Youngest Passenger

Steve and I were getting excited as we were nearing the birth of Joshua. I was finishing up work, getting the baby bag ready for the hospital, getting ready for my family to arrive from Iloilo and Manila… Lots of exciting stuff were happening.

Suddenly, about a week before Joshua’s delivery, we got news that my father-in-law got confined in the hospital. This time around it was serious. My father-in-law who we all fondly call “dad” is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Our joy about Joshua’s arrival felt sort of bitter sweet. We were expecting our first baby, and at the same time we knew that dad would have very little time with all of us.

Steve would be tearing in the room and really felt sad about this. I found myself crying too because dad prayed for this little one. He looked forward to meet Joshua. He was so excited for us to have our own family. I remember I would get calls from dad checking on my pregnancy and asking I give birth in Manila. But we stuck our guns on giving birth in Gensan because I was not ready to be apart from Steve on my last trimester. My husband works in Sarangani and to give birth in Manila it meant on my 30th week I have to be based in Manila. So we decided Gensan would be the best option.

With that decision, the natural consequence was for us to stay in the province for Christmas and rejoin my husband’s family after Christmas. Although in my heart, I prayed to God to allow us to spend Christmas in Manila. This was the Christmas that my husband’s siblings who lived abroad would come home as well. All the more I desired for Steve and the newest member of the family to be together with the rest during the holidays.

After the delivery and bringing home the baby, I began checking the airlines and found that the youngest traveler should be at least 16 days old. Any younger than that the airlines refrained a child from traveling. I began counting, 16 days old meant after Christmas. I began to pray and claimed God will permit us to go before that.

I tried my luck booking tickets for us and the airlines were really strict about the age. So I called a friend who worked in the airline and ask if we can be given an exception. After explaining to her in tears that we needed to show our little one to dad. She still told me that rules are rules and there would repercussions flying a baby that early. Nonetheless she would try to ask. I was asked to draft a letter stating our concern to the head of their medical services unit. I continued to pray and believe God would do something as I drafted a letter pleading the allowance of our newborn to take the flight. However, I also trusted that if God will not allow us to go, we would stay in the province and it would still be good for us.

After sending the letter, I spoke to my friend and thanked her for helping. I also told her I was willing to submit to the result of the request whether it was negative or positive.

In about a couple hours I received a call giving us a go signal to book our flight and to fly with us a doctor or nurse as an insurance in case we may have complications with the baby on flight. The very next day, Joshua’s 10th day from birth, he became the youngest passenger on that flight. My heart was overjoyed and moments on that flight my eyes were flooded with tears for God has once again answered our prayers. Joshua was such a good boy and a very quiet baby on that flight.

When we got to manila we sneaked the baby in the hospital. It would be the first time for Joshua and his grandfather to meet. When they finally did, there was not a dry eye in that hospital room. It was a blessed day for the family.

Looking back that December we celebrated my son’s very first Christmas and it was his grandfather’s last. Trully, God’s timing for everything is perfect and we feel blessed and favored to have this quality time as a family.

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Finding Yaya

Living in the Philippines makes raising a child much easier compared to very developed countries. I say that because Filipinos are naturally family centered people. You can easily rely on your family for support in raising your children, or find people willing to work as helper in your home.

When I was on my 7th month of pregnancy, I was searching for someone who was willing to become my baby’s nanny. My friends tried to help introduce me to candidates who may qualify. Either the applicants felt intimidated, or they were too demanding. I prayed to God to show me who he will send.

It was not long, I was on my 8th month and I still did not find anyone willing. So, I continued to pray. The Lord gave my husband wisdom to talk to the to ladies who currently worked as our housekeepers that he will make them temporary nannies until we find the “one”.

I then asked my husband to help me find a care giver who could teach the housekeepers about newborn care. We were lucky, because one of Steve’s project managers has a wife who took a care giver course and worked abroad as a nanny. She also happens to be enrolled as a undergrad for Education. In other words, she was willing to teach. So we created a mini curriculum that included – personal hygiene and grooming, newborn care on child handling, bathing, diaper change, feeding, sterilizing bottles and first aid care.

I watched the girls attend their 2 hour sessions for 5 days with Teacher Gladys. We bought a doll and had props for them to practice on. I hear giggles and recitation of the pointers found in their notes. They were having fun.

Among them, we had to choose just one. So to help us in the shortlist, we had everyone checked for hepatitis and TB. I wanted to make sure that the nanny was in the pink of health so the baby will not be infected with any of those contagious diseases.

After the test, we picked the housekeeper who did well in the course. She is smart but scared to hold a newborn. We believed she would be able to overcome that when the baby comes. Also since all the housekeepers took the mini course, any of them now would know the basics of caring for the baby.

When the day I got checked in the hospital our new nanny came to assist. However as I was needing care from the cesarean section operation, I really felt her struggle. I began to see that her strength was more on administrative assignments and caring was not hers. I was slightly worried because if she struggled with me, she would struggle more with the baby. She was honest with us that she was scared holding a frail newborn. I’m so happy my hubby saw this as well and decided to give the nanny position to someone else.

How did we know who to choose? Among all the housekeepers, she was the one that smiled the most when they first saw our baby. Her smile was not just on her mouth it could even be seen through her eyes. She had like an instant connection with my newborn son. I began to realize she was the one The Lord sent. She was not the first choice, but she is God’s choice for us. Her name is endeared and known to my baby as “Yaya Jovy”.

I am a first time mom, and Jovy also a first time nanny. My husband decided to get a midwife to teach us how to care for the baby under a schedule. She came in 8 hrs a day for a week. I thought that was the most valuable investment because it completed the theoretical portion of Jovy’s crash course.

I took to heart what my friend, Anna said. She advised, “You can always teach your nanny things, but what is important is that the nanny LOVES your child.” That is true because love nurtures. I see that with Yaya Jovy, she enjoys and is patient with my little one .

Today, Jovy and Joshua have a wonderful relationship. Most of all, Jovy is obedient she has adjusted to my style of caring. I have learned to have an open heart and to wait for God to reveal the answer to prayers. Initially Jovy was not our first choice, but she ended up to be the “one” that we were praying for.

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Personal Picks – Mamy Poko

One of the things you stock up with before the baby comes are diapers. The moment you room in with your baby, diapers become your accountability. I had to ask what to buy from family and friends.

It was my cousin Paolo and his wife Michelle who gave me advise. Paolo, who is pretty hands on with his son, guarantees a diaper that can absorb his baby’s wetness all throughout the night… “Try Mamy Poko”. When I first heard it, I was not sure. I never heard of Mamy Poko before. I know Huggies, Drypers, Pampers, EQ… (Ok that’s all the brands I know)… But “mommy what was that again?”

So off I go to purchase a Mamy Poko newborn diaper pack. It’s more costly than most diapers (up to 2 times more in price). It is a Japanese brand made in Indonesia.

As I tried it, Paolo was true to his word. The Mamy Poko is super absorbent. It can absorb wetness maybe approximately up to three pees or 30 ml of urine. It keeps the baby’s bottom dry keeping it from diaper rash too. I also like its reattachable tape so you can check wetness and reuse when necessary.

You may think its quite expensive (about P12.85/pc) but in my experience I change diapers more often with the other brands. Effectively, it will come out the same rate but with less changes using the Mamy Poko. There are also other options to make diapers “price-friendly” to our pockets. You can buy other brands and use it for day time and use the Mamy Poko at night. I can now attest that when Josh uses his Mamy Poko at 830pm, the next diaper change will be at 3 am. That is 7 hours leak protection and absorption making it easier for me to sleep longer too.

Oh, another thing! Don’t over stock on diapers… Babies grow faster than we think. They soon outgrow the size. Josh outgrew the newborn diapers before he hit 2 months! If your baby gains weight at a healthy pace, then purchase diapers as you need. You would not want to have a stock of diapers that you cannot use!

I’m really happy with Mamy Poko. With the other brands, I get so frustrated because they leak and does not have the super absorption of Mamy Poko. With other brands diaper change means a total wardrobe change! It can be time consuming, more detergent for soiled clothes, and more diapers! So for me I pick Mamy Poko– less diaper change, less leaks, and less stress!

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