Monday, October 25, 2021

Mother recalls giving birth amid tremors

TOUGHER. Katrina Kaye Tabanao (left) says she was made stronger by the death of her husband Jesse so she did not panic when she had to give birth to son Jethro outside the hospital amid aftershocks. (SUN.STAR PHOTO/ALEX BADAYOS)

JETHRO “Baby Quake” Tabanao turned one yesterday.

His mother, Katrina, gave birth to him while a magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC). Because of the circumstances of his birth, Jethro was nicknamed “Baby Quake.”

Jethro celebrated his birthday at a cemetery in Moalboal town where his father, slain Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 spokesperson Jesus “Jessie” Tabanao, is buried.

The children's party was attended by his cousins and the children of cemetery caretakers.

Katrina, a former Sun.Star Cebu reporter, said 2013 was a trying time for her family.

On Sept. 14, 2013, Jessie was gunned down on Escario St., Cebu City, leaving Katrina the prospect of raising alone their 10-year-old son Kurt Joshua and an unborn child.


Katrina was in labor when the earthquake occurred at 8:12 a.m. She gave birth outside CCMC an hour later on a stretcher she shared with another woman who was also in labor.

The earthquake forced CCMC management to evacuate patients.

Unsay akong sala? Naunsa ka diha? (What did I do? What's wrong with you?)” Katrina remembered asking God then.

Because of the lack of facilities, there was no time of birth recorded and Baby Quake was not weighed. Around noon, Katrina and her baby were sent home because there was no place to accommodate them. Jethro was given a shot of vitamin K before leaving the hospital.

Making do

Katrina said the hospital staff did the best they could to treat patients even though some equipment were left in the building.

The old city hospital was demolished after it was declared unsafe due to structural damage caused by the earthquake. The Cebu City Governnment plans to build a new hospital on the same site on N. Bacalso Ave.

Katrina said two life-altering experiences changed her life. She used to be a planner, but she later realized how fleeting life can be.

“No matter how much you plan, somebody up there has other plans,” she said.

She said she almost lost her sanity. “Facebook helped me a lot. It was through Facebook that I was able to let out my feelings,” she added.

Katrina said her husband’s death made her tougher. She can look at the embarrassment she felt at giving birth in public with some amusement.

Baby Quake is also not easily ruffled. While the Sun.Star Cebu news team interviewed his mother at 10 p.m. last Tuesday, he ate polvoron (Spanish shortbread).
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