Our eldest, our son, Timothy, celebrated his sixth birthday yesterday. I cannot believe how fast time flies! It seems like only yesterday that I was at the Guido Valadares National Hospital in Timor Leste, clutching tightly to my rosary and small statue of the Holy Family, trying to remember the natural childbirth tips I had read in online articles and books. (Yes, I never took natural childbirth classes but still managed to give birth naturally to both kids – all by God’s grace and with Mama Mary’s intercession!)
|No hospital gowns in Timor! 🙂
So you have to bring extra clothes and towels for wiping up your own blood, etc. Seriously!
Though I don’t know how the situation there is now. 🙂
I still remember waking up around five in the morning earlier that day, feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom. When I stood up… wooosshh! I felt what most women would say “my water” break. The floor beneath me was wet and I immediately woke Anthony up. He then woke my parents up (they were living with us in the same mission house at the time – my dad was the mission team head then).
I remember staying calm when, to my amusement, everyone else around me seemed more panicked (especially my parents, ha, ha!). The situation in Timor at that time was still fairly unstable, though the violence in the streets had more or less died down with the presence of the UN Peacekeeping Forces. Still, we all prayed for a safe trip to the hospital, and a speedy, safe and normal delivery.
When we got to the hospital, I was checked by the midwives on duty. Anthony had already informed my Filipina OB-gyne that my water had broke. Unfortunately, she wasn’t on duty at the time, so she endorsed me to the OB that was on duty, a kind Nepali doctor who would end up delivering our second child almost three years later. She, however, was not the one who delivered our son. It was one of the local midwives.
At around 9 a.m. I was given oxytocin to help speed up labor, since I was still not having any contractions. The doctor didn’t want to risk anything since my water had already broken and the baby might be affected. (At least, that’s what I recall her telling me.)
I remember the midwife prompting me to push when I needed to and to rest in between. I remember her positioning my legs this way and that and telling my mom (Anthony was not allowed in the delivery room since men were not allowed) to hold my left leg a certain way so I could push more efficiently. I remember wishing I could tell her, “You know, I watched this video about women giving birth in Europe and elsewhere, and squatting might be a better position for me.”
I distinctly remember her telling me in Tetun, “If you don’t push properly, you’re going to get two cuts – one down there and one on your tummy!” You see, I wasn’t pushing correctly and, in effect, all the effort I was exerting was not getting us anywhere. So, yes, I almost had a C-section. Thank God I didn’t though.
I remember almost giving up but still putting all my effort into that one last push. By that time, Anthony had been allowed inside the delivery room since I was the only patient left there. (I think there were around five or so of us there in the morning.) It was already around 3 p.m.
So push I did! And finally, Timothy came out. Anthony took a video of the whole thing with his Nokia 6600 phone (so high-tech, right?!). I’d post the video here (NOT!) but I wouldn’t want to lose any readers, ha, ha! (Sadly, Rysse’s birth was not recorded on video. Only my mom and one of our lady co-missionaries (a dear family friend) were with me at the time and Mama was too panicked, I think, or maybe excited – she forgot to document Rysse coming out! Oh well… no worries!)
I remember how the midwife immediately handed Tim to me and told me to let him suckle at my breast. I remember crying (and my mom crying!) and singing the lines of “On Eagle’s Wings” to him (a song we would usually sing as a mission team during my pregnancy). I remember singing all sorts of songs to him while the midwife did my episiotomy (Ouch!).
October 10, 2006, was the day my life changed. For the better. It was the day I discovered the calling God had prepared me for (without my realizing it) my whole life. It was the day I became a mother in the truest sense of the word (though I was already a mother the moment Tim was conceived). On that day, I realized that God has a greater purpose for me – even more than being a fulltime missionary for our Catholic community.
His purpose for me? To be a wife to Anthony and a mother to our children.
Thank You, Lord, for calling me to live out my purpose, my mission, no matter how broken, unworthy, sinful I am.
Thank you, Tim (and Rysse and Baby), for helping me realize this calling. I love you very, very much, even if my words and actions sometimes cause you to think otherwise.
|Our first two babies 🙂 I miss those chubby cheeks!|
And thank you, Anthony, for being the best partner in building our family and raising our children. I love you.
|Taken in February (?) 2010 🙂|