A Very Long Time

MamaPhatinaLydia-KaylaIvan1948My name is Nadia and the year is 1948. My face is a mask, ugly. It has been this way a very long time. I pray to God everyday and cry a lot.

Along comes 1949, I got pregnant. We were in a refuge camp on Tubabao Island. Nine months later my first son was born. He would be born with a little shirt.

That day I had a hard labor. I went to the bathroom, but we had the bathroom outside. I yelled, “God! A lot of water came out!”

The lady across the way came over (she’s my friend but I forgot her name).

“Oh my goodness! You’re going to have a baby! Did the baby come out?” she asked.

I said, “No!”

So we went to the hospital. That was about 2 PM. The midwife came in (I did not have a doctor) and examined me and said “Oh that’s OK. You still have plenty of time.

I was suffering with pain, walking, I had to walk around.

In the meantime the father went fishing. He was back home about 6 PM they told him Nadia went to the hospital.

Ivan rushed over. “Is the baby born?”

“Not yet!” I grunted between waves of pain.

He seemed a bit relieved but then he panicked and in a loud voice proclaimed, “I don’t want our son to be born before midnight!”.

Well thanks a lot! Our son dutifully waited until 14 minutes after midnight to be born. He was born with a shirt (an extra layer of skin). So the midwife got a pair of scissor, cut in front and took the shirt off and give it to me.

The lady in the room next to me said, “You’re very lucky. Your son was born in Tiger year and also with a shirt! Your son is will be lucky all his life.”

Then she asked, “Can you give me that shirt?”

“Oh No! I have to keep that shirt for my son.”

I put the shirt under my pillow and fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning the shirt was gone. She must have stolen it.

Must have been when I fell asleep she took it. I was very upset. She must have took it (that little shirt)! I did not know here name and when they told me she had left I was even more upset. Because I wanted that little shirt to keep because it’s very rare when someone is born in a shirt.