Saturday, November 24th, 2007

It all began on Saturday, November 24th, 2007.  My wife was already overdue by 1 week.  We went in for our reqularly scheduled appointment to have the doctor check up on the progress of the pregnancy. Previously, he had told us that the prolonged pregnancy had caused the amniotic fluid to run a bit low.  Although he didn’t tell us straight out, I knew that this was something that could cause complications for the baby.  When the amniotic fluid runs too low, the baby runs a risk of getting infections, which in some circumstances, can result in a still birth.  Usually, when something like this happens during mid-pregnancy, the doctor might prescribe some medication that can bring the fluid levels back up.  But since the pregnancy was already beyond its term, the doctor thought it would be best to induce labor.  Furthermore, the placenta looked to be steadily detilorating due to its extended age, which could lead to further complications like oxygen or nutrient deprivation. However, Haruka’s heatbeat remained quite strong and showed no signs of trauma or complications, so the doctor didn’t see any immendiate emergency.

Because of this, we came prepared by packing our things.  And luckily we did, because the doctor ordered immediate hospitalization after the check up.  We were lead up to one of the private rooms on the second floor of the hospital.  There, the nurses helped up prepare for our stay there.  At this point, there was absolutely no signs of labor.  It was as if my wife were still only 30 weeks pregnant and we had all the time in the world.

After getting settled, my wife was immediately given an IV drip.  I wasn’t exactly sure what the purpose of this was.  Perhaps it was to keep her energy level up in preparation for labor.  I initially thought the induction process was going to happen that night, but that was hardly the case. The actual induction wouldn’t happen until Monday morning.  The doctor said that the early hospitalization was merely for observational purposes and not to bring on labor.  I didn’t quite understand this, but didn’t really question it either.  It just made things easier for me, just in case my wife decided to go into labor over the weekend.  At least she’d be right there and ready to go. 

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Sunday was an extremely boring and lazy day for us.  I had gone home the previous evening to feed the dogs and take them for their walk.  I told my wife that unless something happens, I wouldn’t be back until Sunday afternoon.

The next day, I went to the hospital at around 2pm.The hospital is only open to visitors, as opposed to patients, on Sundays. So aside from a few stragglers, it was pretty much empty.  My wife and just sat around watching TV for most of the day thinking we could be doing this at home rather than in a hospital room. After watching several hours of really boring Sunday afternoon TV and the nurses running in and out of our room,  I finally decided that it was more boredom than I could  handle, and left for home at around 5pm.

Monday, November 26th, 2007

6AM.  That was the time I woke up, and coincedently the time they decided to give my wife THE PILL.  The pill was the kick starter of the whole labor process.  I figured that even with the pill, it could be several hours before the start of labor, so I decided to go to work as usual. I left home at the usual time and got to work a around 9AM.  As I started my daily routine, I put my iPod on and set my cell phone on my desk.  As always, it was in manner mode and set to vibrate only.

About an hour later, I noticed the lights flashing on my cell phone, indicating that I had a text messaage.  The message was from my wife and it said that she was in labor.  So as quickly as I was in, I was back out on the commuter train again, heading for home.  I spent a grand total of 57 minutes at work on Monday.  It took me just under an hour to get home.  On the way home, I stopped off at the ticket machine at the train station to buy a train ticket.  I bought a 120 yen (about $1.00) ticket which is the cheapest ticket.  The reason why I bought it was, because there is a date stamp on every ticket, and I thought it would be a good memorabilia to commemorate Haruka’s birthday.
I stopped off at home just to let the dogs out in the yard to let them do their thing, because it could potentially be a long night for all of us.   I left the TV on for the dogs because aside from me being in and out a lot, I barely had any time for them and so  I felt kind of bad.  I set the channel to the Animal Network (their favorite channel) and I was off to the hospital again.

The LDR bed

When I arrived at the hospital, I went to the private room where my wife had been staying, but only to find out that she had been moved to the LDR (Labor/Delivery/Recovery) room.  When I walked into the door, I saw my wife lying on the delivery bed, already looking tired and uncomfortable.  She was more in discomfort than pain, so I sat by her bed and timed her contractions. At the time, the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart.  The machine next the bed acted like sizemograph, so I was able to tell when a contraction was about to happen.  Right before pain strikes, the numbers on the machine would rise dramatically to indicate that the uterus is contracting.  I would let my wife know so that she prepare for the pain.  Then afterwards, the numbers of the contraction sizemograpgh would drop back down. 

The contraction machine

This continued for a good 15 hours straight.  The IV drip that was being fed into my wife’s arm, contained the agent that induces the labor, or more specifically controlled how strong and how often the contractions are. It was hooked up to a little machine that conrolled the flow of how much of this stuff gets into my wife’s veins.  The machine had a little digital indicator that showed the flow rate of this mysterious transparent pink colored liquid, which resembled a really watered down strawberry Seven Eleven Slurpee.  When I first walked into the room, the indicator was at 35, and my wife said that the pain was bareable.  The higher the number, the faster the flow, and the harder the contractions get.  Pretty scarey stuff.

the pain juice

By mid-day, the contractions continued and didn’t really change in intensity or frequency like it should have, It was all pretty cyclic and wasn’t showing too much results. Then, one of the nurses walked in and saw that this had been going on for long enough, and decided to crank up the pink juice.  The machine was raised from 35 to 50.  After a few minutes, the contraction sizemoraph leaped into a whole new territory on the graph.  And coincently, my wife’s crontractions also leaped into a whole new territory of pain.  The nurse giggled and said “this thing goes up to a hundred,” while pointing to the flow meter with “50” glaring in green.  I thought she was enjoying this way too much, and I came to the conclusion that she was probably the sadistic type and most likely a member of an S&M club.

It was already about 2pm and my wife looked to be exhausted.  I was exhausted just watching her being exhausted.  But after a while, my wife had gotten use to the pain, and the process had become cylic once again.  The nurse walked in at about 5pm.  She saw that although her cervix was 80% dialated, it still wasn’t enough to begin the birthing process.  Then came the speech about how not being disappointed if the baby didn’t come today.  Although we were both quite disappointed, better to be safe than sorry.  But, as one last try, the nurse cranked up the pink juice again, and this time she set it to 70.  And once again, she giggled and said, “this is gonna really hurt”, and pranced out of the room.  And just as she said, it HURT.  I felt the pain for my wife, as the sizemograph literally soared off of the scale.  The graph only goes up to a hundred but the digital readout read 120 at times.  And when the contrations came, my wife was absolutely dead silent.  Later on, she said that the pain was so intense that she couldn’t even speak.

This continue for nearly 2 hours.  I had to massage my wife’s back because the pain was starting to take its toll on her.  But having said this, I was truly impressed with the way she was handling it.  Her pain threshold is much higher than I originally gave her credit for.  Not once did she yell, or get emotional, nor did she ever want to just give up and throw in the towel.  She really hung in their until the bitter sweet end.  About 7:30PM, the sadistic nurse returned and set the most torturous number of the evening. Zero.  Yes, she had shut off the IV machine and removed the needle from my wife’s arm.  Apparently, prolonged induction is not good so she decided to take my wife off of the juice of pain.  And about an hour later, all contracions subsided. It looked as if the baby wasn’t coming today.

That night, I ran home real quick to feed the dogs once again, and take them out for their walk.  But I then returned to the hospital soon afterwards.  When I got back, my wife was comfortably eating dinner while watching TV as if that whole day had never happened.  I was frustrated and very tired at the same time, so I curled up on the sofa in the LDR room and went to sleep

Tueday, November 27th, 2007 -Haruka’s birthday

6AM.  This hospital sure does like waking people up at this time. But this is the time I wake up every morning so it was no big deal for me.  It was time for round 2 of the fight with pain.  The nurse rolled in another IV bag.  This time, instead of the strawberry pink color, it was a furocious looking flourecent yellow colored liquid.   It kind of looked like a bag of Gatorade.  I was just about to ask the nurse what was in the bag, whn my wife beat me to it.  Apparently, it was more of the same stuff, but the base liquid was a different kind of vitamin.

The IV regulator was set at a very modest 15 this time. I guess because it was being done by a different nurse.  I almost wanted her to crank it up to a hundred so that we could get it over with more quickly, but I guess patience is a virtue.   The morning was fairly uneventful.  The contractions were relatively relaxed compared to those of the day before. This was possibly due to the pain juice being flowed so slowly.

By the early afternoon, the contractions had returned to their previous intensity and with little aid from the pain juice.  I guess it was truly time for things to happen.  the nurse came in at a little before 2PM and began birthing prepartaion.  They made me stand out in the hallway as they did this.  About 15 minutes later, I was invited back in the room. 

The OB nurse had prepared the bed by pulling out the arm and leg braces. It looked like something out of a torture chamber.  All we needed now was the giggling S&M nurse to come in with whips and chains to complete the picture .

The process began at a little past 2pm.  100% dialated and ready to go.  The contractions were strong and coming at regular intervals.  There was no stopping now.  I stood at the head of the bed giving my wife moral support and wiping away the tears and sweat, occassionally giving her a swig of something cold to drink.

The breathing, panting, and pushing persisted throught the afternoon.  As the clock approached 3pm, our regular doctor came in to check the process.  He told us that he could see the head which inspired my wife to push harder. 

By 3:30, the labor was in full force.  I kept telling myself,  she’ll be here on the next push, but then another would follow.  There was more of the wiping of the tears and sweat, and several more pushes.

Finally at 3:47PM on Tueday, November 27th, 2007, Haruka Victoria Hayashi was born.  It was incredible to say the least, and the experience of a life time.  Haruka made her appearance into the world dripping with amniotic fluid and streams of blood, yelling and screaming at the top of her lungs.  The nurses wisked her away to get her cleaned up and to perform the usual weigh-ins and measurements. While Haruka was being cleaned up, the doctor showed us the placenta. (This is pretty graphic, and not for the light hearted, so click only if you REALLY REALLY want to see what  a placenta looks like.  My wife had performed admirably and delivered a heathy and ruggid baby girl and I was proud of both of them.


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