Editor's note: Less than a day after we published this story, we sadly report that Saab announced on her blog she lost one of the twins, her baby girl, last February 8. As of this writing, her baby boy is still in neonatal intensive care unit. Read our update here.
“Double the excitement and double the anxiety” is how Saab Magalona-Bacarro describes being pregnant with twins— a boy and a girl — who are due to arrive in April.
Saab, an actress and a blogger, and her husband Jim Bacarro, a musician and an entrepreneur, were in their mid-20s when they tied the knot on January 24, 2015. They didn’t exactly set a timetable for having kids and raising a family, but they wanted to spend time more time together as newlyweds. So when Saab found out in mid-2017 that she was pregnant, she and Jim got surprised but excited at the same time. And they were so amused to discover that they were going to have fraternal twins.
Having twins has been an inside joke since childhood among Saab and her siblings because their father, Francis Magalona, the late Pinoy rap music icon, had a brother and a sister who are twins.
“Lagi naming jino-joke ’yon when we were younger kasi nga may dad had twin siblings,” she said at her baby shower organized recently by the baby stroller brand Aprica. “And we know na it skips a generation, di ba? So one of us, siblings, will have twins. Pero, we never talked about it na as adults…”
“I just can’t imagine na there are two people inside me,” she added, in awe. “And wala lang, parang I just feel very blessed kasi it’s my first pregnancy, and I will already have two.”
Like any first-time mom, Saab has been anxious about carrying multiples, which is considered a high-risk. It was the reason she delayed announcing her pregnancy. She was wary of experiencing the so-called "vanishing twin syndrome." The disappearing act often occurs in the first trimester as result of a miscarriage of one twin caused by chromosomal abnormalities or implantation issues.
After Saab was assured that she had both babies in her womb, she made her pregnancy public. “Luckily, I think I have it easy kasi morning sickness ko, parang almost non-existent,” she said. “Ngayon lang sa third trimester, mabigat na and mahirap matulog. Masakit ang likod pero minimal lang naman. Medyo ingat lang ako kasi nga prone kaming twin-moms to have pre-term labor. I need to keep them inside me for as long as I can, so they would develop more.”
An amused smile appears on the mom-to-be’s glowing face when asked if she was also eating for three. “You just add a few more calories and because I’m carrying twins, pero not like [calories] for a full-grown human being. When I say I’m eating for three, it’s me, a grown woman, and two babies. And most of it naman is through the blood, so vitamins talaga ang importante.”
Saab said she didn't go through the paglilihi stage (she said she did eat a lot of pomelo). There were no cravings where she asked Jim to go out to find specific food items. What she did observe was “madali akong mainggit” of friends who post photos of food on social media.
Saab has been avoiding raw food and those that can raise her blood sugar. Her mother Pia Magalona has also warned her to stay away from Caesar’s salad. “Kasi may raw egg ’yon,” she explained. “And a lot of people don’t know na may raw egg pala ’yon. Di ba usually raw tuna ang bawal or raw meat?”
What Saab, who was advised by her doctor to stop working out since they found she was carrying twins, misses is the gym. She can’t wait to get back to her exercise routine, but that may take a while because it is highly likely she will deliver via Cesarean section.
“Tinanong ko kasi what’s more suitable for twins,” Saab explained, referring to her doctor. “He said mas safe daw for them kung Cesarean. Pero we’ll see, maybe if they’re both…Kasi di ba magkaiba ’yong position? Nag-iiba-iba. Some twins naman have been born normal na delivery. Pero ako, I’m thinking, parang I’m kind of 80 percent sure na caesarean. I think I’m okay with it. I have no experience at all, so I have nothing to compare it to.”
As she prepares for childbirth, Saab has finished setting up the nursery. “But I think the twins will stay in our room for a while. I’m still really trying to learn pa what kind of parent I’ll be kasi ang daming parenting styles, di ba?”
She mentioned a sleep training method that involves leaving the babies on their own and cry until they fall to sleep. “I think that’s a good thing, but I don’t know if I can do that,” she sighed. “Kasi siyempre it’s heartbreaking to hear your baby cry, di ba? Dalawa pa sila. And I know they will wake each other up.”
“So there are so many things pa to learn, and I think I’ll just wing it,” she admitted. “Sabi naman ng lahat ng nakausap kong parents, parang, wala. They didn’t have what we have now, and they all were able to do it out of instinct.
“And now, we have the Internet, so I can just Google for advice, although my doctor tells me to stop Googling. Kasi sabi niya, I will just get anxious about everything. So, pinipigilan na ako ni Jim na mag-Google masyado. But the bottom line is I ask my doctor before anything and I ask our parents.”
Saab welcomes parenthood with open arms. “I’m really just excited to learn more and be a good parent,” she beamed. “But also trying to keep in mind na parang I shouldn’t pressure myself to be, like, a perfect parent because I don’t think there is a perfect parent. But I just want to be someone my children would be proud of.”