Someone once said, “There are three ways to achieve immortality: write a book, plant a tree, or have a child.” I always thought I’d end up doing the first option, and never saw myself doing the third. I guess I really have a knack for surprising people, myself included.
It was about a month ago when Josh made his entrance into this world. We all thought he was going to arrive early since technically, I was already in the early stages of labor two weeks prior to my due date. But my primadonic son decided to wait until November 15th.
At 2:30 in the morning, I felt something gush from me. I was hoping against hope it wasn’t my water bag. A wave of contractions soon followed. I tried to ignore it, bargaining with the high heavens to let me sleep for two more hours. No deal. Another contraction soon followed which prompted me to go to the restroom to check. My suspicions were right,it was my water bag. Cautiously making my way out of the bathroom, I woke up Mama and Niania (my aunt) calmly saying, “Okay, nobody panic. It’s time. My water just broke.”
Of course, the moment the words were out of my mouth, they panicked. They bombarded me with so many questions and grew more tense upon seeing me reach for the towel and shampoo. They tried to stop me so we could reach the hospital early but I wouldn’t let them. Heck, I wanted to give birth smelling fresh.
I was already bleeding when I was in the shower but that didn’t shock me anymore. I had a difficult pregnancy and bled from time to time. Niania, however, freaked out when she saw the blood (she went to the bathroom planning to unload but had to abort the mission). She pushed me out of the house even though I was still half-naked. I sprinted down the stairs which frightened Mama. “Slow down!” she called. “Ma,” I replied, “I’m in labor already. I’d rather hurry than give birth here.” We flagged down a taxi and the cabdriver was just as agitated as they were. He sped like a madman. I dunno, maybe he was afraid I’d give birth then and there and he’d be stuck with the mess.
In the hospital they put me in a wheelchair. Things took a comedic turn when Niania accidentally let go of the handle bars while she was wheeling me down the ramp. Yes, I sped down the thing so fast I didn’t even know if it was funny or scary. Fortunately, I arrived in one piece. The doctor-in-charge asked so many frickin’ questions that I just had to tell her, “Look, I’m positive I’m already in labor. I don’t just go around hospitals telling docs I’m about to give birth for kicks, okay?” She brought me to the labor room and told me to strip down. Not even my skivvies were spared. I was naked save for the thin hospital gown they threw over me. It was uncomfortable, but the moment the doctor performed an IE on me, the word took on a brand new meaning. Since I wasn’t getting any action while I was infanticipating, the IE was doubly painful. They then hooked me up to an IV drip and asked me all sorts of questions: When was the first day of your last menstruation? How strong are your contractions? When was your last meal? Did you experience bleeding during pregnancy? What was your major in college? The last one threw me off. What did my major have to do with my uterus?! For a while there I thought they were going to ask for my crush’s name and my definition of love.
When the interrogation was over, they brought Ma in to collect my stuff. I didn’t want to show her how much in pain I was, so I kept throwing jokes. Alas, even the most talented of actors can’t deliver an Oscar-worthy performance all the time. After a few minutes, I begged her toget out of the room. It wouldn’t do any good to have her panicking while I was trying to give birth. She left in search for Niania who was trying to conclude her unfinished business in one of the stalls.
The minute I was left alone, all sorts of thoughts entered my mind. The predominant one was fear. How am I going to raise my child? Will I live through this? How painful is this going to get? Throw in a little sentimentality (Why am I facing this alone?), and you got yourself a complete basket case. I was crying and I didn’t even know anymore if it was from the pain or the emotional baggage. I was miserable.
Then the nurse came with a mild sedative. The moment it was injected in my system, I went from pessimistic to flower child. All negative thoughts ceased, and I loved everyone! Man, drugs are good! I was buzzed like Whitney for hours. My trip was only ruined when my anesthesiologist came to administer the Epidural. Although Dr. Rosario was nice and the drug she had with her was even better than what was coursing through my veins at that moment, her assistant jolted me back to earth. He was a guy. A very cute guy. Instantly, I remembered that I didn’t have my underwear on. When Dr. Rosario asked me to bend over, I felt myself blush to the roots of my hair. The cute intern lay his hand on my back and I asked him “Aren’t you gonna ask me out to dinner first, before having a good view of my ass?”
Once I got the Epi, I understood why there is such a thing as substance abuse. It was frickin’ awesome! I was numb from the waist down so I didn’t care anymore how many fingers the doctor had up my hoo-hah. Floating on air, I had this big stupid smirk on my face. Everytime the drug wore off, I’d call my doctor to give me another hit. I was hooked.
By 12:00 PM though, they kept the stash. I wasn’t gonna get any more Epidural until I reached the pinnacle of my labor pain. For those who are wondering what it’s like, let me describe it to you. It feels like the biggest sh*t on earth is about to let loose yet you don’t know how you’re going to release it. I begged the doctors to let me stand up coz I felt like goint to the crapper but they said this was the sign that I was ready to give birth. They gave me another shot of Epi which was necessary since my water bag wasn’t fully popped yet. They had to insert a pointed stick inside me to prick it. Just about every instrument made it into my cervix before I got wheeled me into the delivery room.
Whatever shred of dignity I had left was completely annihilated in the delivery room. They put my feet on stirrups and I was exposed for all the world to see. For the first few minutes, it was excruciatingly humiliating. After a couple of really strong contractions though, I was the one begging the doctors to come and take a look at what was going on down there. A few more kalikots here and there, and I was ready to push.
This is supposed to be the trickiest part, but to me it wasn’t. Pre-natal yoga helped me a lot. It only took me 18 minutes and six sets of grunting and pushing to give birth to Joshua. I was spazzed from all the work so I shut my eyes. I wanted to make sure though, that my child was normal so my immediate question was “Doc, ilan ang daliri? Mukha bang sinabugan yung ilong?” The doctor was so excited with the baby that she tripped over her words “Ay wag kang mag-alala! Ang ganda-gandang bata! Lima ang kamay sa kanan, lima ang kamay sa kaliwa.” My eyes opened at that! The other doctors burst out laughing at her misuse of words. They placed Joshua on my tummy and I almost recoiled in disgust because like all babies, he was wrinkly and covered in blood. I didn’t care if it sounded mean, I said “Please get him off me and just give him to me when he’s clean already.” The doctor obliged but not before noticing the tear that fell from my eye. “Hoy! Wag kang umiyak kahit nata-touch ka. Baka mapuno ng sipon yung oxygen tube na nakalagay diyan sa ilong mo magbara pa yan.” she scolded. Panira ng moment si Doktora.
When all the stitching was over, they brought me to the Recovery Room. I begged my anesthesiologist to hit me baby one more time because the Epidural was wearing off and I was starting to feel the pain radiating from my vagina to the rest of my body. She wanted to give me Mefenamic acid only but I refused since I have a low tolerance for pain and a high threshold for pain-relievers. Ponstan cocktails won’t do it for me, show me the good stuff! She gave in, and while she was injecting the Epidural, she smilingly told me my husband was waiting for me outside. My jaw clenched at that. “What husband?” I hissed. “I’m not married.” “Oh, your boyfriend then?” she replied with a confused look. I was about to order her to tell the guy to take a hike when a nurse ushered my “husband” in. Despite my pain, I had to laugh. It was Paolo. They mistook him for the baby’s dad and that mistake never fails to give him the shudders to this day. I gotta hand it to my Kumare. Ma was having a difficult time trying to see how I was while Pao just breezed through the room, no effort whatsoever. I wanted to chat with him some more but my body went into shock. I asked him to leave the room while I convulsed and my eyes rolled at the back of my head. My blood pressure dropped to 60/30. I honestly thought I was going to die at that point. They covered me with so many blankets to keep me from chilling. I went in and out of consciousness. It took four hours before my condition was stabilized.
When I was brought to my room, my family and closest friends were waiting there for me. It was then that I learned how Niania almost scratched the nurse’s eyes out when the nurse told her “The receipt is already with the father.” Incensed, she chewed the poor girl out because she thought the nurse let the baby-daddy in. Niania stormed inside the room and almost ordered the guy out until she realized it was Pao. How’s that for their first meeting?
Back in my room, it was a riot. The nurses kept shushing us because a hypertensive pregnant woman found our exuberance a tad too loud for her taste. What do you expect, Ma, Niania, Mandy, Pao and Rach were all there. They made fun of the way I kept slurring through my speech. The funniest part was when the nurses kept asking Pao all sorts of things like “Would you like to hold YOUR baby?” and “Would it be okay if we fed YOUR baby breast milk from another mother?” Pao found being mistaken as the father disgusting beyond belief.
The next day, Nilo and Andrew decided to pay me a visit. Now that is one for the books. I had to plead Nilo to stop cracking jokes as my stitches couldn’t take it anymore. Meanwhile, Andrew kept us riveted with his scandalous threesome stories. The two couldn’t contain their excitement when they saw the perinatal light being brought in. I have the weirdest friend ever.
Many people congratulated me on giving birth, but I take more pride in being able to unload two days after. It was no mean feat, I tell you. Compared to it, giving birth was literally no sweat! I was in the bathroom for two hours, grunting, crying and praying for it to be over soon. A word to the wise: Learn to love fiber.
As for post-partum blues, yes it happens. Your body was beaten from the whole birthing process and you don’t get to recover easily because you only get a few hours of sleep. Taking care of a baby will push you to your limits, both physically and emotionally. I think I speak for the majority when I say one cannot be fully sane if he or she has only slept twenty winks the night before. It took a while before I eased into the new sked and before I did, I was close to committing infanticide. Ask any mother, they’ll tell you it’s normal.
A mother. Wow, that’s one of my roles now. It’s hard to believe that the woman who scares kids away with just a look is now raising her own child. There are times when I look at my son and wonder how the heck he was able to live inside me. The nine months of gestation seem to be a distant memory now. Coaxing a smile out of him is akin to winning the Olympics, for me at least. I may never be the Polaroid of a wonderful mother, but I’m trying to be all the best person I can be for my son. Sounds cliche, right? But it’s true. Every decision I make now no longer involves me solely; I have my Yeoshie to think of as well. The years that lay ahead will undoubtedly be hard, but then again, nothing is ever easy. All I know is that I’m in love with Joshua and I will exhaust all options I have just so he’ll have everything he needs.
I’m finished with my ovaries. They’ve already done their work. I’m having them bronzed and made into chandeliers. Any takers?