Ate Bea

Bea has quickly gotten used to having a sibling.

While we were in hospital, Bea stayed at my parents’ house. I decided that it would be best for her not to visit, because she could catch whatever sickness if she did. So she and my mom fetched me and Paco from the hospital on the day we were discharged. I didn’t want her to come home to find a strange baby in the house, although we prepped her months before. Julio and his mom rode in another car. I was sitting on a wheelchair by the hospital driveway, holding Paco in my arms, and suddenly there she was, standing a few feet away from me. I’ll never forget the look on her face. She was incredibly excited to see me, but she was apprehensive about the little bundle in my arms. Her Manang Gina brought her closer and I hugged her as best I could and told her I missed her. Then I introduced her to Paco. In the car, she sat on my lap and Gina held Paco. Bea was curious but didn’t want to come any closer. When we got home, she asked to hold him so I made her sit on the couch hold out her arms, and put Paco in her lap. After less than a minute, she asked, “Can you get him na?”

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Bea loves to nuzzle her little brother and always pulls on my arm when I’m holding him so I can bend over and she can rub her nose against his cheek or give him a kiss. She used to pinch her tummy while she drinks her milk but now she’s taken to rubbing either one of his fingers or one of his toes.

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We co-sleep (trying to move her to her big girl room is for another blog post!), and the first couple of nights after Paco came home were difficult for her. I was afraid it would go on that way for a while! The first night, I put a pillow between the two kids because I was afraid she would roll over him in her sleep. That was the least of my worries! Paco would wake up crying, wanting his milk, and Bea, not used to the noise, would also wake up but kicking and screaming. I had to tell her several times not to kick because she could accidentally kick Paco but in her sleepy and muddled state, she couldn’t/wouldn’t comprehend. Julio had to restrain her and she soon fell asleep again. So instead of nursing side-lying like I would have liked, I had to do it cradle-hold and hold Bea with my other hand to calm her down. The second night, the same thing happened but she kept kicking out so Julio picked her up and put her on the floor. That made her livid! She screamed louder and cried harder. I talked to her and told her if she was ready to stop kicking then she could come back up. Otherwise, she’d have to stay on the floor. After a while (it seemed like forever), she quieted down and climbed back on the bed. Since then, she and Julio have slept through Paco’s wails and I’m the only one who wakes up!

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Enrique Francisco Veloso

Baby Paco is 2 months old! Enrique Francisco Bengzon Veloso was born on September 10, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

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Julio and I went to the hospital the night before. The admitting process was an ordeal in itself! The waiting time was crazy. When we were finally brought to my room, they put an IV in. Let me tell you, it was not easy wheeling the dextrose to the bathroom every time I needed to pee!

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The next morning, the nurses prepped me for my c-section. In the OR, one of the nurses made me lay on my side and contort my body to expose my spine so the anesthesiologist could give me an epidural. When the anesthesia kicked in, so did my anxiety. They placed blankets on my torso and tied down my arms. Then I started to panic. I couldn’t feel anything below my chest but I knew the doctor was prodding and pulling. I suddenly felt claustrophobic – I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move my body, the blankets were too heavy and I was too warm. The nurse placed an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth and told me to inhale deeply. Soon after, I heard my baby cry. Then they showed him to me. It felt like one of those times when you order wine at a restaurant and the waiter brings you the bottle and pours you a teeny bit to taste. You take a sip and have no idea what it is you should be tasting but you nod and smile anyway and the waiter pours the wine for the rest of the party. When they brought Paco to me, I looked at him and smiled a little and said hello. Honestly, I don’t want to sound like a bad mother but I didn’t feel anything for the infant who was on my chest. I knew he was my son but there was no sudden outpouring of love for this child. It wasn’t instantaneous with Bea either.

They took Paco away to clean him up and check him before they brought him back to me to nurse him. The embarrassment of having my breasts exposed for the male nurse, who was holding Paco, to see was soon replaced by my coaxing Paco to latch on. I watched him as he suckled away, waiting for the emotions to hit me. We were both brought to the recovery room where I alternated between trying to move my toes and feeding him. I wanted to go back to my room, to my husband, and I knew that being able to wiggle my toes meant that the anesthesia was wearing off and they’d let me go. It was a while before I was finally brought to my room though. That night, I barely slept. Paco wanted to nurse every hour and the nurses kept coming in to check my temperature and blood pressure and Paco’s too. And that night, I wanted to give up breastfeeding. I didn’t have any trouble with Bea, but with Paco it was excruciating. We’ve kept at it though, and it’s now much, much easier. As I type this, he’s fast asleep in my arms but latched on and sucking intermittently. He still keeps me up at night, waking up almost every hour!

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Going back to my confession. I was very protective of Paco but I didn’t love him. Not yet, anyway. When I would look at him, there was no warming of my heart or feeling of tenderness towards him. About a week later, it just hit me. I was looking at him and all the emotions came out. Suddenly he turned from just a baby to MY baby boy. The space in my heart that I thought I had given all to Bea expanded to make room for Paco, and my love has multiplied to encompass them both. It’s amazing how that’s possible. And it’s absolutely wonderful to watch him grow and develop. He has started to respond with coos and smiles when we talk to him, and it makes me melt every time.

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