I’ve been away for about five days, plus a couple more to recuperate and to get used to having a new baby in the house. Many thanks to everyone who’s asked about my situation on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Here’s the story:
On Friday, June 17, I had a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment. (This doctor will be referred to as Dr. H, for high-risk pregnancy.) He asked me about my condition, did the internal exam, etc. I told him I’d been having trouble sleeping and eating for several days. My midwife said she was concerned about the swelling in my legs and feet, as well as my weight gain (13 kg or so; about 28 lbs total since Wk 1). Japanese medical professionals prefer that expectant mothers not gain more than 10 kg (22 lbs)…of course, Japanese women are generally pretty small. (My best friend here, a woman with two kids, weighs literally less than 100lbs.)
We made an appointment to induce on Monday at 1:30 p.m. because Dr. M (ultrasound specialist) estimated the Boy’s weight to be around 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs), and Dr. H didn’t want to wait beyond Week 41.
So I came home and told Hero Material. We packed the additional stuff we thought we might need.
A little after 7:30 p.m. I started to bleed and get contractions, but they weren’t too severe. I finished a load of laundry. Around 2:00 a.m. contractions started to get worse, but I decided to try to get some sleep. At around 5:00 a.m. I woke Hero Material up and said, “Call the hospital.”
The hospital told us to come ASAP. So we took a cab and arrived at the ER entrance 10 minutes later. (After-hours admissions are done through the ER.)
A midwife came out and took us to the maternity floor. She weighed me, checked for dilation and said I was halfway there. So we were told to wait in a small private room.
After about two hours, things got pretty bad because my back pain became excruciating. I have a herniated disk, and basically what my therapist told me came true: every time I had a contraction, the back muscles would spasm and pinch the nerve, sending an absolutely stunning pain all the way from midback to the tip of my toes. Multiple nurses and midwives came by, and they thought I was “just” feeling severe uterus contractions. *sigh* I was missing Dr. H at this point because he knew all about my disk hernia, etc. but he wasn’t on call that day.
I asked for an epidural six times or so, but was denied because for some weird reason, Japanese medical people think that toughing it out is the best. Also they think that an epidural can make the newborn sluggish, and they hate that because they want to see a “genki” (healthy and energetic) baby and run a bunch of tests to rule out any problems.
By the time they moved me to the delivery room, I was feeling faint from pain and exhaustion. Weirdly enough, I delivered the placenta first, though I had no idea it wasn’t the baby when I was pushing. Imagine my disappointment. My water still hadn’t broken, and several more medical people came in. (Later Hero Material told me three doctors plus five nurses were in the room.) I don’t even remember what happened after I delivered the placenta because I kept fading in and out. The only consistent thing I can recall is that I was holding onto Hero Material’s hand the entire time. [By “holding on”, Nadia really means “crushing to a fine, exquisitely agonizing paste of bone shards and muscle pulp.” — HM]
When the delivery doctor (Dr. D) realized that I wasn’t pushing very well anymore, and the baby was becoming distressed, he decided to perform an episiotomy and help push the baby out. Once the incision was made, the baby came out pretty fast. I saw a midwife catch him, then kinda faded out some because of the pain and exhaustion. (Hero Material tells me I bled massively afterward.)
A nurse undid my gown and bra and placed the Boy in my arms to establish skin-to-skin contact. He looked so squished, but he wasn’t crying anymore. The nurse said he weighed 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs).
I wanted to stay with the Boy, but I couldn’t, not on the first day, because I was too out of it. I fainted again on our way to my room, and later I learned that Hero Material caught me and carried me to the hospital bed. I told Hero Material to go home and get some rest (he had to work early the next morning) and call / email our family and a handful of close friends and business contacts, etc.
Afterward, nurses and midwives came by every three hours to check up on me and take my temperature, blood pressure, etc. They also made sure I was taking all my meds on time and made a note of how much I was eating. (BTW — this medicine and eating monitoring continued until I was discharged.)
The second day was better, although I still couldn’t stand or walk around without feeling dizzy. A couple of friends came by, and I was allowed to keep the Boy in the room.
This is the Boy looking at Hero Material. The Boy is remarkably like his father — long limbs, narrow feet, long fingers and the forehead wrinkles he makes when he’s thinking about something. Of course, you can see that the Asian influence is really strong, too.
And the Boy sleeping.
On the second day, nurses and midwives still came by every 3 hours, and they taught me and Hero Material how to change diapers. A midwife gave me a notebook and showed me how to keep track of the Boy’s soiled diapers and feeding times for each day. At around midnight, I became too exhausted, and the night shift nurse fed the Boy and changed his diapers for me. Ah, I love nurses!
I felt remarkably better on the third day. A nurse showed us how to bathe the Boy. We just watched the first time, and she said we could try it the next day. Every time they bathe a baby, the hospital staff records the latest weight. Per her chart, the Boy’s been gaining like 100-120 g per day (3.5-4.2 oz).
Afterward, we ate a nice celebratory lunch provided by the hospital.
Everything was most excellently yum. Not that the regular food was bad (it was surprisingly good), but it was nice to eat something a little fancy with Hero Material. I felt quite cheery afterwards.
A pediatrician came by to tell me the Boy needed some kind of light therapy because there was something wrong with his skin pigmentation. The Boy was looking a bit too yellow, actually, and the doctor thought something ought to be done about it before we were sent home. So I said, “Sure, go ahead.” (I wasn’t going to argue with a doctor, esp. over something he said was necessary and that even Hero Material and I had noticed on our own.)
So this is the Boy in the light therapy chamber. Doesn’t he look like he’s ready for Venice beach?
On the fourth day, Dr. D paged me to the examination room. He said everything looked good, and I was ready to go home the next day. I was super-relieved.
Later, Hero Material bathed the Boy while the nurse and I watched. The Boy looked so happy. :)
On the fifth day, the Boy was ready to come home! Look at his cute onesie!
And here he’s Mommy’s New Man! :D
P.S. Despite my midwife’s concern over my weight gain, I lost most of it during labor. I’m now within 10 lbs (less than 5 kg) of my pre-pregnancy weight. Heh.