pogiAFTER our baby was born at 8:09 p.m. last April 3, Sunday, I now think pregnancy is overrated. So, that was it? Nine months of anticipation, fear, excitement, mood swings, baby blogging and high-folate, low-fat milk, and the baby pops out just like that?

Whatever happened to that dreaded scene of the wife being rushed to the hospital only to give birth in the backseat of a taxicab? Or where’s that romantic scene, if the mother ever makes it to the hospital on time, of husband and wife holding hands and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes as the hugely bloated figure in a maternity dress is wheeled inside the delivery room by a legion of nurses and surgeons and the entire Department of Health?

This was not the movies, so nothing of that sort happened that Sunday. Instead, we were having breakfast at home when the wife said, “Oops, I think I wet my panties.” And I said, “Oh, too much beef loaf. Let’s have corned beef tomorrow.”

And she said, “No, I think my water just broke.” And I said, “Well, that’s normal. Every pregnant woman… What? Your water just what? Oh my God. This is it. OK, OK. Calm down. Is it just a trickle, or a gush? Does it feel like it’s a fire hose gone crazy down there? Like a fire hydrant? Like it’s flooding? Don’t panic! Let’s go to the hospital now, quick! I said quick! Wait! I said don’t panic! Go get your things now while I wash the dishes first and water the garden and feed the dog and… Will somebody please turn that TV off?”

As you see, we didn’t panic. We survived the trip and arrived at the hospital unscathed. And while the wife was wheeled inside the delivery room, not by an army of hospital personnel but by a lone intern from the hospital’s Creaking Wheelchair Department, I saw her flashing me the Rock ‘N Roll sign, her way of telling me she will be fine and you panicky idiot can go have your beer now and don’t be back until the baby’s in third year high school.

After she’s gone, I started counting minutes, then hours. Then I started counting windows and doors and floor tiles. Then I started talking to myself. This particular aisle of the hospital, from the delivery room to the nurses’ station passing by the chapel, has approximately six windows, eight doors and 1,333 tiles, seven of which are broken. That nurse over there has used the elevator nine times already since I got here, and that student intern over there looks like Lotlot de Leon at 18.

I was starting to go mad when ten hours later the doctor called me in and showed me a screaming thing wrapped in white cloth. “Your baby. Isn’t he cute? Congratulations!” the doctor said. And I said, “Cute?”

Now don’t get me wrong in what I am about to say here. I love babies. They are our future senators and the reason why our sanitary landfills are filled with nothing but non-biodegradable diapers. But no one told me five-minute-old babies look like aliens from outer space.

I was terrified and I really panicked this time. So I told the doctor, “Doc, is that final? I mean, can’t we do anything about the cone head? And doc, it’s a newborn baby, how come it’s so wrinkled all over? And what color is that skin? And the eyes, they don’t seem aligned to me. And what happened to those ears, doc? They’re so small for a head so big.”

And the doctor said I should shut up and get some sleep because if there’s anybody who looked like a zombie to her, it’s me. I did what I was told me and returned hours later to carry in my arms the most beautiful alien in the world ever. But let’s cut all the drama now. Pregnancy is really overrated.


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