Last July 18, actress Maricar de Mesa gave birth by cesarean section to a baby girl, whom she has named Sky. Just three days before, a baby shower was held for the 37-year-old actress, which was attended by her family members, close friends, and a few members of the media.
Maricar was glowing in her two-tone blue halter dress and hot pink studded flats as she entertained her guests who turned up at Mom & Tina’s Bakery Café in Pasig City in the afternoon of July 15. At the time, Maricar knew her delivery date to be “any time after August third or three to four weeks” from that day of the baby shower organized by the people behind the Aprica brand of baby strollers.
Maricar added that she told her mother, “'Mom, kung bibigyan niyo pa ako ng shower, huwag niyo na ilampas after next week, baka di ko na kaya.' Kaya medyo umuupo na ako kasi medyo nagko-contract,” she explained to this writer at the party. “Medyo naninigas siya. Huwag daw ako masyado malikot. Eh, malikot ako. I like to move a lot.”
Maricar also thought that she would have a normal delivery. “Huwag lang lumaki pa nang sobra-sobra,” she pointed out. “So advice ng doctor ko, cut down na rin ako ng mga sweets.” Looking at the cakes and pastries on display at the venue, she sighed, “Pigil na pigil na nga ako, eh!”
She was careful not to develop gestational diabetes. “Pero negative naman yung mga test ko last week,” she beamed. “’Yon lang, sabi niya [her doctor], ‘Huwag mo lang palakihin [ang tummy] para you can do normal delivery, unless you go for cesarean.' Kaya lang pag cesarean, ’yong recovery, mas matagal.”
Maricar felt confident then that she would have a normal delivery because she said the baby was already in the best position.“’Yong last ko na ultrasound, naka-position siya,” she said, smiling.
ANSWERED PRAYER Maricar remembers finding out she was on the family way on December 23, so she considers her pregnancy -- her first -- an early Christmas gift. “I think I was six weeks na at that time,” she related. “Five or six? Kasi delayed [ang period ko]. I know I’m regular but then hindi ako nakapag-check-up ’cause we left the country. Bumalik ako, December 21 na. So I just got the result, [December] 23. So sabi ko, ‘No wonder I was feeling so different.’”
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Needless to say, she was over the moon with the news. “I’ve been waiting for this one. I’ve been really wanting to have a baby,” she said.
Maricar’s seven-year marriage to her ex-husband, former professional basketball player Don Allado, did not bear a child. She filed for annulment after they parted ways sometime in 2014, and her petition was granted in January 2017 -- about a month after she discovered she was pregnant.
She found love again in a man she described simply as not from show business and is based in the U.S. They have been in a relationship for two years before the arrival of their newborn daughter Sky.
A satisfied smile appeared on Maricar's lovely face as she looked back on her annulled marriage. “I’m pretty sure it’s God’s design na hindi kami nagkaanak,” she said in reflection. “Kasi imagine kung nagka-anak kami and then we got separated din pala. Kawawa din yung bata, di ba?
“We tried different procedures pa. At that time, we were open about it, anyway. Wala, imagine with the help of science na, ayaw pa din? ’Yon nga, sabi talaga ng mom ko na God’s way ’yan of saying na di kayo meant for each other.”
She admitted, though, that her self-confidence suffered when she couldn’t conceive. “I had doubts, sabi ko, ‘Oh my God! Di na yata ako magiging mother. Partner na lang ata ako forever.’”
“Pero alam mo,” she added, “’Yong lahat ng ’yon, nawala completely when I learned I was pregnant. Sobrang perfect timing nga, eh. God’s timing is perfect talaga.”
EASY PREGNANCY Maricar noted that while she struggled to get pregnant, she didn’t have much difficulty being pregnant. “Ang smooth,” she said of how she went through with her first pregnancy. “Kasi I have friends, sila Tanya Garcia, bedridden sila with their first baby. Pinapunta ako sa bahay niyan talagang higa lang ’yan kahit pupunta lang ng restroom, hirap. I’m lucky naka-travel pa nga ako. Nagta-travel pa ako hanggang seven months. I came back kasi mag-se-seven and-a-half na ako.”
She attributes her easy pregnancy to being fit and having an active lifestyle. “I’m really lucky na for my age, bilang sabi nga ng doctor na high-risk na ako. Sabi niya, ‘It’s very good that you were active before your pregnancy, kaya ganyan ka ngayon.’”
Maricar’s fitness routine during her pregnancy included pre-natal yoga, treadmill exercises, and walking. She also introduced a few changes in her lifestyle, particularly her social life. “Dati mayaya ka lang, dinner hanggang gabi na puyat, ngayon, di ko na kaya. I get tired easily. I go home early. Mag-dinner na lang ako. I’m careful with what I eat na kasi malapit na rin siya and I’m having acid reflux so mas naging careful ako.”
As for challenges in her pregnancy, Maricar says she started having some difficulties in her third trimester. “Ang bigat na nga pati ’yong paghiga sa kama, hirap na ako,” she pointed out. “Sabi ko, ‘Ay, ganito pala ’yong feeling ng buntis. Kasi the first few months siyempre magaan pa, di ka pa masyadong makaka-feel ng bigat.”
The last few days before her delivery proved to be the most difficult. At some point, she was hospitalized because she was having bouts of acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, and dehydration. She was put on a soft diet, and she ate mostly lugaw.
TIPS FOR THOSE HAVING DIFFICULTY CONCEIVING “Number one, mahirap kasi sabihin na ‘Don’t be under pressure” if you’re under pressure. Pero ito, totoo: relax. Actually we [my partner and I] were discussing this last year na kung hindi ako mabubuntis, maybe we’ll see a doctor for workups pero parang last year sabi ko, ‘Ay, bahala na.” Gano’n. Let go. Just relax. Don’t really think about it.
“Number two, stay healthy. Di lang physically but also emotionally and mentally.
“And then number three, enjoy. When this happened, I was just vacationing. I was just in the States. Wala naman akong ginagawa. Pag-uwi ko, ito, pregnant.”