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    Natural Child Birth In The Philippines

    Ava’s Birth Story: Going With The Flow

    When I gave birth to Charlie via VBA2C, we hoped for an unmedicated birth. However, we had to do what we can to ensure my and the baby’s wellbeing so although it was a normal spontaneous delivery, it was done with epidural.

    During one of our check-ups for my fourth pregnancy, my OB brought up how more and more couples are going for water birth in the Philippines. One of the benefits, she said, is that mothers are less likely to ask for epidural since water helps with the pain.

    So, with Ava’s birth, I was more prepared for the pain. Yes, it was as painful (if not more), but once I got through the pain I felt when I asked for epidural in Charlie’s birth, I knew I can reach the finish line unmedicated.

    Avery Elise - Water Birth Story

    “Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.” ― Santosh Kalwar

    Preparing For Ava's Birth

    I had mixed feelings when we found out we were expecting. I was excited, yes, but I also felt put down.

    When we first shared news about our fourth pregnancy with family and close friends, we didn’t get a lot of hugs and “Congratulations!” Instead, we got comments like, “Weren’t you done yet?” “How will you take care of four kids?” “Are you serious?!”

    After that initial announcement, my husband and I decided we’ll keep the pregnancy hush hush. Not only will it save us from more pain, but it will also give us a chance to experience a more private pregnancy compared to the other three that were shared on this blog and on social media.

    It wasn’t so bad. It felt like we, as a family, were able to really bond over the pregnancy. We shared our excitement with each other as we went on check ups and ultrasounds together – yep, all kids with us!

    Belly Bump Top Shot

    We also prepared for Ava’s birth together. My husband and kids joined me in my daily walk and exercises. We endured eating healthy meals (and also cheated with milk tea and sweets together LOL).

    Most days, though, we stuck with healthy meals and daily exercises. This helped Ava and I stay healthy throughout the pregnancy and prepare for childbirth.

    If you’re planning to try VBAC or unmedicated birth, then you’ll have to do the same. I know it’s hard to control cravings and not stay in bed the whole day, but you have to do what you have to do if your mind is set to giving birth via normal spontaneous delivery and without medication.

    Flowing With The Water: Water Birth in the Philippines

    With the help of warm and soothing water combined with my husband’s gentle massages and my doula’s encouraging words, Ava and I were able to get through the whole process without epidural.

    We initially planned for a full on water birth, but I learned I have to go with my gut and birth the way I feel like birthing my baby. So, after laboring in the water, I decided to go through the last stretch (pushing) on the bed.

    In the afternoon of July 22nd, we welcomed our precious Ava earth-side via unmedicated normal spontaneous delivery.

    Unmedicated water birth in the Philippines

    All this was made possible because my birth team and I trusted each other and worked together towards our goal for Ava’s birth.

    We’re also lucky to have a hospital like St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City, which has made water birth in the Philippines possible – even for high risk pregnancies. This wasn’t available when I had Charlie so YAY!

    If you want to do a water birth and you’re required to be in the High Risk Pregnancy Unit, St. Luke’s has a room in the high risk pregnancy unit with everything we need for a water birth and birth outside of the water. Ask your OB about it!

    I love that they made this available because we didn’t have to move from one room to another anymore. Labor, birth, and recovery all happened in one room! (And yes, baby stayed with us in the room the whole time)

    In the afternoon of July 22nd, we welcomed our beautiful Ava earth-side via unmedicated normal spontaneous delivery.

    My Birth Team

    • My husband (of course)
    • OB: Dra. Karen Ty-Torredes (St. Luke’s Medical Center BGC)
    • Doula: Ros Padua-Macachor, Pinay Doulas Collective
    • Pedia: Dra. Jocelyn Bondoc (St. Luke’s Medical Center BGC) + Dra. Felita Lucena (The Medical City)

    HOSPITAL – St. Luke’s Medical Center Bonifacio Global City

    Home office ideas

    A Quick Guide to Creating a Home Office

    From setting your own schedule to cutting down on your commute time, working from home has many advantages. To maximize your productivity, it’s important to strike a work-life balance that lets you get the job done despite distractions around your house. Here are some quick ideas about how to separate work from pleasure and ensure optimal efficiency.

    Create a Dedicated Space

    Find a space in your house to transform into your own personal work oasis. Make sure it’s in a comfortable location without too many distractions. A bright, open kitchen that’s close to the coffeemaker might seem like a good idea, but it’s often the most popular room in the house. You also want to avoid squeezing your desk into a small, stuffy space such as a closet. 

    A spare bedroom is a perfect choice, but if it’s not an option for you, consider converting your garage into your home office instead. Another great idea is to build a small studio in your backyard. For the best results, you might need to install a separate heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system to make sure your space is always the perfect temperature.

    Install Proper Lighting

    Try to include as much natural light as possible in your home office. Natural light brings many health benefits, including improved mental health, visual acuity, and sleep quality. If possible, place your desk in front of a window. 

    If natural light isn’t available, choose artificial lighting that makes the most of your space and adds to the ambiance. Dimmable spotlights, a small desk lamp, or a space-saving pendant light that hangs above your desk are great options. Whichever one you choose, equip each light with full-spectrum bulbs to simulate many of the benefits of natural light.

    Remote office set up

    Make Room for Storage

    Most of the work people do at home takes place online, reducing the need for lofty file cabinets and large storage spaces. But, you will likely have a few printed materials and supplies that require storage. Papers pile up quickly if you don’t have a space set aside for them. 

    Invest in a desk with built-in drawers where you can toss odds and ends, such as notebooks and pens that you don’t want to clutter your desk. Another good option is to buy a few small storage boxes you can place on a shelf or inside a cupboard.

    Add Personal Touches

    It’s important to have a practical workspace that helps you get the job done. But, it’s also important to include personal touches that inspire you throughout the day. Frame a few of your favorite photos to sit on your desk or hang on the wall. Add life to the workspace with a small plant or terrarium. Even a pop of color or a few cherished knickknacks can bring a bit of whimsy to your home office and give it your own personal touch.

    If you work from home, it’s important to create a space that helps you separate the job from your personal life. This quick guide to creating a home office provides some easy tips for making your workspace both functional and fun.

    4 Tips to Prep for Summer and Semestral School Breaks

    Summer and semestral school breaks are exciting times for kids and parents. From summer vacations to holiday activities, this is a time for families to bond and to relax from the stress of the year. However, these breaks can also be stressful for parents, who want to keep their kids healthy and entertained without the structure that school provides. Follow these four steps to prepare for the upcoming school break.

    Look for Day Camps and Clubs to Join

    You don’t have to send your kids to sleep-away camp every year so they can have a fun time during the summer. There are plenty of nearby and affordable day camps like Kids Camp At The Farm to choose from if you know where to look. Check out your local library or park center to see if it offers camps and activities for kids during the break. For older kids, look for camps that match their hobbies and interests. 

    Some organizations also offer day camps during the semestral break, which can be a lifesaver for parents who need to go to work and don’t want to leave their kids home alone throughout the day.

    Feeding goats at Kids Camp at The Farm
    Photo courtesy of MAD Travel

    Set Up a Mud Room for Your Kids and Their Friends

    Both summer and the “ber” months create times for mud and water in your home. From kids running in from a rainstorm to home visitors tracking in snow from outside. Set up a makeshift mudroom in your home for shoes, coats, and umbrellas that people can leave as soon as they walk in. This limits the spread of mud and keeps your home clean longer. 

    Your kids can have their friends over and run through the house without your worrying about ruining the carpet or couch.

    Identify Age-Appropriate Chores for Their Daily Routines

    Summer is a great time to teach kids new skills. While they’re playing with friends and going to camp, they can also learn new chores and help around the house. There are multiple guides for what chores children should be able to do at certain ages. Your 6-year-old can learn to put laundry away and clean up the sink, while your 15-year-old can mow the lawn and prepare the occasional family meal. 

    Summer and winter breaks are a great time to teach them these skills, as they have more time to learn how to do them effectively. 

    Improve the Indoor Air Quality of Your Home

    Summer rains and winter chills can keep kids inside, which means they could have asthma or allergy flare-ups if the air in your home isn’t clean. Along with replacing your air filter monthly, schedule seasonal maintenance for your HVAC system before the weather gets severe — typically in the spring and fall. Your HVAC technician may be able to recommend some options to filter out dust and dirt while reducing the humidity in your home.

    These steps can keep your indoor air clean and decrease the chances that your kids will spend their school breaks at the doctor with sinus and breathing problems.  

    School breaks are exciting for kids but can be a stressful time for parents. Make sure you focus on the fun parts of the school holiday by following these steps and keeping your kids happy!

    How to save money Pinoy style

    3 Money-Saving Tips for Moms

    Having a family is a wonderful thing, but unexpected bills are not. Unfortunately, it
    seems that you’re going to get a bill for a school activity, a car that breaks down and needs repair, or a medical bill when you least expect it. And getting another job to pay for all of these things isn’t in the cards for various reasons.

    That means you’re left looking for money from your budget. Following are some money saving tips for moms to help you get more out of your budget and build a buffer for those times when things are tight.

    Start Clipping Coupons

    Some people view the use of coupons as being cheap and for those who can’t afford more. The truth of the matter is, retailers and manufacturers put those coupons out to encourage you to buy a product. And if you already buy a specific product regularly, a coupon is free money. Using a coupon means the amount you save stays in your wallet instead of going towards the purchase.

    If you want to go further, you can take the money you save with a coupon out of your wallet and put it in a jar. That way you can see the money you’re saving and have it at the ready when there’s an emergency.

    I get a lot of discount coupons when I go grocery shopping. Robinson’s Supermarket, for instance, gives out coupons that you can use when you shop with them again. Even if it’s just a P50 off coupon, that’s still P50!

    Money saving tips for moms

    Schedule Regular Maintenance for Appliances

    Appliances and HVAC units can break down when you can least afford it. The good news is that you can avoid such an incident by scheduling regular maintenance for your HVAC system and home appliances. The benefit of regular maintenance comes in the form of finding problems when they’re small and preventing them from becoming bigger ones. For example, a bad bearing on the shaft of a fan remains a minor problem and is an inexpensive repair. Your HVAC specialist finding the problem and repairing it early helps you avoid having to shell out more money when times are tight.

    The same goes for your other appliances. These are items that are in frequent use and are designed to take the wear and tear. But you can get more life out of them if you get them checked out regularly.

    Shop Second-Hand

    Kids are notorious for outgrowing their clothes faster than they can wear them out. Used clothing stores that focus on selling second-hand children’s clothes are an excellent resource for parents looking to save money. No one is going to notice that your kids aren’t dressed in the latest fashions because there’s very little change in terms of the latest fashions for kids up until a certain age. And when kids get to the age where they start caring about their clothes, you can still shop second-hand for things they need for their activities and keep on saving money.

    Another place moms can look for stylish preloved clothes is Forth Co, which is an online platform for sustainable fashion selections.

    These are some of the ways moms can save money for their families and have something left over for a rainy day. It can be time-consuming, so enlist your family and turn the act of saving money into a game they can participate in.

    Ten Cents to Heaven for Kids

    Keep Your Family Healthy This Summer With These 5 Tips

    How to keep your family healthy this summer |

    Summer is here, the sun is out, and it’s time to leave the house! You may be tempted to go out for ice cream, soak up the rays, or chow down on some hot dogs, but try a healthier approach this time around. Enjoy the best of the activities with the family while staying healthy by using these simple tips.

    BBQ the Healthy Way

    We love to pile our plates with high-calorie foods; it’s not the best approach to staying healthy. An excellent way to take advantage of the grilling activities while the family stays happy is by grilling vegetables. Veggies remain tender on the inside with a charred, smoky exterior that is to die for; use tin foil or brush the grill with some olive oil and use eggplant or squash. Use the leftovers for a quick side dish during the week. For dessert, you ask? Try your hand at grilling peaches with honey cream.

    Go to the Pool

    Why stay indoors when a refreshing and relaxing day awaits outside? Go for a swim with the family and try new games rather than the old favorites like Marco Polo. Make a game out of swimming and race against each other. Try harder strokes like the butterfly or backstroke for an extra workout and tone those arms while you’re at it.

    Go on a Picnic

    Make some quick brown bag lunches and set up a picnic blanket at the beach or lake. Bring a soccer ball or play volleyball, the possibilities for a fun family work-out are endless. Rent a canoe or a kayak for some extra strenuous activity. By the time you get home, everyone will be tuckered out and ready for bed, so you’re free to enjoy the rest of the night with a glass of wine or two!

    Keep the Inside Cool

    Some days the weather can be too hot to handle, especially during summer heatwaves. Stay indoors for some relaxation and make it fun; build forts and try out new crafts. Make sure the air conditioning is crisp so it’s enjoyable indoors. 

    It’s essential to upkeep and maintain the HVAC system as a dirty filter slows down the airflow, forcing your HVAC system to work much harder to maintain the proper temperature and save energy. Learn how to change a filter to prevent airborne particulates from entering the HVAC equipment and your living space so the air quality is clean and allergens don’t disturb the family while indoors.

    Stay Safe Outdoors

    If you’re not careful, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. Make sure to stay hydrated! It sounds simple, but it’s crucial to drink plenty of water as prolonged heat causes dehydration. 

    Slather on a high SPF sunscreen and continue to reapply throughout the day about every two hours and more frequently if the activity involves water. It’s important to wear SPF even when the day is cloudy because the sun’s rays are still there. Keep the family safe and prevent wrinkles at the same time. Sun damage is the leading cause of aging so keep those wrinkles at bay.

    As the kids grow, it’s fun to have lasting memories of summer spent with the family. Grow together with stories to share and learn healthy habits on the way.