Friday, December 5, 2014

Pregnant in Japan, part 3

Last blog I had a second doctor visit and registered the pregnancy at City Hall.  The next week I went in for the third doctor visit in three weeks.

This visit they were really happy since I had all the paperwork they wanted and coupons so they ran a whole bunch of tests on me to further verify everything was OK in addition to the ultrasound.  Everything checked out OK.  The doctor kept saying "you can eat".  I'm still not sure if she was trying to figure out if I was able to eat with the queasiness or if she was telling me it was OK if I eat more.  Japan is funny about weight gain in pregnancy.  They want you to only gain 10 kg.  This is about 22 lbs.  They want you to gain about 1 kg a month, no more.

So far I'm a little light on weight gain.  I think it's mostly due to muscle loss.  Since I've become pregnant, I stopped running.  It doesn't feel good anymore and I'm a big believer in listening to my body.  I walk a bunch, occasionally go for a hike and ride my bike to get around and occasionally do some light weight lifting or a cheesy prenatal workout or yoga video on the internet but that's about it.  My boots are loose around my calves so I know I've lost some muscle.  I'm not concerned about it and my doctor seems fine with it.

That checkup was fairly uneventful until my doctor realized I was over 35.  For some reason she thought I was younger.  I can't really tell how old Japanese women are and I guess she can't tell how old white people are - lol!  At that point she suggested I get an additional ultrasound at the Hiroshima University Hospital because they have much more up to date ultra sound equipment than here tiny little clinic and they should check to make sure everything is good.

This seemed like it would be fine.  This was on a Friday.  She called on Tuesday and asked if I could make an appointment the next day and I needed an interpreter with me because they didn't speak any English at the other hospital.  I exactly have an interpreter following me around making life easy so I explained that I didn't have anyone to interpret so she set the appointment for the next available time which was in 2 weeks.  I placed a couple of phone calls and managed to get the International S.O.S. guys to bug my insurance people and muster me up an interpreter for the appointment.

It was pretty much a group explanation of what can go wrong and what is detectable and availability of additional tests if things look wonky or if they are desired.  I then had the ultrasound where they thoroughly checked out the baby and made sure everything was going well.  I didn't realize that I would have the ultrasound that day.  As soon as I realized what was going to happen I was really nervous.  I was at 13 weeks and had not had an ultrasound since week 9.  Last year, I was pregnant and something went wrong between my 8 and 12 week checkups and the baby stopped developing and had no heart beat when I had my 12 week ultrasound.  There was a little thing in the back of my head that was afraid the baby would be dead again.  I screwed up the "take of shoes ritual" and then gave the wrong month for my last period.  I was such a flustered mess.  I managed to get everything sorted eventually and was supper excited to see that the baby was alive and moving around.  It was doing little fist pumps and wiggling it's legs.  It was pretty cool/freaky to realize that was inside my belly.

Everything checked out as good and I left the hospital a happy mamma and finally felt a little more like it was OK to feel like things would work out this time.  I didn't realize how much I was suppressing my excitement because I was afraid it would end badly again.  Jeff and I celebrated with my favorite prego food, grilled cheese sandwiches that night.

Two days later I had an uneventful visit at my normal doctor clinic and after that, Jeff and I went public with our news.  I'm now at 15 weeks and I'm grateful that I seem to be getting a little less queasy, and dizzy.  There is a lot of fish in Japan.  Fish smells are every where.  This is not ideal when you are pregnant and queasy.  I've been really missing American food.  I'm normally an extremely adventurous eater but pregnancy seems to have effectively shut down that part of me.  It's been a little challenging to be in a foreign country with such different dietary habits but at least I seem to be over the worst of it.  This is definitely an adventure!

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