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Everything I Know About Pregnancy and Childbirth

September 1, 2017

When I gave birth to Judah, my second born, I had Bilateral Tubal Ligation along with the Cesarean Section. Which means I already graduated from pregnancy and childbirth. Before I completely forget about my experiences related to it, I will write it down. Hopefully, it helps my girlfriends who are yet to get pregnant to have an idea what it’s like to have a bun in the oven.

When life begins

Part of the “and they lived happily ever after” is learning that you’re having a baby. As soon as you miss your period and it’s certain that it will be missing continuously for the next 8 months, take note of the first day of your last menstrual period. This information is crucial. Also, it pays to have yourself checked by an obstetrician and have your first ultrasound scan as early as possible. Doing so ensures that the age of the baby you and the doctor know is accurate.

Tests

Upon the first prenatal checkup, the doctor orders routine exams to know the health condition of the soon to be mom. It is important to know if there are conditions that may affect the baby’s health. Here are some of the tests I’ve had and its price so you may also have an idea on how much pregnancy and childbirth cost.

1. Urinalysis

I am not working in the medical field, so all I know about this test is that it checks if we have a urinary tract infection. In my first pregnancy, I had my initial checkup and labs at The Medical City as our health card(Intellicare) is affiliated to the hospital. We were entitled to 9 free prenatal checkups and a few post natal checkups. The labs are not covered though. Urinalysis conducted at The Medical City costs some hundreds. I forgot the exact figure. But, I am certain it’s somewhere between 100-300. In the latter part of my first pregnancy and my entire second pregnancy, I had most of my labs at New World Diagnostics. It is a laboratory located beside SM North Annex, along EDSA. I also forgot the exact amount, but I think Urinalysis was less than a hundred.

2. Complete Blood Count

If my memory serves me right, this costs 300 or so at The Medical City and 150 at New World.

3. Ultrasound

This is the test that you will undergo multiple times throughout the whole pregnancy. During the first month, it may be a transvaginal scan and once baby’s bigger it will be a pelvic exam which is more convenient. The basic ultrasounds I had at the Medical City was P1500 each, while it can be as low as 600 in diagnostic centers. There are other types of ultrasounds that the OB may prescribe like congenital anomaly scan which checks if there are abnormalities in the baby inside. I opted though to skip this test. Not only because it’s expensive, but also because I thought it will only make me terrified. No matter what I am having my baby. In other countries where abortion is legal, parents have a choice to terminate their pregnancy when it’s found out that their baby has certain conditions.

4. Rubella

Tests if the mom had been exposed to the rubella virus. This one costs P3,000.00 at Medical City.

5. HBsAG

Checks if the mother has the Hepatitis B virus. This is also one of the expensive tests. It’s over a thousand pesos.

In my first pregnancy, the OB thought my red blood cells were insufficient, she also ordered tests to know what’s causing it. I already forgot the names of the tests, but they were also in the costly side.

6. OGCT and OGTT

These two tests are for sugar. The first one does not require fasting, but you will be asked to drink a syrup that’s way too sweet. If you fail this exam, you will be asked to have OGTT which requires fasting. This is also time consuming. I spent half a day in the laboratory doing this test. These tests are important as they check if the mother has gestational diabetes.

Supplements

Starting at the first prenatal checkup, the obstetrician prescribes supplements that will help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. These were some of the supplements I took:

1. Folic Acid – Helps prevent neural defects.

2. Iron – Helps to have sufficient supply of iron in the bloodstream.

3. Calcium – Helps maintain strong bones and teeth. I heard that in the past, a mom loses a tooth every pregnancy. Maybe because they didn’t have enough calcium. I am lactose intolerant so I didn’t drink milk like Anmum or EnfaMama. Instead, the OB advised to take 1000 mg of Caltrate daily.

Childbirth

Pregnancy is best measured in weeks rather than in months. Full term pregnancy is at 37 to 40 weeks. My first baby was quite clingy, I had to be induced before I started to labor. He was almost 41 weeks then. As a result, he already passed his first poop called meconium. Because of the meconium stain, he had to undergo antibiotics and light therapy for 7 days. This is also one of the reasons why I said it’s crucial to take note of the first day of the last menstruation and have an ultrasound a.s.a.p.

In my first pregnancy, I gave birth at Delgado Hospital. It’s a mid range private hospital which specializes in childbirth. It’s located in Kamuning, Quezon City. I had a cesarean section. My hospital bill was 70,000.00 and 20,000.00 for my baby. The PhilHealth benefit was already excluded from the amount. 60% of my bill was for the Professional fee of the obstetrician, anesthesiologist, and pediatrician. It costs 20-30% less if normal delivery and it costs 40-60% more if you give birth in a premium hospital like Medical City and St. Lukes.

Meanwhile, in my second pregnancy, since it came only 10 months after the first(not recommended), I gave birth at East Avenue Medical Center. The very first time I went there for a prenatal checkup, we didn’t know where the OB section was located so we asked at the Info Desk. We were told to go to the private section instead of the outpatient department. When I inquired how much it will cost me to have a cesarean section there, it was only 5% cheaper than my first. But an idea struck me, if East Ave is being used by private practitioners, then the facilities used by the charity patients must be just the same. I didn’t think there will be a separate operating room.

So the next day, I had my prenatal at the outpatient department. I was examined by resident doctors. They were a bit curt. Nonetheless, they were efficient. When I had my operation, the anesthesiologist was also a resident. The bill? 6,000.00

I and my baby were great. We went home on the 3rd day. Unlike with my first where he had to stay behind for a week because he was overdue. I also recovered well from the operation.

Paper Works

SSS

If you’re working in the private sector, as soon as you learn you are pregnant, you have to file the SSS Mat1 to notify your employer as well as SSS about your pregnancy. You will need to submit your first ultrasound scan. If you are sentimental, you may want to have the scan duplicated as they require the original. Before giving birth, your employer shall pay in advance 32,000.00. After giving birth via Cesarean Section and filing the Mat2 form, an additional 10,000.00 will be given.

PhilHealth

To avoid hassle, before giving birth get your certificate of contribution from your employer. It is a requirement in filing a claim.

Birth Certificate

The hospital processes the birth certificate. A day or two after birth, they’ll ask you to fill out the form. Afterwards, they’ll file it at the City Registrar. If you want a certified true copy, it’s also a SSS requirement, you have to get it yourself at the registrar.

So there, may we truly live happily ever after. 😊

Love,

Pam

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My Social Media Influences

August 30, 2017

Whether we like it or not, times have changed. Gone are the days when most of our influences come from face to face interactions. To me, we’re lucky to be at the time when everything we need, all the information we want to know are at our fingertips.

After years of scrolling and browsing, these people below are the ones who resonated to me the most.

1. Peter McKinnon

He is my most recent favorite. I stumbled upon him in YouTube. And, I have just learned today that he’s only 2 years older than me! He is a Canadian cinematographer. Actually, I have a bias towards Canadians. Based on my work experiences so far, generally, they are the most understanding, most accepting, and easiest people to deal with. I love ’em!

Like most notable people of our time, he also dropped out from college. His photography skills that earned him a significant influence in the vlogging sphere, are mostly self taught.

What I like most about him is I feel that he’s genuine. When he shares photography tricks, he sounds like he really wants his audience to learn.

The unique thing that I only heard from him is “Cinemagraph”. A cinemagraph is a photograph that has a moving element. If you’re also into photography or video production, go check him out. You won’t regret it. Such a cool guy!

2. The Minimalists.

I first “met” this duo in a TED talk. Since then I’ve been fascinated with the idea of living a meaningful life with less stuff. It was like a wake up call. I realized that yes, for the longest time we’ve been driven, sometimes, even blinded by the want to acquire new things.

After opening up myself to their influence, I have discarded a significant amount of things in our house, closet, budget, and my thoughts that I realized are not necessary and that are hindering me from having a happy and a meaningful life.

I also thought it’s just glorified penny pinching. Maybe yes. But, personally it helped me be efficient, be less distracted, and have more time.

Minimalism, though, is not something that can be imposed. It’s something that one has to want voluntarily.

3. Marie Kondo

The KonMari method pioneered by Japanese Marie Kondo I think comes hand in hand with Minimalism. The main idea of her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is that what we keep in our house should only be those that spark joy. ❤

4. FullyRaw Kristina

Kristina is a Lebanese/Ecuadorian vegan based in Houston, Texas. I followed her regularly most months last year. She inspired me to cut down my meat consumption especially pork and to eat organic fruits and vegetables. It stopped though when I got preggo with Judah. I couldn’t control my appetite and couldn’t keep ice cream and chocolate cake alone. I hope though to get back to a vegetarian diet soon. Consuming mostly vegetables and fruits helps in managing weight without feeling deprived. You can eat a lot but not gain too much excess pounds unlike when eating processed food, refined sugar, and carbs.

5. Dave Ramsey

Dave is an American finance guru. He shares that Americans have trillions in student loan debt as a country and that 7 out of 10 household live paycheck to paycheck. He devised a program composed of baby steps to achieve financial freedom and be able to retire. He stresses the importance of living below one’s means, having a detailed monthly budget, being out of debt, and delaying gratification as ways of having a better future.

I wish in the years to come I will be a more credible speaker on Personal Finance. For now, let me go ahead and work on it. 😂

So there, they are my Top 5 Social Media Influences. If you are reading this, thank you for reading up to the end of my post. I would also love to know who influenced you the most and why. Please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Cheers,

Pam

Disclaimer: Photos not mine. No copyright infringement intended.

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I’m back!

August 30, 2017

Why

This blog has just been floating around for a while. I’ve been on Facebook for quite some time, but it feels like at this time, it is not the best platform to share my thoughts, experiences, learnings, feelings, and views. So here I am, back at the personal space (Thanks WordPress for the free blog!) I made for myself since college days.

Sharing and writing are parts of me. No matter how much I hold back, I simply tend to share. I respect and value other people’s opinions, but to not do things you love because of fear of what they have to say about you, to me, is a waste of life. It just doesn’t feel right or feel good. It’s like putting oneself in a box, without much freedom to move or to explore.

But, writing, it gives our minds freedom to express and to nourish our ideas.

So there, I will be back here. I will be producing contents more often. And, as an advance notice, I never share to brag, to waste someone’s time, or to make myself appear smarter than what I actually am. I only wanted to capture a period in my life, spread good vibes, to help others not to commit the same mistakes as I did and suffer from it’s consequences.

Also, I am hoping that through my writings, my nieces and nephews who I don’t get to see personally for years will know who “Tita Pam” is. I want them to feel that I am just around the corner. I want to tell them my thoughts and experiences with the hope that it will somehow make their lives easier. I know for a fact that puberty and easing into adulthood are quite tricky.

Love and light,

Pam

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November 6, 2016

When  things are not going my way, when the odds are not in my favor, please help me acknowledge that the situation I am in is the result of the choices I made or didn’t make. Or of circumstances, I have no control over. 

Please help me remember that being in a difficult situation does not give me permission to be rude, to be unreasonable, or to dispel my frustration at the expense of other people’s peace and well being. 

Please give me sportsmanship so I may accept that life is a series of wins and losses. It is not always a winning streak. 

Please give me clarity, strength, and courage to remain calm, kind, and hopeful while waiting for the storm to pass.  

May life’s challenges strengthen my faith in You. I believe that You allow me to go through adversities not to punish me, but to polish the diamond in me. 

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God’s Gift

November 5, 2015

Team Esteves

I set out the year wanting to lose weight, to have toned muscles and to be fit. I ran atleast twice a week, ate mostly fruits, vegetables and lean meat. I have cut down on sugar, processed food and excess carbs. My Instagram feed was filled of contents related to fitness. Within 3-4 months I saw results. I started to fit in my old jeans and to have more energy.

Similarly, my bond with my significant other grew stronger. We became inseparable. All of our free time was spent with each other. With the growing closeness and intimacy, I was somehow like a moth who drew nearer to the fire though I knew I can burn.

As a result, a new life was formed.

The first time we learned about it, I panicked somehow not because I was afraid but because I felt that I just failed my parents again.

My other half consoled and pacified me by telling me that I was no longer a teen and that I was turning 28 already. He even joked “When will you be ready? When you’re forty?”

The situation started to sink in and I also started to accept that my #fitnessjourney has just turned into a #buntisjourney.

I chose to keep it between the two of us first. I thought opinions and comments of other people at that moment will only confuse me.

Though he may be unplanned but he is definitely not unwanted. There was a part of me that wanted to feel embarrassed, but the want and need to protect and to nurture him was more immense. It never crossed our minds to do anything to harm or to suppress the tiny sign of life throbbing inside of me.

The first 3-12 weeks was tough. I was constantly nauseous. I always felt like throwing up. There were times I would eat a lot only to expel it all out right after the meal. At times I would feel so weak and my muscles would cramp.

Though it was difficult I chose not to whine. I never mentioned anything about my pregnancy symptoms to my family and friends. Maybe I was being stubborn or perhaps para parin akong bata na kapag nadapa dahil sa kasalanan ko tapos kakantyawan na ako ng mga kalaro ko kahit masakit pipilitin kong bumangon sabay sabing “eh di naman masakit!”

When the time came that we had to discuss it with my parents I saw sadness and pain to cross their eyes but they chose to understand me. Though times are different now compared with 10-20 years earlier, I know they would have been happier if the wedding came first.

We, my parents, and his mom mutually agreed that we get married so we can start to legally live as husband and wife while waiting for our little one to grow and to be born.

When I was younger I thought marriage and children were not for me. Maybe when one has been through a lot we tend not to plan and to dream too much. If we do, it is like building sand castles that can crumble any minute there is rain or tide.

My father asked me how I wanted to get married. I answered “Sa ibayo.” It was one of the few fantasies I let myself have. To tie the knot in the beach that had been the kindest to me.

Tatay didn’t think it was the best time to do it. It was September, monsoon rains could be strong and unpredictable.

We decided to have a legal ceremony instead here in the city. With hopes and prayer that one day we will have our dream summer wedding.

The first time we met the judge who will preside the wedding, she earnestly asked “Ano sigurado na ba kayo?” Her aide who had interviewed us prior commented “E buntis na po Judge.” The judge replied “Hindi rason na buntis na, kung di pa kayo sigurado wag na muna.” We just smiled and said “Sigurado na po kami.”

I know financial security, emotional and intellectual compatibility are important, but why can’t a heartbeat who is a combination of our DNA be also an enough reason to marry?

There will never be a perfect person, but there is someone who is worth fighting for. We can find loopholes about our partner. We can choose to highlight our differences or we can help each other out to break through it. We chose the latter.

Now, I am already on my 26th week. Our families and close friends already know about it. I don’t get weak and nauseous as much as before. I guess the prenatal vitamins that the OB prescribed are already taking effect.

I have started to wear dresses instead of jeans. When someone comments “Uy buntis ka pala?” I no longer feel too embarrassed.

I hope though that my younger friends, nieces and nephews still pray for and work on making better choices. Our parents will always be compassionate because we are their children, but they will appreciate it more if we will still obey their words and follow their examples.

So yes, I did start my year wanting to have abs but ending up having a husband and a baby bump. The righteous and the virtuous can ridicule me. I will humbly accept it. But I hope and pray and hopefully my friends will also join me in wishing that our baby be healthy.❤
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small things, big things

October 24, 2011

Yep, i will be back to writing and blogging. I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong in talking about things. Looking back on my old posts I’ve always been serious so I often run out of things to say. Now I will take things on a stride again, chill lang. I shouldn’t let life pass me by. I will celebrate everything no matter how little or how monumental they are.

Earlier I revisited Bianca Gonzalez’s blog. Bianca is one of the few local celebs I admire. She is pretty, that’s given but what makes her different is her wit and intelligence. She’s not only all about the superficial stuff. I noticed how she consistently updated her blog. With that I am motivated to write more often.

I am not a celebrity, of course, and my writing skill is not that great at all but who cares? Everyone is entitled to their own story so I’ll enjoy mine. 🙂

I will try to recall  the things I missed out on writing. Hope my memory will serve me well. Hmm..where do I begin.. o yeah, my last post was my birthday post. Let me pick up where I’ve left of.

Birthday.

On my birthday Tatay and Mama came here in Manila. I really appreciate them going all the way here just to make sure I am not all by myself on my birthday. I share the house with Kuya Roger but he also has his own schedule and priorities.

It was great to wake up on my birthday with the two most important people in my life by my side. They gave me a big hug and greeted me. With that at 24 I felt that I am still their baby. 🙂

We celebrated my birthday by having a buffet lunch at Yakimix, The Podium. Kuya Roger went with us too although it meant he’ll only have 2 or 3 hours of sleep before going to work.

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Work.

My daily routine revolves around house, office, errands and occasional night/day out. On Sept 30, Silverback, my first project in Accenture officially signed off. It was a bittersweet moment. It meant leaving what we’ve become used to but it also meant having the chance to pursue new challenges within the company. They said Project Silverback was one of the most complex and challenging accounts in the company. I am so happy to survive it in green.

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Statistics is very important in the call center industry. As much as it is stressful it is also a source of fulfillment. To see my metrics pass after all the difficulties is a natural high. Every perfect survey I receive from the clients we serve made me happy.

Another thing I loved about Silverback was the management. I honestly think that my bosses were awesome. There was no “caste”. They were so nice and accommodating. I never felt intimidated. Every effort we exerted was never left unappreciated.

Towards the end of the project I had another memorable experience. I assisted a new customer to register his internet service. Communication was a challenge. He could hardly speak English. Tatagalugin ko na sana kaya lang di rin naman sya Filipino. I didn’t bother to ask what his race was. To sound racist is not something I’d like to happen. The process should only take 30 minutes but it took us three hours! I could have given up, I wouldn’t be apprehended but I chose to help him because I knew if I didn’t no one will without getting charged $150. After three long hours we’re done. He could finally access the internet. Though it was hard for him to say it he was very thankful with my help.

That was one of the things I loved about the job. Showing arrogant customers that they’ve done something stupid is another. ;P

One time I got a call, maybe he was on his 30s. On the tone of his voice I knew he was beyond frustrated. He began by flatly saying “I’ve already done everything but nothing works.” After asking how his equipment was set up and finding out that the other computers were working I asked him to unplug and replug the usb network adapter on the pc that didn’t connect. I wasn’t sure if  it’ll help but to show an upset caller that I didn’t know what to do is a suicide. I got to say something or else kakainin nya ako ng buhay, if you know what I mean. then, tada! it worked! His mood changed by 360’! He exclaimed “Now I feel stupid, I’m sorry!”

New challenge.

Oct.3, after the weekend off, it was our first day in the new project. It was the management and HR who decide in which project we will be assigned. For confidentiality purposes we didn’t know what was the nature of the project beforehand. I had no expectations but I was hopeful.

However, honestly I wasn’t very pleased when I’ve found out what the project was about. I was dumbfounded. I thought this is no brainer, walang challenge (yabang lang.hehe!)

When I am in a less than ideal situation I know I have two options. First be upset and be miserable for a long time or to breathe and see it in a positive light. I chose the latter. I am still working on it, though. There are still times that I feel bored about it.  To leave the company for the next six months may not be very wise so I should work on converting boredom into motivation.

Unlike Project Silverback the new project is UK-based. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about the dear brits so far.

  • Ring back – call back. “can you ring me back this afternoon?”
  • Phoning – calling.
  • If Americans express frustration with “ridiculous” they say “rubbish”
  • They were sweet! I was surprised. they call the person they’re speaking with “love”.
  • Some of their expressions are “brilliant!” and “lovely!”
  • They say “Cheers!” before saying goodbye. (inuman?! Open-mouthed smile)

“Thanks mate, Cheers!”

Of course their accent is different. It took me two weeks to comprehend and get used to it.

To succeed in something you like is great. How much more in something you don’t? I will still do my best.

Enchanted Kingdom

I met Issa and Iane in Accenture. They were feisty, competitive and fun to be with. I am glad we’re able to keep the friendship after we’ve been assigned to new projects.

Amidst the stormy season we pushed through on our plan to go to Enchanted Kingdom. Issa is naturally chatty. Dahil tahimik naman ako same with Iane sagot na nya ang kwento. Before long we’ve reached Sta Rosa, Laguna.

So there, we were kids again.

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EK is indeed not only for kids but also for kids at heart like us. I loved the rollercoaster ride. It served enough for the need for a thrill fix.

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For something subtle but equally fun ride this is my favorite. Here’s…ewan, nalimutan ko pangalan ..

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I was not a big fun of the Rio Grande ride, though. If you’ll riding it got to make sure you’ve got clothes for change.

Later in the afternoon it started to drizzle. It was getting late but there was no sign that the rain will subside. If you can’t do anything about something, i-enjoy na lang. So we slipped off our shoes at nagtampisaw kami sa ulan. It was fun…

Friends like wines, the older the better

Sleep overs were one of our favorite things to do then to bond. Now in our adulthood who says we can’t or shouldn’t? Smile

Beer and pizza tasted better when shared with good ol’ friends. Don’t get me wrong I am not alcoholic but I do enjoy beer when I am with family and good friends. What makes beer taste good is not the malt or the alcohol in it but the warmth of the people you are sharing it with.

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Saturday night I picked up Diane and Tin from Rob Pioneer. We bought snacks in the supermarket. Diane said “oi di na tayo pancit canton”. Tin added “yes, may buying power na tayo.” Thank God.

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I am so happy, girls, to grow old with you. High school is already seven years ago but I am glad we stick together.

Life is not perfect. We cant have everything we want but it shouldn’t keep us from seeing our blessing and appreciating everyone and everything in it. Thank YOU.

Red heart,

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awake when september ends

October 3, 2011

September has already ended. Many things happened. I celebrated my 24th birthday. There were many changes in the work place. We will be reassigned to another project. Yes it was sad to part ways with people whom I got used to be with but more than anything else I feel honored and am grateful for having the chance to work with them. I could honestly say that my bosses were great role models. I am inspired with their commitment on the job and their passion for excellence. They never grew tired of continuously setting high standards and meeting it. Similarly, my colleagues made the job easier for me. They have always been supportive. Thanks everyone. See you all around.

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