Around 4 in the early morning of 17 February 2009, I was sent a text message from the Philippines. It was my mother-in-law telling me that my wife’s water bag broke and that they were already going to the hospital. Actually, she sent me the same sms thrice before I picked up my cell phone and jolted off the bed. That was my mark. I had to hurry back home. Good that Manila is just a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong. Every second mattered. I promised my wife that I will be there when she delivers our first baby. I was so excited but I also felt bad that morning. I should have been with her the minute she had indications of labor. Alas, that is the sad fate of OFWs. Physical separation from loved ones is part of the sacrifice.
Rewind more than 9 months back… My wife spent her summer vacation with me. It was the longest time we ever spent together since we got married. She stayed with me in HK for more than a month. So “Made in China” our baby was. What else is not created in China nowadays? Food, drugs, cosmetics, garments, appliances, toys, electronics, gadgets, cars, ships, airplanes, rockets… You name it, them Chinese can make it! When will the Philippines beat that?
Back to my story… I was able to catch a Philippine Airlines flight scheduled at 1pm. Arrived in the Philippines before 3pm. Hired a cab to my in-laws’ house and arrived there before 4pm. Then my father-in-law took me to the hospital, just in time to see my daughter being placed in the nursery. A scene I would never forget! Wrapped in pink sheets was this tiny girl, born at exactly 4:04pm, grey eyes wide open, yawning every now and then, a few bubbles coming out of her pretty mouth as if teasing me. She was lovely!
This cash cow is now a father at last.