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Aicelle Santos Prepares For Possible C-Section: 'My Baby Is Very Big'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Aprica and Nice Print Photography
  • When Aicelle Santos and Mark Zambrano got married on November 16, 2019, they planned for a delayed honeymoon around March to April 2020 in Japan. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

    “Nangyari pa rin naman ang honeymoon,” the singer and theater actress told SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview via Zoom. “Pero dito na lang sa bahay. Around that time siya nabuo.”

    Aicelle is pregnant with her and her husband’s first child. She says they didn’t really plan on starting a family right away or later on in their marriage. They simply believed “kung ibibigay, ibibigay.”

    The glowing preggo beams, “We’re just thankful na binigay ni Lord ngayon. Despite the pandemic, sa tingin namin, it’s very timely. Kasi natutukan ko si baby. Knowing myself, even if I’m pregnant, if there’s work, I will work. Gano’n ako.

    "But since there’s no work for us now, nasa bahay lang dapat, and high risk kami, so sabi siguro ni Lord, ‘D’yan ka sa bahay. Mag-alaga ka ng baby inside you.’”

    Prenatal checkups, weird food aversions

    Aicelle recalled missing her period in April. It was 5:30 in the morning, and she used her first morning urine when she took a home pregnancy test. The result was faint, pinkish lines. She tried again, and again for the third time until the two lines turned out bright red. She hurriedly woke up her husband to share the good news: “We’re positive!”

    The couple waited for about a month to have Aicelle’s first checkup because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that was in effect at the time.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aprica and Nice Print Photography

    What Aicelle remembers most about her first trimester are the “matinding nausea, vomiting” and specific food aversions. “Like ang kape sa ’kin, malansa. May mga weird akong naaamoy. May mga lasa akong ayaw. Like ’yong saging, parang lasa siyang palengke.”

    Her husband asked “‘Nakakain ka na ba ng palengke?’ [Sabi ko,] ‘Di ko alam. ’Yon ang lasa niya, eh.’”

    Pinaglihian ang asawa

    Her food cravings included bread and other baked goodies, as well as oranges and tomatoes. But something, err, someone, else was her pinaglihian — her husband!

    “I think pinaglihian ko si Mark kasi gusto ko siya parating kasama, katabi. Like magkatabi na kami, nami-miss ko siya. Gusto kong titigan ang mukha niya.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aprica and Nice Print Photography

    Aicelle didn’t find anything annoying about her husband’s habits. She just noticed Mark being a tad impatient, though it was likely because of being holed up at home for too long. When he finally went out to work (he is in media and marketing). she’d find him to be “pagod na pagod” upon returning home.

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    She’s thankful that she has a supportive husband: “Lahat ng utos ko, gagawin niya. ’Yon ang advice sa ’kin ng doctor. Sabi [ng doctor] sa akin, ‘Since bed rest ka nga, ito ang pagkakataon mo na utos-utusan ang asawa mo.’ Eh wala naman akong magagawa. I can’t go down. So ise-serve sa ’kin ’yong food sa kuwarto.”

    Early contractions in second trimester and gestational diabetes in third trimester

    Aicelle’s weird food aversions disappeared when she entered her second trimester. But she had early contractions and slight bleeding, so her doctor prescribed bed rest. She faced another pregnancy issue upon reaching the third trimester: gestational diabetes (read the story here)

    At the time of this writing, Aicelle is on her 36th week of pregnancy and raring to give birth in just a couple of weeks, notwithstanding the pregnancy discomfort. 

    “Naku, masakit po ang likod,” exclaims the first-time mom-to-be. “Mabigat na kasi si baby. Since naman nag-start na ang pregnancy ko, tatlo na ang pillows ko. Dahil may acid reflux din ako.

    "So far, okay ako. May mga contractions lang talaga. That’s why I’m on bed rest. Parang default na ’yong naninigas [ang tiyan].”

    Preparing for childbirth during COVID-19 

    Aicelle would love to have a vaginal delivery, but she’s also considering a Cesarean section due to her baby’s big size. Whatever it is, she just hopes “maayos lalabas si baby at hindi siya mahihirapan.”

    Her hospital bag is ready, though she feels she has overpacked for a three-day, max, stay. (Read here the COVID-19 guidelines.) Plus, she’s still hoping that Mark will be allowed to join her in the delivery room.


    Meanwhile, she busies herself cleaning and readying for use the newborn essentials and other stuff that she’s got from the baby shower organized for her by the baby stroller brand Aprica last October 31, as well as the ones she already bought.

    She and her husband are also preparing their bedroom for their baby’s arrival. “Kasi we’ll just be staying in one room. So baby will just have a corner… Kung magbe-breastfeed ka, and you’ll sleep together, you don’t want to leave your baby in another room.” 

    The couple have thought up a name for their baby, a girl, and it’s Zandrine Anne. They just tweaked the popular French girl name “Sandrine,” which is derived from the ancient Greek name Alexandria and its masculine form, Alexander, meaning “protector of men.” Then they added Anne because the mom-to-be’s full name is Aicelle Anne.

    Aicelle notes that Baby Zandrine responds to music. She usually sings to her baby “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” But when she belts out a birit song, like for a work-from-home number she performs for GMA-7’s musical show All Out Sunday or an online event, she feels her daughter kicking.

    “Feeling ko kasi naaipit siya or something,” Aicelle muses. Or maybe she’s having a future biritera? “Aba, malalaman natin!”

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