Back-to-School Checklist and Jolly’s Baon Ideas

While some students were already back at school, my kids are still at the house still waiting for classes to start next month. That means they still have 2 weeks to wake up late, play, complete their assignment or just get bored. As for me, this means we still have 2 more weeks to prepare school.

This school year will be my tween’s last year in her primary years. She’ll be a high-schooler next year and that story deserves another post :). Its “Hello primary years” for my son as he will be first grader this school year and thankfully has the same schedule during his kindergarten years — morning session and will only spend 5 hours of school activities. Sure enough our early morning chaos like the constant nagging and fighting will definitely resume. Part of our morning routine to making sure they have eaten their breakfast before going to school and that they provided with snacks (baon) in case they get hungry.

Since, it is back to school time! We’ve been checking the back to school list and so far we’ve done notebook & shoe shopping, bag fixing, uniform fittings, looking for lunch boxes and water bottles that are leak-proof, checking for new baon menus and everything school stuff.

Here is our Back-To-School Checklist:

  • Books – should be covered and labeled
  • Bags – check theirs from last years
  • School Uniforms – check for lost buttons, broken zippers or torn pocket
  • Inner Wears – check if it still fits
  • Shoes and Socks – last year’s shoes might no longer fit
  • School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencil, crayons or rulers
  • Get the kids haircuts
  • Completely accomplished summer assignments
  • Baon (Snack) Boxes / Lunch Boxes – last year might still be usable
  • Baon (Snack) / Lunch Menu – varied options to add excitement

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I’m also excited with going back to school because this is again an opportunity for me to prepare their school lunches and snacks. My way of showing my care despite being busy at work. While I make sure I give them home-cooked meals for their snacks and lunches, I run out of ideas. Good thing we have biscuits and ready-to-drink drinks to give them. However, if I give them the same baon combination, expect the biscuits to be untouched sooner. They hated the same combination.

Thankfully, Jolly Eats of Fly Ace Corporation introduced me with Lotus Biscoff Biscuits and Jolly Cow Chocolate Milk Drinks. Aside from the fact the biscuit is my namesake, the kids like it so much that they already consumed it even before the start of classes. This is definitely an addition to our snack options.

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Disclaimer: I received Jolly Eats Products mentioned above. No other compensation received and opinions are my own.

Tips To Save Yourself and Your Family Time

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When you’re a busy mom, you can often feel like you’re running at a mile a minute (and on empty). To say that life can be tough is an understatement. But just because it’s tough, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a challenge. In fact, there are ways that you can make life fit into your business schedule and not the other way around. If you want to be able to enjoy more time with your family after work, and not focus on all the other jobs you have to do at home, here are some of the ways you can speed things up.

Fun Plans

First up, let’s make time for those super fun plans you always mean to make. When you get in from work, you want to relax, not start planning and organizing and arranging, right? So, you need to make this as quick as possible. Be sure to plan your fun activities in advance – definitely by weeks, by months too if you can. Then, you have more things to look forwards to throughout the year. Whether it’s a playdate with friends or a trip to the zoo with family. Spend an hour or so each month or every few months booking in plans and then forget about it until you need to add more.

Cleaning

Unfortunately, cleaning is just one of those chores that have to get done – especially if you like living in a clean and tidy home. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of time each week doing it. If you’re super busy and the budget allows it, hire a cleaner. For a small fee each week, your home will stay spotless and your time is freed up to spend with family. If that won’t work for you, make up a cleaning schedule and stick to it. That way, you can spend more time with your kids.

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Checkups

Then there are those regular health checkups that we all know we need to make (and attend) but always forget about. So, now you’re going to book everything a year in advance and mark it on the calendar. Job done! From your routine doctor appointments at the local clinic to your dental checkups at somewhere like Care Family Dental, by booking in advance, you just have to turn up.

Vacations

We all want to go on regular vacations, but the thought of finding a week to do it in, finding a hotel and booking everything can be a little bit too much. So, to make it easier, why not book a break at the same place each year? Especially while your children or young. You could even think about buying a vacation home so that you don’t even have to make standing arrangements each year.

Cooking

And then there’s the dinner. Planning meals can drive a mom mad, but it doesn’t have to. Find yourself some crock pot recipe inspiration and sort everything in the morning before work. Then, when you get in, you’ll just have to prepare a salad or some rice and serve up. Easy peasy!

Spending Summer

As the seasons change, so do our lives. Whether it is summer, autumn, winter, or spring, we look to make positive resolutions that better the lives of ourselves and our family. There are ways to improve the relationships with our families at the start of every season, so with summer still on us, let’s take a look at four activities and habits that you can share with your family.

Personal Paradise

The outside of your home is just as important as the inside of it. Utilising nature is one of the best ways to enjoy your time spent outside for the development of your children. However life’s simple luxuries are not important to only children, but adults as well. We sometimes get lost juggling between family and job or work responsibilities that we forget to enjoy the fresh air and greenery around us, and there is no better place to do this than in your own garden.

Your home garden is the perfect place for you to wind down and clear your mind after a long day of hard work. One of the most important parts of an enjoyable and well-defined outdoor living space is furnishing it comfortably to suit your style with items such as Bridgman garden furniture. Fill it with life and a natural perfume scent to match by planting vibrant flowers and fruits. Landscaping and adding stone pathways or ponds are also things you may be able to consider, but they are fairly costly renovations that need to be planned in advance in order to be ready by summer.

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An Apple a Day

With summer just around the corner, now would be a great time to alter your diet. As tempting as grabbing a bowl of ice cream may sound during the hotter months, try curving your desires to a more healthy choice. Everyone’s favourite fruits and vegetables are in season during these months including apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, and more! Do not miss out on eating the refreshing healthy foods you enjoy while they taste the best. There are lots of unique ways to prepare meals and snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables in mind for your family.

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Around the World

The start of summer signals the closing of schools. Your children are free from drowning in homework assignments and after school activities are over for the next few months. Spending time with your family is made easier so take advantage and go on a vacation together. Travelling to see sites as a tourist, attending amusement parks or special events, or going to beaches, camping trips, and cruises are all family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy.

Reflect and Learn

Recall previous resolutions you and your family made and bring them back to life this summer. Reflect on how your goals went for the spring season and how you can revitalise and improve them in the coming months. Share them with your family and work together to accomplish the new obstacles. Coming together and discussing what everyone would like to accomplish over the summer season can spark new creative ways you and your family can move forward.

Using Nature to Nurture

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Nowadays, fewer kids are getting experience the thrill of the great outdoors and mother nature. Cities are becoming less green. And, more people are living in cities than ever. So, to make sure you kids get their fill of the natural world; you have to force them into it. This might not be easy. And, you might have to spend a little bit of money along the way. But, it will be worth it when you see your kids enjoying something so simple with such vigor. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the ways to get your kids outside. And, why it’s so important that this is a part of their life.

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First, you should think about the spaces away from home. It’s very unlikely that you have a woodland or forest attached to your property; especially in the city. But, these are some of the best places for kids to enjoy nature. They enable your child to see things that they would never see at home. And, they give your child a chance to explore something they may have only seen on television. Along with wooded areas, beaches can be great for kids. These spaces are usually nice and safe; as long as you keep your eyes open. You can do a lot of this for just the price of travel. This is much cheaper than most modern days out. And, it will provide your kids with much more.

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Next, you can start to consider the space you have at home. Your kids will spend a lot of their time in the garden. They will want to be outside for a lot of the time during summers. And, they will enjoy having somewhere to play with friends. Your garden provides a great place for you to let your kids run free; without having to worry about strangers. Of course, you have to make sure that the space is safe, though. To start, it’s a good idea to talk to a landscaping company. They will be able to work on your garden to make it as safe as possible; while still making it look nice. Having this work done for you will give you a chance to think about the other parts of your garden; like swings and other toys for the kids.

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Kids who spend more time outside will almost certainly have a more fulfilling childhood. The time that they spend in these places will teach them about the importance of nature. Hopefully, it will give them a strong feeling of empathy towards animals. And, it could even have an impact on their education. Screens and digital devices aren’t the most enriching ways to entertain yourself. Instead, it’s better for a developing child to have to deal with natural challenges; not digital ones.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what can be done to give your kids as much outdoor time as possible. This sort of work will be greatly beneficial to your kids. And, they might not know it; but, they will appreciate the work you do into their later years.

Kudos to mommies who love outdoor adventures and bringing with them their children when exploring the nature. :)

C on my son’s report card

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My kids attended a traditional type of education system.

It is a teacher-centered approach wherein the teacher is equipped with all the necessary knowledge needed to be imparted to the students. The teacher is the focus of attention so students are expected to listen and grasp the concepts imparted by the teacher. Exams are given usually after the topic has been discussed. This is to assess if the students understand the concepts being communicated.

My kids school, being a traditional setting has the following feature:

1:20 teacher to student ratio.

Not bad comparing to schools having bigger teacher-student ratio. But isn’t it amazing how teachers able to handle 20 students talking at same time or misbehaving at the same time. Most importantly on how to impart new concepts to a 20 students of varied capacity to absorbing new topics discussed.

Focused on academic excellence.

Heard good news that students from this school excels in universities and state colleges. Their curriculum is so advance that they are using books of higher grade level and — stressful!

Focused on character development

Personality traits of the students are observed. They are focused on improving self-discipline, independence, responsibility, work ethics, respect and faith. They have “buddy-buddy” system which everyone is responsible for his/her buddy thus developing care for each other — this hopefully avoids bullying.

Assignments

Lots of assignment. Students are given assignment during school break. According to the school, this is their way of the students remember the lessons even during school break.

Motivated by grades

Like any traditional school, students are assessed based on their grades so competition between students is expected. Students are rated based on Academic and Personality.

The school’s first trimester period was completed thus we were informed that the report card distribution will be last weekend.
I requested the husband to picked-up the report card.

Minutes after, he came home disappointed that the eldest did not make it to the honors list. He was even more upset that the youngest rated low in academics and worst had a C in Discipline, one of the trait observed by teachers to rate student personality.

He was upset.
He worries.

C in Discipline.
C for Satisfactory.
One wrong move means we fall to the next level below.
One wrong move and he will get an F for Failure.
One wrong move and surely he’ll be evicted from that impressive school.

The struggle is real.
My son just turn 5yo last month.
He was just 4 when their class my asked to write their names 5 times or write the alphabet letters both big and small 3 times in a Grade 1 sheet of paper.
He had to remember blue-to-blue and red-to-blue rules, and oh, they had to be careful and avoid lapses.
Then he had to learn know how to read 3-letter words, differentiate when to use a or an, knows when use He, She and It, learn proper use of grammatical gender, or identify a phrase from sentence.
The feedback we received from his teachers was that my son talks a lot or keeps roaming within the classroom. He just love to talk. They even had to transfer his seatmate because instead of listening to the teacher, they talk. When reprimanded, he will stop for a while and then talk again.

So how do we discipline him from being too talkative?
Or is the difficulty paying attention a misbehaving trait?

When I was in Kindergarten, I only remembered classroom activities like singing and dancing nursery songs, the recess time and washing our cups and saucers, the nap time (we literally sleep on our mats) or the story-telling time and talk.

The eldest spend her preschool years in a different school which has one-in-one teacher-student session. In this way each child is being supervised and monitored.

Or could gender be a factor — do girls behave better than boys?

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Having a C in his report card makes us, his parents, realize the need to allocate ample time every day (after work) to guide and supervise him.
More involvement!
I get it that he needs to cope up with the fast pace class discussion and had to adjust to conform to the norms of the school’s system so we should be there for him to let him understand it but I also hope that teachers need also to adjust and find different approach to cater all students especially to those hyperactive talkative ones. I believe kids are given a chance to express themselves, so rather than suppress these potentials I’m hoping for support from teachers too.

Before this day end, a big shout-out to all teachers.
Thank you for planting the seeds that lasts a lifetime.
Happy Teachers Day :)

Awesome Dads Assemble

AwesomeDadsAssemble

Last June 19, third Sunday of the Month, children around the world greet their dads and treat them with super special care, said their heartfelt gratitude and i-love-yous. It is the day sons and daughters recognize the hardwork, perseverance, care and love of their superheroes, their superdad.

Our company’s Family Welfare Committee decided not to let June pass without giving dads in the office a chance to gather around. Cool enough, this 2-hour gathering let the dads (and moms too) hear parenting talk, showcase dad’s stuff and just get together.

Since I was not able to attend last months gathering of moms, also hosted by the same committee, I did went with the dads from my team (just to get some popcorns and snacks..sshhh :) Thankful for those popcorn cravings as I was able to hear Mr. Randy Cabahug’s talk and his perspective of dad being a superhero. I like that somehow there is a connection and somehow make everyone realize that we are heroes in our own little way.

The Incredibles

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Photo Credits
Mr Incredible – the partriarch of the family having super strengths
Elastigirl – the mom with the ability to stretch her body
Daughter – becomes invisible and can generate force shield
Son – possessses super speed
Baby – who’s yet to discover his ability

In a typical family, dad is always portrayed to handle things that needs strength – open a tight closed jar, carry the gas stove tank, fix the roof’s leaking while mom is flexible to have everything covered – prepare the kids lunch meals while ensuring breakfast is already in place, she knows everything in its place. Teens in a family like to have some privacy and at the same protect the family from bullies, aloof from everyone yet one wrong rumor and expect the fury; and then there is always that hyperactive kids in the house. The Incredibles fight the villains together promoting closeness or companionship like eating meals together or praying together.

Captain Marvel

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Alter ego of a boy who, by saying the magic word Shazam, can transform him into a superhuman based on the abilities in six ancient heroes as what each of the letters in the word Shazam mean. Children would love that their daddies have these abilities.

These are:
S – Wisdom of Solomon
H – Strength of Hercules
A – Stamina of Atlas
Z – Power of Zeus
A – Courage of Achilles
M – Speed of Mercury

Now I know dads are referred as the pillars of the home.
According to Mr. Randy, research shows that when dad reads to his daughter everyday until 2 yrs of age will definitely love Math while when dad reads to his son everyday until 2 yrs of age will improve his verbal development. I wonder what’s the correlation?

X-Men

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Professor X, the coach and also the mentor. No need explanation here :)

Fantastic Four

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Just as Mr. Fantastic can’t defeat Doom alone, he needs the Human Torch, the Invinsible Woman and Grimm and so is every member of the F4 team. It makes four to be fantastic, it makes four to triumph. So are dads, he needs the 4 Fs too — Faith, Family, Friends, Foundation.

Avengers

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Photo Credits

I learned from that talk that the Avengers was influenced by group of Jewish who survived the Holocaust and that these survivors group themselves with the aim of avenging their family. Well, Marvel’s Avengers is a group of superheroes with the aim of saving humanity from bad guys. Though different goals, the key word here is “assemble” — the capability to group themselves. Mommies, its okey for dads to go out and had fun with other dads. Fleeting impact to know that dads are not alone (so are moms).

This gathering through our company’ is surely helpful to let dads of all kind meet, bond and talk. Amazing, isn’t it?

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There you have it. So the next time you watched superhero movies. Bear in mind that you have that S in your chest too… just waiting to unleash!

Thank you Family Welfare Committee.

Happy Father’s Day Papa Taniel

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Dear Papa Taniel,

Thank you is an understatement word for all the love, dedication and perseverance you give to our kids. But this Father’s Day, I still wanna say Thank You.

For forcefully getting up from bed just to prepare their milk.

For the out of tune lullabies just so they could have a good sleep.

For lunchtime and afternoon calls to ask them on how they are doing.

For correcting the kids’ behavior and instilling in them the positive outcome.

For calmly bring them to the hospital in the wee hours to ensure their health.

For teaching them that studying and doing school works are fun and entertaining.

For sparing precious times just so you could play, sing, dance or just talk with them.

For injecting in them the advantage of delayed gratification and that NO means NO.

For being a clown and bringing laughter and joy in the house with your jokes and amusing antics.

For letting them explore the world (I mean, the neighborhood), make new friends and play with them and that a wound and an argument with friends is nothing but part of childhood.

And most of all, for reminding them to always be grateful for the goodness and everything, for good health, for guidance. For reminding them to pray everyday. I know for sure they will grow to be good kids because you are their dad and because you ask guidance from the Greater Dad above.

As I’ve told you, I’m no superwoman when it comes to parenting, but still love taking this crazy wonderful journey with you, being you as my superhero, and being my kid’s superdad. We are not yet halfway there and praying and hoping by the grace of God for more years of being together so we can create more memories with the kids and (we may have flaws but) hoping and praying we can guide them especially in their teen and adulthood years.

Thank You.

We Love You.

Pregnancy and Birth Story of my Second

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My second child’s pregnancy was planned.
I delivered my eldest thru CS and it was one traumatic experience. For the fear of enduring the same ordeal again took us awhile to have another baby. 5 years after, we thought we gave it another try, we thought its about time. My OB told me to wait until 3 years before having another baby but I thought 3-year gap is too short thus considered 5-year gap instead.
However, seems like a 5-year gap between siblings is a bit long. My kids though close with each other, seems to be disconnected at times. Each kid adjust to fit. Common scenes like the eldest had to watch and sing nursery rhymes with the youngest or the youngest would watch minecraft videos with the eldest. They blend for awhile I guess until one had to do another thing. Plus gender thing has another factor too — like the eldest wants to sing Taylor Swift while the younger one wants to play and watch Lighting McQueen movie. Being pregnant after 5 years was still a best option, besides I’m not getting any younger, so of to baby number 2.
We were careful.
It was carefully planned.
Had to prepare the nest. Frequent visits to my new OB/Gyn Dra. Ebao. Choices on good food for proper nutrition. Exercise. We wish for a boy thus we seek for advise. Though there’s science, we rely everything to God and faith and hope.

SUBCHORIONIC HEMORRHAGE
5 years ago, first week of January and after the third pregnancy test showed 2 red thin lines, we now have a reason to go back to my OB. However our excitement was cut short when my first transvaginal ultrasound showed that I suffered subchorionic hemorrhage. I didn’t fully understand it, all I know was that there’s a blood clot in my uterus and it could possible affect my baby. My OB advised bed rest and medication for two week.
Two weeks becomes two months…

APAS
With the blood clot that was still evident even after months of rest and medication, my OB/Gyn later requested for additional lab test to checked if I have APAS (Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome) disorder. It is an auto-immune disorder. I don’t really understand the technicalities, as far as I comprehend, my body’s antibodies failed to recognize the fetus inside my tummy thus tried to destroy it as it is mistakenly identified as a harmful object. Fear of the diagnosis, I went back to my first OB/Gyn, Dra. Atoc (the one I consulted during my first pregnancy). Nothing wrong with being sure, she reminded me, so she still request to perform those additional requests.
Results shows I had Mild APAS.
Anything for the baby’s safety.
Even if our energy and finances were drained, we had to find ways and strength to do for the baby. Thus, I took the APAS screening tests even it costs a whole month’s pay. The tests includes CBC (Complete Blood Count), ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate), CRP (C-Reactive Protein Test), T4 (Thyroxine), TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone), ANA (Antinuclear Antibodies), Cardiolipin Antibodies IgG and IgM, KCT (Kaolin Clotting Time), PTT/APTT (Partial thromboplastin time / Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time). Lots of blood sample it is. We were referred to an immunologists for further analysis of the result. According to the immunologists, I had mild APAS and aspirins (aspilets) was added to my long list of medicines to take.
Additionally, my OB/Gyn this is quite busy that schedule visits and appointments are often postponed, thus the need to look for another OB/Gyn on my last trimester. So I met Dra Bevs Hermosisima, my new OB/Gyn.

HOPE
Her assessment was that since I don’t have history of miscarriages and that my baby, though small in weight, is so fine inside my tummy, everything will be alright with proper nutrition, medication, being careful and lots of positive aura. This gives me hope.
And yes I remember Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

CS DELIVERY
Had wanted to do normal birth delivery this time. I had to take the 8 stairs going up every morning to my workstation…for endurance and able to hold breath for a longer period of time. But cervix didn’t open even after series of IEs. Had to cut open again on my due date. Once a CPD, is really a CPD (Cephalopelvic disproportion). Believe me, I’m scared being cut again that I had to one the hands of the attending nurse for comfort until I hear my son’s cry and close me.

THANKFUL
It was not a smooth sailing drive but thankfully it went well by God’s grace and guidance… and family and friend’s support. Holding my baby

Everyone! Meet my second :)
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Pregnancy and Birth Story of my Eldest

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July 5, 2005, 17 days after our wedding day, two red lines from the pregnancy test faced me. I smiled knowing I’m gonna be a mom but scared knowing that I’m gonna be a mom!

For my first trimester, I don’t have food cravings. As far as I remember, there is only one crave I requested from hubby, that is to let him buy a Kit-Kat chocolate wafer for me and unfortunately he bought Knick-Knacks chocolate biscuits. Not a big deal for me, I still ate the Knick-Knacks 😀 Since its my first pregnancy, we are kind of OC – you know like being extra careful in everything stuffs and lots to avoid of. Good thing my OB is Dra. Atoc who is based at Mactan Doctors Hospital, a conventional type of doctor yet open to embrace new techniques and approach to caring pregnancy.

5 months later, I quit my job and went home to our hometown. Nothing can help me relax than the comfort and support of my family especially my parents. I know I should stay with hubby and give birth beside him but him at work and me home alone all day seems scary. While at my hometown, I had anyone. This time Dra. Paano-Go is my OB, she’s recommended by a very good friend and my cousin, Annalie, who at that time is also pregnant. Dra. Paano-Go is also her doctor so that alone is a big comfort. My cousin and I happen to have same expected delivery month.

On the night of March 6, 2006, I felt contractions every after ~20 minutes and because I cannot sleep, I asked mom to bring me to the hospital. But the resident doctor who checked my cervix informed me that its not open yet. Talk about false alarm. I tell you my tummy is in pain that night! That same night at the same hospital, mom told me that my cousin is on the delivery room about to gave birth. That makes me wanna push so we can have same birthdays on our daughters 😀  (some wishful thinking eh :D) The following days, hoping to get dilated before my due date, I took long walks. By the way, I was told that walking exercise will not make you dilate instead it will prepare your breathing as you make your big push.

On my due date, March 12, still there are no contractions :( We waited for 2 more days and still no progress so I went to check with my OB the baby’s status. My ultrasound results then showed small particles beside my baby. Afraid that it might be the baby’s first droppings (meconium), my OB recommends induced labor on that day. I went home, called hubby, took a refreshing bath (mom said, I should at least be presentable :D) and checked again our hospital bags and relax (coz really I’m excited and at same time in panic mode). By 7pm that day, accompanied by my sisters, we’re at the hospital ready for induced labor. Late in the evening, the resident doctor check me and I’m 1cm dilated, I think I don’t sleep well as I already feel the pain due to contractions yet when the resident doctor check again, it still 1cm. Yes, just the resident doctor, I haven’t seen my OB that night.

The following day, still no progress with the dilation but its comforting to know that hubby is home. Also, my OB’s presence. She personally checks my cervix and yep its still 1cm. Its so upsetting bearing the pain for almost 8 hrs already and yet no progress. My water broke by midday, we were told that those particle seen in the ultrasound are not my baby’s feces. I forgot to ask what were those particles.

By 8pm that night I was told I’m 5cm dilated but seems like I cannot take the pain anymore. I heard my mom asked me for something and I can’t answer her straight. According to her, seeing  how I respond to her makes her conclude that I cannot wait longer for 10cm complete dilation, thus, she decided to tell my OB and hubby to proceed with cesarean delivery. Yes, I also agreed to perform CS since being in pain for ~24hrs is so unbearable.  I remembered being wheeled to the operation room. They have to let me curled so they can give the anesthesia, subconsciously I followed their instructions. Have heard their questions yet I vaguely remember my answers but I swear I heard my baby cried and I heard my OB’s comment that my baby is clean. Next thing I know, I woke up and asked dad about my baby.

By morning, OB checked on me and inform me I could visit my baby at the baby station and I should start breastfeeding my daughter. All the pain vanished as I held my little baby for the first time.

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Original Post at Balot’s Chatter.