A C-section Mama Birth Story

My son just turned one year old, and Christmas has come and gone.  A lot has happened since my last post in 2013, one that I regret not writing about. I would have been novel to write down my thoughts on my pregnancy, of becoming a mom and all the hopes and dreams and even Pinterest inspirational photos of all things baby. But things never really work out that way, no matter how much you try or want it.

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House Shopping: Day 1

My husband and I are currently living in a tiny studio condominium unit in the heart of Makati City. It’s a small space, just enough for a newly wedded couple. It is not a bad place though. We’re in the middle of everything: the mall is practically across the street, and we’re businesses and hospitals. There are restaurants and bars littering my street and the few streets over, not even counting the ones in the mall.

There are so many reasons for us to stay. The convenience is one. How many people can say that crossing the street will bring me to one of Manila’s most vaunted malls? Or how everything from cleaning service, to repairs is but a quick phone call to the building admin’s office?

And yet at the same time there are far, far too many reasons not to.

Our studio unit is at 36.5 sqm, enough for a married couple but barely enough for us *and* two cats. Now add a baby and you’re looking at sardines-in-a-can scenario. Finding a bigger place here is crazy expensive and totally out of our budget. I mentioned our street is littered with bars and that meant that once the sun sets, the streets take on a very sleazy tone.

Pollution and the atrocious traffic here walk hand-in-hand. Given that this is a very busy city lacking in greens and not lacking in vehicles with bad exhausts, the air quality here can be very bad for anyone with pulmonary ailments. And goddamnit, I want a baby soon and our place is clearly not going to be any where near family friendly in the near future.

Hence the road trip~!

One of my cousins worked with real estate and knew some places he could recommend us further south where we currently live, to be exact it’s around 40 km far south. That means driving on a good day would take 50 minutes more or less, which is funny because this is how long it takes me to pick him up from work (driving him to work usually takes us 30 mins on a good day). Now consider that his office is a measly 3.6km away.

My cousin first brought us to Venare, mostly to show us around the lot his dad bought there. I will say this…that place is gorgeous! Being part of the Alveo properties made this an upper mid-range property and it shows in the lay out, the size of the lots and the club house has a very strong resorts feel to it. I’m not surprised this area sold off rather quickly.

View from the tower
View from the tower

Which is good I guess. This place is way past our budget anyway and only sold lots. So we were off to visit Avida’s two other projects: Settings and Ridgeway, both of which sold house and lots.

nuvali theaWe visited Settings first, I’ll admit I wasn’t too impressed at the outside facade of the model houses, it seemed blocky and smaller than it appeared. A good interior designer can do wonders here, but the space was a little too cramped for my liking and moving from between parts of the house means bumping into something.

The finishings on the house look fairly average, but I had issues on the flooring particularly used on the second floor and on the stairs. The stairs are a bit more narrow and a little more steep than what I’m comfortable with and the toilets are just cramp as the one in my studio unit.

The village itself already had occupied owners. Though the lack of fences on the property surprised me–a practice that is uncommon here in Manila–though I suspect it was more of a financial based decision than a personal one.

We don’t have the details on the costing yet but the expectations is that the place would be a lot cheaper compared to a lot of Avida’s other Nuvali properties.

Our next visit brought us to Avida’s Ridgeway.

Meet Daphne
Meet Daphne

The village is less populated than Settings though we did notice some of the houses standing were already occupied. The houses were spaced a little better than Settings in my opinion which made it feel a little less cramped. The house designs in Ridgeway were much better designed, and felt less bland and blocky compared to Setting’s.

The two houses that caught my eye were Daphne and Jasmine. Jasmine’s usable are is at 117 sqm while Jasmine had a usable ara 129 sqm. Both have a carport that can support two cars, if I recall. Design wise, Daphne has a better kitchen in terms of lay out and design. Far much room to move around in a kitchen and give it enough tweaks you can have your own island inside. The maid’s quarters looks comfortable and can be easily converted into a decent sized pantry and laundry area. It also has it’s own bath and toilet which looks fairly sizable.

Daphne’s second floor reminded me quite a bit of the husband’s family home. Once you hit the landing you’re immediately led to the corridor to the master’s bedroom and two more bed rooms and a toilet. The master’s bedroom has it’s own toilet and bath so that makes it a total of 3 toilet and bath and a powder room (located at the base of the stairs).

nuvali jasmine
This is Jasmine

Jasmine was the one that really caught my eye in their website and I was a little bit more eager to see it in person. The layout of the ground floor felt more spacious. At the entrance you’re met with a small L-shaped foyer which leads to the powder room at the base of the stairs and further along leads to the living room and dining area.

They were big and spacious enough not to feel like you’re bumping into everything certainly. Like Daphne, Jasmine has a provision for a maid’s room and toilet & bath. My biggest issue with the lay out was the kitchen. The stove and overhanging exhaust was blocking the kitchen bar that despite the open kitchen concept made it look more cramped in comparison to Daphne’s closed off kitchen.

Thankfully these feel more like aesthetics that can be fixed. But what I love about Jasmine best is admittedly the second floor. Unlike Daphne, Jasmine had an area allotted for the family den as you can see in the lower half of the picture. Since I’m planning to turn the living room to double as the family den anyway, I wanted an area I can dedicate into a home office & study area.

Both houses sport at least above average finishings, and comfortable enough stairs to climb on without tripping.

Over all the trip to Nuvali is hopeful. It has everything we would want as a new family except that…well the biggest con in this entire thing is the distance. We are going to be far from everyone, including from my dad and my in-laws and considering the traffic and flooding situation in Metro Manila, going home can be an excursion in itself. And yet I had to wonder if it’s any different if we had lived nearer. If only our infrastructures and public transportation could be better this would have been a no-brainer decision.

Still it’s too early in the game to be making such decisions and we still have properties to check out, this time in Quezon City. 🙂

A little update

I’ve been remiss. The past few weeks (month) had been me staring at my screen wondering to put online. What to write? I look at my folder of various pictures of food and a part of me wants to slap myself.

“SC~~” I can hear my inner voice start to whine. “Another goddamn food review? We all know Feng Wei Wee is fantastic, and you’d be a sorry gourmand for ever not appreciating it! It’s also been blogged to death! Does the internet really need to see another picture of what you had for lunch?” 

Look! More Food Pics!
Look! More Food Pics!

Then the process of feeling shame and remorse begins. Considering my last food review post, it was too early to start another one. As much as I do enjoy food (and I do, and I am tend to be very vocal of what I love and HATE about food and restaurants), I didn’t want my personal blog be mired with nothing about me either praising or bitching about food..again.

Also it’s is detrimental. I have regained a whooping 20lbs from just ‘testing’ these restaurants as of late and I need to go back on the Cohen, stat! If I start blogging about food now, I’ll be back to my pre-Cohen weight in no time! Unacceptable! So that will never do. I had to write something else other than food.

At the time I started blogging years ago, I wanted to make a review blog, it didn’t matter what I reviewed…food, cosmetics, or fashion. I was unfortunately flighty, and focusing on just one thing was decidedly unappealing. So much so that at one point, I actually considered a blog for each category. I figured that was my OCD talking and thought better of it.

A little clutter, and a mess wouldn’t be so bad right?

Yes, that’s me in the mirror. :p

Speaking of clutter, I’ve decided a few weeks to start de-cluttering my vanity. I’m a certified little pack rat and I have a tendency to accumulate…stuff. Unfortunately, living in a small space and a kleptomaniac cat means that one has to learn to let go and throw away things.

That said, I spent two hours just sorting and cleaning. The results was one I hope to keep.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the “Before” picture of my vanity. I didn’t think of taking a picture when I started cleaning (nor did  I consider making a blog post about it until it was done). But to give you an idea, lets just say that I had a drawer choke full of cosmetics as old as a decade.

As a housewife, I realized I didn’t need as much cosmetics as I used to when I was working. Less is good after all, and that usually means when I do invest in cosmetics I can afford to invest in good quality ones  instead of cheap stuff that you can pick up at the local drugstore. Though in this picture, I need something else to secure the bottles of hair products, lotions and perfumes on my dresser. The open basket is nice, but I have a cat. And Mochi just loves to start digging through my vanity box because it makes crinkly sounds.

Like every other de-cluttering job, the bigger job is keeping it that way for a long time. It’s so easy to forget and end up buying those little things we think we all need. Next thing you know, the vanity’s a huge mess again and I’ll end up sorting and cleaning out stuff I bought but barely used (what a waste!)

I’ll probably dedicate another post on this particular housewife’s choice of cosmetics and toiletries. I didn’t think there’s so much to consider when you’re married and sharing a small (read: cramped) bathroom with someone else. And this time I promise to take pictures.

Diet Milestones

It’s been a month and I just had my first weigh in from Cohen. It was a trying month admittedly, looking back at all my posts. But it’s been good. I lost 15.8lbs in my first month. That’s two cats of Eclair’s size. I lost that. In a month.

*would put up the success baby photo if I wasn’t so lazy*

It was more than just weight, I could tell I lost inches as well. Clothes that I bought two years ago I can wear now, and are even loose. People who have last seen me last 2010 are surprised to see that I look smaller.

Still I’m far and away from my target weight, but I am confident that I can make it. I’ve gotten the hang of prepping my meals. Right now I just clean my vegetables and sort them out in big bags. I don’t prep them by meal anymore as I found it easier to weight them before cooking. Except for the meat and chicken and other proteins, for that I really have to weight and put in separate containers for each meal since those things are frozen for the rest of the week.

I’ve even begun slowly easing myself back into yoga. I bought this yoga DVD a year and a half ago and now I try as a I can to do 1 hr a day. I used the beginners program, and it feels good to finally start getting that bit of exercise. Eventually I want to go back to swimming. I used to be a big swimmer in my day and I missed the sport a lot.

I just have some issues swimming in my building, my neighbors are certified douche bags–once I stepped on an inch long broken glass on the pool steps when I went swimming as early as 6am, on the day after it was previously cleaned the night before. Of course I complained but there was little that could be done. You see, there are balconies directly above the pool. So any douche bag can just chuck their trash over their balconies and into the pool below.

But I digress, it’s good to be able to become active again. My weight problems have become an issue. I’ve developed knee pain a month before I started Cohen, a first for me. I’ve also noted that I couldn’t walk as fast anymore, I tired easily. Emotionally I felt like a wreck, realizing my clothes don’t fit, that I can only buy at the “fatty” section in malls, where the clothes made for big people look really horrid. It didn’t help that alternated with eating like a bird before stress or depression would make me order some atrocious fast food to drown my sorrows in.

I was taking several medications for my hormones and cholesterol (which I think may have contributed to my mood swings), expensive stuff. And my blood sugar was borderline high. I was really scared. Cancer runs in the family, my mother had recently passed away with cancer and I just recovered from my own illness a decade back regarding a previous brain tumor.

Health wise, vanity wise I’ve got a lot of reasons to keep on going. But I’ll admit it’s been a challenge lately as we’ve gotten into the wedding preparation stage of choosing a reception–which we agreed it to be a restaurant. So I can’t taste the food <insert whimpering>, instead I’m relying on my fiance and his sister to do the tasting for me. I’m glad they’re just as picky of foods as I am so I’m rest assured they would know what to look out for.

Anyway, wish me luck and hoping to lose more weight on my second month!

Birthdays and Leaky Valentines

I just celebrated my 31st birthday last Sunday. It wasn’t a big affair. It was just me, the fiance and his sister and her boyfriend. It wasn’t intentional. We just hanged out at my place, had a good lunch (well good for them, while I dined miserably on my Cohen approved meals, oh woe is me~~~~) and just shared and talked.

The only thing I wish was that I could be a better host. I would have loved to cook for them, but well..diet. My motto on getting rid of temptation was to usually give in, so keeping “not allowed” foods at my fridge is just an invitation to more weight gain.

Despite my food being “medicine” as the Cohen tagline is, my food is usually very bland and too little. And as my previous posts had shown, often made me cranky or tiny bit depressed. Also all the chopping and weighing is still annoying a hell to do. It’s tedious to do for one and takes me an entire day to shop, clean the vegetables, chop, segregate and start weighing and labeling. Some of which I had to do on my birthday. Seriously, I need to find a better way to do this.

Other than that it was a peaceful, pleasant birthday. I even got gifts! My dad sent me a blue tooth headset. My fiance’s sister bought me a Spanish lace fan which I loved! She got it from the Legaspi Sunday Market, when she and her boyfriend went to grab lunch. I told her how my favorite Spanish lace fan was stolen from me and how it upset me since I loved it. Now I have a new one and it’s very pretty!

I told the fiance to save his gift when I’m done with Cohen. He’s usual treat was to take me out to eat in very nice places. Also I made him promise me a proper birthday cake, even a late one. If there’s one thing I love about birthdays is the cake. I can’t think of birthdays without it! It’s like trying to imagine Christmas without a Christmas tree or Santa or a Nativity scene. It’s a must.

My Valentine’s was sadly less pleasant. I awoke one cherry morning to find out the ceiling in my kitchen is leaking..specifically the area where the bulb was. It was going on for some while that half my kitchen mat was drenched, and my counter was wet with smelly water. Seeing the light flicker and spark, I madly smacked the switch off. I then immediately contacted the building maintenance and admin to report the problem. This was at 7am.

They suspected that my neighbor’s unit upstairs is flooded due to a faulty plumbing, but sadly it was unoccupied since it had no tenant and the only thing they could do was shut off the water to the unit. I was indignant. It’s common sense to shut off electricity and water if there’s no one living in your unit for longer than three days. And it’s not like it’s hard to get them back up either, some people are just lazy and stupid. And I’m paying for that stupidity.

Admin had promised to try to contact the unit owner or coordinate with unit owner’s architect. I’ve called the Admin several times in the day…around 9am, around lunch…2pm…all of them told me they can’t get a hold of the unit owner or the architect, and to wait for their call (which they never do by the way).

I. Was. Pissed.

I stormed downstairs to their office and let them have it (without the swearing). My unit had been newly renovated and I paid a very pretty penny to get my apartment the way it looks right now and I won’t have them ruin it or more importantly, destroy the electrical which could lead to a fire.

So I got there, pissed like the devil and complained what the fuck was going on. I never yell, but I knew to convey a great deal of emotion even when I sound calm. It also helped I spoke straight American English. I think that’s when everyone knew that I wasn’t joking around anymore not when I told them that they and the unit owner were going to shoulder whatever damage that occurs, emphasizing that my unit wasn’t a year old in it’s renovation.

This was at 4:15 pm.

By 4:20pm, Admin finally got the unit owner’s send us their unit key as soon as they can. Maintenance along with the building Engineer were upstairs in my unit already disassembling the socket and taping the wires (which they should have done in the first place rather than stare at my ceiling and make comments).

Twenty minutes later, we got word that the key to the unit upstairs arrived and they need to check upstairs. By 5pm, I was told that the unit above me was as they suspected flooded and they’re now mopping the worst of the water away and the leak in my ceiling would stop soon. They also informed me the unit upstairs would send a plumber the next day to address the issue.

I’ve calmed down somewhat, and I was pretty okay with them doing the rest of the repairs to my ceiling the next day. By the time dinner rolled around, the leaking all but stopped.

I don’t know why I need to to start threatening people to get people to act. They don’t have any sense of urgency at all. I fairly live in upscale condominium in the heart of Makati. You’d think that these people would have better service given how much we had to pay for in terms of Association dues.

And let’s not even talk about my neighbors. (>_<) When I asked admin about their rules regarding units that flood, I was told that they were once allowed to “break in” into the unit to stop it. A lot of unit owners threw a hissy fit. Then when Admin tried to impose a rule on requiring unit owners to shut off their unit’s electricity and water if they were going to leave it unoccupied for long periods of time, they threw an even bigger hissy fit, claiming that they were paying for electricity and water to begin with and they didn’t have right to turn off anything.

I have no words.

Irregardless, I had to cancel a lot of stuff that I needed to do that Valentine’s day. It wasn’t exactly how I thought I’d be spending the day of hearts, hating my neighbor (and partially at the building Admin) with all my being. I have turned for that day this tiny ball of stress and hate that couldn’t find peace until they did something.

Here’s to hoping that next year’s Valentine’s day wouldn’t be as hateful.