Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Birth Story...I just had to write about it.
Well, first of all, we did finally decide the name to be Luka. We had this name in mind for quite a while and it was one of our top 3 choices, but with so many kanji issues, we nearly gave up on it. Thanks to the encouragement of friends (who said we could not go wrong!) and web sites that showed proof of baby boys in Japan being named Luka, we finally agreed to go with it. His middle name is Matthew.
I'll give you the short version of the birth story. I noticed I was having contractions around 3pm on June 2nd and they were 4 min apart. I called my husband at work and told him I was having contractions. He said, "What's a contraction?" Oh, never mind! Anyway, he offered to call Ailin's daycare, his mom, the pet hotel that would take Max in for the week, and a taxi to come and pick me up. Meanwhile, I called the hospital and they told me to come in right away.
I finished packing my bag along with Ailin's bags. She would be staying at her grandma's house for a next week. It becomes important later, but I remembered to put the charger for my cell phone in my bag at the last minute. I left for the hospital about 30 minutes later.
At the hospital, they checked me and said I was only 3 cm dilated. (I was 2 the day before at my dr appt.) My husband arrived about 2 hours later, which was slightly unexpected. I seriously did not imagine that he would be with me during the labor and had not really bothered to talk to him about what happens during labor. (Note that he was sent home when I was in labor with Ailin and nearly missed the whole thing.)
As a side note, I was doing the "hypnobirthing" method this time, which means I was trying to stay as relaxed as possible. Having my ipod helped me to stay relaxed. Of course, my husband had no clue what I was doing and kept trying to talk to me during contractions. This account of the birth will make it seem like I am obsessed with dilation and time, but according to the hypnobirthing method, one should not care about that stuff at all. No matter how much you try not to care though...the nurses are obsessed with it, thus making it hard to tell the story without including that information.
So, between 6pm (when my husband got there) and 9pm, nothing was really progressing. My contractions were still about 4 minutes apart, according to my husband. According to the stupid fetal monitor, they were 7 minutes apart, so of course, the nurses believed the monitor. Then, my husband was getting bored and restless. He wanted to go outside to make some work-related phone calls and to buy some cold drinks (that's code for go outside and smoke). I warned him that visiting hours were already over and the nurses probably would not let him out and then back in later. He gave it a try anyway.
One of the older nurses (not my midwife) saw him in the hallway and stopped him. She wanted to know what he was doing there after hours and accused him of not having permission to be there. Then, she told him they don't have time to be unlocking the clinic doors for him. After that, she came to our room several times under the guise of checking my fetal monitor, but actually to ask him how long he planned to stay there. My husband, ever the great advocate, had nothing to say. Finally, I spoke up between contractions. "He's here to do tachiai-bunben (husband-assisted labor), and ... he's staying until the end ... Last time, you guys sent him home as soon as we got here ... and he nearly missed the whole thing ... what is tachiai-bunben anyway?... if you can just send the husbands home whenever ... you feel like it?
To be honest, I had not even planned to do tachiai-bunben with my husband. But, as long as he had been willing to end his work day at 4pm and rush home to Chiba, I wasn't going to let him get off easy and just go home to get a good night's sleep! He was going to see this thing through whether he liked it or not!
So, the old nurse excused herself to go have a word with our midwife and came back to say they would check my dilation again at 11pm and then if I had progressed, he would be advised to stick around. If not, then he should just go home. I am still not sure why this issue was so important to her.
At 11pm, the midwife finally appeared again. Not sure where she had been when the old nurse was harassing us before. She checked me and I had dilated to 4cm. Yeah...progress, and that meant Yusuke had to stay. They moved me to the delivery room then. 4cm seems awfully early to go to the delivery room, doesn't it?
By this time, the contractions were coming faster and harder, but my water had not broken yet. At 12:20, my water broke and I yelled out to let everyone know this fact. The midwife came in and checked me. She said, "You're now 6cm. You're going to have this baby within 30 minutes." About a minute later, she began instructing me to bear down whenever I felt the sensation to poop.
I was very confused about this because I thought you weren't supposed to push until you were 10 cm, but before I could ask about this, I was yelling out things like "I can't do this! I can't! Dou shiou! I don't know what to do!" I did manage to bear down about 3 times, and I was just about to start insisting on a C-section when the nurses and midwife told me to stop pushing and just breathe. Now, that really confused me! I got worried, so I was asking, "Where's the baby? What's happening? What's wrong?" They said the midwife was working on getting the shoulders out. Shoulders? So, that must mean the head is already out. Looking back, I realize that I must have gone from 6 to 10 in just a few minutes.
So, at 12:42, the baby was born and that was that. So much for hypnobirthing and envisioning a flower opening as the baby "slowly makes his way down the birth canal and out into the world." Ha! It all happened so fast once my water broke.
My hospital stay was nice. Unfortunately, when I put my cell phone charger into my bag at the last minute, it promptly fell out onto the floor. So, once my battery died, I had no cell phone for most of my stay. My husband couldn't come back and visit again until the day before I left, so he couldn't bring it to me. Ah well, it was nice to have that 5-day vacation - no cooking, cleaning, taking care of a toddler, no human contact except for the nurses and the baby. I quite enjoyed myself. On the other hand, I would have really appreciated it if someone had brought me chocolate.
On the last morning of my stay at Hotel La Birth, the dr came in and asked me to do a quick translation of a letter he needed to write to someone in the USA. I was only too happy to do this for him, and I wasn't expecting any thing from it. It turns out he knocked about $200 off our final bill, so that was a nice a surprise!