At about 4:45 am on Sunday, 18 Nov 2018, my wife woke me up and told me “It’s time!”
I got up quickly and wiped away all traces of sleep from my eyes. Our second child was on his 39th week in the womb and we have waited a long time for this moment.
Cha then woke up Coco and asked him to prepare to leave. Thankfully, a friend of ours–another Filipino family in our apartment compound knew about Cha’s situation and agreed to take care of him while we are at the hospital.
Over the past several months, we have tried to prepare Coco for the day that we will leave him at a friend’s house. When that time came, he picked up his toothbrush, toothpaste, and a bunch of other toiletries as we were leaving. Our bags were already packed and in the car, so we simply left the other toiletries that Coco brought out.
We arrived at the hospital and the nurses started monitoring her vital signs. Before long, we checked in to her room.
The delivery room in the USA (or at least Tristar Summit, which is where we went to) is so very different from delivery rooms in the Philippines.
With a large bed in the middle, the room we checked in to served as the delivery room as well as the recovery room. It didn’t look like a hospital room bathed in antiseptic and antibacterial sprays. It could actually pass up as a two- or event a three-star hotel.
Beside the bed near the windows sat a couch that converted to a twin bed. On one corner near the bathroom, a bassinet connected to monitors and equipment lay in wait for the baby.
The room had everything we needed for the birth of our baby. All we had to do was wait.
In many ways, pregnancy and, later giving birth, is a waiting game. We waited a little over a year to get pregnant with our second child. Up until that morning, we waited for 9 long months or 39 weeks for the birth of our son.
So we waited for more contractions, meanwhile, the nurses came with some contraptions to help ease our baby’s coming into this world.
The anesthesiologist came with a long needle and the other equipment she needed for the epidural. I gasped when she brought out the thin long needle needed to pierce through the skin and spine to deliver the medicine to dampen pain. Good thing, my wife was facing down and didn’t see my eyes bulge.
I don’t often get queasy with blood, injections, and other medical stuff, but that the epidural needle was close! I couldn’t help myself so I asked the nurses if other husbands and soon-to-be dads felt the need to step out of the room. Funny, but they said that they have had to treat some dads for concussion after they fainted and hit their heads on the floor.
We officially got admitted to the hospital at about 5:15 in the morning. At about 11 am, Cha was dilated by 4-5 centimeters, which meant that baby was still high in the womb. I grabbed some lunch and waited some more.
Finally at about 1:00 pm, the nurse declared that Cha’s dilation is complete and that she’s ready to push our child into the world.
Pushing Baby Out
I stayed in the room during the whole ordeal. I was a nervous wreck and all I could do was hold her hand, and tell her it is going to be okay. Whenever she pushed, I would also tense up and hold my breath–as if I could push baby out of the womb, too!
The two nurses who initially helped Cha gave birth looked like they were early to mid-twenties. Young-ish. They were probably single ladies, too. So they were more businesslike and formal.
Thankfully, though, a more experienced nurse came into the room right before the doctor came in. She became Cha’s cheerleader and helped boost her energy for the final push to deliver baby.
It was such a relief and joy to see baby outside of the womb for the first time! The doctor even let me cut his umbilical cord!
Then he gasped and suck in air for the first time.
We have waited so long for him and now he is with us!
It’s amazing to witness the growth of a tiny human being! From our wish and love, and eventually to labor and birth! As is often quoted in the Jurassic movie franchise, “Life finds a way.” And I am amazed, humbled, and blessed to be a part of this miracle.
A Different Place
When we had Malcolm, we stayed at the house of Cha’s parents. They employed family helpers (i.e. maid) and we were surrounded by family. Cha’s mom and sisters helped us learn some basic skills for becoming new parents. My own mother stayed with us for about 2 months to help us care for Coco.
Our family are literally on the other side of the planet. It’s just Cha and I who will take care of this new baby boy. Sure it’s tough. But that’s how we grow.
I’m thankful that my work provides for a maximum of 20 working days Paternity Leave. This allows me to take care of chores and other business around the house as Cha recovers.
We are also surrounded by friends and acquaintances who are providing help as they can. We relied on a friend to help take care of Coco while we were at the hospital. Several friends gave us a number of things to help care for baby in his first few weeks.
As I write this, baby and Cha have come home from the hospital for three days. It’s been a crazy week! Lots of adjustment and missing sleep. Lots of crying, changing diapers, and learning how to care for a newborn all over again. After all, it’s been five years since we had our firstborn.
The first week after birth is always crazy. We also have a five-year old who is home for a couple of days because school is out for Thanksgiving. So we also have to help him adjust to the reality of having a new baby around the house.
We got a lot of adjusting to do. Meanwhile, I need more coffee, a better set of schedule, and I gotta re-learn a lot of my Daddy skills. Plus, I need patience. Lots of it–for Coco, for the baby, and above all, for myself, as I figure out fatherhood all over again.