Before the stretch marks

I was staring at my tummy stretch marks this morning—YEP, I HAVE THEM—and instead of feeling sad and disgusted and grossly ashamed of myself (“No more bikinis huhuhu!” I previously lamented), I realized that I was now  okay with them… and the high-waist bikinis and one-piece swimsuits that my mom-bod is now limited to. Haha.

My OB was right: No amount of expensive creams and oils can make you completely immune to them, especially if you’re thin to begin with and if it runs in the family. In fairness to Palmer’s and Clarins (thank you, Rustan’s!), they kept me stretch mark-free until around my 7th to 8th month. I guess my skin just couldn’t handle my sudden ballooning during the final stretch. And oh, did I mention I’ve also got marks all over my butt? Huhu haha. Oh well. The physical #mommyfication has begun!

Anyhoo, staring at my post-pregnancy tummy made me sorely miss being pregnant (and my previously smooth, stretched belly!) so I’ve decided to get pregnant again. (KIDDING!!!) I realized that I haven’t shared all photos from our maternity shoot yet, so here they are. I’m soooo glad we did this shoot. My stomach no longer looks as smooth as that, but hey, at least I’ve got pictures. :P

Mommy friends, what stretch mark creams/oils did you use and did they work? I’m now using Bio Oil to remedy my marks!

Special thanks to my faves! Photography by Dakila Angeles; hair and makeup by Muriel Vega Perez.
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Hi, I’m Elaine, and I’m a new mama

My son (I have a son!) turned one month old two days ago, and I couldn’t help feeling that I deserved a badge of some sort. “Survivor,” it would read. At this point in my life, I am just happy for having survived labor, childbirth, and the first month of parenthood, and now be able to tell you about it. My biggest reward, of course—one that is better than any badge—is the little bundle of fat now sleeping soundly beside me. The round-faced boy who nurses nonstop most days and nights; the tiny poop machine who often “surprises” his daddy with more pee (or poop!) midway through a diaper change; the toothless angel I now canNOT live without.

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Meet Yuan Lucas N. Reyes! Born 6.9 lbs, 47 cms. All cute.

My due date was supposedly May 21, but baby Luke decided to make his grand entrance 10 days earlier. This decision of his also ruined his mommy’s best-laid pre-baby primping plans: I was hoping I still had time to get a Brazilian, a manipedi, and a body scrub—just so I’d be hubad-ready for delivery. Haha! But baby wanted out, and there was no stopping him.

When I woke up with tummy pains at 2 a.m. on May 11, I thought I was just having a serious case of gas. (FYI, pregnancy can turn you into one flatulent being.) It took me an hour of tossing and turning before I started suspecting that I was probably already having contractions. After all, the previously gassy pains started feeling more like menstrual cramps which came and went—exactly how most websites described “labor pains.”

So in the dead of the night, I found myself downloading a “Contraction Timer.” I happily logged my first one, which lasted 86 seconds, at 2:57 a.m. By 5:30 a.m., though, I wasn’t happy anymore. By then, my contractions were around four to five minutes apart. I knew it was getting close, so I woke my husband up and begged to be taken to the hospital.

I’m not going to get into the gory details, but I must say my birthing story is as unglamorous as it gets. Since I decided not to watch any childbirth videos or read about the actual steps and procedures during childbirth (I was already scared enough as it is), I was in for a lot of surprises. Like the fact that you’re subjected to a gazillion IEs or internal exams during labor. (Ugh.) Or that you’re forced to poop so your baby won’t have a surprise “twin” when you deliver. (Don’t ask me how.)

The labor pains, however, turned out to be a little more manageable than expected. True, they grew more painful by the hour—like menstrual cramps from hell—but I found myself thanking God for the rest period in between contractions. By the 10th hour, however—and at just 6 cm—they decided to give me oxytocin to speed things up. That’s when the pain went to crazy levels, making me beg for an epidural.

Another surprise: I didn’t know that getting the epidural would be such a major process, one that would require me to be taken to the OR. But scary and uncomfortable as it was, once the drugs kicked in, I was in heaven. I remember telling my husband “ANG SARAP!” as soon as I was wheeled back into the labor room. From that point on, I was blissfully numb from the belly down. It was AWESOME.

Unfortunately, I was still at 6 cm by 3pm, 13 hours into labor. The baby still hasn’t descended enough, and his heartbeat was fluctuating—a sign of fetal distress. My OB (Hi, Doc Shelma!) then decided that we couldn’t risk waiting any longer and that I needed to undergo an emergency C-section.

This was when I first cried. The combined surprise over the unexpected CS, worry for my baby, and fear of surgery overwhelmed me, and I just couldn’t help but burst into tears. Thank God my mom and husband were there to calm me down.

The operation took around 30 minutes—probably the most agonizing 30 minutes of my life—as it was the first time that I felt like I didn’t own my body. I was strapped in, couldn’t move, and had no choice but to submit myself to the hands of my doctors and nurses. At 3:29 p.m., I heard Lucas’s first cry. I cried, too—this time from relief and a joy I couldn’t explain. My husband was there to cut the cord and lovingly tell me “Good job!” (even though I didn’t really do anything), and we had our first family photo then and there.

That was when I understood what my mommy friends meant when they said that as soon as you see your baby, you’ll forget about everything else—the pain, the discomfort, everything. It’s so, so true. As soon as they gave me my baby, nothing else mattered. Super cheesy but super true!

And so that’s how the first day of our life together panned out. I’m not going to lie—the past month’s been very challenging. Writing this entry alone proved to be a tricky, tricky task. I would start typing and then five minutes later, I’d be forced to stop because baby wants to be A) fed, B) burped, C) cleaned, D) put to sleep. (As of writing, I’ve already stopped six times.) What can I do? Baby’s the boss.

But I must say I’m very lucky to have the most patient, most supportive husband ever by my side. (Hi, hun!) He’s taken care of me and Lucas from day one—our very own personal nurse!—and has seen me through my worst, adult diapers and all. I seriously do not know what I’d do without him. <3

Okay, baby wants to be carried now. More stories soon, when I get the chance!

Preggy Brain

When I first peed on a pregnancy stick September of last year, I barely had to wait 10 seconds before seeing two lines appear. I was so pregnant, the stick said, but I wanted to be super sure, so I took two more tests and got two more positives. That was around seven months ago; I was only six to seven weeks along then. Nowadays, my belly’s so full of child (and fried chicken and halo-halo) that I can hardly see my feet when I look down. We’re in the home stretch—33 weeks and 3 days, to be exact—and he’s feeling less fetus-like and more human to me every day. (Kicks, jabs, hiccups, and all.) So this is how it feels to be pregnant, I still find myself thinking sometimes. And I absolutely love it.

I love it even though I walk like a penguin now, and look like a butete (my dad’s words). I love it even though I can no longer fit into my short shorts and jeans and mini dresses, and have been relegated to the maternity section after swearing I’d never shop there. (In fairness to SM, they have non-maternity-looking maternity dresses.)

I love it even though I had to give up sashimi and bleu cheese and all sorts of good things like Lucky Me Pancit Canton, tocino, and corned beef. (My tummy started rejecting too-processed food items anyway.) I said goodbye to my daily cup of coffee, too, and just switched to hot milk.

I love it even though being pregnant has made me some sort of weakling who can’t even pick something up from the floor (TRUE STORY) or get up from the bed without first rolling to one side and pushing myself up slowly like a lola. These days, scouring the malls—which is part of my magazine job—has become a challenge, too, and I’m already huffing by the third store. But then again, I love how most salespeople scramble to assist the pregnant woman “shopping” by herself, sometimes with matching touch to the belly or preggy small talk.

And yes, I do not mind having strangers touch my belly at all or being asked for the nth time when I’m due. I particularly love being told I look like I’m having a girl, because in Pinoy-speak, that’s a huge compliment. In this country, you never tell a pregnant woman that she looks like she’s having a boy, because we all know what you mean by that. There were like three or four people who did that to me, and trust me, it makes you question your looks!

For the record, though, I am having a baby boy, and couldn’t be more thrilled (and scared, haha!) about it.

I love that he kicks and punches like a football star-slash-wrestler; I love that he squirms excitedly whenever I eat or drink something sweet; I love that he hiccups at least twice a day at this point—a good sign according to my OB. I love that he responds differently to my and my husband’s voice/touch, and how he’s turned his daddy into an excited ball of mush. (He’s shopped for more baby stuff than I have!)

And even though this little one makes me go to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so, wakes me up with crazy leg cramps at night, or makes me want to nap all day, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

Seven weeks to go, my love. I shall see you soon. <3

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View from the top. =)

One year later

This time last year, I was saying “I do” to my boyfriend of 10 years. Today, we’re 11 years strong, and a full year married (and seven months preggers!). So excuse me if I believe this gives me license to become a big ball of cheese for a day. Heehee.

I’ve finally uploaded our wedding pics on my Facebook page, but here are a few highlights. All photos by the amazing Nez Cruz.

Happy first anniversary, Mr. R! You know I love you. :)

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