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!