First Person Singular: Labor and delivery nurse Angelica Dizon

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My mom died in childbirth. She was 25 years old, a young, healthy person. So you would think this would be the last field I would go into. But it was a source of inspiration for me, that story. I am the only child. I grew up with my grandparents. So as I was growing up, people had been telling me, Yeah, she's the one. She is the child whose mother died. I lived in a community where everyone knows everyone, so I just kept on hearing this, you know? Then, when I was in college, you want to ask the question: Why?

I got the chance to talk to her doctor. After my program in medicine, I went back to my province [in the Philippines], and the first case that I had is an obstetrical case with the doctor who delivered my mom. Yeah, and he was in tears, like, Oh, my God, I can't believe that I will be working with you. I told myself, if I'm going to be in this field, then I have to make it better.

When I teach my class, I do not sugarcoat anything. I want to be realistic. With everything that is beautiful, there is some pain attached to it. So I tell them, we need the pain, we need the contractions. There is no short way of doing things. The patient, of course, is feeling the pain, but I think the husband is feeling it, too. Because they become so helpless at that moment. She is feeling the pain, and he cannot do anything about it. So that's why I always tell the dads or the partners in my class that, yes, they're doing a beautiful job just being there. They always tease me because I say a million times the word "beautiful." Because the whole process is, indeed, beautiful. I still cry after 20 years of doing it. This is the perfect miracle happening right in front of me; it's awesome, it's beautiful.

There are some things that we don't really have control of, so I just work on the things I can control. I think it boils down to: I don't want to see another person going through what I had gone through. If there is something that I can do with this person, with this couple, then let me do that. And God be my light and my guide.

Interview by KK Ottesen

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