What Ships Are Built For

I have passion for travelling.  I love exploring destinations, learning different cultures, tasting  various cuisines, meeting new faces and documenting my expeditions.  My senses delight in novel experiences, adventures and challenges.  My love for travelling lead me to discovering my love for photography.  

I have long been wanting to start a blog site, but for some reasons, have only felt the inspiration to start now.  This is my first blog, and this will not be a usual first “travel” blog.  

I was born and raised in the Philippines.  Last year, I decided to go and find a work here in Qatar to be with my husband.  Early this year, we got a big surprise – I saw two pink lines in the pregnancy test kit.  It was our very first try to make a baby and we never expected it to be so easy.  The feeling was so overwhelming that I cried and laughed at the same time.  The thought of a life inside me is something extraordinarily wonderful.  It brought about a feeling that I cannot precisely describe, especially that it was my first time.  Days after, the obstetrician confirmed that I was about 5 to 6 weeks pregnant.

The pregnancy brought about many changes – I had to be less carefree, conscious of my health, cautious on what I eat, etc.  As a couple, we had to cancel our dream trip and our plan for a Philippine vacation on Christmas of this year.  

As a lover of photography, I had started imagining my maternity shots.  I was very excited for our first ever family picture – my husband’s arms wrapped around my shoulders as we both held the first ultrasound scan of our baby.  I had thought of our very first travel outside Qatar and the Philippines – we will pursue the dream trip once our baby is born.

The next thing I knew, I was inside the radiologist’s room.  It seemed like a year as I waited for the doctor to have me hear my baby’s heartbeat and show me how she’s doing inside me.  After the long silence, the doctor told me that there was something wrong – the baby had no heartbeat.  My obstetrician confirmed that I had a missed miscarriage.  I lost the baby for reasons that may be blamed on science, according to her.  What have I done?  What have I not done?  Why didn’t I feel that she’s no longer alive?  I had no spotting or bleeding and I felt perfectly healthy.  I was at a loss.  I cried.  Very hard.

Days after the diagnosis, I had very heavy bleeding while cringing in pain due to cramps and severe dysmenorrhea.  My pads were fully soaked with blood in less than an hour so I had to use adult diapers.  I passed on several big lumps of blood while urinating.  I had a second and a third doctor’s opinion, but they both told me it was ‘natural’ as I was passing on the baby.  On the second day of my heavy bleeding, I felt very weak that there was a time when even speaking was a heavy chore for me.    I was brought to the hospital for the first time in my life.  The guy doctor who attended to me asked me for some details regarding the miscarriage and the heavy bleeding.  He requested me to lay in bed for checking.  To my surprise, the doctor inserted something inside me and started to take things out – the blood clots and the tissues.  I was aware of all the movements inside my uterus.    All these were done without prior briefing and anesthesia.  I was trembling wildly.  I cannot describe how I felt in one word, especially when I saw the baby inside a small bottle and the handful of blood clots that were taken from me.  I was terribly shocked, sad, traumatized.  

The nurses told me that I had to be confined to undergo observation.  My husband had to leave me for the night, in that kind of situation, as men are not allowed to stay in the hospital from 11PM to 7AM – Arab rules.  (Thank you Darlyn for offering to stay with me during the midnight.  You are such a blessing.  Inasmuch as I wanted to have someone with me, I felt that you needed to rest.).  I missed my family all the more.  I really missed the Philippines.

The following morning, I had an ultrasound.  The doctors found out that there were still remaining tissues inside my uterus.  They told me that I needed to undergo a d & c operation to eliminate the possibility of any infections.  Operations and hospital confinements are in the list of my greatest fears.  I was too scared that I needed my momma’s hug.  I had it – through SMS.

The dextrose was my means of physical survival through the 27 hours of no drinking and eating (fasting).  My husband, family and close friends were my sources of emotional and spiritual strength.

While we were waiting for my turn in the operation room, my husband never left my side.  He urged me to be tough as he needs me there – beside his rocking chair by our porch, 35 years and more from that day.

My turn to be in the operating room came.  As I was being transferred from the ward to the operating room, I overheard the two nurses complaining of tiredness.  The scene in the operating room was just like in the films.  I overheard a doctor asking another doctor if she had any rest within the day.  The doctor told her that she had been in the operating room since 3PM.  She had done about 5 caesarian operations and 4 evacuations (d & c operations), and had not been given a chance to rest.  There are only 4 things I recall now: (1)  The nurse was injecting the anesthesia through the dextrose; (2)  the nurses were placing heartbeat detectors on my chest; (3) I uttered “Lord, I surrender everything to You.  Please bless the hands of the nurses and the doctors.  Thy will be done.”; and lastly (4) the doctor asked me to deeply breathe as she covered me with a mask; I was suffocating as my heart pounded heavily.

I woke up after more than an hour – my operation has been completed.  I then heard the sound of my husband’s voice.  I finally was allowed to eat after 29 hours and was discharged from the hospital the following day.  I was in real labour through all those days; it’s just that there was no reward.

I miss my angel.  For over a month, she (I have always believed that my baby’s a ‘she’) and I bonded.  I miss feeding her almost every hour or so, talking to her before I slept and upon waking up, telling her things that were on my mind,  and touching her to make her feel protected.  I miss her dad’s daily “Good morning mommy, good morning baby (kiss on my tummy)”.  I miss praying for her everyday.  I miss my radiant pregnant glow.  I miss the excitement I felt as my tummy grew big.  I miss the planning-and-dreaming-dreams-for-the-kid sessions with my husband.

This is not a usual travel blog, particularly for a first blog, but I have learned so much from this and would want to share you a part of my journey.

I’ve had my ordeal in a country that is very much different from home, where cultural and some medical practice differences exist.  I have learned that it is okay to ask questions and it is a must to listen to what your body is saying.

I’ve had my ordeal in a country of expatriates.  I have learned to trust strangers – my doctors and nurses.

I’ve had my ordeal in a country where my husband is my only ‘family’.  I have learned that we’ve been blessed with people who are not related to us by blood in any way, but would be willing to share their time and affection during times of distress.  Thank you very much Darlyn and Jan, Kuya Ariel, Rolinda and Rosa.  You are God’s blessings.

I’ve learned that communication, notwithstanding distance, is a great way to ease troubles.  Thank you mom, sis and my family for being with me throughout my “labour”.   Iya, I felt your hand holding mine.  Thanks sisses Cleo, Darl, Den, Elen, Grace and Lyneth for all your prayers.  Thank you Lo.

I’ve learned that moms deserve all our love and respect.  They’ve faced many challenges and sacrificed many things for us.  I was only pregnant for 11 weeks but the sacrifices I made (in terms of pregnancy discomfort and eating the right kind of food) are significant.  I have learned why they say that a mother’s love is unconditional and forever.

I’ve learned that love is tested through fire.  I could not imagine how I’ve had the courage to go through all of this.  Thank you very much Gilbert for never leaving my side and for all the strength you’ve displayed.  I know we are a young couple but we’ve made it through the challenge.  I promise you I’ll be there beside your rocking chair by our porch 25, 30, 35 and more years from now.  We’ll have more days of adventure together.

I’ve learned that a ship is built to sail, and not to be always safe in harbor. 

I am now recovering physically and emotionally from everything.  In God’s time, I’ll again have another journey story apart from the travel stories that I intend to share in the next days, that is, a labour with a reward.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard


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