That Day when Basti arrived

Almost 10 months after my last blog entry, here I am now, enjoying a cup of tea and finding time to write (again! hallelujah!), because finally, baby is asleep.

As much as I am excited to flood this blog with details of how this little Basti turned into a bouncy, happy little almost-10-month old, let me first document that fateful day when God allowed Basti to come out and see the world.

Morning of January 17, 2015, the bloody show came.  I immediately sent an SMS to my OB. She instructed me to wait it out and stay at home first, until the contractions are very painful and are at 10-min interval. Around 6pm, I can feel the contractions are getting stronger, and are exactly 10 minute apart. And so my husband and I decided to go to MMC.

I was under observation for a few hours. I was only 3cm when we arrived at MMC and was supposed to be sent home first but there was a time when Basti’s heartbeat fluctuated for a few seconds. That’s when they decided to admit me already so they can further monitor. I was transferred to the labor room, and I remember getting stressed because the contractions were beginning to get very painful. One time the resident OBs asked me to rate the level of pain from 1 to 10, I answered 300. Well, just to make a point. Haha.  I dilated veerrryyy slowly. The epidural was only allowed if the dilation is already at 6cm if I remember correctly. But after begging the resident OBs, I was finally given epidural at 6am. I was only at 5cm then.

I went into a 16-hour excruciating labor, goodness! The pain was — inexplicable!  After 16 hours, at 9cm dilation (almost there!!! — or so we thought) Basti wasn’t descending yet. OB said that baby’s head is beginning to swell because he has been trying to push himself out but wasn’t able to do so because of my small pelvic bone. At 12 noon, my OB decided to put me in a Cesarean section.

12:40pm of January 18, Basti was (FINALLY!) out to see the world 🙂

My husband was beside me all the way — from labor room, delivery room, recovery room up until we were sent out to our private room. This was when I realized the importance of choosing a good husband.  I couldn’t imagine having to go through that excruciating labor pains if my husband was not around. Because I had a major operation, I was literally immobile for the next few days. I am very thankful for having a very loving and supportive husband — first diaper changes, swaddling, burping– all him! He was taking care of a newborn baby AND taking care of me. Something to really thank heavens!

And so, that 2-day “journey” came and went, and we were finally sent home after 3 days with a 5.5lb little baby boy in our arms. I remember Martin telling me, “Honey, it’s the 3 of us now. We are coming home with another person!”

That day marked the beginning of a totally new chapter of our lives.

And the rest, as they say, is history –well if history means a very messy house, nursery rhymes on repeat for 20 times, jumping, giggles, peek-a-boos, diaper changes, and whatever you can squeeze into a 24-hour period. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Waiting for You ♥

On my 38th week now, how time flies!

The previous months have been an exciting journey for me, my husband, and this little kiddo growing inside my belly! Aside from gaining a whopping 30 lbs since my 5th week, I have experienced a lot of amazing, sometimes weird, most often times crazy stuff — emotionally, psychologically and yes the most obvious of it all, physically!

First trimester blues, oh how true they are! I thought that those things only happen in movies. Though I didn’t experience throwing up everyday (thank God!), I remember feeling really really sick. It was like having a really really bad hang over. I wasn’t able to eat anything in two weeks (this happened around my 5th or 6th week of pregnancy), and I lost 4 lbs in 2 weeks. Ugh.

My 11th week was one of the most memorable milestones that I remember. I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The experience was pure and unadulterated joy. It was the first assurance that there is a living creature developing inside my womb!

As my second trimester approached, I feel that I was recovering and regaining my energy — and yes, my appetite! I have never had so much appetite in my whole life! Literally anything I see, I can eat. And I WANT to eat! That’s why my OB had to remind me to take it slow at the middle of my second trimester, because my weight gain was too fast! I remember gaining 8 lbs in a month!

Towards the end of my second trimester, and as my belly becomes bigger and bigger, there a lot of physical changes that I noticed. My fingers seem to swell, and I couldn’t wear my wedding ring anymore =(  Dark patches on my skin are present (yes, armpits ugh), and a dark line on my belly too! (the infamous linea nigra!). I wonder how can some women stay sexy and flawless while pregnant?! Oh how unfair haha!

There were days when anxiety and fear kicks in. How will I be able to deliver this baby? I hear a lot of different stories of child birth, some are really good ones, some are not-so-good. Most mommies tell me that when the time comes, by instinct, I would know what to do. Seems really vague until now, but well, they’re probably right. And by God’s grace, I am praying and claiming that my personal child birth story would be that of a good one.

Now on my 38th week, 30 lbs heavier, and with my feet really really swollen, I anticipate the coming of our precious little one. My doctor said that there is a possibility that we reach 40 weeks, which I don’t mind really, as long as I deliver my baby safe and healthy, by God’s blessing and grace.

So the waiting game continues. See you soon, Baby Basti! For now, enjoy doing somersaults inside Mommy’s belly!

Waiting for You

Positive!

I want to be a mom. Really.

The miracle of child-bearing always amazes me, how “something” turns into “somebody”, and I know in my heart that there is nothing else I would want to be but to be able to have an opportunity to bear, to raise and to nurture another human being.

It was afternoon of April 22, 2014 and I remembered that I needed to buy something from the drug store. And then I saw that pregnancy test kit. I am one week delayed, and I really am not expecting much. Last month, I was a week and a half delayed anyway. But still I bought that kit, just to see. Who knows? So there, in between commercials of that soap me and my husband have been watching, I went in the toilet and took the test.

2014-05-22 Positive

 

Yes. Twice!

It didn’t really sink in at first. Even when my husband was hugging me and telling me “This is it, honey! This is what we’ve been praying for!”.  For a few minutes, I felt it was surreal. Is this really it?

That weekend, we went to visit by OB to confirm. She scheduled us for an early ultrasound just to make sure that the sac is inside the uterus and to rule out the possibility of Ectopic pregnancy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectopic_pregnancy). I asked my husband to come with me inside so he can also see. Honestly, I was a bit scared and anxious. What if something is wrong? What if it’s a false alarm? But then, I keep reminding myself of God’s ultimate sovereignty and goodness. Jeremiah 29:11 is on repeat inside my head.

 

2014-05-26 First Ultrasound

 

Yes, that’s the sac perfectly inside the uterus. In a few weeks and months, a human being will be formed there. What a sophisticated miracle!

Everyday, I thank the good Lord for giving me and my husband this blessing. Truly, God has affirmed me that He is in control of my life and my future. And as the days pass, with the anxiety of being a first time mom, I am constantly reminding myself of God’s goodness and love.

 

 

 

The Journey Through Pain – Phase 2

June 2012, I wrote The Journey Through Pain – Phase 1. https://joyaranas.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-journey-through-pain-phase1/

16 months after, here I am, ready to pen down the promised Phase 2.

The Journey Through Pain – Phase 2.  Acceptance. Forgiveness. Healing

It is true that time can do wonders. I couldn’t fathom the idea how I was able to handle it all. But this blog entry is to reach out to you, who has been hurt immensely, that yes, it is possible to heal. And forgive. And to love again.

I remember it vividly; it was a rainy afternoon in August, when I told myself that I had to start accepting. And with that, I had to forgive. Yes, forgiveness is a command. In my journey, I realized that I cannot wait for some miracle to happen so that I can start my process of healing. With God’s grace, I had to do it. It is true that we cannot give what we do not have. And same goes with acceptance and forgiveness. We cannot forgive others unless we forgive ourselves. We forgive ourselves for all our shortcomings. We forgive ourselves for all the imperfections. We forgive ourselves for not loving enough. We forgive ourselves that we had doubted God’s master plan. We accept that what has been done is done. We accept that we are human, we get hurt, we hurt people. We accept that nobody is perfect, including us, including our relationships.

And then, slowly, we close that chapter. Or at least try.

I don’t know how I did it, or I am not even sure if I was successful in doing it, but I remember how desperate I was to let it go. I remember just throwing it out to heavens and surrendering.

Surrender. That stage when we know we have exhausted all our resources and really, there’s nothing we can do. The feeling of total surrender is liberating. Surrender is total trust. I’m pretty sure God is not cruel to put me in this world just to be miserable. Hindi ako binuhay ng Dyos para maging miserable.

Sunshine

Hope. I take that step towards something vague, yet I know that it is something better. Walking in Faith, that’s how I’d like to put it. Chasing my miracle at the end of the tunnel, I walked with passion. Each day is a new day towards that rainbow. When, where, and whatever God’s plan is, I really didn’t know. All I know is that something really really really good must be waiting. I remember having a conversation last year with my friend who is about to get married in November this year. I told him to reserve two seats for me on his wedding day. Yes, that’s how hopeful I was.

Pain changes people. True. And it is always a choice if we want to be bitter or better. I chose the latter. I open my eyes and look at sunrise as a blessing; another opportunity to discover the purpose of my existence. A slab of stone is ugly unless it undergoes painful chiseling.

Acceptance. Forgiveness. Hope. Healing.

Healing comes at the right time. Probably when our hearts are ready. And it only comes to those whose hearts are open for it.

Time can do wonders. True. And God can do miracles.

Stock Market: In My Own Words

Before anything else, I’d like to clarify that I’m no technical expert regarding Stock Markets. The reason I am writing this blog is to share how I learned the idea of using the Stock Market as a means for long-term investment. If you are interested in day trading, this blog might be too amateur for you. 🙂

I like simplifying things, so this blog will attempt to simplify the idea of “stocks” and how we ALL can be a part of this market.

Imagine a successful company, let’s say Jollibee. If you want to own a franchise of Jollibee, it would probably cost you around 25Million (rough estimate only) pesos. Now, imagine that we can physically divide Jollibee into million pieces. And one small piece would cost 100 pesos. And if we buy few “pieces” of Jollibee, we get to be called as “part-owners” of the company. Which also means that we share Jollibee’s profits!

How does it work and how do we earn?

Example: One “piece” (Piece = share/stock) of Jollibee costs 100 pesos. I would like to buy 50 “pieces” (shares) of Jollibee. So my starting investment would cost me 100 X 50 =5000 pesos.  So there, I have 100 shares and I bought it for 5000 pesos.

The following month, for example, Jollibee’s stock price increased from 100 pesos per share to 102 pesos per share. What does it mean? Since I have 50 shares (which I bought for 5000 pesos), my investment increased to: 50 shares x 102 pesos = 5100 pesos!

Yes, that’s how simple it is.

What happens if the stock price goes down? Since I am into long-term investment, that’s ok. Even if there will be days that the stock price of Jollibee will go down, I am definitely sure that by the year 2020, Jollibee’s stock price will be much higher by then. That’s what long-term investing means. I only invest in stable, good and reliable Philippine companies. I invest today, leave my money there to grow, and I will only “withdraw” (read: sell stocks) after 5-10 years. Way way better than leaving your savings in the bank, right?

How much do you need to start? 5000 pesos only. Yep, you read it right. That’s the amount you need to open an account in COL Financial (my online broker). And that’s the same money you can use to buy stocks.

If you are interested in doing this kind of investment, I encourage you to take one day FREE seminar in COL’s office in Ortigas.  Here’s the link:

https://www.citiseconline.com/final2/b_home_new/home.asp

As for me, I follow my personal mentor, Bo Sanchez. He puts up a club, called Truly Rich Club, which guides (read: Spoon-feed! 😉 ) its members on how to EARN through Stock Market. Every month, he sends stock recommendations, he tells which stocks to buy, to sell or to stop buying. He has a lot of technical stock analysts in his team! Also, this club offers a full time on-line support (Read: You can ask all kinds of questions re stocks!). Here’s my page, feel free to browse through it! http://iamjoy.trulyrichclub.com

Why It’s Important to Save

Because we know that even though some people would say that money is the root of all evil, money could be the source of goodness too.

Piggy

Imagine how many people you can help if you have extra resources to spare. Imagine how much you can provide for your family, your kids, your parents, your loved ones if you have something more to share. No, it’s not about material things, but it’s about providing a convenient, comfortable life for them which they (We) actually deserve.

But reality check. Though some of us are lucky to be born into a rich family, most of us are not.  And so, I have always encouraged most of my friends to save. Save and Invest. How? Like most things, it starts with Discipline.

I have been attending Bo Sanchez’ talks and one learning I got is this — there is a time to plant, and there is a time to harvest. We all have to identify in which time our lives are in.  Planting Time or Harvest Time.

Planting time is when we are young, we have careers, and we have means of earning. Harvest time is when we reap the fruits of our labor.

Planting time is when we save. We invest. So that when Harvest time comes, we have baskets and baskets of fruits around us and around our families.

During our Planting season, we discipline ourselves to live within our means. Don’t buy things that aren’t necessary. Think twice. Or thrice maybe. Of course, it is also good to treat ourselves once in a while. But let us spend only on things that are worth while. In my case, instead of using my money for shopping, I restrain and save it up for travel. Planting season is when we save up for our retirement. Imagine yourself as a 60-year old person. What do you want to do for your family by then? Wouldn’t it be nice to treat your grand kids once in a while for lunch or dinner? Wouldn’t it be fulfilling if by that time you can still do that outreach program for street kids?

So friends, I encourage all of you to save and invest. (But remember, your savings’ interest should be greater than inflation rate!). How do you do it? There are a lot of means available — mutual funds (this one requires monthly/quarterly “payments” and most of the companies are flexible depending on your needs), SDA (Special Deposit Account — inquire at your bank about this) and my most favorite of all — Stock Market! (I’m still a Newbie here. But I will be writing a detailed blog about how I started doing this, soon!!!).  Whatever works for you, and where you are most comfortable with (people have different risk-levels in terms of investing), DO IT.  No matter how big or small. (Have you read about Bo’s maids that invested in Stock Market? Read it here: http://bosanchez.ph/my-maids-are-now-richer-than-many-managers/ ) The most important thing is, Start Now and Save.  Save for your future. Save for your families’ future.

Let us all aspire to live in abundance so we can use our resources to bless the world.  Money can be the source of evil if it ends up in the hands of bad people. Can you imagine what power it can do if it ends up to the hands of people who are good? And yes, that’s you and me! 🙂

Money Tree

Proverbs 21:20 Wise people’s houses are full of the best foods and olive oil, but fools waste everything they have. (NCV)

Grown up Christmas

I grew up believing that Santa Clause was for real. Yes, I am that kind of kid who wakes up every morning with butterflies fluttering inside my tummy to look for sweets and candies that Santa delivered! I wrote letters to Santa, wishing that he’d give me the best and prettiest barbie doll, in exchange of being a good and obedient little girl. And he never failed me!

Many years later, I am amazed with the magic Christmas still gives me. Though I have long discovered who my real Santa is — which happens to be my sneaky mom by the way — I  find the joy of waking up every morning and realize that even though some things might have changed (because yes, we grow old!) — Christmas is and will always be my most favorite season of the year.

Few years ago, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the “rush” and “excitement”. I  wanted Christmas to be full of friends, relatives, family.  We would all stay up until midnight, open gifts, stay until early morning, and wake up with the same “Christmas-chaos” in living the room.

But this year, my heart finds fulfillment and contentment on simple things. Christmas eve was filled with comfort, silence and warmth, as we shared our noche buena. Our Christmas morning smells of cinnamon rolls and roasted chicken, and my heart is filled with great joy realizing how life’s pleasures can be found on these normal, non-extravagant moments.

And so, I write this Christmas blog thanking God for bringing us Christmas.  Though some traditions were changed through time, the most important thing is how, at the end of the day, we realize what this day is all about. ♥