Tomoe, 3 days old

Today is my last day off from work.  I return to work tomorrow, so I can’t see her tomorrow.  I had to enjoy being with Tomoe as much as possible today.  I did a lot of watching.  She didn’t really do much most of the time, just slept peacefully.

Tomoe was sleeping in this position almost the entire time I was there.

I wasn’t sure I was going to get many pictures that didn’t look the same.  I did get a chance later for some interesting pictures, though.

Before I get to that, my wife’s grandmother, aunt and uncle visited her and Tomoe at the clinic today.  This was only the second time I’ve met her aunt and uncle, but her grandmother lives next door to her parents.  Her grandmother kept watching Tomoe very intently and would repeat “kawaii ne” often.  She was saying “Cute, isn’t she?”  She seemed to really enjoy watching Tomoe.  They didn’t stay long and soon left after some chatting.  So, I got back to taking pictures.

Not quite a smile.

Making faces at me.

Is she trying to hide?

Just continuing to look cute.

Just before I went home, she made this face.

Tomoe was moving quite a bit near the end of my visit.  She was making a lot of involuntary jerky movements with her arms.  This is normal, and is a sign that her nervous system is still developing.  Her brain is still being wired.

My wife is walking pretty close to normal now.  She’s been feeling back pain due to using her muscles differently, as her posture has returned to her pre-pregnancy state.  I got to see the cut that the doctor made for the Caesarean section.  It was much shorter than I expected.

One last thing before I finish.  In Japan, it is traditional for family members to give new parents gift money in envelopes.  Unlike in Canada, where a gift is a gift and return gifts are not expected, we are required to find a gift to give to each person who has given us gift money.  It’s a kind of thank you.  Japan is known for its gift giving traditions.

Tomorrow, I won’t have any pictures, unless my wife is able to send me one or two.  Back to work!


Tomoe, born January 25th

On January 24th, my wife entered the clinic for our daughter’s birth.  We went up to her room and had a look.  It’s a private room, as she’ll have a private room for the first bit while she recovers from her Caesarean section.  It’s a pretty simple room, if you ask me.

This was the room for the first night.

It has a sink and a fridge.

My mother-in-law and I left my wife at the clinic for a while, since she had to go through an orientation.  We could return for visiting hours.  So, we went and had lunch and did a little shopping that my wife wanted us to do.  During that time, my mother-in-law, who doesn’t speak English, and I, whose Japanese isn’t very good, struggled to communicate.  I think we did okay, though.  After our shopping, she went to her hotel, and I returned to the clinic to visit with my wife for a couple hours.  As her dinner time approached, I had to leave and let her eat.  It was dark when I went home.

On my way home on the 24th, I took this picture of the clinic.

Last night, I found it difficult to sleep.  I was quite restless and just kept watching TV, which barely held my interest.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the day ahead.  I finally did get to bed, but I didn’t have a great sleep.  I kept waking up.

In the morning, my wife called me and told me that the birth would be a bit earlier than expected.  I had to go to the clinic a little earlier than I’d planned.  My mother-in-law was already there when I arrived.  My wife had been moved to a new room.

This is the new room for the next 3 days.

We spent some time talking.  But it was only for a short time.  The nurse came and said it was time.  This was about 1 pm.  It would be about 2 hours until she’d be back in her room, but I wasn’t clear about what time the birth would be.  So, I read a bit while my mother-in-law did some knitting.  The nurses had to do a little preparation work in the room, so we had to move out to the dining room.

The dining room has 3 tables. Not many people stay here at a time.

I could read for a while, but I was getting restless.  I started pacing like the stereotypical expecting father does.  Even my mother-in-law started laughing at me, because Japanese men do the same thing.  About 2 pm, I could hear a baby crying.  I had no idea if it was my daughter or one of the babies already there.  Well, we found out quickly.  It was my daughter.  The nurse told us to look through the nurse station window, where we could see a nurse holding her, but only briefly.  She then opened the door, and we could see her up close.  This was the first time I saw her.

Less than 10 minutes after she was born.

She still had some blood on her, as she hadn’t been cleaned up much yet.  It was amazing to see!  She opened her eyes a bit, but not for long.  She wasn’t used to the bright light.  Her hair is dark brown.  I noticed that her fingers were a bit blue-grey.  We were told that her head was 35 cm around, which is quite big.  She was 50 cm long.  Her hands are also a bit big and her legs are long.  She’s a big baby!  Her birth weight is 3302 grams, and she was born at exactly 2 pm.  The nurse then took her back in, and asked us to go sit down and wait.

After a bit, we were told to come to the window to the nursery.  She was dressed in a robe and had a little cap on her head.  She’d been cleaned up and was a more natural colour.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I watched her for over an hour.

She's looking at the camera!

Good night.

After that last picture, she woke up and started crying.  She also gave quite the interesting face, like she was straining.  Probably peeing and pooping.  For quite some time, she gave some incredibly funny faces, crying off and on.  Most of the time I watched her, her mouth was moving like she was searching for food.  She wanted to have milk.

We went to see my wife, as she’d been returned to her room.  She was in pain from the Caesarean section, and said that she felt pain during the operation.  I wonder if the local anaesthetic didn’t work so well for her.  We talked about her name.  And so, we have named her Tomoe (智恵).  So, everyone, please meet my daughter Tomoe.

Week 38 – She’s coming in 2 days!

Today, we went to the clinic for the final checkup before birth.  For much of the past week, we’ve been hoping for a natural birth, so my wife did a lot of exercising.  Unfortunately, the baby hasn’t descended.  But there’s no way the baby can be born naturally safely.

The doctor explained to us that this is a case of Cephalopelvic Disproportion.  The baby’s head is too big for my wife’s pelvis.  She won’t fit through.  So, a Caesarean section is the only way to deliver her safely.  My wife will be going into the clinic tomorrow morning, and our daughter will be born on January 25th.  We know her birthday!  I will be present at the clinic when she’s born, so I’ll be seeing her just after birth.  I will be taking pictures!  I’ll also be visiting every day for the rest of the week.  My wife is feeling nervous about the C-section.  She won’t be feeling pain, but she’ll still be feeling the actual operation.  That must be a very strange feeling.  She doesn’t want to feel it at all.

The difficult thing about this is the cost.  Fortunately, C-section is the cheapest way, as health insurance covers 70% of it, and my wife’s life insurance will pay for the rest.  If it was natural birth, health and life insurance would cover none of it, and it would be astronomically high.  We couldn’t afford it.

We also have a possible name chosen.  I won’t announce it until we’ve decided for certain.  That’ll come later this week, and quite possibly on Wednesday.

Apart from the birth, we have received some very important things for the baby.  We’ve received the bath for newborns (only needed for a month) and the baby’s bed.  She won’t be home until February 2nd, so the bed will just be sitting empty until then.  Anyway, here are some bed pictures!

Here's the baby's crib! It's all ready for the baby.

Inside the baby's bed. My wife chose pink.

C-section looks likely

Today, we went to the clinic to check on the baby, and it turns out that she hasn’t descended into the pelvis.  She’s still high up.  What this means is that there’s a 70-80% chance that the baby will be late if by natural birth.  Unfortunately, if she’s born late, she’ll be too big for natural birth.  The doctor says it’s 70-80% likely she’ll be born by Caesarean section.  Well, we’ve decided that we’re going to have the C-section done next week, just 6 days before her due date, on January 25th.  This isn’t definite, though!  It’s also possible that she will suddenly drop and can still be born naturally.  But it’s not likely.  In any case, she’ll be born in a week!


Week 34

Talk about ups and downs.  Last week, she was head down.  Well, this week, she’s head up again!  We’re now at the end of week 34, and coming into the homestretch.  It’s quite possible she may be born in only 3 weeks!

So, this was the last checkup of the year for the baby.  We were supposed to be finding out about when she’ll be born.  But the question is how she’ll be born.  With her being in the breach position, it’s possible it’ll be a Caesarean section.  If so, she’ll be born between January 17th and 23rd (week 38).  If she turns around again, the birthdate is anyone’s guess.  She’ll come when she’s ready.

The baby is still healthy, in the average size range.  However, she’s getting to be a bit bigger than the middle range of average.  She’s now 2496 grams, which means she’s big enough to be born within the next week, and be a healthy, though small, newborn.  However, her size is of a 37 week fetus, when she’s just about to start week 35.  She’s getting big!  She has quite the big belly, too.  But nothing to be concerned about.

Mom is experiencing plenty of growing pains, as well as enduring painful kicks and punches.  Thanks to the baby’s incorrect position, she will now have to sleep on her left side for the next week.  She has new orders from the doctor, and that is to take it easy.  Rest and relax for the next week, and avoid doing anything active.  That means no exercising, no long walking, no cleaning.  Standing to cook is okay, but I’ll have to do all the shopping while she stays home.  If all goes well, the baby will turn back to the correct birth position.  However, due to her position, our next appointment will occur during the holidays.  In fact, we go in on January 1st!  Our plans for the New Year at her parents’ house in Saitama have been cancelled.

We did get an ultrasound picture, but it didn’t turn out well.  She was being camera shy.

At 34 weeks and 6 days. This picture isn't the best. She was being difficult to photograph this week.

Week 32

It’s been another week, and this one came with a surprise.  Not a pleasant surprise, though.  The baby has flipped again, and is now head up.  This is a bit of a concern because the baby should be settling into the birth position by now.  If she doesn’t flip back over to the head down position, then a Caesarean section is likely.  This is something we don’t want, as that is a major surgery that can have an effect on the health of my wife and a second child.  Recovery is a lot longer than a vaginal birth.

Anyway, other than the position of the baby, she’s very healthy.  She’s now 1895 grams, only 600 grams away from minimum healthy birth weight.  She’s a bit chubby, too.  Her legs are also a bit long, so it makes me wonder if we’ll have a tall daughter.  Her toenails, fingernails and hair are all there now.  She’s been filling out her loose skin, so she should look like a normal baby now.  In fact, she could be born at any time now, and be healthy.

Mom is still feeling pain from the baby’s kicks, as well as the rapid growth of the baby.  Due to the baby’s new position, the doctor advised my wife to sleep on her right side now, instead of her left.  She’s had many sleepless nights lately due to the baby moving.

We’ve now bought everything required for a hospital survival kit (actually, it’s just the things my wife needs for a week at the clinic) for when she goes into labour.  As it’s getting so close to the birth, we have to be fully prepared.  We’ve made plenty of decisions recently, like where the baby will sleep (in the living room) and where my wife’s mother will sleep (in the bedroom with us, but on a rental bed).  We also decided on using cloth diapers, which can be washed, and will save us money in the long run.  The doctor has no information about when he thinks the baby will be born.  It’s going to be a surprise.  Because of the baby’s position, we have another appointment with the clinic next week, just to check if she’s flipped over again.  Hopefully, she’ll be back to the head down position.

Here are the ultrasound pictures.  They weren’t supposed to be done this week, but due to the baby’s incorrect position, the doctor had to take a look.

The top shows her full face at 32 weeks, 6 days. At the bottom is her nose (very clearly), lips and chin.

This 4D image shows her face. Not as clear as the one from 6 weeks ago.