By David Haldane
April 2, 2020
It didn’t seem real.
That pretty much summed up my feelings about the new baby girl my wife is expecting. Until yesterday. That’s when Ivy and I donned black face masks for her monthly visit with the doctor who reminded us that our nine-year-old son, Isaac, arrived after 38 weeks. Ivy is now in her 37th week of pregnancy. So suddenly the imminent birth of our baby daughter seems more real than, well, this damned Covid-19 virus that makes us wear those horrible masks.
In fact, we’ve been smiling politely at the jocular suggestions from some of our friends that we name the baby Covid in honor of her imminent birth in this historic Time of the Corona-virus. But truth be told, the proximity of those two events – birth and pandemic – have caused me more than a bit of disquiet.
“Hon, I’m a little worried,” I’d been saying to my big-as-a-blimp wife, purposely downplaying the full tenor of my verging panic. “This is not the best time to be in a hospital.”
What I didn’t tell her was that the idea of her (or me, for that matter) being around sick people at this particular juncture in history was causing my blood pressure to rise.
“Oh babe,” she’d always say sweetly, piercing me with a single thrust of those same dark brown eyes that entered my heart long ago, “don’t worry, I’ll be just fine.”
I should probably mention here that Ivy is a professional medical technologist which means that, if she weren’t about to pop open like an overripe tomato, she’d probably be at a hospital somewhere staring those nasty little corona-causing cells into submission from the trigger end of a double-barreled microscope. My wife, in other words, is the kind of person who’s accustomed to wearing spacesuits to work.
“Sweety,” she’d say, “honestly, everything will be ok.”
Eventually I just stopped asking.
Now, the doctor tells us, the only difference this little pandemic will make is that the hospital in which we had hoped to welcome our little Covid – err, Adira – is no longer available because all of its spare rooms are occupied by Persons Under Investigation (PUIs). Fortunately, we live in a province offering a plethora of medical facilities, leaving us with several good options.
Oh, and unlike Isaac’s birth – which took place in America where annoying hands-on husbands are tolerated like flies in a barn – this time I will not be allowed to hang out in the delivery room to encourage my wife and advise the attending physician.
“Don’t worry,” the doctor-in-question assured me yesterday, “we have a very a comfortable waiting room where you will be updated.”
All of which is nice, of course, but not quite the same. Oh well, guess if I can accept welcoming my child into a world under attack by killer microbes, I can adapt to not actually seeing her come through that door.
So where does all this leave us? In my case, certainly, just a little bit nervous. And excited. And woefully unprepared. Very soon now, I think, we’re going to have to interrupt this voluntary home quarantine long enough to make a run for the store.
Back in the U.S., recent newspaper articles have been imploring people not to hoard toilet paper. That isn’t a problem here in the Philippines, of course, were many don’t use that stuff at all. Can the same be said of baby diapers? I guess we’ll soon find out.
David Haldane is the author of an award-winning memoir called “Nazis & Nudists.” A former Los Angeles Times staff writer, he is an American journalist, essayist and broadcaster whose radio work earned a 2018 Golden Mike award from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. He recently moved to Mindanao with his Filipino wife and their nine-year-old son. This column tells the unfolding story of that adventure. http:///www.davidshaldane.com
Originally Published in Mindanao Gold Star Daily