It’s been nearly 8 months, 8 amazing months, of Elijah David Perucchetti Bonifacio, in our lives. Despite the usual difficulties that come from being pregnant (You have something growing inside you for goodness sake that sends your body out of whack), and from having a baby (parents will tell you how tiring this stage is), the joy our son brings us is well worth it all. Thousands of digital photos of Elijah is a testimony to the happiness that surrounds him. I’ve been printing out our favorites to put into albums and frames around the house. There’s still something about physical photos that I prefer. Bringing my captured greatest joys permanently into my surroundings, instead of only getting to see them through a little screen. A framed triumph, visually attesting to the happiest moments in our lives, that I get to relive over and over.


When it came to planning our marriage and kids, David and I always had an idea of the timeline we wanted to follow, which was, get married in May of 2016, try for a baby after 6 months (December 2016) giving us a little time for just the two of us, then hopefully, have a baby in 2017. Which, on the surface, is exactly what happened! By December of 2016 I was pregnant, and 5 months later, we found out it was yet another Bonifacio boy! David has two brothers (one older and one younger), and both have one son each. I was so excited about having another boy, until I thought, “Another David??? I’m already tired just thinking about it!” David, for those of you who know him, is non-stop. He wakes up early and ready to go, and likes to fill every single day with activity after activity. True enough, Elijah is a ball of energy, though tiring, is the cutest thing to watch.


But if I were to tell you that the circumstances of my pregnancy were ideal, I would be lying.


There were realities we needed to navigate, such as the physical realities (Could we get pregnant?), the financial realities (Are we prepared for the costs?), and questions regarding our readiness, particularly because David and I had been arguing – a lot – which, we’ve been told, is quite normal between two people learning how to calibrate their lives.


Which brings me to the slightly less than ideal, yet amusing story of how I found out I was pregnant.


David and I had a pretty bratty argument one evening. David not wanting to talk, decided to take the car he would have usually left for me, telling me to find my own way. Since I was feeling lousy (headache, aching body, over heating), I decided to walk myself to the ER. The process there took several hours since it was the peak hours of ER cases in the early hours of the morning. I was seen by a nurse who asked if I could be pregnant, to make sure the medications prescribed were safe, and I had responded that it’s possible but extremely unlikely (the 6 months of David and I time had literally only just expired days before, and I was no longer in the ideal child bearing days). Fast forward several hours and a few tests later, I got my second result from the nurse (I didn’t have fever or the flu), where I saw the word POSITIVE. Then I looked up at her face thinking to myself “Why are you smiling at me if I’m sick!?” to which she continued with a Congratulations! By that time, I was completely confused, wondering why on earth a nurse would congratulate me if I’m sick, I mean POSITIVE is usually a bad thing right!? It took a lingering 5 seconds or so to remember the pregnancy test she had given me right at the beginning of my hospital visit, and then the news finally hit me. I was pregnant and going to have a baby with my grouchy, impatient husband. Boy did I hope at that time it was a girl, so he’d be forced to understand girls better!


Hit with a sudden flood of nerves, excitement, adrenalin and surprise, I text David “Call me – Urgent”. His response was that he thought I either had cancer or was pregnant, which was a less than charming, nor expected response, but none the less he was extremely happy I was pregnant, and from that day forward, grouchy David was put on the back burner and I enjoyed a patient, slightly more considerate David for the rest of my pregnancy. Would I have to be pregnant forever to keep this David with me? Turned out no. When David puts his mind to something, the discipline that comes with his plans of action is almost exhausting. He really works on the things he wants in his life, and for little Elijah, he wanted a dad that is kind to his wife, and a role model to him. Joy!


The next few months came with an array of symptoms while another little person occupied what was once my body, for a while.


Exhaustion, painful chest, headaches, nausea, dizziness, bloating, gas, heartburn, cramps, constipation, frequent urination (life every 10 minutes), cravings, swollen legs and feet (edema) from fluid retention, to name a few.


It’s hard to prepare for these physical changes, but the joy of a growing mini David and Yasmin made me trudge on with the next few months, yet each day with expectancy (the good kind), and delight in my heart.


Here’s my journey with a growing Elijah..

(With before and after pregnancy photos.)


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At 2 months, nausea hits, adding to the sometimes unbearably painful breasts, which are adapting to a environment that would later store Elijah’s milk.


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At 3 months I still have a feeling of nausea, and exhaustion starts to invade my body.


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At 4 months I started seeing the pregnancy glow, I was happy with my slightly expanding figure, adding curves to my once skinny frame, and my skin became more healthy looking.


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At 5 months I was still feeling exhausted, but really happy I was already at a stage where I can check for the gender of our baby. It’s a boy!! Pure Joy!


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At 6 months I was feeling slightly less exhausted and the nausea was well behind me. However I was not able to have the long walks I once could as the weight of baby Elijah weighed on my organs. This is also the time I noticed REALLY swollen legs and feet which actually made us miss our flight to London. I had to get tests done to rule out blood clots and other potential problems that traveling would of magnified. We however made the London flight the next day. Just a few pesos poorer.


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At 7 months I was really FEELING pregnant. It’s amazing how what we see affects how we feel. I mean my body was already physically heavy and exhausted, but seeing this huge belly attached to my very own body made the physical symptoms all too real! Even my boobs were twice the size, which no is not necessarily a good thing, when NO bras fit properly and the weight of them is inconvenient and uncomfortable. But these physical changes were a clear daily reminder.. I was to have a baby in just a couple more months!!


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At the 8 month mark I started researching the earliest days possible to give birth in HOPE I would have Elijah as SOON as possible. First off I couldn’t wait to meet him, and second, I couldn’t wait to have my body back to myself. Housing another person was exhausting, and watching my skin stretch into a round moon shape bigger and bigger each day, I was sure he should be big enough to meet us already! But no. These last two months, we women see the biggest growth of our baby as our stomach can literally double in size during this time, and the babies brain and lungs are still growing right up till the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. 39 weeks is considered full term, but not before. Who ever came up with the term a 9 month pregnancy when it’s 10 months for most of us, or sometimes even more!!


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I made it to 9 months and the real count down started. A lot of women do give birth any time after 9 months, but its still pre-term until at least 30 weeks. My baby Elijah was still high up and not ready to budge. He was really happy just where he was and not yet ready to enter the world.


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At 9 1/2 months this was it. I had a c-section planned at 39 weeks. Dr Sapaula at St Lukes Hospital took great care of us. Despite being a common surgery, c-section is still a major surgery and my recovery was really tough with again some completely unexpected ‘extras’ I had to recover from. David, who is usual not at all phased my watching surgery’s or other gruesome things, actually watched while the doctor cut through the skin on my stomach, moved my insides apart to find the uterus, then cut yet again to try and remove Elijah from his, then home! It was only when he stood up to cut the umbilical cord that he realized how faint he felt, and feeling like crapping, vomiting and fainting at the same time, excused himself from the room, seeking the help of the nurses outside. I guess a resilient mind fades when it’s your wife being cut open on the table.. Well despite the side effects of the surgery which lasted a good 4 months! I recovered, thank God, and was able to attend to my beautiful baby boy.


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6 weeks post pregnancy I had already lost half of the weight. I think most of the weight gain is the weight of the uterus, fluid retention, breast milk along with the baby. I was still in pain from the surgery. My incision site had turned ROCK HARD as in BONE HARD, which made it really hard to lean forward when sitting up and other positions very awkward. But thankfully that bone hard feeling of what I think was scar tissue, finally softened on the 3’rd- 4th month.


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Fast forward to 6 months post pregnancy and I was still left with a slightly curvier figure, which I have to say doesn’t bother me. In fact I quite like it as I was very skinny before, and anyway I’m still losing a few pounds until now without trying, probably thanks to a really chunky and solid baby that I have to carry! The skin on my stomach was pretty much back to its original look by this time, but kept improving in details up till now at 8 months post! It’s amazing how much skin can stretch and then shrink again (even at my age). I do contribute this partly to being thin and having a strong core before getting pregnant. The muscles on my stomach were strong and resilient. Also being over weight would mean the stomach skin is already stretched to some extent, so then going ahead and getting pregnant would stretch it even more! Making it harder to shrink back. In this way it helps to prepare beforehand to make sure we do everything we can to look after our bodies and the rest we leave to our genetics and God! Whatever changes we ARE left with are our battle wounds and a testimony to the beautiful journey of a pregnancy and giving birth to our little miracles.

At 8 months post pregnancy while I sit and write this blog, I have stronger arms from carrying around a 12 kg baby all day, am a little curvier in some areas, the pregnancy glow has disappeared (and then some), while my hormones plummet to a less than desirable level for skin health, I have mastered the all  night half awake sleep (or not sleep) a mother gets, and I write this blog with a big smile on my face. Because going through what I’ve been through this last year and a half has brought me one of the most beautiful things in my life. Baby Elijah.


A Most Beautiful Surprise.