Our Journey To Rafa

Last Saturday, December 1, we dedicated Rafa to the Lord.

We had the dedication at the UP Church of the Risen Lord, the church and garden where C and I got married almost 13 years ago.

December 1 also happens to be our 17th anniversary as boyfriend-girlfriend.

We had our family and friends who were a big part of our journey these past three years.

We wish to give God all the glory and honor. For without Him, we wouldn't have this sweet little boy now. As C says in our video testimony, we wouldn't have come out of our four miscarriages not bitter had the Lord not held us through it all.

All glory and honor and praise be unto Jesus!

And to you, my dear blog reader, thank you for sharing in our journey. For reading, praying and sending in your encouragement. Thank you for being there. I pray that whatever situation you are in, that you will see and feel the loving presence of God in your life.


Rafa's nine months! Praise God!

Dear Rafa,

You are 9 months and a few hours old as I type this.

You are asleep now in your pack n play, wearing your yellow reusable nappy and your white sando. I love your pambahay clothes. You look so cute.

This morning I had to buy buttons for a project we are doing and I passed by a baking supply store and saw these super cute paper cupcake liners. I thought they would be perfect for the crayons we are putting on the tables for your dedication on Saturday.

Yes, we will be dedicating you to the Lord on Saturday. Frankly it feels like your first birthday party. We are so excited and so deeply thankful that God found us worthy to be your parents.

So anyway... back to the cupcake liners and crayons. You don't know what joy I had as I bought the boxes of crayons and the cupcake liners. These little things make it really sink in that I am a mom. And that I can throw parties for you! Haha.

Some of Dad's officemates will be taking pictures at the dedication so you can take a look at them someday and see how your dedication went.

Your Dad and I are so touched at the outpouring of love from so many people. I always joke that we almost never have to buy things because people just sometimes literally appear on our doorstep bearing gifts. Clothes, books, toys, baby furniture... We're kinda set, even for your potty training. Imagine that!

And for your dedication, so many people have graciously given their "services" for free! Lola Susan will provide the food. Tita Talna and Tito Joven are in charge of the music! Oh and what cool music we will have as the musicians are from the UP College of Music. They are cool dudes, Rafa. I think you'll want to hang out with them someday.

Even our video testimony was done for free! How amazing is that?! We thank the Lord for touching so many people and for all the love they shower you. 

You are dearly loved, my dear Rafa. I hope you know and feel that even now. 

Happy nine months, dearest. I love you so much.



Sad Days

Something sad happened recently.

Having Rafa has made me take sadness for granted. It's been a while since I've experienced disappointment. It's been a while since I've cried due to sadness.

I realize I am not exempt from sadness after all. Maybe it's hormones from weaning, maybe not. But I've just become extra sensitive lately and I cry at the least provocation.

Then I heard this song again today:

Been a while since I've listened to it. It was like an anthem for me when I was past the critical period of my pregnancy. Suddenly I could feel happiness bubbling up, seizing me and slowly permeating my body. I finally could allow myself to hope. To hope to be happy.

Maybe it's hormones but right now I feel an immense sadness that I can't seem to reach. I want to take it out and throw it away. But I can't find its roots and I can't pull everything out. Just when I think I'm okay, I tear up. 

I find comfort in knowing that the dog days are indeed over. It's just a little bump I've come to now and I'll get over it. I don't think there will ever be worse sadness than what I have gone through in the past. Maybe I just needed to be reminded of that SADNESS to put this sadness into better perspective.


How cute is this cup and saucer set?!

I love kisses! Do you? C says I was horrible at our first kiss. Hahahaha. Oh well.

How have you been? Rafa turned 8 months last Sunday and the three of us went out to celebrate a bit after church. It's getting a whole lot easier to eat out with him. He can sit in his high chair longer. The key is to give him a menu or a piece of paper napkin to crumple, munch on, and toss around. The other day I was bold and let him have a wee bit of pasta sauce. Pesto. He seemed to like it. :)

That's my little update. Kisses to you! Have a great week!


Remembering Running

That title sounds soooo sad. Sigh. I wonder when or if I will ever go back to running. Part of me misses it, but a big part of me is terrified of it. Here's why:


Thank you.

I read somewhere (or maybe it's a popular quote... I get confused a lot, post anesthesia) that happiness shared is doubled and sadness shared is halved.

Lately I've been getting some emails from readers of this blog, going through some sad experiences.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I hope it gives you some comfort to be able to talk about things with someone familiar with your pain.

Praying with and for you.


Rafa turns six months!!!

Rafa turned six months yesterday!!! 

We honor the Lord and thank and praise Him for entrusting Rafa to us. Lord, we celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness! 

We pray that You will continue to guide us as we care for Rafa. Teach us how to best raise him. May his story always point to You. And in Your perfect time, may he come to know and trust You as his personal Lord and Savior. 

    In Jesus' Mighty Name. Amen.


Memory Bank #3

The little dimples on Rafa's chubby hands.

Oh my lovely boy. I love you so very very much.


Oh Pinterest

We finally found a kind and reliable nanny to help me with Rafael.

So now I have a bit of time to surf the net. I try to avoid it but almost always I end up in Pinterest. Talk about time suckage.

And the things I want to make! Citrus and mint ice cubes! First I have to buy a really nice ice tray.

Paper mosaics. First I have to buy good watercolor paper and good watercolor.


P.S. Is there anyone reading this blog still? Do say hi! Gets lonely sometimes. Haha.


I was putting Rafa to sleep earlier and he was being fussy. I said our morning prayer, thanking the Lord for the day, and thanking Him for entrusting Rafa to us. I weep every time I say this prayer.

I am so thankful for this sweet little boy. What a miracle.

And when he's being difficult, I just remember all the things we went through... the journey to him... and I am renewed and thankful once more.

Rafael Vito, you are loved. I hope you know that.


Rockin' N Rollin'

Oh my. Rafa has recently become an expert at rolling onto his tummy. That's all he wants to do now.

So now it's such a challenge to put clothes on him after a bath. Look at the little roller in these photos:


This morning at 3:30am, I awoke to his sounds. He wasn't crying. Just trying to crawl on his belly. He was able to do a 360-degree turn in between me and C. He just loves being on his tummy and exploring. I'm sure he can't wait to be more mobile so he can explore more. 


Memory Bank #2

How wonderful it feels when Rafa sleeps on my chest. He used to be so small and light.

Memory Bank #1

Rafa's little big toe and how it looks like a fat lima bean.


Rafa fell asleep just 30 minutes ago. I breastfed him and gave him some formula. Hoping he will sleep longer tonight.

Last night he woke up at 2am and couldn't go back to sleep. We blame it on the milk tea I had that afternoon. Argh. I just can't resist it sometimes.

Today was a good day. Rafa wasn't as cranky as yesterday and we had friends over for lunch. It was good to have adult conversation for a change. Hahaha.

Having a baby really changes you. Tonight, as C was changing Rafa's nappy, I told C that I miss being tan. I was looking at my new nail color and remembered the days I was so dark. Then I asked C if it was still okay for me to be thinking of being tan, now that I'm a mom. Thankfully he said yes.

I guess I'm still getting used to being a mom and still trying to find a balance between being a mom and being my own person.

Just wanted to put these thoughts down before I went to bed.

Rafa, if you are reading this (as someday I hope you will), I hope you know how much we love you.


Rafael Vito is here!

Hello! I've been away from this blog for so long!

Right now Rafael is sleeping so I'm sneaking in some blogging time.

He is 4 months today! The bottom picture was taken just today. It is true, babies grow up so fast.

First of all, thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. Everyday C and I marvel at this little one the Lord has given us. Sometimes I still can't believe he is finally here and we can hold him, hug him and kiss him endlessly. Oh he loves being kissed! :) He is such a sweet baby.

Someday I will write about my birth story. C took a lot of pictures. But let me just say this. I had a 20-hour labor! Imagine that! But it was almost painless as I had an epidural. I know... Why, right? Well I had prepared (and paid good money) for a drug-free birth but my OB just wouldn't hear of it. She said I'd be too tired bearing with the contractions I'd have no energy to push.

So anyway... Four months on the job and I have learned one important thing. Don't judge. Moms, especially. We all make choices (to breastfeed or not, to co-sleep or not, to use a walker or not) and some are really tough choices and we just don't deserve judgment. We all try our best.

I'm happy to say I am still able to breastfeed Rafael. It was exclusive for three months and two weeks then I had to supplement as my supply was dipping drastically. I blame it on a dip in hormones, as evidenced by my amazing falling hair.

By the way... we named him Rafael Vito. Rafael or Rafa is one of God's names. It means God heals. Vito means life.

So what else can I share right now? Oh! He loves it when we walk and he's in his sling. I will post a picture of us in action one of these days.

He can grasp his rattle now and has also started taking steps. I know. How fast, right? He's a strong baby and he's been trying to stand as early as his first month I think. Our homeopath says it's because of the supplements I took while I was pregnant.

He loves conversations and gets cranky when no one talks to him. His poo smells bad now that he's taking formula. Haha.

That's about it for now. Oh! He loves it when I sing to him. Believe me. When I'm breastfeeding and I sing, he'll stop, unlatch and just look at me. Awww.. Someone thinks I sing well. Only person in the world who does. Hahaha.

Talk to you soon.


A Story To Tell


This morning I read this post on APAS. It made me think about our own story.

I've been meaning to write about it but couldn't. Not because I was being superstitious (don't write about it, or else you might jinx it). I just didn't have the words and my emotions were always so mixed up.

First trimester I was preoccupied with several tests and treatments for taming my natural killer cells. Plus I had nausea which made eating normally very difficult. I was a cliche, tolerating only things sour.

The first trimester was our longest wait. Each week was a miracle. Each ultrasound (I had them weekly the whole first trimester and maybe every two weeks afterwards), I would really struggle. I would have the most honest conversations with God in the hospital washroom. A lot of pleading and bargaining. At times I would be demanding and angry, remembering all the losses.

The first look at the ultrasound screen was the scariest. Those times I couldn't see the screen, I would look at C's face to see what emotion he'd have.

Each time we would see (and eventually hear) the baby's heartbeat, we would cry. We were a mess. And several times, so were the doctors who performed the scans. They knew us from my previous pregnancies and it was so touching to see them so emotionally involved too.

We spent so much on the tests, the treatments and the dinner and dessert that would follow in celebration of another week.

Natural Killer Cells

Our doctors had explained to us that the treatments would really vary from person to person and there was, unfortunately, no set formula. We had to play with mixing treatments and see what would work. The fourth loss was heartbreaking because it seemed we had done all we could and the doctors couldn't explain what went wrong.

This pregnancy, we added a new test called immunophenotyping. It measures, among other things, the natural killer cell activity.

We all have natural killer cells. And they are basically good cells. They attack viruses and cancer-causing cells. But best to check wikipedia for the definition as I may be wrong. All I know is that they are good cells. Except when they overreact and attack the embryo.

My immunophenotyping results (done soon as I found out I was pregnant) revealed high NK cell activity.

The immunologist then prescribed intralipids infusion. It's a soy-based product that they administer via an IV drip and it lowers NK cell activity.

Succeeding tests showed I was responding well to the infusions. We were so thankful that I did because had I not, we would've had to shell out more than P100,000 for IVIG, the older and usual treatment for high NK cells. Intralipids infusions are P10,000 per infusion. I had to have four (or five? I cannot recall now) from the first trimester to the second.

Add to that the weekly ultrasounds, lymphocyte immune therapy and nightly heparin shots. It was a miracle we had the provisions to pay for these things! C and I both agree though that when it comes to spending on your baby, the costs just don't matter anymore. We lost track of exactly how much we spent. Although C has a budget book we could always go back to someday just to marvel at how God saw us through!

I have to stop writing for now but will publish this as a first installment. It's quite a long story so be patient with me.

Just a quick update though. We are now close to 36 weeks and our doctor said she might induce me in week 37. So excited to see this little boy. He feels a whole lot bigger now and when he wiggles, sometimes it feels like he's about to burst through.

He still loves sounds, especially loud conversations and music. And we love him so. But the Lord loves him more.

Till next update!