Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Nanny

My in-laws and my husband got me a nanny for my baby.

I never got to interview the nanny nor was I asked if I wanted one. Her services were hired to ensure that I get to rest during my ge lai. 

I only met the nanny after I have birth. My mother-in-law and my husband interviewed her.

Our new nanny brought her own uniform and prefers to wear them when she is working. Personally, I don't like it when employers make their helpers wear uniforms because I feel it's a way to set them apart from the family. 

But our nanny wants to wear her own uniforms... Maybe it makes her feel more professional.


Yes, she is really a professional. After all, she is a certified caregiver. She has an extensive experience under her belt. She has attended to infants,  elderly patients and even those under comatose.  

Needless to say, she knows more than me.

Occasionally, I feel jealous when I see her holding my baby or singing songs to her. But then, I also feel thankful that I can hand over the baby when I want to rest.

It's really a strange feeling...

The nanny is from Bacolod, so we both speak Ilonggo. Truth be told, I talk to her more than I talk to anyone else in this house...simply because we speak the same dialect. 

She told me her story that she has an 8 month old son back home in Bacolod. She is a single mom and she needed to leave home to provide for her son.

I feel  guilty when I see her take care of G knowing how painful it must be to take care of another person's child when you have one who needs you too.

Sigh...

Sometimes my empathy gives me more suffering than joy.

I told my husband that I plan to bring the nanny with us when we go home to Iloilo for Christmas. Then, I want her to go take the ferry to Bacolod so that she can spend Christmas with her son.

I have also started talking to some friends to ask how I can help our nanny find work abroad someday. It's good to have a career plan to keep talented people motivated. My husband will probably kill me if he finds out.


Resting,

L



Sunday, 24 April 2016

Greetings from my Ge Lai Room

Nearly 2 weeks of no shower and no cold water.

So far, so good.

I stay in an air-conditioned room and I wear pajamas even if it's really hot outside. 

I wash my vagina with feminine wash and water. I take a sponge bath 2x a day and I use dry shampoo to clean my scalp.



So far, so good.

I eat a lot of chocolates and food laden with ginger and sesame oil.  We are making modifications on the traditional ge lai dishes because after eating the same thing over and over again, I lost appetite. 



We agreed that as long as the meat is "dyet" and we use "dyet" ingredients, we can modify the recipes.  For instance, I ate the liver as a sandwich instead of eating it as an ulam.


My sister in law also researched on Dyet and Tsin food. She learned that not  all fruits are "tsin". Apparently longgans are "dyet".

So that was a good discovery!


I wasn't initially allowed to drink water but our other Chinese friends told us that they had to drink water to be successful in breastfeeding. So, my mother in law eventually agreed.

But...my throat is craving for an ice cold sprite. I feel a thirst that no amount of O Tso Tong Sim or hot water can quench.

I look forward to going back to drinking cold water, showering and going home.

In the mean time, so far...so good.



Happy Sunday,


L



Saturday, 23 April 2016

Our First Dance

When I was planning my wedding, I was very well aware that it was just one day celebration. So, I made it my mission that I make an "event" out of ordinary planning/preparation moments.

One of those prep moments was our dance rehearsal. 

We signed up for a 5 sessions at STUDIO 116 dance school to prepare for our first dance. My husband didn't want to look like a fool in front  of 400 people! 

The first lesson was fun. The fourth and the fifth lessons were stressful because my husband had trouble remembering the steps but we managed to laugh about his lack of dancing skills.

Our dance instructor was very good making a choreography out of very  simple moves. She made sure that the dance was entertaining but picture and video worthy at the same time.

We started out dance with an attention grabbing salsa then we did the foxtrot. My husband was so relieve he didn't step on my gown and we finished the dance with no mistakes.



Do you remember your first dance as husband and wife?




Reminiscing,

L


Studio 116 Dance School
Suite 135-B
Ground Floor, LRI Plaza
210 Nicanor Garcia Street (formerly Reposo)
Bel-Air II, Makati City
Phone: 895-5581
Mobile: Gemma (0917-5693931 or 0917-5694208); Brian (0917-5693958)
Email: inquire@studio116danceschool.com


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Small Hands

Such a small hand...
But such a strong and loving grip...


As you held on my finger while you breastfeed, you captured my heart.

And in that moment, I knew that I am forever yours. 

My heart has officially split into 2. The other half goes to you.

Hay... Motherhood...


I feel so much love... that it actually aches.


Emotional wreck,


L

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Breast Vampire

I haven't found a nicknames for Giuliana... We planned on calling her G because it's sounds cool. But the oldies can't seem to pull it off.

Anyway, G has been feeding every 2 hours. 3 if I'm lucky, 

That means, I sleep like a bird. 

G is like a physical vampire but instead of biting my neck, she bites my breast.

How are you guys?

Still alive,

L

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Dear Giuliana

Dear Giuliana,

I can't stop looking at you. You look so peaceful when you sleep.
I wonder what you are thinking when you smile.
I feel sad that someday you will grow up and leave me...just like I left my family too...
I wish I can stop time. 
Even if I'm tired, I don't want to sleep because I don't want to miss a single thing. 
I don't want to give to your nanny. I don't care even if she ends up having nothing to do...I just want to be with you.
Please don't grow up so fast.
Time, please be kind to us. Slow down a bit.

Love,

Mommy

Saturday, 16 April 2016

I Gave Birth

And just like that...light came out of my vagina and I had a baby girl.



I want to share my very exciting and unexpected delivery but I'm feeling too tired to weave a cohesive thought.

But in a nutshell, I had a vaginal delivery with epidural and episiotomy. It was not CS, as previously feared. Baby was born healthy at 5 lbs, 3 ounces  with a 9,9 APGAR score. 

I'm now here at my inlaws and I have officially started ge lai.

And yes.. l wash my privates with water and gyne-pro. I can't imagine those who follow strict  ge lai and really avoid  this. There is bleeding after delivery so you have to really wash to avoid infection.

It's also impossible to avoid washing your hands because when you wipe your privates everytime you go to the toilet. You need clean hand because you touch the baby during breast feeding. 

I will write separately about my ge lai experience and medications once I've completed my 30 days.

Thank you all for your prayers! I am alive and we are okay!


Grateful,

L


PS> the light on my vagina is called the peri light. The purpose is to help with the healing of the stitches. My vagina has sutures :( 







Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Meaning Behind Her Name

When I was trying and failing repeatedly to get pregnant, my friend Ana shared this bible story with me. Every night, I read this story to myself and hoped for the same miracle. When I finally got a positive result, I decided to name my child Samuel if he's a boy and Samuelle (pronounced as Sa-Miu-Elle) if she's a girl because it means... " I asked God for you and He answered my prayer. "

By the18th week, I found out I'm having a girl. By this time, I also saw the first fine line on my face. Since God has been good to me, I asked God to preserve my youth. But God said, "Sorry dear, I can't make you young forever but you can feel young again through your daughter." And so, I decided to name the girl inside me, Giuliana (pronounced as Joo-li-ah-na) because it means "youth". It's the Italian version of Juliana.

And so, the full name of my daughter is Giuliana Samuelle and it's a name filled with meaning. I didn't name her after me or her father because she is her own person. We gave her a name that will tell the story of how God fulfilled a promise and refused a request through her. 



Thankful, 
L

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Witnessed A Road Accident

Yesterday, on our way to the Fort, we witnessed an accident on the road.

A mist/silver/gray colored Toyota Corolla suddenly swerved and a motorcycle rider who was going straight wasn't able to hit the brakes quickly. The rider hit the rear of the Toyota Corolla and fell.

I saw the accident happen right before my eyes. It was so fast!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Life is Meaningless!

I think too much. That's why I'm thankful that I have a space to write down my thoughts and I have a husband who listens. 

I have seen and experienced too much in this life.  

Just to name a few:

1. My boss and friend of 4 years, suddenly died. He was 35.
2. My ex broke up with me, 5 months before our wedding. Everything was booked and "Save the Dates" had been sent out.
3. My dad had a mild stroke in 2007
4. My uncle had aneurism and I saw my cousin trying to revive him
5. Someone from church, caught myocarditis, went into coma and died a week before her wedding
6. Another friend got cancer when he was 31. 
7. My infertility issue

The good thing is I have seen that everything ended well for all  7 things I listed. I am a walking testimony of this verse:


Jeremiah 29:11

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Most of time though,  I'm surrounded with people with "lighter" life experiences.  I don't blame them. Truth be told, I consider them lucky. But, the more I'm surrounded with shallow people with shallow concerns, the more I wonder if I'm crazy. 

So, I was feeling empty and confused. I told my dad about this and he told me to read ECCLESIASTES. And I tell you, it really made me feel better.

Allow me to share the meaningful verses in that book. The headlines are my key take-outs.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Quiet Afternoon

My husband ended work early and joined me in bed.

It was a sunny and quiet afternoon. We were counting the baby's movement. After a few hours, he fell asleep with his arm wrapped around my tummy.  


It was a good day...quiet and calm. 


Sentimental,

L

I Learn A Lot From All Of You

In real life, I'm very funny and talkative. People find it hard to believe that I'm actually an introvert.

I'm glad I found a space online to share my innermost thoughts. Imagine if I start sharing these "thoughts" pag umaattend ako ng birthday party. I think people will not know how to react. Di ba! 

Last night, I started reading the book of  ECCLESIASTES to my husband. It was written by King Solomon and every word he said echoes my thoughts. In short, magka-wavelength kami! 

I felt less crazy after reading a few chapters. I'll write about this soon. It's really worth sharing.

I appreciate all the readers who share their stories and experiences via email or comments. You guys are teaching me so much about motherhood, marriage and life. 

I think I learn more from all of you than you do from me. I wonder tuloy why you read my journal. 

Thank you so much for giving me comfort and hope.  I sincerely appreciate it.


Grateful,

L

Monday, 4 April 2016

One More Week

I'm on my 36th week. By Monday, next week, I will be officially considered full-term.

Since I have been having contractions as early as my 34th week, which increased in intensity on my 35th, I have been taking meds to relax my uterus. The goal is to minimize contractions until I reach 36 weeks+6 days.

On the 37th week, I will know if I can still delivery via vaginal birth or c-section. At the end of the day, it really depends if my cervix dilates up to 10cm and if my baby remains relaxed during contractions. Any stress to the baby will prompt the doctor to do c-section.

While C-section may take longer to heal, I have to tell myself to be less selfish and choose what's best for this child. As it is now, I'm creating a hostile environment for her.  My contractions, which are not causing me any discomfort, are causing her some stress. But she's such a fighter.  I can feel her kick and move right after each contraction.

With one week more to go, I can't help but feel nervous. I never had cold feet before my wedding. It was just one big party for people I didn't know. I've done bigger events and my wedding was just one of them.

But being a mom is different. This job is forever. 

...And "forever" as a concept is daunting for someone, who always has an exit plan in place.

I'm nervous too see my daughter for the first time. Will she be ok? Will she be healthy? Will I love her to the point of self-sacrifice? Will my life change for the better?

I have so many questions.

There are days that I feel that I conceived because my husband wanted a baby and I was challenged because I have infertility issues. I feel that when we started our journey to conceive, I was so focused on the challenge that I failed to assess the lifetime task of being a mom.

Honestly, I'm scared of change and I'm scared to love so much.

After I give birth, I will temporarily moved in with my in-laws. My husband said, they will be hiring a nurse and a midwife for me. 

The thought of living my my husband's parents, 2 sisters and helpers is stressful for me. I have never lived with a family for 13 years now. I don't like seeing a lot of people around me. I don't even go out with them that often under normal circumstances.

I know it's temporary...

...But everything will happen at the same time.

 The first 3 months of being a new mom is always the hardest...add in adjusting with people I'm not close with...I'll be surprised if I don't get post partum depression.

Gosh.... One more week.

I feel overwhelmed with a slew of emotions. 



L




Saturday, 2 April 2016

My Thoughts On Ke Tseng

I've written extensively about my Ke Tseng Preparation because it was such a meaningful rite of passage for me.

In my humble opinion, the Ke Tseng is the most practical of all the Chinese Wedding traditions. It's filled with so much symbolism that if brides-to-be fully understand why they need to buy or do certain things, they will not mind the hassle of doing so.


I've heard a lot of bullcrap from store owners about the "arenola" symbolizing wholeness. I swear, every time I hear brides echoing this logic, I want to burst out in laughter!

FYI: The arenola or the enamel potty was made part of the list because in the past, not all rooms had ensuite toilets!  Apart from that, there is a Ge Lai ritual where you have to sit on the potty filled with herbs so that your wounds will heal faster. This is similar to the Filipino post partum ritual where the new mom sits on a bowl of steaming guava leaves.

I got mine in white because I have no plans of displaying them. The red ones are more expensive. If I don't wish to display...what's the point of paying more, di ba?



The store owner from a store, the name of which I won't tell you, told me that there was a girl who didn't include the enamel potty in her Ke Tseng and her mother-in-law became a bitch. 

I just rolled my eyes. Kalokohan!

Another thing that I loved was buying the all the small appliances. For this my mom flew in from Iloilo so that we could  shop together. I could've just shopped with my then-fiancĂ©. But I knew that this was an opportunity for my mom to share household tips.

The plates, bowls, spoons and the tub filled with toiletries are lifesavers! They symbolize the start of a new family. But, the practicality outweighs the symbolism! Imagine the convenience that have everything you need at home right after you get married.




I think that the Ke Tseng list should include rice and other food items. The family of the bride should fill the ref with basic food stuff!  Now, that's practical! 
(Side note: I once had a suitor who filled my new ref with all my favorite food!)

My other Ke Tseng items were bought by my friends in Hong Kong and Singapore. The red bed sheets made our room look like a motel. It wasn't that hard to get into the mood during our first night in our own room.



Another funny but beautiful Ke Tseng items are the suyod and the comb. These 2 symbolize a smooth life.  What is missed out in the explanation is that: the comb and the suyod are needed in the hair combing ceremony. During the hair combing ceremony, the father of the bride combs her hair while her mother recites well wishes: children, long life, prosperity and love.



Can you imagine how emotional this ritual is???

My mother-in-law (MIL) told me that her hair combing was done during the wedding day itself, mainly for photo purposes. I think by doing it this way, they missed out on the opportunity to bond privately.

The night of my hair combing ceremony, my mom gave me her "parting words". She told me to respect my inlaws and to love my inlaws the same way as I love them as my parents. I was crying so hard that night that I was surprised that my eyes were not swollen the next day.

The Wa Hue, is the the ritual where an un-married male relative goes into the wedding chambers on the wedding night to deliver flowers and an umbrella. It sounds silly but I think this started as way for the bride's family to check up on their daughter for one last time. Remember, back then marriages were arranged. 

Giving your future MIL a pair of shoes is a sign of humility. Think of the time Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The pair of shoes is a peace offering before the war starts. 

Trust me, regardless how nice your MIL is, there will be a period of adjustment as you transition from girlfriend to wife.  

You don't need to get a traditional Chinese shoes with embroidery because chances are, your MIL will not get to wear that. I got my MIL a simple pair of red flats. Ideally, I should've put the shoes on her feet as a symbol of my subservience.  


But honestly, if you want to give your future MIL, a more fashionable kind of shoes- go ahead!  It doesn't need to red! You can even get her a Ferragamo Carla Pump, Jimmy Choos or Manolos  if you need to emphasize your humility!!

I'm quite surprised that May Fil-Chis go through the complete the checklist without understanding what each item or ritual is for. 

Some brides simply hand the list to their moms and let their moms buy most of the items on the list. 

These people who label themselves as "traditional" Filipino-Chinese do not know the meaning behind their own traditions. It's such a pity!  Incidentally, these "Traditional"  Fil-Chis are the same people  who are against Filipino-Chinese relationships.

I hope that those who endeavor to do Ke Tseng will take this tradition more seriously. There are so many who simply pay to get the complete items. They end up not using most. 

Remember each item on the list has a practical purpose. There is no need to get everything in red...especially if the color palette of your house is earth tone!  

Just buy the design that you like a put a sang hee sticker.

There is really no rule on what should be given during the Ke Tseng. The family of the bride can give her whatever they think she needs. 

Some families give cars. Some give house and lot. Whatever floats your boat. 

I didn't get much. I don't need much. For the bags, I only got 2. One is a north face back pack because I need one for traveling. I only got one cabin size luggage because I already have several luggages and I didn't need more. For shoes, I bought a lot because I love shoes. I got everything from stilettos down to tsinelas.

So, really...there are no strict rule

Trust me, most of the items you need for your Ke Tseng are in SM! No need to go to OngPin to get all the tacky red stuff.



Cheers,

L