Has it really been a year? I close my eyes and look back at the year that had gone by so fast. It was as if it was only yesterday. Only yesterday when I carried a watermelon-sized tummy strolling at the parks of Vancouver. Each heavy step anticipating the birth of Sophie Belle.
I clearly recall the pack of Diane 35 I got in the drugstore. I told Brian that I wasn't ready yet. To please give me a year or two. He nodded with love and patience. With that, I was set to start on the pills on my next period. But my period never came. A home pregnancy test revealed that I was pregnant. Positive!
I don't want to lie and say I am overjoyed. Frankly, I felt scared. I have only been married for 2 months. Yes, I wanted to marry the man I love. I wanted a beautiful wedding and a romantic honeymoon. But I've never thought about having a baby. It was the farthest thing in my mind. A tear rolled down my eye as I realized that it's never gonna be the same again. Silly carefree crazy live is all gonna be part of yesterday. I am going to be a mommy. I smiled and cried as I lay a hand on my tummy.
But that was me. Brian was overjoyed. I remember how his eyes shone the day he knew that he was going to be a daddy. That's what he really wanted. It was then that I suddenly saw a change in him. He worked more and dreamt more. Dreamt more and worked more. He wanted to give the best and only the best of this world to the little baby in my womb.
l remember the 1st ultrasound I had when I was only 6 weeks pregnant. My gynecologist pointed a tiny little dot in center of what looks like my uterus. The dot was as tiny as a pea with no features and bodily form at all. The only thing it had was a heartbeat. It was pounding strongly for its tiny size. Brian held my hand as we looked at our baby in the screen. "Baby is due on May 8!", my gynecologist announced.
Canada or Manila. It was a difficult decision. It was even more difficult because I knew what the right decision is but I don't have the courage to make it. I was procrastinating. As the weeks went by, I found myself presented with a plane ticket to Vancouver. My mom has already planned and prepared everything for me and her granddaughter.
Days went by and it was time to say goodbye. He never let go of my hand as he drove me to the airport. I remember how my heart felt as heavy as the luggages he unloaded from the car. I forced myself out of the car. The pain of parting killing me inside. There were tears building up in the corner of his eyes as I released myself from his tight embrace. Goodbye for now, Brian. The best decisions are made with sacrifices.
The flight was unbelievably long. There wasn't a second that I didn't feel like screaming and pleading the pilot to fly me back to Manila. But the exhaustion has taken over. And when I woke up, I saw peaks of snow-capped mountains from my window. Was I really half a world away from Brian now?
My tummy grew bigger and bigger each day. I had completely forgotten what my tummy looked like when it was flat as a bed. Will my figure ever go back to the way it used to be? Taking a bath is becoming very very hard. Standing upright, I can no longer see my toes. Do I still have toes? There were times when the soap slipped from my hand and I almost slipped in the tub trying to reach for it.
My day was never complete without a letter or a phone call from Brian. We miss each other terribly. It was his soothing voice that tells me to be strong and to conquer my fears. I was becoming impatient, waiting for the day that he'll arrive in Vancouver. I had made a count down in the pages of my diary. 58... 46... 34... 22... 12... 5... 1. And then I saw him come out of the double doors of the airport. I threw myself in his arms!
Anticipation becomes fun when you have someone who shares the joy of it with you. And that's what husbands are for. Each day we waited for the arrival of Sophie Belle, we explored the interesting places of Vancouver. We also attended those pre-natal seminars that taught us about the basics of labor and childbirth.
May 8 came along but I never felt any signs of labor. I was asked to wait for another week before they induce labor. The week went by and it was finally time. I checked in the hospital early in morning where the doctor inserted in me a hormone called prostaglandin. And then the contractions happened.
If you don't know what contractions are like, let me tell you. It's a strong force wringing and gripping my abdomen that leaves me breathless and weak every few minutes. It's a hundred times worse than my worst dysmenorrhea. But this is not the time for me to curl up in pain. Amidst the pain, I am to push and fight. "PUSH!", the nurses all shouted and encouraged. I was honestly using the last ounce of strength I have inside my tortured and battered body. And yet it wasn't enough. I almost thought I would die. I was crying and screaming for epidural.
I thought it would never end. The two other expecting mothers who checked in the hospital later than I did have both given birth to their babies already. I heard cheers and clapping of hands amidst my pain. It was already 4 am in the morning and I was the only woman left in the birthing center of the hospital. Is my baby ever coming out? Just when I was just about to give up, one of the nurses suddenly shouted, "The head is coming out!"
I mustered all my body's remaining strength for one last push. And then my baby was born into this world. I laid back in my bed, breathless, as Dr. Ross placed my newborn baby in my arms. The umbilical cord was still intact. Her frail little body still stained by blood. I looked at her and smiled. She looks like her dad, I thought. She's got chubby cheeks. Lotsa hair too. I was smiling down at her, cradling her in my arms. My baby was taken momentarily away from me as she took her first bath.
I may have never asked to be pregnant. I may have never wanted a baby. But now, I can no longer imagine what my life would be without my baby. I forgot what it was like to be living selfishly for myself only. I feel so much joy by simply staring at Sophie. I feel so much love when I carry Sophie in my arms. I never thought I can ever love as much as I love her.
I can never thank God enough for giving me the gift of family.