When the Clouds Covered the Sun

I’ve been under the weather since the month of February started. In the next couple of days, it will be my husband’s first death anniversary. I already have booked my ticket and will be flying to Manila soon.

I can’t help but recall the things that happened a year ago. He and I went home for my mother’s first death anniversary. Nobody knew that our short vacation would be the last time our families and friends will see him.

imageOn 25 February 2015, we came back. My husband was complaining about stomach pain and I urged him to go for a check up.

We went to the hospital on 27 February 2015. The doctor didn’t allow him to go home. He was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit instead.

And on 04 March 2015, he peacefully left and joined his Creator.

The Smile in My Heart

It was just another ordinary day. I went to my post, worked for ten hours and at 6:30 pm sharp, I ran out of the office to catch the bus. My travel time is usually one hour and fifteen minutes. To kill the time, I either listen to music, read a manga, watch an anime, update my journal or just watch the passengers board and alight the bus.

When listening to music, I normally select the list according to artists; but that day I have chosen the all tracks instead and put the shuffle mode on. I wore my headset, clicked the manga mobile app and continued reading the Shinobi Life shoujo.

I decided to turn the playlist off because I needed to concentrate with the manga; the scenes were getting more and more exciting and the music became a distraction to me. As I was taking the phone from my purse, the song With a Smile by the Eraserheads played. I was so surprised that I literally froze for few seconds. The last time I heard that song was eleven months ago.

The piece reminded me of my husband, Ian O’Neil. He used to serenade me with OPM songs, including the tracks of the E-heads. There were also instances where he would drag me out of the bed just to dance with him. He knew I will be annoyed because dancing and I were not compatible. Arguing with him was useless; I didn’t have the strength to defy him. All I did was smile, laugh and give in to his antics. Can you imagine a robot absurdly dancing and a tone- deaf singing at the top of his lungs?! I know it was a crazy scene but we had a lot of fun!  Sorry, Papa Ian, I was badmouthing you, hahaha! There wasn’t any dull moment with him. And I too, loved teasing him!

With a Smile… this specific song struck me with incomparable feelings. It made me yearn for him more.

I reached the flat. I climbed up to my bed, pulled the blanket over my head and cried.

After some time, I calmed down. I reached for my mobile phone and clicked the messenger icon. I searched for the conversation I had with a friend. Her messages never failed to comfort me. She is one of God’s angels sent to aid me during the lowest point of my life. Even though she and I didn’t have the chance to meet personally, but she helped me speak with my husband.

She has the ability to see and converse with my departed spouse. Through her, I was able to know his thoughts and feelings, as well as the people and places he visited before going to heaven. I will probably write a separate blog for this special experience.

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On 17 March 2015, she replied to my message. She said:

Hi! Ian showed up facing the rising sun. He didn’t say a thing. He was with a baby and two old women. He was smiling, or probably happy. With a Smile is the song being played while he waved goodbye…. towards the direction of the rising sun.

My husband was a good person, so I knew that he went to heaven together with our son, Isaac Lemuel* (a baby) and two old women. I am guessing they were my mother and my mother- in- law. I believe the rising sun is Jesus Christ and Ian went with Him to His Kingdom.

*Related Article:  We Would Love to Hear Our Baby Cry

He was smiling while waving goodbye. He knew that I always worry about him, so he wanted to show that he is now happy and free from his sickness… and that I don’t have to worry anymore. He wished for me to see that he is with our son and they will be staying in an abode which is filled with love and joy; he will rest in a place where suffering is a nonexistence. And his new home is called heaven…

With a Smile… why did he choose this song? What does it mean? Is there any significance? I was informed that a spirit doesn’t converse verbally but speaks through the mind of the medium. Knowing my Papa Ian, he wanted to comfort me and relayed his message using that song. I searched for its lyrics and this is what I have found.


With a Smile
by Eraserheads

Lift your head, baby, don’t be scared
Of the things that could go wrong along the way
You’ll get by with a smile
You can’t win at everything but you can try.

Baby, you don’t have to worry
‘Coz there ain’t no need to hurry
No one ever said that there’s an easy way
When they’re closing all their doors
And they don’t want you anymore
This sounds funny but I’ll say it anyway.

Babe, I’ll stay through the bad times
Even if I have to fetch you everyday
I’ll get by if you smile
You can never be too happy in this life.

In a world where everybody
Hates a happy ending story
It’s a wonder love can make the world go round
And don’t let it bring you down
And turn your face into a frown
You’ll get along with a little prayer and a song.

(Too doo doo…)
Let me hear you sing it
(Too doo doo…)

In a world where everybody
Hates a happy ending story
It’s a wonder love can make the world go round
But don’t let it bring you down
And turn your face into a frown
You’ll get along with a little prayer and a song.

Lift your head, baby, don’t be scared
Of the things that could go wrong along the way
You’ll get by with a smile
Now it’s time to kiss away those tears goodbye

(Too doo doo…)
Let me hear you sing it
(Too doo doo…)

When I read the lyrics, I could imagine Papa Ian singing this to me. I believe in my heart that this was his true feelings.

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He knew I will be afraid. I will be too scared to face the world without him. I was dependent on him;  he was my strength, my shield, my support… he was my everything.

I could still recall the day he told me that he loved seeing me smile. Although he is already gone, he didn’t want me to lose the smile he once fell in love with. He wished for me to continue living… even without him.

He wanted me to dry my tears, move forward* and smile again.

*Related Article: The Thin Line Between Moving On and Moving Forward

Papa Ian, you left me too soon and my world turned upside down. I know it is very hard, but I am trying my best to build my life again. I am persevering to carry out every plan and dream we had. I am applying all the things that you have taught me to create a better future. I will make you proud of me. And I promise to continue smiling for I know that you are also smiling down at me from heaven.

We Would Love to Hear Our Baby Cry

I was so bored! So freaking bored!

I jumped out of the bed, took a bath, and hopped on the available bus at the station. I wasn’t familiar with its route but I still decided to take it.

I ended up at a shopping mall. It took thirty minutes to reach the place. I was famished! The last decent meal I had was eight hours ago. I went straight to the food court and ordered one McDonald’s Chicken Burger and a KitKat McFlurry. Diet? Nah! I stopped dieting because there wasn’t any noticeable change in my body. I got used to be called teddy bear by my colleagues anyway, so it was fine! LOL!

I loved it! I was sitting comfortably on a couch with an ice cream on my right hand and a good book on my left. I was truly enjoying the moment. I never thought that having a me time was undeniably satisfying. I was never alone; so it was something new and refreshing. I began to know myself again; to be aligned with myself- to be whole again. I was starting to fall in love with myself.

Since it was a weekend, there were a huge number of people inside the mall. And then I noticed that red tags were in every corner of the establishment. Alas! It was a day of mall wide sale. I had to cover my eyes to resist temptation. I actually clenched my hands to stop myself from picking things up and buying them impulsively. Nonetheless, I continued strolling and allowed my eyes to feast on the goodies.

After fifteen minutes of window shopping, I decided to go back to the food court. And since it was already past six o’clock in the evening, the crowd placing their orders began to grow in numbers. I immediately looked for a place to seat; I made myself comfortable and then resumed my reading.

The smell of the food made the hunger pangs irresistible, but the queues were long. I ended up watching the people around me while waiting for the lines to dwindle.

I have been in this country for twelve years already and yet I still find it fascinating to see different people from all walks of life interacting harmoniously with each other.

And then I caught myself smiling and staring at a family sitting few tables away from me. They reminded me of what could have been mine- a father, a mother, and four adorable children.

My husband, Ian O’Neil and I have lost our three babies due to spontaneous miscarriage. I have undergone dilation and curettage procedure three times as well. We have searched for the right doctor to figure out the cause of the mishap. However, none seemed to know what could have triggered the misfortune.

My boss learned about this and she then introduced her ob gynecologist to us. I have gone through a series of blood tests, general ultrasound imaging and the magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Thank God for the introduction of the medical insurance to the human race! The diagnostic tests were way too expensive. We were grateful because every examination was covered by the insurance company. Whew!

My next appointment with the doctor was a week after my last test. And those seven days were pure torture. My mind was filled with negative thoughts. Paano kung hindi na talaga ako magkaanak? Paano ko sasabihin ito sa asawa ko? Mag- aampon na lang ba kami? And the worst… paano kung iwan na lang nya ako?  [What if I really didn’t have the capability to give my husband a child? How will I tell him? Will we opt for an adoption? What if he will leave me instead?] Just thinking of him leaving me gave me a heart attack. I was in deep pain. I was so insecure. I was frightened.

And so I decided to go alone. I would rather hear the bad news first and then think of the flowery words to tell my husband later.

Anyhow, it was found out that the cause of the recurrent miscarriage was due to my partial septate uterus. A uterine septum is a form of a congenital malformation where the uterine cavity is partitioned by a longitudinal septum; the outside of the uterus has a normal typical shape. The wedge-like partition may involve only the superior part of the cavity resulting in an incomplete septum or a subseptate uterus, or less frequently the total length of the cavity (complete septum) and the cervix resulting in a double cervix.

In other words, the roof of a normal uterus is dome- shaped, but mine was heart- shaped. The ob gyn said the risk for multiple miscarriages was higher for women with this kind of uterus. She recommended surgery.

I called him up as soon as I was done with my check up. He asked for the result. I didn’t want him to be more worried so I skipped the medical jargon and told him, my love for you was so strong, even my uterus became heart- shaped! LOL! 

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06 September 2012

I was scheduled to have laparoscopic hysteroscopy with the resectioning of uterine septum and myomectomy. The operation was successful and my uterus was corrected.

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27 May ‎2013

A few months after the procedure, I was pregnant again! We were ecstatic! We were more careful with everything. We obediently followed each and every instruction of the doctor.

22 July 2013

The joy we felt when the fetus passed the critical stage of the first trimester was priceless! The doctor also recommended taking the nuchal translucency screening test to check birth defects. She said the clear space at the back of the baby’s neck will be scanned to verify the presence of the fluid. If there is an accumulation, then the possibility of the baby to have Down syndrome is higher.

Thank God, our baby was normal!

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And God gave us another bonus! The fetus changed position and showed the gender to us! So at three months, we found out that he was a boy! We were both in seventh heaven!

13 September 2013

The fifth month of my pregnancy, my water bag broke…

Everyone in my department was in panic. I was rushed to the hospital. A significant amount of amniotic fluid was lost. The ER attendant immediately checked the condition of the baby. She told me he was safe- so far; but didn’t give me any hope. There was a small retention of fluid around his head. At least he was still able to breathe, but his movement was limited. She even told me that if he would survive, he might end up having hardened limbs resulting to physical disfigurement. Since there was a high possibility that I would give birth anytime, she immediately administered steroid to push the development of his lungs faster.

I was in deep thought- Ian should be informed about our son’s critical state, but how should I tell my husband? I was never good with words; I didn’t want to give him a shock. I needed to protect him as well. My friend, Mia realized what I was thinking, phoned him instead and broke the news. I didn’t know how she relayed the message, but after thirty minutes he arrived at the hospital.

The ob gyn immediately went to hospital and explained the situation to us. If I was to give birth at five months, our son will be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit for two months. The NICU was XXX 10,000.00 a day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough funds left in the bank. We also have exhausted the insurance. Our hands were tied and with heavy hearts, we decided to go home.

We both signed the waiver. The doctor allowed us to leave with a condition to see her once a week to monitor the progress of the baby. Our Couples for Christ Family took turns to drive us to and fro the hospital.

The doctor told me to have complete bed rest. I was instructed to limit any kind of movement for it would lessen the remaining fluid inside my womb. I was also advised to eat more than necessary. In order for him to survive, he should at least reach seven months and should weigh more than 500 grams. I ate and ate. Within few weeks our son gained weight. He even exceeded the target weight.

Every night we talked to him. We told him that we were fighting for him to live; that giving up was totally out of the picture. He earnestly listened and responded. He kept on kicking and moving. Letting us know that he was there, fighting along with us.

I knew Ian was having a hard time. His selfless act humbled me. He disregarded his heart and lung condition. I felt sorry for him. He suffered so much. For the two months that I was on complete bed rest, he took care of me. He cooked our food, gave me a bath, changed my nappies, and he also did the laundry and the pressing of the clothes. On top of that, he also reported for work. He shouldered everything. If there was anything bothering him, he didn’t tell me. I prayed to God to make him stronger. I was hoping against hope that his health wouldn’t fail him.

20 October 2013

Ian went to speak to my boss- God bless her and the company- they allowed me indefinite leave with pay. However, I was required to go the Medical Fitness Center for the blood test to renew my visa. My visa was valid till the end of October 2013 only.

Unfortunately, while he was on his way back to our flat, he had an episode. The day I was most afraid of came. He fainted. He had an attack. Someone saw and reported him to the building security. People gathered around him but nobody helped or called an ambulance. A passerby recognized him and went up to the flat. At that same time, I felt something weird; a cold air brushed my body while lying on the bed. I had goosebumps.

I heard the sound of the doorbell and simultaneously, someone was banging at the door. I was right. I knew my gut was telling something bad happened. I was alone in the flat. I needed to calm down. I tried to get up but as soon as I set my feet on the floor, amniotic fluid gushed out. I wanted to go to him. I was torn between my husband and my son. Then I talked to my son,

Anak, patawarin mo ako, pero kailangan ako ng Papa mo ngayon. Kapit ka lang. Wag mo kaming iiwan ng Papa mo

[My son, please forgive me, but your dad needs me right now. Please hold still. Don’t leave us]. I was crying while slowly walking out of the room towards the main door. My mobile phone rang. My husband’s name flashed before my eyes, I answered the call but the voice was not his. The gentleman then told me where Ian was and what happened to him.

I uttered a prayer, Diyos ko! Tulungan nyo po ang asawa ko [Oh God, please help my husband]! He immediately answered my plea; I heard someone opened the front door. My landlady’s father came. I shouted, Tay, si Ian inatake po, pakitignan po sya, please. Nasa baba ng building. Doon sa may parking barrier [Dad, Ian fainted again, please go to him. He is at the parking space next to the barrier]. I called his number back. Ian picked up my call, thank God, he regained his consciousness!

22 October 2013

I was brought back to hospital because we thought it was time. I was having contractions already, but it was only a false alarm.

30 October 2013

8:00 AM

I had the contractions again. The doctor checked the baby; and felt my womb. She said the cervix was already 3 centimeters dilated and that I will give birth anytime soon.

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By evening, the dilation reached 10 centimeters. However, my son didn’t shift to the normal birthing position. The doctors had a meeting and I heard one of them said: if we will not perform an emergency cesarean section, both of them will be in danger of bacterial infection. 

The procedure was done. Ian and our CFC family saw our son. They even took a video. He was safe and healthy. His vitals were all normal. And contrary to what the ER attendant’s said, he was freely moving his limbs. The nurse placed our son inside the incubator and shifted him to the NICU Section.

31 October 2013

9:00 AM

The effect of the anesthesia wore off. I really wanted to see my son. I couldn’t explain my feelings but I was nervous. Something was happening that I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t know which hurt more, the surgery wound or the apprehension I was having.

11:00 AM

Ian came to the room rushing. I told him, calm down and drink water. While hugging me, he said, Mama, nakita ko na ang anak natin [Mama, I saw our son]. I was smiling from ear to ear. I was very excited, but I felt him tremble, his breathing was heavy. I looked at him. He was closed to tears. Then I realized something was definitely not right. Kaso, iniwan na nya tayo [But, he already left us], he said.

Our son lived for thirteen hours only.

Our world crumbled.

We went down to the NICU Section to see our son. I finally saw my little Isaac. He looked so much like his dad. He was beautiful. He was perfect. I hugged him close to my heart. I sang him a lullaby.

I was brought back to the ward. My husband didn’t stay with me because companions were not allowed to stay after visiting hours.

Ian needed to prepare the documents to release Isaac’s body. Since it was a weekend, most offices were closed. And I had to stay in the hospital for another two days.

I was staying in a room with five other ladies who also have given birth. The new born babies were also staying with their mothers. I felt their happiness. I also heard the little sounds the babies made. It was something painfully beautiful. For the first time in my life, I was jealous. Envious of what they have. He was supposed to be there with me, but…

Isaac was healthy. What could have gone wrong? I was in deep sorrow. I blamed myself for being an incompetent mother. I was full of regrets. I questioned myself. If only I did more. And if only I did not complain about the contractions… maybe… just maybe… he survived this ordeal.

I poured out all my feelings during those days. I didn’t do anything but cry. I needed to be strong for Ian, to be his strength. I didn’t want him to worry anymore. I had to at least control his feelings by showing him that I was okay. I had to do my part to prevent him to have another episode.

I continued to pray despite the pain and the sorrow. I didn’t question God about it. I told Him, I am hurting Lord, but I still love you. In good things or in bad things, I will still praise and thank you Lord! I knew then that He has something better for us. He has His plans and everything happened according to His will.

02 November 2013

I was discharged from the hospital. On our way home, I asked myself:

Last month, we went to the hospital with our baby inside me, but how come we will go home without him?

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03 November 2013

We said our goodbyes to our baby Isaac Lemuel, but… 

…why did we not hear his cry?