Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Those 14 mintues…

My boy is out at last
Originally uploaded by kuckibaboo.
Written on May 18th…

I was just laying on the bed with Keenan and I realized that one week ago today at this time I was in the delivery room and just heard the doctor tell Jessyca that he had some recommendations since I was starting to appear very tired. I could keep going and try to give birth naturally, have the baby delivered with vacuum assistance or have an oxytocin drip to strengthen my contractions. That was at 12 noon and there was no way in hell that I had come thru 15 hours of labor to have to resort to any means of artificial induction. I made up my mind at that point that I was going to give it my all during the next sets of contractions and get that baby out. He was born at 12:14. What a crazy 14 minutes.

It’s a boy…don't let the pink towel fool you!

Originally uploaded by kuckibaboo.
Introducing Keenan Thomas!

Born on Wednesday, May 11th, 2006 at 12:14 pm
Weight: 4373 grams (9.6 pounds)*
Length: 51.4 cm
At: Keiai Maternity Hospital in Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan

*We were told by our doctor that Keenan might possibly be the biggest first born baby in his hospital this year!

Keenan, Sean and myself are doing very well. I’m currently very busy trying to get Keenan to put some weight on so I don’t have much chance to get on the computer. Stay tuned though more news and tons more photos as I have the time.

Many, many thanks to everyone for following this blog, sending their emails and love and visiting us in the hospital.

May 9 Doc appointment…Bless my Dutch bones!

Yesterday I had my last doctor appointment before the arrival of this Kid. I can say that with certainty as we have decided that if we don’t have this baby by Thursday afternoon we will go in to start the induction process on Thursday evening.

My appointment was a mixed bag of emotions, results and events. I was going to call this post “Strike Two” as my doctor made his second big mistake with me but I’ve since put his indiscretion behind me (yes I will elaborate on this later).

Eiko picked me up and we were in hospital at about 9:45 am. Huge lineups, extra chairs were set out and it was hot as Hell in there. I got in pretty quickly and got my blood pressure, pee test and weight check over with. My blood pressure was initially a little on the high side but it was ok the second time around. Non stress test was normal. Sean and I had decided we would indeed go through with the pelvic x-ray that the hospital was recommending and fretting profusely about. The results are as follows….

Average Japanese woman’s pelvic opening = 11 cm
My pelvic opening = 13.2 cm
Babies head size = 9.5 cm

…that’s nearly 4 cm of extra room folks. Not that I’m surprised. Thanks mom for passing those good ‘ol European child bearing hips on to me! So that insanity is now dealt with.

The sonogram went fine and determined the following…

-baby weight: approx. 4169 grams (approx. 9.1 lbs)

So on to the internal exam. This is where I sit in this really quite comfortable examination chair that is like a dentist chair for pelvic exams. Lifts and separates one could say. To the point where my shins are parallel with the ceiling, knees are about 2.5 feet apart, my back is at about a 45 degree angle to the floor and my head is about 6 feet off the floor. I always have to try to stifle a giggle when the doc walks in and says “ok, please relax”. It’s just such a ridiculous request in that position. Anyways, I’m as used to this as earthquakes by now and just stare out the window during the process. Except this time. My doc had decided without consulting with me that was going to strip my membranes. And just dives right in and does it. For the uninitiated stripping the membranes is a process where by the doctor inserts his finger into the cervix opening and separates the wall of the uterus from the amniotic sac. It’s mother fucking painful. Especially when you don’t know it’s coming. So naturally I tried to get out of the chair. Over the head rest. I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything. He was happy to ask me to relax again and told me he was just trying to stimulate natural labor. Fucker. We’re gonna have a little talk about this tomorrow. I’m not up for a third strike. Plus, I need to trust this guy. Good grief. So we finish up the appointment with me feeling like I’m in shock, I couldn’t even tell Eiko. [Gomenasai Eiko! I just couldn’t find the words!] So Eiko and I go out and get groceries, go out for ice cream do some other shopping. I was very happy to get home, climb into bed and wait for Sean to get home so I could have my little meltdown. And meltdown I did. It felt great.

So tomorrow at 4 pm I get admitted into the hospital, I have my little chat with the doctor and they keep my under observation until the morning. On Friday morning they start my Oxytocin drip at 8:30 am and hopefully by Mother’s Day the newest O’Flanagan will be snuggled in our arms.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


We’ve been getting all sorts of advice since we started this journey to parenthood. Most of it has been really great, some frustrating, some ridiculous, and some even rude. But for some reason over the past 7 days we’ve got some real gems including my all time favorite words of encouragement in French. I’m posting all for the betterment of humankind!

“For the first couple of weeks after you have your baby don't get dressed - stay in your housecoat (Sean, this only applies to Nancy!). This helps people who come to visit realize that you are recuperating and that they should keep their visit short.” Dayle Craig

“Don’t slip in her amniotic fluid.” Patricia O’Flanagan

“If you have a choice between getting stitches or having the kid pulled out by one of those vacuum things…get the stitches. You’ll heal but you don’t want your poor child to have one of those awful bumps on its head for the rest of its life.” Petronella van Herpt (otherwise known as my mom)

“L√Ęche pas la patate!” translates to “Don’t let go of the potato!” Ghislain Demers

“Sex induces pregnancy” Kajsa Beck via Josh Ullery to Sean on the phone

Thursday, May 04, 2006

“Best before date”

Now that we’re officially “overdue” I'm changing my outlook to “we haven’t reached our best before date yet”. We know we’re going to induce before May 17th and it just sounds so much more positive!

As far as progress goes…on Wednesday I started having this feeling that the lower half of my body was being subjected to twice as much gravity as the rest of me. I’m feeling some serious downward pressure and I literally feel like I’m dragging my ass around with me everywhere I go! Yesterday afternoon I started feeling very sharp and localized tightening at different points around my belly. I’ve definitely not felt anything like that before. Hopefully all this build up leads to a trip to the hospital soon!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May 2 Doc appointment

Yes, I know I wasn’t supposed to have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. But I got a call at around 11 am from my doctor to ask me if I was coming in and I said “no” because he had given me the choice of Tuesday or Friday this week and I chose Friday. The conversation went something like this…

Doc: “I’m sorry, I forgot Friday is a holiday. Can you come in today?”
Me: “Ok, but I need to have a shower and arrange a ride to the hospital so I can’t be there before 12:30.”
Doc: “No problem, I'm here all day just let me know when you can come by.”

Insert rant here:
I have to say that I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that hospitals here are closed everyday after 5pm, Sundays and holidays. This is complicated by the fact that doctors work out of hospitals and not their own office and that service is on a first come, first served basis.

So I picked up my list of friends to call in an emergency or when the “time” comes and started dialing. I left lots of messages and headed for the shower. I had a nice long hot one. Even shaved my legs. I got a hold of Eiko once I was all clean and moisturized and she said she’d pick me up at 1:30 so we could be at the hospital by 2. So I did the dishes and putzed around for a bit, wrote a note to Sean saying I wasn’t in labor and already at the hospital etc.

We get to the hospital and the doc makes his first real mistake he’s made with me the whole time we’ve known him. He hands me an “advised letter of consent” nicely and officially drawn up in very good English for a pelvic x-ray and induction. Wow, what a shocker. I could literally hear the iron gates of my defenses slamming down all around me. I had anticipated the topic of induction would come up but I didn’t think I was going to have the x-ray conversation again and I certainly didn’t think I’d be asked to sign any sort of letter of consent for either procedure. I was needless to say, “visibly agitated” but I can’t tell you how happy I was to have Eiko there. After all kinds of discussion in Japanese and English I headed in for my appointment. Got weighed, got my blood pressure taken (how it wasn’t thru the roof I’ll never know), tinkled in the cup and then headed for the physical part of the exam. All the while I’m letting off these huge sighs and the doc finally put his hand on my shoulder and said it’s ok, I’m sorry for upsetting you, we’ll talk about this as much as you want later…after your non-stress test! Well, it’s actually the Kid’s non-stress test not mine. The kid was totally unstressed while I sat in the monitoring room with my notebook propped up on my belly frantically writing questions about the letter and its contents.

Afterwards Eiko, the doc and I went over my questions. It turns out he personally doesn’t think I need an x-ray to determine if the baby is too large to fit thru my pelvis. But it is his hospital’s policy to do one if the baby reaches a certain size or if an induction is required. This is an unforeseen circumstance that Sean and I had no way of knowing was in the future for us. You simply can’t ask every possible question at the outset. On the topic of the x-ray I did grill the doctor on the associated risks, the hospital’s role in taking responsibility for the risks, what level/time/exposure of x-ray was being suggested and what proven side effects have been documented. I told him again that such a procedure would never be considered in North America given my size, family history, the baby’s current approximate weight and our health. I also told him it wasn’t even suggested women get dental x-rays when they are pregnant just to be safe. And that generally I was uncomfortable with his hospital’s policy and any form of x-ray that included my pelvis and our unborn child’s head. He told me he had no problem if I refused the x-ray but the risks associated with doing so would fall on our shoulders. It didn’t occur to me at the time but when I got home and discussed it with Sean we were left wondering if this is an insurance issue for the hospital. Perhaps if they don’t tick that “pelvic x-ray” box off in our file and something goes wrong then the hospital is on the hook. This seems highly likely given this culture’s love affair with being over-prepared. Another question we’ll have to ask. The doctor assured me that the x-ray was very low level and that it posed no risk to the baby or myself. Japan has been doing this procedure for well over 30 years and they have recorded no side effects thus far. He showed me the x-ray from another patient and he explained that it was very faint because they just need to see a shadow of the baby’s skull, shoulders and my pelvis for their purposes. We’re pretty much on the level on the topic of induction. They would want to induce me if the baby is not born before May 17th and they recommend using an oxytocin drip which we’re both fine with (I hugely oppose the production and use of synthetic hormones but this is one of those cases where I’ve chosen to cave). Both issues of x-ray and induction will be totally abandoned if the baby decides to make it’s way to the outside world on it’s own. We wrapped up with deciding I would come in on Saturday, May 6 for another non-stress test and then the following Tuesday for a regular appointment. On Tuesday we’ll give the doctor our decision on the x-ray and induction. So I left the hospital feeling a bit anxious but I was satisfied that all of my questions had been answered. I did have an overwhelming desire to talk to Sean and I knew he wouldn’t be home for work yet so Eiko and I did a bit of groceries and then headed home.

The lighter side to my day came after Eiko helped me carry the groceries upstairs. She left her car parked and running right outside the entrance to our building. Sure enough while she was on her way back down the stairs Sean rides up, recognizes her car and his first reaction is “Holy smokes, it’s go time”. Thoughts going through his head were “Is Nancy ok?”, “I’ve gotta wear this sweaty shirt to the hospital” and “My child’s first impression of me is going to be that I stink!” I stuck my head out the window to say good-bye to Eiko and witnessed the exchange between the two of them. I sure was grateful for that bit of comic relief at the end of such a stressful day!

Bye bye to the baby arrival countdown ticker!

I logged into my blog today to discover that the baby had been born without me even knowing it! The cute ticker that I normally have in the upper left corner announced that "I've arrived!". Friggin' nerve of the thing! I was wondering what would happen if I went past the due date.

So to sum up...the ticker ticked me off so it's gone, all is well and the baby is still on the inside!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Due tomorrow

The eve of my due date is a little strange. It’s not like Christmas or Easter when the following day holds the promise of staying put on the calendar. You get presents on Christmas, chocolate at Easter and we want our baby on our due date! If the baby isn’t born today or tomorrow then everyday after that for the next 2 weeks becomes my potential due date. It’s just so unfair!

I’m feeling really good these days. The first few days after the move I felt really tired and awful. I felt more like I was ready to pop at that point than I do now. I have started feeling some hints of contractions and raging hormones though. On Saturday night I woke up several times with hot flashes. Not so fun considering my favorite sleepwear fabric is fleece. Then on Sunday I started to have very deep low back menstrual type cramping for a couple of hours at a time. I get the occasional tightening all the way around my belly and it feels about as hard as a bowling ball. The Kid itself is getting really strong and is able to do some pretty impressive yet freaky alien impressions.

The doc gave me the option of coming in on Tuesday or Friday this week. I chose Friday with hopes that the baby would come before then. If he or she doesn’t make it’s way to the outside world before then I guess we’ll be talking about when to induce and what method we want to use. I think this Kid is just like it’s dad and is quite happy to remain toasty and snug in warmth and darkness! Doesn’t it know it has it’s own room now? With lots of cute clothes, books and toys! Maybe I need to lure it out with Italian espresso and fresh baked chocolate banana bread just like Sean on Sunday mornings!

“Takin’ it easy day”

Yesterday was a great day! Alixe came over around 10:30 in the morning with a basket of fresh made whole-wheat biscuits, some sinful fruit spread and an assortment of tea. We sat around and chatted, ate biscuits and drank tea for a few hours and had a really lovely time. I had a bit of lunch and put some family photo’s up in the baby’s room. Then Erin Poop tried to crank call me but introduced herself first so that backfired! She was with the usual suspects…Sara and Amanda and within half an hour they were sitting on our living room and the four of us were eating ice cream and sharing disgusting cockroach stories! We chatted and goofed around for most of the afternoon and then they were gone in a flurry of giggles and oversized sunglasses. What a crew! Before I knew it Sean was home and we were parked in front of the TV with dinner and a movie. If you haven’t seen The Way of the Gun go out tonight and rent it. Benicio del Toro, James Caan and Juliette Lewis are all awesome in this flick. To top the night off I got a great call from my mom.

I think that’s the kind of day Sean wants me to have when he says “take it easy today ok?” I can never cook them up quite like that though! So anyone that wants to stop by or call please feel free to do so. I need all the help I can get!