I'm now having all of my prenatal checkups at the local hospital where I plan on giving birth. This seems to be working fairly well. The hospital is new and the doctor that I have been seeing speaks a little more English than my previous doctor.
We were told that Jeff and I needed to take a Birthing Class in order for Jeff to be allowed in the delivery room. The hospital said that they gave this class and set up a time for us that worked with one of my appointments. I arranged to have an interpreter so that we understood the material of the class. We showed up and were already to go and... it was about 5 minutes of not very useful information. In this hospital there is a midwife and a doctor for each birth. The midwife pretty much takes care of things unless something goes wrong and then the doctor takes over. The midwife and the doctor are who ever is on shift at that time. Birthing class was given by one of the midwives. She pretty much said that all I need to do is breathe the way she tells me to and don't push unless she says it is time to push. It's that simple. Any questions? And that was the whole "birthing class".
Not what I expected. I wanted a bit more information/preparation than that so I found a Lamaze class on Utube and watched it over the weekend. It made me feel a little more like I was prepared but I guess when it really comes down to it the big thing is to do what the midwife tells you, lol.
We did get a hospital tour while we were there. They do things a little different in Japan. They have separate labor rooms, birthing rooms and rooms where you stay after the birth of the baby. In the US, everything usually happens in the same room.
They have both single and group rooms in Japan for after the baby is born. The single room is a little more expensive but definitely worth it in my opinion for several reasons. The biggest reason is that if you are in one of the group rooms (holds 4 beds) the father can not hold the baby until you go home. Yep, you read that right. This to me is a really big deal since in Japan you stay in the hospital for 5 full days after you give birth. Can you imagine being a new dad and not being able to hold your baby for that long? The reason is this, the baby can only be in two places, your room and the nursery. There nursery is where the nurses watch the babies when the moma's need a break or have a visitor and people can see them through a window (it looks like something I've seen in American movies, all the babies in little bassinets in rows). In the group rooms men are not allowed so the fathers can not go in therefore they can not hold the babies.
I've requested a single room (also has it's own bathroom and would be quiet, I imaging staying with 4 women and newborns is not a good way to catch some zzz's) but they can not guarantee it since they are first come first serve. Statistically, I should be able to get a single rooms but there is a possibility it might take a day or two.
The next thing that is super strange to me is that there are super strict visiting hours and locations. I can only get visitors from 1PM to 8PM and this also includes Jeff. Only the husbands and the grand parents are allowed in the private rooms so that means the only person that can visit me and not be out in the lobby area is Jeff. My friends in Japan will only be able to see the baby through the window in the nursery and can only talk with me in the lobby area. This also means that Jeff is really limited with the amount of time he can spend with me and the baby for the first 5 days. They also said that when labor starts and I go to the hospital, if it is not visiting hours Jeff has to leave until it is close to the time of birth and then he will be called back so that he can attend the birth but I might be on my own for a good chunk of labor if the timing is out of whack with visiting hours. I'm not thrilled about this and I plan on arguing a case that I need Jeff since his Japanese is better than mine but we shall see. Japanese really like their rules and following them.
Anyhow... So that's the latest weirdness that I've learned about birthing in Japan. Oh yeah, and I have to bring my own towels for showing and utensils for eating but they provide 3 meals a day.
Me and the baby are still having a "good course" as my doctor keeps saying. She is full term already and I've got about 2.5 weeks till my due date. I'm in the same boat as most women at this point, ready to be done, but nothing I can do but wait. I'm still trying to have a good hour of activity a day between my prenatal workout videos or walking but both are getting harder as I'm getting more tired and my feet are now so far away...
Till next time!