Inu no hi (Day of the Dog)

Today, I took a half day off from work and took my wife to Suitengu Shrine in Tokyo. Traditionally, women who are expecting are suppose to go to Suitengu Shrine to be blessed by the Shinto priests on the day of the dog. I am not too sure what the significance of the dog is, but I read it because dogs are thought to have an easy time giving birth to their young. So, in turn the priest prays that the women have a safe and easy birth. It still makes me wonder, why “dog”? Rabbits and rats also have easy births….

We were planning to go next Saturday, but since it was the weekend, my wife was afraid that it would be too crowded and that the lines would be too long. So we both took some time off from work, and I must say, I’m glad I did.

The shrine is located right in the middle of the office district of Tokyo, so its kind of odd to see such a cultural site in the middle of a bunch of modern office buildings and apartments.

the shrine
This is a picture of the Shinto shrine itself. The shrine was built during the Edo period of Japan which was between 1603 and 1868, and the modern city of Tokyo was built around it. There are hundreds of shrines like this throughout Japan.

My wife lined up with the other expectant mothers underneath a tent, which covered set of chairs. There must have been about a 100 other women there. Unfortunately, husbands and families are not allowed to enter the shrine with the women, so I sat on a bench nearby and waited patiently as my wife entered the shrine with the other 100 women, and was blessed by the priest.

I bought a fortune, which is basically a small slip of paper with my fortune written on it like a fortune cookie. It said that I had “average luck” which isn’t too bad. It’s better than getting bad luck.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, my wife came out from the shrine. Now she has been blessed, I guess we are all set to have a safe and painless delivery ๐Ÿ˜›

Afterwards, I still had an hour or so before I had to be at work, so we went to maternity shop to buy a few things. My wife has been showing a bit, as of last week so we figured its time to get some loose fitting clothes so that she’s more confortable. My wife hates the look of maternity clothes, but the ones we got look pretty descent. We even got a pair of jeans with a really elastic waist. I thought it looked pretty funny at first, but when she wears them, you can’t tell that they are maternity clothes.

More pics (mouseover for the caption):

The bronze dog and her pup...said to bring good luck.

A dragon fountain....not sure of the meaning behind this.

My fortune....not bad!

15 weeks, 25 weeks to go.

Yesterday, we went to a different hospital to get a triple marker screening done. Basically, its just a blood test that screens for common birth defects like Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida.

In simple terms, spina bifida is a defect that happens when the neural tube in the spine doesn’t close all the way and can cause paralysis or other disabilities if not treated in time. If Spina Bifida is detected, they will do more tests to see if there really is a problem and conduct surgeory if needed. I am pretty confident that we won’t have problems with Spina Bifida because all of the ultrasound scans came up pretty clean.

Down syndrome is another story. If detected, there really isn’t anything that can be done because its a chomosomal defect. If detected, the only choices are is to either continue the preganancy or abort. Its a very sensitive subject for many, because a person with Down has a perfectly good chance of leading a healthy and normal life, yet society (especially Japan) is still not too sensitive to the needs of the Down Syndrome community, which can make it tough for the child.

I’m also pretty confident that our child will probably not have any of these defects, but just to be safe, we opted for the triple marker test. We should receive the results next Saturday.

A few weeks a ago, I wrote an entry about prenatal education and a device called BabyPlus. I also wrote how skepitical I was about it. Well, my wife really feels that the device might actually work and that we should really give it a try. After thinking it over, I figure that for $125, its a small price to pay if it actually works. And if it doesn’t, we’re out $125…oh well, not too big of a loss. So yesterday, I went ahead and ordered one.

The fetus is still too young to use BabyPlus, but it should be developing its ability to hear in the next few weeks or so.


Thanks for the comments!

This is just a quick note to thank everyone for the comments. Whether they’d be by phone, IMs, email, or this site’s comments feature, they are very encouraging so please keep them coming! I will respond to every comment posted with my own comments.

To prevent from getting spam, I am moderating all of the comments posted here. They should be viewable withing 24 hours after you have posted them (due to time differences, procrastination, etc.etc.) so please be patient. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Again, thanks and any words of advice for this frantic and nervous father to be (who has nearly chewed off all of his finger nails from unneccessarily worrying about silly things), would be appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

4D sonogram at 12 weeks and 5 days

First of all I must apologize for the poor quality of this video. I tried my best to get the contrast and coloring right using Adobe Premiere, but with my lack of skills in using the software, this was the best I could do.

The sonogram mainly consisted of just taking measurements and comparing them to the previous ones that were taken to see if the baby is growing a good rated. So far everything looks good. At 1:36, you can see the baby stretch its legs a bit.

The video then switches from 2D to 4D towards the end. The baby looks a bit scarey because the doctor increased the frequency to able to see the inside of the baby’s head. The skull and the brain are clearly visible, but it kind of made the baby look like an alien from Close Encounters.

Anyways, the next sono won’t be for another 3 weeks or so, I may or may not be posting as much.


Click the [>] button to see the video. If it doesn’t start up, you may need to click it twice.

Too Much Information!!!!

During this pregnancy, I have been doing a lot of research to better understand what’s going on and why things happen. For the most part, it’s been pretty educational, but there are times when I run into information that’ll cause me unnecessary worry (like genetic disroders, or miscarriages for example). I try not to overload myself with information that’ll do me more harm than good, but unfortnately in this day of free digital information, it’s too easily obtainable.

Today, while doing research on 13 to 14 week old fetuses or foeti (not sure which is correct), I came across a lot of sites that showed illustrations or CG images of a what a fetus is suppose to look like, and they all looked a bit different from each other. Me, being a realist, I didn’t want to see illustrations; I wanted to see a more accurate rendition of what a fetus at 13 weeks really looks like preferribly in a form of a 3D sonogram or better yet, a photo taken with a fiber optic camera. This is a classic case of not being careful of what I wish for.

Unfortunately what I got were several photos of aborted fetuses. It was pretty horrific. My personal polical stance on abortion has always been pro-choice (but only with good reason), this was enough to change one’s mind and go pro-life. But the one thing that was the most horrific, was a video of a live abortion on YouTube. Apparently, it was an irregular pregnancy (probably epitopic in nature -where the embryo implants itself outside of the uterus). These types of pregnancies almost always end in the removal of the embryo otherwise it could cause other life threatening complications for mother and child.

Anyways, I actually sat through and watched the entire surgeory, which was really graphic, and saw the 13 week old fetus. It was all quite interesting, but much more than what I was looking for. Probably too much. Kind of makes you glad that everything is going as well as it is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

13 weeks, 4th month, 2nd trimester and everything is okay!

Last week was a bit scary. The wife experienced some bleeding, but not very much. Most web sites tended to say that it was normal while others said that it could be signs of a miscarriage and to get to a doctor or a hospital ER immediately. Although I never considered it an emergency per se, it did keep me up at nights and prevented me from concentrating at work.

We went to the clinic a day earlier than scheduled (partially due to my uneasiness and impatience). The 45 minute wait in the waiting room was unbearable at times, but I had to keep my spirits high for the wife so that I didn’t get her in a frenzy.

When our turn came up, it seemed that I was the first one through the examination room door, with my wife trailing a quite a ways behind me. I guess my nervousness was beginning to show. The doctor came in with the prenatal blood test results that had been taken a couple of weeks earlier and read us the results. Although it was nice to know that we weren’t infected with HIV or other STD’s and compromising diseases, I really wanted to know if there was going to be a problem with the pregnancy.

My wife explained about the spotting and the first thing out of the doctor’s mouth was, Uh-oh, that’s definately not good! Which made me extremely tense. And my weeks of effort in trying to keep the wife calm all flew out the window, because she started to show signs of panic. Either this doctor had really poor bedside manners or something could be really wrong, I thought.

We both went into the ultrasound room to see if the baby was still growing normally. The first thing we saw was the torso and the heart was beating, which brought immediately relief. The doctor took measurements and muttered, everything looks good! The baby is growing at a good pace! Weeks of worry and anguish disappeared instantly. Later, I admitted to the wife how worried I really was.

I was hoping to learn the sex of the baby last week, but with combination of the baby’s back being towards us and the timing being a bit too soon, we couldn’t get an answer. One of the nurses said that it will be another few weeks until we can get a definative and accurate picture, and ONLY if the baby cooperates. So far, the kid has been quite shy and incooperative. Hopefully this isn’t a foreshadow of what’s to come.

Morning sickess is still intermittant. Today was pretty bad and the wife bad to come home early from work. According to some of my research, 2nd trimester morning sickness that is moderate to extreme indicates that the baby is likely to be a girl. However, there is no definitive conclusion to the study. And at most, it only slightly favors girls over boys.

12 weeks 5 days old
Not much to see this week. As a matter of fact, it was a bit boring.

another one
Here’s another shot.

I will post videos later when I finish editing them.

Spotting…quite scary

A couple of weeks ago, when we had an ultrasound on the 11th week, the physician told us that there may be some bleeding over the next few days because he had taken some samples. As he stated, brownish colored [[spotting]] (slight bleeding) happened the very next day. Since the doctor told us that it would happen, we weren’t too concerned.

Now it’s nearly two weeks later and the bleeding is still presisting. It’s brownish in color, so it’s old blood and many websites say this is quite normal. But I’m not sure if this was caused by the sample that was taken, or if it’s a different issue. Some websites even say that it’s a sign of complications and even a precursor to a miscarriage. And even though the baby looked to be growing and have a good strong heartbeat at the 11th week, we aren’t going to take any chances. So we’ve decided to go to the clinic tomorrow, a day earlier than planned, just to make sure that everything is alright.

Quite frankly, this whole thing has had me extremely worried for the last two weeks, to the point where I am actually having nightmares and losing a lot sleep. But just so that I don’t worry the wife too much, I’ve been trying to keep cool about it. Hopefully tomorrow’s visit will put both of our minds as ease.

12th week

Today marks the 12th week. Since we are in the middle of a national holiday, we won’t be able to visit the clinic for another week, so the next visit will probably be on the 11th. After that the visits will be reduced to once every 4 weeks until about the 30 week.

I’ve also posted a another progress widget on the sidebar (on the right hand side), which counts down the weeks until the baby’s birthday. It also shows the approximate size of the baby.

Now the baby is at 12 weeks, there’s a significant reduction in the possibility of a miscarriage, so it’s a huge relief to us. Now we can focus our hopes on a healthy baby.