We are now only a month away from the expected arrival date of Tiny Tien. It has been a long and arduous journey (man… I always wanted to use that phrase, even if it is a bit hackneyed) and we’re almost at the finish line. However, there continue to be a few stumbling blocks in the way.
As you all know, my wife has been in the hospital for quite some time now. In fact, she just hit the month mark. The good news is that she will be allowed to come home this coming Friday, which is good news for both of us, as we’ve been missing each other terribly (I’ve been there to see her nearly every day, but it’s just not the same as being home together.) If things continue as they have been over the last month, she will be allowed to stay home until she has to give birth. This is where the sticky part comes in.
Originally, my wife wanted as natural a birth as possible. We hired a midwife to help us with that. One of the requirements of signing up with the midwife was that we had to register at an affiliated hospital. Actually, it was more of a birthing center, as they only dealt with pregnant women at this location. However, they had all the requisite pregnancy monitoring equipment that the midwife didn’t have, so it was a good place to be. It also helped that they had similar practices when it came to post-delivery baby-time that the midwife had. Here in Japan, the common practice is to separate mother and infant for hours at a time so that the mother can ostensibly “rest”. However, at Iguchi (the name of the birthing center), they allowed the baby to stay with the mother at all times. This was one of the top things that my wife wanted, so we were quite happy with the arrangement.
As the pregnancy progressed, we kept running into minor complications. The baby always seemed to be in breech position whenever we had an ultrasound. We thought “Okay, well, some babies turn later in the pregnancy, and there’s still time, so ya know, whatever.” However, as time wore on, the baby remained in breech, and this was followed by the news that my wife’s cervix had thinned considerably. At this point, they were worried about a premature delivery, with the risk of a prolapsed umbilical cord. If you don’t know why that would be an issue, imagine if you were scuba diving, and your air-hose got pinched. Same general idea, but a heck of a lot worse. So she ended up in the larger Fukuyama hospital for the aforementioned month. Main problem with that, aside from it being an extended hospital stay, is that they prescribe to the “take the baby away” methodology that we were trying to avoid.
Now that the month is winding down, we’re preparing for the actual arrival of the baby, and even then, there are issues. The baby has remained in breech position, and seeing as how we’re in the 36th week, this is getting to be very worrisome. Unfortunately, the only method that the doctors here know how to employ when dealing with this circumstance is the dreaded C-section. In fact, when we were told that she could leave, we were hopeful to return to Iguchi so that we could have the baby with us after birth, but we were told that they would only take her if we agreed to a planned C-section, some 2 weeks before the expected due date of Tiny Tien. Both my wife and I sat there, our mouths agape when we were given this news. We didn’t want a C-section period, nevermind a planned one. We were given some reason about them wanting to avoid a ruptured membrane, but we’re only 10-15 minutes away from the hospital by taxi. Needless to say, we were caught a little off guard by this news, as we thought that Iguchi was the type of place that generally leaned toward more natural births. Just seems that more and more, the supposedly low numbers of C-sections in Japan are beginning to be a thing of the past.
We had high hopes for being pregnant in Japan, as we had read report after report that the infant mortality rate is the 3rd lowest in the world, and that C-sections are an uncommon experience. However, during the time we spent in the hospital, we learned that it is standard for anybody with a breech position baby to have a c-section (which is roughly one in four) and that if you’re having twins, it is also general a C-section. One of the more ridiculous reasons to have a C-section is if the baby is deemed too large. Do you know what they consider too large? 3400 grams. That translates to roughly 7 pounds. That’s underweight in the US, not to mention my wife is not a small Japanese woman. It boggles the mind that they would even consider something like that.
However, despite all of these trials and tribulations, we are just excited to be so near to date when we will see our child with our very own eyes. We STILL don’t technically know what gender the baby is, as the breech position is preventing the doctors from getting a clear look, but we’re pretty sure it’s a girl at this point. Whatever the baby is, we just want her/him to be healthy, and we’re anticipating her arrival with glee. It has been an unreal experience going through this first pregnancy at times (which I will likely write about in the future), but now that we’re near the end, I’m happy we went through it. It served to bring me and my wife closer together (although how that could happen, it’s hard to imagine, as we’re almost already joined at the hip) and has made me try harder to be a better person for my future child. We’re waitin’ for you Tiny, with loving arms wide open.