To the first baby I have delivered

Dear Andriel,

I asked your mother what your name was going to be. "Andriel," she said, her voice hushed, almost like a sigh. I told her I hadn't heard that name before, but that it sounded good on you. Whether your name is a combination of hers and your father's, I don't really know, because I decided not to probe further that night. Your mother was too tired. But she was good, a rarity these days: her contractions were strong. She was able to push you out efficiently, sans the melodrama. She smiled when I congratulated her for a job well done.

I'm writing you now because you're the first baby I've ever delivered. I didn't do it alone, of course; I had a far more experienced OB resident beside me. You may never understand this, but for a person praying for a career in medicine, that event is a milestone, a bookmark in the colorful history of my training. The Philippine General Hospital calls you and your mother charity patients, but I think you were the ones who were being more charitable by allowing me to learn so much from my experience with you.

I was overjoyed when I saw you. My delight was a combination of anything that accompanies a memorable first experience and of the sheer sight of a living human being seeing the world for the first time. All my stresses disappeared momentarily when I heard your noise, an announcement to everyone that you have, after 37 months of being in the womb, arrived. 9:30 PM, February 18. I will mark that date forever.

Andriel Tolentino

You were slimy when I held you. You emerged out of your mother without the cardinal movements I was expecting. Your skin looked grayish, and you seemed more like an alien creature than a cuddly human being. You should know that babies who've just come out of the female introitus do not look desirable at first. Fortunately you became pinkish a little while later, and I wanted to carry you around, but the pediatricians were busy measuring how long your limbs were. You were quite small. Your limbs were wispy. But your voice screamed of defiance. You had that.

Minutes after you had come out, your placenta emerged. I delivered that one, too. There were thickened blood clots that came with it. And didn't I tell you your mother was good at delivering babies? She had no lacerations; we didn't have to stitch anything. That made our lives easier.

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You may never get to read this letter, but on second thought, you probably will, years from now, if and when you decide to  search your name in Google—if it still exists—and this blog entry comes up. By that time, you will have gone to school, made new friends, discovered the thrill of having crushes, and found out what you really want to do with your life. You will not recognize me, the once-ignorant doctor who participated in your delivery, when you see me on the streets. I will not recognize you, either. Such is life.

Perhaps we will never meet again, and I will only have your pictures as reminders. I can only hope that, by God's grace, you will become an obedient son, a good friend, a person who loves the Lord above all. I pray that you take into heart what David wrote in one of his Psalms.


"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11

O, that someday you would personally know God through Jesus Christ and commit your life fully to Him.

Thank you, Andriel—and this gets really cheesy, but it's true—for showing me the wonder of childbirth, and for reminding me of the miracle of life. Welcome to our world.

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13 thoughts on “To the first baby I have delivered”

  1. Beautiful letter, Kuya Lance! :)

    Though I must say, I've listed "Andriel" as one of the possible names that Ate Andoi (Salvador) and another MBB friend can use to name their future kid. And yes, it was a combination of their names. (Try to guess who this "friend" is. Haha!)

  2. They do, Kat, until you see the obstetrician pulling the babies' heads so forcefully. They're not too fragile after all. They look like grey plastic dolls covered in mucus.

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