Missing Little Z…

It’s already Friday dawn on this side of the world. I should be getting some sleep since I still have to work later today before I take another long commute home to my little boy.

It’s been just 4 days (well, not counting today yet) since I last saw little Z but I do miss him terribly. I was able to see him online a couple of days ago, though. But then again, who am I kidding, right? Seeing your little boy on the screen and seeing him and actually able to hold him, hug him and kiss him are two different things. What can I do given the circumstances? I just have to suck it up in the mean time.

skype with the little boy

skype with the little boy

It has been a stressful work week to say the least. So many things to do, so little time. At the end of the day, I really don’t look forward to coming home to an empty apartment. I do want my son to be with me. I think the right term is NEED. I need my son with me. I need to see him everyday. I need to see him grow. I need him here. And I guess I could also say that my son needs me more than I need him.

I just want for that time to come that I will look forward to coming home because I will see my little boy. I really miss my baby….

Down with the sickness…

Get up, come on get down with the sickness…

Well, that’s how the lyrics of the song goes but I am not writing about Disturb’s Down with the Sickness song. Trust me, if you don’t know that song, you’d rather not know about it especially if you have, say, a more sensitive side, for the lack of better term.

Anyway, this is a long overdue post, really, so it may be a tad bit longer than usual. I already had this title for a while now because of the song. I used to request this song to my cousin’s band whenever I am back home and hanging out at the bar where his band plays. I like the heavy beat of the song, bottomline.

But like I said, that is not what this post is all about. You see, when I gave birth, my baby’s first pediatrician came to my room to check on my baby boy before we were given the full clearance for discharge. Given that I have decided to be a single parent and that the father is actually not going to be a part of our lives (not something that I really want to discuss further), the doctor was quite curious and asked if my son’s father has Chinese blood and even asked if I have a photo of my son’s father. I remember telling him that I don’t think the father has Chinese blood nor does he have Chinese-like eyes. And no, I don’t have a photo of my son’s father (well, I think I don’t have one on hand that time but that’s no longer here nor there). Then he mentioned the dreaded words, which never really registered to me that time. He said that my little boy appears to have symptoms of Down Syndrome. The comment never really sank into me and I said that my little boy got his father’s eyes. Then that comment was somehow forgotten.

Day 4 of little Z’s life, he had a fever. His temperature went up to 37.8, if I remember correctly. I had him brought to the emergency room that same night where he got pricked a lot of times (which really made me so mad I could punch a few doctors in the face for making my little boy cry so hard he was running out of breath, literally). He was confined because of jaundice and signs of pneumonia. He was put on phototherapy, two types of antibiotics given at different intervals of the day, consumed 4 bags (I think) of dextrose to keep him hydrated and to have a way to give him his antibiotics for one week. It was again brought up by the pediatrician about the Down Syndrome symptoms. This was also brought about the fact that my son was born with bilateral congenital cataract. That was the time that I made some research about it.

You see, when I was pregnant, I read a lot about pregnancy and early life of an infant. I’ve seen a few articles related to Down Syndrome which I totally ignored that time thinking that my baby will not have it. So when little Z was confined during his first week of life, I read a lot of articles online about DS, the symptoms, the clinical features, what it really means to have DS. I was totally wracking my brains trying to absorb all information I read and at the same time, trying to deny the fact that my son has it.

I checked his eye and ear alignment. It looks fine to me. I checked his palms. He has normal palm creases, the gap between his toes appear normal, his fingers are not short and he did not have a cleft pallet. With the exemption of the shape of his eyes, his cataract, jaundice and pneumonia (which are all included as symptoms of Down syndrome), he appears to be a normal baby to me.

Third week of life, my little boy was again confined because he lost so much weight instead of gaining given that he was breastfed and he was literally feeding almost every two hours or less. I had more than enough milk supply for him and yet, he never gained weight. He lost so much weight that he became too weak to even suck from a bottle. He was again pricked for several blood tests, hooked on IV, given two types of antibiotics and he was put on tube feeding for two days so he can conserve what was left of his energy. I almost totally lost it that time (you can read about that here).

Two pediatricians were already looking after him during this time to the point that even his blood tests were brought to an oncologist for further consult. I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when there were no signs of cancer and was even cleared of it but the drawback to that sigh was further blood tests were required (this will be another story for another time). And then again, I was advised by the second pediatrician (whom I retained to be my little boy’s doctor back home) to have my son tested for Down syndrome. It was the first time I heard of the term Chromosomal Analysis.

The thing is, there is no such tests being done back home. I don’t think there even is a geneticist there. So I was referred to National Institute of Health. Since I had already decided to bring my baby to the big metro with me to consult with further doctors and specialists, I called my friend who is a doctor in PGH and asked for assistance. She was very helpful during those times when I had to bring my little boy within their area for lab tests.

From October 2013, I kind of chickened out of having my son go through chromosomal analysis. It was just a simple blood extraction really but I was more wary of the results. I was scared of the unknown. So I decided to push it out and prioritize my son’s other lab tests required by other doctors and also to have his lens extraction surgery scheduled.

Mid-December, a week prior to little Z’s surgery, I decided to have his blood sample extracted for the analysis. Since it takes about 2-4 weeks to get the results, I was thinking that somehow, if ever, we are already done with the major priority and I will just tackle on the next one if the result comes out positive of trisomy 21.

Surgery became successful, christmas and new year came and went. First week of January was little Z’s first eye doctor appointment of the year. The results of the analysis was already available but I made excuses not to go and get it. The week after, when my son was safely back home and I was alone here in the big metro, I took a leave from work and went to NIH to get the results. I never really wanted to look at the printed results that was placed on the table right in front of me. I was planning to just pick it up, fold it, come back home and read the results. But then the staff at the clinic placed a logbook just beside the results and asked me to sign. That’s where I saw it.  Out of all the things on that single page result, my eyes zoomed in on what really mattered most.

trisomy 21

trisomy 21

For several months after little Z was born, I was praying so hard that he will be negative of DS, that his eyesight would miraculously be cleared of cataracts, that everything he just went through was somehow a fluke of nature. The three strands of chromosome 21 stood out from the page and like daggers, it stabbed my heart. It was hard to breathe, I had to work hard to keep my composure while I thank the lab staff as I handed her back the logbook. I had to keep a poker face as I walked along the hallway, keeping my pace when I really wanted to run. The short distance from the lab to the main door out of the building was short but it felt like miles long. The walls were closing in on me, my throat clogged to the point that I couldn’t really speak (and it was a good thing no one was with me else I would have broke down right there and then). I took a cab from there and tried to distract myself by visiting my bestfriend in the hospital who just gave birth. I never said anything about the results.

I didn’t want to go home so I dropped by the mall after the hospital. I bought my son another toy, a few supplies, then got myself a liter of beer. I just wanted to get drunk and drown myself.  Until this day, I still remember what I’ve felt when I saw the results. I never wanted to cry but I really had no choice. I was hurt, I was in total pain, I felt betrayed, I lost all hope and faith. The feeling was like being sucker-punched several times more after you’ve yelled “uncle!”, more than getting your heart broken by a guy, your heart being ripped to pieces but without any blood spilling. It left like I was dying.

I mourned the loss of the ideal future that I had in mind for me and my son. I had to start from scratch. I had to come up with different plans. It was difficult. I struggled. Until now, I struggle. Sometimes when I see babies around Z’s age do things like standing with assistance, sitting unassisted, crawling on their own and all that, it pinches my heart. Because my little Z will never be like them. He’s got a different path in terms of achieving his milestones. I know that he will get there, too, but sometimes you can’t help but envy the others. While others go to malls and meet with friends and show off their little kids, our idea of bonding moment for Z’s first few months were doctor’s offices.

So, there you go. That’s the story of my little Z. Yes, he has Down Syndrome. No, I haven’t consulted with a geneticist yet. But I am already trying to have him scheduled for an appointment with a developmental therapist to assess his development. I am trying to get a way from too many doctors for now so I am not really in a hurry to do that. I just want to enjoy the time I spend with my little boy without thinking of doctor’s appointments and the likes for the meantime. For now.

 

#pout :P  a rainy Easter Sunday play time at home...

#pout :P a rainy Easter Sunday play time at home…

 

Of “Love” and Self-Preservation…

As much as possible, I would like to keep this blog strictly about my journey into motherhood. However, I guess this is one topic that I just couldn’t help but write about. You see, I don’t want to post my opinions about love and relationship because for one, I am a commitment-phobic person and really, I am no expert about this topic (but I have lots of opinions about it :D )

Anyway, I have this friend who is currently going through rough times with her partner. The thing is, the issues they have been fighting about every single time are the same things that they have been fighting about for the longest time. And of course, with every relationship fights and arguments, once everything calms down, you both sit down and talk about it and try to resolve things. Things will go smoothly for quite sometime afterwards then one thing will trigger the hot button and everything will go back to square one.

Sounds familiar to some, maybe? Trust me when I say that I wouldn’t know this first hand since I haven’t really been in a “relationship” per se. But I have heard this scenario from a lot of people (several of my friends included) over and over again.

Being the logical me (sorry for not being the emotional person in this instance because I think my answer will still be the same), if the problem is recurring and no matter what resolution you come up with and it just doesn’t work, I guess it is time to reassess your situation. See if there are things that you need to change within you and once you got that figured out, make a list of what you think needs to be changed in your relationship. Then from there, get your partner’s point of view as well then make a compromise then both parties have to stand by it. If you really want to make the relationship work.

This is how I view a relationships (man-woman relationship, that is). It takes hard work to make it work and to make it last. It is not about your expectations being met but it is about meeting your partner’s expectations and vice versa. It is a give and take situation. You do not enter a relationship to just keep on taking. That is taking advantage. You do not enter a relationship to be treated like a queen or king (yet you treat your partner like a commoner). It takes 100% commitment from both parties to make it work. It is not something that you force into your partner. It has to be consensus. It is not just about having fun together. It is about going through life, regardless of the situation – whether good or bad, together and enjoying the company of each other through the course of the journey.

Now here’s another thing. Love is not just an emotion. It is a decision. All those sappy love songs about love being a feeling, an emotion, is wrong. Yes, those sappy love songs make you feel gooey and all that but, come on, let’s face it, at the end of the day, when you say you love a person, you have just made the decision that you will love that person regardless of who he is, what he is, or who he will be. You do not say you love a person so you can change him/her though. You cannot change a person. You can only change yourself. When you love someone, you decide to accept the imperfect things about that person but at the same time, what you represent will compliment what the other has. That’s how it makes the relationship “whole”. What the other lacks, you provide and vice versa. You fill each other. You feel each other. It is not about what one wants. It is about what both of you wants.

So, what if a relationship is no longer working because the issues encountered are the same over and over and over and over again? Then I guess it is time to make a decision. Make a stand. Stay in a relationship that’s going nowhere and lose yourself in the middle of it all to the point that you no longer know who you really are? Or are you going to preserve what’s left of you and break away from your so-called relationship? At the end of the day, nobody can tell you what to do. The decision falls on you yourself.

If you think that the relationship is still repairable, then go ahead and make it work. Talk it out with your partner what you see is wrong, but also be honest to admit your own mistakes. Ask your partner the same questions. Then talk it over. Decide if both of you still want to make it work. If not, well, that’s going to be the more difficult discussion. But at the end of the day, make sure that you have been honest to yourself and to your partner. So that if things doesn’t work out, you still have a bit of yourself preserved (with probably minor scratches to be fixed) and you won’t be stuck with all the what-ifs that you would never be able to answer no matter what you do.

And please, my friends, when you speak the words “I want a break up” (or something similar), make sure that you can really do it.

 

Good Friday Indeed…

So, I arrived in the mountain city earlier tonight, around quarter to eight. It was actually surprising that the usual 6.5 hours commute became 5.5 hours travel from the big metro. I guess you can chalk it up to lesser people on the roads to cause heavy traffic jams (since most of them have already gone home earlier in the week), and the one way lanes already opened up to ease up the traffic. Well, except in the big metro, I guess, since the road re-blocking has started yesterday .

And my little boy was so happy to see me. :D He just couldn’t stop smiling when I arrived. I didn’t have the chance to take photos of his smiles since I was busy enjoying the moment. :) My Mom said that he stayed awake and fought off sleep earlier in the evening and kept on playing until I came home. The little boy was too excited that he stayed awake for almost three hours more until he succumbed to blissful sleep. :D

playing the latest favorite toy :D

playing the latest favorite toy :D

"take my pic, Mommy" :D

“take my pic, Mommy” :D

the pout :P

the pout :P

#pout

#pout

the sleepy little boy

the sleepy little boy

goodnight world!

goodnight world!

Coming home this Holy Week is totally worth it. The feeling of tiredness due to work and other personal stuff and day to day activities has taken its toll on me that I just wanted to stay back in my apartment and sleep whole day long but just the thought of my son pushes me to move and prepare for a long commute home. And like I said, it was totally worth it. Just the smile of this little boy alone took away all the weariness I feel.

A good long sleep was what I had in mind in spending the Good Friday before. Now and moving forward, my Good Fridays will always indeed be good because I will be spending it with this little warrior who is asleep beside me. :)

So for now, good night world! The Mommy needs rest for tomorrow’s adventure with my heart and soul. :)

 

Holy Week Weekend…

It is the Holy Week again. I cannot even remember the last time I went home for the Holy Week. Reason for this is because there are a lot of people (and when I say a lot, I really mean A LOT) travelling back to their provinces to spend time with families, go on vacations and the likes. Just imagine the traffic jams along major highways. A normal 6.5 hours commute from the big metro to Baguio can take as long as 7-8 hours because of traffic jams and long chance passenger queues at the bus stations.

I have decided long ago to spend the holy week in the big metro instead to avoid all that hassle. For the past several years, I have spent my holy week working. Yes, I am a workaholic and I am used to working during holidays. The only holidays I really take advantage of are the Christmas and New Year. I always take a 2-week break at the end of the year. (But I bring home my work laptop with me just in case I need to work on something urgent).

Anyway, this year, it is going to be something different. I am going home tomorrow, Good Friday. And the only reason is to spend time with my little Z (since he is currently in Baguio with my Mom). Had I had the choice, he’d have spent the holy week here with me (since the big metro will be a little bit quieter compared to normal days :) ). However, since I still don’t have a nanny and my sister went on a 4-day hike with my brother, I have no choice but to leave my little angel at home. I just hope that there will no longer be long queues at the bus station by tomorrow. I can’t wait to spend another weekend with my growing little boy. :) <3

Thank you for coming :-)

Since I have already posted my suppliers review (and basically covered the whole event in that post), I’m writing this post to acknowledge and thank everyone who made little Z’s event a memorable one.

Given that the date selected is just prior to the holy week (and we all know that people have already scheduled their holy week for family outings and the likes), there were quite a few people who didn’t make it to the event. Nonetheless, I would like to thank them especially to my friends who offered to become godparents to my little warrior even before I started planning for the dedication.

And since on the day itself it rained, a few more who confirmed didn’t make it, too. I think the rain was unexpected because earlier in the morning, the sun was shining real bright (but I didn’t notice the clouds so I wouldn’t really know. LOL)

So, to those who attended – my family, cousins, aunts, uncles, and close friends, thank you for coming and making my little Z’s dedication day something to remember. :)

Dedication service

Dedication service with Auntie Emma and Uncle John

Representatives of the godparents: Ninong Andrew, Ninong Edward and Ninang Tess

Representatives of the godparents: Ninong Andrew, Ninong Edward and Ninang Tess

with the Fianzas

with the Fianzas

with tita Ruth and Zach and Lola Benita

with tita Ruth and Zach and Lola Benita

with tito Mark, Amber, Zach and Lola Baak

with tito Mark, Amber, Zach and Lola Baak

with Ate Cyn, Aiya and Caye

with tita Cyn, tita Aiya and ate Caye

with the lolas (aka Aunties): Auntie Emma, Auntie Fe (sorry I don't know the name of the other one)

with the lolas (aka Aunties): Auntie Emma, Auntie Fe (sorry I don’t know the name of the other one)

with tita Phoebe, Fran and Ninong Edward

with tita Phoebe, ate Fran and Ninong Edward

with my bro Jax and the girls, Bianca and Maxine.. we're missing Seth :D

with Ninang Jax and the girls, Bianca and Maxine.. we’re missing Seth :D

friends from high school: Resie, Tess and Leah with her hubby Mark

friends from high school: Resie, Tess and Leah with her hubby Mark

And of course, I wouldn’t miss posting our latest family photo:

with my family <3

with my family <3

Unfortunately, I never had the chance to have a photo taken with the little warrior while awake. So here’s the best photo we had of the event:

with the love of my life :)

with the love of my life :)

Letters to my baby #37: Dedicated…

Dear Baby Love,

It was your baby dedication yesterday and it was a memorable one for me that’s for sure. :)

I am no religious person, sweetheart, nor am I a regular church-goer but if there is one thing that I do everyday, it is to thank the Lord for giving me you.

I have decided to have you dedicated as a way of giving thanks for your life and at the same time, to give thanks for entrusting your precious life to me. As I’ve said before, baby, I am not perfect and I don’t know what I’ve done to really deserve you but nonetheless, I am grateful that you are my son. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From here on out, sweetheart, I will do my best to raise you into the person God has planned. This is the reason why I chose the Jeremiah verses for your save the date video.

As I’ve said, sweetheart, I am not a religious person but this is the promise of God that I claim for your life:

jer1_5

People may see your arrival as an accident but the Lord says otherwise. As mentioned in the verse, He already knew you and who you would be even before I got pregnant with you. People may see your difference as part of the consequences of my past mistakes, but again, Baby Love, the Lord says otherwise. He made you special and has set you apart because you will become a leader that will lead His army in the future.

jer29 11

For the first four months of your life, you have gone through a lot of struggles and discomforts and trials. For such a young age, I would say that it was unfair for you to go through that. However, I may not really understand the reason for you going through all those trials, sweetheart, but I do believe that you are being prepared for something big. And when I say big, sweetheart, it is indeed BIG! Yes, I do believe in the promise of God that he has plans to prosper you, to give you hope, to give you a future. He has it all planned out, sweetheart.

These are the two verses that really stood out when I was trying to think of a Bible verse to use for your save the date video. At first, I was just looking for a verse to fit the occasion but when I tried to remember the verse and read it again and again while trying to do the video layout, somehow, it made all sense. It was not just verses for my use. Those were the verses that I first remembered because they are the promises that I need to claim for your life.

And I claim those promises for you, sweet heart. Just as your name implies: you are a gift from God who is a brave, divine leader. And those verses coincides with the definition of your name.

And so, sweetheart, I dedicated you for the following reasons:

- To give thanks to the Lord for entrusting your life to me.

- To claim the promises that the Lord has for you.

-To give you somewhere to start in your walk with God.

 

With all that said, sweetheart, I will do my best to be the Mom worthy enough to raise a leader like you. I may not be the perfect Mom to raise you, but I know that somewhere along the way, the Lord will also guide me in the right direction so I can also guide you as you go on with your journey.

I love you so much, my little warrior. I am so grateful that you are mine. :)

 

Love, Mum