Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Miracle Boy

Our miracle boy, Ben, now 10 years old.

Read "The Birthing of Ben" and find out why he is a "miracle boy."

Our Favorite Ate

My "favorite ate" - Pia

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Birthing of Ben

LIGHT. The very first real word of my son Ben. Aside, of course, from the usual “Mommy, Daddy.” Quite significant to us. Since he came to the world, Ben became the light of our lives. The center of our attention. But most of all, the eye-opener to the many wonderful things God has given us.

Every day as I look at him, I am reminded of God’s greatness and His overflowing love for us. Ben became a constant reminder of God’s miracles.

I should say Ben is a miracle baby. Being born a week short of his seventh month, like many pre-term babies, he had very weak lungs. At birth, he suffered pneumonia. No thanks to the erratic climate in December, I caught flu and infected the baby inside my womb.

Ben is our first-born, and my husband and I live all by our twosome in a rented house in Diliman. Our families were all in the province and nobody was there to give me tips on pregnancy except my doctor. Thus, when a rush of water came out two nights before I delivered Ben, I was not really bothered. I just thought I had a urinary tract infection.

In the morning, before I left for the office, I called my doctor to tell her of my “little inconvenience.” But I was told that my “little inconvenience” was in fact, something to be alarmed about. It was my bag of water that had already ruptured and any time thereafter, the baby would come out.

My husband and I immediately proceeded to the hospital.

My OB-Gyne reprimanded me for taking my health for granted. She said the baby had very little chance for survival since it was so premature. I never stopped crying on my way to the delivery room. I asked God over and over again to save me and my precious baby. What of the many months I carried it in my womb? How I would giggle at times when it would tickle me with its endless kicking.

One night, while watching Gary V.’s concert at the Araneta Coliseum, it was kicking endlessly as if Gary V. Himself was inside me.

I lost conciousness the moment I gave my hardest push. When I woke up, a doctor spoke to me. I delivered a baby boy. She said the baby was very weak but that they would do everything to save him. The best neonatologist in the hospital was assigned to him.

A few hours after I was brought to my room, Ben’s neonatologist came. She was a kind-looking Chinese doctor in her mid-40s. She smiled but there was a trace of sadness in her eyes. True, she confirmed my baby’s predicament. His lungs were full of phlegm. His breathing was very irregular. Thus, he had to be attached to a cepop, a gadget that would regulate his breathing. He was also attached to an oxygen tube, and a dextrose drip where they would administer the medicine.

Ben was under observation for 72 hours. If he survived that period, then he might live. However, the doctor could not tell us what his chances of survival were. All she kept on saying was, “Just pray.” I did not want to listen to her and I refused to hear her say that my son was on the brink of death. How could he be?

I remembered how restless he was inside my womb on the morning I thought I had UTI. It was as if I heard a little voice saying, “Mom, let me get out of here.” To which I answered slyly, “Hey, baby, not your time yet.”

While I was in deep thought, the doctor handed me a photograph of a frail baby inside an incubator. He had a tube in each nostril, another tube in the mouth and a dextrose IV on the right hand. Tears flowed from my eyes when I realized that the helpless little thing inside the glass box was, after all, my precious one. My husband just stared in awe. We both could hardly believe that the bundle of joy we waited for many months might not even live for a day.

Though it was still excruciatingly painful to even take a step, I insisted on going out of the room to make phonecalls at the nurses’ station. I called up just anybody who came to mind – relatives, friends, and even officemates – to ask them to offer prayers for our baby.

I left the hospital two days later. Shortly before we went home, my husband and I went to the intensive care section of the hospital’s nursery. I unashamedly cried upon seeing my baby for the first time. The moment I set my eyes on him, I knew he was mine. He was beautiful, albeit tiny. Only a little over three pounds, he was the smallest baby in the nursery. He looked much like his father – wide-templed, nicely-shaped nose, oblong face.

When Ben was four days old, we received an urgent call from his doctor. She told us to immediately proceed to the hospital. Ben stopped breathing the night before and he might not be able to make it anymore. I felt numb all over my body as she narrated what occured the previous night. A few hours before he stopped breathing, he was so restless. His breathing became more irregular, stopping for a few seconds on some occassion. Sensing that the baby was weakening, the doctor never left his side. Then at about midnight, he just lay inside the incubator motionless, and no longer breathing. To revive him, he was attached to a ventilator to push his lungs to breathe.

Hardly even combing my hair, I grabbed my husband who went back to sleep after doing a bucketful of laundry. I was crying all the way to the hospital. I kept on praying to the Lord to spare our son. At the same time, asking Him to get Ben if he was not really meant for us. Ben might be very precious to us being our first-born, but what parents could bare look at their little one suffer?

At the hospital, the doctor brought us inside the receiving room of the nursery. She explained to us why Ben stopped breathing. Since he was very premature, his lungs had not fully developed. There was no surfactant in his alveoli – the fluid which enables our alveoli to open and close when we inhale and exhale.

When the doctor brought us to Ben, I could hardly look at him. Aside from the tube in each nostril, both of his hands now each had a dextrose. His hair was shaved off so that another IV could be placed on his head. The last time I saw him, he was moving a bit. But now, he was very still.

In the 20 days or so that followed, we would either see our son or call the doctor to check on his condition. Day after day, the doctor would tell us to keep on praying. We never ceased to do so. We knew only our insistent prayers could save him.

Ben’s condition slowly improved. One after the other, the gadgets attached to him were removed. Until, only an IV and an oxygen tube were left. Then one day, not even the oxygen was left.

Exactly 27 days after he was born, Ben came home with us. Words are not enough to express the hapiness we felt that finally God had answered our prayers.

Ben is so amused with lights. Every time he says “light” while pointing at it, I hug him and tell him, “Son, you are the light to us.”

Like the light, he brightens up our home with the sweet little things that he does. And most of all, he enlightened our minds and heart to the truth that God does perform wonders.

(This article came out in the Youngblood section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in May 1996. Ben is now 10 years old, here shown with his Dad. Above, Daddy carries little Ben, who was miraculously discharged from the hospital 27 days after his birth.)