The birth.. as told from the point of view of the father.
9pm. New Year’s eve. December 31st, 2010, Gina comes rushing into Keilah’s room while I’m trying to put our daughter to sleep, telling me that her contractions are 6 minutes apart and beginning to be more intense, wrapping around her back. She’s not sure she can make it, but the trooper that she is, decides to put Jaelyn to sleep while I put Keilah to sleep before we whisk her off to the hospital.
10pm. We’re on the way to the hospital. Instead of me driving, my mom asks my dad to drive us to the hospital for reasons (1) so we won’t have to worry about parking (yes in the Philippines, one must consider the parking at the hospital) and (2) there is a concern about people throwing firecrackers at our car while we’re driving. (it is New Years eve. I’d welcome whipped cream and silly string thrown at my car on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena for the Rose Parade compared to firecrackers from unknown sources with a pregnant lady in the back seat screaming)
10:30pm. Gina is escorted into a small room while I wait outside in the hallway. A nurse exits and hands me her clothes without any update on my wife. 30 minutes later, another nurse comes out, handing me an admission slip. Thankfully, they’re admitting Gina. However, I must first proceed downstairs to the admissions office and admit my wife personally. I proceed down to the 1st floor and fill out the necessary paper work. Then, they direct me to the cashiers to pay an initial down payment of P10,000. After paying, I proceed back up to labor and delivery and present the receipt for payment so that they can continue to look after my wife.
11:30pm. Gina is in a labor room with other pregnant women. I am in our private room, isolated from the entire world, on the 8th floor of the hospital. As the clock ticks down, I celebrate the New Year by myself alone in the room looking outside the window at all the fireworks being lit. It’s a nice view. And continues to be for another hour and a half. The neighborhood kids directly below the hospital continues lighting firecrackers with veracity. It’s quite loud. I’m not sure when Gina will be going into labor. Did I mention that I don’t get to see my wife until she’s finally pushing?
1am. Gina calls the room to tell me she’s doing fine. 3rd time around and we still can’t decipher if it’s Braxton Hicks or not? No… can’t be.
6:30am. I receive a call from the nurse tending to Gina. They ask if Gina can have breakfast. Since I’ve had to bring food for Gina before, I quickly go downstairs to the café only to realize it’s closed (New Years). I follow the signs to St. Martin’s Cafeteria, which, apparently leads me to nowhere since the signs are old. I ask a nurse where the cafeteria is and she directs me to a completely different area of the hospital. When I get there, it’s closed. (She couldn’t just tell me it was closed?) So I walk outside the hospital across the street to see if the restaurants are open. Of course, they’re not. I call my parents asking them to bring breakfast for Gina. After 30 min of waiting outside, my dad comes with a picnic basket (hey hey boo boo) and I proceed upstairs to bring breakfast for Gina. The nurse looks at me and wonders why I have this large basket of food. I tell her its breakfast for Gina and she tells me that they already gave her breakfast. So instead, I bring all this food back upstairs to the room and eat it myself (no sense in having it go to waste)
11:30am. As I begin to eat lunch, I receive a call from the nurse urging me to come downstairs quickly because Gina is already pushing. Please understand that I’m not just down the hall, but I’m in a completely separate building, separated by another 6 floors. As I get down to labor and delivery, a nurse ushers me into a small changing room and gives me a gown, hair cap, and mask. I undress down to my skivvies and change. I follow the nurse into Delivery Room 1 where I finally see my wife after 13 hours. Gina begins pushing. The doctor asks if I brought my camera. I said no, because I was rushed, I left them in my pants that I changed out of. They tell me to go get it, but to go “a little bit faster Justin.” So I run out, grab the camera, and run back into the delivery room. The anesthesiologist notices that I’m perspiring profusely so they turn up the air conditioning. How kind of them to think of me while my wife is pushing out a 6lb baby.
12:29pm. Calista Hailey Magno Lacanilao is born. (Yes, here in the Philippines, it’s mandatory for the middle name to be the maiden name of the mother.) Gina is rushed out to recovery. I don’t say more than two words to her before she leaves the room. I stay in the room with Cali and one other nurse when a janitor walks in and begins cleaning the room, prepping it for the next birth. He’s not quiet when he’s doing it, smashing and banging things around, while Cali is being observed. Eventually, they take her to nursery, (which is closed by the way for another 3 hours) so I head back to the room, change out of my clothes and head back to the room, by myself, without my wife or my daughter. It’s 1pm, and I don’t get to see them for another 3 hours.
4pm. I wait in the hallway with the window to the nursery, hoping to catch Gina on the way upstairs to her room and hoping that they open the blinds to the nursery so that I can see Calista. Both happen at nearly the same time and the rest of my family arrives at the perfect moment. Everyone is here. Mom is healthy. Baby is healthy. Dad is happy.