I finally went to the City Health Office with MJ. We spent the whole morning there, waiting for the rural health midwife to arrive. There were about 10 or more pregnant women with me. Yes, we were bumping bellies in the small office where some have already used and others like me, will not agree to have the baby there. It’s actually just me. I’m actually just shy. The health center was not bad. It was clean, neat and homey. The midwife and her assistant were very nice and accommodating. I am just not that okay seeing the windows quite open and near the birthing bed.
While waiting, like all expectant mothers, there were a lot of stories exchanged. Like there was this one pregnant girl (I had to say girl because she only looked like 16 years old), she got pregnant before and gave birth then her baby died in the crib three days later. Very tragic. Another mom-to-be is praying she and her baby will be okay given the fact that the baby’s umbilical cord is coiled around the baby’s neck, twice. Others were like me, still in 5 or 6 months pregnant. They all knew it was my first time. I think my curiosity was a big giveaway. I asked about medical benefits, how long are the labor hours and many more.
While waiting for my turn, I noticed that the midwife took out a needle and a bottle from her little blue icebox.
Midwife: Give me your arm.
Pregnant Girl: What is that for?
Midwife: It’s your first tetanus shot. Please pay 5 pesos for the needle. Come back next month for the second shot.
My eyes grew big and I started to panic. Nobody told me that I will be getting any shots! HELP! I searched for my cousin MJ and asked him if I needed the shot. He said yes and that it won’t sting and I will be fine. Of course I won’t be fine. I’m scared of injections!
Thanks to God and my genes, I rarely get sick and if I had injections, they happened when I was little so I don’t remember much. I only remember those when I was older. That would be three incidents in my adult life.
The first one was when I was in college and I got hospitalized for my poor diet. I was too faint to even noticed they placed me on dextrose. It was very vague.
The second one was I had this upper respiratory tract infection during work and the hospital needed to get a blood sample from me. The intern who tried to do it twice was firmly reprimanded by the First Boyfriend. The intern couldn’t find my vein right away and I would have soon become a pin cushion. A doctor took over and got my blood sample but I was quite turned off by needles by then.
The third one was my dentist. He was a huge man who did an excellent job on my teeth and although the prick was tiny and it was full of anesthesia, the long needle sticking out and going into my gums scene was not one I want to ever see again.
The last one was in Malaysia and my cousin Ayo was there to hold my hand and make me not look as the nurse drew blood out again from my arm.
The midwife finally called my name and as she jotted down my medical info, I was thinking what excuse can I give her to delay the pure terror that will besiege me when she brings out the needle and try to inject me with the anti-tetanus shot.
Midwife: Ok, just pay 5 pesos for the needle and you come back here on October 6. I will give you the second shot.
Me: Ah, ma’am, do I really need that shot?; Didin’t I have that when I was a baby or something?
Midwife: You need this and your baby needs this to protect you both from infection. (She moves near me with the needle.)
Me: Uhm, wait please. (I inch farther away, going near the door.)
Midwife: You’re afraid? Okay, you better lie down just in case you faint. It will be over soon.
Me: Huh? What? (I want to run but I know that it’s for my baby. ) Okay, ma’am.
I went to the bed and laid down. The midwife took my left arm and rolled up my sleeve. I looked away towards anywhere but my left arm and the midwife and bit on my lip. The midwife placed the needle on my skin and the moment I felt the prick, I closed my eyes and my tears welled up. Then, a white hot flash of pain shot up on my arm, making my head spin and all I could feel was red. The color of red.
The midwife told me that it was over and asked me to hold the cotton over my arm firmly. I was glad my ordeal was over. Among all the jeers from the other pregnant ladies saying that giving birth is more awful than that silly needle shot, I wiped away my tears and smiled. Yes, I survived it. On my way home, I told myself I had to remember that I was strong for that shot and next month, I will still be strong for the second dose.
Speaking of my First Boyfriend who was actually my First Love, we got in touch with each other. It was nice to hear from him. He is now happily married with a son and have finally realized his dream of becoming a doctor. For what it’s worth, he was the one guy everybody in my family wished I ended up with. As for me, I am just glad we remain friends. As first loves go, he’s one of a kind.