Rite of passage

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

In 2009, my cousin’s family moved to our town. They had two little kids ages four and six and a third on the way. They were a lovely family. Mini, that’s my cousin’s wife, usually had her prenatal check up in the community health center. However, when she learned that I am a Registered Midwife and a Registered Nurse as well, she would come to our house for blood pressure checks. I would also assess the baby’s heart beat and let her listen to it to assure her that the baby was healthy. When her due date was near, I heard her saying to my mom that she planned to deliver at home with my help. Having heard that, I told her that home delivery was now discouraged due to high mortality rates of babies delivered at home and the risks it posed to birthing mothers. I advised her to go to the hospital when the time comes. She just smiled at me.

And then the time came…my cousin rushed to our house, one afternoon. It was just after lunch. I was watching a movie on HBO when he came to the living room, breathing hard and almost unable to get the words out. Her wife was about to give birth.

I sighed.

In hindsight, I knew this would happen but I was hoping she wouldn’t go through with the ridiculous plan. My youngest sister who recently acquired her Midwifery license was at the house at that time. I calmly stood up and said, “you’re coming with me. We’ll check her out and see what stage she’s on”. She followed me without a word, her eyes as huge as saucers. When we arrived at my cousin’s house, we found Mini on a makeshift pallet on the floor in active labor.  I didn’t have anything with me except for a pair of sterile gloves I found in my OB bag from way back in my college days. Aside from the gloves, the rest were out of date.

I did the physical exam and she was 7 cm dilated. And with it being her third child, delivery was imminent. She adamantly refused to go to the hospital so I resigned myself to helping her and make a run to the nearest pharmacy which was about 15 to 20 minutes away. I hoped to be back before she actually gave birth.However, in case the inevitable happened, my sister was there. Although, she had never delivered a baby on her own before, I had faith that as a newly minted midwife, everything was still fresh to her. I instructed her on what to do when the baby came and I was not back. I demonstrated to her how to catch and hold the baby’s head, how to follow its natural rotation and how to gently pull. She was calm and listened well so I knew it was safe to leave for the quick supply run.

I was on my way back about five minutes away when I received a phone call from her. She said “I’m holding the baby, remind me again how to cut the cord.” I asked what she was using to cut the cord. She said they found kelly forceps and surgical scissors in the OB bag and sterilized them through boiling. She couldn’t decide how close to the umbilicus to clamp the kelly. I told her to give enough length to work on the cord dressing.

When I arrived in the house, everybody was smiling widely at the wailing baby girl in my sister’s arms. Her hands were bloody because there were no gloves. The first thing she said to me was “I’m sure I have no cuts anywhere”. I just smiled at her because I was so proud of how she handled things. Her face was radiant with happiness. I understood the triumph she felt at being able to bring a new life into this world.

I helped her dress the baby’s cord. We delivered the placenta and made sure there were none retained inside. The baby was breastfed and for the next few days my sister and I did the postpartum visit. The mother and the baby were both well and healthy.

That day was my sister’s “early” rite of passage to the real world of Nursing and she did very well. She graduated and got her Nursing license in 2011, 2 years after that successful home delivery. My parents, who worked hard to send us to nursing school, were smiling from ear to ear. They were beaming with pride.

At present, my cousin has six kids. The younger ones were delivered in the accredited birthing facility built later in our community. Savannah Ysabella, that’s the name of the beautiful baby girl, is in elementary school. And my sister? She’s one hell of an ITU nurse now, fighting in her first pandemic.

11,680 Sunsets

Serenity. It is the reason why I love sunsets so much. It has the power to envelope me in a world where stress, pain and worry do not exist. It is the pause button in my day. The few minutes it takes for the sun to dip in the red and orange splashed horizon is enough to calm my frazzled mind. It allows me to breathe for a moment and reorganize my priorities. It makes me think of tomorrow on a positive note. When you are faced with a magnificent moment it is hard not to be content and happy. Contentment and happiness…such fleeting emotions feeling them is such a high it is addicting. Sunsets evoke these feelings in me, no matter how short a moment, it is precious. I want another 11,680 sunsets. I want another magical moment to build my dream on…to set new goals. When I was young, I dreamt of this life that I have now as I was looking out our living room window at the fiery ball slowly rolling down the sky against the silhouette of the mountain. With a smile I daydreamed of watching sunsets in another place far away. A place I can make my dreams happen and be happy and content just like in that moment.

This was in Venice, another place I dreamt of going to many sunsets ago. While sitting on the wharf with cool breeze blowing from the sea and seagulls flying overhead, I couldn’t help but smile. The pieces in my life are finally coming together. I am grateful.

On my way home from work, I had to stop to admire this golden sunset🧡

How are you?

I haven’t been posting much lately but all is well in my little bubble. Today I went to this really beautiful place and my first thought was to share it with you. The place was incredible…so serene❤

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Bowling

When I was little, I enjoyed playing bowling. My youngest sister did, too, but her participation in the game only involved arranging the pins and collecting the ball for me. She would always mirthfully remind me of this and how I abused her kind nature, for which I would always respond that she voluntarily played that role and would even shriek with delight while running after the ball and the scattered pins. Anyway, me bowling then did not translate to being a good bowler now. Here’s me trying my very best.

I spent the afternoon with some of my friends. We ate lunch, played bowling and then ate some more. It was really nice just catching up and laughing with them. Good friends are indeed rare and hard to find. But what’s harder is scoring a strike!

Mood

Everybody loves the things you do
From the way you talk
To the way you move
Everybody here is watching you
'Cause you feel like home
You're like a dream come true
But if by chance you're here alone
Can I have a moment
Before I go?
'Cause I've been by myself all night long
Hoping you're someone I used to know
You look like a movie
You sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
I was so scared to face my fears
Nobody told me that you'd be here
And I swear you moved overseas
That's what you said, when you left me
You still look like a movie
You still sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
When we were young
When we were young
When we were young
When we were young
It's hard to admit that
Everything just takes me back
To when you were there
To when you were there
And a part of me keeps holding on
Just in case it hasn't gone
'Cause I still care
Do you still care?
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young
When we were young
When we were young
When we were young
When we were young
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
Oh, I'm so mad I'm getting old
It makes me reckless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
When we were young

An evening with friends, pizza and a dog

The dough felt cool on my fingertips as I spread it on the baking tray. I worked on spreading it as evenly as possible without making any holes on it, even though Tonia, our curly haired Italian friend who got lashes as long as a woman’s envy and eyes that sparkle when she laughs, said small holes were alright. 

It was seven in the evening but it was as bright as noon time outside. The windows were wide open and laughter rang in the house making Wilfred, Tonia’s overly enthusiastic dog, dance around in excitement, its toenails making faint clicking sound on the wooden floor as it ran from one person to the other asking for treats from obliging humans. The entire flat smelled of baking pizza, enveloping us in a warm cozy feeling of home. It took me back to my childhood days when I would come home from school to the delectable smell of freshly baked cakes and cookies. My mom can whip up anything divine in the kitchen and that includes baking cakes complete with icings and those fancy designs. She has handwritten recipe cards from way back her college days and her most used recipe was the orange chiffon cake which was the house favorite. She never bakes pizza but the one time she did, we were all present to help. My dad tried that trick where you throw the spinning dough in the air and catch it back with one hand as it continuously spins to a thin base. I remembered my mom’s half-hearted  admonishment at my dad’s antics while my siblings and I laughed uproariously at the woeful looking dough that flopped back from the air. I don’t recall how the pizza tasted, though, but the happiness I felt as we sat around the table, laughing while rolling dough and offering crazy suggestions on toppings is forever etched in my mind. And yes, we put pineapple on that pizza which I recently found out was a grave transgression to a proper Italian pizza.

I continued kneading and stretching the dough, its soft smooth texture like a balm to my nostalgic soul. It was very relaxing. I wonder if this was the reason  why so many people love playing with slime? Because if it was, I would understand the buzz, it’s very therapeutic. Also, I realized how making pizza is a lot similar to making friends. I get to choose who I allow to be in my sphere just like when I choose what goes on the pizza toppings. For me, weird toppings are okay as long as they don’t ruin the overall taste of the pizza, otherwise, I can pick them off before eating. In addition to the pizza, my friend Dyo and I cooked chicken adobo (a staple Filipino dish) and it was a hit. Thanks youtube for elevating our mediocre cooking skills up to par. The evening turned out really well. It was an evening to treasure among good friends. 

Oh, and the pizza I helped make was the best ham and mushroom pizza I have ever tasted.

Wilfred and the ham and mushroom pizza❤