Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a year ago

a year ago, i got the one thing i had been wishing for, and working on, for two years.

this day last year, i gave birth to my son.

susie and i were not like other couples who had it easy getting pregnant. we had to go through fertility treatments to get our precious blueberry. and these treatments aren't just a bunch of tests you have to pay for, or pills you have to take, or injectables that you have to endure. they involved lifestyle changes that tested our marriage. two years of frustration and desperation. it didn't help that the pills affected my hormones and made me emotional.

after gallons of tears, countless pills of clomiphene citrate, two doctors, more than a dozen transvaginal ultrasounds, a hysterogram, and one shot at intrauterine insemination (IUI), our hard work finally paid off. initially, i didn't like the idea of the baby not being created naturally: it was too technical, too scientific, too... cold. but then i realized, this would be a baby that we worked for, prepared for. he is completely expected, and incredibly wanted.

so for the entirety of 2013, i stayed in manila. and did not hold (that much of) a grudge. before our IUI in february, i thoughtlessly booked tickets to hong kong for may, thinking this treatment probably wouldn't work. i mean, nothing has!

but two weeks after the treatment, susie came home with a pregnancy test kit, and told me, "you've been acting different. i think you may be pregnant." i snorted. but later, at four in the morning, i got out of bed, ran to the bathroom, and had my first taste of morning sickness. i caved, peed on the stick, and what do you know: +.

we kept things hush-hush in case it was a false alarm, but an ultrasound confirmed the little blueberry inside my uterus. and for the next months, even in the face of debilitating morning sickness, i was the happiest pregnant woman. i ate healthily, exercised, slathered my stomach with shea butter, coconut oil, and other anti-stretchmark creams (they worked; i don't have any stretchmarks on my stomach), read a lot about pregnancy and childbirth, pestered mommy friends to give me their best advice, downloaded every free pregnancy app there was, and took a childbirth prep class.

of course, i also took advantage of the "perks." anything i craved for, i got, thanks to my mom. towards the end of my pregnancy, i parked in handicapped spots. my dad took me to work on my coding days, and my sister and her boyfriend billy would pick me up after work. i was happy at the new pair of boobs i was getting, and i got to wear dresses for the whole pregnancy.

my pregnancy was just wonderful: feeling the baby kick while i drove to work (he loved old school r&b and queen), random strangers smiling and asking how far along i was, drivers slowing down for me while i crossed the street. my friends were just as excited as we were--they made our gender reveal baby shower such a blast! (plus, they got us everything we wanted.)

wonderful, except for my two-week bedrest because i was having contractions. i am completely glossing over the painful acidity, the unbearably itchy stomach a few weeks before giving birth, the back pains, that helpless feeling when you've gotten too big to get out of bed or pick something up from the floor. but really, i look back on my pregnancy with fondness. and it's a good thing, because it was the only pregnancy i was gonna have.

the day i gave birth was also the day i lost my uterus. the delivery went well, fast, actually, but i wouldn't stop bleeding after that. susie told me it got to a point where the blood coming out was already diluted, like tea. i lost three liters of blood, and my doctor had to make the difficult call of performing an emergency hysterectomy. it was either me or the uterus. i think she made the right choice.

she stopped by my room hours after the surgery. "i'm sorry, i didn't have time to do a bikini cut," she told me.

i laughed, and told her, "doctora, ano ka ba. i don't care about that. i'm just glad i'm still here."

a few days after that, i would go home with my little boy, still struggling to walk. breastfeeding would drive me insane, because he would be crying every thirty minutes. he would hardly sleep. susie and i would worry about the possibility of pyloric stenosis. then the blueberry would fall off the bed on mother's day, and, on the same day, pull himself up to a standing position.

plenty of precious moments, the kind that j&j makes commercials out of, but it's also such a tough job. once you've let your guard down and start thinking, "yeaaaah, i got this," he'll start teething. or find the electrical cords particularly interesting (and delicious). or start throwing food off of his high chair.

but i'm enjoying this rollercoaster, this being a mother thing.

Djong On Morphine A Year Ago summed it up pretty well: i'm really glad i'm still here.