So yesterday, August 27, my #SuperMatteo #MiracleMatteo turns 10 months old! I couldn’t help but feel so sentimental and amazed by this double-digit milestone of his. So allow me to share with you why. This is not to scare you or what. Just to share my experience especially with my fellow mommies and soon-to-be-moms or just anyone who would like to have a family someday that something like this could happen. To anyone.
I. BIRTHING STORY
Simulan natin dito. It was October 26, 2016 and my husband and i were at home when i started to feel stomach pains. I was already on my 38th week so pwede na ako actually manganak. But ang talagang due date ko was Nov 10 originally, then naging Nov 1. My husband and i still went out for lunch and did grocery. When we were in the grocery, dun na naman nagstart yung stomach pains and my husband decided to take me to the hospital.
Note: due to some legal matters, i will not mention any names
When we got there, the resident who did an IE on me said i was already 4CM and she asked me if the pain was still bearable. Sabi ko, oo since sanay ako to have severe dysmenorrhea when i would get my period so maybe high level ang tolerance ko sa pain. The other interns/residents started to ask me questions and nakakasagot padin ako ng maayos. They told me that they were going to call na my OB if icoconfine na ako. After a few minutes, they went back and asked me to put on na the hospital gown. In my mind, sabi ko “shet, this is it. makikita na namin si Matteo. i will be a mom na in a few hours.” That was around 430pm when i got confined and they were just monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and contractions. They were asking me if i was feeling any pain. Wala pa. Ang tagal ko nag labor. They even injected anesthesia twice kasi the first time there was blood and hindi daw dapat ganon. I had a lot of muscle sa back ko that’s why nahirapan daw sila to inject. No signs of me delivering yet so they just kept inducing my labor and broke my water bag at around 10-11pm. Pero wala padin. I wasn’t feeling that much pain but i was shivering. I was told na ganon yung effect ng anesthesia. I even remembered asking the nurses and the residents/interns kung nasan na yung mommy who was laboring beside me. They said, they had to do CS na kasi masyado ng matagal. I was wondering bakit kaya ako hindi pa? But syempre, i had to trust them since in my mind, of course, they know better and they know what they’re doing. I fell asleep and woke up at around 6am and still, i was there lying down and nothing happened. Imagine the gap from the time they broke my water bag.
So finally my OB arrived and did an IE on me and she said i was around 7-8cm already and in her words “kaya ko na yan”. I was wheeled in the delivery room and the nurses/interns/residents started coaching me on how to push. We started 641am. Matteo finally got out 741am with no hearbeat, and was color blue. He did not cry. They started to revive him. I can see everything so clearly. I was scared. Ang dami kong naiisip. I was asking my husband kung ano nangyayari. He was trying to cover me para i won’t see what they were doing to Matteo. That they were trying to revive him. After he was revived, he was brought to the NICU. Then the real journey began.
II. BEING IN THE NICU
I was lost. I was in a state of shock. Anong nangyari? Bakit nagkaganon? How can a normal pregancy turn into a nightmare? The doctor’s reason was, naipit daw si Matteo. Biglang he looked up when i was trying to push him out. Both my mom and my mom-in-law asked the doctor “bakit hindi mo CS? bakit mo pinilit i-normal?” I had a lot of questions but i didn’t know how to start. I wasn’t able to think straight. Ang focus lang namin that time was si Matteo. His survival.
We were in the NICU for a month. We were called to sign waivers for blood transfusions every now and then. The experience wasn’t smooth sailing. There were days na masaya sa results but most of the time, laging hindi OK. It was a rollercoaster ride.
We were told that he was not in a good state. We could lose him and that he could go to heaven anytime. Mas lalo kong nafeel na he could leave us na was nung he was baptized in the NICU. I was holding back my tears. Everyone was so quiet. I could feel the heaviness of the moment. It was so hard for me to accept everything. I carried him for 9 months and this is what happened. Nothing could compare to the pain i was feeling during that moment. I prayed like i never prayed before. Kahit na my stitches were still fresh, i would go to the NICU to visit Matteo. My husband and i would go to the chapel everyday to ask God for healing and for Matteo to get through this. And then i remembered the priest asked us why we named him Matteo Andres. Sabi namin Matteo kasi it means God’s Gift and Andres kasi strong, fighter, warrior. Then he said, oh, he’s God’s little warrior. Do not lose faith. We may not have the answers now.
It was a rough journey. Totoo pala yung saying na “you’ll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Ganon ako. I had to be strong for Matteo kahit everyone around me umiiyak na, sometimes nawawalan na ng hope. Syempre, may days na i would just lose it but i was thankful i had an amazing husband who was there to comfort me. There was a point that I blamed myself for a long time for what happened. Minsan, kahit up to now. Na ano ba yung hindi ko nagawa. What could have i done to avoid this during that moment? Ang dami kong sana. Ang dami kong what ifs. But i couldn’t live in the past. I had to move forward. It was a good thing also na during this rough journey of ours sa NICU, we met the most genuine and kind-hearted people along the way from Matteo’s neonatologist to his NICU nurses. I could not thank them enough kasi sila yung naging mom kay Matteo nung mga panahong i couldn’t be there. Nung mga panahong he had to be there.
III. MOVING FOWARD: #MiracleMatteo
Of course, when the NICU journey ended and we were able to bring Matteo home, we were again faced with the hard reality of the effects of what happened:
- HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) – loss of oxygen in the brain during delivery
- Subgaleal hemorrhage – due to the failed vacuum attempts to bring Matteo out, there was bleeding in the sub-galeal space of his brain
- Laryngomalacia – floppy larynx which causes noisy breathing (could be because of the tubes placed inside him or it stopped to mature because of the injury). The good thing about this is it has a peak period then it goes away. But only time will tell.
- Infantile/epileptic spasms – seizures
He also had an NG (nasogastric) tube when he got home. Natuto kami magfeed via syringe. He was on a tube for 4 months. May mga times na nahihila niya yun ng madaling araw so we would run to the nearest hospital para ipa lagay ulit. He can’t not have this on kasi hindi siya makakain. He had poor sucking reflex. Everything about him was a “wait and see” kind of thing. Walang diagnosis kasi mas makikita yung effects as he grows up. The hardest part for my husband and I. But we had to strive to walk by faith everyday.
IV. DEFYING THE ODDS: #SuperMatteo
So the next question would be is–how is he doing now? That’s why siguro naging sobrang sentimental ako about him turning double-digit yesterday is because, he has defied a lot of odds to get him to where he is today
Right now, he’s delayed with all of his milestones. Unlike other babies who are keeping up and on point with everything. Unlike parents na laging on the lookout if nag roll-over na ba or nag crawl na, kami masaya na kami makita lang siyang mag-smile. That he moves. That he’s makulit. That he says “agooo” or “waaahhhh”. Instead of milestones, we call his little winning moments as “inchstones”. Kasi anything kahit sobrang little, we celebrate.
How has Matteo defied the odds? Maraming beses. We were told he wouldn’t survive but look at him now. We were told he could be deaf, but a re-test said otherwise. We were told he could be blind. We were told that he will be needing a G-tube (gastronomic tube) na kailangan ilagay sa tummy since an NG tube is not ideal for long term purposes. But now, kami na yung di maka keep-up sa pag suck niya sa bottle and pagkain niya ng solids. Everything by mouth. We were also told that quality of life is not seen for his situation. But kami after everything, mas powerful na yung faith. Mas powerful yung love that we have for him. I think that is more than enough to hope, even when it hurts.
My husband and i would always make it a point to make him experience everything, to foster an environment that is always happy and positive. We want him to know that he is bigger and stronger than his injury. Now, we take it each day. To always make the most out of this blessing that we have been given. To strive to be the best parents we could be. Everyday is a battle but we fight knowing that God is with us.
V. SPREAD LOVE
To my #SuperMatteo and #MiracleMatteo, first off, thank you for fighting to be with us. In my lowest of days, i would always remember how strong you are and it then gives me the strength to overcome anything. I hope you know that we will be fighting for and with you till the end. Like what i always tell you, God is always watching over you. Keep on fighting, anak. The future may be scary but that’s just how life is. Even for everyone. We continue to live kahit na hindi natin alam if bukas andito pa tayo. Nagagawa natin to kasi we know we still have a purpose to fulfill and we do it anyway. I love you. My love for you is constant and steady. More than what i have for myself. Daddy, lolo and lolas are always there to keep reminding you of how amazing you are. We love you, anak.
To everyone reading this, especially my fellow mommas, soon-to-be-mommas or to anyone, my goal for this post is to make you remember that you are blessed and that you are still lucky, whatever situation it is you’re in right now. If there’s any learning i’d like to share with you, let me just summarize it into 4 things:
- Trust your gut feel/instinct. Especially for women, malakas to. Listen to it sa kahit anong aspect ng life. Work, relationships, choosing how to give birth, etc. Don’t shortchange yourself. When you feel like something is wrong, take action.
- Always have faith and never give up. As long as there is still a life to live, keep on pushing. Yes we may have plans for ourselves, para sa mga anak natin. But at the end of the day, know that God’s purpose and plan prevails. So pray and always keep the faith. Miracles do happen. Believe me.
- Be a little kinder. Everyone of us is fighting a battle and hindi natin alam kung gaano ito kabigat so it wouldn’t hurt if we keep judgment aside and be kinder and always spread positivity around you. We are what we think.
- Carpe diem. Sieze the day. Live life like it were your last. Give love and spread love. Let us all make this world a better place to live in even in the littlest of ways.