November 28, 2006 - 12:00 midnight
I can’t sleep. I’m lying in the darkened delivery room with 7 other expectant mothers, most of whom are asleep, as I wait for my first baby’s arrival. I contemplate on the events that have led to this day.
About 8 months before, on April 1 to be exact, the best-ever ob-gyne Dra. Wilma Torres announced that I was 6 weeks pregnant and that my baby was due on November 28, 2006.
The months that came after were filled with anticipation and excitement as my belly grew into a size disproportionate to my petite frame. I would often get strange looks as I entered into the third trimester but that meant nothing to me. I never went through a single bout of morning sickness, my blood pressure was steady at 100/70 and I did not suffer from gestational diabetes. My tummy just got bigger and I reached 110 pounds but other than that, I felt normal. At 7 months, we found out we were having a boy. It was a perfect pregnancy; a wonderful journey I truly enjoyed.
As I entered my 36th week, there was no sign of labor yet, so Doc Wilma ordered an NST (Non-Stress Test) on November 27. So, my Mom and I, with my 9-month old belly, took the 5-minute walk from my office to the hospital.
As I lay in bed with the NST machine attached to me, Auntie Baby, the delivery room Head Nurse who happens my mother’s sister asked me if I felt anything. I honestly answered that I didn’t feel a thing. She calmly told me that I was having strong contractions. After a conversation with my doctor, I was ordered to stay in the hospital because the baby could come anytime.
As I changed into the hospital gown, I told myself, “This is it!”
November 28, 2006 – 3:00 a.m.
I’m still awake. I’m told to sleep but I can’t. There is still no pain but I can feel my tummy contracting. I hear a couple of mothers crying in pain before being taken into the delivery room where I hear, “1,2,3,4,5…push”. Minutes later, I hear a baby’s cry. I refuse to sleep coz I want to monitor my own baby’s heartbeat on the fetal monitor. The first time the heartbeat disappeared, I panicked and called the nurse. Apparently, the suction thingy has a tendency to get dislodged so I keep re-attaching it throughout the night, just to be sure the baby’s ok. Auntie Baby is sleeping next to me. She decided not to go home, just in case…
November 28, 2006 – 7:00 a.m.
I haven’t slept a wink. At this point, I’ve been awake for 24 hours and I’m beginning to feel the slightest of pain. It comes every 4 minutes…on the dot. I’m breathing in and out, just like what I see in the movies. I’ve dilated up to 3 cm which isn’t enough for a normal delivery, so I get a shot in the arm to speed the process up.
November 28, 2006 – 12:00 noon
I feel the need to go to the bathroom and there I release the effects of the enema that had been administered earlier in preparation for the delivery. It's also when I realize that I’ve just had the bloody show. At this point, Doc Wilma checks on me from the bathroom door and I tell her what just happened. She orders that I be prepped for the baby’s arrival…
November 28, 2006 – 1:00 p.m.
I am in EXTREME PAIN. I pride myself in having a high threshold for pain, but this is something beyond what I thought was possible. I’m lying with my legs propped on stainless steel things and I’m writhing and whining coz I simply CANNOT stand the pain. The machine monitoring my contractions is always at 100%, repeatedly blinking as my contractions are long, strong and oh-so-painful. The student nurse assigned to me does not know what to do. I’m slapping my face, pulling my hair and begging for an epidural. Unfortunately, my anaesthesiologist is performing a procedure in another hospital across town. Auntie Baby pulls out the head of the anaesthesiology department, Dr. Lacuesta, from a procedure he is performing on the third floor, just to give me my epidural. They ask me to curl but I keep springing back up coz of my really huge tummy. It takes 2 male aides and a female nurse to hold me still as the epidural is inserted. It’s only after a few minutes that I feel relief…
November 28, 2006 – 7:00 p.m.
7 cm…I have not dilated any further. Doc Wilma checks on me and punctures my very taut bag of water for the baby to descend. I’m exhausted but I still haven’t slept and it’s been 36 hours since I’ve had some shut-eye.
November 28, 2006 – 10:00 p.m.
Doc Wilma comes back to check on me again. The baby has descended but I remain at 7 cm. She decides on a C-section and I readily agree. She asks if I want a bikini cut and I nod. Of course I want a bikini cut for bikini-worthy moments in the future (those moments have yet to be realized, by the way). As I am wheeled into the operating room on the upper floor, I see Mama and my husband Greg and they tell me they’ll be waiting for me and the baby. They’ve been sleepless and haven’t left the hospital all this time.
I tell myself, “This is really, really it!”
The first 20 minutes involve a series of procedures as the doctors and nurses talk about a whole lot of things. Finally, at 10:20 p.m., they’re pulling my baby out and I hear his first cry. They present me my tiny, crying baby and for the first time I meet the little person living inside of me for the past nine months. Dr. Lacuesta tells me he’s going to put me to sleep and for the first time in almost 40 hours, I fall asleep, peaceful, happy.
November 28, 2013 – 12:00 midnight
I’m now gazing at my seven year-old son sleeping quietly between me and Greg and I can’t believe it’s been 7 years already. His face still bears the features he’s had since he was an infant – the round innocent eyes which are now starting to look at the world with more wisdom, the cute lips which can now verbalize his thoughts, the lucky ears that don’t miss a thing. And, boy has he grown.
I can no longer carry the boy I once cradled in my arms but I make sure I give him as many hugs and kisses as I can, as I proudly lay claim to being the very first girl who has ever kissed him and loved him.
As the memories of the past 7 years flash before me, I vividly remember everything about him: his first word “Mama”, his first tooth at 6 months, his first step at 1 year and 1 month and a whole lot of other “firsts” which I will never forget.
He has always made us proud of his achievements: identifying letters and numbers at 1 year and 8 months, reading his first words at 3 years old, receiving the “Student of the Year” award during his pre-school graduation at CBB, being a consistent honor student in Grade 1 and earning his green belt in martial arts under Gan Soo Do.
I know that the coming years would inevitably pass, up to the time when he’d be boarding the plane that’ll take him to college (probably with me going on frequent unannounced visits to his dorm), when he’d be going on his first date (with a curfew set at 10:00 p.m.), when he’d be walking down the aisle to marry the girl I would have to scrutinize before she earns the said privilege…ok, I refuse to go on beyond this point…
In the meantime, I’d like to keep him and his younger sister under my wing for as long as I can…to read them bedtime stories every night, to take them fishing at Eden Nature Park, to take them bowling at SM Lanang Premier, to take them to the beach and watch them build sandcastles, to watch Disney Junior and Nickolodeon with them, to play tent-tent and spaceship-spaceship with them, to sing at the top of our lungs and dance like no one’s watching, to watch them eat and get all messy around the mouth with spaghetti, ice cream and chocolates, to protect them from people who hurt them, to pick them up when they fall down, to wipe their tears when they feel sad, to hug them tightly every chance I get…
So, sweetie, don’t grow up too fast coz it's one way of slowing down Mommy's own aging process, but no matter how old you and your sister get, you’ll be my precious babies always, always and always…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY YUAN! I hope and pray that all your wishes and dreams come true! I LOVE YOU SO, SO, SO MUCH!!!