They say a woman becomes a mother as soon as she becomes pregnant and the man becomes a father when the child is born.

The first time we went to the ob-gyn to confirm I was pregnant and I saw that little dot on the ultrasound screen, I knew I would do anything I can to protect my baby.  Still reeling with excitement (and fear of the unknown), I searched the internet about anything related to pregnancy.  I joined forums to check out what other pregnant moms are going through. 
I stopped all the caffeine in my diet...No coffee, soda or tea.  Not drinking the first two was easy...the tea, that was hard!  I had to give up my iced tea, thai tea & black tea cravings for 9 months!! 

I also drank a tall glass of milk everyday..twice! (I'm never really a milk fan, just so you know).  I ate lots of fruits and vegetables...and everything that's good for my baby.

But really...when does motherhood begin?  

In my opinion, it doen't start with pregnancy...if it does, no one would commit abortion.  

Motherhood starts with love.  It's when you start caring for your child more than you care about yourself.  That is why even a woman who never got pregnant can also be a good mother...because she cares about the child, her child...sometimes even more than the biological mother herself.

I remember there was this question in a website..."when did you realize you're a mom?" ah ha! answer..?  It was when I willingly wake up every 2 or 3 hours to nurse and to change my newborn baby's diaper...It was when I got pooped, peed and puked on (the dreaded P's) but still laugh while cleaning myself...It was when I feel like crying when they took blood samples from her little was when I feel proud of every little achievement...and the list goes on...

To sum up, there's a quote I've seen a hundred times before but never really struck a cord until now:

You have never known what love really means until you became a mother - Anonymous

Thanks to my mommy, aunts and everyone who's been a mother to me. =)  I love you all!
continuation from Part 1...

We arrived at the hospital at exactly 7pm and went straight to the labor and delivery section.  The nurse asked me if I'm having any pains...which I answered yes...a little bit.  I feel really heavy!  Still no back pains...(why do I keep on waiting for the back pains?!?!)

They took me to one of the labor rooms and asked me to undress and put on a lab gown.  A nurse came in and asked me hundreds of questions...only thing I remembered was if I'll have epidural...which I answered “YES!” automatically.

After a couple more minutes, my ob-gyn showed up to check my progress.  He told me I’m already 8cm!!!  The dilation of the cervix before delivery should be 10cm...I'm only 2cm away!  Jude and I were shocked!  And I was even having second thoughts about going to the hospital!?! 

After that, the nurse asked more questions…asked me what my level of pain is (from 1-10)...seriously, for me it's just 7... She was like “just 7?"...So, through the contractions, I said “, it’s 8.”  I guess from reading too many birth stories, I imagined that the level of pain would be too high...

Another nurse came in, placed an IV on my vein and took some blood samples.  She told me we need to wait for the blood results before I can have epidural.  Honestly, at this point I knew God granted my pain meds.

More every couple of seconds.   The nurse came back and said we don’t have the blood results yet, and I might have to start pushing.  She checked me and I’m already 9cm...No time for epidural!  I feel tired and want to drink water...which, unfortunately, is not allowed.  She gave me a cup full of ice chips instead.

My water bag is still intact at 9cm doctor said he has to rupture it.  He also placed some sort of device on my baby's hear the heartbeat better. 

He left the room and the nurse said I have to start pushing...she'll bring me to the delivery room when they can see my baby's head.  Okay, so...I really don't know how to push!  That's the hard part...she said I was pushing with my face...I wanted to laugh but was too frustrated to do so!  What the heck is pushing with my face?!  She was teaching me how to push the correct way...Ugh! That was tough!  She told me I have to push like I'm doing "number 2”...why is it so hard when you're not sitting on a toilet bowl?!

I was so thankful that Jude was there the whole time...counting 1 to 10...helping me push...sometimes distracting me..  There's a tv inside the room and it was tuned in to a Peanuts Christmas Special.  Jude was like, can you tell me the name of this and that character?  Between contractions, I would say..."Oh, it's Pigpen...*contrations* and that's Peppermint Patty..."  Can we stop this please..I'm having a hard time breathing!  LOL.  It's funny was frustrating then...up to now I still can't remember the name of that one character....there was also this one time he told me to "not look like I'm weak"...ummm...can you tell me how to do that...? 

Anyway, back to my story...After much pushing and little luck with doing it right...I looked at the clock and it's almost 10pm..I told myself, I want to give birth before 11!  I pushed, pushed and pushed!  Finally, they can see my baby's head...they wheeled me in to the delivery room and that was it!!!  It's time!!
Shandi's first picture!
The delivery team was composed of my doctor, a female intern, a couple of nurses...and my husband.  They were all urging me to push push through the contactions!  I was no longer looking at any of them.  I just closed my eyes and pushed as hard as I can. 

Then, I felt my doctor pull her out...our baby...whew!!  They cut the cord and brought her to the cleaning area.  Jude asked me if he can go and see her...

While he was taking pictures of our daughter, I gave birth to the placenta...double whew!!  It was such a huge weight off me...then they started to stitch me up (I had an episiotomy).  I felt everything!  Even the stitches.  Now I truly believe that our bodies are capable of so many wondrous things…that some pain are just in our minds..that women can make it though natural delivery without any pain meds...(just like the old times!)

The nurse from the labor room cleaned me up.  She pressed on my abdomen and I felt a gush of blood...old blood.  She said I wouldn't want that inside me.  She helped me move to a different bed and then handed me my daughter, Shandi.  I still can't believe it!  We arrived at the hospital 7pm...I gave birth 10:32pm.  God is great!

It all felt surreal.  Like, you know it's your baby...but you still can’t grasp the reality of it…Like, how did this happen? The miracle of life and my share in it…

Before, I imagined myself crying after giving birth…but being that moment...I didn’t cry…I was immersed in the wonder and beauty of it all…of giving birth without pain meds, of being with my husband the whole time, of sharing this wonderful experience with him…and then, finally seeing and holding our baby in my arms…I didn’t cry…I was in awe…and full of thanks for all our blessings…I just want to say Thank you Lord!

Thanks Ninang Jaeca!!
Happy 4th of July to Americans!

My daughter's godmother gave her the cute red, white & blue dress for today.  Shandi loves it!!  When she wore it this morning, she was screaming with excitement.  To bad we don't have anything exciting planned out...Well, it's never really a holiday to celebrate for us...Filipinos celebrate independence day on June 12.  Yup, that's our excuse! (Not the fact that we're trying to save on gas...LOL.)

Since 4th of July is equal to fireworks, we went to Hollywood hoping we can watch the display.  Unfortunately, the view was blocked by a tall Renaissance Hotel!!  We were waiting on a certain spot with a lot of people and no one from the surrounding establishments ever told us that we're waiting for nothing!  Boooo!  Good thing we decided to walk around..we saw some fireworks from a different spot. 

I don't think Shandi cares about the fireworks...she's scared of the loud explosions.  She's mesmerized with all the lights along Hollywood Blvd though.  She can't take her eyes off all the glitz and costumed people surrounding her.

Time really flies when you're having fun...I think even Shandi forgot that she's supposed to be sleepy already (or maybe hungry...hehe.).  Time to go home...

Fireworks or no fireworks...we had a blast!!

Okay...I decided I'll write about my birth story...The purpose of which is either of the following:
    1.  Share my story with you guys.
    2.  Recount the event and kinda relive the moment.  Much like writing a diary where you can read the entry when you've forgotten some of the details.
    3.  Believe that our bodies are capable of such wondrous things.  Praise God, He made us that way! 
    4.  Make my daughter feel guilty when she's already a teenager and giving me a hard time!!! 

Okay, okay...the last one, I don't really you honestly believe I would do that???! (which got me thinking.....)

Honestly, I was scared as $#!+ about giving birth.  Here's my everyday mantra to boost my courage:
    1.  Of all the women who gave birth before me, I too, can go through this!
    2.  The Lord will help me have an easy, pain-free, normal (no c-section!) & fast labor and delivery.
    3.  When the pain is too much...there's a reason why the epidural was invented!

Two weeks before my due date, my doctor said I'm already 2cm dilated.  He wanted to see me after four days to see if I've progressed...he thinks I'll give birth before my due date.  I'm hoping he's right as my tummy feels really heavy already.  

Two days after that, I think I saw parts of my mucus plug when I went to pee...  I'm not even sure what a mucus plug is, really!  Up to now, I still don't know what the heck it is!  So instead of sounding all-knowing, I'll just say that I saw this thick, snot-like disharge.  I'm not scared and since I've read about this hundreds of times...I know it's normal.  I've had the discharge three times this day.  My mom said it means that I'm probably dilating (cervix opening up) already.

December 7, more discharge...I called my doc's office and the nurse said it's nothing to worry about.  But, just like what my doctor said, I should go straight to the hospital if I have the following:
    - contractions every 5 minutes for an hour
    - bleeding
    - water bag broke

At around 5 pm, I started to time my contractions since they’re closer apart and a little bit stronger.  It’s happening every 5 mins.!  I thought to myself, if I'm still having contractions by 6 pm, I'll tell my husband to take me to the hospital.  At around 5:30, I talked to my aunt on the phone and she told me to look for signs of blood.  She said on one of her pregnancies, she saw a teeny amount of little it's just the size of a pinhead.   

My mom left to go to my cousin's house so I'm all alone.  I went to the restroom and when I looked at the bowl, I saw more discharge with a tinge of pink.  Still not sure if it's blood...Guess I'm still in denial...LOL.  But just in case, I started to prepare the clothes I'll wear to the hospital.

When Jude got home (6 pm), I told him to have dinner first (I'm still wondering if labor has started as I don't feel any pain)...after a couple more contractions, I asked him to take me to the hospital.  I took a quick shower and off we went.  While in the car, I was praying "Lord, please...make this night the night!!  I don't want to go home and wait a couple more days!". 

I also knew I would forever wonder what it feels like to give birth without pain meds so I prayed, "Lord, if I'm meant to give birth naturally, when they check me, give me no other choice. I've heard that when the patient is more than 8cm, they no longer give epidural...and if I'm meant to give birth without meds, please, help me have a fast, easy, pain-free delivery..."

To be continued....Part 2