Many Waters

Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it. – Song of Solomon 8:7

While Typhoon Onyong (Ketsana) raged outside, Andy and I got facials.

Outside the office spa, there was brown knee-deep water in the streets. I stupidly decided to head home, worried about my mom and lolo. I got to the halfway point when I realized that the floods were getting deeper, developing a strong current. I took shelter with some neighbors (Joseph, Junior and Ella, which will now be formerly known as Complete Strangers) until I found J.R., (which will now be formerly known as Random Muscle Guy) to help me brave the currents back to the office.

I got a change of clothes from the store below, just before they closed the mall. We spent the first night in the office with minimal power and water. The toilets turned ripe in a short matter of time since there were about a hundred of us stranded in the office. Thankfully, there was plenty of food. And the company of my friends made it bearable. I slept on a piece of flipchart paper on the carpet of the Training Suite.

The mall turned out all refugees except for the employees. I felt bad for the people outside. They were stranded on the mall’s patio. How cruel! The waters rose quickly to around waist-deep. The roads became impassable. I heard from the news that other malls served as evacuation centers. This one didn’t have much heart.

It took in, however, an anxious lola to be, a bewildered husband and a seventeen-year-old girl on the verge of tears…and of giving birth. Her name is LJ and she will name her baby girl Lois. They sought for help form the doctors of the Medical City Clinic here. There was no power, no water, and no emergency medicine.

We also had another patient: a lolo who suffered from angina. His grandson James took him to Medical City Clinic, only to be stranded inside.

LJ came Saturday night with her mother, Judith and her husband Keith. Her bag of waters began to leak at Sunday 6AM. They called for my help as a medical professional. I assured them that we will try all our best to get her to the hospital, but if help won’t come, I’m ready to assist with the delivery.

Our team of trainers (Carl, Ethan, Nabs, Andy) called all possible government agencies. We tried to hail trucks passing by. All to no avail. There was no way we could get to a hospital by land. We also found a friend in an exuberant Red Cross volunteer, Aileen.

Meanwhile, I tried to calm the patient down. I assessed the baby’s heart rate, the mother’s BP and her temperature. All seemed to be going well. Except that her contractions were getting stronger and more frequent. I was so scared for her. But I also wanted to be strong for her. I didn’t want to induce the delivery by performing an internal examination. So I just monitored her contractions constantly.

At around 3PM, her contractions came every three minutes. I got cold sweat.  “Dear Lord, give me strength if You are to ask me to deliver her baby here.” I prayed. “If this be not her destiny, help us get her safe to a hospital.”

I let her lie on her side, to help her relax and to help the baby get more fresh oxygen and nutrients.  She calmed down and the contractions became less frequent and a bit weaker. All the while, I monitored the baby’s heartbeat. She seemed doing okay in there as well. For the first time, my objective was to delay the delivery, not to hasten it.

At 4PM, I asked Chris, the company nurse to keep monitoring LJ and her baby. I got struck with the idea of using the power of the media. The people in government could not refuse the media because they provide coverage, especially during election season. I called DZMM, a local AM radio, and they patched me with the right government agencies. They sent us rubber boats right away. Thank you Amy Perez and Alvin Elchico. Thank you to the Women of the Cainta Police Force.

We left the site at 6PM. I wanted to ride with LJ and her husband, Keith, but the load got too heavy for the boat. I got off and wanted to run after them. My heart was willing but my legs were not. Aileen and Andy took her to a nearby hospital.

Baby Lois was born 10PM September 27, 2009.

Thank you, everyone for the love you showed a woman in need. You are true heroes in my eyes.


Love isn’t how you feel. It’s what you do.

Madeleine L’Engle in ‘’A Wind in the Door’’