Like many first-time moms, Filipino-Australian TV host Iya Villania was anxious about so many things when she first learned she was with a baby: "What will my pregnancy be like?" "Will I last one month breastfeeding?" "What kind of a son will I raise?"
But, as she eventually realized, nothing prepares anyone for motherhood, and that one just has to go through it with positivity and an open mind.
Iya narrates her birthing story with SmartParenting.com.ph:
SP: Was your pregnancy a surprise or was it planned?
Iya: Yes, Drew and I planned for me to give birth in 2016, but I probably conceived three months earlier than we planned.
SP: What were your first thoughts when you found out you were pregnant?
Iya: At first, I thought I just wasn't getting my period because of stress. But I called my OB, and she said to take a test.
My first test parang walang lumabas. Kung meron man, it was very faint, and I understood it as a negative.
Parang nalungkot ako, I would have preferred na buntis na lang ako rather than it being a negative, kasi it would make better sense why wala akong period.
My doctor said maybe it's just too early and to try again in another two weeks. So I waited another two weeks.
Hindi ako makatulog, I was just so nervous about it. When I took the test, patak-patak-patak, then lumabas na yung unang linya, and then I kind of put it behind me because I didn't want to see it yet.
I washed up, brushed my teeth, and then I looked at it. Dalawa na yung linya. And it was clear!
Sabi ko lang, "Oh my God!" Para akong kinilig na na-excite na kinabahan na ewan ko, [knowing] that I was pregnant and that I was going to become a mom.
And even though I know that I still had nine months before actually having the baby in my arms, [my thoughts were] "Oh, my God, nanay na ako!"
As for Drew, he was just straight-up excited, he was so happy, he couldn’t wait for it.
Actually, if it weren’t for me, he would be fine being a dad earlier, but because I really wanted to wait for two years first [before getting pregnant, he was], okay.
SP: What was the most challenging thing you experienced during your pregnancy?
Iya: Since I was still working on TV, the weight gain. But I guess, because I was active it didn’t happen so fast. But the most challenging was having to face the negativity, hearing remarks from the people na, “ah umiitim yung whatever niya,” “ah lalaki 'yan.” [I know] some people don’t mean for it to be an insult, but for a pregnant woman, that’s not what I wanna hear. Or “ay, tumataba.” I mean what do you expect, isn’t it normal?
Kapag hindi ako nag-gain ng weight sasabihin nila masyado akong conscious; kapag nag-gain naman ako ng weight sasabihin naman mataba ako.
So I was just trying to get a balance, trying to filter out the things that you need and things that you don’t need.
Physically, I had a bit of lower back pain towards the end of the pregnancy, kaso hindi rin ako puwede magpa-massage kasi gusto ko talaga hard massage, and that’s a no-no. Trying to find the right sleep position [was also a challenge].
SP: Take us back to the hours leading to when you gave birth.
Iya: August 29 pa lang, at 6 in the morning, I was already feeling contractions, so Drew and I thought, "Oohh I’m gonna give birth on the 29th, and I was happy kasi June 29 [ang birthday ko]."
Around lunch time, the contractions were consistent but not that too close to each other, so my doctor said to go to the hospital to get checked.
So I went after lunch and I was three cm pa lang, so I just went home first, nag-merienda na ko sa bahay, nag-dinner na ko sa bahay.
Ten p.m. na nagtitinginan lang kami ni Drew. Parang, okay, I guess it’s not happening today. So, we both tried to just sleep it off.
Around 3 a.m. the following day, medyo dikit na ang contractions. We went to the hospital at around 4 a.m., and when I was checked nasa six cm na ako. I kind of dilated pretty slow, and I was like “are you sure six cm pa lang, hindi pa ba eight 'yan?”
Sabi ko kay doc, “When do you think I’m going to give birth?” Sabi niya, “Probably before lunch time."
So I was like, “I have to endure this pain?”
"Actually, it’ll worsen as the time progresses."
How am I gonna get through this?!
And that was when I told Drew, “Honey, I know I said I wanted to go natural, but would you get disappointed if I get the epidural?”
Natakot na ako, sabi ko, “Beb, this isn’t gonna be our last baby, and I don’t want this to be our last baby, baka ma-trauma ako.”
It was already pretty painful. Drew says, “Honey, kilala kita” as if implying na “I know you can do this.”
But in my head I thought, “You have no idea what I’m going through right now.”
Before it was too late, I decided to get the epidural, which, I discovered later, was only half-epi "para mas maging efficient sa pag-iri," according to the doc.
Kaya pala ramdam na ramdam ko pa rin!
Sabi ko, “Doc, I think this is it, I think I need to poo.” Apparently that’s the sensation. Of course, this is my first time to give birth so wala rin akong basehan.
'Tapos mawawala, and then nung medyo malapit na, sabi ng doctor, “Ok Iya, do you wanna try pushing?” Sabi ko, "Ok."
So I tried pushing. Tingin siya 'tapos called my mom and Drew, then said, “Ok, prepare her.”
So biglang on yung ilaw, 'tapos tinaas yung legs ko. Nung may parating na contraction, sabi ko, “Doc, doc, can I push?”
Sabi niya, “No Iya you can’t push it kasi hindi pa handa lahat.”
Sobrang laugh trip, I still remember it so clearly.
SP: Where did Primo's name come from?
Iya: Honestly, it was Drew’s younger brother who said, “Kuya we have to name your baby something astig, very masculine, very manly, ANTONIO PRIMO!” But really it was [also because of] Optimus Prime.
But I said “Honey, we’re not gonna call our son Primo, are you kidding me?"
Drew kept on calling him Primo, and I kept on calling him Primo until eventually nasanay na ako.
And then nag-research na ko and I discovered that in Italian, Primo means “first born,” so na-convince na rin ako.
"Antonio" is my father-in-law who passed away before Drew and I got married, whom we know would have been sobrang baliw over his grandson.
SP: How did you feel the first time you saw your baby?
Iya: Yung paiyak pero hindi ako nakaiyak. My reaction was, “Oh my gosh! Hi, my love!”
It was just amazement, “Wow! This is our baby.”
He latched on me, and he was able to get milk. I'm still breastfeeding Primo exclusively.
Read the full interview on SmartParenting.com.ph
This story originally appeared on SMARTPARENTING.COM.PH.
* Minor edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.