In a few weeks’ time, Jolina Magdangal will give birth to her second child, with husband, Mark Escueta. It will be a girl, and the couple plans to name her Vika Anaya. It's a baby this family has long planned and waited for.
As early as the first quarter of 2017, Jolina and Mark planned to have another baby as a sibling to their firstborn, Pele Iñigo, who was born in February 2014. But they put their baby plans on hold when Jolina was offered to star in a movie. The project was eventually shelved, so Mr. and Mrs. Escueta decided to go full steam ahead with Baby Number 2.
In an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Jolina recalled she began to monitor her period using an ovulation app and fertility tracker. She also prepared herself by eating like she already had a baby in her tummy.
“Kain lang ako nang kain,” she says during the photo shoot for YES! magazine’s feature on her and her Magandang Buhay talk show co-hosts, Karla Estrada and Melai Cantiveros. That feature is in the publication’s May 2018 issue. (Smart Parenting and YES! are both published by Summit Media.)
“Kahit madaming bumabati na, ‘Oy, ha, medyo lumalaki ka!’ Okay lang. Sa loob ko lang at sa pakiramdam ko lang, may laman na, eh. Pero hindi pa ako sure.”
On September 28, 2017, the actress/singer/TV host experienced what she thought was her period. It puzzled her because the menstrual bleeding was light, and it stopped two days later. Convinced she was already pregnant, Jolina consulted her ob-gyn, who, in turn, advised her to wait for one week before jumping into conclusion. Seven days later, she took a home pregnancy test and noticed that there was a faint second line. She again turned to her doctor, who told her anew to wait for two weeks to get a clear answer.
“Pero kumuha pa ’ko ng pregnancy test,” Jolina admits. “Ako lang muna. Di ko sinasabi kay Mark kasi gusto ko rin siyang sorpresahin. No’ng kinuha ko, walang lumabas na second line. Sabi ko, ‘Ah, wala na, ’to.’ Pero hindi ko muna ’tinapon kasi baka makita ng asawa ko sa basurahan. ’Tinago ko lang do’n sa parang drawer.
“After three hours, sabi ko, ’Tignan ko nga ulit.’ Pag kita ko, ’yon na nga, parang may stain na second line, pero very, very, very light. Pero no’ng sinabi na ng doctor na 'pag two weeks, may dumi — tawag nila do’n, dumi — may dumi na ’yan na second line, ’yon na ’yon! ’Yong hormones lang kaya hindi nagiging clear. At saka ko na nag-surprise kay Mark.”
Jolina reveals her first pregnancy was so much easier than the second. She only had spotting in her first trimester, and it was due to cervical polyps. Now, she has had on-and-off spotting the whole time, as well as morning sickness, vomiting, and acid reflux. She has a smaller tummy, but the baby girl inside is more “malikot.”
“Sabi nga nila, iba ang aura ko ngayon, pero mas nahihirapan ako,” she says. “Konting kibot, kailangan nakaupo ako kasi parang nasusuka ako. Alam mo ’yong feeling na parang nawawalan ako ng oxygen? ’Tapos ’yong hilo ko pa, parang namamanhid ’yong legs. Kaya medyo nakahiga lang. Pag walang ginagawa, higa lang.”
Jolina has avoided outdoor activities, so she doesn’t join the cast of Magandang Buhay in out-of-town tapings, and she doesn't do her usual walking exercises.
When it comes to her food cravings though the actress flashes a toothy grin in response. “Di ko nga alam kung paglilihi ba ’yon kasi ang dami kong gusto,” she replies. “Basta pag may nagustuhan ako, tatagal ’yon ng two weeks. Puro ’yon ang gusto ko, ’tapos iba na naman. Halimbawa, champorado kasi gusto ko ’yong powdered milk. ’Tapos, mais…Hanggang ngayon, may mga ganyan akong cravings kaya medyo mahirap din kasi nagmo-monitor ako every day ng sugar ko.”
The smile on her face gets bigger when the topic shifts to how she and her husband are preparing their panganay to become a kuya. She happily reports that Pele is so ready for his new role in the family. It helps that she’s been talking to the boy about having younger siblings since 2016.
“No’ng una, ayaw niya,” she says. “Kasi akala niya, siya ulit ’yong papasok sa loob ng tiyan ko. So no’ng sinabi ko na finally another baby, biglang okay na siya. Gusto niya talaga girl.”
Jolina is likewise preparing herself to undergo Cesarean section for Baby Vika Anaya’s arrival. She explains that she has a very narrow pelvis, which puts a normal delivery out of the question. Pele, for instance, only weighed 6.5 lbs at birth “pero 'di nagkasya,” so she had a C-section delivery had to be performed.
Jolina is looking forward to breastfeeding her baby girl, which she did for Pele for two-and-a-half years. She loves breastfeeding so much that she enjoys going to seminars on the topic, even those geared towards moms of twins. She just wants to take in as much info as possible. She has also turned down offers to endorse baby formula brands because of her advocacy. For Baby Vika, she hopes to breastfeed her for three years.
The mother of one boy and a girl-on-the-way remembers her breastfeeding experience with wonderment: “’Yong iba kasi grabe talaga. Ako, nagsingaw pero pikit-mata, ’tapos umiiyak talaga ako. Masakit talaga. Nagpa-talk ako ng lactation consultant sa bahay kasi parang, ‘May mali ba? Ang sakit, e!’ Parang kina-cutter ’yong katawan. Pag sanay na sanay ka na, magka-clogged ducts naman, di ba? ‘Yong mastitis. Sabi ko, ‘Ano ba ’to? Ganito ba talaga katigas? Ang sakit!’ Nilalagnat na ’ko, lahat. Ewan ko kung pa’no ko nakaya. Pero later on, naging hobby ko siya.”
To make sure that she was able to give breast milk to Pele at that time, Jolina had her baby with her even while she was taping for a soap opera and she requested to have a crib in her dressing room. She’s just thankful that co-hosting Magandang Buhay is not as time-consuming and emotionally draining as co-starring in a soap opera. After Baby Vika Anaya arrives, Jolina hopes to have more babies —ideally, five in total but three would be perfectly fine — except age is catching up on her.
“Medyo nasa line of four na din kasi ako kaya siguro, malamang mas maselan ’yon,” she points out. “Baka naka-bed rest na ’ko nang bongga.”