I have heard of Fabella Hospital and have only seen it in pictures, so when Kris of OC Mom in Manila invited me to join the Johnson's Baby team and our mommy friends for a visit to the OB ward, I said yes right away.
Having heard so much about the conditions at Fabella, we were prepared for the worst. After all, this is the hospital known as the "baby factory", and on the day we visited, there were a total of 744 patients in the hospital and 47 moms who had just delivered a baby. Imagine that.
But you know what, despite the cramped atmosphere, the strength and resilience of spirit was evident in each of the moms faces. It was not depressing at all. The rooms were bright and airy. The moms, although reserved (I mean, who wouldn't be, I've given birth too and I didn't exactly like receiving strangers in my room soon after heehee) most of them had a ready smile and didn't mind us coming up to them to talk about breastfeeding, touch therapy/baby massage and how to give their babies a bath.
Yes, Touch Therapy. Johnson & Johnson sponsors a Touch Therapy room in Fabella hospital, to teach the moms the importance of touching their baby for bonding via baby massage, skin-to-skin contact and kangaroo care among others.
While we were inside the Touch Therapy room, neonatologist Dr. Imperial shared with us the practice of kangaroo care for pre-term babies. It was wonderful seeing it put to practice in Fabella, and heartening to see daddies cradling their babies in their own blue "pouches".
After meeting the key doctors in Fabella, we all set out to talk to the mommy patients by twos. My partner for the day, Jenny Reyes of My Mommyology and I went from bed to bed talking to the moms and handing out baby care products from J&J. Some moms were quiet and probably did not want to be disturbed, but there were a few who were genuinely interested in baby massage and bathing tips for their newborns. It was fun learning from each other.
We were there for just an hour, but seeing all the cute babies made me miss Xavi and Berry. As soon as we were done making chika with the moms, I just had to check on my little ones. Ayan tuloy, caught texting on camera haha!
Thanks so much to Johnson's Baby Philippines and Kris for inviting us. It was a great way to spend a morning. And good to know that Fabella while old and shabby is a clean, happy place. They are doing such a great job with Unang Yakap, breastfeeding, and taking care of their patients with the limited resources they have. Although of course, every help from corporations and private citizens would do so much in making Fabella a truly world-class hospital.
It would be nice to see every Filipino mom give birth to her baby in a most ideal atmosphere conducive to labor, rest and rooming in. Every drop in the proverbial bucket counts. When you can, maybe you and your friends can organize activities or raise funds to purchase equipment and supplies that could help Fabella's patients too.
Photography by Lawrence del Mundo