12 days before Faith was due, at 3am in the morning, my wife woke me up, and said, it's time.
It had been a crazy week. I had not slept much because I was preparing for a two-day regional seminar that I was speaking at, and I had just conducted Day 1. After having dinner with my regional colleagues who had flown in to attend the seminar, I went to pick the wife up at her night class.
I never figured out how she did it — working, being pregnant with Faith, and taking her Honours degree part-time.
So at 10pm, I picked her up and drove her home. 11pm, we both crashed into bed, she, tired from carrying Faith who was almost full term, and me, from having no more than five hours sleep in the last 48 hours.
Only to wake up four hours later, at 3am, to rush to the hospital.
My mother was then in Australia, so I called Dad, who rushed over to help us. I was so relieved to see him.
When we got to the hospital, the nurse said my wife was already half dilated, so she was going to deliver soon. Sure enough, a few hours later, Faith was born, by natural birth, without epidural. Just a lot of huffing and puffing, and a wife who was slightly disoriented, because she got a tad over-enthusiastic with the laughing gas.
We carried Faith in our arms, overjoyed at seeing our firstborn. But the moment was shortlived. Minutes later, the gynae noticed that my wife's uterus was not contracting and the bleeding could not stop.
There was a blood clot in her uterus.
They had to put her under, to operate and remove the clot that was caused by an internal hemorrhage that happened when she went into labour. Emotionally and physically drained, I held her cold hand while she was wheeled into the OR, trying to assure her that everything was going to be all right.
I remember her saying, "I'm scared, Mun, and I'm cold..." as she was wheeled away. I held her hand as long as I could.
They used four pints of blood in that operation, and even after that, she was not out of the woods. In the CCU, she stayed for two more nights, to monitor her bleeding. They used another two pints in the first night in the CCU. Only on the third day did she stabilise enough to be moved to a regular ward. She finally had a chance to carry Faith in her arms again, her daughter whom she only held for a few minutes on day one.
The doctors later told us that during the operation, things got critical and they almost couldn't stop the bleeding. And the other miracle was that Faith came out so fast. If she had stayed in Mommy's womb even a few minutes longer, she would have been in danger from the rapidly dropping blood pressure of her mother, since she was still relying on her mother's body.
This photo was taken four months after Faith was born. It is one of my favourite shots of my wife and Faith, in the kitchen of our first home, a 3-room HDB flat.
People look at my petite wife, with little girl looks, and her quiet manner, and never realise how strong she is. She doesn't know it herself, I think. Most are even surprised she is even a mom, let alone a mom of two. She went through so much to have our firstborn.
Less than a year later, we found out Faith was autistic. And my wife had to be strong again.
So to my wife, and to our own mothers, Happy Mother's Day.