Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baby Girl

The 5 o'clock melody "Red Dragonfly," from the town loudspeakers is inaudible under the curtain of rain.  To make up for the this, I play this Japanese folk song on my computer as I write.  My room has a nice breeze thanks to the rain, and no longer sticky with summer humidity and fresh from my shower, the world is again quiet and lovely.

The 5th labor and birth mama arrived at Saito Birth House at 3am this morning.  At 2, I had gotten up to look in on Onodera-san, who had her baby with us 4 days ago.  A 5-day stay is typical in the Birth Houses and Hospitals here, and at Saito Birth House, each midwife takes an overnight shift to answer the possible needs of mamas and babies. I took an overnight shift last night, to be on-call for Onodera-san for my own experience and hoping to be of help to Saito-san.  I was hoping to repay her many kindnesses.  The Saitos and I sat up laughing and talking and eating and drinking until 9:20- well past our bedtimes!  As it turned out, Onodera-san needed very little.  But waking at 2, going back to bed and not falling asleep for a long while, then waking with the incoming mama- I was glad to sleep til 6:30.

Mama's labor was 7 hours with her first baby, so she had hurried to get in to the Birth House.  Her husband got off his firefighter shift at 9am and joined her.  "Now I get 5 days off," he beamed.  The midwife, Ando-san, looked surprised, happy for him.  "Is that so?" she asked. "Yes.  City workers can now get 5 days off when they have a baby."  Except for Nagaki-san, here, the other husbands have had to be back at work the next day.  They are dedicated in labor- absolutely lovely partners to their wives.  But have very little time to spend with their families.  It makes me appreciate the Family Leave Act.  That's one thing America got right.

 Labor didn't get going in a straightforward way.  It was taking its time. 

I encouraged Nagaki-san to try "curb walking" for baby's position.  She was reticent, tired.  "Come on," her husband encouraged.  "Let's go."  The air outside was fresh and cooler than inside.  She enjoyed it just a little.
Things did get going after that. 
And then they slowed back down.   Saito-san said I looked tired and Shiramizu-san and I should eat lunch.  So we did.
We finished lunch, and someone said, "Kayti, get your gloves on, the baby's coming!"  So I hurried back into the birth room.

Shiramizu-san and I protected the perineum together, with very warm wet cloths.  I felt the baby's head emerging.  Mom was encouraged to "huu-huu-huu."  She touched her baby's head.  She did a GREAT job.  The baby's head came oh-so-slowly, slowly, and then... head, shoulders, elbow up, all at once.  Like a fish.  Straight out.  Short cord, so baby was on mom's tummy.  Cord pulsed, mom and dad were so happy together. 

"These arms will catch your baby" - our new ad slogan?
This birth and the one before it, Onodera-san, were slow starters.  The first three I attended here were exceptionally fast.  It is good to learn Saito-san's techniques for these kinds of labors.  In the end, what seemed to get today's baby out was slow-time.  Mom and Saito together in a quiet room, Saito-san gently rubbing her back in the dim light, unobserved.  Of course. 

There was a good rocking of the building as an earthquake shook through a contraction and beyond around 11:30.

Baby girl.  :) My first since I've been here.  Maybe they'll name her Keiiteii???

Kayti with the Onoderas and their little man named "Aoi," or "Blue."  The Onoderas are particularly interesting, sweet.  Very young, a dedicated parents, and these two are best friends for many years.  Mrs Onodera cried when, a few hours into her labor, he had to leave for work.  "Babe, it's my JOB," he said emphatically.  "Yes, I know," her demeanor strengthening.  "Go at it!"  He managed to come back for two hours and, with Saito-san encouraging the birth, baby boy was born 15 minutes before he had to leave again.
Ramen at MenMenTei. For those of you who wonder why anyone would go out for "Top Ramen," just know that Top Ramen is to Ramen what Mc Donalds is to Filet Mignon.
Sunday I got to visit with my friends Naoko and Akira.  We got to know each other in San Diego, as I was their doula.  By some miracle, they happen to live in the neighboring town.  It was delicious to be with them again.

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