When things don’t go as planned


IT REALLY  felt like I’ve been pregnant forever, so when Jeffrey Peter Lato Ruffolo Jr. was finally born on the 15th of September, 20 minutes
before lunch time, I told myself: “That’s it! I’m done being pregnant this year!”

I said this with finality as if the responsibility of raising this child-man, weighing eight pounds and five ounces, ended after he was yanked out of my womb to be welcomed by blinding light and an overly enthusiastic father who took pictures of everything inside the operating room.

But no … we were just getting started. We’re back to where we were two years ago when our twins Nicholas and Antoinette were born. We, Jeff and I, still wear the same bewildered looks at the sight of another pinkish being already screaming at the top of his lungs.

“Well, hello non-silent nights once again! We’re going to rock the world with another round of engorged breasts and puffy eyes!”

I sound like I’m complaining because I am. I’m a whiner, a ranter, a raver. I am done masking that part of me to appear sweet and meek because that’s not me. I’m no sheep; I’m a hybrid of a tiger and a lion more than able to pounce at any creature or issue that stirs my twisted brain.

I’m competitive too, and that morning, my doctor told me there’s one more mother who is already pushing for her baby to come out. It was a race between her and me. I was determined to win that race. But unlike her, who seemed to have delivered her baby with no epidural (bless her!), I, on the other hand, was screaming for drugs and called my anesthesiologists “angels” because they make pain go away.

I endured 26 hours of labor for this baby and pushed for two more hours. Down there I was already very swollen. My body was tired and exhausted, I can barely open my eyes. But nothing happened. Baby No. 3 refused to come out. I knew the doctor would tell me the words I don’t want to hear: “It’s time to consider a C-section.”

I looked at my husband who was my labor coach that morning and told him: “I don’t want to.” And yet I know I have to. So before he could even start a speech on letting go of my highly-anticipated plan to deliver the baby via the regular route, I quickly said: “Okay … C-section.”

Everyone moved lightning fast. In less than 30 minutes, everything in that bright operating room was prepared. Jeff was told to enter a few minutes after the doctors started the procedure. I had time to ask him to lead us in a prayer.

Within a couple of minutes—or so it was in my groggy state—I heard the cry I’ve been waiting to hear for 40 long weeks. It was the cry of a mortal creature casted on earth to be one with the rest of the God’s creation, to live life and experience life with a family who loves him very much.

On that day, that baby joined the Ruffolo family; this crazy multicultural cluster whose members have learned to accept and embrace their differences, and be content with the fact that no blue or maroon passports, language, or skin color can make us love each other any less.

Jeff Jr. is now the youngest member of this family which include Jeff, myself, and his older siblings Dani, Nick and Toni.

Getting here—right where I am now wearing a hospital gown breastfeeding a newborn—is a long story of trials and triumphs which involved a Southeast Asian cruise, getting robbed in Cebu, receiving an award, being refused entry to China, frantic running at midnight to a Chinese airport to leave for the US, and getting all weepy from missing Filipino food.

I’m staring at JJ’s signature Ruffolo forehead and I marvel at God’s unique ways of turning love into breathing, living human beings. I’m staring at my son and wonder how in the world I survived those long, painful hours—and how women, for thousands of years, managed childbirth without anesthesia.

Things didn’t go as planned.

I wanted a normal spontaneous vaginal delivery. I experienced everything related to that except that on the 30th hour, a decision has to be made—and that decision involved laying on a cold, sterilized, metal slab to be sliced open by three male doctors and assisted by an entire army of healthcare professionals.

Am I disappointed?

I was.

But not anymore. I have a bouncy, healthy, handsome boy who’s making me fall in love with nipple cream and baby shampoo once again.

All I care right now is to go home and have JJ meet his siblings. I’ve been more than blessed in this life, and not being able to experience how it is to have a baby come out of me in the manner that I want to is not something to complain about.

Heavenly Father will surely slap me if I do that.

So today I raise my first glass of sparkling apple cider to everyone whose life plan didn’t happen in the exact way they want it to be.

Take heart.

You are where you are right now because something really great is yet to come.

TAGS: motherhood, parenthood, pregnancy
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