Kaye Abad was 34 when she married her fellow actor, Paul Jake Castillo, on December 9, 2016, in his hometown of Cebu City. Her biological clock was ticking, so, yes, there was pressure to get pregnant right away. When they failed in their initial attempts, she did a bit of research and read that bike racing could lower sperm count.
Kaye was concerned because her husband is a triathlete, who competes in swimming, cycling, and long-distance running. She asked Paul Jake, who turned 32 that December, to quit his bike training, just in case it was his sport that was affecting their chances to conceive.
The dutiful husband heeded his wife’s request. But Kaye still had a hard time conceiving. “Mas lalo akong na-pressure. Lagi s’yang magtanong every month, ‘Ano, meron ka?’ Pag sinabi ko, ‘Oo, nagkaroon ako,’ parang naiinip siya. Kasi gustong-gusto na n’yang mag-bike!” Kaye related while breaking into laughter.
We were chatting with Kaye during her gender-reveal party at the restaurant Paul Jake co-owns, Grillers Steak House, in Cebu City. Organized by the stroller brand Aprica, the party was attended by Manila-based reporters from print and digital publications, including this website. As Kaye continued her story, Paul Jake would chime in to give his insight or just to tease his wife.
Kaye recounted they finally relaxed about getting pregnant after her ob-gyn, Dr. Marivic Tan, advised them to take it easy. “Balik s’ya sa bike,” Kaye said of Paul Jake. “I guess, nawala ’yong pressure na gusto na naming magka-baby. Sabi n’ya, ‘Bahala na! Kung mabuntis ka, mabuntis ka.’ Kung hindi, by next year, dalhin na daw ako sa Singapore, pa-IVF [in vitro fertilization]. Gano’n n’ya kagusto [magka-baby].”
In late March or early April, Kaye suffered from vertigo, and she was taken to the hospital for treatment. The doctors suspected she might be pregnant. “So, nagpa-blood test sila, pati urine test, para alam nila kung ano’ng gamot ang ibigay if ever buntis nga. Negative. Dasal pa talaga ko. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, sana buntis lang ako kaya ganito.’ ’Tapos negative.”
Two weeks after Kaye was discharged from the hospital, the fertility app that she had installed on her phone reminded her that she should get her period soon. “Regular ako, sobrang on the dot, magkakaroon talaga ako,” she pointed out. “That time, parang four days na akong delayed. ’Tapos, sabi ng sisters n’ya [ni Paul Jake], ‘Ah, baka ano lang because of the medicines you took, nag-iba ang cycle mo.’ Minsan, gano’n daw ’yon. Nag-iiba s’ya. Sabi ko, okey, pero iba ’yong feeling ko. Kasi no signs talaga at all na magkakaroon ako [ng period].”
Curiosity, however, got the better of Kaye, so she bought two home pregnancy test kits from the drugstore. “Di ko sinabi [kay Paul Jake] kasi ayoko na ma-excite s’ya ’tapos malaman negative, biglang wala pala,” she explained. “Tinago ko. Di n’ya alam kung ano ang ginagawa ko. Biglang nag-positive pareho. Tinawag ko s’ya. Nanginginig ako. Not because takot ako. Nanginginig ako kasi, ‘Oh my God! Eto na ’yon!’ Tinawag ko s’ya. First reaction n’ya, happy, of course. Napa-yes! talaga s’ya.”
Kaye found out about her pregnancy in May, a month that was already extra special. She was born on May 17, the same date in 2016 when Paul Jake proposed marriage. “Kaya sabi ng Mommy ko, sobrang suwerte ko,” she beamed.
However, Kaye and Paul Jake remembered the meds she took to treat her vertigo. So, the next day, the mom-to-be had a checkup with her ob-gyn. “She asked the medicines I took in the hospital,” Kaye said. “Good thing, sabi n’ya, ’yong timetable na ’yon, placenta pa lang ’yan. And meron silang parang category ng medicines, parang A-B-C. I think, nasa B naman ’yong mga gamot. So, okey pa s’ya, safe pa s’ya.”
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Kaye's pregnancy hasn’t been "maselan" except for a few dizzy spells. She also had to cut down on sugar and carbs on her sixth month after a glucose test revealed she had elevated blood sugar.
Kaye couldn’t recall having any weird cravings. But Paul Jake said his wife at times asked for the Cebuano dish binignit—the equivalent of the ginataang bilo bilo. She’s glad that’s the only thing that came close to her lihi. “Buti na lang hindi s’ya ang pinaglihian ko,” she said of her better half. “Kasi sabi nila, ayaw mo ’yong amoy n’ya. Buti na lang kasi malamang, ako ang lilipat ng kuwarto. Hindi s’ya.”
During the press interview, Kaye laughed easily and often, and she was glowing. It belied how worried she can get, which she thinks is because of her age. “Hindi ko lang mapigilan na mag-isip kasi matanda na,” she said, shaking her head. “Hindi naman sobrang tanda. Hindi na s’ya twenties na ’yong iba, lakad lang nang lakad. Ngayon, sinabihan ako na ‘You really have to be careful lalo na first child.’ Kasi I guess, ’yong age ko nga.
“’Yon lang ang nagwo-worry ako parati na baka… Ang dami kong naririnig na mag-bleeding, mag-bed rest. ’Yong iba daw, nine months na bed rest para sa kapit ng baby. Di ba? ’Yon lang ang worry ko. But other than that, super excited, lalo na ngayon na malapit na. Actually, ngayon, halo. Excited and kinakabahan. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang i-expect ko. Sa palabas, ilang beses na akong naging nanay. Na-practice ko na talaga s’ya.”
At the gender-reveal party, Kaye and Paul Jake announced they were going to have a son. “Ako, happy ako kasi I really wanted a boy,” she beamed. “S’ya, gusto n’ya, girl. Kasi feeling n’ya, mas responsible pag girl.”
Kaye hasn't given birth yet, but she is already thinking of her next pregnancy, hoping the next baby will be a girl. Her husband wishes for two more kids. “Bitin daw ang dalawa, parang wala raw referee kung dalawa lang. Good luck! One down, two to go!”
The couple has a name for their forthcoming child, but they’d rather keep it a secret for the time being. “Hindi namin masabi kasi baka magbago pa, eh,” Kaye explained. “Parang sa kasal, eto ang dream wedding mo ’tapos pag nando’n na, iba na ’yong gusto mo.”
Kaye did reveal the baby will have a Spanish or Spanish-sounding name. “Spanish kasi Castillo s’ya, eh,” she pointed out. “Ang pangit naman kung American name ’tapos Castillo. Sabi ko, gusto ko ng John Lucas. Sabi n’ya, huwag kasi ang tatay ni Matteo, Gianluca. Eh Cebuano. ’Tapos ang magiging initials n’ya, JLC. Ako ang nakaisip. Oo nga, JLC. Baka sabihin ng mga tao, hindi pa ako maka-move on.”
JLC is the initials of actor John Lloyd Cruz, a former partner of Kaye both on-and-offscreen. They starred together in the hit teen drama series Tabing Ilog, which ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
Another name that Kaye fancies is Santiago. “Pero ’yon, we’ll see. We have something in mind already, but tignan natin kung matuloy.” Oh, and one’s thing for sure, according to Kaye, the baby will not be Paul Jake’s junior.
Meantime, Kaye is praying for a normal delivery. “Pero bahala na,” she grinned, knowing that Baby Boy Castillo may arrive via caesarean section, too. “Basta okey lahat, healthy—’yon lagi ang ’pinagpi-pray ko. Normal, walang complication, healthy ’yong baby.”