Monthly Archives: August 2011

toddler’s sleeping problem solved

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I’ve been having a good night’s sleep since I got home from the hospital after my surgery. I can’t say the same thing about hubby since he is temporarily fully in charge of our toddler while I am recuperating. Our dilemma over our son’s sleeping problem stretched for almost two months.

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Thankfully, our toddler has begun to sleep early and soundly since the night of my 30th birthday. What a gift! He now sleeps by 9 pm, rarely wakes up in the night for a feeding, and gets up at 5 or 6 am. Hopefully, he will stick to this routine for good. Husband on the other hand is having a hard time adjusting to the change in sleeping pattern. He’s been so used to having intermittent sleep that he involuntarily wakes up in the middle of the night or early dawn. Kawawa.

Our son’s pediatrician prescribed a vitamin called Mosegor Vita Syrup to supposedly help our child fall asleep. It’s an Orexigenic Agent with Vitamin B Complex and it contains hydrogen maleate, thiamine, riboflavin phosphate, pyridoxine and nicotinamide. I must say it did help my son fall asleep but then he wakes up after two hours for a feeding and gets too agitated that he wouldn’t go back to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. The medicine merely induced his appetite. We’re thinking of changing his pediatrician as he has the tendency to prescribe medicines all the time instead of giving some practical tips or advice that really works. We need a doctor who is also a parent.

Advice from friends, google results and some common sense helped us address our son’s sleeping issues.

Our mistake is that we allowed our son to get too addicted to Pocoyo videos on You tube on his itouch and on my iPad. He would spend hours watching videos and we let him keep the gadget in bed. Hubby and I are also guilty of bringing our gadgets to bed engrossed in twitter, facebook or blogging, setting a very bad example to our son. I am specially adamant of bringing my iPad to bed, reasoning that it is the only time I get to surf the net, read magazines, or blog.

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For weeks, we did everything possible to make our toddler stay sound asleep. We banned his DVDs, limited his daytime naps (no late afternoon naps), dutifully gave him his vitamins before bed, and prohibited gadgets in bed (that was the hardest part for all of us).

Nanay has been telling us to forbid the use of the itouch or iPad before bedtime. From what I read, technology engages our toddler’s brains, keeping them alert and therefore wide awake. It is advisable to ban it out of the bedroom an hour before bedtime, which should be a quiet time. We have less monkeying around in bed to prevent toddler from getting agitated. We also follow a bedtime routine – bath time by 8 pm, some quiet activities in bed such as reading a book (an actual one) or doodling, hushed voice, and a massage. We also encouraged our son’s yaya to engage him in physical activities during the day such as running around in the neighborhood or kicking ball in the house, anything that will exhaust him of his high energy level.

This baby sleep profiler from Johnson’s baby helped us assess our child’s sleeping pattern and yes, we’re using their bedtime baby wash, baby powder and baby lotion.

We had the best intentions when we introduced the gadgets to our toddler as a means to entertain and educate him. It backfired because we did not set a limit on its use.

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What I’ve learned is that there are no black and white guidelines in parenting. Each child is unique and we have to learn to adapt our way of parenting to our son’s individual needs and quirks. We just hope that even if we are not experts and we commit mistakes as parents, we’d still be able to raise our son the best way we know how, with the help of family, friends, books and google.

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and finally – the big 3-0!

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And finally (drum rolls please)… the most-awaited day arrives! Today is my 30th birthday. Yey!

The past thirty days of self-reflection, leading to my birthday, was enriching and engaging for me. In a way, by the means of my blog posts, God has prepared me for the trouble that was to come halfway through my countdown. I would not have looked at my surgery in a positive light if I had not already started to view life through rose-colored glasses. In appreciating and dwelling on the good, I have learned to embrace the bad.

I must give credit to my doctor for saying that a birthday is just a day for it dawned on me that it has a ring of truth to it. We mustn’t put our hopes and expectations of happiness and magic on a single day. The best way to look at a birthday is to take the product of the year that was and the sum of the other 365 1/4 days to come. It makes a birthday more special and lasting, rather than just being a 24-hour thing that fades when the calendar turns another day.

Today, 23rd of August is just another day. But my husband made it a point to make this day a memorable one for me.

Hubby managed to pull off a surprise birthday dinner for me last night with my current circle of girl friends at one my favorite restaurants. I am blessed to have a husband who goes beyond his inherent tendencies (albeit sometimes reluctantly. Haha!) to fulfill the whims of his wife. Life is full of pleasant surprises!

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the sweet gesture and for being able to spend a few hours of the night with my good friends, who brought a yummy chocolate cake with them. I am not exactly a sociable and likeable person but I still manage to keep myself surrounded with the most dependable, pretty and cool friends. Life is sweet and delightful!

Thanks to those group buying sites that are the fad these days, hubby got us a discounted overnight stay in a hotel in Makati. His review – the elevator was slow, the breakfast lacks variety and wi-fi sucks. The room was okay though for the rate. Life is a gamble, sometimes we get the sh** end of the stick. Sometimes, we get lucky!

I thoroughly enjoyed the sinful pleasure of having a big tv screen while lounging in bed and the hot shower in the morning – life’s simple pleasures!

I woke up on the day of my birthday a little under the weather because of my colds. Life is sometimes made of sniffles and sour moods!

And it didn’t help that the girl from Sweet Bella said they forgot the happy birthday sign for my birthday cake. We had to fetch it ourselves from the home branch and when husband handed it to me, it read – Happy 13th birthday “Lianne”. I had to laugh despite of my bad mood. Hahaha! Life is full of mishaps!

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After a delightful lunch at Focaccia, the rest of the day was spent taking a nap, playing with my son, delighting in the hearty greetings from family, friends and acquaintances and writing this blog post.

I am grateful to and for each and every person who have crossed paths with me in this journey called life – 29 wonderful years so far. Bits and pieces of you are interwoven with my life story, making it unique and worthwhile.

I am now thirty. Not surprisingly, no fairy godmother came and gave me a makeover or magical secrets to having a fine and dandy life at thirty. I still believe though that i’m living a charmed life.

countdown 1: i’m 29 until further notice!

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Finally got the surgical pathology results on my dermoid cyst today. I’ve waited with bated breath for this and at last, the doctor says its BENIGN. I got my birthday wish a day before my birthday. Sweet!

Two specimens were taken from my ovary. The smaller tissue (4.5 x 2 x 0.8 cm) appears to be brain-like material. Even my cyst has brains! Hahaha! The larger tissue fragment (9 x 5 x 1.5 cm) has attached tufts of hair. Sana sa ulo na lang tumubo!

The doctor who removed my ovarian cyst on her birthday told us araw lang yan. But to me, it’s much more than just a day. It is a special day, a day meant only for me.

Just for fun, I googled “what’s in a birthday?” and the search results were quite interesting. I decided to give some of the entries a try.

First up was a quiz: What does your birth date mean? The answer has some ring of truth to it.

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Did you know that apparently, there is a bible verse specific to your birthday? Here’s mine:

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There’s also some science called Birthday numerology where you can find your lucky number. Mine is 5!

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I also found out what my birthday color is – it’s RED!

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Finally, let me end this post with an excerpt from my favorite “birthday” song – Forever Young by Bob Dylan:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

I’m 29 until further notice!

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(photo taken on my 29th birthday)

countdown 2: what’s in a name?

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No post for day three because i’m not feeling well. I’m down with colds and sore throat, which I hate much more than my surgical wounds. Let it remain a gap in my countdown to remind me that 30 days before my birthday, I had one really bad day.

I must admit, when I started the countdown, I was an energizer bunny. I was sooo looking forward to my 30th birthday celebration. I’m supposed to be in a picnic now with my family and high school barkada, celebrating the big 3-0 together with a cousin whose birthday is only three days earlier than mine. But i’m at home, nursing my colds, feeling old.

I remained optimistic even after the surgery but there are times that I feel like crying, especially now that i’m also suffering from headache and runny nose. I try so hard not to sneeze because my wounds hurt so bad every time I do. Ouch!

Enough with my rants. On with my countdown.

I remember when I was a kid, I found a little notebook my father kept to note details about me before and when I was born. I loved that notebook dearly but somehow I lost it growing up. Sad. I also hope I made my son a similar (maybe online) one.

It is from that notebook that I first learned I was born on a sunny Sunday and my zodiac sign is Virgo. I was supposed to be named Lea Cecilia, after my parents’ names. But my cousin, who was born 3 days ahead of me was named Lea so my parents had to change it.

They named me,instead, Mary Lianne.

Mary, in honor of the blessed Virgin. I remember there were a number of virtues written on the notebook about Mary, some (or maybe, most) of which I have not lived up to. That’s why I don’t fancy being called Mary, I don’t think I deserve to be.

Lianne was supposed to be a play of the words Leopoldo and Cecilia, but really it was from the name of a sari-sari store near the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and my parents’ Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Exams Review School. Maybe this means i’m really meant to be a CPA after all.

I have already forgotten most of what was written in that small notebook but

I will forever hold in my heart its symbolism, what it meant to me growing up – that I’m deeply loved and cherished by my parents and that I am a precious GIFT from God to them. That alone makes my life worth living.

countdown 4: same old me

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I’m going over my previous blogs and notes and is quite amused with myself. Here are two of my previous posts:

August 8, 2010, 11:21 am

2 years ago I thought I was having a quarter life crisis. I think I still am. I think I always will be. The truth is, I’m crazy and disorganized and no amount of dreams coming true or milestones happening will ever change that. I am me, quirks and all. Well-thought decisions or rash actions. Mommy or not. Jobless or a raving workaholic. Single or married. Some old quirks just stay the same. I just must continue to love the fool in me. =)

September 6, 2007 1:32 pm

When so many good things are happening at the same time, I can’t help but wonder what bad thing could be brewing for me, fearing that the fair wheel of fate will soon catch up and I’ll find myself at the bottom again. The fear of the unknown and the uncertain sometimes keep me awake at night and make me think back to those nights I was bawling over in pain over a heartbreak or was crying over a disappointment at work. I can still vaguely remember the heartache and the feeling of despair. But I don’t feel any remorse or regret nor do I wish that I have not been through the experience. Because I realize that all the good and the bad things that happened to me in the past helped me become the stronger & more confident person that I am now. I have learned a number of lessons that will guide me as I go on to live a fuller life. ..And it dawned on me, I should have nothing more to fear. All I have to do is lay down my worries to Him & He’ll take care of them for me as He always does.Ü

countdown 5: circle of friends through the years

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My most enduring relationship (aside from my family) is my friendship with my high school barkada. Even though I rarely keep in touch with them (blame it to my anti-social tendencies), they are omnipresent in my life especially during the moments that matter.

Oh, we used to have a lot of conflicts and a good share of teenage girl dramas – misunderstandings, taking sides, crying in the school stairways, puppy love, family problems, insecurities… akin to the then very popular teenage flick TGIS! But we did share a lot of fabulous memories together and we helped each other survive the awkward teenage phase and all its emotional baggage.

We parted ways after high school graduation, going to different schools in the country for our college courses. Here’s an excerpt from a letter I wrote shortly after our graduation:

…With us, there’s no need for any friendship pact because there’s an invisible bond that bridges the gap and makes us realize that someone is always there for us. It’s true, life has been a lot more meaningful because we have each other to cling on to. Is there something sweeter than a friendship that has withstood the test of time? There is nothing.

In our hearts, though we’re far apart, is a friendship assuring us that no matter what happens we’ll always be there for each other. No distance could ever keep us apart, for we are friends, the best of friends. And we’re willing to make it stay that way far longer than forever knows.

Back then, forever was one of my favorite words.

In my working years, I was lucky to find the same tight bond with a smaller circle of girl friends. Nothing can match the closeness forged by stress at work and deadlines. And as is the sad reality of life, we had to part ways as well. During one of those times I missed them badly, I wrote this:

…these are the moments my tears fall not because I’m hurt or sad but because when I skim through the pages of memories, I see the faces of dear friends I’m no longer with – each of us living our separate lives now, pursuing our own dreams.

…these are the times change is bittersweet and precious moments spent together are nostalgic.

…these are the days one can vividly recall someone’s corny jokes or boisterous laughter or out-of-tune voice singing to her heart’s content, arguments and petty misunderstandings, bonding over food and crying over coffee, bingeing on Mindoro sling and tequila shots in Tagaytay…

…these are the memories that will eventually fade with time but will be reminisced over and over again until new memories are made…

…these are the moments that remind me of how fully I have lived my life so far, of how far I’ve come, of how lucky I am to have met the dearest of friends who have deeply touched my life…

I’m looking forward to being with them again

and we’ll catch up over a cup of coffee …

… in the Eiffel tower on 10 October of 2010*.

Meeting in the Eiffel Tower on October 10, 2010 was a farfetched dream that has not come true. But back then, it felt great to cook up such a fantasy.

Most of my friends and I live separate lives now but thanks to social media, we still manage to keep in touch and have a good laugh (or cry) every now and then.

I’m also grateful that I have another special circle of friends in the present that I meet up with regularly – to reminisce the past, to cherish, nurture, indulge in and sometimes forsake the now, and to aspire with for a wonderful future.

Good friends are like desserts, they are life’s sweet indulgence. I’m truly blessed and loved.

countdown 7: some drama after surgery

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It’s been a day after my laparoscopy and I’m now experiencing bouts of pain and moments of sadness. The doctor switched me to oral pain medication after discharging me from the hospital. But I couldn’t complain, the pain is more tolerable than I expected. God is indeed good all the time.

My doctor said it would be two weeks before I can fully recover. The downside so far has only been that I could not play, cuddle and be with my son. His cries of mommy tear at my heart.

The upside is that I’m being spoiled by my mother. She’s been cooking for me and serving my meals. I know this won’t last long since she has work to go back to so I’m cherishing it as much as I can.

I’m not yet fully up to writing but it’s better than moping and feeling the pain in my stomach for every small movement that I make.

I’m also keeping myself pre-occupied by reading the book Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto and I’m liking it so far. It brings back good memories of my brief sojourn in Europe. It has a refreshingly different approach to storytelling which is keeping me hooked. My mama has caught me sniffling twice over its pages. What can I say, I’m a cry-baby and I got carried away.

countdown 8: the day I had my surgery

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It was a warm day and I was running carefree on the grass. I came across a clear stream and dipped both of my feet in the shallow water. I was about to touch the water when I felt someone tugging on my shoulders.

Wake up Lianne, we’re done. The cyst has been removed. You’re okay.”

She also said something about suctioning and my lips being wounded but I couldn’t fully comprehend what was happening. All I knew was I was rudely awakened from a nice-bizarre dream.

I remember greeting my doctor happy birthday then I was wheeled out of the delivery room. I was asked to wave hello to my husband and I did even though everything still seemed hazy.

I continued sleeping in the recovery room. I dreamt of palabok and shrimps and was shamelessly munching on them until I awakened and caught myself chewing on air. It’s good the nurse assigned to me was busy with paper works and didn’t notice me. Although I had a perfect excuse for being extremely hungry: I was put through a cleansing enema at 9 pm the night before and a fleet enema at 5 am on the day of my surgery. My intestines were literally empty!

I didn’t know what time it was. They wheeled me into the delivery room at about 8 am and I’ve been comfortably asleep since then. I did not feel anything because I was on general anesthesia all throughout the procedure.

I took stock of my body and did not feel any extreme pain or discomfort. I just felt groggy. I have learned later on that my operation took more than 4 hours and my ovarian cyst was successfully removed via laparoscopic surgery. I felt a huge relief. I did not want to undergo laparotomy.

I stayed for more than 2 hours in the recovery room before I was finally wheeled back to my room at around 3 pm on August 15th. I was greeted by my husband, my mother and my husband’s family. I did not dare talk much since the nurses warned me of gas pain if I open my mouth a lot.

I was amazed at how the surgery had gone so smoothly and of how little pain I felt (I was on pain medications). God held my hands all throughout.

The doctor said I could go home the next day as long as I could successfully pee and fart. I did my best.

countdown 9: day 1 in the hospital

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Day 1 in the Hospital

August 14, 2011

Before 6 pm today, I got admitted at St. Luke’s Hospital for my laparoscopy tomorrow. It felt more like going to a hotel for a vacation rather than a hospital. I did not feel nervous at all. I believe I can tolerate anything that is less painful than a facial pricking. And maybe, giving birth two years ago gave me a courage I never had. Plus, after only one session with the doctor, I somehow knew that she will do a good job. She seemed a very competent doctor with a pleasing genuine personality (not the superficial joviality typical of someone who is selling something). I can not say the same of my regular obi-gynecologist.

Let me share the things I’ve learned in the course of the week since I found out that I had a dermoid cyst in my right ovary. The procedure that they will perform on me is called: laparascopic oophorocystectomy with possible laparotomy. We were given a choice by the doctor between laparoscopy and laparotomy. We chose the former because it’s minimally invasive surgery and the recovery is faster although it is pricey. Laparotomy is akin to giving birth via caesarean section.

A dermoid cyst or ovarian teratoma is a bizarre tumor that contains a diversity of tissues including hair, teeth, bone, thyroid, etc. It develops from a primary oocyte that is retained in the ovary. There is no logical explanation why or how it develops into a cyst which has recognizable structures such as hair, bone, sebaceous material, natural tissue and teeth. Mine has balls of hair and sebum.

The prime of detection of such condition is during the childbearing years with average age of 30. The doctor said I have a 10 to 25% chance of developing the same ovarian cyst in my left ovary. For early detection, the doctor ordered me to have a transvaginal ultrasound at least once a year.

I really had no choice but to have the cyst removed via surgery because it could rupture and cause internal poisoning or twist my ovary (torsion).

I was not aware I had an ovarian cyst until I had an ultrasound of the whole abdomen which detected an ovarian mass. I was then asked by my ob to go for transvaginal ultrasound, which confirmed I had a dermoid cyst. That was Sunday, August 7th.

On August 9th, I went to my ob to discuss the result of my ultrasound and she advised a laparotomy. Fortunately, she was not an accredited doctor under my HMO cards so we had to look for another doctor, preferably from St. Luke’s which is near our home. My husband did find one and on August 10th, early in the morning, we went to consult with the doctor. She was late for more than an hour but I’m glad we persisted.

She explained everything to us, from the diagnosis to the procedure to the risks and price involved. After hearing the options from her, we decided to go for a laparoscopy.

We agreed to have the surgery on August 15th which happened to be the assumption of Mama Mary and the birthday of the doctor. I took that as a good omen that things will go just fine.