Sunday, September 23, 2007

Markus is 12

I remember the birth of Markus like it was yesterday. The year was 1995, the year my parents were marking their 50th wedding anniversary on August 16. They were coming home to the Philippines for the first time since moving to Seattle in 1991.

I was pregnant and due to give birth that September. At my request, my parents postponed their trip and anniversary celebration to September so they could be around when I gave birth.

If I remember right, the event was originally set on September 23, a Saturday. “Can you induce me to labour so I can give birth in early September? I don’t want to miss my parents' golden wedding celebration,” I begged my doctor. Request denied. So I kept more physically active hoping it would hasten the baby’s bearing down. Didn't happen.

For some reason, the celebration was moved to September 16. Oh no!! I could be giving birth on or near that day. I should try to hold it till AFTER the 16th! So from being quite active, I slowed down all movement. Change gear!

On the evening of September 15, I was watching several members of the family decorate Casa Milan, the venue of the celebration, when I felt my contractions become more and more regular, and more frequent too. No pain, just contractions. At around 9 pm, when they were 5 minutes apart, I knew it was time to go to the hospital. I learned that from Lamaze class so I told Bud about it. We excused ourselves from the flurry of activities, headed home, I took a shower, grabbed my hospital bag, dropped off the boys at my sister’s house, passed by the parlour where my mother was having her hair done, called my OB-gyne and drove to St. Luke’s Hospital. I was admitted past 10 pm.

I was quickly wheeled to the delivery room, which was what I wanted so I could avoid a long stopover at the labour room where you hear other pregnant women moaning and groaning. That would only make me more nervous. My boldness in giving birth had decreased with each birth, and this was already my fourth. My courage was nearly depleted.

I was close to giving birth but my doctor had not yet arrived. An attendant came with a chart and asked me several questions... How many children do you have?... What are their names?... Birthdays?... Aaarg! Can't you see I'm in labour? Have you ever felt like strangling a person?

Bud tried to help with the interview, but when it came to the boys' birthdays, he got them all confused. Thankfully, he did not forget how to be a good Lamaze coach. So in between painful contractions, which by this time were happening in rapid succession, I grunted each of my sons' birthdays. November 12, 1986...January 14, 1988... December 11, 1993... Is my doctor here yet?

When the resident doctor gave the go ahead, with one big push I gave birth to 6-lb Markus at 11:44 pm of September 15. My own doctor came a few minutes late just in time for post-delivery procedures, very apologetic. "My husband had the car... I couldn't get a taxi sooner..." That's okay. Just give me a discount.

Holding Markus in my arms shortly after his birth.
See the clock. It was almost midnight.
And yes, that's a bean bag in true Lamaze fashion. Better than a reclining table.

The next morning, we were up early getting ready to attend my parents’ anniversary at 10 am. I got a temporary hospital pass from my doctor while Markus remained in the nursery. We arrived at Casa Milan a little past 10 after the ceremony had started. I was delighted to see my three boys and the whole family in formal wear. Gino and Mickey were in traditional barong tagalog. Gabriel, less than 2 years old then, looked very cute in an elegant shiny off-white attire but barefoot. They had forgotten to put on his shoes!

I was very happy to make it to the celebration. I didn't want to miss it for anything. My parents and everyone else were pleasantly surprised. During the reception, people kept offering me a chair. They did not know how uncomfortable, even painful, it was for me to remain seated. I should have brought a cushion.

After the event, we passed by our house to take a nap. Bud was very tired from the previous night. I still couldn't sleep from the adrenalin rush so I cleaned up a bit. Too much mess we left behind. I was back in St. Luke’s before night time eager to take Markus to my hospital room. We left St. Luke's the next morning.

In Mom's room at last

Everytime Markus’s birthday comes around, we remember my parents’ 50th anniversary, or vice-versa. Being the youngest son, nephew, grandchild in my side of the family, Markus's birth could not have come at a more meaningful time.

...and Markus makes four!

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