Monthly Archives: November 2012

Crash!

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I wish the title referred to my head hitting my pillow. Unfortunately it refers to the front bumper of my car, not so gently touching the rear bumper of the taxi I was driving behind yesterday. I went to pick Sara up from kindy, and she was a nasty, gnarly, tantruming mess who wanted to go the supermarket. I kept asking her what she wanted to buy, and all she would say is “something”. I thought if I drove around for another few minutes she would just fall asleep and take a nap when we got home so I could have a few minutes of peace.

We were driving down a smaller road with traffic completely backed up due to street lamps being changed. They were only allowing traffic to proceed a few cars at a time. We were crawling forward and I looked back to see why Sara had gone quiet so suddenly, and saw she was sleeping, so I made the “sssshhh, be quiet” finger to lips motion to Amelie and turned back around to see the car in front of me stopped. I slammed on the brakes, but the car didn’t quite stop in time and I hit the taxi in front of us. Sara jerked awake and asked what had happened. Amelie was looking around surprised and after seeing that they were both fine, I jumped out of the car to check the damage.

The taxi driver was also getting out of the car and was muttering “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” type things at me, and I said “I was checking on my kids in the back” and he started yelling at me about blaming the children, and I said “I’m not blaming the children. It’s entirely my fault. I’m just telling you why I wasn’t looking in front of me.” We then pulled into a parking lot on the side and he asked for me name and number and address. He had a really bad attitude right from the start. There was no visible damage to the cars, and none to my kids, myself, or to him, from what I could see, but he was on a roll and not about to walk away from the situation for nothing.

He called his company and I was so shaken up I didn’t know what to do so I wrote my address and phone number on the back of one of my business cards and handed it to him, and then he said “let’s go to the police station”. So we went. Sara fell asleep again about 2 minutes after she woke up, so I had to get Amelie, and wake Sara and get them both into the police station somehow. I called Akinori and had him come meet us too. Luckily he was working really nearby.

We were taken into a room and had to present our driver’s licenses and proof of insurance, and give our basic information. While we were sitting in the room, the officer had to step out for a minute and the driver softened up a bit and looked at Sara and Amelie and said they were cute. I should have taken that opportunity to ask him if he was okay, or make some kind of small talk or say something, but I was so scared and so shaken up, and at that point, all I could think was I hope the babies are ok, so I was pretty much silent, which probably appeared very unremorseful to the taxi driver. Akinori showed up while we were still in the room, so he took the kids for me and I finished answering the officer’s questions.

The officer asked if anyone had been hurt and the taxi driver said “I think my neck may hurt.” To which I rolled my eyes because even if he had whiplash, it doesn’t show up 20 minutes after you’ve been hit, it shows up the next day, or the day after. The officer then said that if there is an injury then the accident becomes an accident involving bodily injury, for which the penalties are much more serious. I’m sure the color drained from my face at that point. He said we would have to go take photos of both cars, and then go to the accident site.

The taxi driver was up and running, and I explained to the officer that I’m pregnant, and would like to go to the bathroom to check for bleeding first, to which the officer was very understanding. Luckily there was no blood and I wasn’t feeling any pain, but the seatbelt did pull across my waist at the impact I was still feeling that feeling, though I’m sure it was nothing.

Akinori, the girls and I then went outside to find the driver showing the police officer where he thought I had caused damage to his car, and the officer basically straining to see what the driver was referring to. The officer then came over to our car and took one photo of me with the car, and then of our front bumper. They were trying to find damage on our car, but there was none, and I wasn’t about to strain to look. The officer said our license plate looked bent, but it didn’t look bent to me, and if it was, there is no guarantee it was done in this accident. Akinori and I are both bumping into random inanimate objects all the time. Neither of us could say for sure though if we had actually bumped the license plate against anything in the past or not. It was a very uncomfortable few minutes while we were being asked about it.

We then had to go back to the accident scene. Akinori drove, which I was incredibly grateful for. I was not ready to get back behind the wheel. The taxi driver went in his car, we went in ours and 2 police officers came in a van. They listened to the taxi driver’s version of the story, then mine and worked out that I really was moving at a snail’s pace when the car hit, and they got out of the cab driver at least that he wasn’t jolted forward, but more pushed. He was still complaining about his neck though.

They then separated the cab driver and myself and went over the details of the accident with us each individually. The officer really was extremely kind and understanding. He said because I currently have a gold license, it is very unlikely I will lose any points or be given a monetary penalty, but it is also very likely that the taxi driver will go to the doctor and get some kind of proof of injury and claim physical damage, turning this into an accident with bodily harm, which is a bigger deal than just two cars hitting, with or without damage to the cars. He was very thorough in his explanation and answered all of my questions, and then we were free to go.

When I went back to our car, the other officer was talking small talk with Akinori, saying how if it had been him in the taxi, he just would have driven off without even bothering to go to the police. Apparently he told Akinori, out of earshot from the cab driver, that taxi drivers were the absolute worst to get into accidents with. They claim damages wherever they can, to the car, and to their body. I knew this, but hearing it from a cop, and then again when Akinori called the insurance agent to explain to him what happened, felt extremely overwhelming, and as soon as we were in the car with the doors closed I broke down.

Of course I felt like shit for causing the accident in the first place. But knowing that there are people in the world who will do anything for a few extra yen here and there, and basically at my expense, just made me angry, but feel helpless and defenseless all at the same time. I have no defense. It’s all my fault, so if the taxi driver says he has whiplash, it is my fault, whether he is lying or not. I know that the fact that no one was really hurt is what is most important, and believe me, I am extremely relieved that no one was hurt, but thinking about what didn’t happen, wasn’t  actually making me feel much better about what did yesterday.

Akinori drove us back to the police station, and he had to go back to work. Amelie started crying as he got out of the car because she didn’t want Daddy to leave, and I was crying because I was upset about the whole situation. Sara is pretty good about having sympathy for people who are visibly upset, and she was so sweet with Amelie. In a really soft voice she said “Amelie, daddy has to go back to work and he can’t take us with him because if he did then mommy would be all alone and lonely, so we need to be with mommy now. Daddy will come home from work soon and we can all be together again. It’s okay. Don’t cry. Daddy will come home soon.” Just hearing her talk to Amelie like that made me cry all over again. Amelie passed out about 20 seconds later. I think she was mostly just tired.

We got home a few minutes later, and I think my stomach was hurting from nerves, but it was hurting and that made me nervous and I thought if something did happen to the babies because I didn’t get myself checked out after the accident, I would never forgive myself, so I called Nisseki. I was put onto the midwife who I see at my appointments and she is just so kind that when I told her what happened, I started crying all over again. She told me not to worry, and just to come in. So I took the girls and we went to the hospital.

The dr. I usually see was also at the hospital, so she did an internal and an external ultrasound and everything was fine. Both babies were moving around like mad, which I could feel, so I knew they were okay, but I wanted to be sure. Sara was pretty excited to see the babies for the first time, and the dr. gave us lots of photos and spent a lot of time looking around. I thought maybe she would feel sorry for me and look for their sexes, but no such luck there. She did say that in cases like this they like you to stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored, but I was not up for that, and she didn’t push it, seeing me with both girls. She prescribed some medicine to stop contractions or to keep my stomach from hardening, and said that she wanted me to come back the next day for another check-up just to make sure everything was okay as sometimes nothing happens directly after an accident, but several hours later.

I had a belly dance lesson last night, and another one this morning, which was the main reason I didn’t want to be hospitalized, especially if both babies were alright. I needed to go to my lessons, not just out of a feeling of obligation, which I was definitely feeling, but for my own stress relief. Unfortunately the medicine made me very jittery and nervous which I didn’t like at all. The lesson last night was fine though, and I felt much better afterwards.

Until I got home that is. It was 9:30 and everyone was still in the bath! I want my children asleep at 9:30, not mid-bath! But Akinori told me to go look in the kitchen, where I found one of the glass panes in the kitchen door broken. Apparently Amelie did that with her head. Sara was giving her a piggyback and she slipped and fell and her head bounced against the glass pane breaking it. Miraculously no one was hurt. I guess Akinori tried to korokoro the glass out of Amelie’s hair at first, but then worried about actually pushing glass bits into her head (duh!) and decided to vacuum her head instead, with Sara screaming and crying for him to stop. When the glass first broke, Sara get all saucer-eyed and said she would go get some tape to fix it, according to Akinori. She was very remorseful, unlike Amelie, who thinks everything is a big joke these days.

Next Akinori tells me to go into the living room. While he was cleaning up the glass, he sent the girls into the living room to stay out of trouble. Ha! My mom sent an awesome care package that arrived yesterday. Cute clothes for both girls, stickers, books, and MARKERS. We opened the box together before I went to belly dance. Huge mistake on my part! I put everything back into the box and folded all the clothes neatly, and put all of the books and markers and things like that at the very bottom of the box with strict instructions not to touch the box until I got home.

I went into the living room and the clothes from the box were everywhere. The package of markers that was unopened before I left had been ripped open and caps were off, and there was marker all over the clothes Amelie had been wearing that day. Akinori said it was all over her hands and face too, but they are washable markers so it all came off easily in the tub. Let’s hope the same is true for the clothing!

I was very torn between going to bed and working on a proofreading project that was due today, but yesterday was just so taxing, I decided bed was best. The morning started out okay. Amelie and Sara went off to daycare and kindy respectively with very little trouble. No tears, no fighting. Nothing short of a miracle these days. Next was my belly dance lesson. The medicine for my stomach had just started to kick in and I was super jittery and feeling awful, so I told the ladies in my class about the events of the previous day and they were so sympathetic and understanding and kind, and it felt really nice to have that kind of support. I mentioned that I was thinking I should go to the taxi company with sweets for the driver, as that tends to be the custom here, and I was reminded of that last night by awesome Facebook friends, and they agreed that would be a good idea, but recommended I take Akinori so that no one at the taxi company feels like it’s okay to abuse me any further.  I asked them what kind of sweets I should bring, and they said “Anything, but considering the taxi driver’s attitude, preferably something that tastes bad. Or maybe you could make some cookies yourself and mix the batter with your toes.” Too funny! That really made me laugh.

After the lesson I called Akinori to see if he could go with me, but he said it would be fine if I went by myself. No one would be mean and to hurry up and go before too much time passed. I started crying again. Just thinking about the whole thing really upsets me.

I had a quick lunch at Starbuck’s, then went to get Sara, and we went back to the hospital for another check-up. Same internal and external exam. Everything was fine and the doctor spent lots of time looking at the babies again, and even let Sara have a go at waving the ultrasound wand over my belly to look at the babies where she wanted to. Sara wanted to take a picture of the babies, so the doctor took a picture when Sara said “here”. Unfortunately it’s basically just a blur since Sara never really stopped moving the wand. Still no idea on the sexes. I did find out that I will get a detailed anatomy scan probably at my next appointment. Yeah! Although that makes me super nervous. What if something is wrong with one of the babies? I know I shouldn’t worry about that now, but really, what pregnant woman doesn’t worry about that kind of thing?

Yesterday both babies were head down, but today one was head down and one was breech. The doctor felt it was her responsibility for some reason to tell me that if the babies are in that position later on, it will mean a c-section. I found that really upsetting. They’re still so small that I’m sure they are changing position several times a day. I really didn’t want to hear that I may need a c-section, especially since lately I am more and more dead set against one, unless it is an emergency situation. The check-up had been so pleasant until that point. At the least the babies were okay.

We go to pay and Sara decides she wants juice. I tell her she can have juice if she puts her coat on. Major breakdown. She doesn’t want to put her coat on. She wants juice. No coat. No juice. Very simple. We finally get the coat on, get the juice and go back to the car. Now she can’t do her seatbelt by herself. At this point the lunch time dose of tummy medication was kicking in and I was feeling pretty awful, coupled with the fact that our next stop was the taxi company, and knowing that I had a 6p.m. deadline on an 11 page proofreading project I had yet to start and it was already 2:15. I was not impressed with Sara’s, at all! I reached around from the front seat to put Sara’s belt on her, and explained that pretty soon my stomach was going to be too big to help her with her seatbelt, at which she got all wide-eyed and started to ask “You’re stomach’s going to be too big? Then the babies are going to come? The babies are coming soon?” I couldn’t stay angry after that. She looked so surprised. Her eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger as she waited for my response. So I laughed and said the babies weren’t coming for a while still, but  my stomach was going to get too big way before they came. I wasn’t sure if her eyes got wide because she did want the babies to come and was excited, or didn’t want the babies to come and was in a panic, so I asked if she wanted the babies to come and she burst into tears again. Yes she wanted the babies to come. Aren’t they going to come? Blubber blubber blubber.  She was asleep before we left the parking lot.

I went to get the sweets to give the taxi driver and just after I got back into the car after buying them Akinori called to ask if I had gone to the taxi company yet.  I told him I hadn’t and he said “you don’t really have to go. The insurance agent just called to tell me the driver is going to the doctor today. What’s the point?” So I told him I should go anyway. Even if the taxi driver gets a dr.’s note, if we do things the “right” way, maybe he won’t turn it into the police. Akinori agreed with me, but the conversation really upset me again, and once again I was in tears. Akinori also said that the insurance agent told him to tell me not to worry about any of it anymore. It’s done and they’ll take care of it from here on in, and that I should just concentrate on giving birth to healthy babies. More tears.

I get myself together before going into the taxi company, but as soon as the Managing Director comes out to meet me (he came to the accident scene yesterday after the driver called him) I burst into tears again. I really wanted to handle the whole thing better, but I am so not in any kind of emotional state to be dealing with this. I blubbered out that I was very, very sorry for everything that happened, and my biggest concern was that the driver was okay. The Director said the driver had been to work in the morning, but went to the doctor in the afternoon just to get his neck checked out. He was really, really kind and said that it’s not like taxi drivers never cause accidents, so he understands what it’s like to be the cause of the accident as well as the victim and not to be too hard on myself, just to be careful driving, and that he would pass on the sweets and my concern for the driver’s safety to the driver and that they would be leaving everything up to the insurance company from here on in, so we wouldn’t be getting any harassing phone calls or anything, so not to worry about that. I apologized again for crying and said that I was again very sorry, but I just wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I had actually hurt the driver. I guess I will get a notice from the police station telling me if I caused the driver bodily harm or not. That’s certainly a notice I don’t mind waiting to receive. I just want to put the whole episode behind me and never think about it again.

Sara and I came home afterward and I started working on the proofreading project, and realized there was no way it would get finished in the 2 hours before it was due, so I called the translation company and explained what happened, and said I would try to get it to them by 9 p.m. Sara had another tantrum about going to get Amelie, and wanting to stay home and play with stickers instead. We finally managed to get out of the house, and when I went to pick up Amelie I told them we would accept the spot from February. Now I have to call the other place and say we don’t need a spot there anymore. I hate making those calls, but at least it’s just a simple phone call. No gift-giving, no begging, no groveling, no need for anymore tears.

Akinori thankfully came home soon after we did, so I was able to concentrate on getting my work done more or less. He did the whole dinner thing all on his own and let me work, and then let me go in the kitchen to work and eat, while he watched the children in the living room. The noise from the living room eventually died out and I knew everyone had gone to sleep finally. That was when I decided it was safe to come back into the living room. I am not off to bed myself, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the last two days have been the very worst that I will have to deal with for a long, long, looooong time!

I’m 19 weeks today, by the way, so I’ll leave you with my belly shot from this morning. Good night!

My Guardian Angel

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I have been the recipient of a random act of kindness. I have posted here and on my Facebook status about suffering from heartburn. Some incredibly kind person decided to order TUMS for me from the States. There was no return address on the package except for the store that it was purchased from, and there was no invoice inside the package so I can only assume that whomever thought to do this kind act for me wishes to remain anonymous. I really wish I could thank them personally, but I know that they either read my blog or are my Facebook friend, so all I can do is thank them here and on Facebook. Whomever you are, THANK YOU! I really appreciate it! What a kind thing to do for someone! I feel almost guilty that someone would do something so nice for me. I don’t know what I did to deserve to be on the receiving end of such a nice gesture, but I feel very, very lucky! Really, thank you, whomever you are!

Not much to report on the pregnancy front. I feel lots of movement going on. That’s fun! I wish Akinori and the girls could feel it from the outside already, but soon enough. I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my last appointment! It seems like it was yesterday. And I can’t believe I still have 2 weeks to go until my next appointment. I really, really, REALLY hope we can find out the sexes. I am dying to know already!

Here are my the ultrasound photos from my appointment last week when I was 17 weeks and 5 days. Both babies were head down and their little heads were together. It was so cute!

 

Hospital Appointment and stuff

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Tuesdays are always crazy busy around here because they start out with making Sara’s bento. Mornings are crazy busy to begin with, but bento days always seem so much busier even if I don’t spend anymore than 20 minutes actually making it. Twice a month Sara does a gymnastics class at kindy that is also on Tuesdays, and yesterday was such a day, which means that if we all woke up at the normal time, and I had to make a bento, we would almost guaranteed be late for her gymnastics class. So I asked Akinori to wake me early because he said he was going to get up at 5 to print out the mochu hagaki (postcards to let everyone we would ordinarily exchange New Year’s cards with know that we are in mourning this year and can’t give or receive such cards). Except he overslept as well and we all got of bed even later than usual. Fan-freaking-tastic! Not only because Sara would be late, but because I had a check-up at the hospital at 9:30, and Sara being late meant that I would be late too. But luckily a super mom and was able to get everyone fed, dressed, ready and out of the house just in the nick of time.

Got Sara through the kindy gates and Amelie and I ran to the hospital, planning our arrival for 9:30 turned out to be a huge mistake since the parking lot is always full and there is a line of cars waiting to get in. I thought I would just use a different parking lot because all those people waiting just wanted to park close to the hospital, but it turned out that every parking lot (that I know of) in the area had a line coming out waiting. Nisseki has been around here for many, many years. Why on earth is there parking situation so awful?

I can’t remember what time we finally made it inside, but it was definitely after 10. First order of business was peeing in a cup. Luckily, I am able to pee at the drop of a hat (or a sneeze, or a laugh, or a cough) these days, so that was no problem. Next was weight and blood pressure. Blood pressure was fine, but my weight had gone up nearly 3 kgs since my last appointment, which was only 3 weeks ago! I was even shocked to see how much weight I gained. (That damn trip to Costco!) But surprisingly, neither the midwife nor the doctor gave me much shit about my weight. The midwife said “Well you’re not Asian, and most foreign women tend to gain somewhere around 20kgs., plus you’re having twins, but let’s try to keep it in check”. I was prepared to be read the riot act. She then asked if I had any questions or concerns and of course I am still concerned about being hospitalized and giving birth naturally, but when I thought about my current condition, aside from the still persistent morning sickness 😦 and heartburn, I feel amazingly healthy and well. I have finally found my second trimester energy spurt, and it feels good!

Next was the ultrasound. Both babies are head down at the moment, but they are still so tiny  I’m sure they’ll flip around plenty before the big day, but it was really cute to see their two heads together on the screen. I will scan the ultrasound photos later and post them. Strong heartbeats, practically the same exact size. Stomachs where they should be. Everything looks good. I asked about the sex, of course, but the tech wouldn’t even look! She just said “Not until at least week 20.” I’m assuming because it’s so easy to make a mistake at this stage, and because I think their equipment is pretty old and possibly not as sensitive as a newer machine. I did catch a glimpse of one baby’s crotch though. I have my own idea about what I saw, but I’m keeping it to myself for now 🙂

Finally I saw the doctor. She wanted to do an internal to confirm that my cervix was still tightly closed, and it is. A whole 5 cm between the babies and the rest of the world! When you think about that literally it makes me sound like a whore. I assure you, that’s not what I meant. The dr. still felt it necessary to remind me that I would be hospitalized sometime between 28 and 32 weeks, possibly earlier is something happened to warrant it. All that talk kind of goes in one ear and out the other right now. I am confident I can survive without being hospitalized and that my babies won’t come before 35 weeks and that I can deliver them naturally. I know that things can change at the drop of a hat. And of course, in an emergency situation I have no intention of putting up a fight. But I just have a feeling that these babies will cooperate and let me help them make their entrance into the world. 🙂 And because the babies and I are fighting fit, the next appointment is once again in three weeks rather than two! Fingers crossed that means there are only 3 weeks until we know their genders!

After my appointment Amelie and I ran home for a record-breaking quickie lunch and then we were off again for her 1.5 year cattle call well baby check up. She will be 1 year 10 months at the end of the month, but the checks here in Nagano at least, are a few months after what they are titled, if that makes sense. Amelie is so tiny I was worried she had slipped off the chart, but it turns out that she is smack dab in the middle for height, and not for 1.5 years, but for her proper age, and just a bit on the low side for weight, which is fantastic. I was sure she was off-the-charts skinny. I was so relieved to see she is nearly 10 kgs. She was just under 9 FOREVER! People born with her arm condition sometimes have other accompanying growth problems and the fact that she had to wear braces on her legs from 6-8 months of age didn’t do anything to ease my fears, but the check yesterday did. Those cattle call health checks are a pain, but they are useful! The doctor also said that her fine motor skills and vocabulary are way ahead, so there is probably nothing at all to worry about, as at this stage those are where the major hints lie.

And here we are a day later. I WILL finish writing this post tonight!

After Amelie’s health check we went shopping for dinner supplies. I told Amelie I would buy her a juice while we were in the store because she absolutely hates shopping and if we’re in a store longer than 15 minutes she will guaranteed nut out and beg to be carried around, and at this stage in the game, I just cannot do that. Anyway, we went to the juice aisle and she chose an apple juice, and as I was putting it in the basket, she pointed at the juices on the shelves and kept saying “Sara! Sara! Sara!” I tried to walk away from the aisle, but she kept yelling “Sara! Juice! Sara! Juice!” It nearly made me cry (it’s the hormones!) that she thinks about her sister even she’s not around and wanted me to buy a juice for Sara too. I love that my girls love each other so much.

Nothing else too exciting to report. I don’t know why I couldn’t finish this post last night, but since I didn’t and I’m writing now, I might as well write about the last two days. Yesterday I had to go and listen to some kind of tax talk for the family business. Apparently, if you attend, you get a sticker to put on your tax forms and it gives you some sort of advantage when doing your taxes. I have no idea really, but someone from the company has to attend every year, and it’s easiest for me to go, so I put Amelie in daycare for the day and spent the morning playing on my cell phone while some tax specialists spoke for an hour and a half. Then I had the rest of the day to myself! I had a lovely lunch at a nearby cafe, and then came home to clean!

First order of business was putting away the letter and number foam tiles on the living room floor and replacing them with the hot carpet. Sounds easy enough, but while they get vacuumed semi-regularly, we only vacuum the tops, and the floor underneath, we don’t vacuum the underside of the tiles and they were filthy! I vacuumed and wiped down each one individually before putting it away. It took about an hour. Next was attacking the toys and getting rid of all the crap plastic freebie toys from various restaurants and the 100 yen bits and pieces my in-laws give the girls. I put them all in a plastic bag, tied it tight and threw it away in the kitchen garbage, feeling confident that they would stay in there. I try to throw away crap toys once in a while. A few at a time. And somehow, they magically find their way out of the garbage each and every time! It pisses me off to no end. I don’t know how the whole situation goes down because they make their reappearance when I’m not around, but Akinori is. So I don’t know if he’s pulling them out, or Sara is, but someone is and the supposed adult in the situation is not putting down a firm foot and telling the child to leave them in the garbage!

Anyway, cleaning was done and I was exhausted. I thought I might get some sewing in, but I was so tired I just wanted a nap, and so I did. I went to get the girls, from daycare and kindy, came home, and later in the evening I went to my belly dance lesson. I come home a bit after 9, and the girls are still awake 😦 but even worse, the damn bag of crap toys I had thrown out is sitting on the kitchen table!!!! Akinori claims that Sara found it in the garbage can when she went to through out her orange peel. WTF?! Even if that is true, why on earth would he let her take the damn bag out of the garbage?! It is still sitting on the kitchen table and Sara keeps saying she will take better care of her toys so I should throw those away and please, please, please can she have them back? FML! Next order of business, hiding the bag until garbage day and then throwing them out MYSELF!

Today was a pretty big day too. I took Amelie to daycare and then Sara to kindy, where I turned in her English immersion class application. If there are more than 22 applicants at the end of today, they will do a drawing to choose the 22 members of the class. We’ll find out how many applicants there were on Monday, but I ran into one of the English teachers on my way to pick Sara up at the end of the day and she said there were only about 15 or 16 applicants, so I am hopeful that we are in for next year. Yeah!

On the way back to the parking lot I was walking behind a small group of moms from the nen-cho (5 and 6 year old) class, and they were jabbering away animatedly, and then I passed them up, and all of a sudden their voices got hushed and low and they started speaking in whispers. I have no way of knowing if they were talking about me, but I can guess that they were. And honestly, I don’t care what they were saying, good or bad. But really, are we in high school? Just plain rude. Silly women! I really don’t care about these women at all, and whatever they were saying does not affect me in the least, but the action itself I find so immature, and it makes me wonder what these women teach their children. Blergh!

I went and taught my belly dance lesson at the culture center, and I had a talk with the center manager after my lesson about the way they pay me. I hadn’t realized when I signed the contract with them that they pay per month, but the monthly salary is based on the number of students signed up at the very first lesson. At the very first Wednesday lesson there were 9 students signed up, at the 2nd lesson there were 11 and by the 3rd lesson there were 13 students. That means my salary for October, November and December is based on 9 students. Even if I just completely discounted October as a write-off, the amount of money an extra 4 students would bring me over 2 months, is substantial and I felt it wasn’t really fair that the center was getting the students’ money, but I wasn’t getting anything for teaching them. I mentioned this a few weeks ago when I received my first pay stub and figured out the payment system. The manager finally had time today to talk with me about it and agreed to pay me for the number of students signed up per month, which is great news. However, if students drop out, I have to take that loss as well. But that only seems fair to me. I don’t really want to get money for work I’m not doing, but I definitely do want to be paid for work I am doing. Definitely a much better deal this way I think. So that was a bit of good news.

I then came home and treated myself to another lovely cafe lunch. As much as I want to build the house of my dreams, I will be really sad to leave the area we live in now. It’s such a nice area, and there aren’t many in Nagano. In fact, this may be the only one. We are very lucky to be so near the heart of the city and lots of trendy cafes and shops. Ah well, I’m enjoying it while it lasts! And lunch was soooo yummy! I then came home and did some work on one of the baby quilts. I am definitely not a quilter. Quilting is boring. Sorry quilters out there. Quilting is boring. And this quilt in particular is far more work than I imagined it would be. I am 1/3 finished with 1 quilt. I am really looking forward to finishing! Hopefully I can finish them both by the end of December. That’s the goal anyway.

I went to pick up Amelie then, and the daycare head also had a bit of good news for me. She said they will have an opening in Amelie’s class from February if we want to take it. I mentioned that I was worried about putting Amelie in daycare full time at the same time I may have to go into the hospital and she kind of laughed at me and said Amelie will have absolutely no trouble whatsoever adapting. I know she’s right too. Amelie absolutely LOVES going to daycare. There are never any tears and she is so excited to see the teachers when we get there, before we even get out of the car she’s screaming “Sensei! Sensei! Sensei!” She runs straight into the teacher’s arms, and when I come to pick her up, she runs at me and gives me a big, huge hug, but then doesn’t want to leave. I think if we were to send her to the other, far away daycare, she might need some time to get used it and the teachers and students, but she knows this place and the teachers and she loves it, and they love her. The head teacher said that the teachers would love to have Amelie in the class full time too, but obviously it’s up to us. If we’re dead set on putting her in daycare from January, we’ll just transfer in April, but if we can wait until February, then she has a place. I told Akinori about it when he got home, and he was like “Why are you even asking me? Obviously let’s take the spot from February.” In the end, I know that’s the easiest and best thing to do, but honestly I was looking forward to having my days to myself from January.

I know it’s just another month, but considering I won’t have long after that before I have no time to myself, not to mention no sleep, days without out showering, little people attached to my body full time, etc. etc. I was really looking forward to having some peaceful days on my own first. I guess now I just really have to make sure I don’t get hospitalized before week 32, so I can manage at least 1 month of freedom. Don’t get me wrong though. I am really looking forward to having newborns again. I love having newborns! But I love having time to myself too and I won’t get this chance again for a looooong time. I want to take advantage of it while I can!

I’ll leave you with the photo I took of my belly this morning. I’m 18 weeks today. I was thinking there’s probably about 20 weeks or so to go. As fast as these last 14 weeks have gone (because I didn’t know I was pregnant the first 4), thinking there is just as much time ahead as has already passed makes it seem far away. 

17 weeks -or- Having second thoughts

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This was started Friday night and finished Saturday afternoon.

I can’t believe it’s only been a week and a day since I last posted. Two months ago that would have been a great blogging pace for me, but now so much goes on every single day I really need to post at least two or three times a week if I’m going to keep up with this pregnancy. So I guess I’ll just go over the last week and write what I can remember, and hopefully all of my current troubles and worries and little happinesses will unfold as I go.

Friday started out with me taking Amelie for her MMR shot and getting a flu shot for myself. I knew she needed 2 more follow-up shots as well, and the doctor said she could have one of those that day, so she did 2 vaccines that day,  1 in each arm. She screamed bloody murder when the doctor listened to her chest and looked down her throat, but when he stuck the needle in her arm, not a peep. My child is weird. But I was proud of her. I had forgotten how much the flu shot hurts though. Not the getting it part, but the few days after. Is it just me? Next up is Sara’s 2nd Japanese encephalitis that we have to do sometime in the next week, and Amelie goes back again next month for her 2nd MMR and 1 other follow-up. Then flu shots for both girls. When Sara started daycare she came home with a new illness each week. I’m guessing Amelie will too. A cold I can deal with, the flu I cannot. And I want to get Sara vaccinated before the flu goes rampant at kindy.

The following day Akinori had a very rare Saturday off. So we decided to drive out to the IKEA and Costco in Shin-Misato and do some shopping that we totally cannot afford. We wanted to leave the house around 9 to get there around noon. We left at 11. Oops. The girls, especially Amelie, did not enjoy the long drive out there. Sara was ready to go home the minute we got there. Fun times. We’re trying to figure out the bed situation for when the twins get here. We have a crib that has gone practically unused by either of our children. Sara has a big girl bed, that has thus far gone practically unused. I co-slept with both girls when they were babies, which I loved, but sleeping with toddlers drives me nuts! I really need to have uninterrupted sleep, or I am an evil bitch the next day. So now Akinori and the girls sleep on two futons in the middle of the kid’s room between Sara’s bed and Amelie’s crib. No one sleeps in a bed except for me. I would love for Akinori to come back and sleep in bed with me but for now, this situation, although not ideal, works for us. However Akinori swears up, down, left, right and center if we get this bed for the girls, with Sara on top and Amelie on a mattress on the bottom (but most likely tucked in next to Sara), they will sleep in a bed on their own. He suggests we take the crib down and bring it back to his parents’ house and use Sara’s bed, next to our bed, for the twins. I’m not necessarily opposed to this idea. But spending lots of money on new beds for everyone is kind of low on my list of priorities at the moment. There are so many other things we will need to spend money on in the near future. And part of me thinks Akinori just wants to live vicariously through his children, which is why he loves spoiling them so much. Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely not economical.

After IKEA we went to Costco. I so wish we had one close to us. I bought a membership when the one in Amagasaki opened 10 years ago or so, but I was single and I didn’t have a car and I didn’t have a lot of money at the time, and it always seemed like a waste. I ended up never going again aside from the time I bought the membership. How was I supposed to consume an entire container or whatever, of whatever it was I bought? And how was I going to get it all home without a car anyway? I was never really interested in Costco again after that until I went with my Kyushu family over the summer. All of a sudden buying in bulk seemed like a great idea, now that I have a family of my own, and things were so cheap and they were from home! The nearest Costco to us is in Maebashi, about 1.5 to 2 hours away, but now that we’re members, hopefully we’ll get out there at least once a month or once every two months.

Sunday was a total wash. We did NOTHING. Well Akinori was showered and dressed by noon, but I didn’t get out of my pajamas until about 7p.m. and that was only because I forgot I had a private belly dance lesson I had to go teach at 7:30. Came home around 9, got right back into my pajamas.

On Monday, I went to an orientation for Nagano city’s Family Support Center. Basically it’s an NPO that fits people who need babysitters together with babysitters. Both babysitters and people who need them have to go through an orientation. People who need babysitters only have to sit through an hour talk. Babysitters have to go through a week of training, including first-aid, which is kind of reassuring knowing that your babysitter knows first-aid. The people who sign up as babysitters have to be at least 20 years old, so it’s not teenagers looking after your kids either. In the States, you just ask your neighbor’s teenage kids to look after yours. In Japan though, that’s not the case. Grandparents are pretty much the only acceptable form of babysitters. Parents of young children don’t go on dates. The end. The reason I signed up wasn’t so that Akinori and I could go on a date though. It was more because I just want to have all our bases covered for the next several months. If for some reason Akinori or I can’t go and pick up the girls from daycare or kindy, we can ask one of these babysitters. If for some reason, while I am hospitalized Akinori can’t leave work in time to get Sara from kindy, he can call one of these babysitters. It’s just nice to have insurance, not that I think we’ll actually need them. I mean, he works for his dad, and his parents are always more than accommodating and helpful with our situation.

After the meeting Amelie and I went out to lunch which was nice. Amelie was relatively well-behaved and by the time she was ready to nut out, I was finished eating and we left and went next door to the fabric store. Yeah! I found this quilt on Pinterest ages ago. The blog with instructions can no longer be accessed, but luckily the instructions were super simple, and instructions for puff quilts are all over the web. I decided I wanted to make one for each of my new babies. At first I thought about buying fabric at IKEA, and while they have some great fabric, I was having a lot of trouble picturing any of it as *my* quilt, especially as I wanted two different, but similar patterns. I was able to find some fabric I liked at the fabric store though using the same colors with 2 different patterns. Amelie read my mind and knew that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the fabric so she took a nice long nap for me when we got home and I began cutting straight away. According to my measurements, and the size of quilt I want to make, it would take 100 squares of the top fabric and 100 squares of the bottom fabric for each quilt. I had all of the top squares cut out and a good portion of the bottom squares all cut out on Monday night. I was congratulating myself on actually calculating correctly and buying the appropriate amount of each fabric for once in my life, when I realized I hadn’t. I was cutting out the bottom fabric squares in the wrong size, which meant the 200 top squares I had already cut out were all in the wrong size. FUCK ME! Not to worry. I had a bit of a think and calculated again and decided to add a row of puffs around the outer edge of each quilt making it 12 x 12 instead of 10 x 10, and in the end only a bit smaller than originally planned. Here is a photo of one of the layouts for one of the quilts.

The other quilt uses the exact same colors and fabrics except the patterned fabrics have a different pattern on them, if that makes sense. Today I started sewing the fronts and backs together and stuffing a few of them. One row is entirely stuffed and 3 puffs are sewn together. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Tuesday was an eventful day, and really this is where the second thoughts bit comes in. The midwife clinic where I gave birth to Amelie had their monthly event, and I was actually able to go for once, so I did. I love going there! I love any excuse to go there. It’s such a warm, loving , friendly, happy place. It really is the perfect place for babies to be born. I couldn’t imagine bringing a child into a more welcoming, homey atmosphere. There were about 15 moms who came and the topic was “birth stories”. Most of the women I had met before, some while they were still pregnant and it was lovely to see their new, tiny babies and to hear everyone’s birth stories. Not everyone gave birth at the clinic. Some women couldn’t for one reason or another and ended up going to a bigger hospital to give birth. Some women cried while telling their stories, and being the hormone charged, pregnant, mess that I am, I cried right along with them. Lots of laughing too and just general warm fuzzies.

I had a chance to talk to the midwife alone at one point and told her about my experience so far at Nisseki, and how I called the hospital where she used to work ages ago and they said I’d have to have a c-section if I gave birth there, and how I also talked to the hospital I went to with her when I was pregnant with Amelie. She said that she thinks I’d have a better chance at giving birth naturally at the hospital I went to with her, called Shinonoi. I said I was worried about what if something did go wrong and they sent me to Nisseki anyway. She said they wouldn’t send me to Nisseki, they would send me to the Children’s Hospital. The Children’s Hospital, however, is about an hour or more away from our house. If I *needed* to be hospitalized and I was sent to Nisseki, Akinori and the girls could at least visit me every day. If I was sent to the Children’s Hospital, I’m not sure how often they would be able to come aside from weekends. But the midwife was like “You are healthy, and you’ve had two  healthy births, nothing is going to happen to you or your babies.” It made me feel good that she’s so confident, but really, who knows? She also mentioned that she was worried that Nisseki insists I be hospitalized at all, regardless of whether or not it is necessary. The stuff she mentioned is exactly what I am worried about, that hospitalizing me unnecessarily will actually take away all of my strength, so that when it comes time to give birth, I won’t be as physically fit to do it, and that itself may lead to a c-section.

I understand that Nisseki, and most big hospitals are concerned about guaranteeing the health of mother and babies, not necessarily how the babies get here. They make safe choices and present them as the only choice. What I loved about the midwife clinic, and Shinanoi hospital is that they understand how the babies get here is also really important. Maybe not to everyone, but definitely to me. I just don’t want to be told what to do and expected to obey because that’s what patients do, regardless of whether it is actually in their best interests or not, or it is rather in the best interests of the doctor and hospital.  I don’t want to be told that my babies need to come out at 32 weeks via c-section just because it’s easier to monitor them on the outside.

So I’m thinking I’ll stay at Nisseki for now and see how the next few appointments go and what the doctors and midwives tell me, and if I’m really unhappy with the care I’m getting there, I will talk to the midwife again and ask her to help me change hospitals. I think for now that’s probably the best plan of action. I don’t want to get myself all worked up over nothing if there is nothing to get worked up about and Nisseki is actually willing and able to provide me with the care that I want. Anyway, Tuesday gave me a lot of food for thought and once again reassured me that I can always go back to the midwife clinic for advice and support. I feel so lucky to have someplace like that to go to! I know it is the exception rather than the norm here.

Wednesday was rainy and cold and awful but I still took Amelie to the weekly class we go to at the kindy. We were going on a field trip that day, and the weather was awful, tempting me to just stay home with her, but we went anyway. I really need to get myself out of the house, and of course Amelie, which is the whole reason I signed us up for the classes in the first place. Amelie always takes a good long nap afterward as well, and I used that time to cut out more fabric squares for my quilt.

Akinori had Thursday and Friday off this week. Sara also had Thursday off for some kind of research day for the teachers at her kindy. Amelie goes to daycare on Thursdays because I teach belly dance in the mornings, so I had asked if they could take Sara too the previous week, not knowing Akinori would have the day off. Sara was not happy about going, and Akinori was having all sorts of guilt about sending her. If Akinori wasn’t going to be home, I had planned on picking Sara only up after my belly dance lesson and spending the afternoon with her, just the two of us, but since Akinori was going to be home I decided that having time for just the two of *us*, Akinori and myself, was far more rare and precious, and that Sara would stay at daycare for the day. After my belly dance lesson, Akinori and I went out for a really lovely lunch at one of the fancier restaurants in Nagano, but they have a great lunch deal, and it’s also within walking distance from our house. He was feeling pretty guilty, but it was the first time in nearly 2 years that we were able to have a meal alone and not feel pressured by time, and have a really nice, uninterrupted conversation. When we got home, he had errands he needed to run, and I was able to cut out the rest of the fabric for the quilt. He went to pick up the girls for me too. And it was just a lovely day from start to finish really.

Friday I had to go to the kindy for an orientation about the English immersion class that we want to put Sara in next year. It’s only offered from year 2 at kindy, and only at the kindy that Sara attends. There are 22 spots, and last year there were 25 applicants, and so they ended up drawing names. In the past priority was given to kids whose older brothers or sisters had gone through the program, but last year they did away with giving priority to anyway and made it strictly luck of the draw, which I can understand BUT I think our situation is a little different than any of the other applicants. We use English at home. I use it with the girls solely (or at least I try, although I find Japanese slips in much more often than it should), and Sara refuses to speak to me in English, despite being able to understand 80% of what I say. Lately, she’s taken to saying “日本語では?” (“What does that mean in Japanese?”)When I know she really doesn’t understand I give her some clues in Japanese, but lately I try to persist with English only. Anyway, the fact that she is incapable of having a conversation with her American grandparents makes me incredibly sad, as it does them. I don’t usually like to kick up a fuss, but after a lot of deliberation I decided to mention to the kindy head that I think maybe our situation is different and possibly deserves priority placement if it comes down to drawing names. Basically he said he understood, but as a rule, no priority will be given, but he will take what I had to say into consideration. At least I said it. If it comes down to drawing names from a hat, and we don’t get chosen, at least I know I have said my piece. If I hadn’t I would feel like I hadn’t done everything I could, and this is something really important to me. We turn in the application on Thursday next week, and find out Monday if all the places were filled or there were more applicants than places available. Fingers crossed!

After that I went to a maternity yoga class at the yoga studio I went to when I was pregnant with both Sara and Amelie. It was the first social interaction I had with anyone other than my husband or his family after I moved to Nagano. I made friends there that I am still friends with now. Yet another place that gives me warm fuzzies just by being there. The only bad thing about the place is that it is right next door to the dance studio that gave me such a headache when I was pregnant with Amelie. You can read about all that here and in the following two posts. I was a little worried I might come face to face with them, but I didn’t, and they have frosted their windows since I was last there so we wouldn’t be able to see each other unless they were just going in or out of the studio anyway. Yeah!

The yoga lesson itself was great. I felt so relaxed I actually fell asleep during the last relaxation pose. I thought I might feel baby kicks, but that didn’t really start until I started writing this post last night. Right baby started going nuts last night and hasn’t really stopped at all since. Left baby gives a few kicks now and again, but Right baby is just going wild in there. I can’t wait to see them again on Tuesday!

In other pregnancy news I have heart burn pretty bad and it sucks. 😦 I was hoping to find Tums at Costco last weekend, but they didn’t carry it. I was kind if hopeful as I looked online first at a site that shops and Costco for you and then ships you the stuff, so anyone living in Japan can actually shop at Costco, and it was on their site. Maybe I’ll go back and buy some from that site, although it was kind of ridiculously expensive. Maybe my mom can send me a few bottles. I need to ask her to do that before the heart burn gets any worse!

And I think that brings us up to date on all home and pregnancy matters. I’ll try to post more often this week, but I know that part of the reason I don’t post is because I debate in my head sitting in front of the computer vs. sitting in front of the sewing machine and the sewing machine is winning right now 🙂 I hope I have something nice to show for it soon!

Here’s my 17 week belly pic!

16 weeks, belly pic, more grateful

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I’m 16 weeks today. Yippee! Started out the first morning of month 5 (!!!) by gagging on my toothbrush, as I have everyday of this pregnancy so far, but this time I didn’t get the toothbrush out in time, and ended up dry heaving and finally vomiting up stomach acid, over and over and over again. Sorry for the TMI, but this is my pregnancy log, and I want to remember everything, even the gross stuff.

Today I also major baby action, from both babies. Until now, I was pretty sure I was feeling baby flutters, but today was undeniable. I am definitely feeling my babies move. Left baby as been a lot more active in ultrasounds and up until now and that was the one I felt really breakdancing today. And then a little later on Right baby decided to let me know (s)he was there too. My friend N was kind enough to loan me her home doppler that she used when she was pregnant with her little one, so we pull it out every other day or so. The girls love it, but they mostly want me to put it up to their own chests so they can hear their own hearts beating. Tonight when we came home from kindy though Sara said “Mommy, let’s listen to the babies”. It was really sweet. Of course her true motive is to listen to her own heartbeat, but the moment was sweet. Amelie pats her own tummy and says “baby, baby” when she wants me to put the doppler on her. Sara explained to her that she didn’t have a baby in her tummy, only Mommy and Sara had babies in their tummies. We’re still working on that one.

I realize the photo I tried to post a few posts ago of me pregnant with Sara didn’t actually show up, and I was able to get a decent shot last night at my belly dance lesson, so here are the two photos together.

16 weeks

Left: 15 weeks 6 days with twins Right: 16 weeks with Sara

I don’t think I look much different now, compared to when I was pregnant with Sara at 16 weeks. Actually I think belly dancing is preventing my stomach from popping, if that makes sense. Even when not pregnant my belly may not look like much. I don’t have a ripped 6-pack, and I’ve got a nice little paunch of feminine fat on my lower tummy, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got some fairly solid core muscles. There’s a mom at the kindy whose due date is 2 days before mine, and she’s a little bigger than I am. She said that with #1 her muscles tore and her stomach really popped out quite early and she was huge throughout her pregnancy, so she’s worried about how big she’ll get during this one. That’s when it kind of clicked in my head that maybe belly dancing is what is preventing me from having the baby belly I want. Ah well, the sacrifices we make, aye?

And about being grateful, I was looking at a multiples pregnancy forum today and women were talking about how much their twin births cost them in the U.S. HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!! Mothers who had babies in the NICU for a month paid somewhere around $100,000 per baby!!!!!! People were talking about how insurance covered after their $4500 deductible, but then they had more medical emergencies the following year and were in medical debt hell trying to pay off all of their medical bills, and this is WITH insurance. I am so freaking grateful I live in a country with nationalized health insurance I don’t even know where to begin. I started to cry while reading the thread, and had to stop reading. I started to imagine what it would be like to give birth in the States and became so sad. I don’t want to get political on my blog, or anywhere really, but I was very pleased with yesterday’s election outcome and I have my fingers crossed that more healthcare reform is in America’s near future.

Today is the one day a week Amelie goes to daycare all day because I teach belly dance in the mornings. My lesson finishes at 11:30, so I have several hours to myself, and I LOVE it! Today I went to Starbuck’s, had a sandwich and coffee while browsing the internet and Facebook on my phone, then went home, tidied up a bit, threw a load of laundry on and then sat in front of my sewing machine for about 2 hours. I’ve been dying to get some sewing done lately, and I was so happy to have the chance today. It felt so good! I am very grateful for Thursdays when I’ve got some time to myself.