(This is a continuation of Tuesday’s post.)
After the events during my first trimester, I had over a month of normality through to my second trimester. I didn’t experience morning sickness nor appetite issues so I was full of energy, and was back to work commuting 4 hours a day. Everything was “as usual” when one day, an old classmate who I very rarely get in touch with, messaged me asking for one of my guy bestfriend’s family’s contact number. It was quite unexpected so I asked him why, and he said that my bestfriend is currently in a hospital in Bratislava, and in a coma… I froze, then thought, “I recently saw new travel photos of him in Instagram, and I even chatted with him about them. How could he be in a coma!?”
A little bit of background about my bestfriend; let’s call him “H”: H is one of my high school BFFs; we’re in a group of five BFFs. He’s super funny and entertaining, always helpful and very caring. He was working for a well-known global IT company in Manila, but he transferred to Kuala Lumpur, then to Bratislava. He wasn’t able to come to my wedding so I haven’t seen him in person for years since he transferred. We chatted every now and then as a group though, so it never felt like we were far from each other.
I couldn’t believe what my old classmate said about H, so I messaged my other bestfriends and they too, received the same message, so we concluded that it must be true. After contacting a few people, one of my girl bestfriends got in touch with H’s friend in Bratislava, and found out what happened: H was out drinking with friends and saw his girl friends being harassed outside of the bar by a physically big guy. He went out and intervened, and tried to get his girl friends back to their group when the big guy just suddenly hit him to the ground… Many times. It was an assault that resulted to brain hemorrhage. H was in a coma for a few days, and before his family even got to him, he passed away…
It became big news in Bratislava because the police arrested the perpetrator, but the district prosecutor didn’t detain him, so many people got upset and rallied to protest against that decision and to show support for H. Supporters put photos of him on the site of the assault, offered flowers, lit candles and said prayers. CCTV footages were released and seeing how H was beaten even after he fell to the ground, and how the perpetrator took photos of him and said some racist comments to the already unconscious H, caused more commotion and put the story on different media channels both in Slovakia and the Philippines. Politicians in both countries made comments via SNS as well. The charge was upgraded from assault to manslaughter, and the perpetrator was eventually arrested and sentenced to 6 years in prison. But that verdict again ignited protests as many claimed it was injustice. Both Slovaks and Filipinos hailed H as a hero, and both governments were moved by his selfless act and gave support to his family.
I was just seeing it all online and it was, surreal. It felt strange to be watching the news like usual, but the person being talked about is someone close to you. And whenever that reality hit, tears wouldn’t stop falling. It was the first time I experienced losing a loved one that way — by someone else taking his life. I didn’t know how to process my emotions at that time coz apart from the shock and sadness, I felt anger and hatred as well. But I tried to control myself because I didn’t want the stress to affect my pregnancy, especially with what I went through earlier, so I decided to stop watching and reading the news, and just kept in touch with my other bestfriends for updates. And because we were all afraid of me having complications again, I ended up not attending H’s funeral… Once again, I wasn’t able to say goodbye, to my hero bestfriend this time.
A month after H’s funeral, I was still trying to get over losing loved ones when I received, yet again, bad news from my doctor. I went to my usual checkup and my doctor found that I’ve dilated 2cm, at just 25 weeks! I thought, “What have I done to deserve these!? It’s one bad news after another and another and…” I felt numb. It was seppaku sōzan (threatened preterm labor) and my doctor advised me to do bed rest, again. I didn’t know how to tell my company that I needed to do bed rest again, but when I did, everyone was very understanding. My manager and our country leaders were very supportive, and they even allowed me to work from home (in 2018) so I could continue receiving salary until my official maternity leave started. I was very fortunate to be working with such good people, and it was a big relief and one less thing to worry about.
I worked from home until a month before my mat leave, took all my remaining annual leaves, and just stayed home and did minimal housework. All my baby prep shopping I did online, and I bought so many from Amazon that the delivery guy started to remember me. (He later on congratulated me when he saw my flat belly.) I went for checkups every week, and each time, my doctor would tell me I might be hospitalized the following week, so I always feared going to my checkup, but thankfully, I never got confined. Then one day, I went to the washroom and saw water on the floor, dripping from me, and it wouldn’t stop. I called the hospital, got my husband to take me, and my doctor said, “It’s time”… At 34 weeks and 4 days.
They waited for contractions to start but it didn’t, so the following day, they gave me IV to induce the contraction. They started in the morning and by the afternoon, I was rolling over the bed coz of the pain, yet I didn’t fully dilate. So they stopped the IV and said they’ll give it a go again the next day. Overnight, I couldn’t eat and sleep coz of the contractions. The next morning, they started the IV again and by lunchtime, I was in so much pain and was begging my husband to ask the doctor to do c-section. I was fully dilated but for some reason the baby just wouldn’t come out! The head doctor saw how exhausted I was so he decided to do an emergency c-section. Finally! After 32 hours of excruciating pain! Coincidentally, during the operation, they found that one of my fallopian tubes had “died”. (Another complication!) It got entangled with my intestines which damaged it, and if not taken out, may cause cancer in the long run. No one could’ve known at that time if the doctor didn’t open me up. So we all thought it was a blessing in disguise, and that maybe it was the reason why my baby didn’t want to come out. He was my angel!
The doctor pulled my baby out and put him on my arms… After everything we went through, I finally met my precious angel. He was born at 34 weeks and 6 days so he was a preemie and had to stay in the NICU. But he did well and came out all healthy, and we were able to bring him home after 10 days. Everyone was so happy and thankful, and had a big sigh of relief.
Looking back at all these events during my first pregnancy, makes me feel that being hospitalized this time, may not be so bad after all… (Now I’m just hoping this newly found positive outlook about my current circumstance lasts longer than 3 days!)
*seppaku sōzan (切迫早産, Japanese), threatened preterm labor