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Transparency Thursdays

Miguel and I received the best news of our life — we were going to have a baby. I already saw it coming. Even before taking the home pregnancy test, I was having the pregnancy symptoms.. I was days late, fatigued, sleepy, nauseated, etc. But getting a faint double line still left me shocked — happily shocked. Happily shocked that I had to take the test twice in a public bathroom right before work.

There comes a moment in your life when something so tiny can redefine your life in an instant. That was mine. I was overjoyed in tears probably looking crazy among all the zombies in line to the bus so early in the morning. Suddenly, life lit up a clear direction on my path that went on endlessly full of possibilities. “I’m having a baby. We’re having a baby.” I knew this piece of information was still uncertain. I knew about superstitions of not telling anyone at this stage. But when you’re overjoyed, you just had to share it with someone. I sent Miguel a photo of the tests. “What’s this?!? Are you suuuuuuree????” He called and we just both laughed.

Triumph. It was a moment of life’s triumph overcoming death. The leaving of offspring, your offspring. The carrying on of other versions of you. I read them in books, heard them in songs, learned them in school and witnessed them in other people’s lives. But it was happening to us now. We were not on the sidelines watching others’ experiences anymore. We were experiencing it for ourselves. I could go on romanticizing and raving philosophical whatnots, turning into a complete nutcase…but anyway..

Life went on. Work went on. But work went on differently. After my 4pm shift, I told my husband that I just did my first show with ‘her’. It felt great. For once after a very long time, "When You Wish Upon A Star" felt real again. If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme..When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do.. I felt every word, held on to every note, breathed into every line imagining it was somehow shaping her inside me. I’d whisper things to her during my quick changes and crossovers. I supported myself carefully in each jump and each lift.

November 11, 2014. The doctor gave us my expected delivery date. She was going to be a Scorpio. It was still too early as I was five and a half weeks into pregnancy but I knew the baby was going to be a girl. Miguel and I thought of possible names for a girl or a boy. We imagined what life would be like — moving into a two bedroom flat, who was going to get up to change diapers in the middle of the night, getting a good nanny, surveying the nursery schools around our area.

Doctor came back with my blood test results confirming I was, indeed, pregnant. My HCG or pregnancy hormone was on the low side though. I had to take another test to see if my hormones were growing fast enough to meet the level required at 5 1/2 going on 6th week. We were first time parents and we were just learning about the nitty gritty part of the first trimester in pregnancy. I was put on bed rest, no lifting, no physical activity.

We were so scared that the idea of not having this baby was possible but not welcomed at all. We started looking for comfort online from women who had low pregnancy hormones but who were still able to proceed with a healthy pregnancy. One woman even had a lower number that grew exponentially in a matter of days and went on to having a baby. We held on to these stories and hoped that it could happen to us too.

Second results came back. My HCG dropped. My OB Gyne confirmed the pregnancy was not going to proceed. I would bleed soon and eventually the body would just naturally flush out the failed pregnancy. And I did. He said that it was not uncommon and that 1 out of 5 women experience miscarriage. It didn’t seem like it..but only because many choose not to talk about it.

Miguel and I both cried. It was our first ever positive pregnancy test and we took it several times just because we always saw that second line. I cried because I felt as if my life was just starting. I cried because I felt so alone and I wish we were home with our families who were just as excited as we were and who would just be there. I cried because the first thing I did when I learned that I was pregnant was to let my boss know and my colleagues know because they will be doing more shows to cover for me. I cried because they also shared my joy. But most of all, I cried because we will never get to know our baby. I told Miguel that while I was waiting at the clinic one morning, I saw a mom with a baby. I knew right away what our baby would smell like in the morning or how her head would feel like resting on my shoulder.

I often wonder these days why it had to happen this way. Why give so much hope only to be taken away so quickly. This happened to us and tragic as it may be.. I do not want to be afraid to try again.

To my dear little stardust, you are never forgotten. You belonged to us even just for a short while. Thank you for giving us so much hope and life. You will always be my favorite “what if”.

"If happy little blue birds fly
Beyond the rainbow why oh why can’t I?”

- Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Temple Run at Siem Reap, Cambodia

Once in a while, I crave to go to a place that makes me feel like a tiny speck in the vast universe; to completely disconnect from the familiar and immerse in an environment that makes me feel foreign and insignificant.

We packed our bags and flew to Siem Reap. The first order of business was to witness the sunrise in Angkor Wat. Although the atmosphere was quite hazy…it was still a sight to behold and a dramatic way of seeing the majestic ruins for the first time.

Forgive me for the long post. I was so excited to finally try out my Leica.

I’ve been doodling on tissue boxes at the tech office in between shows. The tech people have been very supportive -  giving me more things to draw on and more pens. So, To, gave me his pair of chucks and markers. I just finished these today in between my shows….to keep me sane. :P

I’ve been doodling on tissue boxes at the tech office in between shows. The tech people have been very supportive - giving me more things to draw on and more pens. So, To, gave me his pair of chucks and markers. I just finished these today in between my shows….to keep me sane. :P

Bali High

Bali Ha’i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you’ll hear it call you:
“Come away…Come away.”

Miguel and I spent three days in paradise that is Bali. Although it was too brief a vacation, Bali provided me a comforting sense of home that I also find in Manila — the warmth of the sun and the familiar humid atmosphere.

The highlight of our trip was going to a traditional medicine man. Our guide, Nyoman, brought us to the home or puri of Tjokorda Rai. Tjokorda Rai, who also happened to be the grandson of the last king of Ubud, was a prominent healer in the area. He was probably in his 80s and carried a stick which he used to check pressure points of my vital organs. He gave me and Miguel diagnosis which of course I shall not disclose here. But it was very reassuring.

He also performed mudra on me which was a ritual gesture for influencing energies in my body. I am not kidding when I say there was instant relief and feeling of clarity and serenity after my Tjokorda Rai experience.

These photos were taken around his puri

Nyoman brought us to Ubud’s famous coffee place — Luwak coffee. Luwak, a civet, ingests coffee beans and excretes the beans. The people gather the excreted beans, clean them, process them, cook them and then grind them. In other words, cat’s poop is turned into coffee. Not bad.

Luwak is a nocturnal animal. This one right here was wide awake.

Miguel making coffee

Me cooking the coffee beans

A total of 16 different cups of coffee and teas and a cup of Luwak coffee

a Batik chicken

We stayed at Furama Villas and Spa in Ubud. Beautiful place.

We ended our vacation with a Balinese barbecue dinner in our villa complete with candles, flowers and a traditional rindik serenade.

Bali Ha’i will whisper
On the wind of the sea:
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!”