Anna Santos

The breast…., one of the most controversial parts of a woman’s body. Depending on the need of the individual, it is used for breastfeeding first and foremost, than to lure men to its attraction.

I mind my breast these days, more than I care for it before. Why bother about it then when it is as good as a size of a large mosquito bite? Or, make it a bumble bee bite. Fact of the matter is, even if you exercise your arms and positively say “I must.., I must.., I must increase my bust”, it won’t. Breast pads and Wonder Bras would help make it look bigger though, and there are silicone and other breast enhancements as well, for a more expensive price, but then again, so what? It’s just the view you’re minding. So I don’t give a damn.

Until I gave birth lately, I decided to breastfeed my second born as I have not given my first child the delight from the nutrients that comes along with this milk. I am therefore a first time nursing mom with no idea whatsoever on how to deal with the intricacies that accompany breastfeeding and working. From the time I drank my mom’s special recipe for lactation, you know, the native chicken soup plus papaya and malunggay, whoa…it seems like a whole new world for me! I am stripped of control. Milk came rushing squirting anytime and anywhere, dripping me wet I feel like a milkmaid. But, as I am a hopeful beginner, I try to learn new strategies everyday.

Of course, if you are breastfeeding and already working, you mind your breast all the time. Not because I’ve got bouncy boobs that bubbled now, or am able to wear plunging neckline brought about by my newly designed cleavage-capable breast. But because every now and then I have to pump it out to keep the milk for the new baby at home, and to avoid embarrassment from staining my wardrobe, and then I have to feed my baby, and if I could avoid it, I try not to get hurt from accidentally hitting this engorged breasts by my kids because it aches an awful lot.

These two overhanging mammary pair made a radical turn from aesthetic display for my husband, into a drastic role of feeding an infant. Since these breasts are supposed to be twins by nature, it has to be proportional, and I have so much difficulty to master the art of balancing. Yes, balance. When the right one is larger than the left, you’ve got to make your left catch up, go feed your child more from the left. Or else, the aesthetic side of this breast is gravely endangered. Sure thing, you don’t want to see an asymmetrical breast with the left ones big, the other one’s small. How do you like to have an option which one’s to touch? And I wouldn’t have to wait to run for a breast augmentation. All I know, I’ve got an instant breast enlargement courtesy of breast milk, free of charge.

My first born has 3 hospital admissions, from pneumonia to tonsillitis. Though I regret that I have not let him savor the benefits of breastfeeding due to pressures in the hospital residency training, I will not do the same for the next child. So I don’t mind minding my breast now. I let myself enjoy the fulfillment of nursing my newborn despite the great deal of sacrifice that goes along with it.

I believe women are flexible in times of great demands and more psychologically stable in socially unstable world. Let us salute all women…and their heavenly breast! We are truly blessed for breast.

Anna Santos

I woke up 4am in this irksome morning, awakened by Egan's singing Elmo songs while sleeping, It was followed by his loud burst of "dede ko! dede ko!" in the tune of jingle bells. It signaled the end of my happy slumber. It was time for me to get to my feet, as I sluggishly paced thefridge for his milk.

Silent as this crack of dawn, my mind was wondering of how his thoughts came to be so vibrant even in his sleep. My two year old son amazes me sometimes, if not all the time.

He could sing his choice of songs to you even if you didn't ask for it for he loves to entertain people. Or he could ask you again and again in his own language which only he could understand. He may dance to you or sing to his version of medley nursery songs (and the APO's Heto Na in a rock-and-head-bang-your-head state).

His exploration of things is more than his curiosity could be, he could slam the keyboards with his grandpa or strum the guitar with his tito, but he dances when I play the keys or he sings with papa, and he's not out of tune. I am curious how come he knew the next note when he only heard the music just once. He is not afraid to run and fall or bump himself up on a wall. Though he cries so loud when he's hurt, an ice cream will sooth his ailing body parts but still dares to do it again.

Was it too much TV? Maybe yes, or maybe not, he just may have inherited the best from both of us.

I recalled as I looked down his plump body while he lavishly savored the last few drops of milk, of how he survived in my womb , taken out barely 37 weeks AOG (age of gestation).

I was on my senior year of residency when I got pregnant. I may have a 36 hours shift duty, but making rounds was just fine, most of the time I only get a hold of ICU and command for codes outside.

Being in command during code blue and code red, was supposedly all right. But for Egan inside my womb, it may be music or noise as that of the beeping cardiac monitor, in a way, relatives were shrieking, doctors were shouting epinephrine!, intubate!, ambubag!, Defibrillate 200 joules!,300!, 360!, clear!, CPR again...

Inside, Egan was using his tiny little feet to thrust my tummy, whether it meant to say "hey mom its noisy out there", or it meant an out-of tune music, I don't know. All I knew, as I get to go back home and take my rest, I played Bach and Mozart songs and he stomped his feet inside my tummy, this time he was thrusting to the beat. He was always moving, most of the time. No wonder he's been singing and dancing nowadays.

Wandering inside the hospital while I'm still pregnant gave me a sense of security, and that taking a leave off is not in my agenda. I could go straight up to the labor room to hear any of my contractions, or I could go to my friends in the radiology to check my baby on sonogram, call them my "pasilip" (kapal muks).

Apparently though, these friendly "pasilip" gestures lead me to save Egan just in time. One day, my friend called my attention and immediately asked for 2nd opinion from the sonologist. Egan had no water!!(Amniotic fluid gone dry). It was not my due date yet, and I have not felt any labor pains, nor a leaking bag. But an emergency CS was done. Egan was taken out, and dry enough to have caused the amniotic sac to cover him without the fluid. Truly, we were just in time.

Developing postpartum BP rise made me stay in the PACU longer than expected; it was some pregnancy complication we once again prevented. What would have happened had I not known my status sooner? Or if I had gone into labor I may have preecclampsia, and other possibilities.

I may be lucky, but what about our less fortunate women who do not have this kind of privileges, worst, who do not have any idea at all of maternal mortality and morbidity? I could just imagine how that could be if I am one of the unfortunate ones. Looking back, Adriel Egan is one great survivor.

And he is one great kid too. Just yesterday, we had a long drive with Egan and friends. He did not sleep during the travel course; he was just awed by the beautiful scenery. Driving at 100 kmh, he was so sweet to keep his hands laid in my arms just that, enough for me to consider driving carefully. And we made it back home, safely...my angel and me.

Now, as I am about to return to my interrupted sleep, I took one last look at him before I close my eyes. Egan was back sleeping, still smiling though, and never loosening his grip from his feeding bottle.

The gift of life the Almighty gave is as precious as the ones I get to be His steward.

And I am constantly grateful.





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