Because finally, finally, finally I have a tagboard, which for some mysterious reason I couldn't have before, because the page kept freezing once it loaded. Now it works, thanks to the kind efforts of my friend Jason. Yehey! (pun totally intended) Jason is the total tech god!
I have a new cell phone! Thanks to my favorite copywriting clients at Kestrel IMC, who give me many headaches, but also money to go with them. Of course, I now have no more money, but I have the most adorable little gadget that is smaller than my baby daughter's foot, and has color display and polyphonic ring tones and all sorts of yet-unexplored neatnesses. I just discovered that it has a loudspeaker function that will allow me to embarrass the hell out of all my friends when they think they're talking to me in private, while actually I'm broadcasting their voices to all and sundry.
Except they're probably all reading this entry, so I'll just have to catch them off-guard...
All I have to do now is get it hooked up for MMS and all that interconnectivity jazz, and I'm set. Well, aside from buying a new casing, because the phone's supposed to be red, yet appears disturbingly PINK in certain lights. Honestly, there's a limit to how cutesy I can stand to be...
Post-Partum Digression: part 10 of an 11-part essay
The Ninth Month
922 pages into Stephen King’s It later (I’d read it before, but was saving my new novel for the hospital stay), I was lying on my doctor’s examination table for my regular check-up. By this time, I’d become accustomed to having medical professionals peering at my privates, so I was chatting comfortably with the doc as she poked and prodded.
“Have you been having any contractions?” she wanted to know.
“Nope,” I said breezily. “Well, a couple, now and then, nothing regular enough to pay attention to. Maybe one every hour or so.”
“I don’t believe you,” the doc said sharply, “because you’re already four cm. dilated, don’t you realize that?”
Eep! I was almost halfway to childbirth, and I didn’t realize it! Only six centimeters more, and I’d be officially ready to spurt. So off I went to the labor room, where they hooked me up to some contraption that would time the frequency of my contractions.
As it turned out, I was contracting only every nine to eighteen minutes, when what we were looking for were regular contractions five minutes or less apart. Therefore they decided to let me go home after all, with the admonition that I should do some walking to help with the labor, which was expected to begin in earnest by the end of the week.
So walk Dean and I did, from Cardinal Santos to the corner of Ortigas and Wilson, where we stopped to buy flowers for my mother, who was arriving from New York that evening. Then we decided to stroll on over to Greenhills Shopping Center and have a pre-Valentine’s dinner at Gloria Maris. Then we figured we might as well walk the few blocks remaining to our apartment on Eisenhower Street.
We arrived home and kicked off our shoes. Dean sat down to do some work on the computer, and I went to use the bathroom, where I was somewhat surprised by how badly I’d apparently needed to go, because the liquid just kept flowing and flowing and flowing…
I finally realized what was going on, zipped up and went out to surprise my husband at the computer yet again. “I think we need to go back to the hospital,” I told him. “Either my water’s broken or I had way too much Hong Kong milk tea.”
Back in the labor room, I said hello to my new friends the interns, and suited up in one of those ridiculous hospital gowns that leave your butt hanging out in the wind. They hooked me back up to the machine and turned its screen toward me, which enabled me to watch as it monitored my contractions (every three to five minutes now), as well as my baby’s heartbeat.
Which got really, really boring after a couple of hours! To make matters worse, the labor room TV was turned to Game Ka Na Ba?, which was celebrating the birthday of possibly my most hated Filipino celebrity, Kris Aquino. It wasn’t too long before I was longing for the delivery to start, being less afraid of the pain of childbirth than the possibility of going Kris-krazy before the night was out.
But my cervix was not cooperating. Having expanded readily to an opening size of six cm., it flatly refused to dilate further, leaving me, my doctor, and several interns groping desperately for new topics of small talk, having already exhausted current movies and TV shows.
Finally, we decided I should have a Caesarian section, since the baby’s heartbeat had started fluctuating every time I had a contraction (not just because we ran out of topics). The doctor explained that her head (the baby’s, not the doctor’s) was being pressed against my cervix, but was still too big to get out. Dean and I did not want to have a Conehead child, so we gave the go-ahead, and I was wheeled into the delivery room.
They proceeded to strap me down in a horizontal Christ-on-the-cross position, which I thought was considerate—just in case things went wrong, I’d be in an appropriate position to meet my Maker. This was not a thought I shared with my husband, who was most emphatically looking at my face, and not at the actual site of the operation. I could tell he was more scared than I was, even though he appeared not to be, asking the friendly interns if he could please keep his scrubs as a souvenir afterwards. In fact, he was kidding around nervously the whole time! Fortunately, I had come to trust my gynecologist over the course of the last several months, so the idea that she was giggling while presumably handling my spleen didn’t worry me overmuch.
Just as Dean and the anesthesiologist finished exchanging business cards (I am not kidding!), there was this little mewing sound—and there she was! My little girl, looking… well, mostly red and kind of wrinkly. She appeared to have four limbs, one head and one torso, however, so that was okay. Once that was established, she was quickly whisked away for her first bath by the pediatrician, while my gyne proceeded to wash my internal organs (and, probably, unknot my intestines) before putting them all back in where they belonged.
Then I was wheeled away to the recovery room, where I was bored, bored, bored again! It was this darkened room where I was all alone, except for this nurse telling me that I needed to sleep, when what I really wanted to do was get up, look at my baby, and make chika with my friends and family, who I knew were waiting in my hospital room. (Dean had texted everyone in his phone directory, including, quite possibly, Avis Taxi and the good folks at Ayala Corporation.) My mother and my mother-in-law came in to ask how I was (all the while telling me not to talk) and make jokes (while telling me not to laugh, as this would give me painful gas). I sent them away, though later I was sorry I hadn’t asked them to bring me my damned book.