Tag Archives: birth in Japan

The Run Around

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Do you know that song by Blues Traveler? It’s been spinning through my head all day long as I spent all morning running from daycare to daycare, but Amelie now has a place from January to March in the tiny daycare up the mountain, and from April at our daycare of choice. I called the daycare and asked them how to get up the hill, but I couldn’t understand the explanation since I don’t know the area well at all, so I didn’t know the streets the person on the other end was trying to tell me to take. There was a little old o-baachan at the bottom of the hill when I got there, and I asked her how to get up the hill and she said to go a little further down the street, make a u-turn and turn around, so that’s what I did.

The head of the daycare came out to greet me and you should have seen the look on her face when she saw I wasn’t Japanese. It was obvious she was having a mild panic attack, but I just started talking as if there was nothing strange about the situation, and the color slowly came back to her face. You could see into a classroom from the genkan, and there were a whole bunch of kids sitting on the floor watching Amelie and I enter, and you could hear them getting excited at seeing us. One of them yelled out, “Konnichiwa!” So I yelled “Konnichiwa!” back and I heard one say “See, she’s Japanese.” It was so sweet! Kids are beautiful! So I started explaining the situation to the head, and I think city hall may have phoned and told her we were coming because instead of listening to what I was saying, which is that I am currently pregnant with twins and want to put Amelie in daycare from January, she asked if I wanted to put the twins in daycare from January and were they boys? I was a bit confused as to what she was going on about, so I explained again the twins most likely won’t arrive until March or April hopefully, and then she looked confused, and I explained again that I AM PREGNANT NOW…WITH TWINS…IN MY TUMMY…NOW And she finally got it. Phew!

The head at the daycare we really want Amelie to attend say not to mention we were planning on switching in April, and just let them know in January when they ask all the current students about their plans for the following year, but the head at this place said they had a place for Amelie from January through the end of March, but couldn’t guarantee a place for her from April. So I said that was fine, as long as we had a place for her from January through March, I was happy for now. She gave me the application papers and all of the handbooks and paperwork and the communication notebook between home and the teachers. Amelie will be in the Tanpopo (dandelion) class. There are 11 kids in the class, and 10 are boys. They’re very excited to have another girl. Apparently there are 26 kids in the whole daycare at the moment. On paper their cap is 20, but it’s a private daycare, so maybe it doesn’t matter? I have no idea. Anyway as we were leaving the 1 year-old class was outside playing in the yard and they invited us to play with them. There were 4 or 5 teachers with the 11 kids. Plenty of individualized attention, that’s for sure. All the teachers seem nice enough, but I still feel more comfortable at the other place, I know it’s only because I’ve known them practically as long as I’ve been in Nagano, but it can’t be helped, can it?

Anyway, knowing that Amelie probably wouldn’t have a place at the tiny daycare from April, I went back to our first choice place with all of the original paperwork we filled out for them and told them what I was told at the tiny place, and asked what I should do now. So the head called city hall and asked them for me. They said I could hand in my paperwork at both daycares and hand in a daycare change request with my paperwork at the tiny place, indicating that we want to change from April. Easy peasy! Now Amelie has a place from January through March of 2014. Yippee! Seriously huge relief.

I can’t believe there are only 2 more months until the end of the year, which means 2 months until Amelie is in daycare, and possibly 3 months until I am in the hospital. Craziness! And craziest of all is that we will have TWO more babies in approximately 5 1/2 more months!! AAAAAAGGGHHHH! That’s so freaking soon! I have also decided there are 2 months left of me teaching belly dance as well. It’s not hard right now, but I get breathless really easily, and I’m having a lot of trouble getting excited about going to my lessons. Lately I have trouble getting excited about getting off the sofa. 😦 So I decided I’m not going to push myself. If I have a crazy pregnancy burst of energy mid-December, maybe I’ll continue until mid-January or the end of January, but I have trouble seeing that happening.

It also depends on the size of my stomach. I’m really not very big at the moment. Bigger than I was at 15 weeks with either of the girls, but quite pathetic for a mother of twins I think. I took a belly shot today, and it was just too pathetic to post here or on Facebook, so I deleted it. I just look fat. I was kind of hoping that this time around, seeing as I am carrying twins and all, and after seeing all of the belly photos of mothers carrying twins I googled, I would have a lovely obviously pregnant belly by now. But no, it’s a beer belly looking belly, just like the other two. This photo is from when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Sara. I look pretty much exactly the same now. Sigh. Maybe I’ll try getting a photo tonight at belly dance class when I’m wearing more fitted clothing, and where you can’t see all of the junk in my house in the background.

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Ideals + Reality = New (Adjusted?) Ideals

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After my visit to Nisseki the other day I have been doing a lot of thinking. Well, I’ve been doing a lot thinking for the last 4 weeks, but it’s kind of funny how what I thought I wanted at first is not necessarily what I think I want now. I’m sure this may/will change again, but I was adamant when I first found out I was having twins that I did not want to be hospitalized prior to their birth for anything less than an emergency. Day by day as my tummy gets visibly bigger, much bigger than it ever was at 15 weeks with Sara or Amelie, it is sinking in that at some point, probably well before I am ready to give birth, I am going to be physically unable to do a lot of the things I am now, and even if I can do them, I probably won’t want to. Of course if I am not completely miserable, I would rather not be in the hospital. I am already having plenty of pain where my pelvis and legs meet. I remember it being quite bad with Amelie as well. Anyway, right now, being hospitalized at 28 weeks doesn’t actually sound as bad as it did 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Regardless, I know I will be hospitalized at the latest by the end of February or early March. We have already secured a place in daycare for Amelie from April, when the new school year starts, at the same daycare Sara went to, and where Amelie now goes once a week when I teach belly dance. And of course where Akinori and I love the teachers and staff and feel happy and comfortable sending our children. When I first started talking to the daycare about a place for Amelie I was thinking we would put her in at the beginning of March, because there was no way I was going to be hospitalized before then. Then I started thinking maybe it would be better to have a place for her from the beginning of February, just in case. And then I really started thinking about my own physical capabilities, and the fact that Amelie is slowly, but quite surely, making her way into the terrible two’s, and there are lots of meltdowns and tantrums every day lately, when there used to be none. Of course dealing with them is stressful, but dragging her away from somewhere, or picking up her limp body from the floor is also exhausting. And really, what concerns me most is that I know it’s going to be a big adjustment for all of us when I go into the hospital. It won’t be for just a day or two. It will be for a month or two. Throwing that kind of change at Amelie, AND going to daycare all day, every day all of a sudden seems like a lot to throw at her at once, so I’m now thinking we’ll have her start daycare full time from January, so she has a chance to get used to it before she has to go through big changes at home.

The problem is then finding a daycare with an opening. So I went to city hall to ask where we could find a place. Our number one choice is obviously out, but there are several other public and private daycares near us, and NONE of them have any openings. I then asked about daycares near Sara’s kindy, because that’s not far from us and it would make the drop off/pick-up routine easier, but there’s nothing. The only daycare with an opening it seems, is actually not THAT far away, but I went past it after visiting city hall just to see what it was like, and it is literally 3 km down the street from us, and halfway up a mountain. It’s kind of crazy how fast rural things get so quickly around here. One km in this direction, 2 km in that direction and you’re in the middle of nowhere. So 3km down the road, across a bridge and up a mountain, and only 10 min. later we are at the one daycare with an opening for Amelie right now. I wanted to go in and get the paperwork, but the daycare itself is set up on a hill that has one road leading up to it and one road leading away. The road leading up to it, which is off the main road, is not a road for cars, it is graduated stairs. If I tried to go up the road leading away, I would somehow need to maneuver a 20 degree turn, and there is nowhere to park at the bottom of this hill. I may need Akinori to go back with me so I can figure out how to get to the door.

I looked it up on the internet though and there maximum child cap is 20, and they have an opening, so obviously there are not 20 kids there at the moment. They have 5 staff members, which means Amelie will get lots of individualized attention, and I like that idea. I forgot to mention that this 3km drive is in the exact opposite direction of Sara’s kindy and Akinori’s work. But it’s the only choice at the moment, so it will have to work, even if it means everyone will be late for daycare/kindy/work every day, because I know my family. It’s only for a few months though, from January to April. I do feel bad about then pulling Amelie and switching things around on her again, but we want to leave her in daycare until she is ready for kindergarten, and as guilty as I feel about that, I just don’t see another solution at the moment. I don’t know how I will manage two newborns, let alone 2 newborns AND a surly toddler. So going out of the way every day for a few months will work, but doing it long-term is a bit too much to ask of everyone I’m afraid.

So now it looks like a few of my concerns are taken care of. I’m feeling better already. As soon as Amelie is properly registered it will all feel much better. And considering it is a ridiculous hour, it is now time for bed! At least tomorrow is Saturday so there will be no rushing to get out of the house and I might be able to convince the girls to watch a DVD and let me sleep for another 20 minutes or so. Lately Amelie will sit in front of Totoro and not move for an hour, which is kind of amazing. Sara went through the same phase, but she’s way past that now. Hopefully everyone will be in a Totoro kind of mood tomorrow.

First appointment at the new hospital

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This morning was meant to be a well-oiled family run machine considering Akinori took the morning off to go with me to the Red Cross hospital, (herein referred to as Nisseki) however of course it didn’t work out that way, and we were just as late getting out the door as usual. Amelie and I have been playing catch with a nasty cold for the last month or so. She got it first, then gave it to me, then I gave it back to her, and so on. At the moment I am on the mending end, and she is on the feverish and grumpy end. So we dropped Sara off at kindy about 20 minutes late (! – though she was so unaffected, she kept saying “it’s okay if I’m late, I can still go.” NOT the makings of a future Miss Punctuality I’m guessing.), Akinori dropped me off at Nisseki, and then he took Amelie to the pediatrician to get something for her cold because neither of us can stand to see her suffer anymore, and even if cold medicines really don’t work (which I’m not convinced they do) at least we’re doing everything we can to try and make her better.

I walk into Nisseki and I have never seen it so crowded! I’ve only ever been there to visit friends in the hospital and that was after consultation hours in the afternoon or evening. I got my hospital registration card and went to the OB/GYN section and right away I missed the comfort of the maternity clinic I was going to until now, and the warmth of the midwife clinic. Nisseki is a big general hospital, and that’s what it feels like. There are patients lining the walls waiting to be called over an intercom into curtained room to discuss private details within earshot of everyone else who works at the hospital or happens to be being seen in the cubby next to you. I know it sounds silly, and it’s not really that big a sacrifice to make for the safety and well-being of giving birth to two healthy babies, but regardless of how well I speak the language, I am still a foreigner in this country, and being in a smaller, more at-home setting makes it easier for me to feel comfortable. The people around me get used to me having a foreign face, but being able to function in Japanese much quicker and pretty soon it’s not even an issue. And well, the whole reason I loved giving birth at the midwife clinic and wanted to go back there again pretty much sums up all of the reasons I didn’t want to go to a big general hospital in the first place. Even when I was pregnant with Amelie I kept saying that although I didn’t dislike the general hospital I had to go to on occasion, I really didn’t want to give birth there. At least at that hospital there was a smaller, inner waiting room for the obstetrics department, even though it was always crowded, at least it had the feel of a smaller clinic. At Nisseki, everyone, pregnant women, old men in wheelchairs, people on crutches, everyone is sitting on the hard sofas lining the hallways waiting to be seen. I know I sound whiney and petulant, but this story has a happy ending, so please just bear with me.

I had to fill in a new patient questionnaire and then had to pee in a cup and weigh myself and take me blood pressure. The where to pee part was fairly straightforward, but the receptionist was speaking so fast and I was so nervous I missed part of when she was explaining where to take my blood pressure and weigh myself and had to go back and ask again after I peed. I hate having to do that. People always assume you didn’t understand because you are a foreigner, when it wasn’t a language problem at all. Several times over the course of the day I felt like the person I was speaking to was giving me a rote speech in fast forward mode because it is something they explain all the time, but as a first-time listener my brain is not always caught up to my ears.

I finally found the scale and blood pressure machine and when I first stepped on the scale it said I was TEN KILOS less than what I weighed on my scale at home this morning. I got off and looked for a “zero” or “reset” button, but didn’t see one, and stepped on the scale again, and again it said I was 10 kilos less than what I weighed only 2 hours earlier. I did this 3 or 4 times until a nurse finally came out from somewhere and I told her that the scale said I was 10 kilos less than what my home scale said, and she said to have my scale at home checked and to trust their numbers. Ummmmm I don’t think so. That would mean that the scale at the last hospital was way off too, and honestly I don’t think my relatively new digital scale is anywhere near broken. Anyway, before she walked off she pressed, what I assume was the reset button (now I know!) and I got on again and got a much more reasonable number.

Apparently though all of that hubbub got me a little excited because when I took my blood pressure it was higher than it usually is. So I took it again, and it was much lower, thank goodness! I kept having visions of being told I needed to be hospitalized today. I expected to have a super long wait as well because I had been told by several people that the first time you go they make you wait ages because you go in without an appointment the first time, but I didn’t have to wait long at all. First I spoke with a nurse who basically re-asked me all of the questions on the new patient questionnaire and typed them into the computer as I answered, and she asked if I had any immediate concerns and I told her I didn’t want to be hospitalized for as long as possible and that I wanted to give birth naturally if possible and that I wanted to keep teaching dance for as long as possible.

I had to go back into the hallway and wait for them to call me in for an ultrasound. I’m not sure who performed the ultrasound, but I know it wasn’t a doctor. I think it was a lab tech and a midwife, or someone training to be a midwife, but I’m not sure. She was obviously pretty inexperienced and the midwife, or person I think was a midwife, maybe she was a more experienced lab tech? was giving her advice and telling her to make sure to look for this and that. I’ve never had anyone but a doctor or midwife do an ultrasound before, so I thought that was pretty interesting. Both women were very nice though, and they assured me there were only 2 babies inside as I have secretly been worried there is another baby in there hiding just like the second one was. And both babies are healthy and basically the exact same size and measuring perfect for their due date, which is always a huge relief. Right now both babies are head up, but they are still so tiny and squiggly and squirmy I’m sure they will flip round and round many times before finally being too squished to go anywhere.

I then had to wait in the hallway again, this time to be called in by the doctor. It was a female doctor, and she was young and a bit nervous and spoke really, really fast. But she obviously has experience with twins. She explained the differences amongst twins to me once again, fraternal and identical, one placenta, two placentas, etc. and said that my twins were most likely identical with only one placenta, which needs to be monitored more closely than fraternal twins. But my twins have two separate sacs, so there is no need to worry about their cords getting wrapped around each other, and that is one less thing to worry about! She also explained about TTTS (twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome) where one twin ends up transfusing their blood to the other through the umbilical cord via the placenta, making one twin anemic and placing too much pressure on the other’s heart, which I had of course read about, but she said the chances of that happening are actually only somewhere around 5%, which I also found reassuring. I thought it was a much greater risk. Unfortunately if that does happen earlier on in the pregnancy it can’t be treated in Nagano. I’ll have to go to Tokyo for treatment. And if it happens later in the pregnancy they deal with it by performing an immediate c-section and caring for the babies on the outside instead.

The doctor also said that although I may not be hospitalized at 28 weeks, it will definitely happen sometime between 28 and 32 weeks, so be prepared for it by 28 weeks. Basically at 28 weeks with twins you feel like a woman who is 40 weeks with a single baby, and basically you really are wanting to just get the babies out at that point, but obviously can’t yet. Hearing that finally made it click in my head. I was miserable with Sara by week 39 and with Amelie by week 38, so I can imagine that I  won’t be too thrilled to be at home doing laundry, washing dishes, or picking up after children once I’m that big. Still I don’t really want to be hospitalized either, but at least I can wrap my head around the reasoning better and if it happens, it happens. I was also told that having given birth naturally twice before, without any problems, I am a good candidate for giving birth naturally again this time. However, we really won’t know that for sure until the very end. That’s okay. At least I know it’s an option right now. She said they will let me give birth naturally if I go into labor after 35 weeks and both babies’ heads are down. That was a relief too. It seems less daunting than hanging on until 37 weeks. I can’t believe that’s only 20 weeks from now! I’ll be 15 weeks on Thursday. Wow! It’s only been 10 weeks of this crazy pregnancy roller coaster so far. It feels like it’s been AGES! It’s only been just over 3 weeks since I found out I was having twins! I can’t believe how much life has changed in these 3 short weeks.

So after being seen by the doctor I had to go and wait in the hallway again because this time the doctor wanted to do an internal exam. While I was waiting Akinori and Amelie arrived. Too bad they didn’t get there just a little sooner so they could go into the belly ultrasound with me. The doctor did an internal exam and called me back into her office again where she said that my cervix length was fine, which means that I have the okay to continue teaching dance for now. She just reminded me to stop if I felt my stomach getting tight or any pain. Roger, sensei! I also expected to be seen every two weeks, especially considering my twins are probably identical, but the doctor said 3 weeks would be fine for the next appointment. Which is great news since it means everything is A-OK right now, but of course it makes me a little sad I have to wait another 3 weeks to see my little swimmers again.

Once again I went to wait in the hallway to be called by the nurse. This time she gave me a whole bunch of pamphlets about what I’ll need when I’m hospitalized, how that whole routine works, info on the “gift money” from the government, etc. And she explained to me, in very fast, I’ve-done-this-explanation-50-bazillion-times-already Japanese the procedure for my next and future visits, which will be a bit different to this time. And then I went to wait in the hallway for the last time when the receptionist called my name and gave me my folder and told me to go upstairs and have blood drawn. Even though I just had a blood test a month ago, apparently each hospital does their own blood test on each patient to confirm blood type so that there are no mistakes if a transfusion is needed. I guess that mistake has happened a few too many times in Japan.

When I went to get my blood taken, the lab tech who did it was the same woman who did my ultrasound. Finally I was done and ready to leave. Paid and then we went to lunch at the family restaurant across the street from the hospital “Cowboy Kazoku” (Cowboy Family) and that was an experience in itself! Anyway I left the hospital feeling much better about the whole experience than I did when I went in. It is an old, general hospital, so some of the luxuries of a small maternity hospital that I am used to will have to be foregone, but really I know it’s a small sacrifice. The staff were amazingly kind and friendly. The doctor let me ask questions. No one said anything about my weight, and lord help them if they ever do! But I have a feeling that these days they’re not so concerned about weight alone anymore, and actually pay attention to blood pressure and protein in the urine BEFORE giving you a hard time about your weight. Plus I’ve had two healthy babies before. I know the drill.

The nurse was really concerned though that I don’t have my parents or my husband’s parents very close to us to help out. We’re going to have to figure something out. I suppose the very last resort may be to invite my mother out for a month, but I just can’t see that helping anything, at all. I can see maybe getting a shower in every day while she watches the babies, but she can’t cook, which means I will have to, and if I have a c-section I’m not too sure how that will work out. After I had Amelie I was absolutely exhausted for weeks after. I know Akinori will help out as much as he can, but we can’t know exactly how much time he’ll be able to take off just yet. There’s a free service offered by the city for someone to come over for 2 hours a day to help out until your newborn is 3 months old. We’ll probably take advantage of that service, but we’ll have to figure out something else as well. It’s so hard to plan anything without knowing exactly what is going to happen either. If the babies will be born super early and need NICU time, if they’ll be born later on and ready to go home after a week or two? I’m sure it will all work out. Life always does, but man it’s a lot to worry about!

Ask and ye shall receive…answers

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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.

Things I worry about

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It’s been two weeks and a day since I found out there are 2 babies in my tummy. The idea has kind of sunken in, but man oh man, the reality is a long way off. Today I went to buy body soap for the kids and I was in the baby section of the drugstore where all the sippy cups and things are, and I was looking at them thinking “good lord, we are going to need 2 of EVERYTHING!” I know it’s obvious, but unless you are actually facing the imminent birth of 2 babies at once, I don’t think you ever REALLY think about what kind of impact that is going to have on your life or your wallet or your time, or your sanity. But really, that’s not what I’m worried about at the moment. I know once the babies arrive we will work it out. We won’t have a choice. Everything will work out.

I have yet to be seen by a doctor at the Red Cross hospital here, which seems to be my only choice for giving birth here. I have to do a bit more research, but the Red Cross hospital is the nearest hospital with a NICU, so I want to talk to a doctor there first, and if I really don’t like what they have to say I will look for a different hospital a bit further away, but my choices are really limited to possibly 2 other hospitals, and I think most cases of multiples get sent back to the Red Cross hospital anyway. Multiple births are seen as just too high risk here.

I have spoken to 3 mothers of twins who all gave birth at the Red Cross hospital. One is a good friend of ours and I know she was having contractions from around week 24 or so, and she was admitted at week 28 and on a constant IV to keep the babies inside, until they just wouldn’t hold anymore and she had a C-section at week 32. The other 2 moms I haven’t had the chance to speak to in length about their births, but both of them and everyone else I know who knows anyone who has had twins at the Red Cross hospital has said the same thing; they hospitalize you at 28 weeks no matter what your health, or the babies’ health is like. You can be experiencing absolutely no signs of early labor, both babies can be perfectly healthy, perfect weight, facing down, perfectly healthy cervical length, and they will still hospitalize you because they consider 28 weeks full-term for twins and basically the situation could change at a moment’s notice and they want to monitor you daily. For me 28 weeks exactly is Amelie’s 2nd birthday, and I am not going to enter the hospital on her birthday. I’m hoping the hospital will be a bit flexible with me considering I have two young children at home already, but I have serious doubts. I’ve already spoken to the daycare Sara attended when I was pregnant with Amelie and where Amelie now goes once a week, and they said they would able to take her from March 1st, which would make me 32 weeks. I’m wondering if the hospital would let me get away with coming in every day for an NST, pee in a cup, have my blood pressure taken, etc. without actually staying overnight in the hospital. Obviously I’m not going to know the answer to any of these questions until I actually go to the hospital, but when I called to find out when I should go in to be seen they said not until the last week of October, so instead I’ve just got time to sit and wonder and worry about all of this stuff.

Of course the other reason I don’t want to be hospitalized is because it just seems like a bad idea if I’m healthy and the babies are healthy. My two older babies need me, and I will have a very hard time negotiating in my own head, being away from them when it doesn’t seem absolutely necessary. Never mind my concerns that I will be bored out of my mind, and that laying around in a hospital bed all day is actually going to be worse for my health than being at home with my family where  I can remain active.

The thought of a C-section also worries me. Of course, the thought of birthing twins vaginally also scares the crap out of me! I’ve heard that the Red Cross hospital will allow you to attempt it though if all the conditions are right. My doctor at the hospital where I was being seen until now told me that giving birth to twins vaginally, sometime after 37 weeks and never being hospitalized throughout the pregnancy is incredibly rare. I suppose knowing the odds are not in my favor for my ideal birth to happen sets me up to not be disappointed when it doesn’t happen, so that is a good thing. I’ve been so lucky up until now with two pretty fabulous birth experiences that I think I am mostly worried about this one not living up to previous expectations. I think I just need a new mindset. Like giving birth to twins is just not the same thing at all, and therefore I should take about 50 steps back and think about it as a whole different ball game rather than comparing it to anything I have experienced in the past. But I really, really want Akinori to be able to be with me. I’m afraid if I have a c-section and they try to give me spinal anesthesia it won’t take, as I had the same problem when I had surgery on my ankle about 10 years ago and OMG, I’ve never, not even when I gave birth, felt so much pain in my entire life. But I’m also worried that if it ends up being an emergency c-section they’ll put me under altogether and I won’t see my babies for hours until I wake up and they won’t get any kangaroo care.

And then of course I worry about miscarriage a lot still since it is not at all uncommon to lose one twin. From everything I have read it seems like that is going to be a concern until the babies are viable at 22-24 weeks. And then what if they are born at 22 weeks? Or we lose one of them once they are born?  I’ve heard that for twin births the Red Cross hospital orders a medical helicopter onsite so that if there are any complications with one or both of the babies, they can be quickly whisked away to the Children’s hospital, which is at least an hour away from us by car. What would we do then? I would most likely be in the hospital recovering from a c-section. Would they take me with in the helicopter and hospitalize me at the Children’s hospital? Would I just have to wait days before I could be with my baby/babies? What would we do if they were hospitalized at the Children’s hospital for a long period of time? We have two other children who need looking after too. There would be one hell of a lot of commuting involved!

And will the hospital work with me on breastfeeding or are they going to shove formula down my and my babies’ throats? I know I am capable of feeding two babies. I hope the hospital realizes this as well. And wanting to breastfeed them is all fine and dandy, but will I ever sleep again?

I’ve been trying not to think about this stuff of blog about it until I actually get to the Red Cross hospital and speak with the doctors and midwives there, but it’s in my head ALL the time so I’m hoping that at least writing some of it down on my blog will clear my head space to deal a little better with the here and now. I know most of the stuff I worry about is unlikely to ever happen. It doesn’t keep you from worrying though, does it?