Category Archives: My Heart Speaks

Thanksgiving: A Richer and Fuller Experience

Our Church recently had our Mid-Year Anniversary Thanksgiving. It was highly anticipated by our little family.

It’s the first Thanksgiving by our little man. I felt the excitement. It’s not only a milestone for him but also for us as his doting parents.

After the Children's Thanksgiving Worship Service

After the Children’s Thanksgiving Worship Service

It’s even more special because his Grandma, who’s my lovely Mum, was with us to take part in the event.

With the lovely Lola and handsome Dad

With the lovely Lola and handsome Dad

I think she’s even more excited than me to see her adorable grandson all geared up for Church Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, she made sure the little boy had outfit rehearsals TWICE! ;-)

Precious!

Precious!

No Extraordinary Day
But it is more than just the physical attributes; it is not about how grand were the prepared outfits and how lavish the meal prepared on that day. Believe me, we were not dressed in our grandeur and there was nothing special laid out on the table but our hearts felt the joy. It was indeed no extraordinary day! It is more importantly about sharing a special day of Thanksgiving with our family.

Thanksgiving is a special time to celebrate God’s glorious blessings that flowed to His Church and His people. It is a holy occasion. It is essentially about giving praises and honor to our one and only God. It is also about consistency on how we offer ourselves in Thanksgiving. This gratitude did not come in the form of reverie; it is a constant part of our very beings- a richer and fuller experience than I ever imagined it could be.

In Thanksgiving: The Birth of Our Son
Thanksgiving celebration is not without valid and solid reasons. If not for God’s love, mercy, and grace; we would not have been able to celebrate this holy occasion as a family.

Our little family

Our little family

The birth of our son is truly God’s wonderful and precious gift to us.

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My little man

My lovely boys

My lovely boys

My son and I

My son and I

He is fully wrapped in God’s magnificent and beautiful masterpiece. He is absolutely more than we have hoped and prayed for.

My adorable son

My adorable son

As I look at my son with extreme fondness and love, my heart could not help but melt!

Mother and son

Mother and son

God’s miraculous hand is indeed awesome! It is more than enough reason to celebrate the real expression of overflowing gratitude and return back all the glory to Him for His infinite kindness and blessings that were unnumbered.

Thank you!
It is also the perfect time to thank all the people who have richly touched our lives in one way or the other.

With some friends at Church

With some friends at Church

The trivial, small, and massive encounters were hugely treasured. Their presence in our lives were powerful. In the face of countless challenges and adversities, they stood by us without hesitation. We thank the Lord for placing them into our lives!

From our home to yours, Happy Anniversary Thanksgiving!

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He’s Tougher Than I Thought

My darling son’s second round of needles was done yesterday. It must be noted that when he was only 8 weeks old, he got his first routinary vaccine and I was forewarned that he will cry like never before once he’d feel the pain on both his thighs.

With the initial warning, I made it a point that I won’t be a witness to that. I knew firsthand that it will send my blood pressure to the roof if I see him in extreme pain.

True enough, I went with my husband and my mother on my son’s first needle appointment but I stayed out of the room. I was fidgety when I heard him crying from where I was; its a cry like it’s the end of the world!

My heart truly bled for him. I wanted to comfort him, cuddle him in my arms, kiss away all his tears and pains. Ah! So this is how motherhood is like! ;-)

It proved to be uneventful for him. He did not get any chills or low-grade fever. If the Panadol helped when it was given to him 30 minutes before the vaccination took place, I would not have known.

Moving forward, I was not able to evade witnessing his second vaccination because my husband was at work. I must say it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.

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My precious babe is tougher than I thought.

He was his usual old jovial self after about 10 minutes of crying non-stop. I held him in my arms and his killer smiles simply made my heart melt, his adorable coos and gurgles made my heart leap with joy.

It was a feeling that is totally indescribable.

Indeed, motherhood had altogether altered me at all levels.

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My Pregnancy Journey: The First Antenatal Visit

I shall go back to the time when I had my first antenatal check at the public hospital. That was roughly eight months ago! I can’t believe it’s been ages since I have written a blog update about my pregnancy.

Ohh but wait!

This is only the second time I am talking about it on this blog again. The first time was when we’ve made the big reveal via the blog post We Prayed, He Answered: We Are Pregnant.

In Australia, pregnant women had to wait until they get past the 12-week mark before the hospital will book them in for an appointment. This is so because miscarriage is common in the early stages of the pregnancy.

My first antenatal visit was uneventful. I say that because our baby was doing well, everything about me was alright, even my blood pressure was still under control at 14 weeks. I was very happy everything went so well and so smooth!

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I was reminded of the do’s and don’ts while being pregnant. If there was one thing significant that I vividly recalled on that visit, it was when the Midwife emphasized this to me:

“Surround yourself with positive people who will say the right things to you at this stage.”

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While I was happy of the result of the antenal visit, I was actually anxiety-ridden the whole duration of the pregnancy. It was not without reason. It sprung from a miscarriage history just two months before falling pregnant for the second time. While the first pregnancy was a bumpy journey, we considered it a huge blessing that it did not take me so long to fall pregnant again.

This time around, we did not left it up to chance. We went to see a private gynecologist to monitor our baby’s progress. Our appointment frequency with him was every four weeks.

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It was not cheap to say the very least. To make matters worse, the consultation fee was not covered by our Health Fund. However, that did not seem to matter. As the song goes, “There is no dollar sign on a peace of mind.”

Each time we hear our baby’s heartbeat and we see his progress, we can’t help but heave a sigh of relief. It kept me a tad bit calm, relaxed, and reassured that this time; it’s going to work out and our baby will be just fine.

This has continued until the 20th mark. But then my husband and I discussed about it. He left it up to me to come up with the final decision. I reasoned that it was useless to continue with our private consultations when we already had secured our appointments in the public hospital. And so I called off our ensuing appointments with the private hospital.

Now that I have began going back to my pregnancy journey, I will try to fill the gaps in between. It may be extremely slow with a not-so-newborn in tow but I will endeavor to recall and pen down as much as I can.

Thank you for sticking!

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All for the Love of Jamie: High Tea Baby Shower

I have never been invited to attend a baby shower in the past nor have I organised for one. It is perhaps because it is not a common thing in the Philippines. So having to attend one in my honor in anticipation of Jamie’s arrival is quite overwhelming to say the very least.

It has been four months down the track since the Baby Shower took place. Late as it may seem, I feel the need to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all those people who have been instrumental in making it happen.

As a first time Mum-to-Be, I was told not to stress about the planning and organising of the Baby Shower.

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I am lucky and blessed enough to have been surrounded by these beautiful souls who volunteered to wholeheartedly and unselfishly organise it for me:

MIRA
She is simply heaven-sent! As soon as she learned that I am on my 30th weeks of pregnancy, she told me that she needs to come up with a plan for the Baby Shower. Not only that. She automatically offered their house as the venue to spare us from hiring a hall for the event; without thinking of any inconveniences it would entail for her. She was all too willing to do it for us and our little family. She is just amazing!

Mira with Sis Mau and her very smart son, Darrell

Mira and Sis Mau with their smart daughter and son- Miranda and Darrell

SIS MAU of DECORS & MOTIFS
It must be noted that even before I fell pregnant, Sis Mau had long expressed her willingness to style the venue for the Baby Shower. I felt truly special! I was not even sure then if someone is gonna organise one for me- sans a lot of friends to boost being a newbie in this country. But here’s one lovely soul who magnified a persona who is so full of love and kindness. She is famed for her artistic craft and it’s indeed both an honor and a privilege to be styled by one of the best there is in her chosen field.

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JM
She is my lovely friend who exceptionally volunteered to prepare all the food for the High Tea event. Without second thoughts, she offered her services to do all the cooking to spare us from spending a hefty sum for the catering. Isn’t she awesome!?

JM in the middle with lovely friends Imelda and Jinky

JM in the middle with lovely friends Imelda and Jinky

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THE GUESTS
Like in our wedding, the Baby Shower was a small gathering of people who mattered to us. We sincerely appreciate that they took time to be with us to celebrate Jamie’s arrival. Their kind and generous lovely presents were also hugely appreciated as it helped us tremendously in preparing the things we need prior to giving birth.

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My husband with Jinky and Imelda

My husband with Jinky and Imelda

My husband's side of the family

My husband’s SIL with her daughter

My husband with some of the boys

My husband with some of the boys

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The guests had no qualms joining the parlor games prepared by the host’s husband. They were all so cool about it which added fun and excitement to the event.

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MY HUSBAND
I was anxiety-ridden due to my hypertension and previous miscarriage that made staying pregnant tough. I had a bumpy ride with ligament and muscle pains and some swelling issues towards the end of my pregnancy that moving around was a pain in the neck not to mention that my hormones were all over the place- I was typically held hostage.

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At some point, I told my husband to forego and just forget about it. But his support and encouragement never waned one bit. I was amazed at how he took things in stride especially in supporting me emotionally. I still do not know what I have done to deserve such a wonderful husband.

GENDER REVEAL
We got the chance to reveal Jamie’s gender via cutting of the cake. The guests were excited to know whether it was a he or a she.

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It's a HE

It’s a HE!

OPENING OF PRESENTS
We took time to read everyone’s messages and also open their gifts for Jamie.

Reading out one of the cards

Reading out one of the cards

Opening some of the presents with excitement

Opening some of the presents with excitement

THANK YOU IS NEVER ENOUGH
Before everyone left, we took the time to say our words of appreciation. I can’t help but be misty eyed. We honestly felt their love and support.

Words of thanks and appreciation to everyone present

Words of thanks and appreciation to everyone present

And for that, we give back all the glory to God for giving us the right people who wished us well and who also prayed for a smooth and uneventful pregnancy all the way to delivery.

Photo Credit
JAY-BRIAN CUSTODIO

Hair and Make-Up
Susie Tsui

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Miscarriage: The Pain and Grief of Losing a Precious Baby

It was the same day today last year when our hearts were stricken with grief and painful loss.

I can only count in my fingers the number of people who have grieved with us and shared our pains when we lost our first baby in April 2014.

I have been meaning to write about this when my heart is ready. I aim of giving comfort and emotional support to the parents who have had or is undergoing the same plight like we’ve had. If you have never walked our shoes, you will never get to understand what it was like. Those who have had successful, smooth and uneventful pregnancies cannot understand either. They don’t understand being scared to sneeze, pee, walk down the block without being terrified.

If you are reading this and you’ve also went through a miscarriage, let me tell you that you’re such a strong woman! Please allow me to reassure you that it was not about something you did or didn’t do that caused the loss. It’s nature’s way of getting rid of something that’s never really meant for us.

You are not alone. I know from the minute you learned of your pregnancy, you have imagined yourself of becoming a mother to a beautiful baby but it’s never gonna happen in the 9-month time as it was earlier anticipated because of miscarriage. But if it is of any consolation at all, at least you are now aware that you are capable of getting pregnant. In God’s time, when you and your body is ready, infanticipating will just be around the corner once again.

I have heard of some people who may have sounded to “know-it-all”; saying you-should-have-done-this-you-should-have-done-that loads of bull; but believe me, you never deserve such kind of “guilt-tripping” from anyone and making you feel that you are such a failure. Some women were even subjected to listening to the inquisitor’s advice and suggestions as to what they should be doing to move things along.

Looking back, two Doctors confirmed on my 9th-week sonogram that our baby stopped growing and it was not a viable pregnancy. They explained that when something goes wrong in pregnancy, it is bound to happen and your body’s gonna detect it sooner or later and it will eventually find its way to getting rid of it, thus the miscarriage. Miscarriage in early pregnancy is quite common- 1 out of 5 women- yet we don’t hear much about it because not too many talk about it. It may be from privacy issues or women fearing judgments.

Perfectly understandable.

My first pregnancy was not easy and my HCG levels showed as early as 7 weeks that I may miscarry.

HCG levels dropping down

HCG levels dropping down

Imagine our favorite Doctor bluntly saying that right to our faces! It’s like the entire world was on us! It was devastating! But we never lost hope. We prayed for a miracle and never gave up. Countless tests were done and each time HCG levels came back and results showed it’s dropping, I could only break down and cry.

For my case, I’ve chosen my body to do it’s own course. It was a personal choice that I thought best for my well being. No need for a D&C even when I was given a D&C referral by my Doctor. The wait was incredibly longer- almost one long agonizing month but it was the best choice I have ever made. At least, I wouldn’t have to go under the knife.

I would have never wanted to go back and recount the painful ordeal of losing our precious angel. But for the sake of giving comfort and emotional support to those who are in the same plight right now, I can only look back with so much strength and courage. It was not an easy path to take but under distress, it proved our strength and faith as a couple.

I am aware that not too many people are willing to talk about the grieving and the loss. We ourselves preferred to grieve in silence. But in the midst of our pains and struggles, I vowed that I am gonna lift the spirits up of those who have lost their precious angels once I have bounced back and when my heart is completely ready. I realized that the more open and transparent I remained, the more I find true friends who truly supported me in my ordeal and who reassured me that I have their backs no matter what. I am now at a place where I chose to share some of my life’s struggles, downfalls, pains, joys, and blessings without feeling shame and fear of judgments because I have learned that our lives should be a living testimony and it is always for God’s greater glory.

From my mother with love

From my mother with love

A friend at work

A friend at work

She has been a reliable friend

She has been a reliable friend

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SMS from my Manager at work.

SMS from my Manager at work.

During the darkest moments, I gained strength from God and my husband who had always been there all the way; some friends who were willing to share the pains with me; and people who were unknown to me but offered encouragement and support by virtue of their articles online. In similar fashion, I would like to pay it forward. In one way or the other, they have helped me have my confidence back in myself through their powerful and encouraging articles.

Two months after the painful and unimaginable loss, we were over the moon when I fell pregnant for the second time in a span of one year after a heartbreaking miscarriage. It is quite hard to calm our nerves down after such a heart-wrenching ordeal.

a friend trying to calm my nerves down

A friend trying to calm my nerves down

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My husband and I hoped and prayed unceasingly that once we reach the 16th or even beyond the 20th week mark, we can relax just the slightest little bit. In the strangest most non-sensical way, I was highly anxious and scared to the core that if I let my guard down for the tiniest piece of a moment, everything will come crashing down on me again and I’ll find myself miscarrying again.

Losing an unborn baby changed me as a person; I am not the same person I was before we lost a baby. I will never be that same person again.

But everything manifests at the right place, the right time, and the right way. We just have to keep putting one foot infront of the other and God will always respond to our spoken and unspoken prayers just like He did with ours.

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