Overjoyed – that’s how I felt the instant I learned that I was pregnant with my first child. I’ve always imagined myself as a mom to beautiful babies and for it to actually happen was beyond words. My husband, of course, was as thrilled. So I started doing research and asking family and friends on what I should (and should not) do in the next nine months or so. Nothing could have prepared me, though, for what was to come.
My first pregnancy at 24 was difficult to say the least. I developed preeclampsia at the end of my second trimester, and had to be closely monitored since then. My blood pressure shot up to levels higher than my normal, and I experienced swelling in my legs, feet and hands. By my third trimester, I was advised to be on bed rest, so I had to take an early pre-maternity leave. Because it was medically-indicated, my OB – the fabulous Dra. Elsie Pascua – said we’d have to do an elective cesarean delivery, and I was put in the high-risk pregnancy unit (HRPU) of St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City before and after I gave birth.
I thought it would be somewhat easier the second time around because I already knew the do’s and don’ts during pregnancy, but I was wrong. I was in for another round of preeclampsia on top of the usual morning sickness, muscle pains and cramps that a pregnant woman experiences, not to mention the high-risk nature of my delivery (and to think I was just 27 that time!).
Round three for me was definitely the hardest physically and emotionally. My condition was so delicate that I had to be put on bed rest during my first trimester. Imagine, I had to go on pre-maternity leave for seven months! Apart from the emotional stress and fear that something bad might happen to me and my third baby, I felt that my career stopped while everyone else was moving up. I honestly thought that I would be out of the running, so to speak, by the time I returned. Add to this complication, I fell unconscious for a few hours and was rushed to the emergency room. Naturally, my husband was frantic. I mean, what do you do to an unconscious woman with a baby in her belly, right? I am just grateful that our supportive families came to help us, as always. So after being cleared by my OB, I was discharged from the hospital with an even longer list of medicines and things I should do away with. Then one day when I went to see my OB again for my regular check-up, I got the surprise of my life. I was feeling fine the whole time, but apparently, my blood pressure was too high. And since my OB didn’t want to risk me going into seizure, she ordered that I be admitted to the hospital immediately. To make matters worse, while in the HRPU, my water bag broke, so within 12 hours from my supposed regular checkup, I had to undergo an emergency C-section delivery. I was most unprepared that time! My OB also advised that since it was too risky to undergo another pregnancy (like “I might die already” levels), I might as well be ligated already. I felt that I was too young then at 29, but my husband and I agreed that it was the right thing to do. So I went under the knife, and after hearing my third baby’s loud cry, I was unbelievably relieved. Though she was small (being a preemie) and had to stay at the neonatal intensive care unit for more than a month, she turned out more than okay. As for me, the recovery process is a different story altogether. It was excruciating and almost unbearable! My OB said it’s like I went through three operations – the C-section and two fallopian tubes being cut / tied (otherwise known as ligation); hence, the equally difficult recovery.
Today, all my three children – two boys and a girl – are doing well. They’re healthy, happy, active, and most important of all, loved beyond their imagination. They are our precious blessings and we intend to be the best imperfect parents to them.
Would I do it all over again, you ask? In a heartbeat! 🙂