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Birth

28.March.2010

A close friend of mine just gave birth to her first child—a baby girl named Princess Euphemia Belle.

This close friend of mine (whom I became acquainted with in college) told me a couple of months ago that she was pregnant, and when she gave me the news over the phone, I didn’t know what to feel at first. Maybe it was a little disappointment mixed with a heap of confusion, but then I’m sure I also felt a bit excited too. One thing was for sure though: even with the certainty of her giving birth, I still couldn’t visualize her as a mother.

Sure, it wasn’t the first time I’ve had a friend who got pregnant by accident, but it was definitely the first time that someone I really cared about and knew quite well got herself in a situation that was no joking matter.

Considering how things were—her relationship with the guy who got her pregnant was clearly (and quickly) heading south; she just got her first job right after college (which she had to give up for obvious reasons); and, her family was having a hard time accepting the reality of the situation (understandably so)—I wanted to do everything I could to help her, but as it were, there really wasn’t anything I could do. It’s not like the circumstances involved some jerk who broke her heart that I could beat to a pulp (though I could confront her ex, but what’s that going to accomplish) nor was there an unreasonable instructor that I could talk some sense into. Truth be told, there was nothing anyone could do at that point—the wheels of fate were spinning, and the story’s ending had already been decided.

Abortion was out of the question. She was going to have the baby, and that was that.

For my part, the whole affair is the closest experience I’ve had to the very concept of birth since seeing my mom go through it with my younger brother and sister. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t in the delivery room with my friend when she gave birth, nor was I able to visit her in the hospital while she was recovering. I actually haven’t seen her since she pushed delivered Euphie into our world. But my physical absence doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to experience the process with her. In fact, she and I have been talking about the whole course of the pregnancy ever since she let me know about it up until now that Euphie is more than a month old.

So, as a tribute to mother and child, to the successful, safe and sound delivery, and as a testament to our friendship, here follows a written account of what my friend has been through (so far), as well as some of the things we discussed in our conversations regarding the concept of birth.

Pre-delivery

When the news first reached my ears, the very first thing she wanted me to remember was to keep that piece of information to myself, which was, to me, a reasonable enough request. And I was more than willing to comply—I’m not much of a tattle-tale anyway.

As soon as I was sworn to secrecy, we proceeded to talk about the many changes that would inevitably happen to her body, lifestyle, and love life—including the new criteria she’ll eventually have to use in choosing a new partner (hey, having a kid complicates dating). After discussing the many changes she would undergo, our conversation shifted to the short-term and long-term implications of having a child. When we were done debating about what should be on the top of her list of priorities, I zeroed in on the fact that as much as she was concerned about and clueless inexperienced in the things that would happen in the coming months, the most important thing was that she be completely focused on taking care of herself then and there and make sure she didn’t screw things up—for her own benefit and the baby’s as well.

With that statement about her health being the top priority, we started going through the various kinds of food she loved to consume, asking the Shakespeare-type question “to eat or not to eat” for each. She ended up subscribing to her aunt’s “healthy eating program”, which involves large amounts of fruits, fruit juices, and yoghurt (to mention a few). We also thought long and hard about the drastic change she’s going to have to make in her sleeping pattern, since she’s not exactly used to going to bed early.

Soon after, we brainstormed on names that would be great for the baby. At the time we had no clue if it was going to be a he or a she, so we made a list of names for both sexes. One of the names we agreed on that’s worthy of mention here is the name Princess Caitlin, in memory of the late Special Agent Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander) of our favorite show NCIS. Later on, I realized that our brainstorming was all for naught—since she and her ex had already decided on naming their kid Princess Euphemia Belle or Duke Darem Dolph. I was surprised and amused upon hearing both names, but I’m not exactly a fan of either (Euphemia hints at euphemism, and is actually the name of a font on Microsoft Word, while Dolph sounds like Adolf i.e. Hitler), so I told her that if she did decide on naming her kid Dolph or Euphemia, then she’d better be prepared to get head-slapped by her kid when he/she was old enough to dislike the name he/she had been given.

And so it was that a little baby girl was given the name Princess Euphemia Belle.

(This is actually good news for me since now I can still name my daughter Caitlin. That is, if I ever have a daughter.)

Then we also talked about Euphie’s Christening and I made it known that I didn’t want to be the kiddo’s godfather. How come? Let’s just say I’m making a preemptive decision to do what’s best for my future financial self. Besides, do I need to be Euphie’s godfather to have the right to give her advice and to help her whenever I can? Her mom and I are good friends, so that guarantees that I’d be in the loop about Euphie’s life anyway and that I’d be able to offer assistance when the situation calls for it. Moreover, my friend and I have lots of friends who’d be more than happy to serve as godparents to Euphie, so I’m going to sit back and let them do the heavy lifting on the godparenting duties. Euphie’s mom concurs, but insists that I still give her little girl a gift. And I definitely will.

In the latter months of her pregnancy, our chats revolved around her visits to the Ob-Gyne, the increasing frequency of kicking and fussing of the little girl inside her tummy, and her belly button popping out—three warning signs that the baby is just about ready to be born.

And with her due date fast approaching, a volatile combination of anticipation, apprehension, and wanting for the delivery to be done and over with came to the forefront of our conversations.

Delivery

My friend’s Ob-Gyne calculated that she’d be delivering her baby girl in early February 2010. Having learned this, she swore on the powers that be that she would not deliver Euphie on the 14th, because she didn’t want her baby’s birthday to coincide with Valentine’s Day and with the birthdays of two of her friends who also happen to be born on that same day.

The powers that be granted her supplication, and on February 9, 2010, between 4 and 5 in the afternoon, I got a text message informing me that my friend had successfully delivered a healthy baby girl.

When we had our first conversation a week or two after the delivery, the first thing I asked her was how much it hurt. She said that even though she was awake during the entire delivery, it didn’t hurt as much as everyone around her led her to believe. Good for her. Maybe the anesthesiologist used a nifty anesthesia, or perhaps my friend is one of the lucky ones able to give birth with great ease and with the least amount of pain.

Initially, I knew that my friend’s ex couldn’t be with her when she delivered the baby, and so I had asked her if I could be the one to accompany her in the delivery room. To my surprise and horrification, she told me about this “regulation” that no one save for the medical staff was allowed in the delivery room with the woman in labor. What an outrageous and completely idiotic rule! I can’t imagine a husband being barred from the delivery room and not being able to be with his wife in a time of such bliss. Think about it: because he wasn’t there, she’d have to rely on strangers to help her get through the pain. It’s absurd!

If I had a wife and she were in labor right now, where else would I be? Sure, the stark reality of birth scares the hell out of the toughest guys out there, but there’d be no question in my mind that the best thing I could do for my wife is to be in the delivery room with her, right by her side, comforting her and helping her pull through the immense pain and exhaustion.

Post-delivery

After the delivery, things eventually settled down and a return to relative normality (since things would never be normal again for my friend who now finds herself in a place where heaven and hell meet every single day) was in order. Everyone’s focus had begun to shift from the pregnancy to the baby, who is now among us.

Of course, the first thing we take in from seeing a baby for the first time is how he/she looks like. From what I’ve seen in pictures, my friend’s assessment of Euphie’s appearance—that she has a balanced mix of features from both mom and dad—is right on the money. The only thing left in a shroud of mystery is from which parent Euphie got her temperament from. From what I know about her mom and dad, I’d say the future looks bleak. I can almost see it: Euphie wailing and flailing, in her worst tantrum to date, and her mom having one of the worst meltdowns in human history. I don’t say this often, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong on this one.

Meanwhile, Euphie and mommy have been released from the hospital, and our rookie mom is in rapture while looking at, nursing, holding/cuddling/caressing her newborn child.

As of late, my friend is beginning to shed the pounds she gained during the whole course of the pregnancy. She’s also found a job. She’s going through some pretty tough days, and I’m certain worse days have yet to come, but I’m also sure that whenever life’s challenges knock her flat on the ground, her love and compassion for Euphie will keep her going.

Closing

Even now, I am still in awe of what my friend has been through and the reality she has to face day in and day out: knowing that she’s responsible for another human being’s life—her daughter’s life—and that from now on, she’ll have to learn how to dig deep in order to be strong enough for the both of them.

I mentioned earlier that I’m having trouble seeing my friend as a mom, and the reason is quite simple. In all the years that I’ve spent with her, I had always known her as a woman who was driven—she had a long-term goal early in college which I assume had always been her long-term goal ever since she was a kid; she knew her way around people, mainly because she was so self-assured she never really developed the unhelpful habit of second-guessing her decisions; and, perhaps most importantly, she knew what she wanted, and she’d get it through any means available to her. Simply put, she was well on her way to becoming a career woman on the fast lane: ambitious and ready to conquer the field she had chosen—which is why I’m fairly certain that at this stage of her life, having a kid was the last thing on her mind. And, as awful as this might sound, I’m even going to go as far as saying that the kid is a disturbance to the life she’s spent all her life planning and preparing for.

However, like the old cliché tells us: life goes on. When faced with drastic changes, human beings are rational enough to know how to adjust, which is exactly what my friend is doing at this very moment.

And as the days go by, I’m getting closer and closer to believing in her capabilities as a mother. I’m actually starting to believe that maybe this baby isn’t a distraction after all. Slowly, but surely, I’m beginning to realize, that with this detour she’s had to take, my friend has become three times the driven woman she once was.

At this time, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she’ll do just fine as a mother. Because now, she has discovered deep in herself a focus that she never thought she was capable of having. A focus centered on accomplishing three noble ends: a secure future for Euphie, developing a successful professional career, and, safe-keeping her personal well-being.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 19.April.2010 5:55 am

    Jedo,
    This really made me cry. ❤ you.

  2. weeroberto permalink
    26.October.2010 12:14 am

    Howdy, Kuya!

    You’re bored, are you? >:)

    You still owe me one. I repeat. You still owe me one!

    Love lots (and with a good slap waiting to land on your back),

    wee

  3. 28.May.2011 2:37 am

    This brought me back to reality. Thanks!

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  1. My Farewell to 2010 | Thread of Truth

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