Thanks Everyone!

First, I just wanted to take time out to thank everyone for the emails, calls, cards, visits, blog comments, presents. and flowers we received in the past couple of days. It’s deeply appreciated

Haruka is just over 3 days old now. Her skin condition has improved a lot, and is no longer dry and peeling. However, in the last couple of days, it seems that she has had some problems feeding, so they kept her in the care area, so that the nurses can be sure that she feeds properly. It takes her about an hour to drink 40ml of baby formula which isn’t good, but her feeding is improving. I tried feeding her for the first time tonight and surprisingly she took to me pretty quickly, and finished about 80% of her bottle. She then fell asleep shortly afterwards. My wife had to wake her up several times to get her to finish the rest of the bottle, and ultimately it did take an hour or so.

It seems that many babies have this problem and so its nothing to be too concerned about. Eventually she will learn to feed properly. Appearance-wise, she is getting less puffy every day and some of her facial features are becoming somewhat defined. I noticed that she has my eyebrows, although a lot lighter than mine. And I think she has the nose I use to have when I was a baby.

Haruka sleep

3 days old

Haruka’s name in calligraphy, that my wife’s¬†friend made for us ūüôā

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Meet Haruka Victoria Hayashi

Hello everyone.

She’s finally here!¬† Haruka Victoria Hayashi was born on November 27th, 2007 at¬†3:47PM at a healthy 2706 grams (approximately 6lbs and 0 ounces) and 51¬†cm (approximately 20.1 inches).

Being 10 days late, she was born a bit puffy and her skin was a bit chapped from her extended stay in her mother’s womb, but¬†is expected lose some of her puffyness in the next few days.

I will post her birth story later on this week. For now, I need sleep!!!


 Haruka at 1 day old, still looking somewhat puffy and bloated.  She seemingly looked at the camera and gave us a wave.


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Update: nothing yet.

The wife has been in labor for the last 9 and half hours now, but still nothing yet.  The labor contractions are now 2 minutes apart, but they are induced contractions (by means of medication) so it looks as if we still have a while to go.  The doctor hinted that it may either happen later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Although uncomfortable from the contrations, and sometimes in real pain, my wife is in good¬†spirits and doing well.¬† The baby’s heart rate is strong and at the proper rate, so no worries there.

I am at home now feeding the dogs, and then I will head back to the hospital tonight.   Will update again later.

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Wheels are in Motion

Today, the induction process has begun. At about 6AM this morning, my wife was given some medication (possibly something called oxytocin¬† which helps induce labor. The OB said that labor usually begins about 10 hours after the medication is taken, so if things go well, the baby could be born as early as this afternoon (fingers crossed).¬† In some cases, oxytocin has very little or no effect.¬† In such cases, birth has to happen the hard way, which is a Caesarean section, or c-section .¬† I say “hard way” because, because birth then no longer is a natural procedure, and becomes a surgical procedure, which although routine in most repects, carries its share of risks. In actuality, a Caesarean section is the easy way to go.¬† It’s less taumatic for both mother and child, and since the mother is sedated during the procedure, there is far less pain involved.

Anyways, I am headed off to the hospital to check the progress.  Will check back later. 

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Today is the 41st week.  We are one week overdue and yet there are still no signs of labor.  Even the baby that was in the count down meter to the right of the screen has gone away.  I guess that means that the baby should be born by now.

¬†Last Tuesday, my wife was told that the amniotic fluid level¬†is quite low which could cause complications if the baby decides to stay in the womb too long. We went to the hospital to make sure that both the mother and baby are okay, and again the doctor said that the baby is still showing no signs of wanting to be born.¬† The [[cervix]] is only dialated 1cm.¬† To give birth, the cervix should be dialated about 10cm, so we aren’t even close.¬†¬† However, the doctor did say that the uterus is fully expanded and so my wife could go into labor any minute.

The doctors also said that with the being 41 weeks and having very low level of amniotic fluid left, there is some cause for concern, so the doctor recommended  that my wife be hospitalized so that they can monitor both the baby and the mother more closely.  So today, they prepared the private room we reserved months ago for my wife to stay in.

If my wife doesn’t go into labor, or show some signs of going into labor by Monday, the labor will be induced.¬† So it is very possible that by this time on Monday, we will finally have our little girl.¬†

The private room was small but adequetely comfortable.¬† It’s equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, TV, VCR, and DVD player, so all of the ammenities are there for her to use.¬† She didn’t have a computer, so I will take one of my¬†laptops with me tomorrow for her to use.

The bed  

The bed

The room

The room

The nurse used a machine to measure the length between contractions and the baby’s heartbeat.¬† Although the heartbeat was normal, the contracts (or there lack of) was quite irregular for the 41st week of pregnancy.

the monitor

the heartbeat/contraction monitor

The average heartbeat for a fetus is about 130 to 190 so the monitor indicated a good heart rate.¬† The average for the contractions should be much higher than the number indicated in this photo.¬† For a person this late in their pregnancy, the numbers should be well about 50 if not higher.¬† My wife peaked at around 47 a couple of times, but averaged in the high teens or low 20’s.

hospital food

hospital food for the wife

The hospital looked pretty good for hospital food.¬† Everything looked pretty healthy.¬† But my wife was craving for some junk food, so I guess I will take her something tomorrow.¬† As for myself, I¬†got a bit hungry after I saw my wife’s dinner, so I left at dinner time.¬†¬† When I got home, I had a plate of nachos that I prepared myself.¬†

my dinner 

My dinner

Lastly, here is the sonogram that was taken last week.  I used Photoshop to enhance it a bit so that the picture appears more clearly.

Haruka's face

A Photoshop enhanced sonogram

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Fashionably Late

Yesterday was the official due date, which makes this baby officially post term.  We went to the hospital yesterday and it seems that other than being late, the baby is doing fine.  She looks to have dropped a bit and my wife says that she can feel a slight difference now, which is good.

Although no one can really predict when she will finally arrive, I have a feeling it will be sometime within the next 6 or 7 days or so.  Of course, I am no expert and there is no real scientific explanation behind my prediction.  Maybe its just wishful thinking.  However, next weekend there will be a full moon, and it is said that a lot of babies are born on full moons.

At the hospital yesterday, my wife¬†had her membranes stripped¬†, which is a process of manually separating the the amniotic sac from the uterus.¬† By doing this, it’s suppose to allow engagement happen easier, hence bringing on labor a bit more quickly.¬† A lot of people complain that this is a painful procedure, and I guess they were right because my wife experienced some really sharp pains last night, but they subsided after a while.

Finally, we¬†got¬†yet¬†another sonogram¬†yesterday.¬†¬†It looks very similar to the one taken a couple of weeks ago. I was¬†hoping that there wouldn’t be a sonogram for week 40, but here it is.¬†¬†I¬†hope there¬†won’t be one for week 41.

Haruka at week 40 

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All charged up but nowhere to go!

As we approach the end of the normal pregnancy term and enter “post-term”, I have been making it a habit to keep everything charged up. My camera, cell phone, and PSP (MP3 player) are all ready for action. The only thing that isn’t ready is the baby. Apparently, according to the OB, the baby is not even engaged yet. So my wife was instructed to walk at least 2 hours a day. 2 hours a day is a quite a lot of walking, especially on a daily basis, but my wife has been making “some” effort my getting out of the house more.

Currently, the baby is a little more than 3300 grams or about 7.3lbs. Kind of getting big, but still a good healthy weight. Of course I have heard stories of women being old by their doctors that their babies would be something like 8lbs, and turning out to be less than 7lbs at birth. I guess predicting weight is not an exact science either.

We have an appointment to see the doctor this Saturday (the scheduled due date) just to check to see everything is okay. At the last visit, my wife was told by the OB that there is a slight reduction of amniotic fluid and the placenta is starting to deteriorate a bit. So if this continues, and there are still no signs of labor this weekend, my wife may need to stay at the hospital and have the labor induced. Although we both would like to see our baby as soon as possible, I’d rather it happen naturally so I am hoping that there is no need for induction.

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Induced Labor?

This week is the 39th and final week of the normal gestation period. Of course, there are no guarantees that the baby will be born at the end of the week, and as a matter¬†of fact¬†I would even bet that she won’t. Only 5% of all babies are born on their expected delivery date. Most are born a few days to a couple of weeks after.

During the whole pregranancy, I tried to read as much as I could about what’s to be expected, and try to keep a step or two ahead of the game so that there aren’t any surprises.¬†¬†That way I can be there to explain to my wife the abnormalities that may be happen. I read several articles, medical publishing, watched a few baby deliveries on TV and on YouTube, even watched an actual abortion video (which I don’t recommend anyone do without a barf bag nearby). But one of the best and informative sources of information I could find, came from a online forum¬†for pregnant women. Reading their first hand experience was a lot more informative than any medical journal.

At 39-40 weeks, I have noticed that many women tend to be a bit more tired and emotional, which is understandable. I even read a couple of posts of women just outright ranting and YELLING that they want the baby out of them NOW. I kind of laughed to myself, while also feeling their pain. In contrast, my wife has been a real trooper through this. She does occassionally complain of discomfort, but she’s never gotten really emotional about it. And overall, this has been a text book perfect pregnancy (knock wood). The baby is in good shape, and at good weight. Hopefully this will continue through out birth and the upbringing.

So what happens if the baby isn’t born on Saturday? As I said earlier, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Some women opt for [[induction]], but I don’t think that this is the way to go. From what I have read, induction should NEVER be done without a VERY good reason. Artificial induction should only be performed if:

1. the baby is extremely late. 42 weeks is considered to a good time to induce labor, because the chances of still births increases for any post term pregnancy that goes beyond 42 weeks.

2. it looks as if the baby is no longer gaining weight, losing weight, or considered small for its genstational age.

3. if there is a medical danger to the mother or baby’s health.

I read a post by woman who was 37 weeks pregnant, and decided that shedidn’t want to be pregnant anymore, so she√£‚ā¨‚ā¨insisted on having labor√£‚ā¨‚ā¨induced artificially. She also wanted to surprise her mother on her birthday with a new grandchild. At 37 weeks the baby is considered full term, but this doesn’t necessarily mean fully developed. In many cases, even a full term baby doesn’t have sufficiently developed lungs to survive without a breathing aparatice, which was exactly what happened to this woman. Note: there are theories out there that suggest that labor is brought on by a chemical signal from the baby to the mother’s brain when the baby’s lungs are fully matured.¬† See this 2004 article in the Seattle times. The baby did survive, but not without somebreathing complications. Why subject a child to that kind of discomfort just to satify the mother’s impatience? I was pretty disturbed and even angry when I read that. A baby is not a piece of toast that can be pulled out of the toaster just because one “thinks” its done, and I don’t understand any doctor would undergo such procedure without knowing the consequeces of what could happen. At any rate, thankfully for the woman, the baby seems to be doing well, otherwise I don’t think she would be able to live with herself.

So, are there any ways of naturally inducing labor? I’ve heard two sides of the coin to this argument. Some tend to believe that some foods, especially spicy foods can bring on labor. Ever wonder how Prego Pizza got its name? Well, read this page and you will know why. Pineapples are said to work as well (we just bought a whole pineapple yesterday).

Other less credible theories suggest that such that driving on bumpy roads, long walks, intercourse, castor oil, and a whole host of other things that people say helps induce labor, but I’m not sure if they are just merely myths, or if there is some truth behind them. But either way, we are almost there!

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What’s a Contraction?

Lately, my wife has been experiencing pain in which I believe to be pre-labor [[contractions]].¬†And up until now, I didn’t really consider what a contraction really was.
When you see a woman go into labor on TV or in the movies, it usually involves a lot of water gushing uncontrollably out of…well you know, in the middle of a crowded room at a very important moment, followed by extreme pain, moaning, yelling, screaming, etc. And a scene or two later, the once pregnant woman is in a hospital, has a washboard flat stomach, and cradling a strikingly perfect looking “newborn” baby who already looks to be about 6 months old. And being pretty naive, I pretty much thought that that’s the way things truly happened….wrong!

In reality, labor is different things to different women and it usually starts with a contraction. So what’s a contraction? A contraction is the tightening or the compression of the muscles in the uterus.

Contractions help force the fetus down into the [[cervix]] (or birth canal), and they can happen several hours to serveral weeks prior to the onset of “true” labor. Usually the first contractions are not as painful as the contractions during labor. Labor contractions, as opposed to pre-labor contractions even Braxton-Hicks contractions, are much more frequent and much more painful and is usually the signal that it’s time.

Are contractions painful? My wife has been asking this question for several weeks now, and my answer has been You’ll know soon enough. The reason for the semi-sarcastic answer is that, first of all, I have never had first hand experience in feeling what a contraction is like, nor do I ever plan to. Secondly, since people in general have different pain thresholds, no one can really predict how painful it’s going to be to them. Some women, like the wife of a friend of mine, says that they aren’t as bad as people say, while other’s say its the most excruciating pain that anyone could ever endure. The bottom line is, its all preception and how well the person giving birth can deal with the pain, and people with high tolerances for pain will deal with it better than those who don’t.

Going by my wife’s personality, I personally think she will have a fairly painful labor. I do hope that I am wrong. But the way she has been dealing with her pre-labor contractions, I can already tell that she may struggle. But having said that, maybe when things do finally kick into full gear, it will trigger something within her to allow her to mentally handle the situation better.

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Yesterday was a national holiday in Japan, so we didn’t go for our reguarly scheduled doctor visit because the hospital was closed.¬† My wife will be going to the hospital alone tomorrow instead.

We were planning to vistit a friend’s house yesterday, as they were celebrating their daughter’s 1st birthday.¬† We thought it be a good idea to go, to get an idea where we would be a year from now.¬† But unfortunately, we weren’t able to go because I was called to do a Nike TV commercial. The shooting lasted longer than scheduled so we missed out and wasn’t able to go.

The baby is at 38 weeks now and there are less than 13 days left to go.  In all probability, the baby will be late.  Tomorrow, hopefully the doctor will tell us for sure how close we are to labor.

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