Gaijin Housewife in Japan

Bringing you every day life in Japan to your part of the world.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

2 weeks tomorrow

Exactly 2 weeks ago tonight, I went into labour! 

A lot has happened in 2 weeks. Amelia has been a great baby so far and sleeps really well when she manages to get to sleep, which is sometimes tricky but can usually be helped along by boob juice up to her eyeballs!

So what have I achieved today. Well I had about 2 hours where I didn't sit in the chair and feed her or change a nappy or something! 
Thankfully I have DH to bring me stuff I need whilst I am trapped in my feeding chair and my mum to cook food and go to the supermarket. 
Right now DH is trying to get an overtired baby to sleep by rocking her somewhere quiet and dark. 

DH heads back to Japan on Sunday morning. I am not looking forward to him leaving as he has been really good not only looking after Amelia but also giving me lots of hugs which I really need.
And this baby is perfectly healthy and reasonably laid back!  But I still have my mum who loves to spend time with Amelia, although Amelia would rather spend her time attached to my boob.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Kanji

So now we come to deciding how we are going to write Amelia's name in Japanese.

We have a few options but in the end we decided to go with the following:
 愛莉杏  ソフィー
The first character means "love" and will be read as Ami, the second character means "jasmine" and will be read as Ri, and the third one means "Apricot" (one of my favourite fruit BTW) and will be read as the final A. 

Her middle name: Sophie will be in Katakana as there isn't really any other option for that particular name.

Poor Amelia has been lumped with 3 kanji she will have to write every time she writes her name. She will also probably get called "Airia" a lot, too. Sorry Darling!


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Birth Story

Warning, following post is the "birth story". I will try to keep the details to a minimum :)

Well on the 9th of June I was feeling a bit out of sorts. In hind sight it was obviously my body gearing up for the big event that night! Of all the odd things, I had this really bad need to clean my running shoes. This was an excellent idea as they have now had several days to dry out! I was weepy and spaced out for most of the day and my tummy felt very uncomfortable. 
The night before I had been awake for several hours worrying about various things and had stayed awake all day trying to set myself up for a good nights sleep that night. 

About 9:30 I dragged myself off to bed and was lying there thinking: "Boy and I going to have a fantastic sleep tonight!".....or not. About 20 minutes later there was this really perceptible "POP". Thanks to a  friend, and her birth story, I knew it was my waters breaking, not just a really huge kick from the baby. 
This caused me to go into shock really. I couldn't believe that A) it was time and B) that DH wasn't going to make it at all. Off to the loo and a huge gush of amniotic fluid confirmed that it was all on and so I went to inform my mother. My sister had come up with the weekend with her partner (poor guy), so it was fortuitous in that respect. I called DH who was due to go to Narita that night to stay before taking his flight the next evening. He decided to drive down straight away and hoped that his hotel had decent internet access. I have no idea how he managed to drive the 3 hours there and concentrate on the road! 
About 20 minutes later the contractions started. They were about 6-7 minutes apart right from the start, so I knew this was probably going to be over fairly quickly and wondered if I could beat my mother's record of 3 hours when I was born.

After about 2 hours I was in full on labour and the midwife arrived to see how it was going and asked me if I would like head off to hospital. I knew what my options were for having a home birth and my sister and mum had prepared for that eventuality whilst I was concentrating on getting through the contractions. At that point I knew that I was not going anywhere. Getting in a car, driving 5 minutes down the road to the hospital transferring to a hospital room just seemed impossible. The quiet darkened room down the hall with an airbed and tarpaulins looked much much more inviting. Was I worried about what would happen if something went wrong? Well our house is only 5 minutes away from the hospital so I felt confident that given everything had gone well with the pregnancy and my midwife was confident I could do it, that we wouldn't need any medical interventions. My midwife also travels with everything that a birthing suit has anyway, so I didn't feel worried about that. 

3 hours after labour started we got to Stage 2 which is where you push. By that time I was already tired. I wondered how women who have 20-30 hour labours get through it. For 2 hours not very much happened. My midwife says that it was me biding my time till I had the energy back for the last part. She gave me some drops of some kind of homeopathic remedy which I forget what it was called but about 10 minutes after that I was all business and about 15 minutes after that Amelia was born. Unfortunately she had her arm up by her head as she came out, but she came out all the same, cried immediately, looked around at me and started sucking about 5 minutes later. DH managed to get on skype just after she was born and was able to see her. 
After 2 hours of skin to skin and the all clear from my midwife I was able to take and shower and get into my own bed with Amelia in a basinett next to me. It was 6:30 in the morning. Amelia was asleep. I tried to go to sleep but was wide awake or awake every 20 minutes to check she was still breathing! Which of course she was. The next day I felt tired but pretty good really considering what I had done the night before! 

Would I recommend a home birth? Certainly. It's not just for hippies, which was my own personal image before I did the research on it. Of course it helps to have a good and multi-talented midwife and a few support people you trust to be there to help you stay confident that you can do it without the drugs - cause there won't be any drugs to be had when you really really want them. When I got to that point, all I needed was my midwife's firm hands on my shoulders which calmed me down and helped me to be less scared. The best part for me was not being left in the hospital afterwards by myself but at home surrounded by my family. 

Monday, 13 June 2011

Day 3 & 4

Well we survived our second and 3rd day well. Amelia has taken to feeding very well and now keeps me at it for ages. I do feel like Fonterra (NZ biggest Dairy producer). 
She has been very settled except at night when she is a bit more active - she is still on womb time obviously. I feel good apart from the sleep deprivation and puffiness oh and my boobs feel like they are on fire. I really must get better at sleeping when she is sleeping.
The midwife is very happy with our progress. I really love how she comes to check on us every day at present. In Japan, I would probably still be in hospital, but after leaving I would have to drag Amelia along to a packed out waiting room to have her weekly check up. No thanks. Today Amelia had a big day and had her first bath, which she LOVED, and then we went for an outing to a cafe and she slept through that.

Friday, 10 June 2011

She's here!

With a very hollywood "POP!" and a rush of waters, I went into labour last night at 21:50. 5.5 hours later, Amelia Sophie weighing in at 3260 grams was born here at my mother's house, with the help of my mother, sister and 2 midwives. 

It was a great birth as far as births go, with no complications. Amelia is doing really well and so I am considering! Somehow I got through it all without drugs, too. 

Unfortunately DH did not make it in time. He was able to talk to us via skype during and then after the birth. He will be here at lunch time tomorrow, so he will have 2 whole weeks with his little girl and what a great birthday present.

Photos to come, sorry, haven't managed any decent ones yet.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Nearly There

We are only 2 days away from my due date now. 3 days from DH's arrival. 

Things have been picking up with lots of Braxton Hicks contractions now. Yesterday I went to the supermarket and it was a real struggle to get round the whole place with them happening quite often. But having a trolley to lean on whilst I walked was good. Trying not to wonder if it is the real thing as obviously it is not, but last night had a few stern words with Maru chan about hanging out in there until Saturday afternoon, pretty please with a cherry on top. Other than that, I feel fine and Maru chan is kicking away nicely. 

Roxy the chocolate brown Labrador is going home tomorrow and my sister and her partner are arriving, then DH on Saturday so it is going to be all go around here. Today is our last quiet day for a while I guess and may be the last chance to blog for a while. 
Roxy has been entertaining us but also has a bad habit of eating socks and then vomiting them back up. We have been hiding our socks but she still seems to be able to find one even then! I am not happy as my small supply of socks is now even smaller as some are MIA. Yuck. Luckily she seems to be her usual self and eating and pooping normally, so I guess all socks have been ejected successfully. 
Sam looks quite exhausted. I think he might be being kept awake by Roxy's snoring at night.

So that is all for now. Hopefully the next post from me will be announcing our new arrival! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers please!

Thursday, 2 June 2011


I committed a cardinal sin today, that all pregnant women hate when someone does it to them. I was chatting to another fellow pregnant person who had a rather big tummy. "Oh you must be about the same as me!", I said. "I'm due next week". "I'm due in August", said the other woman...Woops. 
She was carrying very high and out in front, I am carrying low and more out to the sides, hence how everyone looks at my tummy and can't quite believe I'm due next week. Oh and I wear a lot of black : ) 

So Maru chan and I are doing well. No problems so far.  Feeling good to face another week till DH gets here. He is in Europe now. About as far away as you can get from NZ. Not the best place when your wife could technically go into labour at any moment. But I don't feel like it might happen any minute. Let's hope it stays that way!

Have been out walking with the dogs up the Maitai river. It is so beautiful there so yesterday I took some photos. 
I think this looks very "Lord of the Rings"

This is where I sit in the sun and wait for everyone else to catch up with me ;)
Pretty nice huh? We have had the warmest May in Nelson for ages so it has been so nice to be here. 15-18 degrees every day and sunny. Just perfect for me. 

Last weekend, we went to Mapua, about 20 minutes drive from Nelson and had lunch on the wharf in the sun. I had yummy fish and chips and no that is not my glass of wine.
The bad stuff that is still going on with the Fukushima Powerplant is a whole world away from where I am now. I feel so lucky to be here, even though DH is not, but he will be soon! Only 9 more sleeps!