Time to Move On…

My day today started good. Even if I had to get out of bed earlier than usual, I was not grumpy about it. In fact, I was quite excited because I was looking forward to spending lunch with a couple of friends that I don’t get to see as often as I like. Well, we don’t get to see much of each other because of our own busy schedules.

An hour and a half of lunch with these two started my day good.

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I didn’t even mind the traffic so much from Makati going to Ortigas after our lunch date (and I am usually not so patient about it).

My good mood didn’t last long though. I still have not received any referrals for a nanny for my son (even for just one month), we had a quite heated discussion at work that threw us off the loop (another “work around” process – can’t divulge anything more than that), and given that I quite lost my focus, I decided to come home early so I can fix my stuff and prepare things for the weekend again. And I thought I was only going to think about getting the laundry done.

When I arrived home about a couple of hours ago, the building guard handed me a letter. I was expecting a note for my lease renewal and it was about time that it arrived since my lease will expire exactly a month from now. And while the guard was handing me the note, he said, “hindi po ibig sabihin nyan na pinapaalis namin kayo. May vacancy po sa kabilang building.” (This doesn’t mean that we’re kicking you out. There is a vacancy in the other building.)

Since I just wanted to get to my apartment and relax for a while, his statement got me confused. So I opened the letter while climbing up the stairs to my unit at the 5th floor (yes, I climb 5 floors everyday). Imagine my surprise and dismay when the note was not for my renewal of lease. Rather, it states:

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“Why?!?” was the first thing that came to mind. It doesn’t say anythjing else. No reason, no nothing. They just don’t want to renew my contract. Is that even legal? Heck, I don’t know. I am going to call the office tomorrow to get more details about this. I am not the only one who got this kind of note, I think. The guard still has abnout a couple of letters to hand out, if the letters he was holding earlier contains the same message.

I have been living here for the past 5 years. I have accummulated a lot of things over the years as well. And my shoebox apartment may be tiny, it has been home for the last 5 years. Now I only have one month (ONE MONTH!!!!) to find another place. That is so going to be a challenge since I have been working long hours during the weekdays and I am not in the big metro on weekends. Now I have to squeeze in “find an apartment” in my uber busy schedule. Huhuhu!

I have even come to love this place. Relatively quiet area with a residential feel, we don’t get flooded during rainy days, area is technically walking distance to the malls. What more can I ask for?

Now I have to find a new place to live. I might try to check out the vacant apartment in the other building a block away from here but I think I will check out other places, too. Maybe this is some sort of a transition phase that I need to go through (good luck budget plan). Probably it is about time to find a better and bigger place so my son will have more room to play.

Anyone knows any apartments for rent within Pasig/Mandaluyong area that is reasonably priced for a single, working mom? (Parts that don’t get flooded and not far from EDSA, I hope). *Sigh*

I hope nothing adds to my list of things to worry about. For now though, I think it is a good time to have a drink.

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First Time Parents: What to Know Before Giving Birth

Planning to have a baby but don’t know what to expect when the time comes to meet your little one? First time expecting Mom wondering what will happen and how you will know that you are about to give birth?

Check out Manila Workshops’ First Time Parents series of workshops – What to Know Before Giving Birth

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It is going to be a  half day session on March 28, 2015 which will include the following topics:

  • What to expect during visits to your OB-GYN
  • Pain management
  • Pregnancy nutrition

Here are the details:

Date:    March 28th, 2015
Time:   1PM-5PM
Venue: Best for Families Inc. Headquarters, #29 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City
Please use referral code ZALAFTPWGB_1 when you register.

Learning Fee:

Regular Rate:   Php 350.00
Couple’s Rate:  Php 600.00

Get to know our speakers:

Dra. Patricia Malay Kho studied Medicine and underwent Residency Training in UP College of Medicine-Philippine General Hospital.  She is an Obstetrician Gynecologist with Subspecialty Training in OB Gyne Infectious Diseases.  She is also an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.  She is affiliated with Makati Medical Center and St Luke’s Global.  She has two children, and both were breastfed.

Ms. Cecile Bayaga is a registered nutritionist-dietitian and a full-time faculty at the College of Home Economics, University of the Philippines-Diliman. She has been teaching Principles of Nutrition, Nutrition for the Lifecycle, and Medical Nutrition Therapy for the past 12 years. She has published scientific articles on glycemic index, essential fatty acids for brain development, and clinical nutrition. In 2005, the Nutritionists-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines awarded her as The Most Promising Nutritionist-Dietitian. She is happily married for the 9 years and a mother to their son, Gabby.

 

 

Z’s First Haircut

Last Sunday, Z finally had his first haircut. I haven’t had his hair cut since he was born so for the past few months, we had his hair clipped or tied it back to keep it off his face.

I was really hesitant to have his hair cut because I just love the texture of his hair. He’s got a very fine straight hair that curls at the end. It was actually pretty. :D

that's how long his hair was...

that’s how long his hair was…

But after several months of my family asking me when will I have his hair cut, I gave in and last Sunday, as part of our weekly day out, I brought him to Kwentong Barbero in SM Baguio. There were a lot of people having their kids get haircuts, too. I guess they are all preparing for a short hairdo for the summer. There were about a few people waiting for their turn and instead of taking a seat to wait, Z and I went out and checked out the car display at the Atrium (which was just outside of the shop). Nothing much to see there so I decided to get back in the shop and wait for our turn.

Not even seated for 5 minutes, it was Z’s turn to sit at the barber’s chair. They didn’t have those car seats where the kids can play and all that, rather, they had a box placed on top of the barber’s chair which acts as a booster seat.

I was more nervous than Z, too. LOL! I dunno, I just didn’t want all that pretty hair gone from my baby’s head. I know, I know, it’s just hair. It will grow back. Fine.

So there goes my baby, seated on the chair and I had to stand beside him to hold him in place. He was relatively still during the first five minutes, which was just about the time the barber needed. :D

and there goes the hair...

and there goes the hair…

wondering what was going on with his hair... :P

wondering what was going on with his hair… :P

Since it was his first haircut, I asked the barber to cut a portion for me to keep. He handed me a pair of scissors and told me to cut whichever part I wanted. So, I cut a portion from the back. (I don’t have a photo of it yet, though). Then the barber proceeded to cut that hair away. And because Z couldn’t keep still in his seat (I think he was trying to find where the sound of the razor was coming from), the barber sang and hummed a lullaby to which Z kept still. Well, until another boy, two seats away, cried when they started cutting his hair. LOL!

Enjoying the sound and feel of the razor

Enjoying the sound and feel of the razor

:D

:D

:D

:D

:D

:D

From rugged, rocker look:

rocker dude

rocker dude

To the-boy-next-door look: :D

looking handome :D

looking handsome :D

When we got home and we were done with dinner, I watched my son play with his toys on the floor and it just hit me. With his short hair, his features were emphasized in a way that he no longer resembles a baby. My  son is 18.5 months old and he is now starting to look like the toddler that he is. Not a little baby anymore. Where had the time gone by? It flew by so fast and I haven’t totally noticed that my son has grown so much in this last few months. I need to pay more attention else I might miss out on a lot.

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my baby is now a toddler

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and still posing with his signature pose :D

 

Don’t grow up so fast, baby love. Mum’s not that ready yet. :)

 

 

 

Little Z’s Birth Story

I know, I know. I have been planning to post this last month for the Down Syndrome Consciousness Month but I never got around to it. But then again, who said that I need to write this post at a certain month, right?

This blog was created first and foremost to document our journey to life as mother and son. But little did I know that our journey would be a whole lot different from what I had envisioned it to be. Bits and pieces have already been posted here about the rough start that we have had but let me sum it all up in one post so I can also move on from being undecided to write this all down or not. :P

So here goes:

I learned I was pregnant on mid-January of 2013. I was all alone in my apartment when I took the pregnancy test and there it was, two pink stripes boldly gazing back at me. I had to repeat the test because I was in denial that I was indeed pregnant. Everything seemed so sudden, so unexpected. I was prepped to take a different course of life that time, I had made plans for myself, to start fresh and had a new set of goals. All of that was scrapped out and I had to go back to the drawing board.

two bright pink stripes boldly staring back at me... x2

two bright pink stripes boldly staring back at me… x2

For the first trimester, I was a ball of emotions inside. On the outside, I was acting almost the same, albeit strange at times (I think), but inside I was a total mess. One minute I was ecstatic about my baby, the next, I would be crying my eyes out. I guess that comes with all pregnancies.

I regularly checked in with my OB, I made sure I was eating right to the point that I had to keep a journal of what I eat and what time I have eaten. I took my vitamins religiously, read all about pregnancy and babies and all that. Then, like most expecting moms, I envisioned the perfect little bundle of joy that will soon be my partner in seeing the world. When I learned that I was having a boy, I envisioned him to be the most beautiful baby boy I had ever laid eyes on (well, all moms do that, I guess) and he will grow up to be the perfect son any mom would ever want.

It took me a while to finally decide on a name, too. I only settled on a name about a few weeks before I gave birth. After scrapping out a lot of names, I decided to name my baby love, Zaine Amory.

Those 38 weeks that I carried him seemed to be the shortest and longest 38 weeks that I’ve had. I was anxiously waiting for his arrival and have wanted to hold him ever since I felt him move. And I was lucky to have what I would say the easiest pregnancy anyone could ever ask for – no morning sickness, no weird food cravings, didn’t get fat with all the sugar intake, and I was able to wear my some of my pre-pregnancy jeans until I was 8 months pregnant. And I was blessed with an easy labor and delivery as well: 4 hours active labor and 20 minutes in the delivery room. I was indeed lucky.

I didn’t get to see my son right when he came out. I didn’t even hear his first cry because I passed out right after they were cutting the cord so they can bring him to me.

my son's first cry which I missed

my son’s first cry which I missed

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“wake up, Mommy… I’m here now…”

I met my son an hour after he arrived. He was crying when they brought him to me and he quieted down as soon as I held him. The feeling of getting to hold my baby was surreal. I couldn’t explain it. I was happy to finally hold my son yet I was quite sad that I wouldn’t feel his kicks and his movements in the early dawn. But what surprised me was that my baby was big. I was expecting a smaller one since, two weeks before I gave birth, my son was estimated to weigh about 5.12 lbs. I gave birth to a 7-lb baby.

first look at my son....

first look at my son….

As soon as I held him, I was asked to feed him and I thanked the heavens that I have milk. I was quite worried because I still didn’t have milk during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I read that breastmilk usually becomes available a few weeks before giving birth.

I knew my Mom was in the recovery room with me but I couldn’t remember how many attendants were there. They all sort of faded away in the picture when I got to hold my son for the first time. I was looking at my son as he fed and I remember thinking how big he was and wondering how I managed to push him out so easily. Then as I further examined his face, my instinct already told me that something was off. His eyes were quite different. I also remembered wondering why his nose was a bit flat compared to what I had seen in his ultrasound photos.  And I also remember pushing those thoughts away, chalking it up to exhaustion after having no sleep the night before. I also thought that maybe I squished his nose when I pushed him out and it will be back to how it should be in no time.

Sleeping peacefully...

Sleeping peacefully…

The pediatrician who attended my son was not of my choosing. I didn’t have the time to decide which pediatrician to get prior to giving birth. He was picked by my OB and he introduced himself when I was in the delivery room. He didn’t visit back after I was wheeled to my room where my family was waiting. Though I didn’t know if he should or shouldn’t that time.

My brother who is a photographer was there at the hospital, too, and took lots of photos of me with my little Z. It was a wonderful feeling, actually, having them there to celebrate a new life with me.

with my brother

with my brother

couldn't stop staring at him...

couldn’t stop staring at him…

The pediatrician came on the day of our discharge from the hospital. He took a quick examination of my baby and, after asking me if I had a photo of my son’s father to which I answered I didn’t have, he casually mentioned that my son may have symptoms of Down syndrome because of his eyes. He also casually mentioned that my son had descended testes and quite a high palate. And since my son was quite jaundiced, he advised that I ensure to feed him regularly and bring him out in the mornings to catch the morning sun.

It wasn’t the first time that I heard about Down syndrome. You see, during the course of my pregnancy, I have read and researched a lot about pregnancies and early stages of life. I came across a lot of articles about Down syndrome to which I ignored reading because I thought during those times that my baby will never have anything to do with it. He will be born perfect.

The pediatrician didn’t really enlightened us properly during those days, and since I was really anxious to get out of the hospital (hospitals are not really my thing. And to think that for the longest time, I wanted to become a doctor. Go figure) and just start my life’s journey with my son.

4 days of new mother bliss and I had the shock of my life. My son’s temperature reached 38 degrees celsius and I had to rush him to the emergency room on a cold Monday night to which he was pricked so much and without care. He had his first x-ray done, too. He was admitted that night as well and had to stay in the hospital for a week. I thought that was the end of it. Until I found ourselves back in the hospital on his third week of life.

On those two confinements, Down syndrome always came into the picture. During the first confinement. I was in denial. I didn’t accept the fact that my son had Ds. I totally wracked my brains out reading and researching anything that I could find that would tell me that my son didn’t have it. My son’s pediatrician that time didn’t recommend karyotyping, too. However, during his second confinement, his new pediatrician (a woman this time), suggested that signs are showing that my son has indeed Down syndrome. I almost lost it.

I was fighting so hard to make sure that my son didn’t have the condition though somewhere deep inside me, I knew that I was fighting a losing battle. I was struggling to understand what was going on. Why my baby? Why me? Why us? I had the perfect dream in my head on how my future will look like and yet, all of a sudden, everything became so bleak. I cried buckets of tears almost every night thinking back to the things I’ve done while I was pregnant. Did I do something wrong throughout my pregnancy? Was there something that my OB missed? Is this something that it is in my genes? So many questions, yet I never found the answers.

My son’s first four months of life was a series of confinements, doctor’s appointments, blood tests, doctor’s appointments and surgery for his lens extraction since he was born with congenital bilateral cataract – which apparently was also a symptom of Down syndrome. It was exhausting. And with every consultation, we get one good news and then a bad news. My emotions were in a roller coaster ride during those times.

I pushed out the schedule for his karyotyping though I knew that I had to get it done. I was just not ready to face a new reality yet. I prioritized the preparation for his surgery – getting him cleared from several specialists, making sure I had funds enough to cover the surgery and all his other medical needs after, and once I had everything settled, I decided to get him scheduled for blood extraction for his chromosomal analysis.

It took me three and a half months to get it done. I was just not ready. I was praying so hard for a miracle that one day I will wake up and my son will be the perfect little boy that I had in my dreams. I will wake up with him able to see without clouds in his eyes. I will wake up to see him all perfect and well. After his blood was extracted for his karyotyping, I gave it all up. I remember thinking, whatever will be, will be. But one thing I held on was the hope for a small miracle for my son.

playing inside the cab after having his blood taken for the chromosomal analysis

playing inside the cab after having his blood taken for the chromosomal analysis

I got my son’s karyotyping results a month after. The results were already available after three weeks but I didn’t have the courage to get it. I wanted to know but I was not really jumping with the idea that my son may have Ds. Seeing that piece of paper that contained my son’s test results was like being sucker punched. It was the lowest point of my life.

I drank that night, crying my heart out, all alone in the comfort of my apartment. I grieved the loss of the perfect little boy in my dreams. I grieved the loss of the what-might-have-beens and what-could-have-beens. I grieved the loss of my hopes and dreams. It was the most painful experience I’ve had so far. I knew all along, from the time I laid eyes on my son, that there was something not right (I guess that’s what they call mother’s instinct) and I tried so hard to deny it. But in the end, it felt like the joke was on me.

I joined Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc (DSAPI) and I have found them to be a great moral support for someone who felt at a loss after such a diagnosis. I joined several DS groups in Facebook as well as part of my coping mechanism and they have all been a great support system (even if I rarely get to meet with the group) in my lowest point. I realized that I was not alone in this journey. There are quite a lot of us walking through the same path.

In the last year, I have seen my son grow into the little toddler that he is now. He is now 18 months old – active, jolly, hard-headed at times just like his mom, and is just like any normal, typical toddler, ready to explore the world in his own way. I have learned to let go of the “perfect” little boy in my head and embrace this not-so-perfect little boy in place. Yes, he is not perfect as I perceived perfect to be, but he is perfect in his own way. He is mine, my son, of my blood, and he has brought me nothing but pure joy.

my travel partner

my travel partner

my jolly little big boy Z

my jolly little big boy Z

<3 ^_^ <3

<3 ^_^ <3

I wish things could have gone differently with how I knew and learned of his condition. But it is what it is and I have to start letting go of the things that didn’t happen as it should. I am just glad that I could say, for now at least, that we have gone past a very rough start in our journey as mother and son. There’s no rushing in our journey now. All we need to do is to take one step at a time, one day at a time, and just enjoy and celebrate life as we should.

the love of my life, my heart and my soul <3

the love of my life, my heart and my soul <3

There are still times that I wish that my son didn’t have Ds especially when I see kids his age doing things that they should be doing. But I am also learning now that my son may not be hitting the usual milestones at the “right” time, he will be able to hit them once he is ready. There’s no rush, we are just taking a reroute. The journey may be longer but we are seeing a hell of a lot more view than the usual. I could say that the bonus there is that I get to baby my son a little bit longer. :)

:) <3

:) <3

Mommy Mundo Event: Expo Kid 2015

Thinking of activities to do with your kids next weekend? Why not check out Mommy Mundo’s event at Rockwell, Makati? :D

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The event is all about activities for kids of all ages that will help stimulate their minds, energize their bodies, build their self-esteem and nourish their spirits. There are also scheduled demos and talks and of course, not to miss out the Mommy Mundo market.

Huggies with Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan will also have a special activity for kids from 6 months to 3 years old. First 200 registrants will receive a gift pack from Huggies. Text 0908-8657245 to register.

For more details on the upcoming event, please check out the events page and MommyMundo’s website.

 

***Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just happened to enjoy Mommy Mundo’s events and would like to share this as well :) ***

 

Still Alive…

I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I wanted to these past few weeks because I have been very busy with work lately. One issue after another, all piling up and resolution is not as quick as we have wanted it to be. Sometimes, that is the dilemma that I encounter with working with people in different time zones all at time.

Anyway, it is already February, the shortest month of the year and yet, almost always, feels like the longest month ever. We are already in the second week so far and I am so wanting this month to end already. Hopefully by then, work load would have stabilized.

I really don’t have anything in mind to talk about right now. I just wanted to post something for the sake of posting and for letting my readers and followers know that I am still alive – just busy. 😁

This month is Down Syndrome Awareness month and if you have been following my blog for quite sometime, you would already know that my son has Down Syndrome. I have been planning to write about our journey so far for the longest time but I just didn’t know how to go through about it. I’ve had something drafted already and hopefully I can finalize it this month so I can share with you all.

For now, I hope you be patient with me while I try to stabilize my chaotic work schedule and level load my team’s tasks. Once we are settled and back to a somewhat normal routine, I sure will be pestering your readers with my non-sense, rants, something to share posts and all that.

I am still alive, survivng and – twisted as it may seem – having the most fun time at work amidst all the issues and chaos around me. #workaholicmomma :mrgreen:

The Life of a Far Away Momma

Being a single working mom is already hard on its own. Being a single working mom away from your child/ren is doubly hard. Some people would think that we have it easy since someone else takes care of our child, that we can live the life the way we used to. But that is not the case. Well, not for me anyway.

I have a very supportive family who takes care of my son while I work. The thing is, they live more than a 100 miles away from me. That is about 6 hours’ commute by regular bus, 4-5 hours’ commute by deluxe bus, or about 3-4 hours’ drive if you have a car. Commuting daily is not an option. Commuting weekly is a more reasonable option.

Some people might say we are lucky because someone is willing to take care of our kids. We don’t have a baby/toddler routine to perform every morning before we go to work, we don’t have any baby/toddler duties when we come home from work, etc. All we have to think about is getting ready for work and coming home to sleep. We are indeed lucky, aren’t we?

The thing is, I don’t see it that way. Let me count the ways why I don’t feel lucky by being a far away momma:

  • I don’t get to open my eyes every morning with two pudgy hands holding my face, a pair of brown eyes staring back at me, and a smiling face ready to give me a sloppy morning kiss.
  • I don’t get to have an excuse to be late for work because my son is not yet done giggling after a tickle game and listening to him giggle and laugh is music to my ears.
  • I don’t get to have goodbye kisses before I leave for work and I don’t get to have more kisses when I get home from work.
  • Not being able to call home to talk to my son every single day at work makes me feel guilty and I cannot make it up to him when I get home from work. I can only make it up to him on the weekends.
  • I come home to an empty and quiet apartment, void of my son’s laughter.
  • My house may be clean but I would rather see my son with all his toys scattered around the living room.
  • I miss my son every single day that I am away from him and I could stare at his photos for so long I sometimes forget  I still have work to do.
  • I don’t get to have the chance of reading my son a bedtime story before putting him to sleep. I can only do so on the weekends.

Probably, the only thing that I feel lucky about is the fact that I can go home during the weekends (with the exception of having weekend work or when I get sick and need to rest). But that is comparing it from moms who have to work overseas.

Being a far away momma is lonely. That’s why I always look forward to the days that I get to spend time with my son. Even if a weekend is too short, I try to make every single minute count. This kind of life is hard but sometimes it has to be done. I need to think of my son’s future as well.

Any single moms or far away mommas out there? I would love to hear your stories…