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Paternity, Partum: Chapter 1

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She abruptly woke me up from sleep. I was jolted so quickly that the next thing I remember was standing by the bed both of us looking down at the floor. A splat of mucous was what Jaycelle wanted to show me.

Snail
Something like that but with blood!
Snail by Peter Shanks – Source

“Did my water bag break?” she asked me.

“It’s the bloody show!” I guessed.

We thought we’ve read it all – all about pregnancy up until labour day. But this glob we’re staring at was alien.

Sleepiness didn’t even linger at 2 am as I scampered to finalize the things to bring at the back of the car. The last piece shelved in perfectly like Tetris. Glad I prepared most of the necessities in there the night before – sensing that the 40th week of Jaycelle’s pregnancy was just a day ahead.

Tetris-like Arrangement
Thanks to Brick Game addiction in my childhood.
Horror Vacui – AIT, 2011 by Michael Johansson – Source

“It’s already happening,” this thought was being etched in my mind.

The contractions that Jaycelle was feeling convinced me that we were really heading out to Shiphrah Birthing Home. The noise of preparation awoke my parents. It was already five in the morning when they sent us off.

A Long Road Ahead

At the back of the car were a roomful of items: two duffel bags of our clothes and toiletries, a diaper bag full of newborn items and all 24 cloth nappies, an inflated exercise ball, a water pail with portable water heater, a baby carrier, a blanket and pillow, a cooler for the placenta, cleaning materials like soap and rags and newspaper that Jollibee gave out for free. What else, lots of stuff.

Gypsy Caravan
Not our actual tow-thing (ours was beige).
Gypsy Caravan by bixentro – Source

It was a three-hour drive from the outskirts of Cavite to Taytay, Rizal. Jaycelle was sitting comfortably beside me and I – anxious of this whole unknown. We reached Shiphrah with the morning sun already beaming in our faces. Ate Belle, a resident midwife, attended to Jaycelle immediately. She checked for the baby’s heartbeat rate and performed an IE (internal examination) to know of Jaycelle’s cervix dilation progress.

Jaycelle and Ate Belle at Shiphrah Birthing Home
Ate Belle using a fetal doppler to check on baby’s heartbeat rate.
8 December 2015, Shiphrah Birthing Home

1 cm

One centimeter dilated. It is but a meager progress – an early stage labour not enough for us to be admitted at the birthing home. Despite all the notes that I jotted down from a Shiphrah seminar about the signs when we really should zoom out – in which it was specifically noted it’s the only time we should appear in their doorstep – we still joined the club of first-timers who were just too excited (and nervous) in giving birth.

She-Hulk Transformation
An article I’ve read: don’t take it personally when a labouring woman lashes out on you. Noted.
She-Hulk by Michael Coté – Source
  • Regular, short interval contractions? Nope…
  • Water bag ruptured? We’re not sure…
  • Pregnant woman hasn’t turned into a wild beast yet? Check!

Home we went as advised. We consoled ourselves by thinking that our scheduled checkup came a day earlier and didn’t need to go tomorrow.

My anxiety grew stronger because it was a three-hour drive that we’re facing and not just an “around-the-corner” destination. I was aware though that my wife was also anxious for a whole lot of reasons. Mine was logistically-inclined – what if the baby couldn’t wait to come out already just like in the movies? What if she must give birth by the side of the road? What if we ended up at a local hospital that we’re not familiar with? What if it became an emergency situation contrary to our preparation? I was more uncollected than she was.

From Cavite to Taytay
Our city has an airport but we took the road and braved the rush hour.
Illustration by Brian Sahagun, map by Google Maps

On our way home, we were able to squeeze in some shopping for crafting materials at Wilcon. At a Chinese restaurant we stopped by to curb our growling stomachs. The noon sun was high and we were tired from all the quick travelling that occurred hours ago.

Ho Chai Lai
Jaycelle and I having lunch at Ho Chai Lai.
8 December 2015, Ho Chai Lai Restaurant, Noveleta, Cavite

Continue Reading: Chapter 2

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