Happy Belated Birth Story

So… Xaia is 4 months as of writing this post. She’ll be 5 months old in about 2 weeks.

Finally. Finally. I am dusting off the cobwebs and will try my hardest (with my sleep-deprived memory) to recall the beautiful birth story of our firstborn, Xaia Axelle.

It all started around 1-2am on January 11, 2015, a Sunday. My due date was January 14th so we were already expecting it to be anytime around that date. I was woken up by a weird kind of abdominal pain but it wasn’t like the Braxton Hicks contractions I felt before. There was also that hint of pelvic pain and back pain that came with the contractions that night.

I didn’t want to wake my husband up because it just might be something else. I waited for a few more hours with a few contractions here and there but it wasn’t until around 4-5am that the pain levelled up a bit. I woke him up but only to inform him that it might just be THE big day. I wanted him to be well-rested so he could assist me later on for the more intense stuff so I let him go back to sleep while I timed the contractions myself. It was still bearable and spaced far apart and I was able to breathe through each one at that time.

Morning came and still I was experiencing the contractions so we thought this is it. I took a bath and even put on some make-up through the contractions just to take my mind off what would come next. It was still pretty bearable and the timing of the contractions weren’t really that consistent. But being first-timers to this, my husband decided to go to the hospital to have me checked out. Since it was a Sunday, the hospital wasn’t packed so we were immediately assisted by a midwife and checked by a doctor.

Unfortunately, we were sent home with our bags because I was still 3cm. dilated and apparently I had a long way to go before they would consider taking us in. I was more stressed out by the fact that I already prepared everything, we were already there but we had to go back home and return only if the pain was too much for me to speak or walk straight (the doctor’s order). I was in pain and I had to pause and brace myself for each contraction but definitely not in the cannot-speak-nor-walk-straight category. That only made me more anxious because how was I to deal with all that at home and then know that it is time to go back to the hospital without being sent back home again.

But as the day progressed, so did my contractions. They were getting really painful and more frequent. It was getting stressful for me to time each one so my husband did that while I concentrated on breathing through each one and managing the pain the best way I know how. On hindsight, I think it was the best thing for us to be in the comfort of our home while I labored through the early phase because of familiar surroundings. I straddled a chair facing the backrest while my husband massaged my lower back and pressed on my pelvis. I thought I would just die from the back labor, not much pain from the abdomen really but for me the action was all on my lower back and pelvic area. What also helped me deal with the pain was a soak in the tub. By late afternoon, my toes would curl up in pain every time I had a contraction but the warm water would actually do wonders for me when straddling a chair and my husband pressing on my pelvis could not anymore.

At around 9 in the evening, my husband made the decision to go back to the hospital even though I was insisting on staying at home because I really could not deal with the stress of being sent back home again. By that time, I couldn’t lay down on the bed because everytime I had a contraction, my pelvis would tighten up and get way too painful for me to be still. Being on all fours did not help out and the only thing that worked was gritting my teeth through it.

He made the decision to go to the hospital because we couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat through a doppler we bought. So just for peace of mind, we went back to the hospital without our bags this time.

They finally admitted us this time because I was already 5cm. dilated. The baby was doing fine and her heartbeat’s all good. She’s doing so much better than her mama. I just felt relieved because finally they would know how to deal with me, the pain and what would come next (or so I thought).

They brought us into a room where I was supposed to stay in and labor through with my husband. The ward had a separate toilet area so I had to walk across from my room to the toilet, not really that far but for a woman in labor, it was like torture.

There in that room I waited, prayed, gritted my teeth to pieces, pounded on the walls, curled up in a fetal position and experienced the most painful thing ever in my whole 33 years.

Because it was my first time to labor and give birth, the doctor said it was normal for me to dilate slowly and for the labor process to take that long. I understood all that with my brain somehow but my heart and whole body just could not take any logical explanation. By the time I was 7 cm. dilated, it felt like forever for me to get to 8 then to 9. The midwife who attended to me was kind enough to help me get along to 10 because I was imploring for her to do something or if they had no drugs to give me, I would settle with just an oxygen mask, just anything to “help” me manage the pain. I was even talking crazy and imploring my husband to have them cut me open and do a CS instead. Thankfully, the midwife responded with a firm NO.

She told me to stop thinking about managing the pain because there really is no way to do that when you have a natural birth. Just let it be and ride through it. My water finally broke at around 9 cm. and the midwife checked and promised me that after 30 mins, she would be back and I’d be ready to push the baby out by then.

Three things that really gave me the will and strength to keep going:
One is playing a streaming channel of praise and worship songs in my room. I had to chant through the song and declare the words of each song that promised me God’s grace and presence through the pain. Second is my husband’s all-out support that time. He didn’t get any sleep that night because he gave me back massages and assisted with toilet breaks and even cleaned up after me. I was too delirious at that point to even put on my undies whenever a contraction came. TMI. And last was that reassuring thought that there is a light waiting at the end of this very dark tunnel- finally having Xaia in my arms.

Finally at 10cm., they told me to walk to the other room where I would huff and puff my baby out to this world. It felt like I won the lottery at that point. The 10cm. mark made me forget about what’s to come next. All I cared at that point was I finally had the go to push because that’s all I wanted, to relieve the pressure from my lower back, pelvis and rectal area.

The delivery part for me was much easier than the laboring part. Personally, having gone through an unmedicated labor and all-natural one, what’s next would simply be a breeze. Thankfully I was blessed with a doctor who stepped in and gave me some tips when to push and HOW to push. He even gave me a pattern and the go when to start huffing and puffing- exhale once, inhale and hold then push. Coupled with a midwife who was so kind and a husband who would huff and puff with me and still praise me for each failed attempt, I finally gave that huff and puff and push which released Xaia into this world. The delivery part only took about an hour and a half, less than two hours.

At 6:00 am on January 12th, we welcomed Xaia into our arms and marveled at God’s beautiful creation and gift to us. There were no tears, no sobbing. Only huge smiles, skin to skin cuddles and loving stares for our family of three.




39 weeks and still preggy

As of writing this post, I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I went for my 39th week check-up a few days ago and the baby and I went through an NST (non-stress test), ultrasound and a transvaginal check.

It was a verrrry busy day for me at the hospital and quite stressful physically (with all the moving around, waiting for my turn and lugging my bag and heavy winter jacket around). My husband had to go to work and finish most of his tasks (or at least get a headstart) before I give birth (w/c I hope is anytime this week or next week) so he could take a day or two off. I had to take two different buses and go by myself.

But about the results of the tests, both baby and mama were given passing marks by the doctor. Praise God!

For the non-stress test, they monitored the baby’s heartbeat without labor contractions (hence the name, non-stress test) and gave me a clicker to click on each time I felt her kick or move. Halfway during the testing, I felt myself dozing off and not being too mindful of my labored breathing. Back then, I mentioned in one of my posts that the only comfortable laying position for me since second trimester is lying on my left side. Since I was on my back during the NST, alone in the room and dozing off, the nurse suddenly came in and asked how I felt (if I wasn’t feeling well or if I had any breathing problems). She had me lie on my left side instead and told me to breathe in through my nose and out my mouth and we had to extend the test for a few more minutes. I was too ashamed to say that I dozed off during the testing. *eeeek

After an hour in the room, they had me move to the ultrasound room where the doctor quietly checked the baby and its growth progress. After a quick check, she finally told me why she had to do an ultrasound. She explained the purpose of an NST and how my baby’s heartbeat during the first part was perfectly fine up until a few low values before it returned to normal again. Because of the low values, she had to check through ultrasound and confirm that my amniotic fluid levels are normal to rule out the possibility that the umbilical cord which carries the oxygen to the baby is being pressed against something or obstructed occasionally due to low levels of amniotic fluid. Having confirmed that mine were normal, she then proceeded to reassure me that it’s not really rare for the baby’s heartbeat to sometimes slow down and that in my case, I had nothing to worry about. So, I felt it was my turn to reassure the doctor too. I told her it was probably because I was not too comfortable with being on my back so when the nurse suggested I lie on my left side instead, the baby’s heartbeat picked up and I was able to breathe more comfortably. Of course, I left out the part where I dozed off for a few minutes. *wink

I am going through another round of NST on my next check-up on my 40th week (on my due date unless I go on labor before that time) so I will try my very hardest to remain alert, awake and vigilant on clicking the clicker. *wink wink

After my transvaginal check, the doctor informed me that I was 2cm. dilated (from 1cm. the previous week), 30% effaced and -3 pelvic station. I was relieved that there’s some progress although I know that until I have the real deal labor contractions, these numbers really are just numbers.

But I do thank my friend for recommending the Laugh and Learn dvd lessons for labor and delivery. It totally helped out during my one-on-one conversations with the doctor. Even though she mostly understood what I was saying and vice-versa, some terminologies were lost on us and she had to draw or illustrate some things while I had to rely on the information I noted down from the video to help out with the doctor’s best attempts at explaining stuff to me in English.

By the way, I really am blessed with such a patient doctor and I believe that it was God’s favor that allowed us to be attended by her all throughout my pregnancy. The hospital I go to doesn’t usually allow patients to specify their preference to see a specific doctor. And even though on the day of my labor and delivery, she might not be the one attending to me, I still trust God’s sovereignty and know that He has already prepared everything and everyone in advance- even the doctor, midwife and nurses that will be attending to me and the baby.

For the usual pregnancy updates:

Mood: waiting, waiting, waiting…
I can finally relate to most women on being jumpy on their last few weeks of being pregnant! On my 39th week, I suddenly started thinking, “what if today’s the day?”, “is this back pain, labor?”, “my leg’s cramping! This could be labor!” and all the labor-related thoughts that could possibly go through my mind.

I think I’ve also watched almost all videos on youtube on ways to naturally induce labor but haven’t really been conciously implementing any of them yet. I still have two weeks to go before I get chemically induced (according to my doctor) and I prefer not to go through that, if possible, because of this reason: I learned that contractions during labor are more painful and stronger if you get chemically induced. Knowing that they do not offer anesthesia or epidural in the hospital where I am giving birth (in Japan, this is most of the time not an option during childbirth or sometimes, an expensive option but limited to a few hospitals mostly in the Tokyo area), I prefer not to have to go through unnecessary additional pain brought about by being chemically-induced.

Exercise: So I really do need to get moving and force myself to take 30minute walks despite the cold winter weather and motivate myself to move, move, MOVE! I have been back to being a lazy bum and napping the day away or just generally sitting down on my rocker or lying on the bed. Gone are the days of frenzied nesting and cleaning up. But… There is hope for me! I have enlisted my husband’s help to motivate me to bundle up and go for a daily walk so even after coming home from work, he offered to walk with me last night. I hope we can do this daily so I can help the natural process of starting my labor along. The other tips I’m not too keen on trying yet because I still believe the baby will come when it’s her time to come. I want to be in the state of joyful anticipation but still be at rest and totally enjoying the last few days (or weeks) of just ME-time.πŸ™‚

Cravings & Aversions: nothing in particular for this week. I was craving for watermelon one night though but it wasn’t really something new. I have loved watermelons pre-pregnancy and all throughout the years.

Movement: baby’s still sticking to her schedule. Occasional movements during the day and fierce, one-man shows worthy of a standing ovation at night. Still keeping mama wide awake at 11-12 at night.

I haven’t had the sleep interruptions most pregnant women experience. Once I doze off to dreamland, I usually stay there until I wake up in the early morning. Thankful for that because I know how hard it must be to get up frequently and lose precious sleep and rest. During the daytime however, I have had to go to the toilet to pee more frequently than ever.

No visible stretchmarks on my belly yet. Still lathering on creams, lotions and oils whenever I feel the skin on my belly start to itch and tighten. Areola and nipple itching have been more manageable (thanks to my doctor’s prescription of hirudoid cream).

Linea nigra is definitely adding color to my belly. Getting darker by the day.

More braxton hicks contractions and lightning crotch sensations. Doubling up my water intake and being more concious about drinking water lately.

I’ve also started to drink red raspberry leaf tea daily although it doesn’t really induce labor. I’m taking it because of its benefits for women in general and also because it helps strengthen the uterus’ muscles. I’ve learned of its benefits specially during labor contractions. We had to order it online and had it shipped from the States because we couldn’t find it in local groceries around our area.

Hopefully, my next update will be about my labor and Xaia’s birth story.

I am gonna be a mama real soon! Like, certified. Really trully certified. Frankly, I have had moments of “who, me?!” and I am still not quite convinced yet. But slowly and surely getting there.πŸ™‚

38 weeks on New Year’s Eve


Finally had a haircut or hairchop in my case!πŸ™‚ I was trying to hold off until baby arrived but the extra loooong time it takes to dry my hair after a bath finally broke my resolve to hold off chopping my hair. The cold winter season makes it impossible to walk around with wet hair and the extra time it takes to dry off my hair while standing in our cold and drafty toilet and bath area finally had me stomping off to the salon. The verdict: freeeeedom!πŸ™‚

It’s been a busy, but good kind of busy, week because my husband is on a holiday from work. Yes, they do celebrate New Year in Japan! Although not in the usual way other countries do. They typically go back to their families’ place, spend it quietly (literally quietly- not a pop, a sound, a squeak nor any fireworks at all), visit a temple and eat their traditional New Year’s meal.

We spent New Year’s Eve curled up in bed, all cozy and comfortable under the warm blankets. Before 2014 ended, we prayed together about our list of things to be grateful for in 2014. Looking back at the faith goals we had before the year started, we found a renewed sense of wonder at His faithfulness and how willing and able God is. We started this tradition a year ago and plan to continue this yearly.πŸ™‚



On New Year’s Day, we went out and ate at a Chinese restaurant, took some photos and shopped at Old Navy for some baby clothes because most items were on 70% sale. Found a new fave go-to shop!πŸ™‚

We also started 2015 by listing each of our faith goals and praying about it together. Same hopeful hearts in Christ, same faith in the God who never changes, but in a different cafe this year, we declared our faith in Jesus, our source, for victory and good things to come in 2015.



Spent another day with a mama-tomo (mommy friend) with her cute and pretty kids. They visited and brought lots of food and gifts. We were so blessed with the visit!


She also offered to pick me up on the first Sunday of 2015 and bring me to church so I can attend the service. She goes to International Bible Fellowship, a Christian church closer to our place so she offered to pick me up on their way to church. I was so grateful for the kind offer and it was actually one of the things I’ve been praying for- to be able to attend church somewhere closer since I couldn’t travel all the way to Tokyo after 36 weeks of pregnancy.

For the usual updates:

Mood: psyched, excited, worried and in anticipation for the day baby decides to leave the belly. Engengeng!

Had my checkup two days earlier so I wasn’t exactly 38 weeks when I saw the doctor because december 31st was a holiday. She cleared me from the infection, informed me that I was 1cm. dilated and that’s perfectly normal and that I wouldn’t go into labor anytime soon. She also gave me something for the itchy areola problem and confirmed my suspicions about the cold winter weather being the culprit.

Feeling more energetic lately.
Pampered beyond words by the doting and loving husband.
Loved beyond understanding by God.
Blessed beyond my wildest dreams to be able to spend another winter (our 8th winter) season in Japan.

Cravings: biko, fruit salad, lechon paksiw

Both biko and fruit salad cravings were satisfied because we could find the ingredients here but the lechon paksiw I had to only imagine and taste in my dreamsπŸ˜‰

Despite the holidays and the pampering by the husband (who was suddenly into a cooking and baking frenzy), I didn’t gain weight. I wasn’t really that surprised because one of the preliminary signs of labor (or near-labor) according to Laugh and Learn (a very informative and helpful DVD guide to labor and delivery which came highly recommended by friends and which I’d prolly recommend to future mama friends as well) is weight stabilization.

I haven’t gone past 60.3 kilos since I hit the 37 weeks full-term pregnancy mark. I lost about half a kilo a few days ago but lately, it has been stabilizing at 60 kilos. The heaviest I’ve been my entire 33 years! But still grateful not to have exceeded the 10kilo maximum weight gain as recommended by my midwife.

Baby’s weight is also average for Japanese baby standards. She’s growing into a chubby cheeks as we’ve seen during her ultrasound check. Cheeky baby girl!πŸ™‚

Aversions: nothing in particular.

Movement: same responsive and expressive baby girl. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Love in every jab and punch and kick as I would like to think of it.πŸ˜‰

Discomfort from her punches and jabs and from Braxton Hicks contractions have now evolved to lightning crotch sensations that I find more worrisome. Sometimes, I can’t help letting out a yelp or a shriek when it happens but most of the time I just grimace and instinctively lift my pelvis and wait for the sensation to fade.

Exercise: same routine as week 37 and trying to squeeze in more active moments with the husband.

Other updates:
Belly-button is still an innie. Barely holding on to that innie state but I wouldn’t say it’s exactly an outie now.

Linea Nigra getting more defined and starting to darken but seriously not an issue for me.

Still no sign of stretch marks on my belly and really not particularly excited to see them nor am I too worried if and when they show up. Just feeling more curious than anxious about it. My cousin and some friends say they didn’t have any during their pregnancy. Others say they have it in abundance. So I guess I’m kinda curious which way I go from here.πŸ™‚

Hospital bag is 90% packed and ready to go. The 10% I will prolly strive to finish up in a few days. I’ve mostly bought the things I needed to buy as well as prepared the stuff in the bag but I haven’t finalized an item or two just yet.

So there… As of writing this post, I have 8 days to go before my due date!

37 weeks on Christmas eve

So the 24th of December brought a lot of good memories for us- Christmas eve spent together at home just cooking and baking and going together to the doctor for my check-up which was also a first for him in 2-3 months since after my second trimester, he couldn’t take days off from work to accompany me. Thankful for the time we spent together and for a full day of prioritizing what matters most- family.

We received updates from the doctor about the tests conducted during my 35 week-visit. Results were positive for candida overgrowth. I was a tad bit worried because it was the first time the doctor reported that something was up. She would always just say “everything ok” or “normal” or “no problem”.

So my first response was to ask about what it is and how it would affect the baby. On both questions, she calmly explained that there’s really nothing serious to worry about and that one treatment could easily get rid of the candida overgrowth. The baby wouldn’t in any way be affected and warned us ahead of time that there would be a discharge and that slight bleeding would be ok. One more thing she calmly threw out was the fact that miscarriage through bleeding is NOT something to worry about once you’ve hit the full-term mark in pregnancy which is at 37 weeks. Double whew!

I also asked what could have caused it and if diet played any part in causing the infection. I know I took the normal route most pregnant mamas immediately default to- self-questioning and blaming oneself for anything that could possibly go wrong. But it’s really hard not to go that route. I’m just thankful for reminders from friends and books I’ve read up on stating that blaming yourself or automatically pointing the finger at yourself isn’t really helpful and causes more stress, which is NOT the best thing for mama and baby at that point.

The doctor explained that in most cases, the usual causes of candida overgrowth in pregnant women would be high stress level or lowered immune-system during pregnancy. She also explained patiently that we all have a certain amount of that particular yeast in our bodies and there are no symptoms that usually show up but when a woman is pregnant, her immune system is low so there is a tendency for an overgrowth thus leading to an infection. So she kind of told me “it’s normal” in her matter-of-fact way. She didn’t recommend I change my diet or even hint that I was the one messing up my pregnancy. Instead of causing me more stress, I think she was trying to aim for keeping me cool and chill. Totally worked, doc! Thank you for that Christmas gift- a reassuring word that meant a comforting tap on my shoulder when I needed it the most.

Once we got home, we just played some Christmas tunes, cooked and baked and skyped with our families back home. We prayed together with grateful hearts overflowing with much love and thankfulness, humbled at how God has been so faithful and so good to us, keeping in mind the real reason for the season- how Christ is the best gift ever and how salvation is the ultimate blessing, all else the icing on the cake (and Xaia, the sprinkles on top of the icing)πŸ™‚



Our Christmas eve meal spent quietly together with the baby girl nestling contentedly in my tummy.

The next day, on Christmas day, my husband had to work so I just enjoyed a solitary, quiet Christmas armed with yummy leftovers.πŸ™‚ As I mentioned in my previous posts, Christmas isn’t a holiday here in Japan nor do they celebrate it grandly. When I asked children I taught before about Christmas, all they could think of was Santa Claus, cake and chicken.

So for the pregnancy updates,

Mood: another roller-coaster ride this week! Learned about my candida overgrowth infection, prayed for healing and peace of mind, good health for me and the baby as well and learned about the possibility of finally having to pack all our stuff and life in boxes and heading home in March 2015.

The circumstances that led to my husband hearing about this update wasn’t so ideal so that was prolly more shocking to us than the news itself. At some point we were expecting to hear about our status update in January (earliest and latest) and through the usual process of a sit-down meeting.

On hindsight, we now have a sense of appreciation for how things turned out because we could prepare our hearts before 2014 officially ended and 2015 started for us.

Spent the remaining days of 2014 (dec 27th-31st) praying for His peace and comfort to settle our hearts and for eyes to see and hearts to choose gratefulness for 2014 so we could embrace what He has in store for us in 2015.

Although it was not an easy process, the willingness to be led and to be comforted by a compassionate and able and willing God opened our hearts to a new hope- a hope in Christ as our source. Prayers from trusted friends and their support also helped a loooot. Just the thought of having someone care enough to listen and to encourage me about God’s goodness and faithfulness pointed me back to God. Fixing our eyes on Christ and on all things that are of Christ- true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8).

Got really excited about the prospect of finally being able to make long-term plans, think about 2-3 years from the present and what it means not to live on a yearly basis, all the while keeping in mind that men may make plans but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Cravings: Strawberries! Thankful that is in season. I love, love, love Japanese strawberries! The kind where I can pop one in my mouth without having to worry about pesticides and chemicals. Not to mention eating it without the added sugar like having to dip it in chocolate or coat it with condensed milk because it is perfect as it is. I like that I can just pop one or two or three (or the whole pack) in my mouth as it is. Delish!

Aversion: Nothing in particular.

Movement: been looking forward to what I’ve read about baby not being able to move as much because of the cramped space during the last few weeks but my baby’s having none of that. Cramped or not, she is just as expressive with her punches and kicks and jabs.

She still moves most during the late hours, from around 11-12 at night. During the daytime, she wakes up from her nap each time I eat something as if to say, “I’m liking that mama!” There’s really no specific trigger food this time. I could be eating a snack or a full meal and she’d still move and express herself either way, although not as impressive as her one-man show at night.

Exercise: I’ve been getting out more during this week because I’ve had my husband to accompany me on my walks around the park or to the nearest convenience store. I made it a priority to be more active (less bed-bonding moments) and have 15-20minute walks everyday starting this week until I give birth. No overdoing it or excessively trying to jumpstart my labor.

I still haven’t found any stretch marks on my belly. I have been religiously applying creams, lotions and bio-oil all over my belly during the third trimester so I can’t really say I know for sure what’s working for me. Some say it’s still too early to breathe a sigh of relief and that it’s gonna just surprise me when I get out of bed one morning. But I am not too worried about receiving my badge of mamahood if and when I do get mine later on. It would be the least of my worries then.

Nipple or areola itching for me is becoming worse so I think the cold weather is aggravating this symptom of pregnancy for me. I have to consult my doctor about this and make sure it’s just what I think it is.

Schedule of check-up starting this week have been upgraded to weekly now so on my 38th week, I would prolly have more updates.

A note to my baby girl

I love you.
Daddy loves you.
But remember: God loves you the most that even when I fail you, even when I fall short of loving you, His love will overtake and overwhelm you. He will chase you to the very ends of the earth even if you reject His love. Just like how He did with your mama.

I love you, baby girl. But remember that His love will trump my love for you. God loves you best.

Always. Forever.

36 weeks = 9 months

Yeah, I am 3 days away from the final stretch of this very blessed pregnancy. According to most sources, the 37th week marks the start of a full term pregnancy, meaning I could pop the baby out and have a healthy full-term newborn in my arms and into this world.

But we are really praying for the baby to stay as long as she likes in my womb (not that we are not excited to meet her, cuddle with her and fuss like newbie parents). Preferably, we are hoping for her to make her debut anytime between 39-40 weeks but we know God already has a date set for her and it is the perfect time, not a wee bit early, nor a tad bit late.

By the way, in Japan they dont say a woman is pregnant for a whole 9 months. They count the whole pregnancy in terms of 10 months. So technically, my 36th week marks my 9th month being preggo! One more awesome month to go! (or less or more)

For the updates:

Mood: generally upbeat and optimistic.

Looking forward to weekends because those are our couple days. I’ve been totally resigned to late nights from the hubby during weekdays because he’s been very busy with work. I did go through a phase of “why now?!” and dealing with frustrations about how pitiful my pregnancy season was in terms of being alone and cooped up in our place, fending for myself. But after acknowledging how I was at my weakest state and forgiving myself for indulging in a solo pity party once or twice (or even N times), I started to see how truly blessed I am to be in this season at this particular time of my life.

No matter the season, no matter the circumstances, the truth remains: I am blessed because I am His beloved.



Our shabu-shabu lunchdate at Nabezo in Lalaport Shin Misato before going off to Costco on a saturdate.

We are really praying for more quality time as a couple because we want our priorities as parents-to-be to come second to our marriage. If there is one thing we want to impart to Xaia, it is that God is each our firsts, our marriage and each other as husband and wife second and then children and family as third.

So right now, we are hoping to celebrate this season of being soon-to-be-newbie-parents together more actively so when two become three, we will always be reminded to celebrate each other even through the busiest, sleepless nights of changing nappies, rocking baby to sleep, feeding sessions, teaching and mentoring stage, weaning, potty training and etc. We hope to teach our child that our marriage is important, that our relationship as husband and wife is our most important human relationship.

Other than weekendates, we’ve been contemplating checking into a hotel for Christmas eve (if budget permits knowing how hotels are priced exorbitantly in Japan) and just taking things slow and easy (since that’s all I can manage to do these days- walk slow and move slow) and celebrating together, knowing it’ll be our last Christmas with only the two of us. Hubby is planning to ask for a leave from work since Christmas isn’t really a holiday here in Japan. They do have a year-end holiday from work for New Year but it’s not until the 28th-29th. So it’s either an overnight in a modest hotel or a Christmas breakfast buffet like we used to have a few Christmases ago. Or we could just even stay at home, bake, cook and listen to Christmas tunes, pray and give thanks together, giving glory to the true reason for the season- Christ our Savior.

Just psyched about whatever we end up doing or wherever we end up being this Christmas because we can spend it together.πŸ™‚

Cravings: sweets, sweets and more sweets. I blame it on the Christmas treats that have been constantly a part of Christmas celebrations. I’ve been salivating over baking videos on YouTube but haven’t really had the urge or strong inclination to try baking myself for the sole reason that I tend to tweak the recipe whenever I try my hand at baking. It would drive my baker friend batty when she knew how I “baked” and how I tweaked recipes.

Luscious, sinful, fluffy cupcakes and cakes tend to come out as whole-wheat, sugarless, green concoctions that vaguely resemble a treat. Yes, I tried to blend in spinach, rucola and bokchoy into my muffins at one point.πŸ˜‰ it was barely palatable and my husband would eat some but only because I know he loves me too much to hurt my feelings.

I do indulge in store-bought yummy treats once or twice a week and have my stash of reese’s in the cupboard. I delude myself into thinking that because I do not know how exactly it was made or what ingredients were used, it wouldn’t really hurt me (or more specifically, my peace of mind).πŸ˜‰



For this Christmas however, I left the baking in hubby’s hands. He’s more the baker type because he follows the recipe to the letter. So instead of our usual Christmas shopping, we decided to bake for friends in church here.

Aversion: nothing in particular

Movement: still on a schedule with late evenings being her peak time- a jab here, a punch there and a kick everywhere. I still haven’t noticed distinct body parts though when she’s being very active like what most mamas say about noticing a foot or a hand imprint on their bellies.

She moved a loooot after I had a sip of soda. I thought it was a one time thing but after trying it again on another day, she immediately reacted to it. Now I know soda activates her.πŸ™‚

Exercise: same old routine. Weekends are my cardio days with walks outdoors. On weekdays however, house chores are my only form of exercise.

I seem to be waddling more but not really that noticeable. I get more back pains now specially when I’ve been standing or on the move for more than 20 minutes. Sitting down for long periods of time also cause back pains for me so I need to shift positions every 30 minutes or just indulge in the siren call of our comfy bed and nap the day away after I’ve done most of the chores.

How can I still complain, right?!πŸ™‚

Baby Shower!


We were thrown a baby shower by friends from church last Sunday. I was 35 weeks pregnant and waddling my way to church in Shibuya, Tokyo. We had it during lunch and although it wasn’t really a surprise in the sense that I knew there was going to be a shower for me, it still came as a very pleasant surprise because they totally went all out and prepared games, DIY decors and giveaways plus there was also a diaper cake to boot!

I’ll let the photos do the story-telling…




Those onesie cookies were actually baked by Kay, who also organized the shower and prepared the giveaway candles for those who attended. The cutesy art on the box was also a DIY illustration by a friend, Stella.


This pretty diaper cake topped with Vulli’s Sophie was made by Sharie who also helped to organize the shower.




And they even had a museum of sorts, my photos with really sweet, uplifting encouragements written by a dear friend who has always been there for us praying with us and for us through our toughest times and victorious seasons here in Japan. Thanks Pido and Avic!
One photo actually shows how Pido labored the evening before the shower to make the decorations while his precious daughter waited for bedtime. Awwww! We are soooo blessed with special relationships!




With my women’s lifegroup who prayed for us and for this blessing. They gave me a gift filled with reminders to bloom even after being a mama.πŸ™‚


My husband’s prayers for our baby girl (from the book Power of a Praying Parent that we have been reading together) printed out on each table.





The beaming and blessed parents-to-be