Chaos Post-Mortem: PTSD and Digital Purging

Waking up in the middle of night to cry, negative flashbacks, and avoidance symptoms are just some of the many indicators of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. I have them almost on a daily basis this month. Based on some initial research, it aggravates itself during pregnancy. It’s difficult to have PTSD symptoms on top of everything (hyperemesis gravidarum, my usual mood stuff, etc.) but it’s not surprising considering the immensely messed up situation I had to deal with in the last 2 months. I turn to two things that never fail to cheer me up even in my bed rest: writing and task lists. Oh, and I added a third: reaching out to a friend or two. I used to hole up in my cave. Now, I message people even if it’s against my natural hibernating instinct. There is actually a group that I can comfortably open up to now, strangely.

PTSD’s drive plus some palpable nesting behavior finally gave me the freedom to do the long overdue digital housekeeping I’ve been dreaming of doing for years. I overhauled some online accounts to foster a better recovery phase. First, I killed my Twitter account last week. I figured that the monitoring of my favorite topics can be done elsewhere like Feedly (RSS), Reddit and 4Chan. I organized a system of storing bookmarks of my favorite online resources.

I finally arrived at a phase of having a neutral stance on Facebook which allowed me to have a more objective look of its pros and cons. I went from extreme love (before 2014 and in my hacked account), to extreme hate (2015-early 2016), to neutral (present). I used to have 2 Facebook accounts and it’s difficult to switch from one to the other these days. So I deleted the incognito Facebook account that I use for research and work and decided to just stick to using a singular and sanitized Facebook account mainly for research and messaging, some coordinating, and occasional catching up to certain people. I activated my old personal Facebook account and then cleaned it up by deleting the clutter that does not help me become the best version of myself and optimizing my news feed. It’s completely overhauled and organized now. My albums are sorted in the way I want. I just have to do some more minor grouping and tweaking in my list and it’s working perfectly according to the main purpose of communicating substantially and promoting a more positive mindset. It’s streamlined and the list of friends now is half the original size when I created my account. I am really happy with it now. I finally designed my remaining Facebook account to function in the way I want it to function, as it should have been right from the beginning.

Prior to all this, I had a conflicting attitude with my social media accounts. Even though I was really feeling like my accounts were cluttered, I feel like I have to keep things on Facebook just for the sake of some invisible social protocol. It was bustling with activity, but I felt like my social media account was not reflecting who I am offline or how I really want to use it. Now, I was finally able to break the gaps and what you see on my Facebook wall is pretty much consistent with what’s in the real world.

The crisis revealed who I am genuinely, and I was able to mold my digital accounts to reflect the real me. ūüôā And that’s one of the many good things and unexpected side effects of having a series of unfortunate events thrown my way.

The only thing that’s left for me to fix is all offline: my bedroom’s desk and the food and medication stash by my bedside. My mother’s condition is still the same. She is still sick and fighting for her life. This time, though, I still want her to get better but I am no longer compulsively trying to save her from everything. I no longer have to worry that the hospital will send her home just because she can’t pay for her bill. I can no longer control how she will respond to the medication or how they will manage the donation money from my bed rest. On my end, I have done my part and there is a peace of mind in knowing that I did not wait for her funeral to show my love or shed crocodile tears. I actually did something to fight for her life while she was still alive. I pulled all stops and did the unthinkable for her and I will not regret that decision even if it made me really uncomfortable and exposed me to a lot of people.

This time, my goals are simple: being a wife and a mother. A good and responsible one, I hope. I choose to tend to the needs of my unborn son because he deserves to see the world for the first time in the best possible environment. I always remember that day he almost died from miscarriage because of abusive people. I will always remember that day they almost killed my unborn son because of their selfishness and use it as a life lesson, going forward.

I lost a lot of things these past three months, but I gained clarity and a very relieving sense of simplicity. When you do not have a lot of stuff, it’s easier to see what matters, what is worth keeping and what needs to go. It’s a hard situation but there is a lot of good in it, surprisingly. It prepared me for motherhood in unorthodox ways. There’s nothing more jolting than a full blown crisis. You get your life priorities in order once all the mayhem and dust settles back down to the ground. I am more certain about what I want and what I do not want at this point in time. I am more selective about what I allow in my life and what I promptly let go of for the sake of promoting what’s good, worthy, positive, and encouraging.

When you become who you really are in real life and in the digital world, you lose a lot at first but you gain more in the long run. Essentially, you stop giving a fuck about the externals and you become real about what really matters to you in life. It’s wonderful to have that. You lose everything externally, but you gain the FREEDOM to be who you really are and have no more need to hide. You become vulnerable for a time, but once you get past the initial discomfort of opening yourself up, it reveals the strength that you never knew you actually had.

Well, PTSD is still a bitch. I still have negative flashbacks. I still burst into tears in the middle of my activities during the day. I still wake up with bad dreams. However, I think of the silver lining to this giant cloud. I am more in tune about who I am, what I want to do, and who I want to do it with. And for that, wherever this road leads me, I am certain that better days are coming for real.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disengaging from Emotional Abuse in the Middle of a Crisis

The most emotionally abusive people in this world have the expertise of making a crisis much worse, sometimes painfully unbearable. Today, I realize that even if I have the best intentions of helping my mother get the best care, I also have to start considering the fate of my child and protect him from this very toxic situation from my hometown that has been going on in my life for the last 30 years.

Two days ago, I had a very honest conversation with my mother about my feelings about this abuse which she sadly perpetuates for the last few decades of my life. I mean, it’s already a handful to accept her cancer diagnosis in the middle of my delicate pregnancy and mental illness.

To be emotionally abused on top of my genuine attempts to help is really overkill. 

Last week, my stepfather called me up and he was livid with rage. The reason? I sent a priest from the cathedral to bless my mom as she goes through cancer. I had labor contractions and a stomachache after his phone call.

What was so bad about requesting healing visit for the sick? He did not even have to do anything because it will only take five minutes for the priest to bless my mom.

He is the husband. If you are actually keen in observing this whole escalated situation, you will wonder where he is in this whole mess. I mean, he is the life partner of the terminally ill, after all. Isn’t he supposed to be the one minding these things so that I can have bed rest in my pregnancy?

Last month, I told him that I am predicting that my mother will need 200,000 soon and I was nagging him to call his OFW brothers to shell out funds to assist me in trying to raise them. He just said that it’s better to wait for my mom to die because he does not have the amount, nor is he willing to work out the means to raise funds to save her if it comes to that. That was the night my labor contractions started.

Hell, my mom is in a critical state. Plus the stress from conversing with him is enough to kill my unborn child.

A day before he attacked me about the priest (and I had dangerous labor contractions from the stress), I was asking for help because in my bedridden state, I cannot process the paper requirements for the PCSO financial assistance program. He was following up eagerly on how much money was donated to my mother’s operation fund drive online. And when it’s time to ask him to do menial tasks like photocopy documents, he complains like it’s the hardest thing to do in the middle of this crisis.

After he attacked me again for some good that I wanted to do to my mom, I decided to block his number from my phones so that he can no longer pester me and harm my child. I texted him that he is supposed to be the one looking for ways to save my mom’s life. He just passively waited for the bedridden and mentally ill to find solutions for the family.

If you have been reading my blog posts, you also already know about the emotionally abusive aunt who is swimming in money but chose this opportune time of crisis to collect my mother’s debt. That’s not even half of the story, in fact. That’s not even the last of her bad deeds to our family. I will keep the ones she has done when I was a teenager in the crypt because I am just looking at their faultfinding things in the face of this present crisis.

That they made our situation worse is an understatement. That they are attacking the one person in the family who is trying to help them is really shamelessly fucked up.

Sometimes I wonder if I am really bipolar or if the people I grew up with are just suckers and opportunists who drained the life and joy out of me?¬†Still, I took the benefit of the doubt and I continue to seek therapy for my mental illness. If they are seriously full of shit and they don’t want to manage it, it’s no longer my responsibility. But I can manage myself. I can choose to step out. It’s a tough choice but I am making it because I am not the only one affected by the emotional abuse. I have a baby inside of me.

As a 30-year-old adult, I am now fully capable of disengaging. It just so happened that my mother is in a life of death situation that I had to step in, make tough calls, and take the extreme crowdfunding measure.

At home, they habitually made fun of me for being weird and for having the mental illness. But how is it that the most mentally ill and the bedridden in a sea of “normal” people in that household was the only one who genuinely looked past differences and issues with my mother to get her some life saving help?¬†¬†I was not even living there anymore when this happened and none of these “normal” family members had the insight to see the severity of my mom’s situation.

During the two weeks that she visited me before her health deteriorated at an alarming rate, I studied her illness and treatment options, memorized her lab work, stalked doctors online to find the best care. And they usually count on my phone instructions to tell them what to do next. Two weeks, man. They had her for YEARS and MONTHS and what have they done?

Yup, the normal people who can walk, have their own brains, and is with my mom physically everyday failed to take their own initiative to save her life in this crisis. My aunts made side comments about my mom’s shortcomings when in fact it was already time to put our heads together as a family to find that Php 200,000 that she needs. They basically just waited¬†for things to unfold as they read their Bibles or whatever it is that they do.¬†

If there is anything good that came out of this situation, it’s this: it revealed to me about the strength that I never knew I had.

The saddest thing about the whole event was that my own sick mother, after all the things that I have done online to help raise funds for her operation, covered up for their faults. She took her husband’s side even when her own grandchild’s life hung in the balance from the constant emotional abuse I got from his calls and text messages. And same thing with my aunt. Instead of addressing them directly for betraying her and just lazily waiting for her to die when her Php 300,000 operation was a fighting chance, she blamed ME for her stress.

I know that it may not necessarily be a good time, but I became really frank with my mom in the midst of the painful experiences I had. She is sick but I had to call her out on the unfairness of her assessment of the help that was coming her way. I know she is hurting a lot, but the emotional and psychological abuse from my relatives has to stop as well.

So I told her Mom sorry if my means of fund raising to get you help is stressing you out. But I had no other choice. The people in our family who were supposed to be the grown ups in this situation refused to take charge and were pointing fingers when it came to dealing with your hospital bill. They relied on the mentally ill to take charge and call the shots. I told her that I did what I had to do as a daughter because I refused to just give you up to cancer without giving you a fighting chance. Because a human life deserves a fighting chance. Even if she is not my mom, I value life in general over petty issues and differences.

I told my mom that¬†it’s perfectly OKAY if you love them more than you love me. It’s OKAY if you find faults in me but refuse to find faults in them. My goal is simple: I just want to make things better for you. And it’s true. It does not matter if she loves them more than she loves me or if she does not appreciate the things I’ve done. I just want her to LIVE, extend her lease in life, and see her grandson and do everything in my power to contribute to making that happen.

Sadly, I realized and fully acknowledged that for all the genuine care I have for them, they do not really care about me or my baby. If they did, they would be more responsible and manage these things themselves so that I can protect my baby and get some rest.

I have to take measures this time to protect my child from this kind of situation.

I am turning 31 this Saturday, and even if my relatives are still alive, I already feel like I am an orphan. After I have deposited the last batch of the donation money, I will stop the fund raising drive.

I will focus on my son and begin my 31st year of life minus the baggage and emotional abuse. I will continue to help and provide financially to the extent that I am able because my sister also needs money for college in 2 years’ time.

Considering my bedridden state, I think I have done more than enough. After those exchange of text messages with my mom, I am disengaging and cutting off these abusive people from my life starting today. That’s a charity I am giving to myself, this time around. And it’s not a selfish decision, all things being considered.

As a result of my revealing to the world about the real deal, the kind citizens of the internet somehow informally adopted me as a new member of this large digital family. I may have lost my own family but I gained a new one. My in laws are also super supportive and kind about my plight. My husband and I can finally start over. It’s a decision I have to make for myself.

Despite the ugliness of emotional abuse that went on for decades, the world is still apparently a wonderful and beautiful place. And I need to look forward to THAT. I need to paint happy things in my mind and override their decades of abuse so that the world will not be corrupted in the eyes of my unborn child.

I have done everything I can as a daughter to raise those funds. It’s now up to these “normal” relatives to do the remaining legwork to continue her treatment expenses and other needs. They have no more reason to just wait for her to die and wait for someone to shoulder the bill. Other¬†people came through and gave the funds required.

This is me signing off from the habitual emotional abuse. This is me taking measures to make sure that my past does not define my future. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Slim Slice of Hope

admission

I’ve finished uploading the last of my stuff for sale this morning (my entire book collection and my Canon DSLR camera is now publicly up for grabs on my Facebook account) and finally, this piece of paper confirms that my mom now has the financial means to take that huge mass out of her uterus. It was all done out of the collective kindness of people in the internet. Before the fund raising, my mom’s husband gave out a resigned acceptance that she is to die without the funds required for her operation. The aunt I initially turned to for help last June made our situation more difficult and unbearable. And we mostly got painful words from the people I thought were our support group in a time of such a crisis.

I took consolation from my husband, my in laws, the anonymous donors, the strangers who chanced upon my When in Manila piece begging for help, and the friends on Facebook that I do not regularly talk to but are messaging me daily now. They came through right at the moment where I thought that the world is a dark and nasty place. They assisted us and it restored my faith in humanity, somewhat.

As a daughter, I refused to accept that my only option as a bedridden woman is to wait for my mom to die and listen to classical music in bed while my mom undergoes the worst leg of her health problems. No, I can’t let my mom perish like that after all the sacrifices she has done for me and the people she loves. I refused to give up on her when our other relatives are just waiting for her to die, making side comments about our plight, and pointing fingers on who should shoulder the bill. I felt despair but I still somehow had a belief that there is always a way.

I have seen people raise funds for pursuits that are not matters of life and death and they were smashing successes. I turned to crowdfunding this month to ensure that my mom gets a fair fighting chance at life despite her expensive cancer diagnosis and the very business-like model of hospital settings in the Philippines. The idea was sent by two angels in my FB inbox: Joanna Kayaban and Lulu Tan.

When I put the word out there, I was frightened. I was afraid of getting attacked online. Plus I was just expecting to get a few hundreds, maybe to add to medication or some menial matter.

I was completely overwhelmed when help came from everywhere and we managed to raise half of the amount in 7 days. I did not know that people would care that much. I figured that since I always disappear on my social media accounts, they will just ignore me. 

It was the only thing I can do in my bedridden state. This piece of paper in my mother’s hands is now her medical ticket to possibly extending her life.

I am spending the next two days funneling out the remaining donations to my cousin Joan who is in charge of fixing her PGH hospitalization requirements. My sister Harvey is also getting a little for groceries, supplies, and adult diapers that my mom needs daily.

I only raised the funds mainly for my mom’s financial needs and I have a complete disinterest in retaining the money in my bank account. I want it to to be used for the purpose it was meant to accomplish: give my mother a reasonably comfortable treatment and afford that bulk removal operation.

My husband and I will work in the remaining four months to save up again for our baby.

Now that her crucial operation is underway, I can finally turn my focus to my unborn son Santi and get my much needed time to recover and rest in bed. For the first time in weeks, I can now finally sleep in peace. But there are residues of my traumatic weeks of figuring out what to do. The fight or flight response has been up since last month and I need to work on calming myself down for the sake of my baby.

In the coming weeks, I may finally have a chance to start over with my childbirth savings with my husband’s help after every last penny has been drained from us as of end of July. But even if we became penniless, I will never regret that decision because it was for my mom’s life. No amount of money is worth more than her.You can always buy things again but you can never buy back a life once it’s gone.

Next week is the first semblance of semi-normalcy and going back to my freelance writing gigs so that I can spend the remaining four months earning money for my childbirth. Yes, I am still working in bed like I used to do in the first trimester of my pregnancy.

The remaining work on my mom’s treatment is now a giant waiting game. The human side of the work is almost done. It’s now up to the Divine Being to do the rest, if He actually exists or if He actually cares for me and my family.

It’s been massively exhausting. I just want to spend the next three days sleeping to recover fully from the trauma of the emotional repercussions and physical toll of my mom’s diagnosis in the middle of my delicate pregnancy.

Before I got semi-viral with this call for help and crowdfunding effort, I was already a very private person who only opened her Facebook account once a year and devotes her time writing articles freelance or word vomiting on this personal blog. Now, everyone knows about my diagnosis and I don’t know what that means in the long term. Will that mean I will be disqualified from work opportunities? Will that mean that I will get criticized or laughed at as that crazy girl in the internet? I figured that it does not really matter anymore because I was singularly focused on saving my mom when I did it.

I don’t know why all this had to happen but through this crisis, I was able to talk to people in similar situations. I was inspired by their fortitude and faith. I was able to reconnect to people I have not talked to in decades. I was exposed again to the social media world, but it was not as bad as I thought it would turn out. Reaching out to others was not as bad as I thought it was.

I think that after all this activity, I will still sign off and spend my remaining third trimester of pregnancy in social media hibernation and preparation for child birth’s labor. Out of force of habit, I will eventually switch off my account and use it sparsely. I genuinely want a normal birth and I want to carry out whatever reasonable birth plan I can still afford in the remaining months.

Despite this painful ordeal, I am thankful because this difficult challenge came with its life changing lessons. My paradigm of the world has changed. There are things about my incoming parenting style that will be adjusted because of recent events. ūüôā I think that strangely enough, this painful and horrible slew of unfortunate events somehow prepared me for my parenting journey by next year. It was not a difficulty that was wasted. A lot of good came out of it, somehow. Strangely, it is sort of making sense why it had to happen although at first I felt like heaven was shitting on me and my mom.

After this event, I’ve got nothing to hide to the world about myself. I was hiding in the last 2 years and I did not even realize it. I was hiding from people because probably I felt that having bipolar disorder is something I should hide. Now, I had to expose the reason for my fund raising. It meant exposing my weakness publicly, even in the face of strangers. And that exposure of my weakness turned out to be a means to find a source of collective strength from others. It’s really a humbling experience. The power of everyone’s individual contributions was enough to save a life. That mere lesson alone is worth all this pain, I think. I thought people will judge me for having a mental illness, like when my ex-friend attacked me last year on her Facebook wall just for revenge. I realized that people can still treat me normally and with respect even if I tell them about my illness, that it’s okay to ask for help, that it’s okay to be myself. ūüôā

I am really exhausted but yep, I found something in my heart that I did not have for a long time now: HOPE. ūüôā It’s a slim slice but it’s there. I hope my mom survives. I hope my baby is alright. I hope for a better future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Threat of a Relapse

I am really doing my best with what I have, most of the time. Still, there are exceptionally difficult months or weeks where a highly stressful situation can threaten to grab hold of all the progress I have made with my health in the last 6 months and throw it all out of the window.

Such a situation happened last weekend. It culminated after weeks of non-stop exposure to highly stressful scenarios. It’s not even about work. (To be frank, I’d very much rather focus on writing 10 pages per day of output than deal with something like this in my family.)

I have been taking it slow this week because I am trying not to relapse back into a state of ill health. One of the good things about acknowledging your health limitations is that you actually know when to stop and when to slow down. It reaches a point where you know your personal breakdown triggers and you know that you must make the difficult choice of not exposing yourself to these triggers as much as possible.

It takes years to master that skill of stepping out of unnecessarily stressful situations.

For anyone with a health condition, wielding that skill at opportune moments spells the difference between life and death, between stupor and productivity. And like many difficult experiences, there are lessons to be learned.

Lesson #1 in the face of a relapse threat: You may do a lot of things out of love for other people, but it must be NEVER be at the expense of your own wellness or health. Sometimes the people we love and care about do not really mean to harm us or hurt us, but they do so tremendously with their actions.

We must not be afraid to call them out, we must not be afraid to even cut them off and limit our interactions to them, if necessary. Eventually these actions (no matter how they often say that they did not mean to do it) can become habitual to them, and absorbing them further is suddenly a blow to your sanity. And when you lose your sanity, you lose everything.

In my life, I had to cut off a lot of people. They weren’t necessarily people I do not care for. In fact, I care about them very deeply. But I had to cut them out of my life because they are not helping me at all to become a better person.¬†

Last weekend, my husband finally put his foot down and helped make that tough decision for me in the face of our recent setback. He first watched me as I managed the buildup week in and week out. Deep inside, I was also checking my inner pulse to see if I can still have the threshold to handle the unnecessary stressors from the people I love. Eventually, all my reserves of strength ran out.

My husband lovingly assisted me from a distance. Not a word of complaint, just pure support for which I am most grateful. But when I finally told him last weekend that I am slowly approaching a danger zone with my health, he stepped in by speaking out honestly and from the heart.

In truth, he was just as traumatized as I was with what happened. But we maintain the optimism that we will survive this. We both dealt with it together. As a team. Like equals. Like partners. No flinching. Pure adulting.

More than doing things for each other, we are now also making decisions and tough calls in our dealings with people to protect our baby, the tiny passenger in my tummy who can now hear our voices and can feel my feelings of distress or sadness. That’s a definite game changer for any woman.

Before, when I choose to take care of myself and my health, I am doing it mainly so I won’t harm other people. Now, when I make the decision to take care of myself first, I am not just doing it for myself. I am also doing it for that tiny person inside me that needs to have a better chance at life. This tiny person deserve the most stable and reliable set of parents this world can offer, and I am not going to let anyone or anything sabotage that dream I have for my child.¬†

Lesson #2 in the face of a threatened relapse: It’s not really selfish if you want to pursue good health for yourself. In fact, you are doing the world a favor if you sharpen your body to be the best possible version of yourself. That sometimes, you have to stay in the bench or in the sidelines temporarily so that you can bounce back with your A game for the bigger battles of life.

It’s not always sound to face all battles. Because not all battles are worth fighting at all. These days, I am no longer afraid to speak up and say “I am sitting this one out because I need to recover.” I actually say it and then I decide to seriously sit it out even when I am itching to take action.

And finally, there is Lesson #3: By default, we always have to do our best to be in a position of supporting and helping other people become the best version of themselves to the maximum extent that we are able, no matter who they are and what they have done. Value relationships over resources, at any given time. 

And mind you, that’s not exactly just about helping and personally getting involved in that person’s life.

Sometimes, this act of helping out means saying no, ignoring messages that do not contribute to your well-being, or even deciding to stay out of another person’s life¬†for good if he or she won’t stop in his or her self-destructive behavior. For example, a¬†person may be abusing your kindness and turning your chat window into a garbage can of feelings. Instead of dealing with his or her issues with other people, they just choose to dump all the stress on you and expect you to cuddle them and comfort them non-stop while they do nothing to improve their situation.

Here is one useful question: Will it do good to other people and that needy person if you absorb all that negativity? Always strictly promote only what helps the person and what keeps you sane.

Do not tolerate immature, entitled episodes from those you love. Do not enable their horrible habits that make their lives permanently take a turn for the worse. Provide to the extent you are able, but¬†take no more part if that person habitually decides to self-destruct. It’s painful, but if that person decides to always harm himself or herself after your numerous attempts to help out, you need to stay out of it. You provide help. But you are not a perpetual rescue hotline for people who do not help themselves.¬†

You can be charitable without becoming a masochist. You can be charitable without being heavily attached to the favors you dole out. You can be charitable, but strictly in a way that empowers and enables you and the other person to become the best versions of yourselves.

It’s really a phase of life where I have to make difficult choices. And today, I choose both CHARITY AND WELLNESS.

 

 

 

 

Gentle Birth Goals

I already had an inkling that I will not be approaching childbirth in the mainstream way, if I can completely avoid it. A small movement of people in this country are revolutonizing the notions of a painful pregnancy and introduced the concept of gentle birth plans that are all natural. Only a handful of women are into it. I signed up. 

This week, I floated the idea to my ultra kind OBgyn and while she supported my childbearing rights to decide on my mode of labor, she told me that such choices will require me to switch to another doctor. Prior to discussing my birth plan, I was already sold to give birth to a cozy private hospital near where I live in the East. After our conversation, it was back to the drawing board as far as hospital birthing options are concerned. The support for my chosen method for birthing is poor. 

I am quite fascinated with the outcome of my research, but I was not at all surprised that I am game to try something new for welcoming my little one into this world. Of course, that did not sit well with those who have never tried this method. But that’s the thing about pregnancy: what your mother or mother in law or friend chose for their birth plan is not necessarily your fate or destiny. They can scoff all they want but they won’t understand why I think this will work for me. It’s a unique journey. I may get laughed at for my birth method choices but I arrived at this method for a reason. I did not just chance upon the resources I have found online by accident; I was meant to find them and make empowered decisions about my personal pregnancy journey as a result. And it allows me to firmly decide on it even if nobody else wants it. 

Gentle birth is the goal, that’s what I am sure of at this point. Getting there has different paths, and the availability of those paths in this side of the world is quite limited. But I am willing to try. I truly hope that it can happen. 

Bedrest Anxiety and Talking with the Baby

Yesterday, I tried writing for two hours. As I approached the third hour, the heaving and retching of my pregnancy vomiting returned with a vengeance. I haven’t exactly stayed with the bland diet after my hospitalization. I ate some really good stuff from Angono’s Balaw Balaw restaurant when my bestfriend Homer visited me last weekend. I also wolfed down a lot of pastel which Homer brought as pasalubong from his Mindanao trip last week. So I resumed eating oily foods and it was okay for a maximum of three days until I started feeling dizzy and nauseous again. I immediately reverted back to my bland lugaw diet to tame this hyperemesis gravidarum.

While I was taking a shower last night, I decided to do a strange thing advised to me by one of the hospital nurses. I gently rubbed my belly and talked to my baby while I showered. According to my readings, the baby does not hear anything yet until midway during the pregnancy. So I was not really counting on a response. I just told the baby that maybe he or she can help me manage my nausea and maybe we can write a little during the day, reassuring him or her that I am doing my best in this whole wide universe to keep things healthy and less intense. I kind of made a tiny deal with him or her and said that I just need a few hours of normalcy during the day so that I can still do something for our future.

This morning, I was able to write for two to three hours with no incident. I still feel nausea but it was unlike the one I had yesterday. I still have enough energy to create this post, even. It’s as if my baby “cooperated” this morning and let me do my thing for a few hours. I am feeling deeply encouraged that this baby is really smart. Can’t explain but he or she helped me out. At this point, I just wanted to feel him or her kicking so that I can always know if he or she is alright but it won’t be until my fifth month of pregnancy. This tiny sign from early this morning somehow comforts me in some way that we are connecting already at this early stage.

I still can’t help but feel misty-eyed when I remember the first time I saw his/her arms move vigorously in the ultrasound and the first time I heard his/her heartbeat. It’s a feeling unlike any other.

Prior to this, I used to be a huge and intense workaholic and this bed rest is putting some brakes, brakes that I am not personally used to. But I welcome the change because there is a tiny passenger inside my tummy that deserves the best of everything. Literally everything. I can’t be self-absorbed anymore because this baby needs my undivided attention.

I think the relaxing pregnancy music playlists on Spotify also made some difference as I tried to relax and write this morning.

Mozart-for-Babies-Helena

 

My husband has been completely supportive and I am deeply thankful for the level of support I am getting from home. Something so colossal as this meaningful life event is a bit of a community effort to handle. Having said that, this is just about as much as I can personally handle. I don’t want to over exert myself given my recent hospitalization and I am already feeling the need to throw up again. That’s my baby with the STOP sign already. Haha. I’ll just post some new stuff later.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum during Pregnancy

That sounds a lot like a Harry Potter spell, and it’s even made a bit more glamorous by the fact that Kate Middleton had the same condition during her second pregnancy. But there’s nothing glamorous and fun about vomiting so hard that you end up having blood on the sink. It warranted a 2-day hospital confinement for me. I only take consolation in the fact that my baby is healthy growing, kicking and flailing its arms wildly during my latest 9-week ultrasound yesterday afternoon.

9-weeks-baby-ultrasound-Helena

 

My little fighter is very happily settled inside my tummy, so I am happy and content even if I am vomiting wildly and can hardly do anything during my bed rest. Prior to my diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum, I was already advised to stay home and rest until August so that I can cruise through the first trimester with lesser risk of miscarriage. My pregnancy story is not quick and easy, and we are doing everything to stay on the cautious side. Fortunately, I have a support system to help me get through all the retching and the very restrictive diet that HG requires. This little miracle inside of me is worth all of the pain and suffering I may have during this pregnancy. Most of my life decisions now revolve on ensuring a bright future for this little one. A little plus for me is I finally am part of the Mommy Bloggers community. Whether that merits a change of blog site remains to be seen.

Surprisingly, eating bland foods and taking antacids work wonders and reduced my vomiting. Really bland foods like tasteless white porridge or lugaw¬†coupled with Skyflakes crackers distributed evenly during the day helped me a lot. Small but frequent feeding is preferred because a pregnant woman’s digestive system is slower than the usual, leading to constipation and flatulence.

Despite the hassles of a very severe onset of morning sickness during this crucial time, our happiness is unparalleled. Even if my baby cannot hear me yet, I am talking to him or her regularly. I also lurk in a lot of parenting forum sites to check out what I can do during this bedrest to maintain my sanity. I watch ultra cool TV shows, too. I am suspecting that this baby is a boy because I seem to be inclined to enjoy testosterone-laden and gory shows and ones involving a lot of kicking and action lately. Boy or girl, I am happy and extremely excited (and scared) to give birth this December. I just hope that I can be strong enough to deliver the baby normally instead of have my tummy sliced open. I am just hoping to do normal labor first and see what becomes of me after. Haha. It’s really so Game of Thrones when I come to think of it.

Being responsible for someone so tiny and beautiful is a game changer in so many ways. I can no longer cultivate negative emotions because I know that my baby will be affected. I just need to stay positive no matter what happens and as stress-free as humanely possible. I stay within the radar of pleasant people and things, most of the time. If I need to engage in a discussion that involves disagreement, I use writing as my form of therapy and release from negative emotions.

All the pregnancy hormones make me extra emotional but nothing beyond the worst of my mood swings. I think that a lot of women are shocked with the onset of their postpartum depression because they never got depressed prior to pregnancy. I had my fair share of depressive tendencies for a long time and I think I can sort of anticipate the baby blues with ample preparations on my end. That’s one good thing that came out of that, if anything. I think I am more equipped to handle something that I have become really used to for years.

Just typing this up is already enough to cause some morning exhaustion so I am going to end this post while I watch Black Mirror season 1 and prop myself up with lots of pillows. <3 <3 <3