I got married at age 34 so the question of having a baby was something that had been answered by the time I walked down the aisle. Alan and I agreed that we would get our own place first before we tried. We managed to save enough to put a downpayment on a 2-bedroom co-op unit by our second year anniversary in 2002 and we tried to get pregnant immediately. I found out just the day before we left for my first homecoming to Manila in December of that year, but I bled during the visit home and an ultrasound at the UST Hospital confirmed I was no longer pregnant. It didn’t quite hit me then because I had not even homed in on the idea that I was actually pregnant.
We were pregnant again after my next cycle and this time, I was able to start planning and enjoying being pregnant for 9 weeks until it was discovered that the baby had stopped growing on its 7th week. This time I had to have a D&C to clean out the “products of conception” and I was instructed to wait another 3 months to give my body a chance to heal. This second miscarraige was a very traumatic loss for me and plunged me into a mild depression. I quickly overcame it once I started counting the three months, and as soon as we were clear, I got pregnant again after my first cycle.
Now I have a two year old tyke who makes my world turn. I didn’t realize having a baby was not as natural to some couples nowadays as it was for Alan and me. Not just the physical act of having a baby per se, but in the last two weeks, I’ve encountered three young couples who look at the prospect of having a child as something truly exciting, but at the same time, they have so much anxiety about the whole thing.
To some it’s just the thought of getting pregnant and having to deal with the prospect of losing a child. Others are terrified of the thought of raising another human being. It was a surprise to me that many feared the very prospect of having a child because it was a big responsibility.
It’s sad that so many young people find themselves getting pregnant irresponsibly when others have such a challenge trying. Two of Alan’s closest friends continue to try to have a child — without success. I have long stopped mourning my two previous losses, because I know that that is a normal occurrence. As my doctors assured me, it’s the body’s way of letting go of a fetus that was not viable. I simply told myself it just wasn’t time, it wasn’t for me — until Angel came and I was blessed by his birth.
Having gotten pregnant at such a late age, there was a lot of anxiety about the tests to be taken. Here in the US, they give you a chance to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons, and while there are limitations by state as to up to when you can intervene, there are a myriad of tests to help you decide if there is a medical challenge.
We chose to forego the amniocentisis which meant a needle puncture of the amniotic sac, primarily meant to determine if the baby has any abnormality. It was not only that there was a slight chance that the puncture would not heal and would lead to a miscarraige, but primarily because Alan and I knew that even if we heard that our child was anything less than perfect, we would not have the heart to terminate the pregnancy. It was not just about wanting to have a child so badly, but more importantly, we did not want to terminate a life that was given to us.
Choosing to have a baby is not the most difficult part of it. It’s actually nurturing that child to full term and successfully delivering it into this world. One it takes in its first breath of air, then you can only try to do your best, you can’t control how the future will be.
Just a word of advice to those worrying about the whole journey — it is worth every ounce of worry in the joy it brings when that little bundle comes out and looks you in the eye. It’s never going to get easy, but the joys will multiply.