Celine Lopez’s Journey to Motherhood
By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
Pre-social media buzz, Celine Lopez was the girl everyone wanted to be friends with. Magazine editors loved her and photographers couldn’t stop taking photos of her at parties. Women would cop her looks, while the rest of the crowd waited for a chance to be seen hanging out with Manila’s one and only It girl.
Though it’s been years since those partying days, and despite Celine going under the radar, Manila’s darling still reluctantly radiates. Her sweet smiles and giggles can always light up any room she enters. What is this It girl up to? She’s now enjoying a relaxed lifestyle, traveling and making more meaningful connections with a smaller circle of friends, which is usually the case as one grows older.
Earlier this month, Celine posted on her Instagram account that she is pregnant through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at 40 years old. She always knew she wanted to have a child. “I never wavered from it. It was more about me being with the right person at the right time,” she says. Years went by and she has yet to meet the man who can be her partner in raising her dream child, but she felt that time was about to run out for her. “I wanted to do it before my 40th birthday. I finally decided to do it at the start of 2019. I had a now-or-never internal discussion with myself on New Year’s Day,” she admits.
She could have tried surrogacy or adoption, but she decided to go through with IVF. “I really wanted to experience motherhood in its entirety,” she says. “It hasn’t been easy, but I treasure this gift and journey.” Going through this process has its conflicts, and she is blessed to be surrounded with so much love and support for this brave decision of hers. “I consulted my mother and some of my closest friends. We had long discussions about it, but it was always supportive and open from the beginning,” she adds.
Harvest and select
Now, the real work started. She took time to do her research, which included choosing the right establishment and medical practitioners to work with. “I looked at everything and I eventually decided on Australia, because it was nearer and the facility I was looking at had flawless reviews,” she says. “I was very pragmatic in my approach. My doctor was no-nonsense and it just seemed like a good fit.”
When it was time to harvest the eggs, Celine’s friends were sweet enough to throw her a send-off lunch in Manila before she flew to Sydney for the procedure. “No games, no theme. It was special, because I felt so supported by my loved ones,” she says. This thoughtful get-together reassured Celine that her friends got her back.
Another in-depth research she had to do was choosing the right donor. Her sources are from abroad, with each country having different rules and laws when it comes to the process. From her shortlist of top five healthy donors (whose profiles she liked) that she also shared and discussed with her friends, she ended up with the latest entry. “He just felt like the right one,” she muses.
Going through with the procedure
Past celebrity parents (who have had their egg cells harvested) have revealed that it is highly recommended for women to store their egg cells as early as possible. Celine believes so too. “I really wish I had frozen my eggs earlier for better quality,” she says. “Time is the true enemy when it comes to the female reproductive system. If you can, freeze it right away. I’m so lucky that I was successful in my first try, even I was surprised.”
Though successful with her first attempt, the IVF procedure wasn’t a bed of roses. Celine had to go through rigorous tests to make sure her body was ready for this. “The hormone injections certainly tested your mettle. You become bloated and emotional. It’s not for sissies. I think I went delirious at some point,” she says. What kept her going was knowing what to expect, thanks to the information she was able to gather through research and regular talks with the doctors. She also prepared herself for this milestone as she psyched herself pre-procedure. “This is going to be amazing. It has been despite all the difficulties,” she beams.
Now in her second trimester, Celine is clear to share to the world the wonderful news of her pregnancy. But the low-key time she had during her first trimester was a challenging one for her. “I didn’t expect the first trimester to be this hard, despite all the warnings from my mommy friends,” she intimates. “I couldn’t move and I was so depressed. I have never in my life felt so much frustration and sadness. But then, what they say is true. Second trimester pops up, and it’s a whole new life.”
Like most pregnant moms, Celine now rewards herself with food cravings, “I love eating. It’s the center of my life right now.” She’s making up for the first trimester spent mostly in bed. When asked what else she’s busy with, she’s looking forward to fixing the nursery come third trimester. “I’m really controlling myself from going crazy, and from buying too many baby things. I don’t have much space so I need to be sensible,” she says.
Being in second trimester also means this expectant mom is a few months closer to meeting her bundle of joy. Although she’s only halfway through the process, Celine feels like she can’t wait to give birth. “I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever,” she sighs. Another exciting detail she has disclosed is that she’s having a boy, and she has picked a name for this little boy, “Fernando, after my grandfather.”