Throughout my pregnancy I kept a journal both in the handwritten/notebook format and online - I look back now at these as precious records of how we bought little Xavier Grayson into the world and became a family of three.
Xavier is now 2 weeks and 2 days old and it's time to start his baby journal.....My husband and I met a little more than eight years ago here in Tokyo when we were both working for the same company right after we had each finished our undergraduate degrees. Intrigued by this warm, curious and life-loving man from Canada (& presumably he was charmed by my Australian accent and equally adventurous views on life!) we began a friendship that soon developed into a wonderful relationship. He proposed to me on a trip to London in 2002 and we were married in my hometown, Melbourne Australia, in 2003 about 5 years after we first met.
We have only ever lived our lives together here in Tokyo and although we do not plan to remain permanently in Japan, for now this is our home and we love the cultural richness we experience every day. Prior to having Xavier I worked for a US investment bank here (now on maternity leave) and my husband is completing his PhD in International Relations as well as working for local government and his university.
Early this year we decided that we would start trying for a baby and were happily suprised to get pregnant the first cycle we tried conceiving! We didn't start telling people until I was 9 weeks pregnant - agony for me given how close I am to my family back in Australia! Sharing the news was one of the most heart-warming experiences of my life, knowing that we were bringing a child of our own into the world and having the privilige of telling our loved ones was wonderful. Their love and support has been instrumental to our happiness and our delight in Xavier!
My pregnancy progressed wonderfully - no morning sickness, minimal weight gain (a healthy amount but not too much!), no medical issues and culminated in a labour/delivery that was exactly as I had hoped. All natural with no interventions. I was really against having an epidural and prepared myself for months to get through labour without it. In the final week (Xavier was born at 39 weeks), the Dr mentioned the possibility of a c-section because of the baby's size (which turned out to be average at 3285 grams) but thankfully, my waters broke on their own, contractions started about 8 hours later and I delivered Xavier safely after only 6 hours of labour. We were both in great shape which I believe was the result of the type of delivery I had chosen and been blessed with.
We did not find out the gender of our baby during my pregnancy and were thrilled to find ourselves with a beautiful son. The emotion of creating and delivering a child together is the most intimate experience we have shared.
Here in Japan, it is common practice for women to spend 5-6 days in hospital for a nornmal delivery and longer for a c-section. This is to ensure that mothers go home well-rested and with breast-feeding (if you choose to BF) working well. For me, I stayed 5 days which felt a little long. I think I was ready to leave on day 3 or 4 but DH and I agreed that it was better to be patient and take the rest while I could. It also enabled me to get a good grasp of breast-feeding which is working out perfectly.
The day we came home was so emotional for me. I remember walking into our apartment with Xavier and in my arms and feeling this overwhelming sense of love and happiness that we were now at home with DH and could begin this incredible journey together as a family of three. That night when we got into bed, I cried and cuddled up to DH feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.
DH took that first week at home off of work and cooked for us every day. He also did all the grocery shopping and from day 1 took responsibility for bathing Xavier every night. Seeing them together makes me so happy - wow, reading back over this I seem like a very emtional person! Really, it's just the pregnancy/baby thing!! LOL.
So we are now settling into life as new parents and getting used to little Xavier's needs. Like all first-time parents we are incredibly proud of ourselves for creating such a wonderful baby, he's calm and curious most of the time and only gives us trouble at his preferred waking time, 3-6am!! Need to get him out of that habit pretty quickly!
Today Xavier and I had a big mission to accomplish - have studio photos taken for his citizenship and passport applications which we have to file within 30 days of his birth. We had already been to two stores with the different specifications and neither of them could produce the photos accordingly - this in the land of Fuji Film and camera/photographer mania! I finally found a store that does images on digital film so they could manipulate the printing according to our needs (Canadian and Australian size requirements are different to each other and different again from the Japanese passport size).
It took three of us, myself and two photographers to get one good image of him with his eyes open! One girl held him from behind a blanket, the other rang a loud rattle right by him and clicked about 50 shots hoping for one good one and I tickled him! I was so nervous that he was going to fart right in front of them as he seems to get really bad gas....thankfully that did not happen.
Friday we have to go to the Canadian Embassy to file paperwork which is a little scary given it's more than one hour from where we live and we have to take him on the train to get there. DH will be with me though so hopefully the three of us survive.