Ask and ye shall receive…answers


Feeling much brighter today, despite the rainy, nasty weather all day. Next week I need to go for my first appointment at the new hospital, and I really need to make a decision about which hospital that is going to be so I did some phoning to the big hospitals in the immediate area. First I called the hospital that I went to occasionally when I was pregnant with Amelie, as that is the hospital that is tied in with the midwife clinic. The hospital director is also a member of the OB/GYN staff, and I know they have some forward practices. They don’t have any policy regarding hospitalizing mothers of twins at a certain time in their pregnancy, and although most twin births result in c-sections, they don’t force you to have one. However, they don’t have a NICU, so  if there seemed to be any serious problems with one or both of the babies, or I went into labor early and the babies were under a certain weight, I would be sent to the Red Cross hospital anyway.

I then called the prefectural hospital in the city where my in-laws live. Akinori mostly works there, and my in-laws live within walking distance from the hospital. It is definitely not my first choice in hospitals either way, but it is definitely the most convenient in terms of being hospitalized and having people around to look after me and the girls. Although they don’t do an obligatory hospitalization from a certain stage in a twin pregnancy, they have a strict 100% c-section policy. I scratched them off the list right away.

Then I called the Red Cross hospital so I could actually ask my questions. I don’t know why I didn’t just phone them earlier! Anyway, the midwife I spoke to was really kind and friendly and answered my questions honestly (as was the midwife I spoke to at the first hospital, the second one – not so much. I’m just not a fan of that hospital at all.) She told me that they do have a policy to hospitalize mothers of twins at 28 weeks, but if I am adamantly against being hospitalized, as many mothers are, because I have older children, then depending on my and the babies’ condition, it is possible to put off hospitalization until approximately 32 weeks, but I would need to be closely monitored during that time. I said that I didn’t mean to be rude, but to me it seems that being hospitalized would be worse for my health, and she said there is of course a mental stress on the mother, but that really when it gets that late in a twin pregnancy most mothers just realize that they cannot go on with their normal routines any longer, and it is better for them and the babies to stay in the hospital. But she did say that if everything is physically fine, going home on the weekends or for special occasions is an option, and happens all the time. And she said that being hospitalized isn’t all bad. You’re there with other moms of twins and multiples and most people end up making good friends with the other women they are roomed with, plus you have the peace of mind knowing that IF anything should happen, you are already at the hospital. I asked if they induce after a certain date, like how if you are pregnant with 1 baby, hospitals will not let you go past 42 weeks, and she started laughing and said they didn’t induce, but she couldn’t ever recall a mother of multiples getting that far in their pregnancy. She said usually twins make their appearance naturally at around late week 36, early week 37. And if both babies are close in size, facing down, and I make it that far into my pregnancy, they will allow me to deliver naturally. She said if I do need a scheduled c-section it would happen late week 36, early week 37, which is exactly at the borderline for school years.

Akinori thinks an April birthday is better. I’m not so concerned about them being the youngest or oldest in their class, but it seems to me, at this point a 2 year difference between Amelie and the twins would work out so much better financially because of all the discounts you get for having more than one child at the same kindy, etc. If I am completely wrong about this, please tell me. If the minuses totally outweigh what I see as the financial benefit, I want to know! Plus, I guess no matter what we do we will always have 2 children enrolled at the same time, so there will be some kind of discount, right? I digress.

Anyway, after I got off the phone with all of the hospitals, Akinori and I talked about it, and we decided that it would probably be best if I started off at the Red Cross hospital as they have a NICU and if something goes wrong at the other hospital, I will be sent to the Red Cross hospital anyway. Plus, if I really, really hate it, I can always change hospitals later. Nagano is not so crazy overcrowded that finding a hospital to accept you later in a pregnancy is a problem. But after speaking to the midwife I feel lots, lots better about everything. Now the big job is getting the babies here healthy!

The other thing Akinori mentioned to me today, which I had secretly started planning in my head, but wasn’t going to bring it up just yet, was possibly spending a week or two at the midwife clinic after I got discharged from the hospital. Obviously if I am hospitalized for several weeks to months, Akinori will have plenty of practice taking care of the big girls on his own, but taking care of the babies right after being discharged is an overwhelming thought for both of us I think. So he suggested maybe we talk to the midwife and find out if I can stay there for a week or two. I know she offers that type of service, so hopefully the timing and money will all work out. I would feel so much better being released into her care than being sent straight home!

And finally, I have been feeling teeny, tiny baby kicks for a few days now. I know it’s really early, so part of me wonders if that’s what it really is. But I know what a baby kick feels like, and it’s not constant, like when you feel them at 20 weeks or later. I don’t think the babies are big enough or strong enough yet to kick me that hard constantly, but once or twice a day I will feel some butterfly flutters in my stomach that I know aren’t nerves or gas. That’s pretty exciting! 🙂

When I told my homestay sister in Kyushu I was having twins she was so excited and happy for me. Lots of people say “oh wow! what are you going to do?” like I have a choice in the matter. Or, “you must be freaking out”. I would probably say the same thing to someone who told me they were having twins, or I would have before I found out I was pregnant with twins, so I don’t fault anyone for saying that to me. But my homestay sister was just full of pure joy, and she basically said, in a nutshell, we (Akinori and I) are super lucky, because aside from the obvious reasons, we (well mostly me) get to experience being pregnant with and raising twins, and not that many people have a chance to do it, even if they want to. It’s not something you really get to choose, you’re just lucky or you’re not. That really struck a chord with me and I want to document as much of this pregnancy here as possible. Even if I don’t have much to say, I still want to write what’s going on, on a day-to-day basis, just to have this record of such a special experience. I had every intention of doing that with both Sara and Amelie, but we all know how that turned out. Not that their pregnancies or births were any less special or wonderful than this time around, but I swear on my grandmother’s grave this is the last time I am going to be pregnant, so I won’t have the chance to do this again. It’s now or never. So be prepared. This blog is probably going to turn into all twins all the time.


About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

6 responses »

  1. Looking forward to all of the twin posts.

    Glad you could ask the hospitals your questions and see what they all “offer”. I can`t believe that they hospitialize you from as early as 28 weeks….some things seem so odd to me in this country but then again I have nothing but respect for the NICU that cared for Shion and the doctors at that large university hospital. The care was top notch and who knows, he might not of done so well in another country!!!!

    Your host sisters reaction was lovely. You are very lucky. While it might seem overwhelming at times {no doubt} it is still an amazing experience.

    Hope things continue to go well x

    • Thanks for the well wishes Lulu! I’m hoping the babies won’t need the NICU at all, but hopefully if they do, it will be short and the care will be fantastic. How long was Shion in the NICU for?

  2. How exciting that you are feeling movements and so glad that you got some of your questions answered. It must be a relief to have a better idea of what your options are. Nancy Tsurumaki

  3. You know, I feel the same about my baby now. Even when I said my little boy would be our last, I suppose deep down I hadn’t completely ruled out the possibility of a third. But this time, I’m a lot surer and feel that I want to enjoy every single minute. I’m a lot more vigilant at documenting their weight, height, milestones, etc.! Because before I would say, “oh I must remember when that first smile was and write it down,” etc., and then forgot the exact date. Part of me isn’t even sure that this will be looked at again, but it feels nice to write it down straight away nonetheless. I feel a bit sorry for my first child, but then I suppose most Mums feel like that, unless they are super super organised. I also wish that I’d been a Mum of twins. I know it will be hard work for you, but hey, babies ARE hard work, but they are super cute and grow into lovely little people too 😉

    Regarding the daycare, I’m fairly sure it depends on your city and tax bracket. For our city, when H enters primary school in April, as we have a first grader, it means that subsequent children attending kindergarten (public or private), will receive up to 300,000 yen at the END of that school year. So if we kept L in kindergarten, we would have to pay up front first, but the allowance would cover the monthly costs in lieu. This is the same when we have a child in primary school through all grades. All third children are free too, as part of encouraging the birth rate. But it does depend on the city as I said, so you could get that information online.

    Great that you could get answers to your questions and that the Red Cross seem flexible. Look forward to reading more of your twin blog!!

    • That’s a nice chunk of change they give you! I only know about public hoikuen in Nagano, and that is income and tax bracket related. Sara is now at yochien, and there are no public yochien in Nagano, but the city offers a certain sum as a rebate to families under a certain tax bracket. We had to apply for it in May I think? I’m not sure when it gets paid out, but I think we’ll only get about 100,000 yen? But because Sara is in yochien, it still means that Amelie is the 2nd child in daycare when it comes to hoikuen and she is only half price. Akinori mentioned putting her into the 2 year old class at Sara’s yochien, but even with the discount of having 2 children at the yochien at the same time, it would still be crazy expensive. Plus we’re planning on putting Sara into the English program next year which is another added expense as well. Honestly I don’t think we can really afford it, but I know I can increase my income if I really need to. I don’t want to regret not doing this for Sara.

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