Tag Archives: pregnancy

25 weeks – New Doctor

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25 weeks today! Go me! and go boys! Stay put and stay healthy for a little while longer please!

This week saw Sara go back to kindy, and funnily enough there was no adjustment period for her after winter break. Summer break was longer by 2 days I think, but she was just a mess when it came time to go back to school. Maybe that is just how much she has matured over the last 4.5 months. Akinori is still on vacation. We don’t know when he goes back to work. I’m hoping Tuesday since Monday is a national holiday and it would be nice to have him home if both girls will also be home, and especially since he plans on going to Tokyo for the day on Saturday for a friend’s wedding. But he won’t actually be attending the wedding. I don’t even think the friend had a wedding. It will just be a bunch of friends getting together for lunch or something like that. He claims he will have to send gift money if he doesn’t go, but I think in the end the cost of going to Tokyo and eating lunch and bringing a small-ish present, will amount to as much or more than sending just gift money. He is taking Sara with him for the day though, and I know she will have fun, and it will be much easier for me to spend the day with Amelie alone than both of them alone so I haven’t made too much of a stink about it all. Plus, he is going to be just as busy as I will once the twins arrive, and since he has promised there will be no more drinking until that happens, if this is his last hurrah, who am I to deprive him of it? He’s not going to be able to go anywhere for awhile.

Yesterday Akinori, Amelie and I met up with my good friend H and her husband and son who are here in Nagano skiing. They come at least once a year, and I love hanging out with them. I just wish we lived closer! H used to live in Nagano and moved to Osaka to be with her husband, who is from Osaka. I did the exact opposite. So funny that our lives took the absolute opposite paths and never crossed until I moved to Nagano and she was already in Osaka. We went to lunch and had a lovely time, and I was glad that Akinori could be there. Usually he misses seeing them because of work.

Because Akinori is still on vacation he was able to accompany me to my appointment today, which was also very nice. Originally my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, but I spoke with a friend who gave birth at Nisseki and had a great experience, and loved her doctor, so I thought it might be worth it to speak to him before deciding to 100% to change hospitals. First order of business (after peeing in a cup) is always speaking to the midwife, who I was firm with and explained that I really could not understand why I would have to be hospitalized if I was healthy and I wanted a 2nd opinion from a different hospital/doctor. She told me to talk to the doctor about it.

Next was the ultrasound. The tech today was a lovely woman. I wish she had been the tech from the start. Anyway, the twins are in a funny position now. They are still kind of one on the left and right, but the one on the left is head up and lower, the one on the right is kind of transverse and head up. Not good. If both babies are head up there is no chance of me delivering naturally, anywhere, in all of Japan.

Both babies have strong heartbeats and are growing well, but one is approximately 700g and the other 860g, which is a pretty big difference at this point, and when I first heard that I had a bit of a freak out. Such a big difference in size is a good indicator of twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome, where one baby gives their blood to the other causing the baby on the receiving end to have too much blood, which brings their weight way up, and puts too much pressure on their heart. TTTS is very bad. Right now their difference in weight is 19%, more than 20% is considered significant. Both babies had about the same amount of amniotic fluid and we could see both babies’ bladders, those are both very good things, and indicate that right now there is no problem, but it still worries me. Over the last 2 weeks left baby gained 200g and right baby gained about 340g. The midwife reassured me though that twins are never born at the same size and since mine are identical and sharing the same placenta, they don’t share it 50/50 even-steven. One baby gets more placenta, more nourishment, bigger faster. I’ve been doing a bunch of reading about this on Dr. Google this evening, and at the moment I think we are safe, but I am feeling fairly encouraged that 1. I’m past 25 weeks. If the babies have to be delivered they have a good chance of survival. 2. They are good weights for their age which means they are strong, and 800g is another big hurdle, which one baby is past already, and I’m sure the 2nd will reach in the next week or so. 3. I had an internal and the saloon doors are sealed tightly. Cervix shortening is a good indicator of a TTTS problem. 4. I asked the midwife if there are signs I should look for between now and my next appointment that would indicate something is wrong, and she said that if I feel like the babies aren’t moving around much I shouldn’t “wait and see”, I should come in right away. My twins are of a type where if one starts to fail, the other will too. I asked if the doppler that N loaned me would be able to tell me something, and she said that if I had a lot of trouble finding a heartbeat or heard a really slow heartbeat to come in. She said that it’s not like one would have a good strong heartbeat, and not the other, so if I wasn’t able to find even one heartbeat to come in. Thanks so much N for loaning me the doppler! What a relief that I have some way of being able to tell that my babies are ok. At the moment the twins are both going nuts in my belly, so I think we’re okay for now.

Then I had my moment with the doctor. It was the first time I was seeing him, and I explained I wanted to talk to him because my friend recommended him, but at the same time I wanted a letter of introduction to a different hospital, just to get a second opinion. I explained that I was really not keen on being hospitalized just because it’s hospital policy, if there is nothing wrong with me, that I was not keen on a c-section unless it was absolutely necessary, and just because 1 baby is breech does not necessarily mean a c-section is necessary if the baby closest to the saloon doors is head down, and if I had to have a non-emergency c-section I don’t want a vertical cut. The doctor started explaining yet again why being hospitalized is a good idea, and I had to explain again that I got what he was saying, but I don’t understand why, if both the babies and myself are healthy, we have to be hospitalized. The doctor then said that hospitalization is a precautionary measure and not necessary, if I’m willing to take responsibility for what may happen if I’m not hospitalized. It felt like a pretty stupid threat, but the doctor did agree that if I want to give birth naturally, which is my number 1 concern right now, aside from giving birth to healthy babies, that being hospitalized before 33 weeks didn’t make much sense as women who are hospitalized early do not tend to go into labor naturally. He took a look at my history and saw that I had given birth at a midwife clinic, and it clicked with him that I am not about to sit back and have a c-section just because the doctor said that’s what should happen without a good reason. He promised that if the baby closest to the exit was head down then I could try and deliver vaginally, provided there were no complications, but to be aware that complications can arise at any time, and he said that if I do need a c-section, as long as it’s not an emergency where every second counts, he will cut horizontally. Bottom line, he told me everything I had wanted to hear from the beginning. Well pretty much. He said we could hold off on hospitalization until about 33 or 34 weeks, which is actually pretty news, and I’m not really feeling like I need to fight him on that…yet.

Basically he said that having given birth twice already, and considering both births happened quite quickly, and considering twins come earlier, and are therefore smaller, they come much faster so once labor starts, there’s a good chance it will progress really quickly, and it would be a good idea for it to start in the hospital rather than somewhere else. It will be beginning to mid-March by the time I am 33 or 34 weeks. I will definitely be having weekly exams by then, and I’m fairly confident this doctor won’t insist I be hospitalized if there is no effacement and the saloon doors are still tightly sealed. Anyway, I can handle arguing about this with the doctor in March. I cannot handle arguing about this with the doctor in another 3 weeks time.

I called the midwife after my appointment to tell her that the doctor basically agreed to everything and told me exactly what I wanted to hear, but didn’t write me a letter of introduction. She knows of this particular doctor and said he’s not bad, but all of his patients that she knows have all ended up having c-sections, including the dr.’s wife. Not because of anything he did or didn’t do, just because that’s how it ended up. She suggested I still go to the other hospital even without the letter of introduction, just to see what they say there. I don’t really feel the need to do so, so much anymore, but I don’t want to ignore her advice either. Plus the ultrasound machine is so freaking old at Nisseki I’m a little worried they have the babies’ weights and info wrong, and I want to get a better look at what is going on inside my womb just to make sure everything is okay. So I figure even I go to the other hospital for just one appointment, I know they will do an ultrasound at the very least and we can at least get a better view of what is going on in my tummy to make sure the boys are okay. All in all, I’m feeling lots better about the situation in general. Giving birth to twins doesn’t feel so hopeless anymore 🙂

After my appointment I got my haircut, and I cut off about 40 cm. which felt so good! I just hope it looks better when I style it myself tomorrow. The guy who cuts my hair is great. He always does a fabulous job. But he’s the owner of the place and has experience in Tokyo and London. But after he’s done cutting and coloring, it’s his assistants who do the blow-drying and they really have no idea what to do with curly hair. Having so much cut off though made it so much healthier and it didn’t look as awful as it usually does after the assistants blow dry it. 🙂

Ah, babies have finally fallen asleep. Time for me to do the same!

25 weeks

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Christmas 2012

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What an exciting 2 days this has been! Yesterday, Christmas eve, started out with me feeling sorry for myself that my husband had to work Saturday, part of Sunday and all of Monday, which was a national holiday, not just Christmas eve. I wasn’t just feeling sorry for myself because he had to work, but because Sara has had a nasty cough that won’t go away for 2 weeks or so, and Sunday evening Amelie started getting sick too, and her nose started running like a fountain yesterday morning. And both girls woke up in crappy moods, and off my husband went to work, and left me to deal with our less-than-pleasant children. Not to mention that he has planned to come home dressed as Santa to give the girls their Christmas presents, which is great and fun and all, but he’s nagging me for eyebrow pencils and all kinds of other random things while the girls are nagging me for breakfast. The morning passed without much more excitement, thank goodness.

Akinori came home for lunch. Amelie took a nap. Sara went into the kitchen to play with play-doh. I took a shower. Akinori went back to work. Amelie woke up in a coughing fit and came looking for me with vomit dribbling down her chin. Poor thing. I got Sara to clean up her play-doh while I cleaned Amelie and we got ready to leave the house because I had to pick up our Christmas cake from MIL who was at work. I put masks on both kids, bundled them up, and off we went. At one point Amelie starts calling me “Mama, mama, mama, mama”. When I got to a stop light I turned around to see what she wanted and she points to her chest “Gero” (puke). She had vomited all over herself from coughing so much. It was disgusting and there was nowhere to stop. Luckily MIL’s store wasn’t too far away, so I cleaned her up once we got there. Picked up the cake and some fake champagne MIL threw in the package and we headed back home. I park the car in front of the house and Sara starts with a coughing fit that ends with her vomiting, of course BEFORE I manage to get her out of the car. Neither of my children have EVER vomited in the car before, and they both decide to debut on the same car trip. Perfect. At least it was easy to convince them it was time to lay low and rest before anyone lost anymore stomach contents.

About 10 minutes after get home the doorbell rings and Sara starts screaming “Santa’s here!” which I’m sure the delivery man got a huge kick out of as he was waiting for me to open the door because I’m sure he could hear her screaming along with the rest of the neighborhood. It wasn’t the Santa Sara was expecting, but at that moment it finally felt like Christmas to me. Not because the package was full of awesome yummy goodies from my friend B, but because it reminded me that no matter how shit I feel about things sometimes, there are awesome people out there who do awesome things for others, just because they can, and sometimes they do awesome things for me. And I am blessed to know these people, and even more blessed to be on the receiving end of their kind acts. The girls were of course super excited to open the box, but definitely not as excited as I was, and every time I “oohed” or “aahed” at another amazing goodie I dug out, Sara was like “what’s that mommy? Is it something really good? It looks really good!” The best stuff is already hidden from everyone 🙂

Akinori came home dressed as Santa to surprise the girls. Sara didn’t cry, but she was a bit shy with him. She was thrilled to get her presents though. Amelie on the other hand wanted absolutely nothing to do with Santa and wouldn’t take his presents and screamed bloody murder when he picked her up to take a photo. She was happy to say goodbye though and even asked him for a high 5 as he was leaving, but when I tried to put the hat and scarf that he brought her on her or give her the stuffed animal he brought, once he left, she started crying again and wanted nothing to do with them. A few hours later and she was okay with the presents, but it took awhile. We had our usual Christmas eve Domino’s pizza feast and all went to bed early.

Last week we were so late waking up that I got Sara to kindy late 2 of the 4 days she went. That’s after 10 a.m.! Pretty pathetic even for a pregnant woman dragging an extra toddler around. I usually rely on Akinori to wake us all up, but lately he has become very unreliable, not getting out of bed until he is already late for work so he rushes about getting himself dressed and runs out of the house and I am left trying to wake myself up and deal with 2 cranky children and our mornings suck because of it. I decided I needed to set my alarm and get my own butt out of bed regardless of how bitter cold our house is in the morning. I was smart and set the alarm super early, knowing it would take me awhile to psyche myself up to actually get out of my nice, warm, electric blanket heated bed.

Today was Sara’s bento day and gymnastics class day, and my check-up at Nisseki. One of the fabulous moms I know at Sara’s kindy, offered to give me all kinds of baby stuff the minute she heard I was having twins. I was able to get a Baby Bjorn bouncer for fairly cheap when we were thinking about getting pregnant with #3 back in February or March, and when I found out we were having twins, of course I wanted another one, and this woman offered hers to me for free. She also offered their car seat and lots of boys clothing, if we were having boys. We had been trying to plan a day where I could go and pick the stuff up from her house and because she lives so close to Nisseki, she offered to look after Amelie for me while I had my appointment. My second Christmas angel!

I managed to get Sara to her gymnastics class almost on time, and then Amelie and I went to my fabulous kindy mom friend’s house. I thought Amelie might cry when I left, but she was surprisingly okay. I knew it would take forever at the hospital so when I packed Sara’s bento, I packed one for Amelie too. It always takes FOREVER to get a parking space at the hospital, so I left about 45 minutes before my appointment, and after waiting to park for 35 minutes, I got a space right at my appointment time. The parking situation there is just ridiculous!

While waiting for my name to be called, I ran into friends (a couple) who are also pregnant. This is their first baby and the wife was all set to give birth at the hospital where I had Sara, but she has a huge fibroid tumor and the small private hospital was worried about complications and sent her to Nisseki. She is now 36 weeks and HUGE! SHE looks like she’s pregnant with twins! But she’s only got one in there, and a huge fibroid tumor. She and her husband and I are all friends on Facebook and they know how unhappy I am with Nisseki and we were talking about our experiences there in comparison to the first hospital and she agreed that the other hospital was much better. She said she cried after her first appointment at Nisseki it was just so different and unwelcoming. I am sorry that she is having such a hard time of it too, but I am relieved to know it is not just me being oversensitive. It was nice to have them to talk to while waiting as well since I ended up spending about 3 hours at the hospital today, most of which was spent waiting!

The wait was worth it though. We finally found out the baby’s sexes!

boysSee the arrows pointing to the boy bits? Exciting stuff! While I knew they were boys, I thought I would keep my mouth shut about it until I knew for sure. I said to Akinori once I thought they were boys, but he said I said the same thing about Sara and didn’t believe me. But every time I have ever pictured the future with our babies, they were always boys, and I have had several dreams about having boys. As much fun as I thought it would have been to have 4 girls, and part of me is just a little disappointed that it’s not 2 more girls, I am pretty thrilled we are having boys.

I’m excited to have the chance to raise both boys and girls, and to keep up the Kaneta balancing act. Akinori and his 3 siblings are 2 boys and 2 girls. I am hugely relieved that I will not be pressured to get pregnant again to “try one more time” for a boy because I know Akinori really wants a boy, no matter what he may say. Mostly I am happy to be able to give my FIL grandsons from his first son. FIL is the oldest son of the oldest son of the family patriarch, and I know it is a big deal for him to have the family name, and hopefully family business carried on. Akinori and I have discussed before that we would not pressure any of our children to go into the family business. If they did it would be purely by their own decision only. Of course nothing says that Sara or Amelie couldn’t take over the family business either, if they wanted. But this is Japan, and the family business is hard manual labor, and in FIL’s mind having a boy means a greater possibility of keeping his legacy alive. My SIL was actually given 1,000,000 yen (about 10,000 USD) from her PIL when she gave birth to her first son. My ILs will not be doing that, nor do I want  them to, they do enough for us already, but when I heard that it really hit home exactly how much having a male heir means to some people. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think my ILs love or value Sara or Amelie any less than they would a grandson, but I think having a grandson has a different meaning to them. I’m just glad I will be able to give my FIL one.

Aside from seeing the sex, the ultrasound was completely uneventful. I thought it was supposed to be a detailed anatomy scan, and when I asked the tech said, “I looked as best I could and from what I could see today, there’s nothing wrong.” Hardly the reassuring scan I thought I was going to get. I did find out the babies’ weights, 501g and 527g, which is excellent and right on track for their age, and the difference is well within reasonable, which means they are not at risk at the moment for TTTS (where one twin gets all the blood and nutrients from the placenta and the other suffers for it). But the doctor once again went on about how I should prepare myself to be hospitalized from around 30 weeks. I had to talk to another midwife after I met with the doctor and I asked her again why it was necessary to be hospitalized if both the babies and myself are all healthy and her explanation was far from convincing. Twins are high risk and therefore at risk for premature labor. Which I get, but I don’t see why they can’t keep track of my progress on an outpatient basis if I am not showing any signs of going into premature labor, which I’m not. I know that can change at a moment’s notice, and if I NEED to be hospitalized, of course I will willingly submit, but if I don’t NEED to be in the hospital, I don’t see the point, or how being in the hospital helps. Plus, it’s a completely unnecessary expense!

So after my appointment I called the midwife clinic and once again asked the midwife if there wasn’t some way I could give birth there, but she said it was impossible, as I expected. I explained to her exactly how I felt about the hospital, and she said she could understand and agrees that changing hospitals would be a good idea, but  I would probably have to promise the hospital that if they decided I needed to be hospitalized for observation that I would go along with it. I told her that of course if I NEED to be hospitalized, I’m happy to go along with it, but Nisseki doesn’t care if I do or don’t need to be, they have their own agenda, and that’s all that matters. I’m not a person when I go there. I’m a body, with babies inside, and all bodies get the same treatment, regardless of any other circumstances.

She has to go to the hospital tomorrow with another one of her patients and said she would speak to the midwives there about me and see what they say and then she will call me later tomorrow. I felt so much better when I hung up the phone, like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time since finding out I’m having twins I actually feel like I have some control over the situation, like this birth may actually be just as exciting and happy and fulfilling as the first two, instead of being filled with a sense of dread at the thought of being separated from my family for no good reason, or forced into a c-section because it’s easier for the doctors. My fingers are crossed for some good news tomorrow!

Tomorrow is also the December birthday celebration at Sara’s kindy. They have a big birthday celebration once a month for all of the kids born that month and the parents are invited and they perform a little play and sing songs and each child gets up on stage and introduces themselves and what they want to be when they grow up and they practice for this every day for a week or two beforehand. I’ve heard it can be quite tearjerking. Considering the state of my hormones, I am putting extra tissue in my bag when I go tomorrow. Which means tomorrow is another big day. Must get some sleep!

Crossroads

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I have let my blog get away from me again. At first it was because there was so much going on, BIL’s wedding and other various events, and then it was just because I was feeling so sad and miserable about my hospital situation I didn’t even want to think about it anymore. Pregnancy wise things are good. I had an appointment nearly 2 weeks ago now and the babies were measuring right on target for 20 weeks, with only a 30 gram difference between the two. Good stuff! I wasn’t having too much pain or too many aches until recently. If I sit for awhile it can be quite painful to stand again and if I stand for too long my back can get really painful. My tummy is just growing so quickly I get a fright every time I look in a full-length mirror! Unfortunately Nisseki hasn’t measured my waist even once yet, so I have no idea how I compare right now with when I was pregnant with Sara or Amelie. I guess I could measure myself around, but I don’t know how to measure the length of my uterus.

I have another appointment at Nisseki on Tuesday, Christmas day, and after I see how that appointment goes, I am going to the midwife clinic where I gave birth to Amelie to have a talk with her about other options for where I can give birth. Every time I have an appointment at Nisseki I end up feeling like crap afterward. It was pretty hard for me to get excited about being pregnant with twins, and I’m still nervous about so much that can go wrong, although we’ve come pretty far and everything is looking good and each day means less to worry about, but 24 weeks is the magic number where the babies have a 50% chance of survival and after reading so many blogs written by twin moms I know that things can change at the drop of a hat. Things are going great now, but tomorrow that can suddenly change, and it’s scary.

At my last appointment there were a lot of things I was expecting to happen that didn’t. I was 20 weeks 5 days along. I thought they would ask me about my birth plan, or give me a blank birth plan for me to fill out, especially since they are so dead set on having me hospitalized between 28 and 32 weeks. I thought they would start measuring my waist and abdomen. There’s a place for that measurement in the mother-child book, and yet they haven’t measured me once yet. I thought they would tell me the genders, or at least have a look for me, and the ultrasound tech, when I asked about it said it was still too early and wouldn’t even look at their crotches. I asked her if they were measuring normal size for the number of weeks they are. She said “ask the doctor”. I asked their weights. She said “ask the doctor”. All the while she is doing measurements of their heads and bones and doing the calculations of these numbers, but won’t tell me the results. I get ultrasound photos at each appointment but at the hospital where I gave birth to Sara, or the midwife clinic, they always had sizes and estimated due dates based on weights and lengths and other informative numbers on them. These photos have nothing written on them except for the original due date I was given. When I went in after the car accident at 19 weeks, the doctor said I would get a detailed anatomy scan at my next appointment. That didn’t happen, and when I asked the doctor about it, even she was surprised the tech didn’t do it and said it would definitely happen next time. And every single time I have an internal exam to check my cervix length to make sure it hasn’t shortened, which I guess is a bigger worry with a twin pregnancy, but I wonder if every hospital does internals every. single. time. My doctor is a woman, and I’m really not all that fussed about the sex of my doctor, but my doctor is my doctor, and this last time during the internal, there was a male voice talking to my doctor as she was performing the exam. That really, really bothered me. I don’t care if the male voice was another OB/GYN. That’s not the point. Some man was looking at my hoo-ha! I kept telling myself while it was happening that it didn’t matter because he couldn’t see my face, but it did matter. It still bothers me. I haven’t even told Akinori about it because I know it would upset him too. I think he would be pretty upset to know that some man, possibly a doctor, but possibly not, was looking at his wife’s hoo-ha. And I am afraid that all of these above things are just the way a big, general hospital works, and although I am trying I can’t get used to the fact that this is where I will give birth.

If I was having my appendix taken out it would feel different I think. Every one goes to a big general hospital to have their appendix taken out. But I’m not sick. I’m having babies. I don’t want to be treated like someone with an illness and according to hospital policy. I want to be treated like an individual with thoughts and wishes for my own individual situation, and have my own needs understood. For example, if there is nothing wrong with me or the babies, I don’t want to be hospitalized from 28 weeks, or even 32 weeks just because it is hospital policy. I have two children at home, and even though I know their father is more than capable of looking after them on his own. I don’t want to be away from them for so long. As nice as it sounds sometimes, especially when they are driving me nuts with tantrums and fighting and complaints, I don’t want to be away from them for weeks, possibly months, if it’s not absolutely necessary. Why should I have to do that? Why does the hospital have to be so unbending on this? I am a person with my own set of personal circumstances. I am the one giving birth to these babies, not the doctor. I don’t really give a shit what the doctor wants, or what will make things easier for the doctor. I want to give birth at a place that understands this and is concerned about ME and my babies, and that is just not going to happen at a big, general hospital, at least not this one.

The problem is that Nisseki, as I believe I have mentioned before, has the largest NICU in the area. If I change hospitals and something goes wrong and the babies need to be in the NICU for an extended amount of time, it is quite possible I will be sent back to Nisseki with them, or I will be sent to the Children’s hospital, much further away. Right now though, I don’t think I would mind if it were the Children’s hospital. I’ve been talking to lots of other moms about their experiences at big hospitals lately, and I hear only good things about the Children’s hospital, and very, very few positive things about Nisseki. 😦 At my next appointment I will be having the detailed anatomy scan, I hope. If everything looks good and both babies are healthy, I have pretty much made up my mind that I want to change hospitals. If there is a problem with one or both of the babies, we’ll have to figure things out all over again, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, fingers are crossed that everything will be okay Tuesday.

Merry Christmas!

Sara and Amelie at BIL's wedding

Sara and Amelie at BIL’s wedding

22 week belly

22 week belly

Ooooh! I almost forgot. I performed last week at an event one of my friends/students planned (she was a friend first, student later). I never allow videos of myself belly dancing to be uploaded to an public sites, but how often do you see a big pregnant belly, belly dancing? So here are the links to my performance if you’re interested:

Drum solo:

Veil dance:

20 weeks

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I reached 20 weeks yesterday! That’s a major milestone in a twin pregnancy. It’s kind of like reaching the 2nd trimester in a singleton pregnancy. It’s easiest to lose a single baby before week 12, but until week 20 of a twin pregnancy, there’s a significant risk of losing one or both twins. The next milestone is 24 weeks, viability. And then 28 weeks when my tummy will be just as big as a 40 week single pregnant woman’s, and I will have to start fighting my doctor every single week to be allowed to stay out of the hospital.

I seemed to have *popped* over this last week as well. Here is the photo of my 20 week belly.20 weeks 1I get a little shock every time I walk past a mirror these days. It really just came out of nowhere, but considering the babies are growing at a normal rate right now, I have twice the amount of baby in me that a woman carrying one 20 week fetus has in her, and I’ve been told the growth is exponential from here. I was thinking last week that I might actually be able to teach belly dance through the end of January, but now I’m not so sure. I think if I’m lucky I may make it to mid-January, but I run out of breath really easily these days, and even carrying Amelie is getting more and more difficult. Carrying Sara has been out of the question for a few weeks now. I’m hoping both babies are head down next time I go in just so I don’t have be told once again about the need for a c-section if they aren’t, but from what I feel going on, on the inside I would say at least one of them is head up. We’ll see on Tuesday though! Fingers crossed we get to see their sexes too! There may only be a few more days left to cast your vote in my poll over there on the right.

Other stuff going on…Akinori’s brother is getting married this weekend. Sara is going to wear the dress that my flower girl wore at our wedding, and since I bought the dress then I knew exactly where to get the same dress in a different size for Amelie. I wasn’t too thrilled about the matchy-matchy thing, but Akinori wanted to do it, so I got them little headbands (that don’t match) and cardigans (that don’t match) and they are going to look so freaking cute it might send people into a sugar coma 😉 We did a dress rehearsal the other week when Amelie’s dress arrived, and they really do look adorable. All of the nieces and nephews (8 from both sides I think?) will be flower girls and boys, and BIL asked that Sara be the ring bearer, which she was excited about until she learned that her job was only to carry the rings, not wear them. We had to go out and buy her some plastic bling so that she would agree to carry BIL’s rings.

Good thing the wedding is now because if I were any further along in this pregnancy I would have to buy a new dress for the wedding, and it’s expensive enough as it is. As close family members I thought we might be expected to give 100,000 yen or something like that, which we really cannot afford, and SIL said she was giving 50,000, but MIL has asked all the siblings only to give 30,000 yen because she knows that none of us can actually afford to give any more than that, and 30,000 yen is actually stretching it, and she wants to enjoy the wedding rather than look at it as a money suck. Her and FIL and BIL’s fiancee’s parents have agreed to cover any costs that BIL can’t, so even if they don’t make back in gifts, all of the money they spend on the wedding, my PIL and the fiancee’s parents will cover those costs. I feel kind of bad, and I know giving gifts shouldn’t be about what you have or haven’t received in the past, but BIL didn’t get us anything for our wedding, which is fine because our wedding was in Hawaii and we asked that people not give us gifts, especially since they had to pay for travel costs. However my PIL paid for BIL’s airfare and hotel. He paid for nothing except what he wanted to spend his own money on in Hawaii. He never gave us anything when either of our children were born either. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I hate the whole gift giving and obligation that comes with it in Japan. It is a huge pain in the ass and exhausting! And I’m grateful BIL doesn’t feel like he has to jump through those kinds of hoops for us. I would feel bad if we didn’t give them anything, I just don’t feel like we have to give them more than we can afford.

Okay, I’m off with Amelie to get her a couple of vaccinations and then some for Sara when she gets back from kindy. Should be a fun afternoon!

I made a collage of the my belly shots from the last 5 weeks. It’s really interesting to see the change, or the lack thereof between the weeks. 16-20 weeks

Crash!

Standard

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!