Friday, October 29, 2010

Giving birth at St. Luke's Global - Q&A

I've gotten many questions, requests, even demands (you pregnant women talaga!) inquiring about my experience at St. Luke's Bonifacio Global City. Since I was very very happy with my stay there, I'll finally answer all of your questions in this post.

The main lobby
Is it expensive there?
Yes. I wish I can say it isn't but, compared to other hospitals, St. Luke's Global is pricier. BUT!!! With all the things you get--spacious room, wonderful facilities, expert care, professional service, and the fantastic gourmet meals--it's oh so worth it. You can even say the cost is reasonable.

But look here--a normal delivery at Medical City is about P90,000. Makati Medical and Asian Hospital charge slightly higher. At St. Luke's Global, we paid about P130,000. That's a big difference, but to me, it's not since my stay at St. Luke's Global was waaaaaaay better than any hospital I've ever been in (and being a sickly girl, I've been in a lot). The food alone... grabe. So worth it. Ang sarap!

Of course, you can tweak the cost by choosing the cheapest room and asking discounts from your doctors. If your delivery was uncomplicated (like mine), you can choose to stay just a few days. We went home on the third day so that definitely kept costs down. However, my OBG is the chair of the department--so her fee is high. But she gave me a huge discount!

A 4-months-preggy me at Dr. Singson's clinic
Who's your OB? What's her contact info?
My obstetrician-gynecologist is Dr. Rebecca Singson. As I mentioned, she's the head of the OBG Department. She's been my OBG for almost 12 years so even though I was scared of her professional fee, I still remained with her.

She is fantabulous! I have endometriosis, you see, and she's the big reason why my endometriosis--a painful disease of the uterine lining that can cause infertility--has not troubled me in the last decade. I also credit Dr. Singson for my son since her treatment is obviously effective!

If you'd like an appointment with Dr. Singson, call her secretary Tinay at 789-7700 local 7305 or (0918)926-6614.

We got a private tour assisted by customer service
You got a tour of the facilities. How can I get a tour, too?
Just approach the information desk or customer service  and ask for a tour. They'll gladly arrange one for you.

Vince loved the wait as long as it's on this chair!
What's the maternity section like?
State-of-the-art! There's a large waiting room for dads and partners and parents and other kids. There are several couches, a big flat screen and magazines and newspapers.

For you mommies, you also have a special waiting area but maybe you shouldn't wait there because it's frakkin expensive!!! All preggy moms stay at the High-Risk Pregnancy Unit, an area of posh cubicles with a soft bed, leatherette pillows, fetal monitor, big flat screen TVs and a La-Z-Boy. Very nice. Very pricey.

If you can wait at home, do so. Just go to the hospital when your contractions are 10 to 5 minutes apart. Because that means you're ready to go so you're whisked off to another room, a bare one. This is where they check your dilation. And when they see that you're popping, they wheel you briskly down a loooooong hallway to the delivery room.

Wow. The delivery rooms at St. Luke's are like something straight out of a spaceship. Antiseptic, bright, cold. I actually asked the huge male nurse to hug me because it was so cold! Or maybe that's just the anesthesia. After your baby pops out, there's a nice little corner for the newborn. That's where they check him, ya know, if everything's normal. It looked warm in his area, I tell ya.

Anyway, if you're worried about your baby getting switched, don't. From the delivery room to the recovery room (where they serve coffee and water) to my room, Vito and I were together. He was never out of my sight!

Can my hubby be in the delivery room while I give birth?
Hmm. In my experience, yes. But another mommy I know (hi Paola!) said they didn't allow her hubby to be with her. At first, we also thought Vince won't be with me. So we said, "Bye bye, see you later, love you!" Then, in the delivery room, as I was waiting for the OB to arrive, someone asked me, "Do you want your husband here?" Of course I said yes! A few minutes later, a bewildered Vince in scrubs was beside me. And, whether he wanted to or not, he saw all the blood and gore!

Vito and me in our room
Is it true they have a rooming-in policy?
Yep! There's no nursery at St. Luke's Global. All babies, except those that need intensive care, are placed in the same room as mommy. I loved this! I got to stare at and cuddle Vito all I want! And I didn't have to go anywhere to feed him so whenever he woke up, I took care of him.

Of course, the downside of that is you get no rest at all. And when visitors come, they go straight to your room to see the baby, which means you'll get no rest at all again!

It's like a hotel! The service, I rate as 5-stars!
What's the post-partum care like?
The best! I got my own nurse! She taught me how to carry the baby, to swaddle him, to massage my breast so milk will come out, to bathe the baby, etc. I especially appreciated her at night, when it was around 2 or 3 am, and I'm up. She sat up with me and chatted so I didn't feel so alone (Vince was fast asleep on the comfy wide bench beside the bed). I was very babied, I almost cried when I finally went home.

For more posts on St. Luke's Global, click on the following:
I want to give birth here!
Part 1: A tour of St. Luke's maternity unit
Part 2: A tour of St. Luke's
Vito's birthday

Anton Diaz also wrote about his experience there, plus the restaurants you can dine in (click here!). Yummy places to eat at. Vince and I love the oysters at Via Mare!

And no, this is not a paid/sponsored post! I really liked it there!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vito and me

I love that little boy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happiness is spelled like so: V-I-T-O!

At almost 10 weeks, my Vito's interacting. And not just because he's hungry-wet-sleepy. He's curious now, he looks around, listens, coos, mimics, smiles, laughs. His favorite source of amusement? His Papa!

Occasionally, he likes me, too!

To be honest, because of certain events, these past few days have felt like a nightmare. But when we see Vito, happiness just overflows. Yes, despite the disasters, life is good. Vince even dared to say, "Our life is perfect."

Vito, thank you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vito's first Christmas is just around the corner! Let the preps begin!

You know how some people book photo shoots for their Christmas cards? I used to giggle at them. Well, guess who just joined that silly crowd? Me!

This photo was taken by my sister, Jacqui, and it's now my Facebook profile pic. It's cute enough, I think, for holiday cards but Vince isn't with us so no, can't use this. And the picture's too dark. And our outfits just won't do! Besides, by December, Vito's face is going to be much different. I guess I should just book a photo shoot in November.

Meanwhile, we're taking dozens upon dozens of shots of our little boy. This is him last Tuesday. Now, doesn't that smile just brighten your day?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is your Monday blue?

Mine is. Vito in blue is just too cute! Happy Monday, mommies! Enjoy the new week!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Law Proposed on Extending Maternity Leave Benefits

Finally! And I am amazed that it was a man who thought this one up, too! Rep. Winston Castelo just did a huge favor for all Filipino families by proposing that maternity leaves be extended from the current 60 days (for normal delivery) to 84. If that was law today, I'd have had an extra 24 days to spend with Vito!

Other countries have enviable benefits for employed parents. Parents in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic can stay with baby up to 3 years! Three glorious years!

I also like this part:
[Rep. Castelo] said female employees covered by either the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Security Insurance System (GSIS) shall be paid a daily maternity benefit equivalent to 150 percent of her present basic salary, allowances and other benefits or its cash equivalent for 84 calendar days.

Because I tell ya, SSS gave me just a minuscule fraction of my salary. Just when I needed a lot of money, that's when my compensation got drastically cut. It's a good thing gestation takes 9 months because we certainly used that time to save up!

And while we're at it, can we also propose that breastfeeding/milk expression stations be mandatory at all offices and public places?

Read more here:

Can my Vito be a Smart Parenting model?

Love that dimpled smile, baby!
Apparently not since his mommy's an employee of its publisher but, hey, maybe your little cutie pie can be Smart Parenting's next top model!

Head on over to Robinsons Galleria tomorrow and do the following:
1. Shop for your kid's outfit at Robinsons Department Store. Keep the receipt!
2. Dress your little sweetheart in the outfit you bought.
3. Bring the aspiring model to the Activity Center (that's the space where the fountain used to be) and register.
4. Keep your baby happy and busog! So that when it's time to face the cameras, he or she will be all smiles!

To learn more about the event tomorrow, click here. Good luck!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Malunggay madness

I'm exclusively breastfeeding Vito. That means all his nutritional needs come from my milk--no supplemental formula, no water, no oral vitamins. I can't say breastfeeding is the best experience in the world, though. Sometimes I feel suffocated by always having to stay within hollering distance from Vito. But most times, I'm glad that my milk is his sole source of sustenance (alliteration!).

To help me make milk, I drink a lot of water. I also eat this:
Chicken in malunggay broth 
Malunggay or moringa is a tree that grows just about anywhere that's warm. I grew up with this tree right outside my window. Its pretty oval leaves are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and Vitamins A, B and C--stuff Vito needs to grow strong and healthy! I also eat ice cream to fatten up my milk hehe.

This dish is very easy to make. Just saute garlic, onions and tomatoes. Add the chicken. Add water (or chicken broth) to cover the chicken and cook through. Season to taste. Turn off the heat and add the malunggay leaves to the pot. Serve!

My only problem with this malunggay dish is that I eat it almost every day. Yep, maybe 3-4 times a week. Great for my milk production but for me, personally? I'm tired of it!

I tried the moringa pills but I'm allergic to them. Ya, like my skin was unbearably itchy for 3 weeks. I thought I was going to go insane! I almost scratched my skin off. That was such agony, I tell you. So no moringa pills. Instead, if you're a breastfeeding mama, please tell me what kinds of food increase milk production and how to cook them. Thanks!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's the unsolicited advice that irks you most?

Unsolicited advice? Vito no likey!
A new friend of mine, Mariel of Rustan's Baby, is now going to be a mommy. I'm sooo happy for her! After congratulating her, I gave her some tips on dealing with pregnancy and motherhood. Now y'all know I absolutely  hated getting advice when I was preggy so why did I just do that to Mariel? Well, this is what I told her:

"My unsolicited advice is try not to listen to unsolicited advice and comments from well-meaning people."


Now, another blogger mommy friend, Peryl of Parenting Ad Absurdum, is writing an article on unsolicited opinions about how you parent your child. The stories shared there by some mommies are funny and sad at the same time. Care to share yours? Here's mine:

I was at the playground, taking my baby boy out for some sun when he became fussy. As I was trying to soothe him, a little boy, around 7 or 8, came up to me and said, "Is he your baby?" I said yes. 

He said, "Try feeding him. He must be hungry. He has a hungry cry. And he looks hungry." I said, "Oh no, I just fed him." 

The kid looked at me, rolled his eyes and said, "Ma'am, I'm a little boy, too. I know how hungry looks and sounds like. Believe me, your kid's hungry!"

Yup, everyone's the expert. Everyone, it seems, except the mommy!

Happy weekend!