Archive | March, 2017

A shower of blessings for the Negis

27 Mar

We attended their wedding in June last year and now we attended a baby shower for them.

Emcees for the party.

Our friends Shyam and Christy are now expecting a baby boy. Their friends from the Connect Ministry (GCF’s ministry to workers in the BPO industry) organized a shower for them yesterday to bless the new family with love, prayers, and gifts.

There was a game for you to guess what gender will Shyam and Christy’s baby be.

It was just a simple party. Aside from the usual stuff (i.e., a couple of games and some snacks), Shyam and Christy revealed the gender of their baby through a gender reveal announcement. I’m aware of and familiar with the current trend on gender reveals and how it’s becoming a normal part of baby showers but it was my first time to attend one where there was an actual gender reveal announcement so I was excited about it. They’re having a baby boy, by the way.

Showers of gifts.

Of course, the party would not be a shower without the “ceremonial” gift-opening which was more or less the highlight of the event. We also showered the new family, of course, with prayers which Eugene led. We especially prayed for a safe and healthy pregnancy for Christy and the baby as Christy is experiencing some difficulty with her pregnancy.

Caption to the video above: I clicked on the record button too late to capture the start of the gender reveal announcement.

But what I find to really be the highlight and most meaningful during the celebration was when Christy shared the story behind the name they will give to their baby boy due in May. Christy shared that they will name their child Noah because Noah (in the Bible) was described as a “righteous man, blameless among the people in his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). This is inspite of “how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth” (Genesis 6:5) and how “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence” (Genesis 6:11). “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He was chosen by God to preserve the human race and eventually to save men through Jesus Christ. (Read the story of Noah here).

Showers of prayers and blessings.

And so they are blessing their child to be named Noah because when the time comes (when earth will be more wicked and corrupt than now), Shyam and Christy want their child to be like Noah, a “righteous” and blameless man who will be used by God to save people. Wow! That is a very powerful blessing to your unborn child.

Shyam and Christy with their Connect family.

(And that is also why the theme of the shower is Noah’s Ark).

Shyam and Christy, we pray for God’s mercy and grace to be upon you and Baby Noah. May God’s favor be indeed upon him and may he indeed grow up to be a righteous and blameless man in the sight of the Lord.

Eugene and I with the soon-to-be-new-parents.

We are rejoicing with you as you enter this new chapter in your life. We will also be here for you to walk with you in your parenting journey.

Our little one turns 1

21 Mar

We praise God we were able to pull off a party as our Little One (LO) turned one. I don’t have skills to host a party so organizing one was by the grace of God. We also praise God because we were able to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday and dedication in a special way.

Eugene giving his testimony on how we have been ministered to by Shiphrah.

When our LO was just a few months old, Eugene and I would casually talk about how we would like to celebrate her first birthday and dedication. I’m not really into parties (I always opt for a private celebration of personal or family events). But because she is our first born (which took us five-six years before we had her) and turning one is a major milestone (which I think deserves a celebration and because we didn’t celebrate her month-saries), something in me as a mother wanted to throw a party for her. But Eugene and I wanted it to be a simple celebration, something unique, something that would be meaningful to us as a family, and something that we hope she would appreciate when we tell her the story when she grows up.

Jeri Gunderson sharing what HELP Ministries is.

It was actually Eugene who came up with the idea of having it done in Shiphrah, the birthing home where our LO was born. We have been ministered by their care when I gave birth there last year and since then we have wanted to be able to minister to them, too. We’ve actually long wanted to let our friends know about it. We’ve also long wanted to visit the place again to say hi to the staff there especially to Ate Lorni and Ate Belle, my midwives. So when Eugene thought of the idea, I readily agreed and thought it would be the opportunity we’ve been hoping for. There would be no other better place to celebrate our LO’s first birthday and dedication than in the place where she was born with the people who helped me birth her. And to “return the favor” to Shiphrah, we thought of raising funds for them by requesting our guests to make an offering to Shiphrah in lieu of giving gifts for our LO.

Ate Lorni Bagro, one of my midwives, giving her testimony.

The party went well (I think so). It was short and simple but with the aim to introduce HELP International Ministries, Inc. (the missions organization that operates Shiphrah Birthing Home and ‘the little children’s home’, an orphanage) to our friends. Eugene and I started the program by sharing our testimonies after which Jeri Gunderson, Founder and Director of HELP, and Deborah Gustafson, Jeri’s daughter who also works for HELP, shared what the ministry is. Workers from ‘the little children’s home’ and my midwives from Shiphrah also shared their testimonies. After the highlights on HELP, Pastor Erik Dizon officiated the dedication ceremony. We then did the “traditional” (cup)cake candle blowing then Eugene closed the program in prayer. That was it. Short and simple. Of course, fellowship over simple refreshments followed after.

Pastor Erik Dizon praying a prayer of dedication.

Grateful

We are very grateful to God and to a lot of people who have helped us for our LO’s first birthday celebration and dedication. I still plan to personally thank each of them but I will still mention them here. In no particular order, we are thankful to…

Parang napaka-OA o scripted ng kuha namin. Hahaha.

  • The Handog family who have given a lot of their time, effort, and resources in helping me plan this celebration. They also made the decors, set-up the place, and sponsored the sweets for dessert.
  • Kuya Api and Ate Chette, Jon and Mayette, John and Rajsh, and to Caleb and to Luan, for accepting our request to stand as ninongs and ninangs (godparents) to our LO.
  • Ate Bettylyn who also helped out in setting-up the place.
  • Jeri Gunderson who I coordinated with in HELP. Thank you for letting us hold the party in Shiphrah.
  • Ate Lorni and Ate Belle and to the other staff of HELP for sharing their testimonies.
  • Caleb for the drinks and for all the other help that day.
  • Rajsh for serving as emcee and for the icebreaker game.
  • Nino for taking the pictures.
  • Pastor Erik Dizon for officiating the dedication ceremony.
  • Karen and Teacher Angel for lending the songs we played.
  • Carol (Sweet Caroline’s Cakes) for making the cupcakes.

Our family.

    • Alyssa for lending your photo frame.
    • To all our friends who came and to those who gave offerings whether you came or were not able to. Total offerings received during the event amounted to PhP 21,000, exclusive of those who gave/will give directly to HELP. Thank you so much for this. Thank you also to those who have pledged to give directly to HELP.
    • Thank you also to those who gave gifts to our LO in addition to the offerings they gave to HELP. We couldn’t be more thankful.
    • The Barrera family for donating their old children’s books to ‘the little children’s home’.
    • For the new relationships that were formed. I don’t know yet the details but I know that connections were formed between members of my local Church GCF (Greenhills Christian Fellowship) and HELP and there were initial talks for our friends to minister to them. We pray these plans would materialize.
    • Most of all, we are grateful to God for allowing us to have this celebration. To be honest, I wanted to cancel it two weeks before the event because our LO got sick and was confined in a hospital twice (you can read about her confinement the first time here and the second time here). Thankfully, the party pushed through. We are thankful for our LO who gives us so much joy. We are also thankful for the strength and wisdom God has given us in our first year as parents. We know there are more hardships to come but we are confident God will be there for us.

    The staff of HELP International Ministries, Inc.

          HELP International Ministries, Inc.

          Taken from their website and Facebook page.

          HELP International Ministries, Inc. is a family organization that ministers to their community by showing God’s love through practical ways of providing hospitality and care. It operates ‘the little children’s home’, an orphanage that provides a loving and nurturing home for children who are in need of tender loving care until they are born into their forever families, and Shiphrah, a birthing home which provides dignified personal maternal health care to women.

          Our LO’s ninongs and ninangs. We don’t expect gifts on special occasions but please make sure to pray for her and for us parents.

          Shiphrah is close to my heart because I have personally experienced their care. Their midwives have been instrumental for my birth experience. (If you are patient and willing enough you can read my very long birth story here). It is also close to my heart because more than just a birthing home, it is a ministry so there is more than just helping women give birth. Their primary ministry is to their immediate community in Taytay, Rizal but it has “gained popularity” within the gentle birth community that pregnant mothers travel as far as from Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite just to go to prenatal check-ups and give birth there. Mothers actually have been raving about Shiphrah. Though a lot of first time mothers go there, too, I’ve noticed that most who go there are 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time mothers who wanted to have a better birth experience after their hospital births. A lot of them are VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) moms, too.

          I need to have a picture taken by the dessert bar courtesy of the Handog family.

          I hope to share to pregnant mothers that you can have a say and a choice when it comes to childbirth. Midwives at Shiphrah are professionals and they are trained for birth emergencies. They would also require you to have a back-up doctor and a plan just in case hospital transfers are required. They are trained to recognize complications early on. They would also refer you to an OB-Gyne if you have risk factors that necessitates medical care. So you could be sure you are in good hands. I have been ministered by their care that sometimes I want to be a birth educator or a midwife or a doula so I can also minister to other mothers in this way. But by simply letting people know about HELP and about Shiphrah, I hope I have already ministered to both of them.

          With Eugene’s co-workers, the GCF staff.

            If you want to give

            For those who gave an offering, thank you so much again and please know that your gifts would be used for the renovation of Shiphrah Birthing Home and for the continuing education and certification of their midwives as required by the Department of Health.

            Do check out HELP International Ministries‘ website to know more about ‘the little children’s home’ and Shiphrah Birthing Home.

            Follow also their Facebook page.

            If you want to make an offering, you may check this link.

            Thank you once again to all.

            We give God the glory.

            With Growth Group-mates.

            With friends from Dumaguete.

            With the rest of our friends.

            With the Handog family (Pastor Art, Ate Rose, and Yayeeh) and Ate Bettylyn and her daughter Hannah who all helped out with decorating the place.

            Sick again (and hopefully this would be the last)

            8 Mar

            Baby’s becoming a suki of The Medical City.

            That may sound funny but, seriously, a recurrent pneumonia and another round of hospital confinement just after a month is really not funny at all. (Read about the first time here).

            Passing time in the hospital. When you’re stuck in such a place, it’s very difficult to keep a toddler entertained.

            It all started on Wednesday… or Tuesday, if my theories are correct (kasi pinagmunimunihan ko talaga pano at bakit nagkasakit ulit si Baby while I was alone in the hospital). Eugene’s sister, her husband, and another family friend will be coming over for a vacation. As my OC-ness would have it, I wanted the house to be clean. Well, I’ve been meaning to have our house spring-cleaned for the longest time (since we moved in) but I just couldn’t find the time. So I took this opportunity to do so. I hired a couple of cleaners to do the job last Tuesday and that involved a lot of dust and the smell of (floor) wax which I think caused Baby’s hingal (short breathing) and triggered her pneumonia. Well, at least this is my theory because I’ve reviewed where we’ve been the past month and wala talaga kaming pinuntahan where Carissa could have been exposed. We mostly stayed at home. We go to Church on weekends but I don’t think she could’ve gotten it there. We’ve been to the mall twice but it was a very quick trip, mga less than two hours lang siguro.

            So I had our house cleaned. I asked my mother-in-law, Nanay, to look after Baby while I also cleaned and supervised the cleaners. She brought Baby outside the house in the morning. But after lunch, since it was hot outside, she brought her instead to our room which was freshly waxed. They stayed there until we all finished cleaning late in the afternoon. Since I was also busy, I forgot that the room still smelled wax. (I should’ve not allowed them to stay there). Also, the sun, which shines directly in our room in the afternoon, was pretty much out so the heat was really intense that day. Wax fumes + heat = not a good combination for a baby. I did turn on the aircon later on but I think an hour has already passed with Baby and Nanay inside the room when I did so.

            That was Tuesday, February 28. Wednesday afternoon Carissa started to have occassional coughs and I could tell by the sound of it that it would eventually be a full-blown one. True enough, the following day, Thursday, her coughs were a little bit worse than the previous day. I nebulized her that morning hoping it would prevent the cough from getting worse. In the afternoon, she started to be hingal.

            Again, I was hesitant to bring her to the ER because, first, she was not matamlay at all. She was playful. Also, she did not have a fever. She was normally malikot except for her hingal. Third is because her Tita et. al would be arriving the following day and we have plans of touring them around the city (okay, so I was FOMO). So I prayed hard for Baby to be well. And because I prayed, I believed it was nothing serious and in the morning she will be well as if nothing happened at all. Lastly, I didn’t want to bother Eugene with bringing Baby to the ER because he will be fetching our guests early the following morning and would be driving them around. He was just recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy so I didn’t want him to get very tired.

            Hospitalized the second time for pneumonia after just a month.

            But Carissa’s breathing did not improve even after I nebulized her again in the early evening. In fact, it got worse towards the night. Still, because I was praying, I was hopeful that Baby would get well. I wanted to wait the following morning to see if she will improve after sleeping through the night.

            Now even if I was hesitant to go to the ER I was struggling and wondering (again) if I’m making the right decision. Carissa was really breathing fast. With her previous pneumonia a month ago she was breathing fast but it was just that. Hingal lang. This time, not only was she breathing fast, she was breathing hard and her chest and tummy was palpitating with every breath. The space in the middle of her collar bone just under the neck (what do you call that?), it was being drawn inward with each breath. I thought it was asthma. Finally, around 11 PM (it took me that long to decide), I finally asked Eugene to drive us to The Medical City (we had a borrowed car that night to tour her family the following day).

            Upon checking Baby in the ER, the doctor-on-duty said it sounded like it’s pneumonia again (and not asthma as I thought it was). And after a while, she apologetically asked if it’s okay for Baby to be admitted again.

            Again? She was admitted just a month ago for pneumonia!

            The doctor wanted her admitted because of her hingal. I know it was of particular concern because that was one of the major indications why she got admitted the first time. Pero dahil nga kaaadmit nya lang isang bwan pa lang ang nakakalipas, ayoko sana ipaadmit sya ulit.

            Baby was very masigla and malikot. She doesn’t seem to be sick at all. Whenever she’s awake I had to constantly tell her not to play with the gadgets.

            I tried to negotiate with the ER doctor (who was, thank God, very kind) and asked if home treatment would be possible. She said she will have Baby nebulized again and if her breathing will improve, we can go home. She also ordered an x-ray to be done on her (again).

            Well, hindi nawala hingal ni Baby after the nebulization in the ER so she got admitted again. I got really, really sad when the doctor said it was pneumonia again (confirmed through the x-ray). I knew then that I had no choice.

            What followed were the necessary routine procedures. Dating gawi. Another stressful night. Of course, she was again inserted with an IV line through which her medications will be given. The last time there was only one failed attempt to insert it on her hand. This time the nurses had three failed attempts. They tried inserting it on her left hand, then on her right hand, then on her left foot, before finally successfully inserting it in her right foot. Buti naman naipasok din kasi wala na syang extrang kamay at paa kung san pa pwede next. (That’s why the veins in her hands and feet are clearly visible now due to these failed IV insertions). She cried the whole time. Nakakaawa.

            When we got in our room (which was about 5 AM), I told Eugene to sleep at least for an hour before driving to fetch her sister from the airport. I am really concerned he doesn’t tire himself much because of his heart condition.

            If before I had Nanay with me during our stay in the hospital, this time I was alone because her daughter and son-in-law were in town so of course she had to be with them. Eugene also had to be with them to drive them around. So I was left alone. Ang lungkot lang. They did visit us twice but they stayed only for a short time. Eugene actually came and slept in the evening but he arrives late and leaves early in the morning. So I’m pretty much alone the whole time (except for the few friends who visited).

            If her IV did not get dislodged, we wouldn’t have been discharged a day earlier. She was so likot her IV always gets stretched like this.

            I’m also saddened that Carissa was given stronger antibiotics as well as steroids. The doctor explained that because it was only a month since her last pneumonia, a stronger antibiotic was needed. If it was more than six months ago na daw, they could give the same one given to her before. (Sa lahat naman ng iniiwasan ko ehyung magantibiotic si Baby… tapos twice pa sya nabigyan nang wala pang one year old. Nalulungkot talaga ako).

            And because Baby wasn’t responding to the nebulizations (hindi mawalawala hingal nya even after the second day and after increasing the frequency of her nebulizations to every four hours), the doctor prescribed to give her steroids. Kaya I really have a feeling her pneumonia was caused by the smell of the floor wax and not by the bug kasi if it was a bug, i think her symptoms would have been the same as before (fever, matamlay) and she would respond well with her initial medications as she did before. Pero hindi. She had fever and she was matamlay before (the first time she had pneumonia a month ago) so it was pretty sure she had an infection. This time, she didn’t have any fever and was very masigla and malikot (as in super likot para ngang wala syang sakit). Hingal lang talaga. So I think she didn’t have any infections, inflamed langyung airways kaya hindi mawalawalayung hingal nya… which is malamang dahil sa amoy ng floor wax. Again, this is just my theory. I did tell the doctor about this and she seemed to agree so I guess my theory’s correct. Hehe.

            Thankfully, Baby responded immediately to the steroids. Actually, I negotiated again with the doctor if we could avoid the steroids and just wait for the hingal to subside. But the doctor said she has extended enough time to see if Baby would improve with the nebulizations (true enough the doctor has been very gracious to all my requests) but still she hasn’t by the second day. It was only in the evening of the second day that the doctor gave steroids.

            At dahil mahilig talaga ako makipag-negotiate, every time the doctor would visit us, I would always ask how long will we stay in the hospital and jokingly tell her uwi na kami. We were supposed to be discharged Monday noon but Baby’s IV got dislodged (sa kalikutan) Sunday early afternoon so they removed it. Instead of reinserting it again, the doctor just decided to start giving her medicines orally. So again, I negotiated with the doctor if we can go home already (since there were no medications to be given through the IV anymore). Pumayag naman (I thought hindi sya papayag because that morning medyo hindi pa clear lungs ni Baby). Actually, if I have company, I wouldn’t mind staying as long as the doctor would recommend. But I was alone. So I wanted to get out of the hospital ASAP kasi nadedepress nako don. Thank God the doctor was really kind and allowed us to go home.

            Sigh.

            This is a day after getting out of the hospital. Last dinner with Eugene’s family before they’ve gone back home to the province the following day.

            I, at least, still got to spend a day with Eugene’s family before they left early Tuesday morning. Happy for that one.

            Lord, sana po last nato. Please restore Carissa’s health and make her immune system strong again. Madami pa po kaming naka-schedule na adventures this year. Amen!