Abhorred by that vinegar “stench” emanating from a plateful of carabao chicharon on the side table, Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla called our attention.
“Anong amoy yun?” she quipped like your normal expectant mother. “Nakaka-dampen ng mood.”
And of course, how can’t she miss that alarm from her smartphone reminding her to take her routine meds? She excused herself for a moment, retreated rather arduously (a movement she jokingly refers to as the penguin walk) to a room in her sprawling, majestic, bright, and pleasant abode she shares with husband Robin Padilla in Paranaque City.
After about two minutes, she came back to greet us and apologized, “Sorry, talagang to the dot kailangan kong inumin ito.”
As she settled on her comfy living room chair, she again pleaded for understanding, “Naku, sorry, it’s setting in,” referring to some drowsiness she feels after ingesting those meds. “But, no worries, I’m okay.”
Mariel’s gleeful disposition, bubbly charm and lively demeanor was spared. And even as she goes through not-so-comfortable episodes in expecting that ultimate bundle of joy on the way, a girl whom she and Robin will name Maria Isabella, we all noticed she has not changed at all. Except that she has been too serious, strict and passionate about her pre-natal care.
Above all, she has expressed excitement in this anticipation, as she happily feels those kicks, bumps and stomps from her angel in her tummy. Finally, she says, this has become so real.
“I’m so grateful. I can’t believe it. Alam mo sometimes, I still pray to God and tell him thank you for this,” Mariel said in an exclusive interview with PUSH. “I can’t believe this is finally happening to me, this is finally happening to us. We are blessed with this baby. I’m really grateful beyond words.”
Her pregnancy journey she said was “not easy.” “I’ve had miscarriages. I’ve had letdowns. I’ve had spottings. I was hospitalized. I do injections. I monitor my blood sugar. It’s not easy. But, I know it’s going to be worth it.”
Mariel will depart for Delaware on Friday, September 23 to spend the final two months of her pregnancy and give birth to Maria Isabelle.
Mariel said she and Robin made the difficult decision of having the delivery in the US.
“He believes the baby deserves 100% attention. He believes that we owe it to the baby. We’ve gone this far. Here, there are so many distractions. When we’re there, it’s just going to be us.”
However, Mariel said her biggest fear was that Robin may not be able to join her because of his difficulty in securing a US visa due to his previous illegal firearms conviction.
“This is the heaviest for me, I’m not sure if Robin can join me. Medyo nalulungkot at naiiiyak na malapit na ako umalis. You know, excited ka pero nalulungkot ka?”
Another fear was that Mariel will have a new doctor after having spent nearly 14 years under the care of her “security blanket,” renowned OB-Gyne specialist Dr. Eileen Manalo. “I’m experiencing separation anxiety… I’ve been so comfortable with my doctor, Dr. Eileen Manalo. She’s amazing. She has helped me out in everything I’ve been through.”
Since Dr. Manalo knows her difficult journey best, including her adverse pregnancy outcomes such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and gestational diabetes, Mariel says her fears are “normal.” But as she and Robin believe, having her baby delivered in the US is still the best option.
“I feel that it would be the best to give my baby 100% attention. Like I always say, I’ve been waiting for this. The baby deserves everything. The best that we can give, which is our time, our full devotion to the baby. So that’s what we want to give.”
Arrangements are being made by Mariel’s relatives in Delaware, who she says will help her in taking care of her baby. And, they won’t be in a hurry returning to Manila, as she would give the baby ample time to be fit and ready for the trip back home.
Upon their return, Mariel pleads: “No pictures of my baby, please.” And none even on her Instagram, she vows. She would want to cherish their privacy at the utmost in her precious first months of motherhood.
“I’ll be a hands-on mother…I’m excited and I’m happy for my baby. When she grows up, I want her to know mommy did everything for her.”