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APAS Diaries: Waiting for the King

Tin Osorio and her rainbow baby

Rest and take a break if you must but you should still continue trying and fighting ☺

A couple who surpasses great challenges towards having their little bundle of joy – who go through unexplained infertility or recurrent miscarriages – is admirable. 

Not everyone is lucky and sometimes, not all of us get the support that we need from our very own family. I have talked to women who go through the process on their own and it is truly heartbreaking. 

So, it is always a story for me to share when husbands are always there for their wives, waiting with them and supporting them on this (to quote Tin) – physically, emotionally, mentally and financially exhausting slice of our #APAS life. 

I was so inspired with Tin’s story. 

It is a story of patience, resilience, and the attitude of never giving up until they are granted their heart’s desires. 

While we are not 100% sure that our treatments will work or if that rainbow baby is going to come one day, it is beautiful to witness the strength and the grace of every single APAS warrior who continues to fight every single day for their own stork to come. 

 

Name: Tin Osorio

RID (repro-immuno disorder) Categories: 1 and 2

OB: Dr. Eileen Manalo

Immuno: Dr. CJ Gloria

Age: 32

How many pregnancies? 2

How many miscarriages? 1 (natural twin pregnancy)

Live births? 1

How did you know that you have RID? 

  • My husband and I found out we were pregnant with twins after 4 months of getting married. We never heard their heartbeats even after following the doctor’s advice of taking medicines and bedrests. My then-OB had to give me medications so I can have a spontaneous miscarriage. I was so devastated when that happened that I researched daily on possible causes of miscarriage. Of course, I found out that the number 1 reason for miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities and that a miscarriage happens to 10-20% of all pregnancies but I couldn’t accept that. I found out about RID in the internet and I talked to my OB about it and I said I want to be tested. At first, she didn’t want because I only had 1 miscarriage and I was young (28 years old then) and generally healthy. However, when the RID test results came out, she referred me to Dr CJ Gloria, my immunologist. 

What did you feel when you first found out you had RID? 

  • I was both relieved and puzzled. There was a sense of relief because finally, I know the reasons why our twins are now angels. I was also puzzled because I couldn’t understand why some women have RID and why a women’s body will attack a baby to terminate a pregnancy, which is a very natural thing. 

What preconception treatments did you have? 

  • After my miscarriage, we couldn’t get pregnant again naturally that we did IUIs and IVFs. I was doing LIT regularly (every 5-6 months), taking vitamins and probiotics but on our last IVF cycle, we did lipid infusion prior the embryos transfer.

What is the greatest challenge of having RID? 

  • Having RID does not affect my daily life per se. I can do my daily activities and RID does not affect my energy level or mood. I think the greatest challenge is addressing RID because the treatments can be costly and there is no 100% guarantee. I was doing LIT for years and taking aspirin (as per doctor’s advise whenever I have IUI) but we just couldn’t get pregnant again. Of course, there are still many factors that will affect a positive pregnancy but that is a different topic.

How long after the treatments did you get pregnant? 

  • About 3 years. Early 2016, I started consultation with Dr CJ Gloria and did treatments and it was in 2019 that I got pregnant again thru IVF.

What were your medications during pregnancy? 

  • For the entire pregnancy, I was doing either lipid or IVIG infusion monthly depending on my ultrasound results and suggestion of Dr CJ Gloria. Dr Eileen Manalo also put me on daily aspirin and prednisone but I forgot for how many months. 

Any advice to those who are diagnosed with RID and are still trying

  • Rest and take a break if you must but you should still continue trying and fighting ☺

Please share your RID timeline

  • 2015 – miscarriage
  • 2016 – I found out I have RID and I started treatment
  • 2016 to 2019 – I was doing both RID and fertility treatments
  • 2019 – pregnant thru IVF

What is your greatest realization? 

  • I realized that having the right doctors and being well informed are very important. Wrong diagnosis and treatments make the baby journey longer and harder. While it is important to be patient in waiting for the right time when you will get pregnant (or will get pregnant again), it is also crucial to make the conscious effort in finding out if your body is ready to get pregnant or what treatments do you need to make your body ready. 

What/Who helped you through this difficult time?

  • My husband and our families. Needing both RID and fertility treatments are physically, emotionally, mentally and financially exhausting so it is very important to have a strong support system.

Thank you, King, for coming into the life of your mom and dad. Thank you for being an inspiration – a testament of hope and the ultimate symbol of the love of two people who did not give up. 

Productivity Practices I Do Daily

When I started to work on my own business and do some freelance consulting last year, I had to unlearn so many things.

One of the first adjustments was to fix my own day because I was not working on a rigid structure of corporate work anymore. With that said, it is really easy to slack off and procrastinate (which is one of my bad habits, yes!).

That is why I am so happy to have met Kim of Mom On Duty blog, who is an Online Business Manager, and my classmate in one of my classes with Martine (my mindset coach). Kim introduced me to time blocking which has become very helpful, especially when I audit my time.

So today, I would like to share with you some of the practices I learned to help with my productivity:

  1. Goal-setting. I would usually have my “big words” for the year (this year, it’s COMPASSION AND CONNECTION) and this is my anchor for the year. Then I would have one or two big goals for the year (in 2019 to write a book and become a certified aromatherapist; in 2020 to become a certified coach and find a hustle outside of corporate) then my year is further broken down into mini-goals per quarter. In this way, I get to recalibrate (if needed) what I need to do to achieve my goals.
  2. Time blocking. Kim does her time blocks in Google Calendar and I tried for a time but didn’t really work for me. I execute my time blocks in an old-fashioned way via my whiteboard and notebook. I try to wake up early so that I have time for myself and for my soul practice before I start on my ‘actual’ tasks. It helps me create a semblance of structure so I can stay on top of the things I need to do, which I write on my…
  3. To-do list. Yes, I still do this and I would normally do this list at the start of my workday which is usually at 10:00 am. Some experts say that you need to do it the night before but for me, I don’t like to load myself too much of the nitty-gritty of the next day. However, this only applies to my daily tasks. There are of course tasks that are already planned in advance, meetings, conferences, client calls, etc that are already plotted and taken into consideration.
  4. Apps and Templates. Apps that make life easy is something I invest in so I don’t need to spend every single hour in the processes. I use scheduling apps, pre-made templates that I can customize, Canva (which is a lifesaver, gosh!), automated invoicing. I have a long way to go but I continue to check what is available in the market so that I can maximize the use of my time.
  5. Meditation. I would usually start my day in prayer and meditation. I would usually spend at least 30 minutes at the start of the day, experimenting on my favorite meditation at the moment (currently doing Rapid Transformational Therapy from Marisa Peer). Meditation has helped me curb my anxiety and just take a breath to step back and see things in a clearer, more profound way.
  6. Sharpen the Saw. They say that the majority of people stop learning by the time they are thirty years old. I would not like to be part of this set so I always find ways on how I could learn to further improve my craft. Rest is also part of this so I try my best to slow down, read a book or write because I find joy in these things.
  7. Yummy soul tools. Essential oils, gardening, cards, crystals, incense. I have them all and they keep me grounded and happy! This can look very different for each one so find what resonates with you.

Each one may have a different set of practices on what keeps them productive. It is always best to know what works for your personality (as an Enneagram 3, structure and achieving something are what makes me tick as I learned from Soulprint Coach, Tetz Agustin) and based on your self-observation.

How about you? What are your productivity practices! Share with me in the comments and let’s learn from each other!

Love,
Balot

Lessons from being a Micro-Influencer

Balot Del Rosario - Smart Parenting Mom Ambassador

 

I have been blogging since 2005 but it was not until 2020 that I have put in some serious effort to grow and make use of my social media channels and digital assets to communicate my products and services to the market. 

As a certified aromatherapist, a mom, and a life coach, I started to consistently post content on my Instagram, Youtube, and website, specifically on health and wellness. I published relevant topics from essential oil recipes to coaching to daily snippets of my mom life. That was when my followers really grew. I was able to find a tribe that resonated with what I was teaching and got several brands to partner with me in the process.

In the same year, I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the micro-influencers of a local parenting magazine in the Philippines. I didn’t realize that I would grow so much in this role and funnel it back to the other things I do.

Being an influencer does sound lucrative but let me share with you some lessons I have learned in the past year: 

  • Being an influencer is not all glitz and glamour. You have to do the work.

You have to create strategies. You have to plan your content. You have to take photos that your audience would resonate with. All of these you are most likely to do on your own when you are starting so be prepared for that. 

  • Be honest and authentic.

Gone are the days of mass marketing. People love word-of-mouth and referrals from family, friends, or someone they look up to. This is why influencer marketing has grown so much in the past years. As an influencer, people in your circle would most likely take your word when you talk about a brand or a collaboration. Make sure you believe what you endorse because, in the long run, your audience will know if you are truthful in the things that you say (and yes, this includes what you post on your social media, too!) 

  • When you are just starting out, being an influencer may not yet be your “main job.” 

Like another influencer in my Intellifluence circle, Tim, he didn’t really plan to branch out into influencer marketing. He is a Los Angeles-based online fitness and nutrition coach, who just started posting about relevant content in the industry where he serves. Later on, he got offers for brand collaborations and that is where it started. Start small, dream big, and put in the work.

  • You have to harness the influence you have on your audience.

In the cluttered world of social media and the digital space, you always have to deliver content that is relatable to your audience so that they keep coming back. To my first point, you have to consistently show up and connect with your audience. 

These are just some nuggets I learned in my short time as an influencer and there is still so much room to grow. I continuously study what other influencers do, especially those I follow and look up to in the health and wellness industry such as Adriene from Yoga with Adriene, Emily Fletcher, and Kayla Itsines. These ladies have been amazing in helping me create my own self-care program at home in the midst of the pandemic and I have learned so much from them with the content they deliver on yoga, meditation, and home workout. 

These influencers I look up to taught me that at the end of the day, more than the bells and whistles of being called an influencer, it all comes down to the service they put out to the world, creating content their audience can relate to, and being able to provide value in their lives. 

Anything else on top of that is just icing on the cake.

Capping off 2020

I am sure that it has been a peculiar year for all of us. The whole Covid pandemic just changed the way we lived, the way we worked, and the way we interacted with our family, friends, and colleagues. 

I have had my share of challenges, too. I was still reeling from my Mama’s accidental death in December of 2019, resigned from corporate in January of 2020, not knowing what lay ahead. 

But despite the challenges, there were many silver linings. The one wish that I had which was to spend more time with the kids actually happened (and made me cray, haha) – and with God’s blessings, I was able to thrive (surprisingly) with the aromatherapy and consultancy businesses that I launched. 

There are so many things that I have realised and learned this year and I’d like to share a bit of them with you in this Instagram post.

I hope that despite everything that has transpired in the past year, you are still doing okay. I would not wish for a brighter year ahead because we are still in the midst of a lot of uncertainties and you know this meme, right.. (lol)

2021 Don't Say It

However, I pray with all my heart that you would find more meaning in your life, regardless of whatever comes our way. 

In the meantime, let me leave you with my last project for 2020 – the Coaching Mamas podcast which is the fruit of a friendship that started in the midst of the pandemic. Join me and my fellow coaching mamas, Tetz Agustin and Kim Reyes as we cap off 2020 and look forward to the New Year.

Blessings everyone! Namaste!

How I Achieved My Pre-Pregnancy Weight

Weight management is something that I have been struggling with since I had kids. I checked out several programs such as IF and Keto but I really have not found anything I could stick with.

I was never really healthy in the past.

For those who know me, I loved fast food, Coke (one can every meal), sitting on my couch the whole day; I didn’t like vegetables, I ate loads of rice (my officemates called me Karen Carpenter – kasi karpentero kumain, LOL) and it was just pork that I mostly consume. My husband used to tell me “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT,” but I never really took that by heart until now.

When experts repeatedly communicated that our only defense against Covid was a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be healthier. Not only for myself but for my family.

I wanted to go back to my ideal weight so that I won’t feel too sluggish, eat healthier, and of course, have some sort of exercise at home because this whole stay-at-home situation really takes its toll on the body. Also, I wanted to continuously manage my PCOS and my repro-immune disorder because even if I could not get pregnant anymore, its manifestation may still be felt by the body.

(P.S. For moms who have PCOS, one of the things my OB advised me in the past was to lose weight, reduce my carb intake (because this is converted to sugar glucose), and live healthier so I felt that this was something that I needed to do again. When I was on my PCOS workup, I only ate lean meat, had brown rice, stuck to an exercise, etc.)

This was part of my self-overhaul where I felt the need to be aligned in all the things that I do – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

So I came across The Architect PH in one of the mom groups I am in. I checked out their Instagram and was impressed by the before and after photos that I saw.  I got in touch with them to see how they can help me and just try out their services for a month.

Tim, who became my coach, got back to me and asked me if I was willing to do a free assessment.

You see, before The Architect PH can allocate a slot for an interested client, they need to assess the person for free so that they would know how they can help in the best way possible. Tim gave me an idea as to what to expect and see if I was willing to do my part as it was really me who would execute the plan.

So what was my assessment?

Coach Tim told me that my issue wasn’t exactly weight loss but a process he called body recomposition. To quote him,

“… The process would entail minimal weight changes but more emphasis in terms of body fat percentage changes which will manifest mainly in your visuals.”

That was true because while I was not that far from my ideal weight of 100 lbs, I feel that fats are all in the wrong places – my tummy (of course, because of my four pregnancies), my thighs, my arms, and tada — my face! I have been working on this for years to no avail).

We started on October 1 with my weight at 105.4 lbs.

At the start, I really struggled; daily cardio exercise was NEEEVER part of my regimen. The biggest change was eliminating rice from my diet and replacing it with quinoa (which was the biggest struggle because I LOOOOOVE rice). I was also asked to work out 3-4x a week with no equipment needed. I loved this part because my workout plan was not overwhelming at all and it was easy to stick to.

With a bit of skepticism (and a lot of self-doubts), I stuck to the program. There were days that I had some slips but Coach Tim would gently nudge me back to THE PLAN and that really helped me a lot to be consistent.

So without going too much into the details, this is the result of THE PLAN.

After just one month of sticking to my fitness and nutrition plan, I finally reached my goal. The bloat was minimized; I was able to fit into my shorts that I could not fit in in yeeaaars; and more importantly, I had more energy despite a significant decrease in the volume of my main meals. I loved that my arms and things became slimmer (and I think I just need to tone them) and my face, too! YAAAY!

This was not an easy feat because I have been working for this for years but never really found something to stick with. As I said, I tried intermittent fasting and Keto as well but I couldn’t function well so I thought it wasn’t the one for me.

I could not be happier with my results and I just wanted to share this with you as a testament to a really amazing service I received. If you are interested, you can check The Architect PH website and Instagram account, see all other testimonials (because mine might not do a lot of justice, haha).

Take care, loves!

XOXO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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