Sunday, 8 May 2005

The birth, part. 1

So, onto the story of the birth and all that. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get everything down all in one go as now, not so strangely I suppose, time seems to be at something of a premium...

Anyway, as I mentioned when this all started, I was at work on Monday 25th April, as I should have been, whilst the Guru was at home in the final stages of preparation for the birth. The official due date was May 7th, as in yesterday, but for some reason Fuu chan, as he was known then, was in far too much of a hurry to get out and so decided, in his own way, to take things into his own hands. The Guru called me at about 10 that morning to say that she felt ‘odd’, but as she was 8 and half months pregnant, I suspect that she had been feeling odd for a good deal longer than that. Anyway, she said that should oddness maintain itself, she would seek advice from a doctor type personage. Very sensible.

Then at about midday or she calls to say, rather matter-of-factly, I thought, that her waters had broken and that she was having the baby. Don’t Panic!, as numerous bastions of British sitcoms, have shouted down the ages, advice which I did my best to heed, but it was difficult. Actually it was quite easy to deal with as the Guru said, “my waters have broken but not much else is happening, so take your time and get to the hospital when you can”. OK, mild panic, but I did stick around at work long enough to finish off all the absolute necessaries, such as making sure all the teachers got paid (I deemed this to be quite important), but everything else was shelved – to be fair the office closed on the 29th for a week or so, so it wasn’t like there was much to do.

Home I rushed, fast as the Tokyo metropolitan transit systems would get me, pausing only to buy a sandwich to munch as I changed clothes at home. Whilst there the Guru called again to say that, as before, not much was happening, but could I bring a few bits and pieces along with me. So, by about 4pm I got to the hospital to find the Guru and her mother sitting around twiddling their thumbs as, really, not much was happening.

And so it stayed. The mother-in-law disappeared at about 6 as she had only been out and about in Tokyo and wasn’t in a position to stay the night, and then the Guru, after chatting to a midwife, told yours truly to bugger off home for the night as little was likely to happen. Now at this stage I was all for kipping on the floor of the family room, rather than leave my poor, unprotected wife in the hands of evil maternity ward goons. But then reality reasserted itself and off I went with assurances on pain of death that should anything happen I would be called at home.

So by 9pm I was back home, wondering what it was all about. In the end I came to the conclusion that it’s probably for the best if we don’t know what it’s all about, but some hints would be nice.

Tuesday morning, 8 sharp I was back at the hospital. Visiting time on the ward is from midday but I think they make exceptions for spooked gaijin with a wild look in their eyes (or possibly they make exceptions for any father to be whose wife is expecting soon, I don’t know). So, Monday night no calls from the hospital telling me to get there toot sweet (or is it tout suite? Or a combination? Let’s say avec tout vitesse as it sound good), and the reason for this was that still nothing much was happening. Hmmm...

Through Monday night the guru had what she thought were contractions, but they were very faint. Even so, as she thought they were contractions, the Guru had been assiduously noting down when they started and how long they lasted. This she had done through most of the night and so was understandably a bit tired by this stage.

At 10am she went to see the duty Doc, a very young looking bloke who bore a more than passing resemblance to Japanese baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, but paler and less athletic looking. His news was that the Guru’s night of ‘contractions’ weren’t the real thing by a long chalk and although her waters had broken 24hrs ago, she was only about 2cm dilated, not nearly enough to get a baby through, so would we like to have some ‘assistance’ in inducing the baby out?

Hmmm, not really was the reply. What happens if we don’t? Well. The chance of an infection goes up (nothing to worry about as yet) and things take longer, but otherwise not too much. So we decided not to at this stage and, if nothing had happened by Wednesday morning, would rethink the position. So the Guru and I trooped off back to her pre-labour room. As mentioned before, the pre-labour rooms are a bit odd. Two very pregnant ladies share these, but with curtains down the middle, so if one is nearly there and in and later stages of intense agony, the other lady is going to know about it.

In the Guru's room the woman in the other bed was in a similar situation vis-à-vis the water breaking but not much else stakes – but she decided to take the Doc’s inducement and so by Tuesday afternoon we knew all about it and it did not sound good... (but did involve, by the sound of it, an awful lot of rubbing on the part of the husband. What he was rubbing, only he and his wife will ever know, but it was vigorous and went on for a long time, indeed such was the nylon/polyester nature of the hospital provided gowns for the ladies, I suspect that said husband ended up with some pretty severe blisters or burns after all that rubbing – this thought did not fill me with happiness as I pictured myself doing likewise, but with loins girded we entered Tuesday evening).

The afternoon passed listening to other pregant women's descent into agony whilst the Guru wondered if that twinge she felt was the real thing (not judging by the noise next door, we quickly came to realise). The mother in law had returned to the fray earlier so at about 6 yours truly thought it a good opportunity to nip back home for a quick shower and the bite to eat as it looked like being a long night. Back to the hospital at about 8pm to find that the contractions seem to have really started at last. They were now coming at about 8-10 minute intervals and lasting for about 30 seconds or so. This stage was meant to be the haiteeeeee, suteeeee breathing stage. I completely forgot this, as did the Guru, and I only remembered after rereading one of the posts about parenting classes on this blog, I knew there was a good reason for it.

Next: Tuesday night and Wednesday morning...

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