May 5

Avent or Medela Swing?

In two weeks, maternity leave is over for me. Time to go back to work! Now I have quite a dilemma here which I’m sure fellow moms can help me with. I want to buy an electric pump which I can bring to the office to express milk for my preemie baby. I’m currently using an Avent Manual breastpump and it’s been wonderful. However, I can not bring it to me at work because (1) since I do not have that much milk, it can be very tiring to manually pump to get as much as 2 ounces and (2) it is time consuming as well. Now, with the electric pump, I can stay at my desk and work while expressing milk (with the help of a breastmilk pumping bra of course).
I’ve been scouting for the perfect breastpump and I’m down to two choices; either an Avent Electric breast pump or a Medela Swing Electric Pump.

 

These two are on the same price range. Since an electric pump is quite pricey, I want to make sure that I buy the right one so I won’t go wasting money. Fellow moms, which of the two will you recommend? Basically my concerns are:
1. Which one produces more milk (better let down)
2.  Durability
3. User friendliness
4. Quite motor (some pumps have very noisy motors. How embarrassing to officemates!)

I do hope you can help me out here moms! I will appreciate all your feedback! Thanks.

April 27

A Salute to Breastfeeding Moms

Just like most people, my general knowledge of breastfeeding is that it is very beneficial for babies as it contains antibodies and nutrients that no formula milk can imitate. I also knew that it is the ultimate bonding moment for a mother and her baby. Now that I’m also breastfeeding, there’s one major thing that I realized; BREASTFEEDING IS NOT EASY. Breastfeeding is manifestation of a mother’s unconditional love for her baby.  And with that I have gained a whole new respect for breastfeeding moms.

It took me 4 years of being a mom to realize that. I did not breastfeed my firstborn son because I did not have sufficient breast milk. But with my second son who was born 3 months earlier than his due date, I have to breastfeed because his small tummy can not take in milk formula. Since he is still in the incubator, I express my milk at home and bring it to hospital. The usual frequency of feeding newborns is every 3 hours and that is also what I follow in expressing my milk (except when I sleep at night). That level of frequency means my activities are limited. This afternoon was my first time to go to the mall and I’m literally rushing to go home because I’m late for my milk expressing schedule. I can just imagine how demanding it is when baby is at home and is already latching at mom’s breast. Not only is mom’s activities limited, but so is her sleeping hours as newborns are mostly awake at night. And how about working moms who express milk at work and latches baby at home? Talk about ultimate dedication!
A mom also sacrifices convenience. Breastfeeding can be painful. Breasts hurt when it is full and not expressed; and breasts hurt when being expressed and sucked by the baby. So either way, it can be painful. Also, milk not expressed leaks. Imagine the scenario if mom is out for an errand or in a meeting and milk leaks? You got the picture I guess.
These realizations put me in awe at breastfeeding moms, more so for those who did it for a year or more.  Breastfeeding entails a lot of love, patience, sacrifice and dedication. A mother sacrifices time, sleep and convenience to feed her baby. Breast milk is a product of a mother’s unconditional love to her baby. I never knew that until now. So to all breastfeeding moms, a big salute to all of you!
April 26

A most awaited moment…

Since giving birth to my son a month and a half ago, my daily routine includes going to the hospital and visiting my son Hendrix. Everyday I talk to him, caress his body, watch him sleep, hold his little hands and feet. But yesterday, a big change in my daily visit happened.
The joyous moment of mother holding her baby happens upon birth for most moms, but for me, I waited 41 days for it to happen. And it was just as magical. This time no glass incubator separates us. I held him close to me, kissed him and smelled him. I know Hendrix is happy too because he smiled several times. It was a moment that I did not want to end. It was the day I will forever remember.
In God’s time I know that soon we will be able to bring Hendrix home. I am very much looking forward to that day when I get to hold him and be with him the entire day; singing him lullabies, calming him when he cries and putting him to sleep. Hendrix is getting better and I know the best is yet to come.

 

April 8

Faith… Total Surrender

With our Baby Hendrix in the Neonatal ICU, the past three weeks had been a roller coaster of emotions. Some days are up, some are down. There are several instances when we celebrate over some developments then just a few hours later cry over negative updates from his doctor. As a result, despite receiving some good news, I would find myself crying and worrying if it will be followed by disappointing news as well.
Last weekend was definitely one of those days. The Doctor reported a major setback. At that point, additional medicines or procedures were not advisable. The only thing to do is to observe and wait if Hendrix can fight it out.
For someone like me who is used to taking control of things, it is difficult to just wait. I plan everything. And when things do not go my way, I get really upset. And with Hendrix, I already expected a miracle, because of all the prayers we’ve been receiving from family, relatives, friends, relatives, prayer groups, even from people we do not know. I expected his Doctor to tell me “We do not know how it happened, but your son is perfectly healthy!” But it did not happen and I was disappointed. Very disappointed.
In the middle of these emotions, I read the bible to find some comfort. And the verses I read in both books of Matthew and Mark, tell how people’s faith in God allowed them to be healed by Jesus.
Matthew 9:27 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.
Mark 10:52 “Go” said Jesus. “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Reading these verses was the enlightenment that I needed. It made me realize that even thru prayers I was still trying to take control of things. I want things exactly my way; that I refuse “No” as answer. Reading these verses opened up my eyes and heart. I need to have faith and faith means total surrender. I have to believe that God will heal my son; and that God knows what is best for my son.
After reading the bible, I meditated and prayed. And when I opened my eyes, I felt relieved. I felt like a heavy weight has been taken from my shoulders. I have faith. I believe. I surrender.
Hendrix’s condition is improving as days go by. It is not perfect yet, but having that renewed faith allowed me to be thankful and be happy for the good news, and take calmly any problems that come our way. We are taking it one day at a time.
And if you’re wondering about the major setback I mentioned above, yes, Hendrix was able to fight it out. Thank God! A blessed easter to everyone!
March 29

My early CS Delivery

On March 15, 2012, 6 months (26 weeks, 2 days) into my pregnancy, I gave birth to my second child, a 2lbs, 1 ounce baby boy. It was not a kind of birth experience I would want any mother to be in. I cried upon hearing him cry, but not of happiness, but because of fear and worry. He is already out when he should not be and I do not know how his small body will take the outside world. I did not get to hold him or to see him because he has to be incubated right away.
My water bag rapture on March 12 but to give baby time to absorb the steroids needed to fast track the growth of his lungs, we had to wait two more days. I was given an IV to try to replenish the lost amniotic fluid but I was still leaking. Those two days were tense ones as my Doctors strictly (hourly) monitored my baby’s heartbeat and movement. On March 15, after the ultrasound showed that I barely had amniotic fluid and infections are starting to come in, my Doctors decided to deliver my baby via Ceasarian Section. It was not a better alternative. Having him inside my tummy will risk us both of infection, but delivering him at that point will not guarantee his survival. It was heartbreaking to hear those words from the doctors.
I always ask myself if have done something wrong that could have triggered the rapture in my water bag. My husband and doctors said that I was not at fault. They gave me all medical explanations for what happened. I believe them. But now the next thought that came: “Did I give my son the best protection and nutrition while he was still inside my womb?” I hope so. But I suddenly felt guilty for the days when I cheated on my diet and ate chocolates and donuts and sip half a cup of coffee. I felt guilty for the days when I allowed myself to get so tired at work that I can barely get up from bed when I arrive home.
If there’s one thing I wish other pregnant moms will learn from my experience, it is to never take for granted a day into your pregnancy. The womb is the safest place for the baby to be in for those 37 weeks or more that he is inside it. Every single day that the unborn baby is inside the mother’s womb should be cherished. Every vitamin must be taken, only the healthiest food must be eaten. If you are a working mom, always have plenty of rest. If it means taking a nap in the middle of the day at work, then find your space and just nap away. For stay at home moms, do not stress over household chores. Ask help if needed. If you feel anything unusual do not hesitate to ask your Doctor about it. Always talk to your baby. Our Neonatologist advised us to always talk to our son in the incubator because hearing familiar voices soothe and calm him.
Two weeks after giving birth and my baby is showing good developments. We still have a long way to go, say 2-3 months inside the incubator, but I cherish each day that the good Lord adds up to his life.
March 25

I’m a Breastfeeding Mom!

With my first born son, Heinel, I was not able to breastfeed except for the colostrum because I did not have much supply and he ends up feeling so hungry after latching. It was a frustration. But now, with the birth of my second son, Hendrix, (born only 26 weeks into my pregnancy), breast milk is a must. His small body needs only a mother’s mik. Initially I was worried that I will not have milk again. But with the help of our pediatrician, I was able to extract milk on my first try! Now, more than a week after giving birth, I extract about 1.5 ounces milk every 6 hours and it is gradually increasing. Doctors from the Neonatal ICU says Baby Hendrix only takes in 5ml of milk every 8 hours for now. But just the same, I regularly extract milk just to make sure that my milkflow will not stop and by the time I’m allowed to feed him directly thru my breast, I have enough to fill him up! Right now, we store all the milk inside the freezer and my husband delivers a bottle or two everyday.
More than nourishing my baby, my breastmilk also became my connection with my baby since I can not visit him daily yet because I am still recovering from a complicated CS operation. It somehow eased my anxiety of not seeing him knowing that thru my milk, I am able to help him recover.
I’m happy that I am now part of millions of moms who breastfeeds their baby!
March 2

A Happy Wife makes a Happy Life

Yesterday I was watching a local TV show “KrisTV”. The episode features Kim Atienza; a news anchor, host, animal enthusiast. His home is truly a busy one with 3 kids, 34 dogs, 16 crocodiles, various types of tortoise and frogs, 2 macaw birds, and some indoor pets such as hedgehogs. His wife owns a Chinese school where their kids go to school as well. When Kris asked how his wife was able to manage a home as busy as theirs and a career which is equally demanding, he said that it is because he believes in the motto “A happy wife makes a happy life”. He supports her career and encourages her to pamper herself and do the things that she loves. They have dinners together, surprises her with gifts, and do affectionate things such as texting her “I love you” several times a day.
“A happy wife makes a happy life”. This I truly agree with. As a woman, we play several roles and most of the time we end up sacrificing a lot just to make sure that everyone around us is happy. But the danger in that is when we end up losing ourselves. If one always allows herself to be the last priority, one way or another she will realize that she no longer knows who she is and what she wants, and thus end up being miserable. If a woman is happy with herself, then she can shower so much love to her family. Each woman must find her source of inner happiness. Some find it by having a career of their own; others find it by staying at home. No matter what it is, it has to be her choice. A woman must not lose herself because she has a husband and kids to take care of. She must also give herself time to go out with her friends and her husband or even alone for some pampering time at the salon and spa and go shopping.
During my pregnancy with my first born son, I have to resign from work on my 5th month because of my complicated pregnancy. When I gave birth, despite the presence of my son, I still felt a twinge of sadness. The thought of work keeps coming back. I tried to set it aside and focus on my son but it came to a point when I just couldn’t ignore it anymore. I was blessed to have a wonderful husband who supported my decision. When I started working again, I went back to being my old happy self. I realized that having a career makes me happy; having personal achievements makes me happy. And that inner happiness benefited my family because I became a better wife and mother.
I hope this reaches all the wives and mothers out there. Do not feel guilty in thinking about yourselves at times. Marriage and motherhood should not change who you are, but rather, make you a better person than you were before. And to husbands, do not forget to show some love and appreciation to your wives. Remember, a happy wife makes a happy life!
January 23

Letter for Heinel on his 4th

January 23, 2012

To my son, Heinel,

As I am typing this letter, you are now less than a month from turning four years old. I cannot believe how time flies. It was just yesterday when your Dad and I used to talk to you while you are still inside my tummy and marvel at the miracle of feeling you move. It seemed moments ago when I first held you in my arms and I could not believe how perfect you are. And now you are already our little boy who never runs out of stories to tell and cute antics to share. There are times that I wish that the clock wouldn’t move as quickly so you will not grow up too fast. Every day you are showing me signs of independence and though most of the time I’m too scared to let go of my control of you, I want you know that I’m proud of your accomplishments. From learning how to walk and cite the alphabet; to showing me you can already brush your own teeth and prepare your own milk; these are among the many triumphs in life that I know I will forever be proud of. Your smile every time you succeed in a task is worth more than a thousand riches and fame that life can offer me.
Heinel, having you was the best thing that happened to me and Dad. At times I wonder what I have done so perfectly in my life that made me deserve you. I am far from being a perfect Mom, and most of the time I fell short of being an ideal one, but if you can only see my heart, you will see that every day I am trying to be, at least, the mom that you deserve; not ideal, not perfect, but always loving and willing to give up everything for you. Before you were born, my greatest fear is not knowing how to raise you. I’m a first time mom and changing a diaper was already a challenge, how much more shaping you to be a good person? But just like any other parent, i am raising you with only life experiences as a guide. Each day is a learning process not just for you but most of all for me. We are parenting you “by faith and love”. There is no clear formula, nor there are any shortcuts. Being a parent does not mean that I will always be right. But do trust that whatever decisions that we will make, we have your best interest at heart. And for those instances that I will be wrong, you will hear me say “I am sorry” and pray that you will always be as accepting and forgiving.

My son, if there’s one constant prayer I have each day, that is for you to grow up to become a God-fearing, responsible and hardworking person. Whatever your dreams will be, we will support you. You can be in any field that you want may it be in science, law, arts or even music, but for as long as you have those three traits in you, you will become successful. Give back to society by being a good citizen and by serving others, for success is not to be defined by the money that you have but by the level of contentment and serenity that you will feel as each day ends and you’re all alone and in prayer.
As you read this one day, I pray that you will keep my words in your heart. This will be one of my many letters to you to give you a peek of what’s inside Mommy’s heart. Life may bring me riches and fame, but nothing can compare to the achievement of being called your Mommy. I love you Heinel with all my heart and I will always be proud of you.

Love,
Mommy