While most women who are pregnant for the first time consider themselves in a ‘delicate,’ ‘sensitive,’ and ‘fragile’ condition, on my ninth month, I was whispering secret prayers of thanks for every pothole on the road and every elevator that didn’t work. I got wide-eyed stares and quizzical looks from men and women who offered to give up their seats for me as I so politely refused them. On the first day of my maternity leave, a mere two days before D-day, I walked in circles around my living room so many times that if the floor were a bed of soil, I would have dug a two-foot deep oval track. Tagtag was the goal, and I had a deadline to beat: December 24. That was the date my ob-gyne scribbled on his prescription pad—my due date, the day I was expected to give birth. Upon reading it, thoughts of me and my newborn bonding in a private room decked with holiday trimmings, and the song ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ softly filling the background appeared in my head and I decided, No, that cannot be!
Spend Christmas in the hospital? No way! It was bad enough that I was trading Christmas parties for OB visits and ultrasound scans. It was downright pathetic that the only cocktail I could “enjoy” that merry month of December was one mixed with Novocain and had to be injected in my spine. It was ridiculous enough that staring back at me when I looked in the mirror was “the face that munched a thousand chips” - all while Noche Buena was still in its planning stages. There was just no way I was going to spend Christmas in the hospital! (Woe is me, woe is me…). Thus the strong resolve to “accidentally on purpose” induce an earlier delivery by working my fingers (and legs and arms and torso) to the bone. And you know what, it worked! I gave birth December 21 - and with C-section stitches threatening to come off with my slightest movement, I bade the warm hospital staff adieu on December 24 and never looked back.
And so on Christmas day, I was surrounded by family and friends... that makes for a happy ending, right? Wrong! Doctor’s orders were that I was to remain horizontal (on my back in bed and if I did get up to walk, no using the stairs) for 10 days. Ten days! If you had a short attention span and couldn’t stay still for 15 minutes like moi, that would be hell for you, too. I felt like an imbecile being served lunch and dinner on a bed tray, jealous that I couldn’t join in the mealtime fun as I heard my family’s collective laughter shooting through the air up to my lonely quarters.