Traveling and Pumping . . . Without Baby

It’s had been a busy start of the year, with all the transitions going on in my professional life, so this is officially my first article for 2016.

For the first time, I traveled for a week without my baby. With the other three kids, I have never experienced doing so before they reached one year old. I always brought them along with me to avoid the stress of pumping and storing milk. It was never an issue . . . until a trip to the US came up early this year.

When I found out that I will be traveling soon, I was a bit panicked. My primary concern was how much milk I needed to leave for my baby to survive the seven days I will be away. The other concern was how to store milk during my trip and bring it with me back home. The last concern was putting him back on the breast after 1 week of bottle-feeding.

Just the thought of it made me really anxious, but I knew it can be done. So first, the pumping milk concern. What I did, I computed how many times my baby will be feeding per day and multiply it with several days, then I came up with many milk bags should I pump to leave him with adequate supply of breast milk while I was away. So if he feeds every 3-4 hours, in a day he should be feeding at least 7 times including dawn feedings, if ever he would wake up without me by his side. So 7×7, a total of 49 bags.

So aside from pumping for the next day’s supply, I saw to it that I had an extra 3 oz. each day for the upcoming 50 bags stash project.

Two days before my travel date, I was able to save 50 bags of milk for my baby, and it brought me much fulfillment, knowing that my baby will be okay while I will be on travel. I labelled them from 1 to 50 so my yaya will know which one to thaw first and use.


These are the essential things that I prepared for my project:

  1. Manual pump
  2. Milk bags
  3. Fridge To Go (FTG) bag

During my time in Las Vegas, even with the time difference, I was committed to pump every 3 hours. Whenever they were breaks in the conference, I went to my room to pump. I took off the bottles of drinks in my small fridge to put my milk bags in. Good thing I wasn’t charged beacuse it was too late when I found out that the dessert bar was sensorized.

Even when I was out shopping, I made sure I brought my pump with me. One time I went to the premium outlet with my other insulated bag, and my bag was dripping because the tube ice I placed along with my pumped milk melted already. It was embarrassing but who cares. What I did, I just placed my bag on the side near the entrance so I won’t make the whole store wet.




All in all, I was able to save 12 milk bags at 6 oz. each, making sure not to make the bags too full as the liquid will expand when frozen. So the next challenge was to bring these babies home. So the night before my flight, I asked the staff in the hotel to freeze my milk. I made sure I place the bags in a big Ziplock bag and another cloth bag for protection. I also included the cooling panels of my FTG bag to be frozen. Properly labelled with my name and room number, I entrusted my liquid gold and paraphernalia to the staff. I got the bags a few minutes before I left the hotel and made sure all the milk bags are inside my FTG and checked in my luggage.

I was a bit apprehensive to put my milk bags in my checked-in luggage since I my trip will last for 13 hours plus all the layover. However based on the leaflet of FTG, it said that it has a cooling effect of up to 10-12 hours. So when I arrived in Korea, where I had my layover, I thought of claiming my checked-through bag. It wasn’t possible though, so I just prayed that my milk will survive the next 7 hours while I’m on my way to Manila.

Immediately after I got my luggage upon arrival in Manila, I opened my FTG bag, and lo and behold, my babies are still intact–not really frozen but still very cold. In fact, it was a smoothie form. This made me sooo happy to see this. I right away added more ice I requested from the steward in the airplane.

Since I will be flying back to Davao in three hours’ time, I put my FTG bag inside my luggage and proceeded to my domestic terminal. It was so humid and hot in Manila, about 30 degrees outside, but since I was able to secure my milk, I was confident that my milk will arrive in Davao safely.

When I arrived in Davao, I was so excited to go home, see my family, and put my milk back in the fridge. However, it took me another three hours to get home due to the rally in one part of the city, which caused a terrible traffic the whole day. When I was finally home, I was super tired, but the first thing I did was to secure my milk and put them back in the fridge where they belong. Finally, after close to 39 hours outside the fridge (the real one), they are safe.

All in all, I thought I did well on that project! I was able to feed my baby with my stash. I even had 10 bags left in the fridge. Also, I was able to bring back my milk home safely. In the next few days, my goal was to make my baby as we well as my other kids (and husband) to drink the milk from the US. They just mixed Milo to make it “easier” to drink. Based on my research, thawed milk should be consumed in 24 hours. I didn’t exactly follow that because the milk was just too much for my baby to consume.

With my third concern if he will latch on to me after 1 week of not doing so, what I did was just let him do it the moment I was settled in. All my concerns just melted away. Eventhough I felt my milk supply dwindle due to the one week separation and though my nipples were sore due to his prolonged latch during feedings (we truly missed each other), with his teeth and all, it didn’t make me feel discouraged.

I was so grateful with that experience. Once again it taught me the value of love and commitment. Some meaningful people advised me to go mixed feeding when I told them I will be leaving my baby for a week, but my sheer determination to exclusively breast-feed my baby made me do what I thought was quite a big task. Now more than ever, I’m more confident to travel even without baby. It takes a lot of preparation. It could be inconvenient at times, but it can be done.

Next country please . . .

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Waiver of Indemnity

After you and your OB finally agreed to make a go for VBAC, she may ask you to furnish a Waiver of Indemnity, freeing her of any liability in case something happens during or after your attempt to do VBAC.

This might be a little scary, but it’s really more like the waiver you sign when you agree to have a C-section. Since this is not yet fully accepted by the medical community, to have a VBAC is really more of a personal decision. You have to be clear that this is what you want because somewhere along the way there will be challenges. Some of your loved ones might talk you out of it, so it will help that right from the start you are already set that you will do VBAC for this childbirth.

Just to share my own waiver of indemnity I used during my first VBAC, I have posted it here. This should be notarized and given to your OB weeks before you give birth.


I, (name), of legal age, married, and a resident of Davao City, Philippines, states the following in connection to my decision to give birth via VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) under the supervision of Dr. __________ at Brokenshire Hospital in Davao City, that

All the medical facts were discussed to me by Dr. _________ pertaining to the risks involved in having a vaginal birth after 2 C-sections.

Dr. ____________ will allow me to go on Trial of Labor with proper and utmost medical supervision.

I have agreed with Dr. __________ to have a double delivery setup should a need to do a C-section arises from any untoward situation pertaining to my delivery.

In lieu of this, I hereby release Dr. __________ of any liability that may arise from any untoward incident in connection to my decision to go on Trial of Labor.

Likewise, I hereby indemnify Brokenshire Hospital, its medical and hospital staff including the medical board and its officers of any liability that may arise from any untoward incident in connection to my decision to go on Trial of Labor.

I acknowledge that I understand the waiver described in this document. Waiver is made to the maximum extent permissible under applicable law. I acknowledge that I have signed this document under my own free will.


Your Name



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How I Induced Labor Naturally

When I reached my 37th week in my pregnancy, I have only one goal—to GIVE BIRTH ASAP! Aside from my tummy getting heavier as the weeks go by, I was having a hard time sleeping, and I was eating a lot. I thought if I won’t pop anytime soon, my baby would be too big for another VBAC. My VBA2C baby (my third baby) was 7.7 pounds when he came out, and I tore up big time, so I wanted to keep the weight low for the fourth baby. So I did a lot of walking every day, which was an effort on my part because I had a goal, which was to give birth end of April or first week of May. However, during my second to the last checkup, my OB told me she was going out of town for a few days. But I wanted her to be the one to assist me during my childbirth, so I decided to slow down with the activities during that week, and resume when she was back. Turned out, she came back, and still labor hasn’t started yet. First week of May, my husband had an out of town meeting, and I prayed that my baby won’t be out while my husband wasn’t present during my labor. Finally, second week came, and still no baby. So I read some articles online on how to induce labor naturally, and here’s what I got and actually applied to get my labor starting:

  1. Spicy Food—Days before giving birth, I attended a party. My friends were already asking me why I haven’t popped yet. One of the ways to induce labor is eat spicy food. So I did just that. I felt several strong contractions that night, and I somehow believed that I was on my way to the DR, but the contractions didn’t progressed to the actual labor.
  2. Coconut Water—My mother-in-law told me that drinking coconut water helped in inducing labor. At this point in my pregnancy, I would believe anything. So my husband bought several coconut so I can drink the water. It got my well hydrated and probably helped the baby into labor.
  3. Evening Primrose—When I went to my OB, she was a bit alarmed that I was way past 40 weeks. She prescribed to me evening primrose to soften my cervix. I bought several pieces, but I was only able to use two pieces and got into labor.
  4. Lovemaking—Another natural method to soften the cervix is through lovemaking. Actually, it’s not the sex per se that stimulates labor. Semen, which contains natural prostaglandin, helps in ripening the cervix. It may help to lie down or put a pillow under your lower area to let the prostaglandin stay against the cervix longer. In addition, the hormone that is responsible for contractions—oxytocin—is the same hormone released during orgasm. Mixed with prostaglandins, no wonder lovemaking is believed to stimulate labor.
  5. Visualization and Affirmation—I’m a total believer in visualizing your intentions and using affirmations. In my mind’s eye, I visualized how the baby will come out, his position, my cervix opening up, the baby going down, and how it will be a joyous event for everyone. True enough, that was what happened.
  6. Talking to the Baby—I also believe that my baby chose me to be his mommy. In the same way, he had chosen a date when to be born. So when I was 41 weeks and 3 days, I told him that I know he has his own date, but that he needed to come out very soon. He came out on my 41 weeks and 6 days.
  7. Walking and Moving around—This was the ultimate way to induce labor. I think it was really because of gravity that helped the baby go down and engage. The day I gave birth, I was just walking and walking until I felt the contractions became stronger. My hard work really paid off because that night I went into labor and gave birth the following day.
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It’s Another VBAC Baby Boy!

All along I thought that with this fourth baby, labor will come earlier than expected. It was not until he reached 41 weeks that my baby boy decided he wanted to come out. I was somehow expecting him to arrive at the end of April. But only God and my baby know when the real date was going to be. All along it was May 13, 2015 . . .

When friends ask what’s the difference between this pregnancy and the others, I would knowingly answer that this one’s more “sensitive” or “challenging.” I mean, I have relatively easy pregnancies. Aside from the queasy feeling during the first trimester, I’m up and about during the rest of the months. However, with this pregnancy, I felt my skin was more sensitive than usual. Insect bites turned purplish, which resulted to scars. I also had itchiness in some areas, which was more pronounced than usual. In addition to this, I found out that baby was in transverse position so late in pregnancy (35-36 weeks). This really scared me a lot! And lastly, I had to undergo NST to check if he’s okay at 40 weeks and 6 days or else I will have another scheduled C-section. What a roller-coaster ride it was! Thank God, my baby came out naturally, and I had another VBAC baby boy once again!

May 11

I’ve been receiving a lot of greetings from mommy friends like “You haven’t given birth yet?” already, and the pressure of giving birth didn’t help to start labor. I’ve tried several natural ways to induce labor, and still nada. So I went to my OB for my (hopefully) last checkup. She was quite alarmed that I’m on my 40 weeks and 6 days. When she did an internal examination, it showed that my baby was still high and floating and my cervix was still closed. Since my last ultrasound showed that my baby was lying in transverse position, I was a bit worried when she said the head is leaning on the right side, though in cephalic position already. She advised us to have an ultrasound to make sure the baby is doing fine; otherwise, I will have to be admitted and undergo C-section. If baby is okay, we can still wait until 42 weeks. I was silently praying that all is well because I really wanted to have a VBAC again.

We waited for 3 hours for our turn in the ultrasound, but it was worth the wait when we found out that baby was okay and all metrics were normal. I had to undergo NST (no stress test) just to make sure baby is moving and heartbeat is normal. The other doctors were asking if I didn’t want to be admitted after knowing I was already 1 day short of 41 weeks. I firmly told them I’m going to wait for labor. I was ordered to have another NST on Wednesday if baby won’t come out yet.

May 12

I woke up and determined to really walk and start labor today. My family was really supportive. They walked with me around the village. Afterwards, I went ahead with my errands and enrolled my kids. I wanted to do that before I go on maternity leave. I took the stairs most of the time, instead of taking the escalators. After a quick nap, I went ahead and walked around the neighborhood again. Come dinnertime, I can feel the contractions and was timing them. They weren’t close together yet, but I can feel them coming. At 10 PM, I decided to sleep and rest for a while so I can have the needed energy. At 12 MN, I felt the contractions coming one after another in 10-15 minute intervals. I got the exercise ball and did pelvic circles every time there was a contraction. It felt good because the ball was firm and was pushing against my sacrum. It lessened the discomfort/labor pains. At around 2 AM, I took some snacks and then I took a bath. My husband said I should stand up more to get the labor going. True enough, the contractions picked up its speed. At 4 minute interval around 3:30 AM, I told my husband that we need to go to the hospital already.


The hospital was quiet when we arrived. We still had time to pray in the car, and I hurriedly put on some makeup. My husband was laughing at me, that I’m the only pregnant woman who is laboring and still have time to put makeup on. I wanted to look presentable in the pictures so I didn’t care. I finished with a pink lipstick before finally going inside the ER. The attending staff wanted me to lie down going to the delivery room, but I requested for a wheelchair instead. I wanted to walk going up like I did when I had my third childbirth, but it’s the hospital rules, she said. So I gave in and took the wheelchair.

When I arrived the labor area, the attending doctor did an IE, and was quite surprised that I was already 9 cm and fully effaced. Thank God, I’m almost going to see my baby! They hurriedly brought me to the DR, and I specifically told them that I want the Lamaze bed, so I can labor in a semi-reclined position. They obliged, and we were waiting for my OB to arrive. It took another 30 minutes before my OB arrived, so I wasn’t allowed to get up. It was a long wait, especially when you’re in labor. But when my OB arrived, the contractions seemed not strong enough for me to push. So we waited while I did trial pushes. I was getting sleepy, but I didn’t want to give in to sleep because I was afraid that my OB will tell me to have CS instead. Finally my bag of waters burst on its own. My OB suggested to recline the bed so the baby won’t have a hard time going down. It was a very good suggestion because right after that, my contractions became stronger and was coming right after each other. My husband was coaching me to push through my core because he noticed I was having a hard time pushing. After 6 pushes, I shrieked when my baby’s head came out. My OB urged me to push once more, then the body came out. My husband took it all in video. It was really amazing! I cried when he finally came out! The feeling was really indescribable! I felt the pain, and yet I was just so happy that he was finally out the natural way. My husband cut the cord, and I immediately took him to my breast to feed. Thank God, it’s another VBAC baby boy!

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Turning My Baby to Optimal Position

A few weeks before giving birth, 35 weeks to be exact, I was a bit worried after hearing that my baby was in breech presentation (head on the upper part of my tummy while his feet are positioned downward). To confirm this, my OB requested for an ultrasound, and I saw my baby was in transverse position, meaning he was lying sideways, with his head on my right side. “But that won’t be a problem since you’re going to have CS anyway,” the sonographer said as she was doing her thing, completely oblivious of the impact of her words. Of course I didn’t argue or even defend myself. I won’t start telling her my VBAC story just there, but her words made all the more worried of having to face another CS.

All along, I thought this won’t be any of my concern since I’m already in the advanced stage of my pregnancy. If I’m not mistaken, I had this situation with my first baby when he was in his 25-26th weeks; hence I didn’t really worry since I still had plenty of time to turn him around.

With my fourth baby, however, I only have a few more weeks. That didn’t worry my husband one bit though. He researched on how to make the baby turn and align his head with my birth canal. Here are some of the suggestions we got from different sites online:

1. Walk.
One of the ways to put the baby to its optimal position is to walk and move daily. This can encourage the baby to move and find its natural orientation due to gravity. Compared with the kind of determination I had with my third baby (my VBA2C baby), I must admit that I have been quite lazy during this pregnancy, always sleeping and sitting down. So I found out that my baby was transverse, I asked my family’s support to help me wake up earlier every day. My son will set the alarm at 6:00 a.m., and he will wake me up for my walking. In the evening, I will go another round, and I must admit that it helped me a lot to have my family as my support system. Before I can even start my morning/evening walk, there will be a lot of skirmishes whether or not he (my third child) will bring his Ben10 toy/slippers, whether my daughter will ride her bike or not, but in the end, I appreciated their contribution to this one goal—that is, to turn the baby’s head down.

2. Sleeping Position.
Since my baby’s head is on the right side, the best sleeping position for me was on my left side. Based on study, this is the also best for all pregnant women since it helps the flow of blood. On the other hand, lying on the right side will put the weight on the liver. At the same time, lying on one’s back will lead to shortness of breath due to the heavy uterus and poor circulation. So for weeks after the ultrasound, I became very conscious with my lying position. This was particularly challenging especially having a toddler whose sole comfort when sleeping is to hold your breast. He would cling to me like a koala with his hand finding where my breast is, and mind you, he doesn’t take no for an answer. He would find the best position for HIM to be able to hold my breast, even if he will lie on my butt or my tummy. But I was very determined to sleep on my left side, so we sometimes have arguments. I sometimes give in and face him while lying on my right side once in awhile.

3. Breech Tilt.
Based on my research, I found out that reverse lying can also encourage my baby to turn from a breech/transverse lying position. In order to do this, I have to do it at least three times a day for 10-15 minutes. I have to put some pillows under me and put my feet up on the wall in the morning and in the evening. Since I can’t do this during lunchtime, I extend my time in the evening up to 30 minutes or until I become tired and sleepy. I did this exercise for 2 weeks before I went back to my OB.

4. Pelvic Circles.
Another video I found in YouTube suggested that I do pelvic circles using an exercise ball. Since my husband has this ball, I do this every morning for 5-10 minutes before taking a bath. This encouraged movement of the baby in the uterus.

5. Leaning Forward While Sitting.
When I found out that leaning is one way to turn the baby, I consciously did just that even while eating or while sitting in the office. It’s a bit challenging, but I’m willing to do it and have natural childbirth.

6. Talking to the baby.
I do believe that unborn babies can hear even while in the tummy. One of the suggestions I got from other mothers is to talk to the baby. For a time I somehow didn’t take the effort to talk to my baby. Because of his transverse position, I felt he was asking for attention. So right away, I told my husband and my kids to begin talking to him day and night of how much we love him and requested him to align himself to mommy’s birth canal.

And I think all these things paid off because after 3 weeks, I went back to my OB, and she felt the baby’s head down already. I was ecstatic to hear that, and I thanked my baby for listening to us and for turning. So for those who have the same situation, it’s never to late to put your baby to its optimal position for birthing.

Online Sources:

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My Gratitude Journey

We started 2014 with a big blow, a big lesson to learn. With all the awareness we got, it seemed it wasn’t enough to stop us from worrying. Personally, I felt very anxious when December and January came, and we had no sales. On top of that, a client cancelled her policy without notifying us ahead of time.

I can remember that day very well. It was end of January, and I was ranting at Val what we should do. We got into an argument, and we started the day with a bad feeling. The day was a series of bad events happening one after the other, and the culminating event was when Val forgot to lock the car door, and our newly purchased laptop was stolen.

That was really an eye-opener for us, especially for me, not to let worries and anxieties rule over us. When we learned to accept what happened and believe that better things are in store for us, then it became true.

I got a new, free iPad Air, and then a month after, a new client invested a seven-figure investment with us. A few months after, our team’s transfer to the best agency in Philam (SGA) was finally sealed. I think that was a big factor for the team’s success this year because the transfer opened up a supportive system made available for us anytime.

Bigger deals were closed after that—deals we never imagined would happened this year. We were placed side by side with tenured units/agencies because our production was at par with their productions. We ended the year as the top unit in the first-year-manager category. It was indeed a financially rewarding year for us in Philam, and we are looking forward to a brighter year with higher goals for the team this 2015!

If my professional life went really well this 2014, my personal life was equally wonderful. I began to embrace a better side of Cathy, one that is more open and more confident, and not only did I notice the change, but my husband noticed it as well and kept affirming me that he liked the new me better. Our relationship has gone deeper. We celebrated our 12th year as a couple, and I can say that we became more mature and accepting of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We learned to dance with the tune instead of going against it. We found a way to communicate our expectations and learned how to work as partners instead as two separate individuals.

I also embraced the leader in me and began to inspire more people at work and even in my mommy group. I joined Latch, an organization that advocates breast-feeding. Although being part of the group was an adjustment, I being more of an individual player than a team player before, I chose to do it anyway to widen my network and to actually work on my purpose in teaching what I know and give without thinking of anything in return. In short, it helped me to be selfless. I became friendlier and opened myself to new relationships. This greatly improved my interpersonal skills, how to relate to people and build relationships based on trust and service.

This was profoundly demonstrated to me by a friend who came all the way from Australia. Rachelle was a distant friend who visited us in June. She was a breath of fresh air, someone who was out of the ordinary. There was exactly no reason why she came to Davao. I just invited her to come not knowing she would take it seriously. But something called her to do so, so she booked a flight to Davao without even thinking why. But her visit was very purposeful to me and the people she had touched with her stories of life and love. She is such a blessing and a dear friend.

My VBAC blog has somehow gained some following, and amidst my busy schedule, early this year I had committed to express my creativity by writing an article per month. Although I wasn’t 100 percent with my commitment (I was only able to do it 40 percent), this already gave more mommies awareness of the possibility of having a VBAC done in the Philippines. I featured their stories in my site. To date we have six more women who had successful VBAC in different parts of the Philippines. This gave me so much joy and fulfillment, knowing many women have been inspired by my VBAC story. I’m seeing this year more mommies will choose VBAC instead of another C-section, and I’m committing to come up with better articles this coming year as well.

This year was indeed a year of growth. I went back to my first love—reading—and I found myself enjoying and learning at the same time. I found a book by Napoleon Hill that featured a lot of spiritual truths that I can apply not only in my work but also in my family. This year, I see myself consciously doing more things that will add to my growth and being able to share this new learning to my family and friends.

Our health in 2014 wasn’t the best. We saw our kids alternately having colds and coughs. The last part of the year was the worst, or so we thought, when all three of them got measles. It was a challenging two weeks for us. I even came to a point of questioning our decision of not giving them immunization in the first place. But with Val’s research, we found out that it will give a long-term benefit to them because they will be immune from certain types of asthma and even cancer. So it was still something to thank God for. I’m desiring that this year we are healthier than ever, more conscious of our diet and vitamin intake. I want to see us enjoying the outdoors, having fun road trips to nearby areas.

The greatest blessing though came as a big surprise to us all. This year blessed us with another addition to the Domingo family. With all the precautions done, this little surprise managed to sneak in on us. But even though the news was taken with mixed emotions, we slowly realized that nothing happens without God’s knowledge. And though there was anxiety at first, this was eventually replaced with joy and awe knowing that this is God’s way of affirming us as wonderful parents to our children.

So all in all, 2014 was a great year. It didn’t start out so well as we would have expected it, but the lesson we learned from the challenging events that happened eventually gave us deeper understanding on how to be more aware with our thoughts and feelings. Also, we saw God’s wisdom in putting things in beautiful order our personal and professional life by grounding us with spiritual truths. This I think is very important as we expand our tent even further this year, making way for bigger things to come. We are seeing having our own home this year as we welcome another member of the family. We are also seeing a bigger and stronger team in Philam. We are also seeing our purpose being fulfilled and old relationships strengthened and new ones blossoming. I am open and receptive to all good this 2015—health, wealth, relationship, and purpose!

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Empowered Birth: You Are Not Alone

It was such a delight to see an email from one of the mommies who visited this site early this year and who got inspired to go for VBAC for her second childbirth. With the many emails I’ve received for the past months, I haven’t tracked all the senders. I remember some mommies who asked about how I did it and expressed that they too wanted to try it for themselves, but only a few really took the road less traveled and courageously tried VBAC. These few women who aspired to give birth naturally after a Cesarean (or two) and became successful wrote me to say “thank you” for sharing my story and for inspiring them to believe that VBAC is possible. Mommy Osang is one of the few women who took this path and successfully hurdled the challenges of a VBAC experience.

Below is an excerpt of her VBAC journey. You can read the whole account in this site. Here’s her story . . .

Our VBAC journey:

The term VBAC was alien to me; I never thought there is such a process “Vaginal birth after Caesarean”? Who had not heard;

“Once a Cesarean always a cesarean”?!

No one right? It seems like the term will remain forever in our minds.

I started from scratch! I want to find a way to beat the “being a cesarean always a cesarean” belief  at least for my family and friends.

SO, the search began . . . ( Yay! the power of Internet)

I searched, searched, and searched and became frustrated because so little I have information about successful VBAC in the Philippines and so little of our doctors who support the process.

Until, I found Ms. Cathy’s Blog. My inspiration. Her VBA2C story gave me the willpower to continue with what I believe I can do. My determination kicks a little too high and said to myself,


I did not waste any more time.

I started planning (which I was not able to do with my first pregnancy) and of course part of the plan is to have a pro VBAC OB, which I thought I had.

First appointment with my OB was really smooth and awesome. I liked her (I really do!).

I discussed my VBAC decision. She said that I’ll have 75 percent chance of success since it’s been seven years, but she requires me to undergo further laboratory test to see how thick my uterine lining, since possible rapture might arise. Other procedure shall be discuss further once I am already at my 34 and up weeks. But for now, we will continue to monitor my baby’s development.

Every monthly prenatal checkup, I never failed to discuss my VBAC plan to her until I noticed my OB is being more and more negative about my choice of birth. (I had the feeling this would happen.) She insists I need to weight the risk of my baby’s health and mine if I pursue. She added at 39 weeks if my baby won’t come out, then a repeat cesarean!

I was so angry and frustrated about the situation. It seems like I wasted my time on thinking she will support me.  I thought, “How come the person you entrusted your birth gives you the negativity of something you know for yourself you are capable of doing?”

So, moms, not to worry; I know the feeling of every people around you being NEGATIVE about your VBAC. I was at a point where I don’t talk about my pregnancy at all, and if people asked where will I have my surgery, I just smiled. (Besides, why would they conclude it is another surgery? ) 

A piece of advice: Make them your inspiration.  When people argue about your decision, just say,


Going back . . .

Since my OB is a pain. I cannot waste time and energy for her negativity, I had to do a REROUTE.

  • I printed out VBAC Manuals; facts, myths, risk and every bit of information I can gather online—you name it!

I have to be educated to win the battle.  (Oh, and to mention Davao is my escape route if ever my plan here in Manila failed.)



To continue . . .

  • I added myself in every forum I could find via the Internet.
  • I also joined VBAC community on Facebook, I asked every question I can think and received an immediate answers from the members.

As what successful VBAC moms say, “ VBAC has risk, so does Repeat Cesarean.” So choose wisely and be informed. The well informed you are, the more the PLAN is to be into place and the less negative people will be able to persuade you.


On the Facebook group, I learned about the word “DOULA.”

The word doula (doo-la), an old Greek word, which means “one who serves.” Doulas are also called Labor Coach, Labor Support Professionals, Birth Companions, or Childbirth Assistants.

I checked if we have doula in my country (Philippines). Then I found her. For me, she is one of the angel sent from heaven.



Fast forward to April 18, 2014

Around 2 to 3 AM I started pushing, my husband at my back giving me support strength, he whispers every now and then that I am doing great, he massage my nipples for contraction purposes. It helps. It really does! Four midwifes are all over the room to support me, giving me instruction on how to properly push others are checking my vitals and the heart rate of my baby and keeping it on records.

“Sige, te, kita na namin yung buhok.”

“Sige, te, kita na naming yung ulo.”

“Ayan, te, isa pa. Ire pa. Kaya mo ‘yan.”

And the next thirty minutes?  We saw our wonderful VBAC baby. My husband whispered to my ear, “THANK YOU,” which made my VBAC journey complete (to be appreciated with what you fought and believed for 9 months is the simplest yet incredibly uplifting things you can ever hear).

The best part? The SKIN-TO-SKIN moment.  The feeling no words can be used to describe.



I hope our story will  inspire you that VBAC  is possible, there is a WAY and there are people who is willing to help you with your choice. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

Remember: Woman’s body is designed to give birth, trust your Instinct, you will know what to do when you get there. This is a matter of how much you want your natural birth, how determine you are.. and please at least try  the process of labor, you and your baby will benefit out of it. The outcome might not be PERFECT but It’ll be OKAY!

I can’t help but feel so proud of you, Mommy Osang. I can remember myself in the story. I love all the affirmations you posted here. If you won’t do it, no one will do it for you. I had to read a lot of positive/successful VBAC stories myself just to affirm what I know and get the energy and strength from women all over the world who had successful VBAC as well. We are not alone. In the end, your courage and efforts really paid off. I salute and admire you. Thank you, Mommy Osang, for inspiring us with your VBAC story. It is an unforgettable journey indeed:)


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“We Did It!”

A few months ago, I was surprised to receive a text message that was obviously from the US (based on the country code that registered on my phone). I excitedly told my husband about it, letting him confirm my guess. Richard Klein, who I later found out through several text messages, was based in the US; however, his wife Dailyn was in Bislig, Mangagoy. At that time, he was looking for a Web site that would lead them to a doctor who can assist them in making Dailyn have a VBAC. They found my VBA2C story. I gladly told Richard that I’m willing to meet Dailyn if she comes to Davao for prenatal checkup and will tell her all I know about VBAC.

So a few days later, Dailyn called me on the phone. We talked for a while, and I encouraged her to see my OB here in Davao. She was a bit apprehensive because the birth spacing from the first child and the second was quite close. I told her it’s okay to try than go through an elective C-section right away.

It was really a challenging situation for her to be traveling from Bislig to Davao, but she was so determined to have a VBAC. So for several months, she was traveling to and fro for checkup; but when she was six to seven months pregnant, they got a place here in Davao in preparation for her childbirth.

When she was settled in Davao, we finally saw each other and had lunch. I just told her my experience and how I did it. I also gave her a copy of my birth plan. I was just happy to share what I know in the hopes that she too will have her own VBAC experience. We met a couple of times just to chat and see how she was doing. The week when we were to see each other again with Richard, she was too lazy to go to the city. A few days later, I got a text message already, telling me that she already gave birth–VBAC! I’m so proud of her inner strength and the wonderful partnership they both have for each other. Their love and support for this one goal made it all possible for Baby Nathan to be birthed naturally. I’m so in awe of this miracle. So far, this is the fifth VBAC story this blog has featured. May it inspire more women to go for VBAC!

So here’s Dailyn’s story as told by her loving husband Richard:

Seven months into my first pregnancy, my doctor informed me that I would have to have a C-section. The reasons she gave were my high blood pressure and the fact that the baby had its umbilical cord coiled around her neck three times.

Having the C-section was a terrible experience. It felt like a complete violation of my maternal instincts. I felt that I hadn’t really experienced childbirth, that in some important way I wasn’t really a mother. I didn’t get to experience the pains and the triumphs of labor and delivery. They just numbed me, cut me open, and pulled out my baby.

Furthermore, as is often the case with C-section deliveries, my baby showed no interest in breastfeeding. So I was denied another important experience that I felt should be a normal part of childbirth.

With my second child, I really wanted to have a normal delivery. I wasn’t even sure if such a thing was possible. My husband and I did some online research, and before long we were reading article after article discussing the pros and cons of VBAC.

One thing was immediately apparent: We would have to find a top-notch hospital, one that was able to transition instantly from a vaginal delivery to a C-section in case something went wrong. Since the closest major city to my hometown is Davao, we began to google “VBAC Davao,” and very quickly found the Milklady’s blog.

The Milklady mentioned in her blog that her ob/gyn was Dr. Darleen Estuart. We looked up the address and phone number of Dr. Estuart’s clinic in Davao and made arrangements for our first appointment.

I was very nervous before that first appointment—so nervous, in fact, that my husband practically had to drag me to the clinic. Our research had indicated that a woman trying for VBAC should wait at least a year, and preferably longer, before getting pregnant again after her C-section. We had waited barely eleven months. I was so afraid that this, or some other circumstance, would cause the doctor to declare that I was not a candidate for VBAC.

At that first appointment, Dr. Estuart was very kind but noncommittal. After all, she had just met me, didn’t yet know if I was a candidate for VBAC, and didn’t want to get my hopes up. She did comment that eleven months was too soon to get pregnant after a C-section, but that this wasn’t necessarily a show-stopper.

She then measured my blood pressure and found it was on the high side. This did concern her quite a bit. She prescribed a low dosage of aspirin to bring it under control. She explained that the low dosage was safe for the baby. She also put me on a strict diet of fish and vegetables so that the baby would be as small as possible during delivery. She explained that this would minimize the risk of uterine rupture.

At my second appointment, Dr. Estuart performed a sonogram. She determined that my C-section scar was a low transverse one, which is the ideal type of scar for a woman contemplating VBAC. Furthermore, the scar had healed nicely and was thick, indicating that a rupture along the scar would be unlikely. All good news!

Subsequent appointments confirmed that my blood pressure was under control, and my baby was maintaining a relatively small size due to my diet. Halfway through my second trimester, a sonogram revealed the sex of my baby. I was going to have a baby boy!

In the weeks that followed, he proved to be a very active and fussy little guy. He kicked me whenever he was hungry or too hot and kept up the kicking until I ate something or turned on the aircon. “He’s just like his father,” I thought. “I’ll bet he looks like him too!”

Halfway through my third trimester, another sonogram revealed that the baby had its umbilical cord coiled once around his neck. My heart sank. “Don’t worry,” said Dr. Estuart, “it’s not a big deal. We’ll just slip the cord over his head when it emerges from the birth canal.” What a relief it was to hear that!

Three weeks before the baby’s delivery date, I started getting Braxton-Hicks, or “false labor,” contractions. These were contractions that were mild, infrequent, and irregular. One week before the delivery date, the contractions became much stronger and much more frequent, although they were still quite irregular. These were the so-called “early labor” pains.

On the morning of Saturday, May 31st, I woke up with intense contractions that had a different quality about them. I looked at my husband and said, “I will be giving birth in the next few days.” He replied, “How do you know?” I said, “I just know.”

The contractions continued to become more intense over the next couple of days, and on Monday, June 2nd, we went to see Dr. Estuart for a checkup. My husband told the doctor that I felt that delivery was imminent and asked if a woman can really know such a thing. “Oh yes,” Dr. Estuart replied, “if a woman is in touch with her body, she absolutely can know when she is about to give birth.”

The doctor then examined my cervix and found that it was dilated 2 cm and partially effaced. “You should give birth within the next few days,” she announced calmly. “If that doesn’t happen by the afternoon of June 5th, give me a phone call.” My husband and I left the clinic in a daze, happy but a bit apprehensive. We both knew we would not have to make that phone call.

By noon the next day, June 3rd, I was clearly in active labor. By 3:00 p.m., the contractions were coming five minutes apart, so we called a taxi and headed to Brokenshire Hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, we checked into the emergency room. They called Dr. Estuart, admitted me, and escorted us (with me in a wheelchair) to the ob/gyn wing of the hospital. Once there, we changed into surgical scrubs and were escorted to the labor room.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Estuart arrived and gave me another cervical exam. I was now dilated 5 cm. The contractions were now very strong, but oddly enough, I found them quite bearable. I noticed that the contractions were a lot less painful when I was in a sitting or standing position. Other than that and squeezing my husband’s hand with ever-increasing pressure, I didn’t use any special techniques to manage the pain.

When I was dilated 7 cm, my water broke, and the contractions became much more painful. The nurses told me this was normal. With the amniotic sac gone, the baby’s head was pressing much more deeply into the cervix, causing the dilation to proceed much more forcefully. Soon after this, I was taken to the delivery room.

The nurses helped me get onto the delivery table and attached a fetal heart-rate monitor to my belly. At the first sign of fetal distress, Dr. Estuart was prepared to abort the VBAC and perform an emergency C-section. However, the baby’s heart beat continued at a more or less normal rate through my contractions.

After a half-hour or so, I got a sudden urge to push. “I want to push!” I exclaimed. Dr. Estuart quickly checked my cervix. “You’re only at 9 ½ cm. I need you to wait until you’re at 10 cm.” I found that this took some concentration, but was not too difficult.

Finally, after a few more contractions, Dr. Estuart checked my cervix again and told me it was now okay to push. She explained how to do it. “Wait for a contraction. Give me a really hard, sustained push. Pause. Breathe and then give me one more follow-up push.”

When my next contraction began, I pushed with all my might. While doing this, I squeezed my husband’s hand really hard and cried out a bit. My husband thought I must be in a great deal of pain, but I explained to him afterward that this wasn’t the case. I was exerting myself strenuously, but I found the pushing phase to be quite a bit less painful than the transition phase (the dilation from 7 cm to 10 cm).

Overall, it was an amazing experience. It felt like nothing else in the universe existed except for me and my baby.

After about three of these pushes, Dr. Estuart exclaimed, “I can see his head!” She continued to encourage me, and after three more pushes, I could hear our little Nathan crying lustily for the first time! The nurses quickly suctioned his nose and mouth, cut his umbilical cord, wrapped him in a blanket, and placed him on my chest.

His head happened to be facing my husband rather than me, so my husband actually got to see the baby’s face before I did. He told me afterward that he was stunned to see that Nathan looked exactly like him! He said it was like witnessing his own birth. Amazing. At that moment though, my husband and I just looked at each other. I was too tired to speak, but my gaze said it all. “We did it!”

Nathan            Nathan2

Nathan3              dailyn

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Cesarean Birth Complications

When a mommy is confronted with the decision of whether to have a C-section or not, most of the time when the baby’s health is on the line, the mommy chooses her baby’s health instead of hers. This one decision changes her life, her body—totally! I know that my 2 C-sections did major changes to my body—physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Other than the basic changes that the C-section would entail, there are several complications unique to a cesarean delivery based on a study conducted by Childbirth Connection in 2012 entitled Vaginal or Cesarean Birth: What Is at Stake for Women and Babies?

1. Operative maternal injury (bladder puncture, bowel injury, or injury to a ureter)

2. Surgical cuts to the baby

3. Reoperation

4. Persistent pain at the site of cesarean section

5. Cesarean scar endometriosis

6. Ectopic pregnancy/early placenta accrete

7. Dense intra-abdominal adhesions

Of course, not all women who went through C-sections go through the same complications as mentioned above. But unfortunately, my friend from Cebu had a life-threatening experience when she gave birth to her third daughter via cesarean surgery last 2009. She thought everything went well until she had excessive bleeding. This bleeding made her weak and pale, so she needed to have blood transfusion. After a series of tests, the doctors found out that her bladder was injured during her C-section. This resulted to her having another operation to solve this complication; hence she stayed for two weeks in the hospital. Due to this, she wasn’t able to enjoy her newborn baby and even failed in her breastfeeding due to the pain she was experiencing during the first two weeks.

The whole childbirth including the complication cost about P500,000. That was why, she had to prepare about the same amount during her fourth childbirth because she had to hire a urologist in case there are complications connected to her third childbirth.

When I asked if they filed a lawsuit against her OB (for her third baby), she said she didn’t take legal actions to avoid more hassle. She just wanted peace of mind, so they let the doctor go.

Hence, one lesson I learned from my experience is unless it’s medically necessary, I think it pays to get a second opinion before deciding to have a major surgical operation. Once you have one, it’s a little more difficult to have a natural childbirth in the next baby. Although there are also several complications unique to vaginal childbirth, if given the chance to choose between C-section and vaginal childbirth, I would definitely choose the latter. That’s why I really fought to have a VBAC, and I am so grateful that I was able to go through such a wonderful experience.



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Jake’s Story of Courage

It took me a while to share this successful VBAC story, but here it is. Mommy Jake is one of the mommies who always wanted to have a natural childbirth but was disillusioned when she got a C-section with her first child. After five years after giving birth, she became pregnant again. This time she didn’t want it any other way but natural childbirth. Through a lot of reading and research, she stumbled upon this blog and got inspired to go for VBAC. Her husband and relatives were really against the idea because of fear for her and the baby’s safety. But armed with a lot of knowledge, prayers, and determination, she pursued her dream of having a natural childbirth. It was a blessing that she found Dr. Beulah Zaragoza, who she said was a bit old but was a very supportive OB. And so, last November 8, 2013, she gave birth to a healthy seven-pound baby girl.

jakesbaby1        jakesbaby2

Here’s her story as she related it to me:

I really want a normal delivery ever since because I believe it’s the true essence of a woman and also since my mom had all four of us by normal birth. All of my husband’s relatives were not supportive, especially my mother-in-law. They were all negative, and all discouraged me to do it. And my husband was not so supportive at all. The thing he said was very clear to me until now: “Kung kaya mo bahala ka. Delikado yan. Matigas ulo mo.” That was what he said.

But for me, hindi ako nagpadala of all the negative response; after all, it’s my body, and it’s my baby, and at the end of the day, my decision will matter, not them. So I prepared my body and my state of mind—through research, books, and Internet. Gladly, I stumbled upon your blog, and up to now I am so thankful. Your posts gave me strength and inspired me a lot. Thank you. Thank you again. 😊❤️😊

It was November 7, 2013. I was forty weeks pregnant. I have labor pains, which is tolerable. So what I did, I just walked around to ease the pain, and then I practiced my breathing exercise, which I learned from YouTube. After walking for a while, the pain went away, and then I decided to go grocery shopping alone. I was so happy just walking around, and when I went back home, suddenly my labor pains kicked in again, but again it was tolerable. Afterward, I relaxed on my core ball and practiced my breathing again. Then I had my dinner and went to bed. At 11:00 p.m., I woke up. I can’t sleep, then at around 1:00 a.m., my labor pains started to kick in again, but it was not pretty. I tried to relax and practiced my breathing, walking and relaxing at the core ball, but it did not help. It was close to five minutes, then to three minutes and then to thirty seconds. I was shouting my heart out in a pillow because everybody was asleep. The pain is humungous. I went back to the bathroom again and again, and suddenly, there was blood on my urine. I was so afraid I woke up my hubby and told him it was time to go. My baby kit/bags were ready already in our car days ahead, so I just had to bring my tote. We arrived at 2:00 a.m. and was headed at the delivery room. My husband was there. My OB let my husband be with me in the delivery room, wearing mask and scrub suits with gloves. I was lying and waiting, watching the news of typhoon Yolanda entering our country. My doctor was waiting, and she was very calm. We were talking the whole time until I was 100 percent dilated. After a while, my water broke. The whole time I was in the delivery room, I was praying to Jesus, three Our Fathers, three Hail Mary’s, and three Glory Be. I was praying to HIM that I can do this while my hubby was holding my hand the whole time. He was the one shouting, and I was calm and practicing my breathing exercise when it was time to push for the big one. At 4:00 a.m. of November 8, 2014, I delivered a healthy baby girl weighing seven pounds through natural birth with no drugs at all. I was so proud and relieved. My patience and determination had paid back. I was so lucky that my hubby was able to cut my daughter’s umbilical cord, and he was there with me the whole time around, which we did not experience it on my son’s birth (CS). When I heard her first cry, it was so precious. She was so malikot and was crying the whole process while her pedia was cleaning her. Her name is Francheska Athena. As soon as I was done in the delivery room, I was brought up to our private room to rest; and after a while, my baby Cheska was brought up to our room. I immediately breastfed her so she will get her first colostrum. I breast-fed my son for three years and four months exclusively. Now I’m planning to do the same with my baby girl. And within that same day, we went home. My other relatives and friends were not able to visit me because we went home early already.

The difference with my CS and natural birth is quite outstanding. With my CS, I felt I was “raped” (in Webster Dictionary, it means “an outrageous violation and forceful act”). I’m saying this because my first b—— OB (I termed her like this because I hate her so much; she was my CS OB), and we agreed before the whole trimester until it was my due that I will have a normal birth. When I had painful contractions and it was before my due date, I was brought up in the hospital with my hubby and in-laws. After a day of labor, my OB decided to have a C-section and telling me that the umbilical cord of the baby was around his neck, and she was asserting me to have it done. It was my first time to deliver a baby, and nobody guided me, not even my mother-in-law because she had four CS before and had no experience to help me at all, which only worsened the scenario. My mom who was in Cebu was so worried. I think doctors should be honest in advising and guiding their patients and should not only be after the fee. Their service should be pure. As for me, I feel I was ransacked. I wasn’t able to hug my baby after my CS. When I woke up in the recovery room, a baby was at my breast, breast-feeding, and I asked the nurse who the baby was. The nurse told me he was my son. My tears went down my eyes, and the feeling of something important was missing. He was out of the world for the first time, and I didn’t even know because the doctor put me to sleep wherein she even did not ask my permission to sedate me. Days after my CS, I went into depression and baby blues/postpartum. I was angry with everybody, even to my husband. It was only now that I had a natural birth with my baby Cheska that my confidence is back again, and my self-esteem is high. With my natural birth, I had a fast recovery—only weeks. Compared with my CS before, it took me months to recover. My lesson is that you should be fearless and know what you want by finding helpful people to guide you. You should be firm, and self-study is one key because without knowledge, you can’t defend yourself. Because of natural childbirth, I’m still planning to have more babies—three or more.


Not all childbirth is perfect. It’s really just a matter of perspective. With Jake’s first childbirth, the experience was traumatic, and somehow she had to fight her way to natural childbirth for her second child. Thank God VBAC became possible for her. Her faith and courage really saw her through this challenging but life-changing event in her life. I’m truly honored to be part of this miracle!:)


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