Thursday, May 31, 2012

We invested in cord blood banking

WARNING: If the sight of blood makes you woozy, skip this post!

Vince wrote about the options we were considering for this birth (click here for that article) but we ended up with just one: cord blood banking.

And we almost didn't because we were supposed to meet with the CordLife bank agent on the afternoon of May 11 and I gave birth to Iñigo that morning. I was so worried about my cord blood! It's a good thing St. Luke's Global has a standby cord blood harvesting kit so we just informed our labor team and they harvested the blood (soooo much blood, in my opinion) just like that. What a relief!

This is me with the CordLife cord blood harvesting kit the morning after I gave birth:
Apologies for the horrific look. I just gave birth! I think I also just woke up LOL

When I blogged about cord blood banking, some people told me it's not necessary. Believe me, Vince and I also weighed the pros and cons of this investment for years (we first started thinking about it when we were pregnant with Vito in 2010). The cost of banking the cord blood is not exactly loose change. CordLife charges P48,000 upon enrollment then P8,000 every year. So when Vito was born, we declined.

But every day, scientists are finding new uses and treatments for stem cells so we began thinking of investing. Who knows what wondrous cures can come in the future of stem cells? When it was shown that diabetes--Vince and I come from families with diabetes--may possibly be treated with stem cells, we signed up. Yep, the stem cells aren't just for Iñigo; Vince, Vito and I may be able to use them one day.

Someone asked me on Twitter, "If you get  Iñigo's stem cells, won't that become an issue with Vito?" The answer is NO. First, because all of us benefit from just one harvest. And second, because I hope to raise my sons to never be petty and shallow.

Here's what's in the kit: the cord blood is in the big pouch. That's chock full of precious stem cells that my family can use one day--although hopefully we'll never have reason to use them! The two vials of blood are my own blood, taken (with great difficulty because my veins are so small, the doctors said) from my hands and arms. That will be used for testing. They have to check if my blood's good, meaning I don't have communicable diseases like hepatitis, HIV and AIDS. If I test positive for a disease, then they can't use the cord blood and they'll return our money. 

I was also asked to fill up a comprehensive questionnaire about my health history. It asked the usual family history of diseases, then my travel history and sexual history*. When I came to the part that asked, "Have you had multiple sex partners?", I asked the agent, "Consecutive or all at the same time?" Vince laughed and the agent looked terribly embarrassed haha. Sex is not a topic I shy away from. I'd have loved to be open about my sex life but since I have family reading my blogs, I'll spare them the agony hahaha. 

Anyway, another big factor that finally pushed us to bank our cord blood is the payment terms. We had thought that it's P48K up front. Gee whiz, that's a lot of money to cough up, and right when we're also paying for birth costs. Turns out that CordLife has super flexible plans which make payment easy. We got the no-interest installment plan so we end up just paying about P3,750 a month for the first year. Not bad at all! 

We're very happy we banked  Iñigo's cord blood. It's good to be prepared for the future. We hope we never get to use it, of course, and we don't think that's money wasted at all. Let's just say that's what peace of mind costs!

For more information, check out the CordLife website. And if you'll invest in cord blood banking because of this post, please tell CordLife so I can get free groceries haha.

*The travel history is asked because some countries have diseases (like hand-foot-and-mouth disease) you may have caught. Sexual history is asked because some diseases like HIV are spread that way.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Iñigo's birthday

Topaz Daddy here. I'm taking over the blog while Frances is busy with hourly feedings. (Our new little guy is a hungry one.) Yes, you might have heard (especially if you follow my wife on Twitter) we just had a baby.

Here's Frances on May 11, at approximately 230am. Zero sleep. Labor began at midnight and it was fast and painful. This picture was taken at the hospital before the worst of the pain.

And before we knew it, the baby was out. Just two hours later, at 450am. I literally walked into the delivery room, found a spot to stand in, and then took this picture.

One push! That's all it took.

Iñigo Julian Amper Sales. Like with our first son Vito, the criteria for naming the baby was to give him a unique name that could stand on its own. We also wanted a real name with some history. (We are actually quite conservative.) That led us to some names that are out of circulation, and we settled on Iñigo.

Iñigo is a variation of Ignacio and comes from the Latin "ignis," which means "to ignite." We want him to set the world on fire.

Julian (pronounced with an "H" sound) is the name of Frances's grandfather.

 I forgot to take off my hairnet. Too excited.

 Reunited in the recovery room.

 7lbs 9oz. Tada!

 Phew! Time for a nap.

 In our room at the hospital. Time for another nap.

 Vito visits his little brother the next day. He is not impressed. Haha!

 Our first family picture. So far, every day has been like this. That's a good thing.

 More pictures? Yawn!

 Home at last! We brought Iñigo home on Mother's Day.

 Iñigo getting some sun. He's not a morning person.

My favorite people in the world. Vito is actually very sweet to his bro, even though he is poking Iñigo in the face in this picture.

Thank you to everyone who sent us gifts and congratulations. Keep them coming!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vince asks, "Should your wife eat her placenta?" Plus other things we're considering

A couple of weeks ago, Vince wrote about how we're seriously considering some birth-related options that may fall in the weird category (click for Vince's article in the Inquirer).

Those options are ingesting my placenta, giving birth underwater, and banking Wiggle's cord blood. I'll let Vince tell you how we're wading through the pros and cons. In this post, I'll tell you why we're serious about these seemingly bizarre practices.

PLACENTA PILLS
I first heard about popping placenta pills from fellow blogger, Jenny of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. She was, and is, quite enthusiastic about how it helped her deal with post-partum depression, something I am dreading since I had gone through it after Vito was born. It was certainly not thrilling to be weeping with despair when you have just been given a healthy beautiful baby to love. So I am intent on doing everything I can to prevent PPD from happening this time around.

Thing is, everyone says that PPD is completely random--it can happen to you, it may not; you may not feel it with the first baby but it attacks you on your second or third or last; it may be very mild or it can be severe enough to make some women want to kill their babies. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can prevent it from happening if it does strike. The only thing mom-sufferers can do is ride it out and never be alone with their newborns. So, families and friends of moms suffering from PPD, just please be there for these moms. Do not say awful things like, "Be grateful! Snap out of it! Don't be a drama queen! Millions of women have kids so stop that!"

So can you imagine my keen interest when I read several studies supporting that eating one's placenta may actually prevent or alleviate PPD? It's also said to aid in breastmilk production, help the uterus go back to normal, and help mommy's body recover from the delivery. Plus, January Jones of Mad Men ingested her placenta so that's a big deal since I love Betty Draper, er, Betty Francis.  

So will I do it? Well... I dunno! It depends if I have an epidural when I give birth. The placenta is supposed to be super fresh and free from drugs, so if I decide on an epidural, well, obviously my placenta would be drug-infused. So we'll see!

For more on placenta ingestion, here's what the NY Times and Huffington Post have to say.

WATER BIRTH
Well, if I did this then I wouldn't need that epidural!

I was supposed to do water birth. My OBG, Dr. Rebecca Singson, thinks I'm a great candidate since I have a high tolerance for pain, my labor is really quick, and, well, she thinks I'm influential enough to write about water birth and make it a more accepted birthing procedure. I agree with her first two points but I dunno about that third haha.

Vince's article describes why we want to do a water birth, but after we did the tour of the excellent facilities at St. Luke's Global City, I chickened out. Vince is a gentleman when he wrote that I was shy to be naked and afraid to be far from drugs. While what he said is partially true, my real reason is (and don't laugh) I'm scared I'd poop and my shit will float on the water with my baby. It's a stupid, silly reason but my friends who are nurses and doctors say that birthing women poop all the time and I just didn't want that happening! I will die of embarrassment!

So no water birth for me but I do think it's an amazing way to give birth and if you want to do it, St. Luke's Global is the only hospital here with water birth facilities (Asian Hospital used to offer but no more). Go ask for a tour!

Here's the Wiki on water birth. For videos, just go to YouTube. Tons of women giving birth in bath tubs there!

CORD BLOOD BANKING
Now here's something from the future. Vince's article already described how stem cells found in the blood from the umbilical cord can be used to treat a number of diseases. It's a very young science now but every year, scientists are finding more and more uses for stem cells, and it's a financial risk we're willing to take. After all, if it could mean saving the life of Wiggle, Vito or even Vince and me one day, then what's money?

I'm talking to a CordLife agent next week. I want to ask about payment options. It really is pricey (48K + VAT upon registration is nothing to sneeze at!). I really hope we can afford it because our children's health is of utmost importance. Some people have told us that there's very little chance our kids will develop the diseases stem cells are helping cure now. While that's true, freak accidents have been known to happen and we don't want to regret this one day. So I really really really hope we can afford cord blood banking!

Read up on cord blood banking over at Kids Health.

So there. That's what Vince and I have been mulling over while we wait for Wiggle to make his grand entrance. We hope that we make the right decisions. Sigh. Every day as a parent is always trying to make the right decision. It's not easy, this constant awareness to do what's right for your family. It's a good thing love motivates us!

P.S. You know what I really want to do? I want to be the one to pull my baby out of me. Just like how Kourtney Kardashian did!



That's amazing.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wiggle's clothes are ready for him!

So the hospital bag's packed and we are so ready to go. But Wiggle's taking his sweet time in my uterus so we've been filling the days with nesting activities--we had a mini-renovation, we're having everything broken fixed, we donated clothes and unused items to charities, we're cleaning and rearranging the house like mad... It's been wild here at home!

Part of preparing for Wiggle's arrival was going through Vito's old things and having them washed and ironed. I got really emotional, I tell ya. I had to do it twice--the first time, Vito was with me and when he saw me weeping over the tiny socks, he got upset and told the socks that they were, "Bad!" (I believe he got that word from his previous yaya) so I put away the storage bin for another day.

The second time I went through the clothes, I made sure Vito was already asleep. This time, Vince was with me. I was prepared to be business-like but... Oh well, there I went again, crying like a silly girl. I was bawling to Vince, "Look at how tiny these are! Vito wore these. Now he's so big! Where did the time go? He's growing up so fast!"

Vince got a bit emotional, too. But he cheered up faster than I did. He realized that there was another little boy arriving very very soon and that made him so happy. We really are so excited to meet Wiggle!

Anyway, while we washed and ironed Vito's clothes before storage, I asked the new yayas to wash them again. For this task, I used D-Nee laundry detergent, an infant-and-toddler care product line from Thailand.

The detergent is very safe--PH-nuetral, biodegradable, and contains nothing that might irritate baby's skin, so no dyes, no bleach, no fabric softener. And yet, after we tried it, Wiggle and Vito's clothes were clean and so soft!

The only thing Vince and I didn't like very much is the fragrance. It's very very very fragrant. We like to smell like ourselves, not like soap! I'll try asking the yayas to lessen the amount they used next time and see if the overpowering scent diminishes. But aside from that (and it's really not so bad), we really like D-Nee.

I got my D-Nee stash for free (thanks thanks!) but you can get their products from their Facebook page or from the following stores: Baby & Beyond, Crossings Department Store, Kukuduckbill at Market! Market!, Landmark Department Stores, Pioneer Centre, Gaisano Mall in Davao, and International Freeport Traders in Subic.


The winners of the i play reusable swim diapers are...

Alice Dulfo-Fernandez
Katrina Villareal
Thiamere Brea

Hooray! Please check your Facebook messages for my congratulatory email. I've also sent i play a message regarding your win. They should contact you soon since your prizes aren't with me. And because you have to coordinate with them re: the size and design of the swim diaper you want for your little one.

So have a great summer, girls! Vito and I loved the i play swim diaper, and I am sure you and your baby will love it, too!

Friday, May 4, 2012

My hospital bag is packed!


I am officially 38 weeks pregnant today and I am oh so ready to pop the wee Wiggle out because I feel so heavy and uncomfortable! And we are sooo excited to meet our little boy!

Yesterday, we came from the OBG and I was given my admitting papers and we discussed my birth plan. I also finally zipped up my maleta with my hospital things. We're ready to go!

Anyway, what's in my hospital bag? Well, being my second time to do this packing, it's a much more curated list of things to bring. I owe a lot to Manila Mommy's practical hospital bag checklist. It's sooo comprehensive! I really brought everything on her list when I gave birth to Vito. But with Wiggle, I'll only bring these:

FOR BABY:
1 pack newborn disposable diapers
3 pairs of mittens
3 pairs of pants
3 kimonos with snap closures
3 bonnets
3 pairs of socks
3 gauze diapers
1 body wash
1 baby towel
1 receiving blanket

FOR ME:
1 pack adult diapers
2 smock dresses
1 pair slippers
1 maxi dress
1 maternity binder
1 nursing cover
toiletries kit (hairbrush, Betadine feminine wash, facial wash, moisturizer)
kikay kit (concealer, face powder, lip balm, lipstick, eyebrow powder, perfume)
contact lenses container and fluid

OTHERS:
PhilHealth Form 1
PhilHealth history of contribution
hand sanitizers
mints
birth plan
phone charger

Yep, looks like a long list but those all actually fit in a small weekender bag. Vince packed his own bag so I don't know what's in there but it looks like it's full of recording equipment (a.k.a. camera and its various paraphernalia!) and entertainment gadgets.

We are soooo ready!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating the baby bump


I'm 38 weeks pregnant today!!! Oops, nope. Tomorrow. I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow. I got too excited. Haha. Oh Em Gee. Any day now, any day now. 

Anyway, I posted the magazine covers above because I saw them on my Facebook feed and Vito saw them and he pointed at them and said happily, "Mama! Baby!" I laughed myself silly! My darling baby boy thinks I'm magazine cover-worthy! 

Well, I know a lot of pregnant women book a photo session to mark the special milestone of their pregnancy (I love the photos over at The Stork Studio) but I'm not one of them. I have absolutely nothing against women who do have photo shoots of their bellies, ok? In fact, before I got pregnant, I thought I'd be one of them, especially since I have many professional photographer friends (I work in the magazine industry). Well, surprise, surprise, turns out I'm actually shy to get naked in front of cameras after all! That's why I'll never have a sex video (to my husband's infinite disappointment)!

Anyway, here's what I look like now: 

That's me and Vince in the dressing rooms of Zara at Greenbelt 5. I took the hubby shopping. If I can't give him sex, I'll give him clothes hahaha. And he's very happy with the shirts we got, too, so mission accomplished!

I wish I could go shopping--so many nice things at the shops!--but with my huge belly about to pop, I oughta wait. I think by June, I'd be back to my usual body and by August, I should be skinny again. At least, that's what happened the last time. Breastfeeding really burns so much fat! In fact, I was fighting not to lose too much weight because, if I remember right, I was dropping 5-10 lbs a week those first two months after giving birth. I am not kidding. I was so alarmed! I kept eating and eating and eating to keep my weight stable and my milk production going. It wasn't very fun at all.

What was fun was going shopping just 8 weeks after giving birth and finding myself in size small skirts and shorts again. What wasn't fun was still finding myself in size medium-large tops because of my milk-filled breasts. For a girl who's always been flat-chested, that was beyond weird!