The City No Longer Forsaken

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." ~Isaiah 62:12

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Introducing the little one!

A few days old.
I'm sitting here now with my one month old son curled up on my stomach. Nothing better than snuggling with a content, sleeping baby! Here's the part where I want to write all of you a ten page novel about the birth and life with him. We'll see how long this nap time lasts!

I've wondered if I should write up an entry about giving birth in Japan. I was encouraged to read a lot of different birth stories from foreigners who did just that while I was pregnant. But, I'm not sure that I actually feel like writing up my whole birth story for anyone who stumbles on this blog to read. If anyone ends up here who is pregnant in Japan and wants more info, feel free to comment and get in touch with me. I'd love to help others get more info!
40 weeks pregnant!

What I will say is, the birth was difficult...not necessarily because I was in Japan. I do wonder if it might have been different somewhere else, but that is more because I gave birth in a rural area where the option I really wanted was not available. Someday, I still hope to have a water birth in a birth center supported by midwives instead of doctors. This time, I gave birth in a small clinic with a doctor. There are many women's clinics that do births in Japan. At mine, the first story of a pretty small building is the clinic, the second is where women are hospitalized postpartum, and the third story is labor and delivery. I was so fortunate to be able to have not only Joel with me, but also my good friend Cindy who both helped with labor and translated. I really didn't feel like there was even one moment where I didn't understand what was going on because of language.

Proud daddy with his brand new son!
The short story is that I had moments where contractions felt like they were becoming regular starting on my due date. I went into true labor six days later around noon, just after going to the doctor for my regular appointment. Nathan was born about 13 hours later, right at 41 weeks. What was very amazing to me was that I had no concept of time, and it felt like everything was going very, very fast to me. Unfortunately, it wasn' least the pushing stage wasn't. So, after pushing for about an hour and a half, since Nathan's heart was showing signs of distress during contractions and there was meconium in the water, we had to extract him via vacuum.  This was all without pain meds, which was how I wanted to do it, and I think it would have been a good decision except for the vacuum. I don't recommend unmedicated vacuum extractions. ;-) His positioning was a little off...the doctor kept explaining that he had been trying to come face first, and a little sideways. The cord was wrapped around his chest and neck also. But despite the pain and difficult delivery, Nathan is here. He came out a little purple, and not crying right away, but they had him breathing quickly, and his Apgar at 5 minutes was a 9, so all is well. The poor guy had a huge circular bruise from the vacuum on top of his head for a few days, and was a little jaundiced, but by a few days in was gaining weight like a pro and doing great!

One of our great nurses!
A Japanese hospital stay is typically very long compared with America. We spent a week with some wonderful nurses. Joel was able to sleep on a couch in the room. It almost felt like a protected "practice run" at being new parents. Nathan had to stay in the nursery per policy for most of the first 24 hours, but the night after that we kept him...until 5am when we called a nurse to take him. So we were able to ease our way into making it through the night. I was really grateful for the long hospital stay. I really felt ready to go home around day 5, and I can't really imagine how women manage being home with a newborn and healing up just a day or two after giving birth.
Nathan and his buddy in the clinic nursery

The most intimidating thing about going home was just how thin our walls are. After a week in a super climate controlled hospital room, something about our cold bedroom with the winter winds that can make things rustle right through the window panes seemed like a bad place to bring a baby into. We're still waiting our first electric bill, as this is the first time living in Japan that we've left the heat on 24/7.

Our celebration meal at the hospital
Life with Nathan has been wonderful and challenging. I'm surprised at how expressive the little guy can be. I know I have all sorts of new mom hormones raging through me, but even after a month, I can spend hours just watching his face and feel so much joy over him. I have trouble carrying conversations sometimes because being in the room with Nathan is like being in the room with someone I have a crush distracting!

Time just to snuggle and be together

Within the last week or two, he's started making many more coos and baby sounds. He is most happy when I can settle in our rocking chair and he can go back and forth between eating, snuggling and sleeping, and perching on my shoulder looking at the light coming in the window. While he's perched he'll be making all kinds of coos and gurgles and even grinning from time to time...until he remembers that he likes eating pretty much all the time and then it transitions into him making his mouth into a little round "o" and trying to eat my shirt until I take him down and feed him. I was worried about feeling lonely with so much time alone at home with a baby--and I do miss more adult conversations--but there is a lot of peace at just accepting that right now what's best is snuggling with this little guy while he's little.

Up until this past week, we haven't been able to set the baby down without him crying. Luckily, he will snuggle in bed with us, so we've been able to sleep. I'm glad that I had done all the reading on co-sleeping before he was with us and decided I was for it (though I was a little nervous at first), because I don't know how we would have gotten any sleep otherwise. Now I can often set him down for an hour or two during the day and get a good nap in or get a few things done around the house. Speaking of naps, this one is over! But I was able to write much more than I thought. :)

My little man :)

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