Hello Baby Number Two!

I've been feeling something strangely familiar the last couple of weeks. I was feeling tired and sleepy most of the time. For some reason, I started getting irritated with the smell of some food that I used to love (particularly the Adobong Pusit that we buy every MWF at a nearby karenderia, na super favorite namen ni Mike!) I get nauseated with the smell of cooking oil too. I checked my calendar and found out that I was 11 days late, so I told Mike that I think he needs to buy me a pregnancy test.

The night before I took the test, there were lots of things going through my head. We were all set to fly to Japan this November to celebrate Mike and Shiko's birthdays. Our flight and hotels were already booked and every single detail of our itinerary was finalized. Getting a positive pregnancy test result would mean a total change of plan. But this didn't bother me as much as doubting myself if I am now ready to become a mother of two. Knowing everything that I have to go through (being an APAS mom) during my pregnancy, and now having to go through it again, this time with a very active toddler, makes me feel a little anxious. So I prayed that night and told God my concerns. His answer comforted me and helped me to have a peaceful sleep:

"You are made to soar, to risk—with Me—and see Me and grab my hand and live unlike you’ve ever lived before: Free.

Stop pondering the ways you need to do life differently. Stop second-guessing where I am and what I love doing with you and how amazing and beautiful I’ve made you to be.

You, my daughter, are the princess-warrior who knows who she is and goes forward saying ‘yes’ to situations where you have to rely on Me."
(From a Loop Devotion)

In one of my Bible reading time, God also led me to the story of Mary being informed by the Angel Gabriel that she will conceive the Son of God. Mary's response was:

"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. - Luke 1:38 

Teenager Mary couldn't have been ready to bear God's call of being the mother of the Messiah, but she accepted this call with her whole heart. God's message to me was very clear: IT IS NOT ABOUT BEING READY, BUT BEING WILLING TO TRUST AND RELY ON HIM EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

So I took the test on Tuesday morning, and as expected, the result turned positive. Mike and I were very happy for the privilege that the LORD entrusted another precious gift to us. Magiging kuya na si Shiko!

The first thing that we had to do was to set an appointment with my OB Perinat. I was surprised with the number of patients that Dra. Guinto now have! The earliest sched that I was able to get was Saturday, and I was patient number 25. I didn't realize that it would mean a 1:30am (which was already a Sunday) check-up! Doc Guinto had an emergency that day so the consultation started at around 5pm and my turn was pushed through way past midnight. Anyhow, we didn't really have a choice since we had to monitor our baby's condition ASAP. My TransV Ultrasound confirmed that I was indeed 6weeks and 6days pregnant, and baby's heartbeat was 130bpm (still a bit low, but acceptable). Dra. Guinto ordered lab tests to check if the treatments given to me when I was pregnant with Shiko will still benefit my 2nd baby. To be on the safe side, she also advised us to see my Immunologist for an LIT Booster shot while waiting for my lab result. She also gave prescription for my oral meds and advised me to already start my everyday Innohep belly shots (I will do this again for the entire 9months of my pregnancy).

We went to Immunology Solutions at 8am on Monday morning for my LIT. Fourteen tubes of blood were extracted from Mike which was later on processed to separate the WBC. At 11:30am, we went to Dra. Carol Gloria's clinic. I was very surprised to see her Wall of Hope entirely filled with APAS baby pictures! Two years ago, it was just one cartolina of baby pics which became a source of hope for me that I will hold my own baby in my arms too after this whole APAS journey... and now, the whole wall was full! Of course, Shiko's newborn pic was there too! And we were so happy that he has now also became source of hope for other families dreaming to have a baby! Doc Carol was very delighted because it was her first time to meet our baby Shiko too.

Mike's WBC was injected to me and yes, it was still painful like the first time, but I somehow knew what to expect so I would say that I was a little braver this time! :) Dra. Gloria also advised me to have an Intralipid Infusion that day just to be sure that my NK Cells will be in their proper number (this is usually given to Category 5 patients), I am a Category 1 & 2 patient but we agreed to have the drip since the intralipid content will be good for the baby anyway even if my NK Cells weren't elevated.

I had a total of 10 needle pricks in a day and its been a long, exhausting, day... but I felt very blessed. I am blessed that despite my condition, God gave us good medical providers to take care of me and baby. We are blessed that God has been faithfully providing financially for everything that we need (we already spent almost 100k in less than one week of finding out that I was pregnant! -- consultation fees, oral meds, innohep shots, labs, LIT, intralipid etc...) We still have a long, long way to go, but we have faith that the LORD will continue to provide for us just like how He did with Baby Shiko. We will continue to do our part as much as we can, with as much as we have, but ultimately, we know that the life of our baby is in God's hands alone. I feel blessed to have a husband that I could rely and depend on. He has always been working very hard to provide for us, and is very hands on in taking care of Shiko and our household chores during this season. I don't know how I could get through all of these without him by my side.

Going through this journey is both a privilege and a blessing because it is another opportunity to witness and experience God's power and faithfulness in our lives once again. 

Shiko's First Flight

I was a bit hesitant to travel with Shiko abroad at his age. My major concern was that he might get bored on the plane and throw tantrums that could disturb other passengers. Another concern was if we could manage commuting in a foreign city with him. Whenever we travel long hours by land, we bring almost all of his favorite books and toys to keep him busy, since keeping him stuck on youtube is not an option for us. This is something that we couldn't do when traveling out of the country because we have limited baggage allowance and we don't have a car to put all of his stuffs in. Despite these concerns, we decided to just hope for the best and push through with the trip.

Days before the trip, I was already explaining to Shiko that we were going to ride an airplane. He would demonstrate to me how the airplane would fly and recite the names of everyone who's coming to fly with us. Our flight left Manila at around 2pm on Wednesday, May 16 bound for Singapore. There were seven of us, including my mother and siblings-in-law.  Since our departure time was around his nap schedule, he fell asleep just before we took off and woke up few minutes before we landed. It was an answered prayer! A very hassle free first flight! We arrived at Changi Airport around past 6pm, and the adventure began.

Still awake before take off

The first thing I learned about traveling with a toddler is that misadventures are part of the adventure. It's difficult when you missed transferring trains or when you ride the wrong bus which tours you around an unfamiliar city  in the wee hours of night and you have no idea how long it will take for you to get to your destination. Imagine having experienced that with a bored, tired, and hungry toddler who's very active and eager to explore. This is where I appreciated Shiko's training to 'obey' back home. During these bus and train scenarios where he would try to insist to leave my lap and roam around, I would often ask him, "What did Mommy tell you?" he would answer, "..'bey" (obey).. and he would not insist anymore.

Wasn't able to transfer to another train at Tanah Merah! Round trip to Changi Airport!

The second thing I learned is to always prepare a snack-on-the-go for him. The travel time in between places is unpredictable considering all the possible misadventures that could happen. Because of that, his eating schedule was disrupted and sometimes he's already asleep by the time we're settled to eat our lunch or dinner. By the way, it is prohibited to eat and drink inside the trains in SG, so I learned that I have to make sure that he's full before riding, otherwise, we'll have to distract him as he kept on asking for "papaaa... papaaa... papaaayyy!!! " (food / bread) until we're able to alight to our station. Speaking of food, I'd like to share that during this trip, what I enjoyed the most is the food!!! The Salted Egg Chicken at Food Republic, Old Changkee Cheesy Sausage and Chicken Balls, the Sweet and Sour Pork at an eatery near our hotel, the $1.20 wafer ice cream at the park, and... CURRY!!!! .... i loved their spicy chicken curry!!!

Salted Egg Chicken

The third thing I learned is to prepare a kid-friendly itinerary. I didn't really take the time to research on places where I would like to bring Shiko, I just wanted to bring him to Universal Studios so he could see Elmo (his favorite) and experience some rides. However, when we got there, we found out that he was still too small to be allowed to almost all of the kid's rides. We couldn't allow him to roam around as well since the weather was very hot and there were lots of people. We ended up just carrying him most of the time. He was only able to freely roam around in souvenir shops and when picture taking with his favorite characters. At his age, the Singapore Zoo and Safari could've been a better option. Looking forward to going there on our next visit.

The only ride that he experienced

The fourth thing I learned is to be ready to spend some extra bucks for convenience. While we tried to keep our trip on budget by commuting via train and bus and exploring budget friendly food options, unexpected things could happen which would require a change of plan. The rain fell hard the night when we were at Marina Bay Sands. Bus, train, and Grab were not possible at the time and the only transpo that's within reach was a Toyota Alphard Taxi which cost us 40 SGD (around 1500php). Quite expensive, but this was our best option since our toddler was already hungry, tired, and sleepy. In fact, he didn't make it to the hotel awake, he slept while latched on inside the taxi. Convenience is expensive, but sometimes it's worth keeping ourselves sane in chaotic situations.

Afternoon at MBS before it rained

The fifth and last thing I learned is that traveling with a toddler stretches your capacity as a parent. I had no idea how much and how long I could bear carrying a 10-kilo toddler while walking for hours trying to navigate our way through the next destinations. When Shiko 'poooped' a few minutes before our scheduled boarding time, I learned a faster way to wash and change his diaper. When he 'poooped' again while we were on the plane, I learned to wash and change his diaper in a very limited space. When he was awake during the whole flight back home, I learned that no matter how tired Mike and I were, we will always have the strength to stay awake to take care of Shiko. Of course, we are thankful that our in-laws were there to take turns with us and help us, but when everyone else were already tired and exhausted, ultimately, the buck stops with us, his parents.

Tinanggal ni Shiko yung cap ko muntik na mahulog sa tubig! Kaya ayan, ang haggard ko! Ayaw nya kase magpa-picture, pinipilit ko lang! 😂 

Non-stop walking!

Stroller at Changi Airport! Nakapahinga din sa buhat! 😂
It's not easy traveling with a toddler, but the exhaustion was worth it as I saw how Shiko learned to mingle with different people and different nationalities. He brightened up peoples' faces as he smiles and says "Hi!" to every person that he meets on the plane, bus, and train. Everytime we were about to leave the hotel, I would always explain to him what we will go through the day (the train and bus rides, the walking, the places that we will visit and the best times for him to sleep). I loved that even at his very young age, I could already see his effort to cooperate with us. I read an article that says that traveling with little children is hard, but these experiences help mold them to become well-adjusted adults one day. I'm so glad that we decided to push through with this trip despite our hesitations. Will we do it again? Definitely!

Wide awake during our whole flight pauwi! Antok na antok na kame ni Daddy, sya hyper pa rin! 😂
We thank God for keeping us safe and allowing us to enjoy this trip. :)