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  • After Miscarriages, Mom Realizes 'Gagawin Mo Pala Lahat Para Magka-Baby'

    A medical emergency caused her reproductive system to go haywire.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
After Miscarriages, Mom Realizes 'Gagawin Mo Pala Lahat Para Magka-Baby'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Judith Albano
  • Many of the things we do in life come naturally for most of us, like breathing or walking, or the ability to see or hear. They are there, and we don’t need to think about them. In the same way, for most women, it is easy to conceive and have kids. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys this privilege. A growing number of women are finding it hard to get pregnant, or can’t have a child at all, for various reasons. Judith Albano is one of these women. 

    Because she got married late in life, Judith says getting pregnant was of utmost importance to her. Luckily, she and her husband didn’t have to wait long. Just three months into their marriage, Judith found out she was expecting.

    However, their happiness was short-lived. “After my first check-up with the doctor, I felt severe pain when I got home. I had a miscarriage,” she says. The baby was around 6 to 8 weeks old.

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    Upon recommendation of her doctors, Judith had a dilation and curettage (D&C), a procedure normally done to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage. 

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    Ready to move on from the heartbreak, Judith and her husband went on tour in Europe for their honeymoon. It was during this time when more problems started to arise.   

    “On our second day, when we went to Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain, I was already feeling severe pain on my stomach. I thought I was going to die. Then there was another episode in San Sebastian, and another one in Iceland.”

    She continued to feel pain and even bled for the remainder of their vacation, but refused to go to the hospital. 

    “I’d message my doctor and he would say it’s just the effect of the D&C. He said to take the medicine. Pag-uwi namin from our honeymoon, iba na talaga yung kulay ko,” she recalls.

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    In hindsight, I realize I could have died. I could have had sepsis.

    Judith was in such a bad condition that their first order of business was to see the doctor. 

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    “The minute nakita ako ng doctor, ni-rush ako sa ultrasound and they called two other radiologists. Apparently, my fallopian tube had already burst, and there was another pregnancy. It was a heterotopic pregnancy.”

    According to Wikipedia, a heterotopic pregnancy “is a rare complication of pregnancy in which both extra-uterine (ectopic pregnancy) and intra-uterine pregnancy occur simultaneously. It may also be referred to as a combined ectopic pregnancy, multiple-sited pregnancy, or coincident pregnancy.”

    Adds Judith, “It’s essentially like an ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube), but there’s also another pregnancy in the uterus. Parang twins na nagkalayo. The case is very rare; sabi ng doctors nasa .6 lang of the population ang meron.” 

    Because her system was badly damaged, the doctors had to remove one of her ovaries and one fallopian tube. They’ve also had to “reset” her system by injecting a substance that would mimic menopause. That meant another six-month wait before she and her husband could try again for a baby.

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    With age catching up on her and her body refusing to cooperate (her remaining fallopian tube, it was found later, was blocked), the couple had to resort to in vitro fertilization (IVF).

    “Come June 2017, we [harvested] six eggs. Of them, we had 3 embryos. Out of those, only one survived, and that one is my son, Sandro. Sobra ko siyang ipinagdasal.”

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    PHOTO BY courtesy of Judith Albano
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    The desire to have a child came with a price, and it took a toll on Judith’s body. 

    “I realized that when you really want to have a child, kapag sinabi na kailangan kong kumain because it’s vital to the pregnancy, gagawin mo. And because my pregnancy happened via IVF, the hormones changed my body. Lumaki hips ko, ang bilis kong tumaba. 

    “I gained 40 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy. I felt very ugly and insecure -- when someone would come up to me, the first thing I would say is: ‘I’m pregnant that’s why I gained X pounds,’” she said.

    “My pregnancy journey made me feel so blessed that month on month I was progressing with the baby, but also depressed because I was regressing in terms of how I looked. So I knew I was going to give this pregnancy my all, but also that I would bounce back right after.”

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    Getting her old self back

    Judith confesses her biggest insecurity during her pregnancy was her nose and face. “My face, sobrang lumobo. And my nose. Ang laki na nga ng ilong, ang laki pa ng mukha,” she described herself. 

    Working in the aesthetics industry, she was aware that there are a lot of treatments she could try. But, to address her concerns specifically, she chose to do Ultherapy because it is non-invasive. Using ultrasound waves, the procedure lifts and tightens the skin on the brow, cheeks, chin and neck, and improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

    Judith felt confident doing it because it is US FDA-cleared and is also a very precise treatment that allows the doctor to see exactly which areas need to be treated, how much is needed, and which areas of the face to avoid.

    Ultherapy is a one-time session which takes about 45 minutes. Its effects last anywhere from 1 year to 1 and a half years.* While some patients opt to take analgesics prior to the procedure as a precaution, Judith skipped the step because she breastfeeds her son. 

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    “During treatment, the handpiece will be pressed gently in certain areas of your face. I had my treatment at Luminisce in BGC in Taguig, and Dr. Kaycee Reyes was very gentle throughout the procedure. 

    “The ultrasound gel will feel cold. Then you will feel ‘tiny currents’ piercing through your skin, which may be uncomfortable as you go along with the procedure.

    “Post-treatment, there will be a bit of swelling especially in the jaw area, but this will only last for 3-5 days.

    In a month you will start to see cheeks starting to get smaller, and in 3 months you’ll notice a more visible jawline.”

     

    PHOTO BY courtesy of Judith Albano
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    How does Judith’s husband feel about the results?

    “He’s very happy especially when people tell me that I look good, that I lost so much weight. He told me, ‘Buti hindi mo napabayaan sarili mo,’ followed by ‘Motherhood suits you!’

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    “In motherhood, especially in the first few months, and if you’re breastfeeding, you tend to lose your sense of self because all your attention will be on your baby. 

    “Sandro was a rainbow baby so I had to let go of many things in terms of career to prioritize my pregnancy and my son. Having this treatment was my first step to start loving myself and giving myself something back. 

    “My first 3 hours spent outside the house after giving birth was for my Ultherapy treatment. I was too guilty at the start to leave my son at home. But it made me realize that even if I am now a mom -- especially now that I am a mom --  I need to do something for myself too.”

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    *results vary

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