Saturday, April 04, 2009

New Morning

At around 5pm today, March 19, 2009, feast day of St. Joseph, little Yolena was born. We waited two weeks in the hospital for her. We came here to Capitol Medical Center in the early morning of March 4 because Judy had bleeding and pre-term contractions. The doctors had to suppress these contractions because Yolena was not yet ready—the pregnancy was just a little over 36 weeks, and the baby was just 2.2 kilos. If she insisted then on coming out, she would have spent her first week inside an incubator. Because the contractions were suppressed with medication and the bleeding controlled, her nanay’s womb continued to be yolena’s incubator. For two weeks, doctors monitored her heartbeat ‘round the clock and thanks to the device called the Doppler, we listened in on her development. 140-150 beats per minute. Each report of a normal heartbeat comforted us. Every move inside judy’s tummy was an affirmation that she’s alright, gaining strength and getting ready.

Judy and I needed these positive signs and vibes. There were moments throughout our stay here when we felt overwhelmed by the difficulties. Judy’s delicate condition on account of the placenta previa required complete bed rest. She couldn’t stand up even to go to the bathroom. Because judy also suffered from acid reflux, she could not stay flat on her back also. Everything seemed dependent on some compromise here and there.

Another complication was judy’s rising blood pressure. Judy has never been hypertensive but here, the past two weeks her BP fluctuated between lows of 120/80 to highs of 170/90. Interestingly, her BP shot up during supposedly times of rest, usually in the middle of night. I breathed a sigh of relief everytime her BP plateaus to 120/80. The high BP can be indicative of another complication during pregnancy called pre-eclampsia or toxemia- how to i know all these terms? Thanks to the ever reliable guide book- what to expect when you’re expecting, which was like our bible from day one of the pregnancy.

In the face of the complications, we – judy and I, our doctors and nurses, tried to address one issue/problem at a time. First the bleeding and the contractions, then the hypertension, and then restlessness. We set our sights on one milestone at a time also. First was March 15, (37th week of pregnancy) and then the next ultrasound (march 19), the 38th week (march 22) and the scheduled CS on March 23.

March 19 10 am- Judy undergoes ultrasound. The ultrasound was meant primarily to examine the baby’s condition and judge whether she’s now ready to be born.

Around 1 pm- we were informed by one of the resident OB-gynecologists of the results of the ultrasound—everything was ok, the baby’s vital signs were all normal. She now weighed around 6.7 lbs. The only thing wrong was the low –normal amniotic fluid. The doctors assessed that because the baby seems to be ready already and that there is no need to wait any longer, the operation should be done today, 3 days ahead of the March 23 original schedule. We thought that we would be the ones to pick her birthday, but in the end yolena picked her own birthday. We were informed around 1pm of the 4pm delivery. We really didn’t have time to let our minds wander some more thus sparing us of any additional worries.

At around 3pm, i went down to the business center to settle our business with this business-minded hospital. When i returned, Dra Daza the anaesthesiologist was there already, seated next to judy’s bed , talking her through the procedure. She exuded an aura of certainty and control as she casually discussed with us how she will administer the spinal anaesthesia. She comforted us by saying that since we’re Lamaze students, that we would be better equipped to handle the procedure, Judy will be better equipped to handle the pain. Dra Daza even offered her services as our official photographer inside the delivery room.

At around 4:15 judy was wheeled in the delivery room. I waited outside, pacing, sitting, taking photographs and playing around with the video cam- anything to block off any negative thoughts, anything to ward off the worries. At around 5pm i heard a faint baby’s cry in the background, drowning away the the Capitol Medical Theme song that was just playing a few minutes earlier and still lingered in the air. As i heard the cries from inside the delivery room, i wondered if what i was hearing was my baby daughter’s first cry. By 515, the door opened and in the distance i saw a small baby wrapped in blue blanket being held by one of the nurses. Dra Daza called me to come closer for our first photograph together. My first glance at yolena’s face was magical. She seemed so fragile. Napa buntong hininga ako and thought of judy, I saw judy’s face in the face of our newborn.

I went to the nursery soon after to hand over the baby clothes. I spoke to the nurse, the same nurse who was carrying her the first time i saw her and she told me that the baby is ok and that i can view her in about three hours time and that i should wait in the room in the meantime.

Family and friends dropped by. Koyang was the earliest, he came to the room even before Judy was taken to the DR. JL also dropped by, anna and levi, jo and uyel, den and danny, Richard and anabel, judy tag, tatcee and tita susan. My family also came- john and tess, anna and Alvin. The call for viewing came at around 7pm. All of us trooped excitedly to the nursery to see her. Dra dela paz carried her and showed her to us through the glass window of the nursery. She looked so pretty. She yawned, cried, smirked, sucked her small baby thumbs for us to see.

Around 8pm i got a call from the DR that they wanted to give back the camera. I was eager to check and find out judy’s condition. I saw judy awake. I asked if she was ok and she gestured a thumbs up. I wanted to just get near her and hug her at that point.

Around 1130 pm judy returned to our room (room 520) where she now sleeps as i write this. Its now 10 minutes into a new morning. A new day for us- myself, judy and yolena.