Country House, City House

Whenever my mother is in Japan, we usually take Haru to Tokyo to see her.   This time, we decided to do something a bit different. We spent the last few days at my grandmother’s country house out on the Chiba peninsula.  This is the first trip out to the country house for Haru, so it was quite interesting to see how she’d react from being away from the city.

the country house

The country house is located up on a hill  in a pretty rural part of Chiba bordering on Tokyo bay.  Despite a huge deforestation of trees to make way for what seems to be a housing construction project, there’ s still plenty of nature left near the house for Haru and the dogs to experience.    Like for example, the big ugly moth with leaf like wings that paid a visit to our screen door and refused to go away.  Not only did the big ugly moth stir up the dogs, it seemed to frighten Haru, who I thought was virtually fearless.  But she seemed to genuinely afraid to get close to this big nasty bug, and I totally don’t blame.  After all, would you want to get close to something about the size of a CD-ROM, and that looked like this:

the big ugly moth with leaf like wings

Despite the less than welcomed visit from our lepidoptera visitor, who eventually left, but not before tiring itself out and passing out on the back porch, Haru seemed to enjoy herself a lot.

On the second day out in the country, we wanted to take Haru and the dogs out to the local ranch, but unfortunately due to poor weather, which was superstitiously blamed on me (some people believe that I have the supernatural ability to draw rain wherever I go), we were not  able to go.  But we did enjoy a nice lunch in town.

playing on the floor

Haru and her grandma siting on the porch

But the most important reason for our little trip was not see a bunch of cows or pigs, or even drink fresh squeezed milk.  It was all about family and spending quality time with the family.  Haruka is only able to see her grandma twice a year or so, and I am only spend a couple of hours a day with with her, so this was about taking some time to spend quality time away from the city rush, with the family.

Haru having a conversation with her grandma

Haru and her cousin’s BMW

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It’s Peanut butter and Jelly Time

Haru’s appetite has been growing exponentially. The amount she’s been eating is incredible; sometimes to the point warranting some concern. I was a bit worried that this may be a developing eating disorder, but then I would have to remind myself that she still a growing 1 year old,and her appetite is perfectly healthy. But here is a run down as to how much she eats in any given day:

  • breakfast (usually between 9 and 10 am)
  • lunch (time varies depending on when she has her lunch)
  • oyatsu afternoon snack (usually mid-afternoon)
  • dinner (she usually has dinner before I come from work)
  • second dinner (she insists on having some of what I’m having too)
  • desert (usually a banana or maybe some ice cream)
  • milk (final meal is a cup of warm milk before she sleeps)

So if I’m counting correctly, this adds up seven meals a day, of which four are full meals. And if we didn’t govern it, she would probably eat more.

All of this reminds me of Jessica the 400 pound seven year old, whose mother grossly overfed her until the child welfare people stepped in and cited abuse. Of course, Haru’s appetite is no where near that level, and we try to give her healthy snacks whenever possible, but like any child, she likes junk food too.

Since she has moved over to solid foods, Haru has developed a lot of likes and some dislikes.   For the most part, she likes most fruits and vegetables, but prefers fish over meat.   She particularly likes spinach, broccoli, and bananas.  She’s even learned to say banana, which sounds more like anana when she says it.  And to my surprise, she really likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which I usually have for lunch on weekends.  Last Saturday, she ate half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and wanted more.  So next time, I think I have to make Haruka her own sandwich.

Standing on the sofa with Jenna chewing on something

Giving a big hug to Anri, who was born on the same day and in the same hospital

admiring her sticker collection

lounging on the living room floor

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Standing Tall

In the last couple of weeks, Haruka has grown noticebly taller.  At first I thought it was just my imagination, until she started to be able to reach the top of the dining room table.  Also, until just recently, she was able to stand up with no problems underneath the dining room table, but now she often hits her head.  She’s growing so fast that forgets and she’ll hit her head if she stands up straight.

Haru in the kitchen…again

Always getting in the way

Getting into her diaper drawer and making a mess

chewing on a hanger

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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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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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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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Dosukoi! Our little sumo wrestler

I think my wife has been a bit overly concerned that Haruka’s face has grown rounder in the last couple weeks. Having looked at other sonograms of babys at about the same age, they all pretty much look the same to me. The baby is suppose to form a lot of fat layers throughout their bodies, which is necessary so that they can maintain their body temperatures outside of the womb. Without the fat, they would have a very hard time maintaining equilibrium temperature, which is why premature babies are kept in incubators.

However, I did notice that her nose looks a bit smooshed. I suspect that her face is pressed up against something like it has been for the last several weeks. In the beginning, she like to press her face up to the placenta. Since she has turned, I’m not sure what she has her face pressed up against now, but it does look like her nose is smooshed against something.

Below are the probably the last 4D sonograms we will be getting. Not sure if the new hospital will be taking 4D’s, so might not be able to see Haruka’s face again until she is born. There is less than 10 weeks left, which is unbelievable. At times I think that time is going by slowly. But other times I feel as if time is flying by. This is definately one of those times when I feel as if things are going by quickly.

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28th week sonogram

Last night we went for the 28th week sonogram. The baby has grown significantly in the last 3 weeks. She weighs around 1100 grams (about 2.5lbs) so she is about on par with the average according to the Baby Centre website. It hard to believe that in the next 10 to 12 weeks, she is going to triple in weight.

She is very well developed and he facial features are becoming more and more pronounced although we could only see her profile last night. My wife still insists that she looks more like me. I can’t tell. All I can really tell is that she doesn’t really look too much like my wife.

The tech initially had a hard time getting a good shot of her face because she was coving her face with her hand. This kid must be really shy because up until now she has always tried to cover her face with something. But when the physician took over, he was able to get a really good shot of her profile. She let out a huge yawn and then went to sleep.

Anyways, here is a picture of her profile. Apparently, her nose is my nose, but I didn’t have that nose when I was a baby. My nose was very flat with hardly any visible bridge, whereas she she seems to have a very pronounced bridge.

Haruka's profile at 28 weeks

And here is the video. It’s eight and half minutes long and a bit boring until the end.

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25th week sonogram…first look at Haruka’s face

It’ been a while since the last entry. We are in the process of moving into our new house so things have been pretty hectic. Tomorrow, we will be moving everying into the new house so this site will be offline for about a week or so, until I can get internet connection established at the new place.

Last night we went to the clinic for the 25th week checkup. As usual, everything checked out pretty normally. The baby is slightly bigger than average. She should be at around 650 grams (1.5 lbs) more or less, but she is weighing in at over 700 grams. No big deal. I’d rather have her weigh in a bit big rather than undersized.

The doctor also confirmed for the third time that the baby is most likely a girl, which is a thrill for me. People tell me that girls are closer to their fathers than their mothers so I am looking forward to having a close relationship with my daughter.

Lastly, for the first time, we were able to get a relatively clear look at what Haruka’s face will look like. However, in the video, its a bit unclear because the placenta and the umblical cord was in the way. It was as if she didn’t want us to see her face, because she was seemingly holding the cord in front of her face. The doctor tried to adjust the machine to be able see through the cord and placenta. But every time he intensified the ultrasound, it penetrated through her face and made her look somewhat skeletal (and scarey).

From what little we could see, my wife thinks she will look like me. She said that the nose and mouth area looks like me. I’m not sure if agree or disagree, because to me all babies look alike. But it will be interesting to see Haruka’s face again.

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Now We Know!

As you can see, I have changed the look of this blog page a bit. This is to reflect that we now know (with a fair degree of certainty) the sex of the baby! Although the technician could not be 100% certain, she told us that there is a very high probability that the baby is a girl.

We went to the clinic to last night to get the 20th week sonogram (although technically we were one day short of the 21st week). The first thing that the technician did was to try to assess the sex of the baby (at our request of course). So again, she did a scan of the baby from the bottom. Over the weeks, I have gotten pretty good at identifying the sex of babies through sonograms from looking at various pictures on the internet. So, in the event that the technician couldn’t tell this time, I was pretty confident that my online training would provide me enough knowledge to be able to identify it on my own.

Fortunately for us, the ultrasound was clear enough for the technician to be able see that the baby is mostly likely a girl. On top of that, The video I took also allowed me to get a good look and also identify the sex of the baby, and it indeed looked a lot like many of the “girl” sonograms I have seem on the net.

So having said all this, I think we are all pretty happy that the baby is still progessing nicely, and that she is growing at a healthy pace!

Here are some pics in their usual sonogram unclarity

curled up
Here she is all curled up

She got legs!
Here are her legs or at least one of them

Finally, here is the sonogram video. At one point, the tech will point out the baby’s girl parts. That is where she idnetified that the baby is a girl.

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