Friday, February 14, 2014

Birth and Death

The past two weeks went by in a blur. Everything around me seemed to be spinning, and I was a mute follower who would automatically function to survive another day. 

On Monday, February 3, 2014, at exactly 10:16 in the morning, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. 

We named him Khaleid Immanuel. I delivered him via an emergency caesarian section. (Not through VBAC, as everyone had hoped. More on that when I regain my sanity and when I find the time.) Aside from the failed VBAC despite eight excruciating hours of labor, my delivery had been uneventful. Khaleid was born a healthy baby. I was up and about sooner. And my recovery was surprisingly fast and easy. Perhaps, it was to prepare me for the things to come.

The following day, my hunch had been confirmed. I always felt that something was terribly wrong with the health condition of my Nanang. I knew it was coming, her death.  In fact, while I was on the operating table, I was praying that her death wouldn't be too near my delivery date so that I would have time to recuperate and go home to her. I was hoping that she could wait for me, for us, a little longer. But she was probably too tired. On the morning of February 4, 2014, a day after I had given birth, I received the news that Nanang passed away.

I was trying to sleep after I had breastfed Khaleid when I heard my husband received a call from Nanay. It was the usual updating of what our day had been about, when I heard Kristan said that I was sleeping, then he stepped out of the room and continued with the conversation outside. I knew that was it. When he returned after what seemed like forever, I was sitting already. I just asked him to tell me when. He knew I was aware of what's happening. I could feel it from the deafening silence of my family. Ngayon lang, pagtawag ni Nanay, he said. 

I broke down in tears. I imagined the last time I was with Nanang. I looked at my son. I took a deep breath. She wasn't able to wait for us. She needed to rest. 

I was given clearance to go home the afternoon of my second day in the hospital. I could walk, I could carry my son, I was not feeling any pain - a far cry from my recovery when I gave birth to Zohan. I couldn't help but think that Nanang was also behind my speedy recovery - so that I could already be by her side soon.

On Wednesday, we sought clearance from Khaleid's pediatrician if he could travel to Batangas despite his very tender age. The doctor said as long as I am exclusively breastfeeding, Khaleid would have all the protection he would need. Fortunately, he was already nursing while the doctors were closing the stitch of my CS wound. We never had any problem with breastfeeding since then. 

Nanay came home from Rome on Thursday night.

We went home to Batangas for the wake of my Nanang on Friday. 

I would never forget the day that we arrived home. As I stepped closer to her coffin, I took a deep breath. I tried to imagine her face - the beautiful, the serene, the image of a gentle soul. I convinced myself that with all the years she spent with me, that day should be a day of acceptance and gratitude. I prayed to God to always remind me of that thought, because that was the only way I know to alleviate the pain.

Goodbye Nanang. As I mentioned when I kissed your forehead for the last time before your coffin was finally closed, Maraming Salamat po sa lahat.

I will always look at Khaleid with you in my thoughts.  

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