Happy Birthday Baby

It had been a stormy morning. My two year old and I had spent the a.m. hours cleaning the sills of the sliding glass doors with qtips. Have you never done that? Then I guess you’ve never been pregnant.

The weather cleared in the afternoon, a brief calm before the typhoon the news had been calling for for days now.

A friend down the road asked if we’d like to come over.

Yes!

Anything to get my mind off the fact that this baby was four days overdue; anything to give my little boy something more fun to do than be stuck in the house with his constantly exhausted mother.

A couple of hours later, my back was hurting and I was ready to go home. I made dinner. We played with an orange balloon. The weather outside got worse. I put my little boy to bed, and fell asleep, briefly, beside him.

My husband came home late, soaked from the storm. He ate dinner. I washed dishes. I went to bed while he stayed up, watching some stupid comedy show I didn’t have patience for.

I woke up to wet sheets. Was it the boy? No, his diaper was dry. Was it me? Oh, god.

I stood up, and more fluid came out.

“I think it’s time to call the hospital.”

I always tell people the scariest part of Me Too’s birth was the ride to the hospital. The typhoon was in full swing by then. The wind rushing under the taxi seemed like it was trying to turn us over. We got there, somehow. When the automatic doors of the hospital closed, inside was earily quiet.

By this time, the contractions had started and I was promptly admitted to the birthing room.

An hour later, they’d subsided. “Rest while you can,” said the midwife.

The bed was hard. My back hurt. My last labor had followed the same pattern, and taken the better part of three days. I certainly didn’t want to do that again, and I’d heard moving around could help things along, so I tried that for a bit. After an hour or so, the contractions became really strong, and I sat down in a cushioned swivel chair, rocking back and forth to keep from losing my mind with pain.

My first baby had eventually been induced. I’d suffered through hours of almost back-to-back contractions that were hopelessly ineffective. Eventually, I came to transition, a harmless sounding name for the period between oh-my-god-these-contractions-hurt-so-bad-I’m-gonna-die passive labor and if-I-don’t-push-this-giant-baby-out-I’m-gonna-die active labor. Transition sucks. The only way I can describe it is to compare it to your worst ever bout of explosive diarrhea, except people are yelling at you to hold it in.

I guess I figured nothing was really gonna happen until I got to that phase, plus in all honesty I was prepared to have this baby right there in the chair if it meant I didn’t have to get up and push the nurse call button, which was probably five feet away. May as well have been 500 miles; I certainly couldn’t reach it in the state I was in.

Eventually, the midwife came back and was all, “Oh my god, why didn’t you call me?!” followed quickly by どうしよう and frantic calls to the doctor.

In the end, she delivered Me Too’s head. The doctor came halfway through and took care of the aftermath.

As I was holding my chubby legged, darling newborn girl, there was lots of commotion “down there.” The doctor emerged to tell me I’d lost a lot of blood. He wanted me to see if I could sit up.

What a silly question, I thought, until I realized I couldn’t.

About an hour later, they brought in breakfast, which I didn’t have the strength to eat, followed by my two-year-old who I certainly didn’t have the energy to deal with.

Me Too and I spent that whole first day in bed. We were both exhausted.

And to think that she is five years old today. I’m not quite sure how that happened.

She was so different from her brother from the get-go. Until she was born, I blamed myself for Me First being difficult. I gave myself too much importance, attributed too much of both his ups and downs to my own strengths and failings. But when she was born, I was able to see the children as people well and truly separate from myself.

And am endlessly better off for it.

Happy birthday, baby.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lost in Tokyo
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 21:16:28

    Happy Birthday Me Too!
    You were a gorgeous baby and I’m sure you are now a beautiful little girl! (^_^)

    Reply

  2. Coco
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 21:22:43

    Happy Me Too Day! There is a package headed your way soon, but knowing me, it may turn into a Columbus Day present :S Love from your friends on the other side of the world, Sweet Girl xoxo

    Reply

  3. gaijinwife
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 09:27:05

    Happy Birthday Me Too. Five is just a bit unbelievable isn’t it. I nearly had to have wine for breakfast when I woke up and realised Ryu was three. Arrrgghhhhhh. They’ll be 18 and out of our hair before you know it :)

    Reply

  4. Nay
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 20:16:05

    Happy birthday to Me Too!! I agree she was a really cute baby – I bet she is now a beautiful little girl!!

    I sometimes wonder if Leilah is the way she is because of my parenting… and my husband actually said the other day that until Kai is the same age as Leilah is now we won’t know if it’s her personality or as I feel sometimes, my failure as a mother…

    Reply

    • hamakkomommy
      Sep 09, 2012 @ 21:12:46

      I’ll share with you a secret the child welfare agent told me at Me Too’s four-month-check-up: if you’re worried about your kids, then you will not be a failure as a mother. The only ones who really screw up are the ones who don’t care.

      For what it’s worth, my husband blames me for everything that is “wrong” with our children. Me Too has some health problems he says are my fault, and as a result he refuses to help when she isn’t feeling well.

      I don’t think I’ll every be able to forgive that.

      Reply

      • americanlostintokyo
        Sep 09, 2012 @ 21:22:57

        I hate to say this…but this is an unfortunate thing that Japanese husbands persist with doing. Thankfully, I have yet to be blamed for any health problems the children might have, but I have been faulted for my own occasional health problems and a million other things. It does make one depressed at times…and I can certainly understand your feelings. I am sure that you are doing your best…so try to let those words fly by…(。-_-。)

      • hamakkomommy
        Sep 09, 2012 @ 21:37:32

        For a long time, I thought this was just my husband and his family being unreasonable, but over time I’ve heard it enough to recognize it as a cultural “thingy.”

        An acquaintance once waxed poetically his theory on this: that in Buddhism your hardships in this life are based on wrongdoings in another, so everything bad that happens to you is your own fault and undeserving of sympathy. You could even take this a step further and say that helping the less fortunate is actually preventing them from doing their penance, as it were.

        I don’t think you could get any further from the “do unto others” and “there but by the grace of God” that I was raised on.

        My husband and his family are Christian,so this theory really shouldn’t apply to them. That just infuriates me more!

      • americanlostintokyo
        Sep 09, 2012 @ 21:44:02

        That is an amazing theory.
        I had think all the way through to the Buddhist influence on culture here…or have a friend point me in that direction.
        Yes, I am surrounded here by several Japanese-Christians as well, but there is never anything more powerful than Japanese culture I believe. That in itself is stronger than any religion.

    • americanlostintokyo
      Sep 09, 2012 @ 21:46:44

      Sorry, writing replies on my iPhone is not going so well. I apologize for the terrible grammar and for possibly posting the same comment twice! (ーー;)
      Next time I will turn on my laptop!

      Reply

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