Monday, June 30, 2014

What should go in your Maternity Labor Kit?

A Labor Kit is a preggy momma's 'suitcase' going into the hospital. Pregnancy and labor is like (especially for first-time moms) going on a mission to a foreign place; the mission being to deliver a healthy baby and aid the mom in her recovery. So you do have to be thoroughly prepared with your labor arsenal. It is very important to be well-prepared emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually and logistically! And of all the million things we need to prepare, our hospital bag would be the easiest -- and I guess it brings a certain calm knowing that you wouldn't be wracking and leaving your closets run by a 'tornado' on THE day. So whether you're aiming for a complete unmedicated birth or you've already signed off for a c-section, make sure to prepare for all eventualities.

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Like many preggy mommies, it was so scary for me to imagine that I might pop out the baby with just a moment's notice and be caught unprepared. After my minor slip at the University, I really felt the need to have our bag ready, just in case. So I started listing down everything I thought I might and they said I would need for my stay at the hospital. 

Around 7 months into my pregnancy, we started lugging around our humongous Labor Kit!! Actually it was the big labor kit and another bag for my hubby's clothes and stuff too! For some it may have been too early to be too prepared but we didn't want to leave anything to chance. And rightly so since my pregnancy was considered to be "high-risk" due to my gestational diabetes. Luckily, I was able to deliver Baby Z full-term, thank God! :)

And so everywhere we went for the last trimester, you can be sure to find the labor maleta kit at the back of the car, ready for action! I'll be listing down how we prepared for your labor kit, so you'll know just how big it will be eventually! Seriously, I'll be sharing also the list we had and some other things that we did not think to include but looking back now, is seriously essential to bring.

Preparing your Labor Kit:

1. Research

You're already one step in the right direction by surfing the web and reading this particular blog post! I'm sure there are a lot of other mom bloggers who have shared their list and it's important for you to read those too, just to be sure you have everything covered :)

What's more is again, to research on the kind of birth you are planning to have. Planning on doing the Lamaze or Bradley method and go completely unmedicated? That's good too! We planned on that as well but ended up with a c-section for reasons beyond our control. So what I'm saying is that as much as we PLAN, anything can still happen. In our case, we were totally unprepared for CS! Yikes!!!

Where do you plan to birth your baby? Have you visited the hospital already? Where is the most accessible parking space? Make sure you know how to get there and if possible, request for a quick tour around the delivery room and their maternity recovery rooms. Ask what they discourage to bring, ask how many can visit you, ask if they will allow a birth photographer. In our case, we made the mistake of confirming the photographer without double checking with the hospital if they will allow it.

Do you plan to breastfeed your child? It may have sounded sooo easy from the breastfeeding seminars but challenges can crop up too!

Not allowed to take a bath or wash your hands? So what do you do?

Make sure to talk to your health practitioner on what to expect. Ask fellow mommies/daddies about their experiences, attend classes (as much as your time, money and energy will permit). And don't skip the C-section chapter from your pregnancy book -- like what I did! Teehee..Oh, and I learned a LOOOT from the prepared childbirth class we attended with Chiqui Brosas-Hahn. Too bad we weren't able to apply the breathing methods..was looking forward to that pa naman.

2. Make your list

After researching on the internet, asking our mommy friends and aligning also with the childbirth class comes the special sauce -- what would you, the mommy, need to have there to make you feel comfortable? Your favorite blanket or probably some books? They're perfectly okay to bring..besides, we don't know what labor has in store for us, right? Of course, what things would make our baby the comfiest, second to our gentle cradling arms?

3. Run through the list with your birth partner

And check it twice, thrice. Review it with your doctor and also your partner. I admit I had a superfluous list! But that's the way I am. I'm the 5-day, 4-night packer for a 2-day getaway! As my dad would put it, dala mo na ang buong bahay! Good thing my hubby was okay with that :)

4. Get your stuff ready

Pregnancy brings a lot of expenses so in areas where we can reasonable save, let's do it. Check first what you have available at home, no need to have everything brand new. Some parents themselves might be willing to lend you stuff for your labor and delivery. Sisterhood of the traveling pregnancy pants, anyone? 

We also knew that there are some small medical supplies (e.g. alcohol, cotton, maternity pads, adult diapers) that would unnecessarily add to the bill (overpriced with some hospitals) that are cheaper when bought outside (how lucky, we live near Bambang and Tayuman!) so we got those things too!

5. Make sure your partner is the one to put them in the bag

And this is NOT a preggy prima-donna thing! With everything on our list ready on the counter, I asked my hubby to be the one to place them inside the bag. Why? Mommies' ultimate mission is to birth the baby, when we're quite indisposed, our hubby (or partner) will have to know where to take out the toiletries or your birth plan as needed.

Labor Kit Materials:

Here I'll be categorizing what we brought to the hospital. I'll also add some comments on whether they were actually useful or not for our delivery.

1. Documentation

  • Birth Plan - 1 for mother's chart, 1 for baby's chart, 1 own copy. Make sure this is reviewed and signed by your doctor. This is basically your preferences for labor like the pain relief to be administered, where baby will be brought, who will be allowed inside, if you are availing of cord blood banking, etc.
  • Health Insurance - Bring your proper ID's. Make sure you are also updated with your SSS and Philhealth payments and forms.
  • Doctor's admission slip - OB will give this on your last check-up. This is to be given to the attending nurse in the delivery room, upon arrival.
  • Lamaze / Bradley certificate - so they will allow you to use the birthing room. It means you and your birth partner are trained and well-equipped with the method of choice.
  • Progress report - similar to a medical file. Basic info would be LMP, blood type, allergies, health concerns, contractions, etc.
  • Valid ID's
  • Class manual and notes - from childbirth or breastfeeding classes
  • Marriage contract and copy - as applicable
  • Birth Certificate and copy
  • Mobile Phones and list of phone numbers to call - family, OB, pedia, lactation consultant
  • Pen and Paper
  • Camera / Video Equipment
  • Baby book - although the nurses didn't want to be the ones to do the stamping for me :(
  • Money, Credit card/ATM - for parking and food, and of course to pay for your bills!
  • Stopwatch or watch with second hand - to help in monitoring contractions

2. Mommy's Outfit and Toiletries

  • Bath robe - I don't like the "backless" hospital gowns :) this helped me feel a bit warm and less dyahe than walking around with a very thin hospital gown!
  • Comfy sleepwear ---> Pajama sets with button down tops, also practical for breastfeeding. Underwear and Socks. I like my thermal socks as it keeps me warm, less jittery nerves!
  • Slippers - I have 2 pairs for wet and dry purposes
  • Body towels
  • Face towels - bring extra in case your water bag breaks en route to the hospital; and if it does, another one for when you are in the wheel chair
  • Soap - hand soap esp for guests, Cetaphil as gentle facial soap, and detergent soap for when you need to wash clothes in the hospital
  • Shampoo - I brought regular sachets for my hubby and dry/rinse-free shampoo for myself
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Floss --> I still had braces then so I have to be OC!
  • Deodorant - I would say skip this first because the baby might be nauseated when breastfeeding but then again, there are visitors too!
  • Baby powder - unscented
  • Cleansing toner, moisturizer, lip balm --> I used Clinique
  • Concealer ---> i know, i know...didn't want to look too zombified in the pictures!
  • Pony tails and head band
  • A few underpads (like a rectangular diaper spread on your bed, near your bottom), a few adult diapers (promise, you'll need this for the lochia) and sets of maternity pads (yep, lochia again)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol - if possible have the one in the spray container. Put one near your bedside and one in the comfort room
  • Light and effective hand sanitizer - because too much alcohol is soo drying to the skin
  • Lysol and detergent soap --> to disinfect the toilet area and trashcan
  • Toilet paper, facial tissue, wet wipes
  • Nursing bra
  • Breast pads 
  • Going home outfit - something light and won't brush on your scar in case you'll have a c-section
  • Eyeglasses and drops - because they say that pregnancy affects a woman's vision. I use the tears naturele drops

3. Baby's Outfit and Toiletries

  • Receiving blankets - we brought 4, the ones you can get at Divisoria may be cheaper. While you're at it, practice how to swaddle using a doll or your fave teddy bear
  • Towel blankets - we brought 2, in terry cloth
  • Halo Sleepsack - we had 2 sets. Especially useful was the one which can be used for swaddling baby. We like this because Z was fond of kicking about; this tired mommy didn't have to worry that her newborn would have a blanket all over her face! This also reduces the chances of her waking up to her own Moro (startle) reflex and thus ensures a good night's sleep for baby!
Photo courtesy of:

  • Newborn diapers - we like MamyPoko because of the nice velcro-like adhesive and Huggies because of the wetness indicator strip
  • White Kimono-style tops - in short sleeves and long sleeves
  • White cotton pajama pants
  • White mittens and booties and additional warm socks
  • White cap
  • Set of shampoo, body wash, sponge - we actually brought even her powder, lotion and baby oil but we were discouraged to use those on a newborn. We used the Pigeon Sakura line

4. Miscellaneous

  • Diversions for mommy or daddy - iPad, books
  • Back labor aids or massager - I brought my hubby! hahaha..
  • Lollipop, hard candy - can be used in lieu of IV, but ask your doctor first
  • Mirror - for those brave enough to take a peek as baby emerges
  • Hand fan
  • Flashlight

So there you have it! I hope my list would be useful for you as well. Please stay tuned for my next post on THINGS I WISH WE BROUGHT BUT DIDN'T. 

So mommies, continue eating healthy, hydrate yourself, have ample rest and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Daddies, please lavish your baby mama with love and care (gentle lower back massage would be lovely for her too!) :) And dare I forget? Kegels, kegels, kegels!! :D

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Order of the day: Closet clean-up!

Five months post-pregnancy and I find myself facing the moment of truth about my pants.. and just about every bottom part of my outfit. Will these still fit me or not? You see, upon knowing I was preggie, I took it upon myself to start wearing maternity pants (the ones with stretchable panels), maternity shorts, maternity tops, etc to make sure my baby is comfy inside. Yeah, maternity everything! Feel na feel lang hehe :)

It must have been a year ago when I last wore my pre-baby jeans. Who knows whether dwarves actually adjusted my clothes to make them smaller?! Hahaha! I may not have birth-giving hips but I gained a lot much that from a usual X-Small or Small shirt size, I'm now mostly Medium or even  (gulp!) Large based from the size chart of most online stores I frequent. Besides, I think I'm already spending a lot on nursing/breastfeeding tops that it's not anymore justifiable to spend on new bottoms. Especially when di naman malaki ang diperensya. If I were my hubby, and for good measure, I'd tell myself to lose weight and tone up na lang so I can still use most of my old clothes :) healthy and fit mommy, healthy wallets..I say it's a win-win proposition! 

So far so good! There are a couple shorts that don't fit anymore but most of my pants and slacks are just okay. My spandex work-out garments are well, with frequent use through exercise, they should fit well in no time! Maybe I need to lose some more inches off my waist so they don't cling too much and strangle my innards and reveal unknown cellulites..Aaackk!!! I'll be giving some of these used (but still in good condition) goods to our helper and my younger cousins. I'd hate for these to just gather dust. Besides, Z is still too young; I don't know if these things would still be in fashion when the time comes she's my married-but-no-baby-yet size :)

I'm also actually surprised to find some flirty skirts and dresses tucked in that drawer! Well just my luck as we have back-to-back parties to attend this June! And I'm already composing outfits in my mind. I just wish hubby would approve of me in them! Teehee!

So excuse my junk, this mommy has "modelling" oh, and clean-up duties to attend to! :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Zara Mireille's Baptism Day at St. Alphonsus Magallanes Church

"Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility." - Kate Douglas Wiggins

A new life in Christ!
The 18th of May 2014 dawned on us after a month of busy preparations. Although we have planned for only a simple Baptism, deep in our hearts we have prayed for it to be meaningful and memorable for everyone of us. After all, this is the first "major event" we will be hosting for our dear daughter. The morning was a bit of a blur as we hurried to finish some more DIY items and likewise rushed to make sure everyone is all set. If you ever have an infant in your home, I'm sure you would understand how challenging it is to rush through a bath (baby's and yours!) without breaking a sweat. And yes, my hubby finally agreed to hire a photographer, hence the realization that we will be in more photo-ops than we can count so we also have to be presentable :)

We arrived at St. Alphonsus a quarter of an hour before our scheduled time. I usually just appreciated it's beauty and Architecture from afar (Skyway, hehe), so I decided to have our daughter baptized there. Plus it is also very accessible via EDSA & SLEX - making it so convenient for our guests who would be coming from all over the metro. (Note: In the Philippines, church members flock on Sundays so I crossed off my list the churches that had small roads and very heavy traffic.) So imagine what a bonus it was for us to find everything to be so nice and solemn there. First off, their staff are very accommodating whether in person or over the phone. As long as you provide all the requirements and your date is still available, you can book in just a few minutes. The seminar (done a month prior) was also a blessing I could count; not because it would require only the parents to attend but more so, the way they discussed the importance of Baptism - concise but in-depth and very engaging. The Baptistry is also sooo lovely! It is a separate area from the church and features a wall painting of Jesus' Baptism and unlike other churches I've seen, they also make use of glass walls to allow more light inside. Hence the serene, light and breezy ambiance.

One by one, the godparents arrived. In between little chikahans and photos, we had to dress little Zara in her white garment and DIY lace cap. I also distributed the DIY Pinterest-inspired candles (check it out it's super pretty!) and Baptism guide to the ninongs and ninangs. But si Father, super memorized na niya..we hardly used the guide!

After the ceremony, we had more photos by the garden and also inside the Magallanes Church. This is also what's nice with a 'special' Baptism schedule, you don't have to resort to singit pictures hehe..well, just make sure that you still respect the solemnity of the church and the altar. Because we had a lot of photos taken, baby became irritated na and also with the sunlight (courtesy of the glass roof) we started to hurry to our reception venue. Sabagay, mommy's hungry na rin hahaha...Hmmm..naka set-up na kaya sila? :)

Before I leave you with a LOT of pictures, let me express our gratitude to the special people in our and our daughter's life. Thank you sooo much to all our family and friends who came to witness our daughter's Baptism. We are also grateful for those special people who made this possible - dear grandparents (na major sponsors!) and great grand parents, dashing ninongs and charming ninangs. To those who have traveled far and wide...from Canada, Quezon Province, San Pablo City - maraming salamat! Your love and support mean a lot to us! Please continue to pray for our family, especially our little girl, that she may grow up to be a loving and Christ-filled woman :D

Click HERE to read more about Zara's Baptismal Dinner at Racks Magallanes :)

Church: St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish in Magallanes, Makati City
Reception: RACKS Magallanes
Photos by: Henry Liao
Collage by: Mommy Meowmeow, of course!
Baby's White Garment: Trajecito de Bebe of SM Baby Company
Mommy's Dress: SURCO by Vien Resurreccion
Daddy's Top: UNIQLO

Ordered online from Shutterfly

Dress from Trajecito de Bebe, Candles DIY'd by Mommy and Yaya, Necklace from Amah Medy

The Baptistry

Angkong, Daddy, Mommy, Baby, Gua-Tai-Ma and Amah

Ninong Arvin and Ninang Vien of SURCO
Tito Paul, Ninang Bel and Tita Maybelle
Ninang Rowie, Ninang Beth & Tita Athel
Aly and Tita Ayee..Ninang Wannie is still in Aussie..
Ninong Patrick and Tita Kat
Tito Jayson and Ninang Jobeth
Ninong Johnson and Tita Jha
Ninong Ryan, Ninong Bensie and Tita
Aly, Ninang Kathy, Tita Ayee
Ninang Kathy
The whole family! :)
Our little family

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