12/14/2015 - My gentle birth story 

My son, Alexander Rafael, born November 6th, 2015.
"So this is love
- mmmmmm
So this is love 
So this is what makes life divine 

I'm all aglow
- mmmmmm
And now I know 
The key to all heaven is mine 

My heart has wings, 
- mmmmmm
And I can fly
I'll touch every star in the sky 

So this is the miracle 
that I've been dreaming of 
- mmmmmm
So this is love."
 -- Cinderella (Disney, 1950) 

It's amazing how time flies! My darling little prince is now five weeks old -- and the love I felt when he was placed on my tummy still grows each and every day. 

I am now a mother. The past five weeks were indescribable and overwhelming - so many thoughts and emotions are coursing through me, and I just feel so muddled right now. So now, I'm just taking everything one day at a time, getting to know this wonderful blessing bestowed upon us... And this is the story on how he came to this world.

My entire life, I have been scared about the thought of giving birth. I was scared of the pain, and I was scared of dying while giving birth. My father's mother died giving birth to him, and something my mother said became ingrained in my mind: "Nasa hukay and isang paa pag nanganganak ang babae, pero pag binigay niya buhay niya para sa anak niya, dederetso siya sa langit. (One foot is in the grave when a woman gives birth, but if she gives her life for her child's, then she'll go straight to heaven for sure.)"

So when I found out I was pregnant, I read up what I can about birthing, as if I'll be taking an exam after the supposed 40-week period. In my pursuit of knowledge, I became confused and more scared, so I tried searching for people who can help me understand birthing. I learned about doulas and chanced upon Irina Otmakhova's (Conscious Birth Manila) website where I learned about her workshop on Hypnobirthing and Fetal Positioning Techniques. This workshop changed my perspective about childbirth. Before, I was dead set on getting an epidural, and even considered a vountary C-section. By the end of the day, I was 90% sure that I want a medication-free birth. A couple of months after that, Irina became my doula.

So for this birth, I had a doula, studied Hypnobirthing (Hypnobabies 6-week self-study course), adjusted my diet to what was specified in Hypnobabies, and did my best to exercise. I kind of failed in the physical fitness area. By the time I found a prenatal yoga class in our seventh month, I was placed on a fourteen-day bed rest due to spotting and contractions, and when that period was over, I just shied away from physical activity.