Husband whinging


Today we’re headed to see the house the carpenter A wants to build our house is currently building. A says we need to bring him a case of beer. Fine. He starts giving me directions on what to buy “Make sure it’s real beer. None of that happoshu fake stuff. He hates that. Get a case, you know a box, not blah, blah, blah…” A case of beer is not light, and it is snowing like a mother. Darling husband, just go into the store and buy it yourself! So he does. And then my big, burly husband comes out of the shop with the skinny shop boy carrying the case of beer, and has him load it into the car. Touche!

So we’re driving now to go and see the house and like I said, it is snowing like a mother, even for Nagano, this is a big snowfall, and hub is swearing and cursing at every driver in front of us and their slow (?! I prefer the word cautious) asses. Yes, everyone is driving slowly, but dude, it’s because they want to live to see tomorrow, and preferably not from a hospital bed. I know he’s worried about pissing off the ornery craftsman, but if he can’t understand this weather holding us up, I’m not sure I want him building my house. I most definitely place the safety of my children over some old guy’s cranky ego. So chill daddy-o!

Poor Me


Yep this post is going to be all about me feeling sorry for myself, so if you’re not interested click on something else. And please don’t tell me how I have so much to be thankful for, because I know I do. But right now, I need to feel sorry for myself because right now life is hard.

So FIL is doing well, which is great. But he will be in the hospital for another month or two, and off work for another 6 or so. Right now he is at Nisseki, near us, but he will be moving back to the hospital near my IL’s house in August. At least I hope he will. Right now, Monday through Friday, I drive to Suzaka, the next city over and a 30-40 minute drive, pick up my MIL, drive her to Nisseki, another 30-40 minute drive, then we go and pick-up Amelie and Sara from daycare and kindy, drive 30-40 minutes back to Suzaka, and then 30-40 minutes back home. We usually get home sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. when I have to get dinner for the girls, done usually with one or both boys screaming throughout, just because it’s the witching hour, not because they are hungry. Then Akinori comes home sometime between 8 and 9, and does the bath, and then it’s bedtime, and I am so fucking exhausted at the end of every single day I am usually asleep before anyone.

That is just the afternoons. Mornings are another story. Akinori was taking the girls to school, but now he is leaving the house at 5:30. At first he was coming back home after walking his parents’ dog and watering his dad’s garden. But having him come back home to help for 30 minutes seemed pretty stupid, so I told him to leave the house a little later and not bother coming home. Unfortunately he still has to leave at 5:30. There’s just a lot of work to be done before he goes to that day’s work site. Anyway, I now do the whole morning routine with the girls myself. It’s okay for the most part. I mean, the girls are leaving for the day, so I just continue to tell myself there is an end in sight and trudge through it and get everyone ready. Somedays it’s actually enjoyable when the girls wake up in a good mood and don’t ask for snacks after breakfast or complain that their hair is in pigtails when they wanted one ponytail at the back after asking for pigtails. Or today’s tantrum, I wouldn’t give Sara a manicure with red nail polish because it was 30 minutes before we had to leave the house and I was still in my pj’s and the boys still needed to be changed and fed.

Then I come back home and play with the boys, fold laundry, put laundry in the washer, do other minor chores until it’s time to go get MIL. On Mondays and Fridays a woman from the city comes and stays with the boys while I do the kindy run in the morning. She helps fold the laundry and basically looks after the boys while I either do chores, or last Friday I was just so tired I needed to nap. When I woke up it was 11:30 and she is only meant to stay until 10:30, but she said I seemed so tired she didn’t want to wake me. She’s such a sweet lady.

Last week one day, I don’t remember which, I was waiting for the elevator at the hospital with the boys and suddenly I got so dizzy I nearly fell over. If I didn’t have the stroller to hold onto I definitely would have fallen over. It passed though in a few minutes, but the dizziness is back again this morning. It’s not as bad as it was in those few moments last week. I have never been that dizzy while stone cold sober in my entire life. But I have had dizziness spells before twice in my life. The first time was when I was still working, just after I came back from my honeymoon and I was under fire at work because this bitch who I thought was my good friend was going around behind my back spreading lies and trying to get me fired and I just found out and felt like everyone in management thought *I* was the bitch. The truth ended up coming out in the end, and she got fired, but it was a super stressful time. The second time was when Amelie was about 6 weeks old and March 11 happened, and I was suffering from some associated PTSD, and again was suffering from some major stress. So I have a feeling this dizziness is associated with stress. There is nothing that can be done about it, and I can’t take medicine anyway since I’m breastfeeding. But I probably shouldn’t be driving. I don’t seem to have much of a choice though. I’d love to hire some help, even if just to cook dinner in the evening and nothing else, but we really don’t have the money for that. Probably something else adding to my stress. Even if it were just 1 hour a day, that costs 800 yen or something like that, 5 x’s a week x’s 4 weeks and it adds up.

There are some good things that have come out of this. Driving my MIL to and from the hospital every day makes me feel like I am able to pay my IL’s back just a little bit for everything they do for us. And now Akinori and my FIL are both convinced that we need to move to Suzaka sooner rather than later, which means we will hopefully start planning our house by the end of this year, and building sometime next year.

Babies crying. Gotta go.

Edit: Just found out FIL will only be in hospital for another 2 weeks at most. Yeah! Yeah for him! Yeah for me! Yeah for everyone! Two weeks I can do. Two weeks I’ve already done. Two more weeks. Doable.

Always something, eh?


The last month and a bit since the boys have come home has just flown by. It seems like they’ve been with us forever. I had planned for my next blog post to be about what’s happened during this month and the differences I’ve noticed so far between the boys and my own feelings and how I’m dealing with them, but alas, something has happened to overshadow all that.

Yesterday we were out with friends that we met for the first time. A foreign wife and her husband and their gorgeous 9-month old daughter, who live about an hour or so from here. Akinori got a phone call from his sister and was talking for ages while I was talking with the other couple. When he finally hangs up he tells me is father has been taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was having severe chest pains and they’re running tests now. We wouldn’t be able to see him even if we went to the hospital so the best thing to do is wait for the next phone call. So we do.

His mom calls to say he is being taken to Nisseki in Nagano, which is nearer to us than the hospital near his parents house, so good in that respect, but really bad in that it means his situation is critical. He suffered a coronary artery dissection. He was extremely lucky in that he was at a work meeting and someone called an ambulance for him right away. We were told if he had been alone there is no way he would be with us today. I tear up every time I think about what might have happened. I adore my FIL as do my kids and I hate to think of my boys growing up without ever getting to know their “oyakata” grandfather. My FIL lives for his grandchildren and to them he is a superhero.

MIL went with FIL in the ambulance as the meeting wasn’t far from their house, but she went by car to the meeting location and left her car parked on the street. So Akinori took the girls and went home, drove to the hospital, got MIL’s car key, drove to the next city over where her car was, drove it back to his parents’ house, came home and dropped the girls off and went back to the hospital. While he was gone I picked up something from 7-11 to feed the girls for dinner as trying to figure something out to cook with what little we have in the house, especially after not cooking for nearly 6 months was too overwhelming a thought for me.

Akinori told the girls not to give me any grief before he left, but of course right away I had both boys screaming and Sara refusing to eat what I put in front of her because she wanted the purple spoon, not the pink one, and Amelie was using the purple one. So Amelie happily switched, but Sara was still not satisfied, which resulted in me having a breakdown and stunning the boys and Amelie into silence. It is so hard getting through to a 4 year-old that the world does not revolve around them, or is just my 4 year-old? I don’t know if I was right in my approach but I asked her what was the most important thing at that moment, using the spoon that she wanted, or her grandfather’s health? She answered “the spoon” and I nearly smacked her. I  told her I was really disappointed in how selfish she was being, and that I didn’t understand how I had raised someone to think a spoon was more important than her grandfather. I don’t know if she even understood what I was saying, but really all that was going through my mind was “where did I go wrong?”  Eventually she did come around. I had to leave her alone for a bit, but she managed to do a 180 in attitude. She finished her dinner and the girls got popsicles as rewards, and then popped them into the shower. Akinori came home just as they finished getting dressed for bed.

Luckily his dad won’t need surgery as the place where the artery separated wasn’t too close to his heart. But he needs to stay in the ICU until his artery repairs itself. He can’t eat and visiting hours are twice a day for 30 minute stretches each. When Sara found out she couldn’t visit she was not happy at all. I could tell that Akinori had been crying a bit.

Once the girls were asleep we had a big talk about the changes we would need to make starting with me driving the girls to kindy in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. This I can do. It won’t be easy, and Sara will need to be dressed before Akinori leaves the house because we fight every single day about what she wants to wear versus what is appropriate for her to wear to kindy. And 100% of the time it ends with Sara in tears and me totally stressed. For now our new plan of attack is to choose clothes the night before. If we have to argue at least it will happen when we have plenty of time to do it. Not when we are trying to get out of the house. I also packed the girls’ kindy bags with the appropriate towels and whatnot last night. Akinori has said he will get up early and make Sara’s bento tomorrow. Tomorrow is trash day too, so we’ll have to get that done tonight before bed.

The hardest thing for me will be preparing dinner. First of all, our kitchen is disgusting. When I was released from the hospital without the boys, I was able to at least wash the dishes most of the time, so there wasn’t a mountain in the sink. But when I was first released I was still quite anemic and my body was still in lots of pain, so standing for long periods at a time was still quite difficult. My friend H came to stay and help for a few days at the end of May, which was a godsend, and the kitchen was in a useable state then, but that was a month ago, and Akinori doesn’t know how to clean. I do bits and pieces when I can, but it’s never enough. Part of it is due to the fact that this house is old and it was pretty dirty and gross when we moved in. Knowing that and that we won’t live here forever isn’t the best motivator to get the house sparkling clean. I hate working in a dirty kitchen though.

I suppose how clean the kitchen is doesn’t really matter when you have mouths to feed. The hardest thing about preparing dinner, and this has always been a huge hurdle for me, is that the living room, where we spend most of our time and all of the girls’ toys are, is at the opposite end of the house from the kitchen, and you can’t see anything that goes on. If it was just the girls I could do it, with the knowledge that they were destroying the living room while I was cooking, but most likely not getting injured, and if they were, one of them could come and get me. Or they could sit at the table with play-doh while I cooked. But with the boys, if I am not watching them constantly, Sara is constantly trying to pick one of them up, and Amelie is constantly sticking her fingers in their eyes, noses, mouths, squeezing their cheeks. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell the girls not to touch the boys’ heads or faces, they cannot stop themselves from doing it.

Then we come to the problem of the boys getting grizzly around 5 every day. Every. day. without. fail. They both want to be held. So from 5 to 8 p.m. when they have their bath usually, I am constantly breastfeeding one or both of them. While the one who isn’t being held, if there is one, cries. They come off the boob, sleep for 5-10 minutes, wake up, cry, repeat. While this is going on, the girls are inevitably playing loudly, fighting, screaming and/or crying in a never ending cycle until they go to bed. They are semi-quiet while they eat dinner, and they eat in the kitchen with Akinori while I eat in the living room with the boys, bouncing them in their bouncers with my feet, while I scarf down my meal.  So we are going to have to figure out a new evening routine. It will probably involve me bathing all 4 kids, and then trying to get some kind of simple dinner ready. I’m thinking I may need to pull out my crock pot and find some really good, easy to prepare recipes and just prepare meals while the boys nap in the morning. This all sounds great here, but actually making it happen is a different story.

Luckily from Friday, the city is sending someone over twice a week for 2 hours at a time to help me around the house and with the boys. Considering this person will be Japanese, and I have very little knowledge of Japanese cooking, I’m hoping they can maybe teach me some easy recipes that I can throw together without too much fuss.

I think the biggest hurdle we have is that Akinori and I are not schedule people. We never have been, either of us. Dinner, baths, wake up, bedtime, they all happen at a different time every day. We need more order in our lives and I am going to have to be the one to implement it. If we had a schedule and stuck to it, I think everything would be a lot easier. I know where the problem is with this though. Akinori will not be bound by this schedule. It will just be me and the kids, and I hate that. He will continue to do what he does whenever he feels it appropriate. I guess I am going to have to get over my resentment of his freedom and man up for the sake of making this all work.

These changes are going to have to be permanent as even when FIL is discharged, he won’t be able to work in the same capacity. He’ll have to watch his blood pressure for the rest of his life, and he won’t be able to do the physical labor. I may need to go back to working full-time sooner than I was hoping, in which case we will REALLY need a hardcore schedule to stick to. This whole going back to work thing has also been weighing extremely heavily on my mind since the boys were born. Basically, if I don’t get a full-time job, I don’t think a bank will give us a loan to build a house, and now, more than ever, I really want to move forward with the whole plan to remodel the houses next to my in-laws house. Life would be so much easier for everyone involved if we were closer. I feel like it’s all my fault this happened to FIL in the first place. I needed Akinori’s help in the mornings and evenings, so he took the girls to and from kindy, and FIL picked up his slack at work so he could do that. My in-laws have been nothing but gracious and generous with all that they have, and we need to start paying them back and showing our appreciation. I wish we could have somehow prevented this particular situation though,

And so it began


The boys are sleeping right now, who knows for how long, but as long as they are quiet right now…

I want to write about what has happened over the last 2 months, and it all starts with the boys’ 1st 3 weeks spent in the NICU. The boys were born healthy and without any problems on a Wednesday. They spent the first few hours of their life with me, and the next few in the nursery while I had some time to rest, although I couldn’t sleep. I was too high on adrenaline from all the excitement. I told the hospital that I wanted the boys breastfed only, so they were brought to me throughout the day and night for feeds, but I was exhausted and needed sleep, so they stayed in the nursery until morning aside from feeds. It’s been two months and a lot of trauma later now so I don’t remember exactly how the rest of this happened, but on Thursday night, I couldn’t get Kayan to feed. He just wouldn’t wake up. I expressed some milk and the nurse fed it to him, but he was just listless and wouldn’t wake up. I was worried, but the nurses and midwives didn’t seem too worried so I tried to put it out of my mind since I had another baby to worry about too.

The next morning I woke up with the baby blues though. That time after giving birth when the world feels like it is going to end and you just can’t go on and you are a terrible mother and you will never sleep again and how are you going to get through the next week let along 18 years? I had Akinori come to the hospital before work because I was an emotional mess and I had a good chat with my midwife and we sorted out a plan where I would just have 1 baby with me each day and alternate between the babies and I would pump milk for the baby I wasn’t with. I was just plain exhausted and my body hurt. It still wasn’t used to not having all that extra weight. Losing 9 kgs. in 10 minutes is a huge shock to your body!

That day, Friday, was Rua’s day with me. Both boys were having their pediatric exam that day though and the midwife said she would come and get Rua when it was time. She brought me my celebratory lunch and I was already feeling better. Then she came back.

She started out by telling me not to get upset, so of course right away I was worried. She said they had done a blood test on Kayan as he had been so listless the night before and the nurse on duty was worried. They found his blood sugar level to be alarmingly low so he was admitted to the NICU for more tests, which meant that Rua would automatically need to be admitted too. She said they wouldn’t admit him for a little while yet though so I could spend some more time with him before he went, and to call Akinori back to the hospital so we could both hear what the dr. had to say.

I was called to speak with the dr. first for a preliminary explanation and she said the absolute bare minimum blood sugar level for a healthy baby should be 45. Kayan’s BSL was 13! That was all the information she had for me then, and Rua was called shortly after. I don’t think I stopped crying once from the moment the midwife told me Kayan was admitted to the NICU. I couldn’t finish my lunch until Akinori got there and helped me calm down a bit and basically forced me to eat. And then of course I started looking up low blood sugar in infants and the causes and effects, etc. on the internet. Stupid, stupid move. I discovered the biggest worry is the effect on the brain.

The results of the tests were finally in, and we were called into the NICU. What a horrible, horrible place, was all I could think. All of these newborn babies without their mommies. All of their mommies aching for their babies. Just awful, and I could not stop crying. The nurse who greeted us and was in charge of the boys wasn’t the most understanding of a crying mother either, and I decided I hated her. There were other nurses though who were great and brought me tissues and rubbed my back and told me it would be okay. The dr. said they tested Rua too, just in case and found his BSL was low too, so both boys were on IVs. However, when they first put Kayan’s in, he wasn’t improving, so they needed to push a central line catheter in. Seeing your 2-day old babies with needles and wires stuck all over them is a sight no mother should ever have to see. It’s awful. I was really concerned about Kayan’s brain and asked the dr. about it, but she couldn’t give me any definite answers. She said they would do tests though over the coming days to make sure he was okay. She also said that the boys may possibly be released at the time I would be released from the hospital on Monday.

I was told that the cause was probably because Kayan wasn’t getting enough breastmilk. I was definitely producing, but his latch probably wasn’t as strong as I thought it was and the milk wasn’t getting to him. Of course that made me feel like I had done this to my babies and it was all my fault for insisting they be fed breastmilk only. No matter how many people told me it wasn’t my fault, there was absolutely no way I could believe them. I thought I should have caught it earlier, or maybe insisted they bring in a pediatrician the night before when Kayan first seemed so listless. There was just no way that this wasn’t my fault.

I spoke to my parents and my dad has a good background in medical issues as he worked in a hospital for many, many years as an infection control officer and he said that unless Kayan spent at least 48 hours with low BS, then he was probably okay. It was probably less than 12 hours from the time he first became listless until he got an IV so I felt much better after hearing that, but only about his prognosis, not about it not being my fault.

We were called back into the NICU a few hours later to hear the rest of the test results. It turned out that not only was Kayan’s BSL low, but his insulin count was high. The human body only produces insulin when one’s BS level is high in order to bring it down, so the fact that Kayan was producing insulin with a low BSL was an anomaly that would either correct itself with time, or needed to be figured out and corrected. Either way, it was a matter of time and the boys were now looking at at least a week in the NICU. The only good news was that it wasn’t my fault, and I could now hear that and believe it. Though the midwife said she knew something else had to be the problem as I was already producing a good amount and there was no way the boys not getting enough milk was the problem.

As this all happened on Friday, the next two days were the weekend and absolutely miserable. Everything stops on the weekend. The number of people working in the lab drastically drops and test results don’t get returned until Monday or Tuesday. The number of nurses drastically drops so they won’t let you breastfeed babies in the NICU unless they have already been there awhile. When I went to visit the boys on Saturday though they had been moved. Kayan wasn’t in a little infant cot, he was up on a table with monitors all over his head watching his brain activity. Over night he had some kind of weird movement in his eyes and they wanted him somewhere they could keep an eye on him better. This was again devastating to me. I was finally able to enter the NICU without crying and then this. Cue tears.

Monday came and Rua had his IV removed, and I was able to give him his first bath and breastfeed him. Kayan had his first EEG, and we were able to sit down with the dr. again and get some good news. The problem was probably something that would fix itself and soon. Because the boys are identical twins, if it were a more serious problem or illness, it would occur in Rua too, and it wasn’t, which meant it was just a matter of time for Kayan’s body to fix itself. The dr. said maybe another week, which would mean they could come home just before Golden Week. Cue huge sigh of relief and happy tears.

I stayed in the hospital an extra 2 days. Kayan had a setback one of those days. His BSL would drop if he cried for a long period of time. He was on a strict feeding schedule though with prescribed amounts of milk. So if he was hungry and crying, they would leave him to cry until his next feed. I mean they did their best to soothe him with a pacifier, but he was hungry and crying once and when they measured his BSL it was in the 30’s so they upped his IV again. Cue tears. I was really upset. I felt like being in the NICU was actually doing more harm than good at this point. If he were with me he wouldn’t be crying because he was hungry because I could feed him whenever and make sure that he wasn’t going hungry causing him to use all his energy crying and therefore causing his BSL wouldn’t drop. I went back to the maternity ward crying hysterically. One of the nurses came and sat with me and called the NICU to find out what the situation was and tried to soothe me, but ended up crying right along with me.

The day I left the hospital one of the midwives brought me all of my paperwork and my birth plan. All of the nursing staff had written messages all over my birth plan. Cue tears. The messages were all so encouraging and sweet. Most of the nurses/midwives had never seen a natural breech birth, and many had never even seen a natural twin birth. It’s been a long time since I received anything that made me feel so special (aside from my boys).

I was pumping every 3-4 hours and delivering milk to the NICU, and breastfeeding when I could, and when I had to leave the hospital on Wednesday I felt like I was leaving my limbs in the hospital. It was so horribly heartbreaking to leave my boys behind. It was hard enough going to visit them everyday and saying goodbye when I went back to my hospital room just down the hall. Actually physically leaving the building was horrible. I cried when I left the NICU, and the NICU nurse cried too. She promised me that they would do everything in their power to get the boys healthy enough to come home ASAP. Sara also broke down in the car because she couldn’t understand why the boys couldn’t come home with us too.

I had to pump milk when I got home that night and then again twice over night, freeze it, and bring it in for the boys the next day. I had to pump when I woke up in the morning, and once before lunch. Then Akinori would come home from work, pick me up and drop me off at the hospital where I would sit with the boys until Akinori finished work and picked up the girls, and then he would come to the hospital with the girls, come say hi to the boys, and we would all go home to eat dinner and I would start the whole pumping, freezing cycle again. Once, over GW I ended up with mastitis. I went to the midwife clinic to have a breast massage and was told to REST. My body was still recovering from the birth and the schedule I was keeping was exhausting. It’s only a month later and already that first month seems like a blur and it feels like it was years ago.

It was the longest 3 weeks of my life. The boys were released exactly 3 weeks from the day they were hospitalized. Stupid GW got in the way as did May 1, Red Cross Foundation Day. The entire hospital basically stops. It was so frustrating! My boys were so tiny when they were admitted and so big already when they were released! I felt like their infanthood was stolen from me. They grow so fast in the first few months and only spending a few hours with them everyday was not nearly enough time for me to watch them grow. Every time I would go back the next day the boys seemed even bigger. They were huge when they were finally released. So many lovely friends sent infant and preemie clothes for the boys that they even got to wear as they were too big already when they came home.

The day the boys were released we went to the midwife clinic and the boys and I stayed there for 5 nights to get used to each other and try to get a schedule going. It was so nice to have so many helpful hands available all the time. The girls were THRILLED to be able to hold and cuddle their brothers finally. It was wonderful to eat healthy yummy food everyday that was prepared for me. I didn’t have to lift a finger. I was so happy to be with my boys. I didn’t even mind waking up in the middle of the night, but the more time I spent with them, the more I realized it would be hard once I got home. I was nervous about having to take care of the boys all on my own, but at the end of the time at the midwife clinic I was also anxious to get them home already and to start our life together as a full-time family.

Today is exactly 5 weeks since the boys were released from the hospital. They’ve been home just over 4 weeks, and I can’t remember what life was like before they showed up anymore. Funny how that happens. They are good boys. I am afraid to talk about how much sleep because I am worried I will jinx myself, but they are good sleepers, now. They both wake up a few times over night, but they go right back to sleep and I tend to fall asleep around 10 these days, so I am getting a decent amount of sleep at night and am able to nap with them during the day usually. They are both gaining weight well, and have started smiling lots. Much less awake=crying time, and more awake, looking around, taking-it-all-in time when awake. They coo and smile back at me when I talk to them, which I LOVE! So freaking cute!!

And now they are awake, which means the end of this post!