"Stop panting, Nette," Dra Z instructed me. "Time to start pushing with the next contraction. Okay?"
She had barely finished saying this when the next wave came, and I pushed.
"Not quite good enough, Nette. But it's crowning. You need to push harder."
O was by my side, supporting my shoulders, camera in hand. I mustered up all my remaining concentration after 12 hours of slow labor and focused on my breathing, my diaphragm. And when the next contraction came:
"That's it, Nette. This is very good. Very effective. Keep pushing! Almost there!"
And then-- a pop! A whish! And a cry!
And suddenly, O and I were faced with our first baby-- a boy. Upon hearing our voices, he immediately stopped crying and looked into my eyes. It was a blessed eternity. A beautiful child. I loved him even before I saw him, but when I finally did see him, I loved him even more.
When we got back to our hospital room, O and I started crying and bawling out of sheer joy. We hugged each other tightly and praised God for His gift of life. The life of B. A life to be filled with miracles and surprises, with victories and triumphs, with sweetness and light. A life of purity and joy, of affection, touch and laughter. A life just beginning, but which has already touched so many others. A life of learning, and of sharing lessons learned.
We prayed for him as he woke up this morning, and he said, "Am I six now?"
And I smiled and said, "Yes, you have six-year-old eyes, six-year-old hands, six-year-old feet!"
Happy sixth birthday, our dearest, beloved B. Nanay and Tatay love you so much. Muah!