The Dreaded Anaphylactic Attack

It started out as a little itch. I saw E scratching his little belly, and his shirt lifted enough to reveal that there were little welts on them. I felt something in my brain kind of click and then I lifted up his shirt, to see the little dots scattered around his torso. The sizes of the welts were varied, and that’s how I knew they were hives, not insect bites.

He walked to his grandparents’ room and lay down on the bed, asking for a back scratch. I went to get his antihistamine (we use Virlix, because he responds well to it), gave him his dose, and his grammy tried to relieve him of his itching. We decided to head home and hoped that the medicine would take effect while we were in the car, so that he could fall asleep and stop clawing away at his skin. But the hives just spread and started swelling even more. I had to take off all of his clothes in an attempt to give him comfort, but then he started coughing, and his eyes started welling up. My heart jumped up to my throat and stayed there for a bit, because this was not a good sign. When they start to cough and wheeze, that means the swelling is probably traveling to the throat and his other organs, heading towards anaphylaxis.


A blurry shot from inside the car. This was halfway into his reaction.

If you don’t know what anaphylaxis is, it is a severe reaction to an allergen that can lead to the swelling of your throat and other organs, blocking your airways. If you don’t catch it, if you don’t give the sufferer an epinephrine injection and seek medical care immediately, this could lead to death.

His coughing started to be more frequent, and I noticed his hives were now on his neck and was climbing up his chin. It was quick, and my brain barely had time to process it before I told my husband I was worried. He trusted his gut and the strain in my voice, turned the car around, and we rushed to the ER.

When we got to Asian Hospital, the nurse saw his symptoms and basically jumped into action. We got wheeled into the urgent bay, and it was a blur of a doctor and a nurse with words and needles. Yikes. He had to be nebulized, injected with epinephrine and a Heplock Kit (that thing they insert into your vein so an IV can be administered), and given another drug straight up (SONIPHEN). There was crying and comforting and counting and promises of rewards for being so brave and strong.


After a few minutes, all was quiet, E was curiously staring at his “laser hand” (the Heplock thing looks like it could shoot lasers actually hahaha), and before long, he fell asleep from the meds and exhaustion. They had to observe him for another 4 hours, to make sure the reaction didn’t come back when the meds wore off.


We stayed from 11pm until 3 am, got discharged, and passed out on our own bed by 4am. It was quite an ordeal. And one I hope we never had to go through again. BUT. Here are the important things I want all you parents dealing with allergies to always remember:

  1. KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS – pay attention to what your child reacts to. We don’t know what triggered this specific episode, since he didn’t eat anything new. But we will get him a full blood panel to get a better idea of what we are dealing with. We know he has severe reactions to peanuts and walnuts, as well as dairy, so we avoid those at all cost. We have little to none of those triggers in our home (what little we have are packed away safely), but i think we’re gonna go with really removing all of them from now on.
  2. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS- E’s first reaction are always hives. There are some that remain only in the area of exposure, but then there are hives that spread and cause extreme discomfort. Then sometimes he vomits profusely (dairy does this). The swelling is only caused by nuts. It has never been this severe before, because we have always avoided nuts since the first time a walnut TOUCHED his lip and he swelled up for half an hour. But it is important to know the symptoms of anaphylaxis even if it has never happened- read stories and testimonials of other parents who have dealt with it. That’s how I knew about the coughing and the teary eyes. If we had ignored it, if we had gone home and let him sleep it off alone in his room while we were in another room unable to hear his breathing? I don’t even want to know what could have happened.
  3. HAVE PROTOCOLS IN PLACE – as for us, we never leave the house without E’s epipen and a bottle of antihistamine. I’ve shown all the grandparents how to use the Epi and what signs to look out for. Also- if epi was administered, ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY AFTER. Reactions can resume after the medicine wears off, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Know where your nearest hospital or clinic is. Stay calm, and remember as many details as you can so your doctor can help you better.
  4. BE VIGILANT- it’s easy to get comfortable and complacent when your kid hasn’t had an episode in a while. This is not something you can afford when the severity of the allergy is this high. Always pay attention.

I hope this helps you in your journey with allergies. Our lives are a little more complicated, but I really believe that educating yourself is key. Know everything you can know, so that you’re always ready to respond to any situation you may find yourself in. Hopefully it is never anaphylaxis, but it is always better to be prepared anyway.


“Mommy, Do You Still Love Me?”

Look. Sometimes I am not proud of myself. There are days when all I really want is to sit on the couch, watch Forensic Files on Netflix, and NOT BE TALKED TO OR TOUCHED ALL DAY LONG. But hey, I am a parent and I’ve waived that right for the next few years. Except for my birthday, because it’s what I asked my husband for as a gift hahaha.

Anyway, on these bad days, sometimes I raise my voice. We have made big strides towards being a yell-free home (my husband has no yelling capabilities, I covered it all for him), but it is still a daily decision I make. We’ve decided that explaining things to E is much more effective than lording our authority over him. We want him to practice cooperation instead of blind obedience. AND HEY SURPRISE! IT ISN’T EASY! Because OH EM GEE sometimes i don’t want to explain any of my actions and I want you to just please for the love of God stop running and let me put lotion on you.

WAIT I had a point. Oh, yes! So sometimes, I do still yell (really rare, but each time is pretty biblical levels of frustration) and of course this makes E cry. He is always taken aback by how loud my voice can get, but it’s really the look on my face that makes his face crumple and he breaks down into little sobs of despair. Then he will come up to me and whimper, “Mommy, do you still love me? Do you forgive me?”

He understands the concept of forgiveness because it’s something I have said to him during a particularly bad day and was not being very nice. It went something like, “I’m sorry I raised my voice about so-and-so, please forgive mommy. I know you just wanted to play. I’ll try not to yell again next time. But also please cooperate when I ask you to do so-and-so, so that we are both happy!” Something like that. Whatever. I try not to remember the times when I’m being a jerk.

What took me aback was this idea that I won’t love him anymore when I’m upset. I don’t know where he picked that up, but that idea broke my heart. Of course, each time we tell him that nothing in the entire universe could ever stop us from loving him. And this turns into a whole conversation about how mommy and daddy need to be firm with him sometimes because we always want what’s best for him. But even if either mommy or daddy is upset, it never means that we love him less.

This may seem like such a heavy concept to lay on a 4-year-old. But here’s the thing. They understand so much more than we give them credit for. It is extremely amazing how much kids can soak up in their little brains and their little hearts, and how they organize this information into their understanding of the world. They are beginning to conceptualize the way relationships work, the concept of actions and consequences, and their place in this life. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start showing them how the world works, since there’s nothing we can do to protect them from it. The most we can do is to prepare them. And while we’re at it, try not to yell at them for being who they are.


New Play Place In BF Homes!

Hello, parents of the south! If you are a work-at-home, stay-at-home, or freelance parent like me, you know that it can get challenging to find things to do with your little kiddos. I have my go-to activities and places, but it’s always exciting to find new ones that are child-friendly, mentally stimulating for your kid, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! Which means you can do it more often!

And that’s why I was BEYOND elated when I discovered Hands n’ Mind in Pergola Mall in BF Homes Paranaque! You guys. You guys!


Hands N’ Mind is actually a wooden toy store (my favorite kind!), but they opened up a space where kids can play with some of the best. stuff. ever! Most of the toys are from Hape and Plan Toys, but there are smaller brands that don’t cost as much too.

One half of the store is filled with these great toys that kids can play with for a fee- kitchen sets, blocks, train and car tracks, tool shed set, and other really great wooden toys that even much smaller babies can enjoy.

And the rates are extremely reasonable too. Don’t forget to bring socks!



Here is the best part: If your kid is 3 and up, and is independent and potty trained, you can leave them there (they have a caretaker) and you can go down to the grocery and SHOP FOR GROCERIES IN PEACE. Heaven. There are also salons, nail spas, cafes, and other stores nearby so really, you can have your alone-time will knowing that your child is safe and happy. The only thing you have to worry about is how to get them to finally leave :))

I want you to know that THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST! I’m just really happy I found this place and I want to give you, my fellow wild-eyed parents, to have other options for both you and your little ones. 🙂

Check out their facebook here. And also! They offer a mobile play area service that you can use for birthday parties or have as a corner for wedding receptions and other events, to keep them critters busy while you party! HOORAY FOR US! And hooray for places that help stimulate the mind of our bright-eyed little spawn. ❤dav

See You Later, Alligator {In A While, Crocodile}

It was at this time last week when I knew something was wrong. I woke up at 9:30am and saw what looked like my mucus plug in the toilet. For the uninitiated, that’s this tiny little thing that keeps your cervix closed. Losing it signals the beginning of labor.

I thought nothing of it, just some usual pregnant lady things. I was roughly six weeks along and since I had spotted all throughout my first pregnancy, this didn’t really bother me at first. So I went to breakfast with some girlfriends and ignored the pain that was beginning to dully pound away at my lower back. What I didn’t know at that time was it was labor pains, and that in an hour, I was going to lose my child.

After breakfast, we went back to our hotel room, a lovely 2-bedroom suite we rented for last night’s bachelorette party. I didn’t say anything to the rest of the girls about what I was feeling, because everyone was in a light, happy mood and I didn’t want to ruin it. But I felt something wasn’t right. I went to the restroom and that’s when I saw the blood. I knew then that I had to go to the hospital, which thankfully was only 3 minutes away from our hotel. Not that it mattered; nothing was going to save it.

I spent the next 8 hours waiting for someone to tell me what I already knew. Each time I had to go to the toilet, I lost more and more blood. There came a point where I tried to hold back my freaking pee thinking to myself that maybe if I just hold it back, maybe if I don’t go until forever it will hold on and everything will be okay. This, of course, was wishful thinking, and I always had to go. So I ended up sobbing hysterically each time I had to go to the toilet, wondering why the damn hell it was taking the damn doctor forever to arrive. It was a Saturday, so the lines were long and this doctor, not my usual OB, was late. Damn you doctors who are always late. Why are you always late?

Thankfully, the feet that were waiting impatiently outside my bathroom stall would shuffle on to the next stall whenever they would hear me trying to muffle my own sobs with my shirt.

Finally, my turn came. This doctor, like so many of the older OBs, was cold at first, chastising me for not acting the first moment I saw spotting. I wanted to throw something at her, but knew that now is not the time to act like a juvenile and decided to just yell SHUT UP YOU OLD WITCH in my head. Full transparency, I didn’t really say “witch”.

She checked my insides, told me I had to get an ultrasound, “just to be sure”. BUT HEY GUESS WHAT. There was some kind of Gynecological conference and most OBs were required to go, so there was only one doctor in the maternal care wing of the hospital. This meant that it was going to take forever, and why not, everything else was going wrong anyway. So I spent the next few hours just sitting on a couch, playing candy crush and lurking on Reddit, trying to distract myself. My husband arrived halfway through this ordeal, because he had to wait for my parents to be available to watch our son. He came, bought me lasagna and some tea. He is always such a comforting presence, like a big, thick blanket in a cold room. He didn’t have socks on in his leather shoes. He and Elon slept over at my parent’s house the night before and I forgot to pack his slippers. I always forget to pack his slippers.

Well, we know what happened after that. Nothing on the ultrasound. Went to see my regular OB (who I love so much shout out to Dr. Gergen Lazaro-Dizon you are the best OB in the world), confirmed what I already knew. Negative pregnancy test, cervix closed. It passed cleanly, she said, a full miscarriage. No other treatments needed. After I get my next period, we can try again. Not sure I’m there yet. Maybe in another year. This was exhausting.

I had imagined a different Christmas scene. We were going to surprise our parents, show them a photo of the baby that was growing inside me. I was due July 2018. I was gonna stock up on maxi dresses because I can still wear them even after I give birth. That’s not going to be the scene now. Now it’s going to be me fielding questions about when the next one will come, and giving a generic answer and try not to cry. But it’s okay, people never mean it the wrong way, they’re just excited for new life. Aren’t we all.

So, it’s been a week. We only told our family and my closest friends. What’s the point, I thought, of telling anyone else. But here I am, yelling into the void that is the Internet, hoping that writing about it helps me heal faster because I just want to not hurt when I think about it. I went through all the stages of grief already. I guess this part is acceptance.

Whatever God’s plan is, I know there is a purpose to the pain. And whatever it is, I know love is at the center of it. So maybe we’ll see you later, little alligator, and not a moment too soon.


I’m Not Always Okay, and That’s Okay

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a long time, but I could never find the right words to describe it. I know there are many others who go through the same thing, but don’t have a name for it either. It’s like water slowly rising all around you, until your feet are off the ground and you struggle to keep your head above water. Pedaling and treading and paddling for days and days, without anything solid to hold on to. You choke, you swallow water, sputtering and gasping, you get so tired. But you can’t stop moving, because you know that if you do, you’re going to drown.

When things got really, really bad when I had my baby, I decided to read more about what I was going through, and talked to friends who have gone through treatment for mood disorders or mental illness. I stopped short at seeing a professional, mostly because 1) Treatment is freaking expensive and 2) How do you place mental illness/mood disorder in a life that is supposedly anchored on Christ?

The first time I remember ever acknowledging this feeling was in high school. I asked a good friend if she ever felt inexplicable sadness. The way I described it to her was a “heavy blackness that just takes over, and you feel like you’re going to choke.” She told me that sometimes, yes, she feels sad for no reason, but we shouldn’t let it take hold of us because we should lean on Jesus. That I needed to pray more. She was well-meaning, and I took her advice to heart. I quashed every feeling of darkness that came my way, ignored it or covered it up, afraid to bring it up with anyone else because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who didn’t have faith. Someone who didn’t love God enough.

They say the first step towards healing is always acknowledgement, giving your pain a name. Hiding it and keeping it inside just made me miserable. I did a really good job at doing so though, cause everyone always thought I was happy 24/7. My energy was always through the roof. But there was a very short time where I resorted to hurting myself, finding comfort in short-lived romances, electrifying nights out that turned to mornings, and just filling my days with constant activity. I was terrified of being alone, because that’s when it hurt the most. Hurt for no reason. Sad for no reason.

Things got better when I met my husband-to-be. Niki is straightforward, uncomplicated, EXTREMELY PATIENT, and so God-fearing. He was such a calming presence in my life, and it balanced out so much of my instability. During my relationship with him, I found enough peace to renew my relationship with God. I really thought I was okay, that I had matured and all those dark days were just a result of youth and hormones.

Then we got married, I got pregnant, and gave birth to the most wonderful, adorable, lovely little boy. Elon is my heart. I loved him so much! Which is why I didn’t understand why I was so terrified to be alone with him. When I look back at my first year as a mom, what I remember the most was the darkness, the fear, the terrifying realization that I had no idea what I was doing and I was probably failing. It didn’t help that Elon is the world’s worst sleeper, and the lack of sleep plus breastfeeding drove my hormones through the roof and I was an inconsolable mess. Niki often came home to a woman he didn’t recognize- angry, afraid, sometimes crying heavily for no reason. I didn’t understand other women with their bright eyes and makeup, their photos of clean homes and brightly lit, cooing babies. I felt so different from them, and it made me feel even worse.

I had read about the baby blues, which was supposed to last two weeks. I waited for the feeling to go away, but it never did. Weeks turned to months, and the next thing I know, a year had gone by. I prayed and prayed and prayed, but there were some days when I just could not handle it. I was drowning.

During one of our middle-of-the-night feedings, I decided to join forums and research on postpartum depression and anxiety. My western counterparts were a lot more aware about the effects of hormonal changes on mood and mental well-being, and I found a lot of information that made it easier to understand what I was going through. Slowly, I felt less and less alone. Knowing WHY I was feeling the way I was feeling helped me work through it, process it, and fight it.

And then one day, as if someone turned the light switch on, everything just changed. A cloud lifted, a window was opened, and I could breathe. My feet found the ground, and slowly, I walked back to shore. The sun felt good on my face, and everything felt different. Just like that, without warning or anything measurable – I simply felt better.

The day I knew that my hormones were definitely the culprit was when I decided to quit breastfeeding. After 26 months, I decided it was time to stop, and then the madness began all over again. I read up on it and many women have given testimonies about their depression and/or anxiety come back when they stopped breastfeeding. Thankfully, that episode lasted for only 2 weeks, and then the feeling of drowning was gone again.

I still have my episodes, but this time, I know when they are about to come– and it’s always 1-2 weeks before I get my period. Damn you, hormones!!! It’s at that time that I need to eat well, exercise, and get lots of outside time. The episodes still come, but every month I get better at managing it, and knowing what to expect has really, really helped. Having a partner in life who is with me every single step of the way, and will take me out for impromptu trips to see light shows, also makes it easier. And my family, my amazing support system, helps me in ways they don’t event know. Sometimes, knowing they are there is more than enough. I hope to speak to a professional someday soon, because I also believe in the physical as much as I do in the spiritual, and I know that kind of insight/ a proper diagnosis will take me a step closer to healing.

Where does God fit in all of this? How can I be a Christian, and yet suffer from anxiety or a mood disorder? I’m not afraid of that question anymore, because I realized that it’s the reason why He came to die on the cross in the first place: because He loves me and I need His love. My body fights me, but it is not all I am. Maybe it’s the thorn on my side, the way apostle Paul had one too. But I hold on to God’s promise that healing is in His hands, and it is never far away.


“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—  each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

So, What Do You Do All Day?

This is a question I hear often, being a work-at-home mom without household help or a yaya. It is difficult for people to fathom that I spend majority of my day with a tiny little terror whose favorite past-time is anything that DOES NOT involve any form of sitting or relaxation. Other ways of asking this question is “what’s your schedule like?” or “Sa bahay lang kayo?”

Some people skip the question altogether and just assume that I am “a woman of leisure” and they so wish they could do what I do. This one never fails to make me belly laugh. I’m unsure of what they mean by “leisure”, but that’s not something I actually get to do often. Maybe 2 hours every other week, 4 tops.

It’s a fair question, really. I’m sure that 2005 Kris wondered the same thing. I am also pretty sure I vowed that I would never stay at home, and yet here I am.

So, what DO I do all day?

I have wrestled with this question so many, many times. It has made me feel very sad about no longer being able to do all the things I used to do. It has made me feel proud whenever my son blurts out a mispronounced word out of the blue (today he said “hub”, which is ElonSpeak for “hug”). It has made me go insane on days when I have deadlines and clients breathing down my neck. It has driven me to tears when all I want is to take a dump with the door closed, and not have a toddler play with Talking Tom on a tablet on my knee.

But this point is my favorite one – it has made me realize just how important my job really and truly is.

Because you see, one day, Elon may become President. If that is God’s will for his life, well by golly gee I better prepare the little runt to handle that weight.

Or maybe one day, he’ll become an engineer. I better start honing his love for discovery and learning, so he can build and create world-changing things.

Maybe one day he’ll become a father of 5 children, all maddeningly vibrant and active just like he is today. I better prepare him for the kind of love and patience he is going to need to raise them to be even better than himself.

He could decide to be in an advertising agency, or marketing, or sales! Which means I should allow him to love people and to love socializing, to not let his imagination be boxed in, and help develop his confidence in his own abilities.

He could become a musician or an athlete, so I have to make sure to instill in him that hard work trumps talent, and having both will help him find success and fulfillment.

He could be anything his heart desires. And for as long as he is willing to trust God’s hand in his life, then he doesn’t need to be afraid or pressured by the world’s standards or timelines.

And the most important realization i’ve had recently is that whatever kind of man we want Elon to become, those are the kind of people my husband and I need to be. If he is to be kind, loving, confident, curious, happy, helpful, compassionate – these are the things we need to become. Because where else is he going to learn these things first but from home?

That’s what I do all day. I hone, I encourage, I discipline. We dance, sing, draw, laugh, cry, go on the swings, see-saw, down the slide. I hold, hug, kiss, bathe, brush, wipe. We learn, discover, get dirty, go high, go underground, hide, seek, explore. All day long I watch him learn, unfold, find out what makes him happy, what frustrates him, what makes him eager to try again.  All day long, by the grace of God, I try to become a better mom, wife, human being- for the sake of my son. For the sake of the world that I will be leaving him in. Whatever kind of man he becomes one day is partly determined by the kind of life we give him, the kind of parents we are, the kind of people he sees us as. And so that’s what I do all day.

I hope that answers your question.

When You Can, Cuddle

Cuddling is a scarce thing for me and my husband these days. We practice bedsharing, and the tiniest member of our family takes up the most space, usually between us, not leaving a lot of room for cuddling with my man.

But last night, we were forced to do so because the little guy was taking up 2/3 of our queen-sized bed, leaving only the edge for us. As Niki and I snuggled into our little space, we tried to find the most comfortable position that didn’t involve breathing all night long into each other’s faces. His heavy arm rested on my hip bone, which made me slightly pleased to know that my hip bone could still jut out like that and wasn’t hidden under massive layers of jiggly jell-o.

Anyway, our contorted situation made me think about how we used to be when we were younger. We weren’t big on PDA, but boy did we like to cuddle when it was just the two of us- during movies, car rides, nap times. And when we weren’t cuddling, we were subtly touching in one way or another, holding hands, hand on arm, foot on foot, elbow to elbow, knee to knee – you get the point.

However, these days I get so touched out that by the time the day ends, all I want is personal space. I’m a work-at-home, breastfeeding mom so you can imagine how often my son requires me. Milk, eating, bathing, sleeping, playing – i’m being touched aaaaaaall day long and by bedtime i’m exhausted and needing a time out. Sometimes, even sitting too close to each other on the couch is too much.

But last night, squeezed into our tiny little space, feeling my husband breathe deeply and watching my son sleep peacefully, I realized that touch helps connect us. That’s why we need hugs to survive, we shake hands to seal deals, kiss to begin relationships– physical touch is what reminds us that this person beside us is real and present. It’s the one way we can share things that words can’t define.

So when you’re feeling out of it, a little blue, or maybe disconnected from the one you love (or the world)- touch, hug, cuddle. It’s a great way to refresh, to release and share energy, and remind yourself that you are alive.