I am currently 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant which means that this baby is due to arrive about a week or two before Christmas.
Being the second born, the hubby and I are no longer as wide-eyed with excitement as we were with our first. Yes, there is still joy with the thought of having another tiny human to cuddle and love once again, but this joy is tempered with the thought that we are now responsible for two human beings, thus, we have to get our shit together.
Getting ready for baby number 2 means: (a) preparing my body for the birth; (b) preparing for the actual birth; and (c) preparing post-birth.
As a second-time mom, I know that I can only really prepare for a & b, while c just means going with the flow and dealing with things on a day to day basis.
Preparing my body
The most obvious change is my slowly expanding belly. But with the bigger belly comes other hormonal changes like getting dry skin and, my biggest enemy, constipation. The former is remedied by shifting moisturizers (after some trial and error, what works best for me is the Cetaphil facial wash and moisturizer combo) while the latter is harder to resolve, pun intended.
I remember having similar issues with constipation the first time I was pregnant but it seems more intense now. Apparently, the processing of food inside the digestive tract slows down so that more nutrients are provided for the growing babe. This leads to irregularity. But the issue is aggravated with the iron in most prenatal supplements. Which was what happened to me. My OB advised me to try different types of prenatal supplements to see which one will not cause me discomfort, but the experimentation is still ongoing and there's no clear winner yet. What gives me results though are prune juice and coffee. I've never been a coffee drinker but you gotta do what you gotta do. However, I limit my coffee intake to once a week since it really makes me jumpy.
I also tried Dulcolax once at the height of my discomfort, and while it did bring relief and is considered safe for pregnant women, I personally would like to limit using it since I feel like I shouldn't be messing with my insides while there's a baby inside of me. Yup, totally scientific and backed up by empirical data :p
Monthly OB visits have also become our norm and thankfully, I've had nothing remarkable to report. No spotting, no vomiting, no insane cravings, just constipation. I would like to thank my mother and ancestors for my Viking-like constitution. Apparently, we really are born to breed.
As a precaution though, I have stopped running but I continue with my daily commute to work which means I get to walk on a daily basis. This serves a two-fold purpose, first, I get to exercise and second, I get to save money towards the time when I get too big to take an FX to work and will have to take a taxi.
Now that our first-born is going to school, my husband uses the car to bring him to school while I commute to work. But when I reach the latter part of my third trimester, the plan is for me to take a cab to work and my husband to pick me up after work. An FX ride costs me Php35 one way, but a cab ride costs between Php240-Php270 per trip. My frugal heart is already palpitating at the thought of taking daily cab rides! Boo!
Preparing for the actual birth
For my first birthing experience, I was extremely spoiled because my OB-Gyne mom was still practicing and so not only did I have free prenatal check-ups, I also had free ultrasounds. When I gave birth, I paid a little under Php20,000.00 for a caesarian birth and those went solely to hospital fees since the doctors agreed to limit their professional fees to the Philhealth share which I think was Php19,000 that time. I did not have HMO for my first pregnancy.
Now that she's semi-retired and refuses to deliver babies anymore (since she claims that she already forgot how to), I have to rely on Philhealth and my HMO for my prenatal and birthing expenses.
My prenatal check-ups, lab works and ultrasound are covered by my HMO. Philhealth then provides a benefit of Php6,500 for normal delivery and Php19,000 for caesarian birth. My HMO primer says that it provides Php60,000 for caesarian birth but an officemate claims that it's actually higher at Php70,000. So between Philhealth and my HMO, I'll have about Php79,000 to Php89,000 to subsidize the hospital expenses and doctor's professional fees. I'm thinking Php100,000 should cover everything since my hospital isn't one of the fancy ones, so I'll only need to prepare between Php11,000 to Php21,000 in cash before checking in to the hospital and just withdraw money as needed or use my credit card to bridge the difference.
I'm almost 90% sure that I'll undergo another caesarian birth because my first one was via caesarian as well. I will half-heartedly try to give birth normally though, but in my heart of hearts, I know that it will probably be through a caesarian section once again. Personally, I don't care which way I give birth, just get the baby safely out of me when the time comes. And with less pain as possible pretty please.
Now let's talk baby things.
It's easy to get overwhelmed with the gadgets and doodads associated with babies and I'll admit that I was like that the first time around. But now that this is my second time at the rodeo, I can say with certainty that babies don't need half of the things being pushed by the massive baby industry. Babies only need to be fed and be comfortable in their first few months. They have no need for entertainment or any intelligence-boosting activities.
The cheapest and easiest way to feed a newborn until he/she is 6 months old is by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding technically doesn't need anything except leaky boobs and a good latch, but since I'll be returning to work after my maternity leave, I'll need a breastpump that I can bring to work and milk storage bags to stock up on frozen breastmilk.
I used to have both an electric pump and a manual pump and I used the electric pump at the office. But this time around, I have my eye on a Haakaa pump which doesn't involve machines or even hands, merely suction.
For milk storage bags, I am very loyal to Lansinoh which I buy in bulk from the US because milk bags are awfully expensive locally.
Diapers are also a must-have for newborns and since I kept majority of my cloth diapers, I'll only be supplementing with another 12-15 pieces.
This post is already getting too long, I think I'll make a separate post on baby stuff and other baby related things next time.
One thing I'm dead-set on with having a second baby is having an exclusive caregiver for him/her. That means initially taking on an additional Php5,000 in expenses for salary and benefits, and an eventual raise in salary and benefits after the trial period. This also means an indirect raise in grocery and utility expenses since we'll have more people in our household.
I did the "I can do it all" shtick when my son was born and I was ready to go out of my mind from the lack of sleep and fatigue. I've learned since then that delegation is key and I am more than willing to delegate childcare and pay for that privilege if it means being able to rest and recuperate post-birth and being able to go after my dreams in life.
I intend to sleep and rest a lot for the first few weeks after giving birth, then after that, my little family and I are going to Biliran and Cebu so that my extended family can meet the new bub. I plan to spend the remainder of my maternity leave there, with doting grandparents, aunts and uncles lining up to take care of the baby so that mommy can have her fill of sleep and finally live the good life.