Tsubaki Camellia Kawakami was born on Tuesday, February 23 at 6:28 pm.
Weight (体重): 7 pounds 4 ounces (3295 grams)
Length (身長): 19.5 inches (49.5 cm)
It was a bit of a long, crazy week before she was born. And things didn’t go quite how I planned them, but everything turned out great in the end. (And I still kind of got to do what I wanted.)
I kept having false starts for almost the entire week before she was born. On Wednesday night, the week before, I started having contractions in the middle of the night. They weren’t the really strong ones, but they started coming about 5 minutes apart. With both Gaku and Hana, these contractions kept coming and progressed to the stronger ones. This time, they stopped in the morning. But I figured, they would probably start up again that night and she would be born then. So before my appointment with the midwife on Thursday, we dropped Gaku and Hana off at Jon and Colleen’s for the night. Sure enough, they started again, but sometime about 2 or 3 in the morning, they stopped again. So Friday morning, I took a walk with Tak and the dogs and took a long, hot bath, but they didn’t start again. So around lunchtime, we went and picked up Gaku and Hana. Friday night I had them again, but not for long and not very consistent. Saturday night, same thing. Then Sunday afternoon around three, I started having them again. They were a bit stronger and getting closer, so at 9 pm I called the midwife and said I thought that tonight would be the night. Then around 1 am, they stopped again. I couldn’t believe it. Monday, all day there was absolutely nothing. Monday was her due date. If she had been born on Monday, she would have been part of 3% of babies who are born on their due date. And her birthday would have been 2/22. And in Japan the year is Heisei 22, so in Japanese her birthday would have been 22/2/22. Oh well. Then Monday night/Tuesday morning they started at 3 am. These were stronger ones though, not the wimpy “lightweight contractions”. But these also stopped at a little after 8 am. All this starting and stopping was getting really tiring.
That afternoon, I was scheduled to see Sarah (the midwife) at 1:30 and have a non-stress test. I had a message on my voicemail to say that Sarah was at the Alternative Birth Center attending a birth and I could come in and see one of the doctors or reschedule. I was definitely going in to be checked. So as soon as we got to the office at 1:30, the contractions started again. I went up to the office and they hooked me up to the machine. I must have been hooked up for almost an hour and a half before the doctor finally came in to check. He took one look at the strip and said I was in active labor and needed to go next door (Park Providence Hospital in Novi). I told him I was supposed to go to the Alternative Birth Center at Providence Hospital in Southfield. He said that wasn’t a good idea, because after two of the contractions, the baby’s heartbeat had decelerated. I was pretty upset about this. I had never set foot into Park Providence! All I knew about it was that it was the “new” hospital. The office said they would try and reach Sarah and see if she could make it over.
Tak was waiting in the lobby with the kids. We had been thinking that if my labor started we would drop them by Jon and Colleen’s and head to the hospital. Their house isn’t that far from the Southfield hospital. Instead I ended up calling Colleen and having her drive to Novi to pick them up. Tak waited in the parking lot while I went in ahead of him.
By the time I was hooked up, it was about 4:30 pm. I saw Dr. Marback, who I had one office visit with and thought, “Oh good. Dr. Marback is the doctor on duty right now.” But she had to go over to Southfield to help with the birth at Providence ABC. So, I had no idea which doctor would be there. From there on, everything went really fast. I was having regular contractions at a good pace. And then I had a killer contraction. I had never had one like that with Gaku or Hana. It was so intense and so long that I thought it was going to kill me. I couldn’t let go of the tension. I was thinking WTF and that I was still in early stages, and if I was having a contraction like this so early I was going to need drugs. I hit the nurse’s button and the nurse and doctor came in. I was checked and told the baby was already coming out! Yay! If that was what was going on and I was so far along already, I could handle it. Dr. Tai said I could stay on my side for a couple more contractions and then they would want me to roll onto my back to push. I told her I wanted to stay on my side and deliver that way. (That’s what I did with Gaku and Hana.) She seemed skeptical, but said we could see how things went. I was happy with that, because I knew it would work out and I didn’t get stuck on my back with my feet up in stirrups. I can’t think of a worse way to give birth. Within half an hour after that killer contraction Tsubaki was born. So the “final” labor was only 5 hours with 2 hours in the hospital.