foods and I threw in a serving of junk foods in the mix too. I had my birthday and he had his too during his stay here which actually gave me more license to indulge. Every day that he was here felt like a feast for me. He was here until the 23rd week of my pregnancy.

During the last 2 weeks that he was here, I started to become guilty of my eating choices, primarily because my weight gain, week after week, had become steeper. I started to recent the way I had pigged out. Even though I was contented, I started attributing my consistent weight gain to my bad choices and over-indulgence.

After he left for the Philippines, I reverted to my old ways. I again became strict with my diet but without inhibitions anymore. I went back to exploring and eating foods that I think were good for us, I threw out paranoia in the bin and I toned down my junk food intake. I only eat sweets now during the weekend and I had recently found a better alternative to my chips intake. I just buy a pack of Lebanese bread fresh from the bakery, cut it in triangles and pop them in the microwave for about a minute to mimic the crispiness of chips. I also buy a small tub of dip from the grocery store (Guacamole every single time for me!) to dip the crispy triangles in. Technically it is still carbs but I’d go for carbs anytime than those yummy but very salty chips in the grocery shelves. I think this is what healthy-eating encourages everyone to do: to not deprive yourself, to be creative and wiser with your food choices and to always choose the lesser evil.

Although my mom also came to visit me for a few days and she had also cooked some amazing food, I did not over-indulge anymore and I only just consume what my body needed. Surprisingly, even though with the adjustments that I made, my weight gain is still steady at 500 to 600 grams each week. Even so, I am happier and more at peace now.

 

Now: Strict but Healthier

I think I’ve already accepted the fact that may be it is not my fault after all. Maybe the weight gain is not directly due to my diet but it is just how this pregnancy works. Sooner or later, I will really have to gain these pounds. The weight gain is not just from my baby or my increased body fats but it is more than that. There’s still the increased weight of the placenta, uterus, breast tissues and other protein and nutrient stores that I have forgotten to account for. There’s also the increase fluid and blood volume. To ease my mind some more, I am now referring to Baby Center’s weight gain tracker. Accounting my BMI before I became pregnant, my weigh then, my weight now and how long I already am in this pregnancy, Baby Center assured me that I am still in the healthy range. And with that, it looks like we are doing just fine.