My World Heavyweight Championship Belt

Last week, I asked our doctor for permission to go on a quick trip on the first week of July. She said that it should be no problem and that she would give me a medical certificate clearing me for travel. She reminded me to always listen to my body during the trip: “if you feel tired, sit down. Let them go ahead and come back for you or go at your own pace”. She also said that she would be sending me with some medicine in case I felt anything strange, probably Utrogestan (the same medicine I had to take when I had the subchorionic hemorrhage and the same medicine she had me pack for Davao). I never took it after the subchorionic hemorrhage disappeared, but I always have it in my bag with me. She says that if I ever feel any kind of cramping or unusual heaviness, I should use it.

She also advised that I purchase a maternity belt for the trip. A maternity belt is, in Mikey’s words, like a bra for your tummy. I bought one from the doctor’s office (about Php 1,500.00 or about USD 33.00, but there are cheaper alternatives online) and the nurse helped me put it on. She said that the front of the belt (where there’s a round pad) should be positioned so that it catches my belly from under. It should also be tightly secured (but not too tight that I find it difficult to breathe normally).

Here’s Mikey modeling the belt:

I didn’t really expect it to do much apart from making me look bigger than I already am (the nurse warned that I may not be able to wear tight dresses because it can look a bit bulky with the belt underneath), but I’m so surprised at the relief it brought! I am 100% satisfied with my purchase—so much so that I wish I had bought one sooner!

Here’s why I love it:

  1. It’s like a battery pack. After I started wearing it, I realized I could last much longer. We had a packed week! We had a bunch of meetings and appointments. There was one day where we had to go to Quezon City to checkout a cord blood banking facility. The true test was last Saturday when we were out all day. We had to do several things at the hospital, register for our baby shower, shop for shoes, shop for home things, and buy a gift for our friend who is having triplets (!!!). We were basically on our feet from 8 AM to about 8 PM. I started feeling tired at around 6-7 PM, but I was okay before that!
  2. My butt anchor is gone. Early on in the second trimester, I noticed that I would have a difficult time getting up from chairs (especially my office chair if I was seated for a long time). It was like my butt would suddenly become an anchor and it would take some effort and support to stand up again. I started using Mikey’s BackJoy because of this and it did help, but as my belly expanded, the anchor would get heavier. After I started wearing the belt, I noticed that I didn’t have a hard time standing anymore.
  3. Edema repellent. I don’t know if it’s really related, but ever since I started wearing the belt, I’ve noticed that my edema in the afternoons isn’t as bad. Sure my ankles would still get chubbier, but you would still be able to see the veins on my feet. In the past, it’s gotten so bad that I couldn’t see the veins anymore. Maybe it’s because there’s less pressure on my legs?

I would wear a maternity belt all the time if I could. It would actually be perfect for housework/chores, but it can get a bit uncomfortable when you start sweating in it. I end up removing it when I’m washing dishes or cooking. I think Squishy likes his new fort too! The first time I wore it, I felt like he made his kicks harder to test it out.

Today is the last day of the second trimester! Oh my goodness! I can’t believe we’re entering the third trimester already. I still feel utterly unprepared. I’m getting a bit nervous about the birthing process! So far, our Doctor wants us to have a normal birth (and we do too). I need to start reading up on normal birthing methods!

Hacks

Please sleep with me.

In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed Squishy’s kicks more frequently (throughout the day now) and they’re much stronger than they used to be. According to Mikey’s Who’s Your Daddy app,  Squishy is about 1.9 pounds this week (the weight of baby back ribs) and he’s the size of a lava lamp. If I’m wearing a tight shirt or Winnie-the-pooh-ing it at home, you can actually see his movement on my tummy. I’m a light sleeper now, so I can actually be half asleep and half talking to Squishy as he kicks through the night.

However, I recently came across this cool hack from BabyCentre:

Many women feel their baby move the most when they’re in bed at night. This is perfectly normal so just try to relax as best you can. If she’s moving too much for you to sleep, you could get up and sway your body for a few minutes to encourage her to settle. 

I shall try this! I hope to freak Mikey out with my whale-y silhouette swaying in the dark in the middle of the night.

Chubby Ankles.

I’m more prone to edema when I sit all day or when I’m standing for a long time doing a huge pile of dishes, rather than when I’m out and about. I guess the movement helps reduce the swelling.

It’s an easy enough problem to solve when I’m at home. I’ve mastered the art of whale dancing while I wash! But at work, I sometimes get engrossed in whatever I’m doing that I normally don’t realize that my ankles are all puffy until I’m walking to go home.

So, in four easy steps, I transformed my trashcan into a makeshift ottoman for added comfort and reduced swelling:

Taaaaadaaaaaaaa! Instant ottoman.

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Although, the doctor did say that the best way to get rid of edema is to raise your legs above your heart (lie down and rest your feet on the stack of pillows OR rest your feet up on the headboard of your bed). This is just a temporary/middle-of-the-day relief solution.

I’m very excited to write about my maternity belt! But I need a few more days to test if the effects start to dwindle or if it’s just a placebo.

Belly Good

At 27 weeks, my belly is as big as a basketball. Squishy seems to be enjoying himself, kicking round the clock regardless of my state (asleep, lying down, standing, sitting, on the can, etc.). Unfortunately, Suqishy’s mansion expansion comes with a price.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I had developed light stretch marks on my sides (the area in between my belly and thighs). Since it was on my sides, I could only see it if I twisted around so I didn’t really mind.

IMG_5282But a couple of days, I woke up to a whole new set of stretch marks in the area under my bump. It was like they appeared overnight and it was not subtle at all (they are an angry shade of peach).

IMG_5283I was so shocked that I ran waddled to Mikey to show him. He laughed and said that it was okay because I was making more room for Squishy. He also lifted up his shirt and said: “we’re the same na!” 😑

The doctor also noticed my stretch marks when she lifted my shirt for the Doppler during our visit this week. She said: “oh, you have stretch marks na! That’s okay! Battle scars!”

When I told my mother-in-law about this, she gave me a bottle of Bio-oil. I only started using it last night. After I bathed, I slathered it all over my stretch marks and belly. Hopefully, it will prevent more stretch marks from coming out and will reduce or lighten the ones that are already there.

But because stretch marks are superficial, the doctor didn’t dwell too much on it. We spent more time discussing an upcoming trip scheduled in the first week of July. I was nervous leading up to the visit because she would be explaining the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) results and we would have to ask for permission to go on our trip. The results were negative! No indication of gestational diabetes! Yay! And the doctor gave me the go signal to go on our trip (double yay!), but she advised me to purchase a maternity belt for the trip.

Initially, I was confused about maternity belts. I had a friend who said I should get a belly binder very early on to use. When I asked my other mom friends, they told me that a binder was only used after you go through a C-section. Maybe that first friend meant a maternity belt? A maternity belt is kind of a like a bra for your baby bump! I’ve only been using this for four days, but so far the relief is pretty substantial. I wish I had gotten it earlier! But maybe more about the maternity belt next week after thorough pilot-testing.

During that same doctor’s visit, we got to hear Squishy’s heartbeat again! ❤ The doctor said that it had a good rhythm and that it was strong! ❤ Now that I’m about to enter the third trimester, the doctor said that she would be seeing us every two weeks and that we would be getting regular ultrasounds from this point on.

Every time I hear Squishy’s heartbeat, I am in awe. I can’t believe that he was entrusted to us. I can’t believe that we get to be parents. Mind bazooka.

Bossy Pants

I don’t intend to monetize this blog or hope to gain notoriety from it. Journaling is therapeutic for me—it helps me manage my energy and anxiety. I’m a sap who loves nostalgia—even as early as now, I enjoy re-reading older entries. I also like the idea that somewhere out there, a clueless first time mom (just like me) may accidentally come across this blog and feel some sort of camaraderie or comfort. But I really hope that one day, Squishy will ask about his origin story and I’ll be able to send him the link to this blog so that he can see how much we loved him and how he changed our lives forever.

So, Squish, if you’re reading this, HELLLLOOOOOO! We must have done something right because you’re reading! Hehe.

Squish, I can only imagine the perils your generation will have to go through. I really hope that your father and I equipped you well enough to successfully navigate through it. Our generation has its own set of challenges to overcome and hopefully, we learn enough from it to help you become better than us.

Something horrible happened in the world this week. Because I am hoping and praying that something like this never happens again, I’d like to share my take-away from all of this:

Squish, we live in a world full of different people. And different is a great thing. We may not always understand why someone is different or how that kind of different could even work, and that’s okay. Our beliefs, preferred norms, and standards end with ourselves. It’s wonderful and comforting to find like-minded people in this diverse world, but it’s equally wonderful to meet people who live wildly different lives and have a different perspective. Different can be scary sometimes, but please respond to fear with love and compassion. Giving in to fear and cultivating hatred is the easiest thing. Instead, ask questions, observe, and learn. It is okay to come to the conclusion that some things really aren’t for you—but that doesn’t—mustn’t— automatically mean it’s a bad thing.

We’re so excited to see you, Squish! But for now, I am grateful that you’re still in my belly where I can keep you safe.

The Art of Bending

Hello from the whale-y side!

I am an official waddler. I take little steps and I walk with my back fully arched and my belly sticking out. I think I’m still on my second trimester energy kick because I can still do a lot of the housework I couldn’t do before. Although, now that I’m heavier, I get leg cramps more often. But I don’t feel sluggish or extra tried.

But, my belly is huge. People have marveled at its huge-ness. It’s like a swallowed a bowling ball. I was initially worried that I was packing on so much weight that I wouldn’t be able to feel or see Squishy’s kicks anymore. But as of press time, Squishy’s kicks are still getting through (I had a cookie).

There’s one thing that’s getting more and more difficult—bending. It’s difficult to bend like I used to because I feel like Squishy will get squished and/or gravity will topple me over.

So here are some techniques I’ve developed to compensate for my un-bendiness:

Finger Toes. You can use your toes like primitive fingers and pick up light-weight objects (like tissues that refuse to enter the trash can).

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Kick and Slide. When you drop a larger or heavier object (like a book), you can try kicking the object to the nearest wall and use your feet to glide it up against the wall. Try to glide it high enough for you to be able to reach it with your hands.

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Hide and Collect. At work, whenever I drop anything on the floor, I subtlety kick the object to a spot under my desk and wait until the end of the day before picking it up. Repeat whenever you drop anything. That way, if I accidentally drop anything else, I just have to bend once to pick it all up!

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Apple Bottom Jeans (boots with the fur). That strange dance move when you’re slowly reaching the floor by spreading your legs and swaying side to side as you descend? Yeah, that works really well too.

(the move they do whenever Flo Rida goes low low low low)

Cattle Call. When all else fails, never be ashamed to gently call/yell for your partner to help you pick things up. It might help if you pretend to want a hug near the object that fell. After the hug, politely ask your partner to pick it up.

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Never underestimate our built in ability to assimilate and accommodate!

I’m more Maya than Tina.

This came out about 3 years ago. Hehe. I rediscovered it when I was watching a new Maya and Marty clip on Youtube. I love Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph. If Squish were a girl, we were thinking of ways to incorporate Rudolph in her name.

Looks-wise (body type), I was kind of like Tina during my 4th month of pregnancy and now I’m definitely more like Maya…sans the charisma and sexy arms…and I wish my boobs would stay up like that. So, maybe I don’t look like either of these goddesses. I look more like a puffy Spongebob Squarepants. Hahaha (sigh).