I wasn't intending on discussing anything important this time, except to check that Kanji can indeed come to the birth! But I ended up with a hospital tour, so I learned quite a lot.
It started out badly with a grumpy nurse who made things worse by gesturing at me, making me feel like a child. She could have at least graciously pointed the way, instead of curling her finger to indicate 'come'. I hope she realized in the end that, having mastered words like 'childbirth' 'labour' and 'episiotomy' I can understand simple stuff like 'this way please'.
But I got over her and enjoyed the u/s as usual. It's grown of course, no surprises there, and the doctor was quick to reassure me that all was well, baby was 'genki' (healthy, energetic). I kept to myself my comment 'as far as you can tell with U/S, which is not so much really...'. In reality I feel very healthy, no protein, no blood sugar problems, no aching bones, eating healthy, baby moving heaps. I don't need him to tell me we are fine!
Then he asked if I had decided to give birth there, and when I said Yes, he sent me on the tour. I waited in the corridor, and along came his sister, who has some administrative role there (part of which, I found out, was devising the menus, which she assured me were delicious). She speaks English very well - Mum will be pleased to hear! We did switch to Japanese though, as it became clear that my Japanese was better than her English. That happens most of the time these days! I am happy to know that they are making an effort though.
We went upstairs to the nursery, and I knew this was my chance to ask about rooming in. I was assured I can have my baby with me. We looked at the standard shared room (only two beds) and the more luxurious room, 5000yen extra, which has a table to eat at and a fold-out sofa-bed so Kanji or Mum can stay with me! All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, with showers with a little shelf to rest on so you can shower sitting down. There is a separate dining room, but it looks like you can take your meals in your room too. We also looked at the kitchen, were I assured them I eat anything, especially raw fish.
I also got to see the delivery room, which I was very pleased about. Very utilitarian, except the birthing chair is pink. I asked about birth positions, and how high up the chair goes. It can hike up quite high, but you are still lying back a bit. I briefly explained how it worked in NZ, that it's a normal bed and you pretty much choose your own position. One nurse assured me that the standard position you assume on the chair, with legs spread-eagled and holding onto hand grips near your bum, is the easiest or best to give birth in. We fiddled a bit with the legs rest, and I discovered that with them down, I could scooch up into a sort-of squat, leaning back a bit, very similar to how I was with Amy and Lena, but with my feet up by my bum, not up in the air. I told them I would try their method, but asked if I would be able to change positions if it wasn't as comfortable or easy as they insisted.
Next I wanted a blow-by-blow account of what happens directly after the birth. It was not too detailed - even as I asked I knew the problem would be that they would be so used to doing things their way that they are probably largely unaware that there are other ways of doing things. I was told however, that the baby would be wrapped and cleaned, then brought to me for breastfeeding. But at that point they started talking about having the baby in the nursery, apparently to make sure her temperature stabilizes. Rubbish, in my opinion, as the baby's temperature can be equally well monitored when it's with its mother! So I have gotten a bit worried about that, as I kind of missed the start of it - we had also been talking about who can be in the delivery room and how long I can stay. I intend to stay the whole six days, but I will be able to go home after four. And Kanji and Mum can come into the delivery room.
Anyway, as I recall it, after I cuddle and feed the baby on the table, they take her away to care for her, while I 'rest' and I was asking her about how long, and she said 5-6 hours, which is WAY too long for me. I was triyng to see if there were excpetions, trying to be negotiable, not dump on the whole idea and offend them, but just see if they would let me, if we were both healthy, take the baby myself. On the other hand, the doctor keeps saying, 'give her what she wants' so I think I have some wiggle room. It's definitely at the top of the list for the next visit!
It's difficult to reproduce the nuance...I do miss things, for sure, and I know you can't just jump out and attack people's thinking or way of doing things. I have to appear flexible, but I don't think they have any idea how many things I am tolertaing that I would rather not do, how different everything is right down to the littlest detail. And in Japanese, you can't just disagree, you have to gently squeeze the new thinking in. Well, take it slow. I'll make sure next time that it's on my chart that I am to be given my baby when I ask for it.