Full Term!


As of today, Haruka is a full term baby!  This means that [[pre-natal]] development is pretty much over, and she is ready to be born.  We went to the hospital today to get another check up and the doctor said that she still has not dropped (which is not a real big deal) and  encouraged my wife to be more active.  More activity (like taking walks or even going up and down the stairs) will push the baby lower into the birth canal.  But at this point, we still have another 3 weeks before the due date, so there is no real hurry in forcing the baby into position.  We’ll just let it happen naturally.

The baby weighs 2968 grams today (which is just over 6 pounds), which is a bit big for her fetal age, but not as big as the 3100 grams the doctor quoted last week.  By the way I was right, the doctor did miscalculate the weight last week. 🙂  If this pregnancy goes the full 40 weeks, she will be about 3500 grams, which is about 8 pounds.  A bit big, but a healthy big.

While still an unknown, there have been theories, and studies as to what triggers labor.  Some studies suggest that it happens when the baby’s lungs as fully developed. This sends a signal to the mother’s brain to trigger contractions.  However this theory doesn’t explain pre-term or post-term labor, and why they happen.

Finally, we got more 2D sonograms.  I was able to figure it out right away, but my wife had a hard time figuring out what’s what.  So I drew a real simple picture as to how the baby is positioned.  The 3D pictures (posted in earlier posts and can be accessed by clicking on Ultrasounds on the side bar on the right) are still the best.

Anyways, here they are…enjoy!

 Haruka's face in 2D

This songram is a shot of only half of her face.  One of her eyes (eyelids) and her nose can be seen if you have a good imagination.

My really lame drawing

Here is a really rough drawing of what the sonogram is showing, if you have hard time seeing it.

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Big baby


As we approach full term (which is week 37), it seems that the baby has changed positions and has moved down more towards the birth canal. This is a good thing because lately the baby has been kicking my wife’s ribs which has been causing her some pain and discomfort. When the baby moves closer towards the birth canal, this reliefs pressure from the internal organs , a process called lightening, (especially the lungs) which means the wife will be able to breathe a bit better.

After the last visit to the doctor, and learning that the baby is already over 3000 grams (which I still profess is a mistake), I started reading articles about babies with very unusual birth weights. Just recently, a woman in Siberia gave birth to an 8000 gram (18lbs) baby girl. The baby is absolutley enormous (about the size of a six month old baby). I can’t imagine how she (the mother) was able to bear all that weight, but apparently big babies run in her family, with her son being 11 lbs at birth.

People naturally think that a big baby is a healthy baby. I know I did. And in many cases that may be true. However, I learned that when a baby has a birth weight in the double-digits (in pounds) or anything above 5000 grams, this may indicate a health problem with either the baby or the mother. Diabetic mothers often give birth to larger babies due to the lack of the ability to regulate blood sugar levels in their bodies. The largest baby ever born was in the US in the 1800’s. The baby weighed about 23 lbs, but died shortly after birth. The largest surviving baby every born was in Italy in the 1950’s. It weighed about 22lbs. And just recently, the baby in siberia (mentioned above) which was about 18 lbs. Apparently, although the Siberian baby survived, she is suffering health problems.

I seriously doubt that our baby will be even close to the birth weights of these babies, but it was an interestin find none the less.

The 18 pound baby born in Siberia. The expression on the face of the baby on the right says is all.

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Getting ready


The Crib

The crib finally arrived today.  It came disassembled in about  a thousand pieces.  It took us about an hour to put it all together, but when we were done, it actually looked pretty cool.  It will stay in our bedroom for a while, since the baby will be waking up every four hours for her feeding and changing.  Once she is able to sleep through the night without waking up, we’ll move her into her own room.

Haruka's Crib

Haruka’s Crib

another view

Another View

Commericalism Should be a Crime in Hospitals

Yesterday, I completed the second of three installments of the parental training classes required by the hospital for me to be in the delivery room.  And again, the class had absolutely nothing to do with delivery or being a parent, and until yesterday I failed to see why this class is manditory.

About midway though, they called in a nutritionist from Meiji Dairy Co.  At first, I wondered why anyone from Meiji Dairy Co. would be giving giving a lecture on nutrition, until she started plugging Meiji products and went on about why the women should using them.  Just then, I glanced down and noticed that the free snacks and drinks that the hospital gave everyone were all Meiji products and quickly realized that this whole class was sponsored by Meiji.

Meiji Stuff

Meiji Stuff

 I felt ripped off and betrayed that I had to pay money to listen to what will be a six hour Meiji commercial.  I have a good mind to start boycotting all Meiji products after this is over.

Finally,   we visted the privite delivery room and given a brief orientation about what to do on the day.  The orientation took about  ten minutes and was the only relevant part of this whole thing.  But I guess if all of this allows me to be there when my daughter is born, it’ll all be worth it.

the delivery room

The private delivery room

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Sleeping baby


36 weeks today!  I’m not sure how big the baby has gotten because I wasn able to attend the last ultrsound session.  The appointment was scheduled for today, but the doctor had a meeting or something so everything was rescheduled for last Thursday.  Since I had to work, I couldn’t be there, but it seems that everything is good.

I’m not sure why, but the doctor seemed to have a hard time getting the baby’s weight.  The machine kept returning 3100 grams (7lbs) which is about the size of a full term baby.  But considering that the baby was only 2100 grams (4.8lbs) a couple of weeks ago, I don’t see how the baby could have gained over 2 pounds in just 2 weeks.  So, we think that this is probably a mistake and the baby should be only about 2500 grams (just less than 6 pounds).

We got a new sonogram pic.  Its not a 3D, but its a pretty good 2D.  It takes a bit of imagination and a lot of squinting, but it’s a picture of Haruka’s big chubby face.  She has her eyes closed and facing downwards and to the right a bit.  There are only four weeks left.  Very nervous but very excited. 🙂

Haruka at 35.5 weeks

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OT: Happy 8th birthday


Last Saturday marked the 35th week, and the pregnancy is now 7/8 complete.  In another week and a half, Haruka will be at full term, meaning that she is completely ready to see the world.  Technically, if she were to be born today, she would have absolutely no problems survivng. At this point, her lungs (which is the last organ other than her brain to mature) are fully formed and are ready to take on air.  Usually, premature babies require a respirator to breath until the are considered full term at the 37th week, but many people have said that their premature babies didn’t need respirators after the 35th week.

My wife and I, being late starters are finally making preparations for Haruka’s arrival.  We’ve ordered the crib and bedding, my wife’s cousin has lended us their stroller, and we have plenty of clothes to last through at least her first six months or more.  The last thing on the list is a baby car seat, which is a bit pricey here.  At first, I wanted something that looked cool, but was also safe at the same time.  Recaro and Aprilla looked to be the favorites over here, but they can run up to about $600.  Although expensive, they do last a while and so, the $600 is money well spent. 

Lastly, we need a second car.  A lot of people tend to sell their cars and opt for something more practical.  Being a car enthusiast, I personally hate anything with more than 2 doors, and I refuse to give up my little Honda.  Luckily, we have a two car garage so we can buy a grocery getter without having to sacrafice my sports car fetish.  But having said that I still refuse to drive anything bloated, dull, and boring.  And since I will be do all of the driving, I want to get something that is pratical yet sporty and fun. 

My uncle’s wife drives a Porsche Cayenne which is nice sporty SUV.  Unfortunately, those things are way out of our league in terms of budget.  And even if we could afford one, I don’t think I would want a $100,000 SUV.  I do however, want something along similar lines.  I have been looking at getting a Subaru Forester STi, which is a nice performance packed and yet family orientated SUV like the Cayenne.    It serves the purpose of being a nice family SUV, and yet it has a very racey side to it.  Its a good compromise between my needs and the family’s needs, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.  It’s like having a Cayenne without the Cayenne price.

Finally, along with marking the 35th week, we also celebrated our dogs 8th birthday.  Both Princess and Jenna turned 8 last Saturday, but they definately don’t act like they are 8 years old.  Princess still prances around like a puppy when I play fetch with her squeaky toy.  They both have been very healthy and strong.

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Parental Training


Last Saturday we went to the hospital for the 34th week checkup and to attend the parenting class (which is required to be able to be in the delivery room).  Surprisingly, it was fairly empty again, which makes me wonder why it was so crowded the first time we were there.  It only took an hour of waiting to see the doctor, and the doctor seemed to be in fairly good spirits (unlike the first time we met him.) 

As of Saturday, Haruka weighs just under 5 pounds (2.1kg) now, which is well within average range.  She puts on about a half a pound every two weeks now.  At this rate, she’ll be about 7lbs (3000 grams) when she is born, which is a very good birth weight.  She is positioned a bit oddly.  The proper birth position should be head down and facing towards my wife’s back, but Haruka is head down and facing forward.  The doctor said that this wasn’t too unusual and usually changes just prior to delivery.   As long as she isn’t in a breach position, she should be fine.

The parenting class was quite frankly pretty long and boring.  All of the information taught was either something I already knew or could find out quite easily.  So for me it was kind of a waste of time.  But since the class is required for me to be in the delivery room, I had to take it.  There are two more classes I have to take, so maybe it gets better later.  But basically, it was a two hour session about what products we should and shouldn’t get buy or use for the baby.  For example, the instructor told us not to buy pillows for the baby, and to use a firm cushion as bedding for the crib. 

At the end there was a short video that looked to have been shot in the late 80’s or early 90’s about what to do when the mother starts to have contractions.  It was quite hilarious, in that the woman in the video (quite obviously an actress whi’s not really pregnant) seemed to be very calm through the whole thing.  The narrator went on to say that when the contrations begin, there will be at least a good 12 hours or more until delivery, so relax and take a long bath prior to going to the hospital. I couldn’t help laughing.  Later, they showed another woman actually giving birth to a baby.  Everything looked to be too smooth and clean. 

I’m just about done putting together the online picture album.  Obviously, I don’t have any pictures other than sonogram photos to upload so I’m not going to publish it just yet.  It will probably be made available shortly after Haruka’s birth, and updated about the same time I update this blog.

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Points to Ponder


Names

Lately, I have been thinking about names again. I think we’re pretty solid on Haruka Victoria, but I was thinking more about a nickname.

Most likely, people will call her “Haru”, which is nice because it means “spring”. But I was also thinking about her western nickname as well.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, names mean a lot to me. I think its important that a person be given the proper nickname, because some people judge a person’s character by the name they choose to call themselves.

For example, Candice is a really cool name, but this name is usually degraded down to “Candi”, which in my mind is a name for a Las Vegas stripper. When I was a kid, I also knew a girl named Canvita, which is also a cool name because it sounded pretty exotic, but a lot of people (especially the older kids and adults) wound up calling her [[cannabis]] (scientific term for marijuana). The fact that her parents were very hippy-like didn’t help matters much either.

Usually Victoria is shortened to Vicki, Vicky, Vikki, Torry, Torri, or Tori (among several other variations in spelling). I personally like Vicky or Vikki. Since there is no “CK” combination in Japanese, I think people over here will have an easier time with “Vikki” I really can’t stand “Tori.” Main reason (and probably only real reason) is because of Tori Spelling from 90210. I really hate her, because she so obnoxiously ugly and spoiled! Other than that,Tori would have been a cute name to use because it also means “bird”in

Japanese. But Spelling really tainted this name for me. But I guess the choice isn’t really up to me. Our daughter will be given two names to choose from, and she will decide what she would like to be called…I just hope she doesn’t choose Tori.

Photos

I have been looking into ways of putting together an online photo album to share photos with friends and family. Most of my friends use Flickr, which is alright, but I probably won’t be using Flickr for the same reason I gave up using Xanga as my blog site. There is no guarantee that Flickr will be available

in the future, and the lack of security control prompts me to look for alternatives. And although I publish my blog entry to anyone who’s interested enough to read what I’ve got to say, I think I will be keeping my photos more private and allow only friends and family to see them. So this means I need to allocate space on my web server for a photo album and look for software to host it all. Shouldn’t be a big deal. I will continue to use YouTube for hosting my videos, because they seem to be a pretty solid operation since the Google take over. Also, hosting video clips entails much more hardware overhead, so for now, YouTube is the best solution.

Just being there for her

Since we moved, I seemed to misplaced my webcam, or maybe I lost it or threw it away by accident. But they’re really cheap now; about $20 for a no frills one, so I was considering putting up a real time video site, and place the webcam above Haruka’s crib so I can see her even from work. I’ve always harshly criticized TV commercials that show fathers using some kind of technology (like a cell phone or a computer to peak in at their kids from work).

I have always been an avocate for a father or mother who is there for their kids. I think this is important. But in a hard and cruel society such as Japan, the reality is that we have to take what we can get. And if that means that I have to watch my child grow up through a lens of a camera, although sad, so be it. But I will definately never be one of those fathers who prioritize work over their kids. I see way too many screwed up children who have been victimized by a neglectful mother or father.

In past blog entries, I have been very critical over the way one of my cousin raises his kids. Everytime I see them, the elder kid always seems to be out of control, with my cousin doing very little to get him back under control. Based on this, I have harshly speculated the level of [[dysfunctionality]] in their home.

But in reality, having read blog entries and watching their video clips, I can tell that there is a lot more than meet the eye. Although he has a weird of showing it (or not showing it) my cousin does really go out of his way for his kids.

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