My Birthing Story: Andi ManzanoAndi says all her fears about giving birth were unfounded as she experienced a painless and quick delivery.
Wife to GP Reyes, mom to Olivia
SP: When you conceived, were you already planning to have a baby at that time?
Andi: Before we got married, GP and I were saying, “Ok we’ll go for it after a year” but what happened was, around August last year we went to the States and we thought, “Let’s have a baby made in the US”. So we tried in the States and when we got back after a month, my period was late -- and I’m always regular – so we went to the OB for a check-up. When she saw me, the OB said, “Oh my gosh, there’s a heartbeat!” and we were wondering, “1 month, heartbeat?”. The OB said, “You’re not one month, you’re two!”
So apparently, I was pregnant even before we left for the U.S. And it worried me a bit because we travelled like crazy – we’d wake up early and stay up late. We even went to Napa Valley and joined wine tours!
So, to answer your question, she wasn’t planned at all. But It’s actually good that it happened early in our marriage because I’ve always wanted to have a baby and GP is also of age already (he’s 40).
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SP: When did you first have a hunch that you were pregnant?
Andi: My period was late, but I didn’t think much about it. But I already had a pregnancy kit stashed away somewhere. The night before I took the test, GP and I even had a petty argument, so we weren’t talking. When I woke up the next day, I took the test. I did two tests, actually. When the results were both positive, I started to cry because I kinda knew that I was pregnant. I just need to confirm. I went upstairs and woke him up. He looked so worried when he saw me crying, and he kept asking, “Why are you crying?” (he probably thought it was still about our fight.)
I said, “I’m pregnant!” and all he could say was, “What!” He couldn’t believe it too.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
SP: How was the pregnancy like?
Andi: It was the easiest. I didn’t have morning sickness. I didn’t vomit. I just had cravings, usually cake. I craved a lot of cakes and a lot of proteins, so everybody was telling me, “If you crave protein it means it’s going to be a boy”.
It was fine if we were having a boy, but we really, really wanted a girl.
I was also really active during my pregnancy; I did a lot of walking. I was in the mall a lot. That was my exercise. It was a nice experience also because I was busy preparing and fixing the baby room, which was my project. It was a really fun pregnancy. I got a lot support from my family, and I even had friends who were also pregnant at the same time, so we would share our experiences with one another.
At the same time there were awkward stages in the pregnancy. I didn’t know how to dress up around my 4th or 6th month.
Then when you enter your 6th month or your third trimester -- oh my goodness, you just feel like you’re so big. But whenever I would feel insecure about my body, my husband would always remind me, “You know what, you’re so beautiful”. So words like those make you change the way you see yourself even if you feel sad or bloated. He was really encouraging, and that really helped. So yeah, I felt pretty.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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SP: Did you have mood swings?
Andi: Yeah a lot! I’m so thankful that GP understood everything, thanks to the books I gave him to read. So everytime I had mood swings he would calm me down, he’d say “It’s normal, it’s just your hormones. Don’t panic. Don’t stress out.” He was kinda like my coach.
SP: Take us to the day when you were about to give birth.
Andi: That was March 19, I spent the whole day with my siblings. I really forced them to spend time with me and drop everything, because this might be my last time to spend time with them without the baby. So we had dinner, watched a movie (I think it was “Insurgent”).
During the movie, I already had back pains. The whole night from 9pm I had back pains, but okay lang because I could handle it. Around 1 am, I was telling GP that it’s not going away, it keeps getting worse.
We were just in the baby room, and we even took a photo of ourselves, it was like documenting the birth, that if this happens we have a photo of ourselves already.
At around 4 am I called my mom because I was wondering if it might be false labor. I remember what I read that it would feel like dysmonorrhea. My mom told me, “Go to the hospital now.”
I said “No my doctor said I should only go to the hospital if I can’t take the pain, and I can still take it,” and my Mom said, “I’m going there now, I’m taking you to the hospital.”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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When we got to the hospital at around 6 am, they checked me and the nurse said, “Ma’am, 3cm na kayo”. My due date was March 30 pa, the day after my birthday.
At 3 pm, they put the epidural. It was my worst fear about giving birth, and I was shaking. I’ve never ever been confined to a hospital my whole life, and needles scare the hell out of me. My mom would hold my leg to stop my shaking. When the anesthesiologist arrived to put the epidural, it was so quick. I was like, “What, done already?” Then I was able to rest. When I woke up at 9 pm, the nurse said, “Ma’am, 4 cm na kayo”.
When my OB-Gyn arrived, my water bag still hasn't broken so she broke it and said she'll come back in 2 hours because I needed to rest, that I would need the energy. At 11 pm I was 9 cm, and she told me to practice pushing. Then she goes, “Are you ready? Okay, let's do it.”
So I pushed three times, and our daughter Pilar Olivia Manzano Reyes was out. It was suprisingly easy, like water caressing your skin. That's how it felt. There was no pain at all, and it was such as answered prayer. After that I was telling my OB-Gyn, “You know what, I'm ready to have another one!” (giggles)
SP: Why Pilar Olivia?
Andi: 'Pilar' is my mom’s first name and also my grandma’s name. It also happens to be the name of GP’s first store. 'Olivia' is a name I've liked since I was a kid.
SP: What were your thoughts when you first saw Olivia?
Andi: When she was out, I thought they would bathe her first but they got a towel and gave the baby to me immediately, and the first thing I said was, “Oh...hi”. I felt like crying. My husband tried to make light of the moment and said, "She has 6 toes," (giggles). The pedia assured me, there are only 5.
I think the adrenaline rush was there. It was such a wonderful moment to hold your baby but at the same time I was scared, I didn’t know how to hold her. But she latched immediately and I thought, so this is what it's like to breastfeed! (giggles)
When they took Olivia from me, she was crying. Then they gave her to GP. He started whispering to her and then she stopped crying. And they all looked at him and asked him, “What did you do?” That's when they said that he's a baby whisperer.
That’s when I cried, when I saw Olivia in her dad’s arms. It was a different kind of connection they had.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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I think it's because when I was pregnant GP would sing to her in my belly and talk to her, so when he first held her after birth and talked to her, she already knew it was her dad. Parang it was a familiar voice, she recognized it, she just kept quiet. And maybe for 5 minutes she was just quiet while GP was talking to her. And up to know, when she cries and she hears her dad’s voice, she instantly calms down.
SP: What sort of preparations did you make for your delivery?
Andi: Before my due date we made it a point to go to Makati Med and do the whole tour, so that we could envision it and we'd know what's going to happen. I didn't want to freak out on the day I would give birth. So we met the nurses, I chose my room already, I even sat on the bed and said, "This is where I'm giving birth." It helped cause when I got there I was comfortable already, the nurses knew us and they were cheering me on.
We also practiced going to the hospital, like what route to take, and we timed it. We were highly prepared in that way.
SP: Were you able to breastfeed immediately?
Andi: Yeah, she latched immediately. I didn’t have problems with breastfeeding. I actually attended a latch class, and that also helped me. And, mom was there. I remember watching her breastfeed my siblings. When I was pregnant she would tell me, "Madali lang yan, kaya mo yan”. And true enough, to me it came easy.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
"Before my due date we toured the hospital, met the nurses, chose my room. It helped to make me feel comfortable. We also timed the trip to the hospital because I didn't want to freak out on the day."
SP: How did you get back to your pre-preggy weight so fast?
Andi: I gained about 27 lbs. when I was pregnant, and after I gave birth it was like 10 lbs were gone immediately. All I did was breastfeed. I always say I would exercise, like jog, but I never do. I breastfeed every 3 hours, and so I also eat every 3 hours, and it has to be rice. If there's no rice, my head hurts. But maybe another reason it was easy for me to lose weight, besides breastfeeding, is because of my mom's genes. She's slim pa din after 5 kids.
SP: Any tips for first-time moms?
Andi: I know a lot of you are freaking out and scared like I was, but when I started to read and kept myself informed, I kinda felt more confident. I encourage you to read up, don’t be afraid to explore. Two, get your husband involved in everything. It's nice when you see the father involved even in little things. They don't need to change the diapers, just little things like give them a few moments alone, just dad and baby, or maybe have your husband sing to your baby or read a book to him/her. You'll be amazed at how you can fall in love with your husband even more, on a different level. You’ll see a different side of him.
SP: Any plans of having more kids soon?
Andi: When I first got pregnant, GP said he only wanted to have one child. But I said “I come from a family of 5, you come from a family of 6, wouldn't it be lonely to have just one?" and GP said, "No, I really just want to have one”. When Olivia was born, that's when he said, let's have one more. We’re gonna try in the next 2 years.
SP: What are Olivia's sleeping habits?
Andi: When she was 2 months old, she would sleep at 8 pm and wake up at 8 am. When she doesn't like something she complains and makes noise. I really feel like she's going to be a really talkative baby. And we talk to her a lot, our only rule is, "no baby talk" so we talk to her like we would normally talk among ourselves: “Hi, how are you, how is your day?”. Recently we would see her talking to herself before she sleeps. She's a talkative baby.
SP: You sleep with her?
Andi: Yeah I co- sleep with her, sarap e di ba? I don’t know how a mom can do it without her child. I want to train her to sleep with us until I'm ready to transfer her to her room. Maybe when shes older, right? Just not now.
SP: Olivia is a 'superstar', so to speak, on social media. She's probably the youngest celebrity with that kind of following on Instagram. Are there any rules you follow when posting her photos on social media?
Andi: No rules naman that I follow. It actually all started when we posted her photo, and our only intention was to share our joy with friends and family. Then one day we were just surprised to see that she already had 1k followers. Later on when she's older I guess we'll put the account on private but right now we just want to share how happy we are with the people we love.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
See more photos of Andi and Olivia in the gallery below!
Photos by Lai de Guzman. Hair and makeup by Anne Castano. Shot on location at the Acqua 6 showroom in Century City Mall, Makati.
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