The Day I Became a Dad
by Oliver Carlos
One of the most precious photographs in my collection is a picture of me holding my newborn son Jethro. My wife Maffy had just given birth to our unico hijo, and the doctor immediately called for me to present to me my baby. Jethro was less than 10 minutes old when my Mom snapped this photo. My brother Jay-R was also there taking a video clip of that dramatic moment. This event took place at 8 A.M. of October 30, 2000, at the lobby in front of the delivery room of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila.
A lot of suspense happened before this glorious moment. Actually, I almost lost my wife and child. On the third trimester of pregnancy, my wife was diagnosed with preeclampsia. That’s a medical condition characterized by abnormal rise of blood pressure (BP) several weeks leading to the baby’s due date. The dangerous thing about preeclampsia is that it can cause the death of either or both mother and child as blood pressure shoots up really high during or near labor time.
Thus, one month before my wife’s due date of November 14, her doctor advised her to get confined in a hospital. Her BP was monitored round-the-clock by the nurses of the UPLB Infirmary for the next 2 weeks. I was beside her all those days and I observed that BP monitoring is such a stressful routine. The nurses would wake us up every few hours including the hours past midnight to get Maffy’s BP.
To compound our situation, there was a super typhoon that hit town in the last week of October. Several large trees were uprooted in UPLB, some very near the hospital where we were staying. There was also a waist-high flood in Pansol, Calamba. What’s worse, electricity went off in Los Banos, including in the UPLB Infirmary. Although there was a generator, our doctor decided to send my wife to PGH where there are better facilities and more stable electricity, which are very much needed for a very delicate delivery. The doctor wanted to perform a procedure called “induced labor” as soon as possible because Maffy’s BP was rising consistently in the past days. To wait for the November 14 labor date would be fatal.
Thus, as soon as the strong winds and heavy rains halted on the early morning of October 29, my wife was loaded on an ambulance headed for PGH. I hopped in the vehicle and held Maffy’s hand for the whole duration of the trip. I never prayed so hard in my life during that 1-hour voyage. The flood in Pansol was still there, but by God’s travelling mercies we were able to pass through it and arrive at PGH by mid-morning.
Upon arriving at PGH, Maffy was separated from me as she was carried off to a large hall which I believe is a holding room for mothers who are about to deliver their babies. Meanwhile, I was asked to get a room for her to stay in once the baby is born. I didn’t see her the rest of that day.
In the afternoon, my Mom, my brother, and Maffy’s mother, arrived and stayed with me in the hospital room. They provided me with some light moments, but deep in my heart I was nervous, so I kept on praying silently through the night.
The following morning, a nurse knocked at our door and told me to follow her. She said my wife and child were ok and the doctor wanted to show me my son because he’s so handsome and looked so much like me. We ran one story up the building, and lo and behold, my son was handed down to my arms for the very first time. He was wrapped on blood-stained green cloth. The doctor said that he was born just less than 10 minutes ago.
Jethro was awake and he was looking straight at me. He raised his right hand and wiggled his fingers as if saying “hi” to me. I was so moved I got teary-eyed. That moment was priceless! No words can contain the joy I had in my heart.
Now I understand better God’s feeling whenever he looks at us his children. Such great delight grips God’s heart that he even dances for joy as he loudly sings over us. Yes, our Heavenly Father sings, he also dances around. That’s how he loves us, that’s how special we are in his eyes. We can find that in Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT):
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Praise God for his rich love towards us! Close your eyes and feel that love today.