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 37

It’s already the end of week 37.  No checkup during these 7 days, but there will be a non-stress test tomorrow morning.  So far, nothing much to update on the status of the baby.  My wife thinks she’s a bit lower in her abdomen now, so we’ll find out tomorrow.  It has been an interesting week for my wife, though.  She’s been doing a lot of exercise.  Most days, she’s walked between 5 and 10 km, done plenty of squats, and some yoga stretches.  The doctor told her to move a lot.  She’s also done some cleaning around the apartment, just to keep moving.

The most interesting thing is that the baby’s foot has been pushing against the wall of her abdomen.  Quite often, we could feel her foot.  It makes it feel so much more real, knowing that’s our daughter’s foot.  My wife has also been feeling plenty of pain periodically.  Could be Braxton Hicks contractions, or something else entirely.

We’re unsure of how the baby will be born or when.  But tomorrow, we should be finding out if a Caesarian section is recommended or not, due to the bigger than average size of the baby or whether she’s descended into the pelvis.

Full Term!

Today was the first day of week 37, which is full term.  The baby could be born healthy any day.  My wife went to the clinic today to do some tests and check on the baby.  We were hoping to be able to set a date when the baby would be born, too.  However, that’s not how it turned out.

The baby hasn’t descended yet, and there’s no dilation at all.  The pain she’s been feeling could either be her pelvic bones spreading to prepare for birth or Braxton-Hicks contractions.  She also found out she has a low iron level, so she needs to take some iron pills.

My wife has to do a lot of exercise.  This includes walking up hills and stairs, doing squats, and yoga.  This is to help the baby lower herself to get ready for birth, and to help the cervix dilate.  If this doesn’t happen by next week, the baby may have to be born by Caesarian section, as she’s a bit bigger than average.  The birth may still happen next week, but we don’t know yet.

Week 36

In less than 6 hours, the pregnancy will be at full term!  That’s right, the baby could come at any time and not be premature.  There was no visit to the clinic during these past 7 days, but there will be one tomorrow.  This will involve a lot of tests.  We’ll also be scheduling the birth.  Our clinic specialises in scheduled births with painkillers.  It’s not common to use painkillers during birth in Japan, as it’s believed by many superstitious people that it’ll result in feeling distant from the baby.  The mother and baby can’t bond because she’s not writhing in agony.  Of course, we both think that’s a load of BS.  So, the birth date will either be next week or the week after.  We’ll be seeing her soon!

My wife has been having plenty of pain in the pubic area, most likely due to dilation of her cervix and pressure from the baby.  She says that she has a lot of problems breathing because of pressure from the baby on her diaphragm and lungs.  She finds it difficult to sleep, as well.  Her bellybutton has popped out quite a bit, too.  She feels that it’s hard to eat large meals, as well.  Some common signs in pregnant women are extra body hair, stretch marks and varicose veins.  Luckily, she hasn’t had stretch marks or varicose veins!  Just the extra hair that I understand pretty much every woman gets when pregnant.  Yes, she has a hairy belly from the pregnancy.  But it should fall out in a few months.

How’s the baby doing?  Well, she continues to be quite active, moving a lot.  She hiccups a lot, too.  From what I’ve read, at week 36, the fine hair and waxy substance covering her skin will fall off, and she’ll swallow much of it.  That’ll result in her first bowel movement after birth being slimy and black.  I’m guessing she’s over 2700 grams now.

I’ll probably have some more news tomorrow about the scheduling and the checkup.