Fri Oct 21st
I had a “nesting” kind of day…ironing some new curtains I bought for our bedroom, sorting out baby clothes (cutting tags off ready for washing next week), packing the new nappy (= British English for diaper) bag with things the baby will need to come home from hospital and lots of general cleaning. All that as well as lots of work-related conference calls and time spent on various work projects that I have to finish before next Friday….so I didn’t really have time to go out except to buy some bread for lunch. In the evening, I met DH at the supermarket on his way home from work and we had a light dinner before he had to go out again. I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which I had been excited to see – but it was a little weirder than I thought…the story was not exactly as I remembered it from my childhood.
Sat Oct 22nd
Time passes by so slowly when you’re not going into the office every day. Usually on a Saturday we clean then go out for lunch or watch a movie together. With me home all week, our place never looked cleaner and all the laundry was already done so we watched a few episodes of 24 this morning before DH had to get on with an article he’s writing. I made some more Christmas Cards (one of my pre-baby projects….Japan has the most amazing paper and I have a whole bunch of stamps I use to decorate them). Later we walked down to the station together as DH was off to an academic conference. I did some errands and bought a magazine which I read in a coffee shop
…..I have so much free time it’s not funny!
This evening I am going down to his university to meet him after the conference and we’ll go out for dinner. I am looking forward to getting dressed up and put my sweats away for a few hours!
Baby-wise I think everything is fine....our little one makes subtle movements from time to time, enough to let me know that s/he's still in there! We have our next check up on Tuesday morning by which time I'll be almost 36 weeks. I wonder if I've dilated any....?
Sunday Oct 23rd
A quiet Sunday ...... it was gorgeous weather, sunny blue skies and the kind of warmth on your skin that makes you long for a lazy afternoon on a patio with a good book. This morning I went for a long walk down to a beautiful stream - I must take my camera back there this week and take some pictures before all the autumn leaves change colour.
When I got home DH was talking online with his sister in Canada so we chatted for a while then I called my parents as they had phoned while I was out. This is their first grandchild - naturally they are VERY excited about the baby and can't wait to come over here in December. They are going to spend a month with us and stay through Christmas/New Years. This time we have booked them into a "weekly mansion" which is what they call a serviced rental apartment here, the kind you can rent out week by week. It's mainly for business people I guess but will give my parents an opportunity to have their own place here, somewhere they can go back to at night & get a good nights sleep away from us as we settle in with a newborn!
After that I did grocery shopping while DH went to training. I then went down to the local shrine (where he trains in a "dojo" = martial arts studio) as the monthly antique market was on and we always enjoy browsing through the stalls looking at knick-knacks. We don't usually buy anything as it's quite pricey - one can always dream, right!
This afternoon I took a nap, finished a book I was reading and finished watching the DVD "Sideways". I also packed my bag for the hospital - well at least a few basic items anyway! It's a start!
Monday Oct 24
One month today until my due date! I still don’t think the reality of having a new baby has sunk in yet….DH and I have been together just the 2 of us for so long, it’s hard to imagine our lives as a family of 3. But I feel immensely happy thinking about it, I know we will be great parents – at least that is our intention and desire!
Last night DH’s friend dropped by and I invited him to stay for dinner. I had made clams steamed in sake and chives and mabo-vegetables (this is a kind of spicy Chinese sauce). It was a relaxing evening and he didn’t stay late so we watched an episode of Alias and Lost.
This morning I got up early when DH did, around 6am and made us breakfast. While he was getting ready I did one of my pre-natal yoga tapes with the morning sun streaming in the window. It was very rejuvenating….the baby seems to like all the stretches and the extra space I give him/her when I am breathing deeply and moving in certain ways.
Once I got online, I worked on a project for my boss and created a photo gallery of my pregnancy on Yahoo. I also proofread two articles that DH had written and e-mailed to me for editing. He’s such a talented wordsman (is that a word?), I always enjoy reading his work.
Popped out for lunch and read the newspaper in a little bakery which was relaxing. I see so many pregnant women and Mums out and about with babies/toddlers now that I am around during the day! I guess this is what I have to look forward to! I made an appointment to get my nails done on Thursday afternoon, kind of a special treat for myself.
Tuesday October 25th
We had our check up this morning, everything went well with the baby now weighing approx 2.7kg (= approx 5.9 pounds) with 4 weeks still to go! I wonder how much more it will grow?! I have gained 9kg (= approx 19.5 pounds) and am feeling every bit of it.
I started to feel really light headed and nauseous as I was getting the ultrasound and had to prop myself up on my elbows. DH was engrossed in a conversation with the Dr, asking whether we could see the face again. I wanted to say "just stop it or I'm going to throw up right here!" but I had all that gel on my tummy and didn't want to interupt them! Finally the midwife realized and came and put me on my side while DH and the Dr moved over to the desk to keep chatting!!
After our appointment, we had a meeting with the midwife. She was explaining a test they want me to go in for next week - basically a no-stress-test for the baby to see how it's heartbeat responds. I guess based on that they can predict how the baby will cope with labour.
From now on, I have to go in weekly for check ups and this afternoon I have to go back for a 2 hour seminar on baby nutrition which is part of the program they encourage us to complete before having the baby there. I am not really looking forward to it as it will be all in Japanese...always makes me stressed!
Last night we had a talk about names for the baby, we each keep changing our favourites but I think we agree on a few common ones. DH wants to wait until we see the baby to make the final decision....
Wednesday Oct 26th
I had a very busy day work-wise, the phone was ringing constantly with calls from my boss and the two people who are taking over my job (yes, they have split my role - hope they realize how hard I worked to get it all done by myself!) However I did manage to get out for a couple of hours over lunchtime; I went to the library to return some books and picked out 4 new ones - I love having so much time to read now!
One of the books I have just finished is "Misconceptions" by Naomi Wolfe. She writes about how birth has become an industry in North America, how hospital policy around risk management results in many unnecessary c-sections, how long labours are medically sped-up in order to free up delivery rooms and how women are in general kept in the dark about the reality of birth. They are made to feel infantile in the questions they ask and are made to feel that they should not question their Dr's or health-care givers with regards to decisions about their body and their labour/delivery. It was very insightful and makes me grateful to be giving birth here in Tokyo where my hospital encourages natural delivery and the rate of c-sections is very low. I know they will allow me to go through the process at the pace my body wants to and unless there is a medical reason to intervene, I am expecting to have a natural birth.
I did some shopping (got new coffee mugs ) and had a long coffee in Starbucks reading one of my books. In the evening, I made a great meal of grilled yellow-tail fish with teriyaki sauce and a vegetable miso dish. It was really yummy and DH appreciated my effort. We went to bed early - for some reason we were so tired!
Oh - some news, I found that the La Leche League has a branch right here in the suburb of Tokyo I live in! I usually have to go downtown for those kind of English-speaking organizations/events so I was really surprised to discover a local branch. I contacted the woman in charge and she lives within 10 mins of me. I am going to the meeting next week - it will be great to meet some other English-speaking Mums right in my neighbourhood. Most of my friends here live downtown....so this will be fun!
Thursday Oct 27th 2005
:P Today is my last day working from home....tomorrow is officially my last day but I have agreed to go into the office for the day for a final handover of the projects I have been working on. My boss let it slip that the dept is having a cake for me at the weekly meeting tomorrow morning and then 10 of us are going out for lunch. I am looking forward to seeing everyone - they are a great bunch and I will miss them terribly!
Sat my girlfriends are having a baby shower for me (my work girlfriends gave me a shower back in August with another pregnant co-worker) so tomorrow is my non-work friends! We are going to a popular cafe in downtown Tokyo called Fujimamas and have booked a private room upstairs as most of the other girls have new babies and we don't want to disturb other customers. It will be a fun afternoon - hopefully no games, as per my request! I want it to be a lovely, grown-up lunch with lots of chat about babies but none of the silliness!
Sat night DH and I are going to a joint b'day party for 3 friends and Sunday we have rented a car for the day. We are going to have brunch at my boss's apartment as she is giving me her sewing machine and some other bits and pieces then we are free all afternoon to drive around as we please!
So....my transition into being a full-time stay-at-home Mum-to-be starts with the above activities. I can't wait!!
Oh and I went and got my nails done this afternoon as a special treat! I got a French polish - looks fabulous!
Friday Oct 28th
Went to the office for my final day before officially starting maternity leave. It was wonderful to see everyone again and all the girls said I looked great - I guess working from home suited me! At our weekly team meeting, they had ordered two beautiful Italian cakes plus tea/coffee which we enjoyed throughout the meeting. They also presented me with a HUGE bunch of flowers and a big card which everyone had signed with good wishes for the baby's arrival. It was a long day as I didn't get home until 8.30pm but I still had a hard time sleeping thinking about my professional days being over for a while and wondering what lies ahead....
Saturday Oct 29th
Six of my girlfriends plus me got together for a small baby shower. Several more couldn't make it but it was a nice size and we had a wonderful afternoon, cooing over their new babies (all of them have given birth in the last 5 months!), telling stories and just enjoying the great food at Fujimamas. I got some amazing gifts - the best being something called "Hooter Hiders". It is something like an apron that you put across your chest while breastfeeding out in public to prevent people from seeing your boobs! Cool fabric and a great idea!
Sat night DH and I went to a joint b'day party for three friends which was nice except I was really tired from my long day out. We got home close to midnight and I just crashed!
Sunday Oct 30th
DH and I got up early as we had rented a car for the day. We drove downtown to my boss's apartment where she gave us an amazing brunch! We sat and talked for hours and really enjoyed our time. She gave us a bunch of stuff she doesn't need as she's moving; lamps, frames, expensive Australian wine and cooking oils and best of all, her sewing machine! She was so generous...we need to buy her a gift.
Afterwards we drove to Costco and stocked up on nappies and wipes plus we got some fun food items and a TEFL grill for cooking meat, toasted sandwiches etc. We don't usually shop at Costco so it was somewhat of an adventure to go there. We dropped our rent a car off, had a light dinner of baked mushrooms with curry sauce (kind of an original recipe!) and went to bed early....what a busy weekend!
Tuesday Nov 1st 2005
I am now on weekly check ups given this is the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy. Yesterday morning I had to get to the hospital early for blood and urine tests then we went upstairs for the NST (no stress test) where they strap some monitors onto your belly and basically take an electro-cardiogram (baby’s heartbeat) to see how it responds to stress. Everything came out normal although I felt quite nauseous during the test. I am not sure whether it was because I was nervous, the room was very stuffy or it was the position they had me lying in – probably a combination of all three, so I was very glad when it was over. Afterwards, we had our appointment with the Dr and so far I am not showing any signs of dilation or effacement. He also said the baby has not yet dropped so he’s not expecting labour to start any time soon. I was a little disappointed but given I am not quite 37 weeks, I still have plenty of time for things to happen.
Right after the hospital visit I went over to a friend’s house and spent the afternoon with her. She taught me how to make a couple of dishes, not really Japanese food but popular foods here that I have never cooked on my own. It was a wonderful afternoon although I was exhausted by the time I got home at 6.30pm.
This is me before going out for dinner at 35.5 weeks.
Thursday Nov 3rd 2005
Yesterday (posting this on Fri morning) was a national holiday in Japan, "Culture Day". Everyone had flags out and there seemed to be a gazillion people out in the city enjoying the autumn sunshine and going to various events and activities. This autumn has been very warm and the leaves in Tokyo really haven't started to turn yet - something that is very much awaited in Japan!
DH went to an martial arts exhibition in the morning while I went to the bookstore in Shinjuku browsing for Christmas presents for our parents. Didn't find what I was looking for except to confirm that it is cheaper to buy on Amazon! Afterwards I went to a coffee shop and read for a while before walking two train stations along to meet DH. We ate at Fujimamas (the same place I had my baby shower at last weekend) where we ran into a couple of guys I work with (the foreigner world here is so small!). DH was not impressed with the cost of the lunch and declared that we are never going back!
Afterwards we walked to Yoyogi Park and laid on the grass listening to some traditional festival music and watching little kids on stage wearing traditional masks dancing to the music. I was quite tired by then given all the walking I had done and enjoyed the rest! We took the train to Takadanobaba where we met up with one of DH's friends, took him for coffee then dinner at an Indian/Nepalese restaurant right by DH's university campus. The food there is amazing, the best Indian we have ever found in Tokyo and the staff are really friendly. We got home relatively early but I was zonked and was in bed by 9.30pm. All that walking is great for me but really tires me out! My Dr told me on Tuesday that lots of walking may help me dilate a little so I am trying to do a few hours every day.
Friday Nov 4th 2005
What an interesting day....I attended a La Leche League meeting for the first time and met some wonderful ladies in my local part of Tokyo. They were very informative about breast-feeding and curious to know more about me given it was my first time with the group. To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a little strange to see 2+ year old kids still being breastfed but then maybe I've never thought that much about it before. Somehow I just can't see myself continuing past 9-12 months which seems to be fairly standard in Australia (or at least amongst my friends). I really appreciated hearing about their experiences here though and getting their advice on how to get off to a good start with BFing.
Afterwards I had to run some errands. Banks are notoriously bureaucratic here and I spent 1.5 hours trying to change my account name from my maiden to my married name. Mind you, we have been married 2.5+ years but working full time I have just never prioritized getting it updated. What a nightmare!
I also went and bought some snacks for my hosptial bag and got the money out of our account for the deposit we have to pay when we check into the hospital. Just little things on my list of must-do's before the baby arrives!
Oh the other baby-related thing I did today was order a Maya Sling - it's one of those fabric slings with the two silver disks on your shoulder for carrying the baby around in. I got it in plain black so it will match most of my clothes and DH will not be fussy about the colour!
I am now making pumpkin soup and have bought some yummy bread to go with it....so much time for cooking!