So, we’re making quite the jump. As of my last update I was 14 weeks pregnant, that feels so long ago! Now I’m 2 days out of being 40 weeks and slowly losing my sanity on maternity leave. I’ve been pretty lucky as I haven’t had an exciting pregnancy.
Around 20ish weeks my doctor said my cervix was a little (read: barely) short and gave me some nasty medicine (utemerin) that gave me the shakes, heart palpatations, and generally made me feel like I was high. I took it for a week and a half but after blacking out J and I decided that the positives didn’t outweigh the risks. I haven’t had any issues aside from that, one of my schools was very proactive and moved the English classroom temporarily to the 1st floor so I wouldn’t have to be on my feet too much. But that school had a female principal and head teacher. My base school really didn’t seem concerned but I chalk that up to the male administration and the fact that the female teachers I work with haven’t had babies yet (though they did let me stay in the staff room during the flu outbreak in Jan/Feb).
Being pregnant in Japan has been a pretty pleasant experience. I think the only thing that has really been annoying is people treating me like I have a disease–I’m not broken, people, just pregnant! I’m especially tired of the question “omg you’re still driving?!” So. Weird. That and the weight. Here the pregnants are only expected to gain 10kg (22lbs), HAH. As of last week I’m at 15kg (33lbs), but the nurses have been so agitating about it since January. One even suggested I go on a diet, the hell? My doctor has only mentioned it once but I’ve just let it go in one ear and out the other. I know I’ve eating a lot of junk but I’m also not insane enough to hold myself to Japanese weight standards.
Thankfully my doctor is pretty straight forward and level headed. I’ve gotten the sense that a lot of the nurses ideals are based more in anecdotes than study. Last week I went to an onsen and the nurse almost peed her pants when I asked the doctor if there was any problem going to one at 39 weeks (and 2cm dilated). A lot of the nurses there annoy me, especially the one at the desk whose level of condescending and unfriendliness makes me wonder if she’s ever had a baby herself. Alas, that is what you have to deal with when you only have one clinic in the entire city. Everyone in town knows the score but it’s either that or travel out of city. And though that they annoy me I have every confidence in them when it comes to my baby so it’s not enough to make me change. I imagine I’d be annoyed by little things wherever I go, anyway, though.
Hands down the best part of being pregnant here is the cost of FREE dollars. Once my EDD was confirmed at 12 weeks I could go to the town hall to get a booklet of tickets (I had spent maybe $150 at that point for appointments at 6, 8, 10, and 12). The tickets cover the cost of my appointments, I think there were 16? I’ve had a couple extra appointments because of my cervix and anemia so I ended up running out last week but Wednesday will be the first time I’ll have to pay since the end of September. Even then it’s only 6500Y ($65) for a 20 minute fetal heart check (NST), ultrasound, and a cervical check. I’ve had an ultrasound every single time, I think I’m up to 18 pictures now! Unfortunately this little guy has had zero interest in showing us his face so you can’t gather much from them except for the fact that he’s, in fact, a boy.
Plus we’ll get 420000Y ($4200) from the country/city for giving birth so we’ll only be paying about $800 out of pocket. Compared to the US that’s probably expensive but it’s a 5 day stay so I feel like I’m getting a deal! The next city over is apparently cheaper and you end up getting money back but that goes back to not having many options (and the fact that it’d be like a 45 minute drive to that hospital). We’ll also get $200 in congratulatory money from the city so I’m pretty happy about it all! The 5 day stay is probably going to be colossally boring but as a first time momma I’m looking forward to having the time to recuperate and breast feeding support.
We decided to name little man Aiden. It’s not perfect but I like it! I actually wanted to go with a different name but when I narrowed it down to two boy names I left the final decision to J. Girls names were SO easy to come up with, boys names that a) sound nearly identical in both Japanese and English and b) aren’t outdated or too weird on either side are few and far between. He’ll be getting my grandaddy’s middle name on the US side, too. He appears to be a small fry, he was measuring 2700 grams last week, I think my doctor is surprised because he, like most people, assume that since Americans are big that our babies will be, too. J was born at 2400g and I was 2300g 3 weeks early so he’s already beating us. The doctor thinks the size of his man bits is hilarious, though, and is sure that’s what he’s getting from the American side. Har har.
I think that’s the gist of it. The real test (of motherhood and gaijinhood both) begins when Aiden decides to grace us with his presence. Yesterday I washed both of our cars and took a tumble outside (didn’t land on my stomach but I did squish my bump on my leg going down), I was kind of hoping that would inspire an exit strategy but no such luck. Once I pass 40 weeks I have to go every 2 days which sounds massively annoying, please come out soon (but be gentle).