PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS
01L-wow1, 01L-wow4 UNASSISTED HOME BIRTH. During the pandemic, Gladys Gonzaga-Togonon unexpectedly delivers her fifth baby, Dwayne Benjamin, by herself at home in the fastest and most natural way.
01L-wow2, 01L-wow3 TEAM TOGONON. Ben and Gladys Togonon’s “basketball dream team line-up” includes their eldest Brent (aged 13); Cid (8); Gabe (5); Benzy (1.5 y.o.); and their newest “recruit” 3-week-old Dwayne.
01L-wow5 ROOMED-IN. Baby Dwayne was roomed-in from the beginning because all his laboratory tests were normal. Mother and child stayed at the hospital overnight and were discharged the following day.
01L-wow6, 01L-wow7, 01L-wow8, 01L-wow9 BOYS TO MEN. Last September, the Togonons took a leap of faith and started to homeschool their children. More than just academics, homeschooling fostered deeper connection and bonding among the family members.
01L-wow10, 01L-wow11 MOMMY’S ME TIME. Gladys eats a balanced diet with vegetables freshly harvested from their backyard garden. She also enjoys reading and cooking and tends to her ornamental plants every day.
IT WAS two days before her due date when Gladys Gonzaga-Togonon abruptly woke up due to slight contractions at 3:30 a.m.
“I thought I was in false labor and waited for 45 minutes. The contractions were not as extremely painful as my previous pregnancies though, so I slept again,” says the 31-year-old mom.
Past 5 a.m., as the labor pains increased in frequency and intensity, she began mindfully packing things to prepare for her hospital delivery. Suddenly, Gladys noticed that she was leaking a little after a contraction. In minutes, her water broke.
“As I was calling my husband Ben to get ready, I knew it was too late when the inevitable was happening,” she recalled.
Gladys was about to give birth, unassisted, at home.
Unassisted home birth
The brave mom quickly rushed to the bathroom and secured her towel. Gladys instinctively felt the urge to push as hard as she could, loudly calling Jesus to help her.
In less than ten minutes, her little one was out. Hearing the loud cry of her precious 38-week-old baby, Dwayne Benjamin, was pure music to the mother’s ears!
“Our fifth baby entered the world during this pandemic but God had His own way of showing us that life is beautiful. I delivered a healthy 3.59-pound baby boy by myself, right at the comfort of my throne (toilet seat) at home and in the fastest and most natural way,” she gratefully expressed.
When Gladys went to Davao Doctors Hospital, the umbilical cord remained uncut and her placenta was still intact. She decided not to push out the placenta and waited until she and Ben reached the hospital for fear of possible risks and complications.
Labor of love
Baby Dwayne was roomed-in from the beginning because all his laboratory tests were normal. The mother and child stayed at the hospital overnight and were discharged the following day.
“Every childbirth has a different story and each time, it was a magical moment for me, but the labor and delivery are not easy feats,” admitted Gladys.
For her four previous deliveries, Gladys gave birth via Normal Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery (NSVD) in a birthing suite and used the Lamaze method for breathing and pain management. She also had one ectopic pregnancy where her right fallopian tube was removed and two miscarriages.
The Togonons’ “basketball dream team line-up” includes their eldest Brent (aged 13); Cid (8); Gabe (5); Benzy (1.5 y.o.); and their newest “recruit” 3-week-old Dwayne.
“I am blessed with a husband who is a good provider, loving partner as well as a hands-on and caring daddy. He is my helpmate in everything especially in taking turns in watching the kids,” Gladys shared.
Last September, the Togonons took a leap of faith and started to homeschool their children through the help of their church’s Discipleship Group (Dgroup), learning coaches, homeschool provider, and other homeschool families.
More than just academics, homeschooling fostered deeper connection and bonding among Ben, Gladys, and their kids.
“Aside from interest-led or strength-based learning where they became independent learners, our boys showed continuous improvement on their values, time management, sense of accountability, organization, life skills, love for others, and stronger relationship with God,” Gladys observed.
Keeping her sanity
To keep herself fit and healthy, Gladys eats a balanced diet with vegetables freshly harvested from their backyard garden. Household chores, afternoon walks and biking around the village with the family are her forms of exercise.
This quarantine, Gladys, who is a graduate of the Center for Asian Culinary Arts, reacquainted herself with the kitchen. She also enjoys reading and tends to her ornamental plants every day.
Once a week, she and Ben meet with their Dgroup family through Zoom where they study the word of God together. Her friendship with fellow homeschooling moms has also been an invaluable source of comfort.
“And, of course, tons of prayers keep my sanity intact,” Gladys revealed.
“The best part of being a mom of 5 boys is how they show their love and affection to me. I like how they are so attached and clingy although, sometimes, it can be overwhelming and annoying. There are also times I feel like I have failed them but in the eyes of my kids, I am a supermom”, said the Togonons’ one and only queen bee.
Asked if she and Ben had any plans of adding another “team member” in the future, Gladys promptly replied, “Nah-uh! Baby factory is officially closed and sealed. Enough is enough. Thank God!”
Special thanks to Mima Tan of Mimathology for the studio photos.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com/.