Friday, January 29, 2010

A Gem Called Gerald

This is not fiction.

In the early morning of February 5, 1979, I laid, in all my bloated and naked glory, on the operating table of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Malolos, about to give birth by caesarian section to my second child. The lady anesthesiologist told me that aside from the anesthesia, I would be given something orally to induce stupor but not strong enough to make me sleep so that I can tell them what I feel every step of the way. I took note that there were about seven or eight of them inside the OR, presumably doctors and nurses.

My Ob-Gyne, Dra. Pilar, came in and greeted everyone in the room. When I felt that she was starting to open me up, I mumbled a short prayer. Then I heard one of them said, "Ay, doktora, bakit ganyan?" Dra. Pilar answered, " Naku, eto kasing batang ito, matigas ang ulo. Sinabi ko nang magpa-admit na last week pa, e pinaabot pa hanggang ngayon". Then, addressing me, she said, "Ayan, may crack ang tiyan mo". It couldn't be the outer part of my tummy 'cause I would know so I surmised that the problem was internal. My short prayer became longer and I became afraid for my baby. Despite such a situation , they all talked about different things, issues and personalities. It was pretty much like giving birth while watching a talk show.

After a while, I heard a baby's cry. Dra. Pilar said it was a boy. For the second time, I felt that thud which made me want to cry that I first felt when Timmy was born. ( I experienced it again with Ronald and that was it. I guess that feeling can only be felt by someone who gives birth). Then, at one point, I saw myself down in a dark pit. I was looking up trying to climb back to safety. Then I heard voices. "Okay, suction!", said one. Another said, " Ilalabas muna yung bituka mo para malinis". I couldn't make the distinction whether the voices were from those around the operating table or from those around the pit where I saw myself. Minutes later, I began to feel the needles used in stitching my tummy. I remember telling them it hurts. But a woman's voice said they couldn't give me more anesthesia because the procedure is almost done. And then, I fell asleep.

And so it was that Baby Boy Inocencio was born in the early morning of February 5, 1979.

For my son, I wanted a name that has a 'gerry/jerry' sound to it. But I don't want him to be Gerardo, Jr. I don't know why, but I don't like juniors. So, the names Jeremiah and Jericho were considered but both were disapproved by the hubby. I had second thoughts, too. The names were too biblical. At the time, Gerald Ford, who stepped down in 1977 as the 38th US President was still in the news, because his stint as VP and Pres. of the US were both unusual and historical. He held both offices, in 1973 and in 1974, respectively, without having been elected to neither one of the said position. And so the hubby and I reached a mutual decision- our son will be named Gerald. (In 2001, we realized that Gerald is somewhat a junior too since we discovered that the hubby's registered name is Geraldo and not Gerardo. But we have since petitioned the Civil-Registrar General to change his registered name to Gerardo and it was granted). The hubby suggested to use Popoy as his nickname ( my father-in-law is known as Ka Popoy all around town). I did not object. There was no reason to.

What people say is true. God balances what he gives to those who ask. I may have had so many trials in many of the major aspects of my life, but as a mother, I am triumphant because God gifted me with only the best. One of them is Popoy. As a child, Popoy has shown strength of character much like his sister before him. I don't remember him quarreling bigtime with his sister or with his brother. I don't remember him complaining of a small school allowance or of an old tattered shirt. He makes do with what he has and does not pass on his problems to me or anyone else. What I remember are the times when I would cry on his shoulders and he would cry with me. Just like with Timmy and Ronald, I love to think back of the days when he was still small. When he was in grade 1, he had to commute daily and travel around nine kilometers between Baliuag and Plaridel since we took up residence in Baliuag in the middle of the schoolyear. I still feel guilty to this day thinking why I had to allow that to happen. But those months that he went on his own was the first sign of his being a very responsible son. He religiously attended school and was never a truant. As he grew up, he never gave us any reason to be worried. In fact, I think it was him who was constantly worried about the state of the union of his parents.

Gerald was appropriately named. He was all G's to all of us. He was good, generous, gifted ( two of his photos were published in GulfNews in Dubai), gallant, genteel, genuine, good-hearted, good-humored, gracious, gregarious, groovy, guarded, and great. But most of all he's a gem and he is very precious in my heart.

Happy birthday, anak. I pray that God gives you all the best that you desire. Along with Tim and Nad, I love you beyond the stars!

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