Rona has become like a sister to me. So Ezekiel’s birth story hits my heart like no other. I can’t even put into words how much it means to me she decided to share her stories with us.
Ezekiel’s birth and life struggle is truly a sad one. I have had the pleasure of seeing a strong woman blossom from the ashes of tragedy. May her story bless you.
Ezekiel’s birth story
They say that when someone becomes a parent, they become a totally different person. I must have needed a lot of transformations because God allowed me to experience beyond ordinary journey to motherhood.
EZEKIEL, MY FIRST CHILD.
His name means God strengthens.
I am prone to writing March 12, 2010 as my first born’s birthday, because that was supposed to be his due date. But he was born prematurely via emergency C-section on January 16 of that year. Why the premature delivery? Because I got polyhydramnios – a condition where there’s too much amniotic fluid. Literature says it is only likely to occur to 1% of all pregnancies. You may get a glimpse at this point how different a person I am.
Two weeks before that emergency C-section, I underwent an amnio-reduction, a procedure intended to drain some of the amniotic fluid volume when there is severe polyhydramnios. And believe it or not, 2.5 Liters of amniotic fluid was drained from my bump by inserting something like a very big needle in my abdomen, punching all the way to my uterus, then to uterine wall, then to the amniotic sac where my child was.
You can imagine 2.5 Liters of water I was needlessly carrying inside. And then, upon the next check up, I was back to the same condition as before amnio-reduction so my ob-gyne decided to operate on me.
Up until that date, having to undergo CS operation was my most helpless moment.
I was tired and sleepless, I could hardly breathe and yet my biggest concern was “will my child survive?” What are his chances if I endure more days and he stays inside? Will he be better off inside me despite my unfavorable pregnancy conditions?
Because aside from polyhydramnios, I also got gestational diabetes, hypertension and a possibility of pre-eclampsia and of course, the longer the baby stays inside me, the higher I put my life at-stake, too.
So when the doctor said it was time to bring the baby out, I just closed my eyes; I cried and I surrendered it to the Father in Heaven. Surely He has better plans –one that I could not see or even understand, but one that I have to trust. I learned that moment that trusting eliminates fears; but never the pain.
The truth is, this is the very first time I have ever written about it because up until now, it hurts so bad I can’t stop my tears from falling.
So I was rushed to operating room, without any preparation.
I was in the Philippines and husband was working overseas in Abu Dhabi with a leave filed for March and not January. I remember asking someone from the right side of my operating table to please hold my hand because I was shaking and couldn’t comprehend anything.
I was conscious and praying and it’s like everything was happening before my eyes, and yet, I understood nothing. Everything was just noise –doctors pointing to this and that, nurses rushing, I was led to curl up, I felt a needle on my spine and then I was numb. I was led to lie down again and it’s like everything couldn’t be happening.
I was so unprepared. All of that while my mind was into the baby -if he was comfortable, if there was a chance he was healthy, or if he would ever thrive since all my pregnancy conditions predicted anomalies and so all my days of pregnancy was about fighting my fears, keeping the faith, doing the best about the situation, fighting for my precious first child.
And then I heard him cry.
I felt relieved. But it was a short-lived relief because people there at OR were talking of a possible Trisomy 18 anomaly. It was not new to me because I was made aware of that possibility 5 months into pregnancy. Trisomy 18 babies do not live beyond the age of one. The woman beside me asked me if I know what it means.
I nodded without opening my eyes which by then were welling with tears. I was discharged and went home without a baby in my arms because he needed to stay more in the hospital. So every morning, I would brave standing up and ignore my wounds, travel 30 minutes to visit and to try to breastfeed my baby. And then another 30 minutes going back.
Further tests showed there wasn’t any chromosomal anomaly, but my son was still not thriving. He was having difficulty feeding and breathing so on the 11th day, he was hooked to a ventilator and inserted a feeding tube in a bigger hospital in Manila – the capital which was 2 hours away from my province back then.
And for the next 7 months, the pediatric intensive care unit became our home.
I was able to bring him back to the province a few times after months of stay in pediatric ICU but those never lasted long. I needed to bring him back to ICU despite a hospital setting at home. By hospital setting I mean we had all the equipment needed less the ventilator.
We had an oxygen tank, suction machine, and I didn’t know where I got all the courage to be his personal round the clock attendant at home while having all the postpartum complications.
I believe His grace is always sufficient but I’ll be honest, at that point I just wanted a normal life for me and my own very young family. I was trained to insert and replace feeding tubes for him, to use the suction machine and suction tubings, to administer all the medicines… I couldn’t believe I went through all that, though I’m grateful until now for every chance I got to be with him, to cuddle him and to make him know he meant the world to me.
And then one soul-crushing test result came – his air passages do not grow with age. With all his conditions, he was not expected to live more than two years.
On September 19, 2010, he died at exactly 7 months and 3 days old. I wanted to die, too.
Surely I am entitled to feeling all the pain, although I am in complete surrender to the Father’s will, even willing to bear this pain if this is what it takes. What else can a mother do?
Thus, his name. His name was Ezekiel. It means God strengthens.