It still feels so surreal when I say it. Sometimes, I look at my growing belly and I feel the tiny kicks of my baby, and I am still in utter disbelief that – oh my god! – we’re going to be parents!
“SO… WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A BABY?” (A.K.A. PRESSURE!!!)
Ever since Mike and I got married in 2015, people have been telling us to “pop one out” already. But when my wedding and event hosting career took off in 2016 – another thing that I totally did not expect to happen at all – both Mike and I decided to put off having a kid for another year. It sounds a little selfish of me to want to put my career first, but it was the first time ever that I had a job that I actually loved and looked forward to doing, and I wanted to enjoy it, at least for one whole year. Thankfully, Mike was very supportive about it. So every time people asked, “So… when are you going to have a baby?” The answer was always “Next year.”
Well, “next year” is here! It’s finally 2017!
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…
We started trying to have a baby in January. As expected, we didn’t get it right the first time. You see, I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition wherein a woman’s hormones are out of whack, hence, making it difficult to get pregnant. I also have a history of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, which also harms my fertility. (Don’t worry, it’s all under control now, but I have to be on maintenance medications FOREVER!!!) So, yes, if we got it right the first time, I would be wildly surprised!
We tried again in February. Love month + birthday month! *wink, wink!* Nope. Still nothing.
By March, we went to see an OB-Gyne, and she confirmed that because of my history of hormonal imbalance, it may be a little harder for us to have children, though it’s definitely not impossible. She then prescribed a medicine to help us conceive, which I was advised to take on the first day of my next period. She also gave us a “Sexy Time Schedule,” which we were supposed to follow as religiously as possible. I know, it sounds totally unromantic (and also quite funny!) but hey, we were determined to have a little bun in the oven!
I’M PREGNANT!!! OH WAIT… AM I?!
In April, I was waiting for Aunt Flo to arrive so I can finally take those magic baby-making meds. Days turned into weeks and yet, she didn’t show up. By then, I thought, “Could it be???” I didn’t want to keep my hopes up, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pee on a stick for confirmation. Taking that pregnancy test felt like the longest 3 minutes of my life (Maybe 10 minutes, if you count the fumbling and shaking before tearing the package and actually taking a piss).
And there it was… 2 lines! Or… wait a minute? Are there really 2 lines?! One of the lines looked a little faint. Am I pregnant??? Am I NOT pregnant??? I couldn’t tell! I didn’t break the news to Mike just yet because I didn’t want him to be disappointed in case it was a false alarm.
I was starting to feel all these weird feelings – nausea, headaches, and fatigue. But I still didn’t want to jump to conclusions. I read that the best time to take the test is a week after you miss your period, so I waited ANOTHER WEEK and took three (yes, THREE!) tests. And there they were: clear as day, TWO pink lines! Holy @#$%!
You’d think that by then, I would already be convinced, right? But I was so paranoid that I did it all wrong that I still wasn’t sure! “The instructions said that the stick should be horizontal! Eek! I did it vertically! What if my piss traveled the wrong way and screwed up the results?!” So I took another THREE or FOUR tests! I bought different kinds and different brands, just to be 100% sure. Seriously, I think the pharmacists at the drugstore were looking at me and thinking, “Oh, it’s her again! Does she have some kind of weird pregnancy test collection or something?” All the tests showed two very distinct, very in-your-face lines. There was no denying it. The bun is baking! I was expecting to cry. I didn’t. I was just so happy, excited, terrified, and in disbelief all at the same time that my tear glands probably got confused and didn’t know whether to produce tears or not.
After numerous confirmations, I finally told ½ of the Baby-making Team: my husband.
“I AM YOUR FATHER!”
Since Mike is a big Star Wars fan, here’s how I told him that “You will be a father!”:
Socks by: Head to Toe PH.
I handed this to him just when we were about to go out to have lunch. He just stared at it for a long time. It took a while for him to finally say “Are we… having a baby?” Funny, he thought the artwork was an invitation for a birthday party I was going to host! Hahaha! I said, “Those pregnancy tests are supposed to be lightsabers!” And he was like, “How should I know what a pregnancy test looks like?!”
The timing of my revelation wasn’t the best, the most magical, or the most romantic timing. Actually, it was crappy timing! I don’t know why I said it at that time and didn’t plan it better. But maybe if you’re a pregnant lady and your heart has been pounding like crazy for a whole week as you keep such a HUGE and life-changing secret, timing and presentation might be the last things on your mind! You just want to blurt it out!
Mike’s reaction was exactly the same as mine. It was a hodgepodge of emotions!
SPILLING THE BEANS
The next step was to tell our parents first before we told everyone else. So I called up my mom and asked her and my sister Alexa out to dinner, but as always, they were both very busy with their showbiz engagements. In the middle of our convo, my mom just suddenly goes, “Ano ba talaga plano niyo? Kelan ba kayo mag-a-anak? Alam mo, hindi na kayo bata. Meron akong nakitang gamot na pwede mo inumin. Makakatulong daw yun para mabuntis ka agad.” (“So what are your plans, really? When are you going to start trying to have a baby? You know, you’re not getting any younger. I found out about this medicine that you can take. It’s supposed to help you get pregnant fast.”) Err… actually, Mother…
We didn’t get to tell our moms that day, so the first person we ended up telling was my best friend, Christina / Aspe, who we had dinner with that night. Before finding out I was preggers, Aspe and I booked a super spontaneous trip to Taiwan. We were just chatting on Viber during the Holy Week, and all of a sudden, the conversation went something like “Hey, let’s go to Taiwan!” “Okay, next month!” In a matter of minutes, I had a Taiwan tourist visa and our flights were booked! I said, “Let’s take this trip before I get pregnant!” Well, guess what? I WAS already pregnant! I just didn’t know it! So at our dinner, I told Aspe, “Aspe… I’m not sure if I can push through with Taiwan…” Her eyes widened as she said “OMG, are you pregnant?!” Yep! Taiwan will have to wait!
I actually had other travel plans before finding out that I’m pregnant. I was actually supposed to go back to Macau to work at The Venetian again for about a month or two. I worked there once as a singer / gondolier, and I was going to do the same thing. Obviously, I had to back out. Aside from that, Mike and I had planned on going back to Bali by September. At first, I was a little bummed that I had to put all those travels on hold. But then I realized that no travel could ever be bigger than the adventure Mike and I are about to have: the adventure of having a family of our own!
SH*T JUST GOT REAL!
The adventure felt more real when I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks. The technician who did my ultrasound thought that I was there for a PCOS follow-up. To her surprise (and mine), the cysts disappeared! Instead, what she showed us this time was a teeny tiny speck with a cute little heartbeat! It was so incredible! Mike said, “Can you believe that there’s a little you and me in there?” I couldn’t! The heartbeat was weaker than normal (the normal heart rate is between 120-160, and the baby’s was only 105), but when I went back two weeks later, it got stronger and went up to 160 bpm! Wow!
(My second ultrasound, showing baby’s improved heartbeat!)
I don’t have an explanation for all these wonderful things that have happened. The only possible explanation I could think of is that this all a big blessing from God!
MY PREGNANCY SO FAR
As I write this, I’ve already hit the halfway mark of my pregnancy at 21 weeks. A lot has happened since the day I found out, but it took me this long to write about it. I just had no energy during my first trimester (except when I was hosting, because that required me to have energy!). Just thinking about writing something (or even just getting out of bed) felt like a massive chore! I was just nauseated, sore, gassy, and tired, and all I really wanted to do was sleep, sleep, sleep! But hey, I’m not complaining! In fact, as much as I hated how I felt in my first trimester, I was also very thankful for each twitch and each discomfort because it meant that my baby was actually growing inside me and my pregnancy was progressing just as it should. Also, I didn’t feel right about complaining because compared to other pregnant women who had to be bedridden or the likes of Kate Middleton who experienced severe morning sickness, I’ve had it much easier. Sure, it wasn’t always a breeze, and I had those “I-just-want-this-to-be-over!” moments, but at least I still got to do normal things. I still got to go out and hang out with my friends. And most importantly, I could still work (at least until my 5th month)! I mean, I gotta make money! Hospital bills and pre-natal vitamins aren’t cheap!
Speaking of working while pregnant, I’m so thankful that my baby is so cooperative. While I’m at client meetings and I’m hosting onstage, I feel perfectly fine and normal! Depending on what I”m wearing, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that I have a little tenant in my tummy! I’d only start feeling queasy again just right after I sign off! It’s as if the baby understands and is saying, “Okay, Mommy, I know you have to work for my diapers and my baby gear, so I’ll behave.” How I lasted hosting a 5-hour wedding and a 7-hour birthday party is beyond me. I don’t know how I survived a long and bumpy 4-hour car ride to Bataan to host an outdoor summer wedding where I was hot and on the brink of dehydration. And hosting FOUR consecutive events (one of them was out-of-town) while pregnant was downright exhausting, but with God’s grace and my baby’s super strength, we made it! Of course, I am also lucky that most of the people I worked with have been so kind. Clients, event coordinators — they would go out of their way to make sure that I’m comfortable, safe, and well-fed.
THE KINDNESS OF PEOPLE
But it’s not just people I work with that have made my pregnancy a joy. I find that people – even the ones you never expect – are extra kind to you when you’re pregnant. Family members and friends send me random messages just to check up on me, share baby tips, and even offer to give me their secondhand baby stuff! It kind of makes me wish I could be pregnant forever! (Plus, those priority seats and priority lanes? Love those pregnancy perks!)
I am also so, so blessed to have Mike for a husband. It’s the little things… like how he gives me back rubs when I’m in pain, or how he just lets me rest when I need to, or how he has taken over the responsibility of cleaning our guinea pig’s cage (even though he HATES the smell and the poop!). Sometimes, I wonder how I could pull through this pregnancy without him. And then sometimes, I think of all the single moms-to-be or those who have to go through this whole thing alone, and my heart hurts for them. If I didn’t have Mike, I’m sure I would still survive, but having him around just makes everything better… a MILLION, BILLION TIMES BETTER! I’m glad we’re experiencing this together. Actually, if I think about it, we are literally experiencing this together. You know how some women say, “WE’RE pregnant!” instead of “I’M pregnant!”? I totally get it now. Sometimes, when I’m sleepy, Mike is also sleepy. When I’m hungry, he’s also hungry. When my stomach hurts, his stomach also hurts. We’re like the Bananas in Pyjamas now! “Are you thinking what I’m thinking, B1?” “I think I am, B2!”
Mike is a pretty lucky dad-to-be too. He’s had it fairly easy. So far, I haven’t badgered him about any unusual cravings. I have never had to wake him up at 3:00 in the morning because I BADLY NEEDED to eat pizza with pickles and marshmallows, and even if I did crave something, I was never a brat about it and I never went “But I want it NOOOW!!!”. My most unusual cravings so far? Pink desserts! Pink doughnuts, pink ice cream, pink cupcakes, pink cake… gimme gimme! Does this mean that we’re having a baby girl?! We’ll find out soon!
The food I really miss the most? Sushi!!! Sometimes, I see salmon sashimi and I want to cry because I can’t have it! I don’t even enjoy buffets that much anymore because I have to skip the yummy raw stuff. (Note to my baby: that’s how you know that I love you. Because I am enduring 9 months of not eating my favorite food for you! But I swear, after I give birth, I’m going to INHALE all the salmon sashimi that I see!!!)
Pregnancy really is such an amazing thing! To be able to grow and nurture a human being inside me is a miracle that constantly leaves me in awe – a miracle that I cannot even begin to comprehend. I look at how my body changes every week, and I am so filled with wonder as I blurt out “Wow, my body can do that?!” But it’s not just the physical aspect of pregnancy that astounds me. It also surprised me by giving me and Mike the power to love – to love someone that we haven’t even met yet. Everything we do now is for this little person. He / she is already changing our lives and he / she hasn’t even been born yet!
I still have about 19 weeks to go until we finally meet our little Stormpooper. We’re both so excited.. and also scared t the same time! Wish us luck as we embark on our journey as first-time parents! Tips and pieces of advice, prayers, and help are always welcome and appreciated… and so are hand-me-downs for the little bubba! 😉