BEFORE the year 2013 draws to a close, I’d like to share with you a happy occasion in my family. My close friends on Facebook and Instagram probably know what I’m referring to.
After nine months of waiting, including almost a month spent in the hospital sometime ago to prevent a premature delivery, my brother Ronnie and his wife Namfon welcomed Peter Francisco, their firstborn, into the world last December 14 in Dallas, Texas.
Weighing almost seven pounds at birth, Peter Francisco, who my Daddy has started affectionately calling “Kiko,” was born via C-section. Unlike his dad Ronnie, a preemie, Kiko had enough time to develop in his mom’s womb. He also has the added benefit of being breastfed.
Bracing for the possibility
But for a few weeks in late October to early November, his parents were bracing themselves for the possibility of taking care of a preemie themselves, as Kiko threatened to stage an early entrance. Namfon’s unexplained contractions mercifully subsided, and by mid November, she was discharged from the hospital to wait out the rest of her pregnancy.
Kiko was scheduled to arrive on December 17, but his mother was again experiencing contractions as early as December 11. This time they were more frequent and painful.
Since she had experienced a dry run so to speak less than a month ago, Namfon thought nothing of it at first. Her earlier confinement at the hospital must have increased her level of tolerance for pain. Either that or she had probably set her mind, contractions and all, on giving birth to her baby based on the doctor’s count.
In fact, the couple even scheduled a private photo shoot on the second floor of their new home on Friday evening, December 13, the eve of Kiko’s birth. It was the only chance they had, Ronnie, who used the camera’s timer, told me later, before Namfon’s date with the stork.
More frequent contractions
But the contractions became more frequent and almost unbearable, and by early Saturday morning, Ronnie and a sleepless Namfon knew that they couldn’t postpone the delivery even for another day. After seeing how “ready” she was at the delivery room, the doctor marveled at Namfon’s “patience.”
After more than two hours of “pushing” (making ere in local parlance), Namfon finally opted to deliver via C-section. She felt that she could have given birth the normal way had she stayed the course for another two hours or so, she told me a few days later over the phone.
Rather than risk all sorts of complications that might endanger her life and that of her unborn baby, she went for the quicker but more invasive procedure. In less than 20 minutes, the couple became proud parents of a bouncing baby boy.
Up to the last minute, they chose not to know their baby’s gender. That’s why during the baby shower in early October, which I was able to attend, guests opted to give them baby stuff in such gender-neutral colors as white, beige, light yellow and mint green.
I told Namfon during our phone conversation that had I known that she was expecting a boy, I would have bought all the baby blue items at Rustan’s. Shades of blue happen to be my next favorite colors after dusty orange.
Those of you who know the love story of Ronnie and Namfon are also aware of how instrumental my role was in introducing them to each other. I met Namfon, who was then head of customer relations for a leading mall in Bangkok, during an overseas assignment in 2008.
I succeeded in hooking her and Ronnie up, and after a series of emails, long-distance calls and video chats over a period of two years, they decided to meet up in Manila in early 2011. They finally got married in April 2012 in Buddhist rites in Chiang Mai, before marrying a week later in Catholic rites at San Agustin Church in Manila.
As fate would have it, I was also with them when they first learned that Namfon was pregnant. I covered a travel event in Belgium and the Netherlands in April this year. Since they also wanted to do Europe, we decided to meet up in Rome after my coverage.
Thanks to those instant pregnancy kits (to learn more on how it works, please see “Kill Bill Part 1”), Namfon was able to share with me the good news. Over the next few days, the three of us did Rome, Pisa, Sienna, and Florence before Namfon felt the first actual signs of pregnancy, which included lack of energy, loss of appetite and, gasp, spotting!
All that walking, sightseeing and eating strange food (at least to Namfon who craved for rice and Asian dishes in a land teeming with pasta and pizza) over the next several days must have taken their toll on her. In fact, during our last day in Florence, Ronnie and I left her to rest in the hotel room before we ventured out to explore the city.
When we parted ways in Florence, the couple flew to Paris for the last leg of their European holiday, while I flew to Amsterdam to catch a Manila-bound flight.
It was in Texas a week later that they were finally able to confirm Namfon’s condition. The pregnancy kit proved accurate, as Namfon by then was already several weeks on the family way.
Ideal Christmas gift
Peter Francisco is not only an ideal Christmas gift to the couple, but also to their respective families, especially Namfon’s Thailand-based parents since he happens to be their first ever grandchild. As old-fashioned as it may sound, Peter Francisco’s arrival further affirms the continuous passage of life as well as the Vergara family name.
Despite all the challenges that confronted us as a family this year, including serious health issues my mother is still dealing with, life still offers us enough reasons to smile, feel good and be thankful. Merry Christmas dear readers!