It's amazing how life can so easily put our best intentions into disarray! My apologies to all those who have asked how things have been going and not received updates. On the 3rd week of January we had a healthy baby boy, born here at home and more often than not these new lives bring with them challenges that must be met!
Yuko called our midwife at about 3am as contractions & labour begun. The midwife asked to have me drive her to the clinic to double-check she had really commenced labour... At that point Yuko made up her mind if the midwife wasn't coming, we were going deliver the baby by ourselves!
About 45 minutes later the anxious midwife called to see how we were doing and evidently hearing Yuko in some discomfort set off in haste with her assistant to our house.
We'd planned to call our friends Mark & Faith to help when labour came. Turned out Mark had forgotten to keep his phone on - not realising it would be that night and their home phone didn't ring in their bedrooms. Meanwhile I realised I still hadn't set up the video camera and we needed to prepare for the baby's arrival.
Yuko was now dialating and needed me to massage her lower back constantly... So there I was one hand on her back working away, shoulder holding phone as I continued to try reaching Mark whilst using the other hand to set up the tripod and camera. Eventually I got through, although we knew it wasn't going to be long now - so no rush!
I'd shown our 3 year old daughter the video of her birth so she'd be able to understand what was happening to mama and of course, she already knew she'd soon have a little brother and so she massaged too.
Video camera was now on and I was there massaging and willing Yuko to breathe and not push too much. She was coping beautifully. Obviously undergoing some pain, but managing.
Soon enough the midwives arrived and Yuko was already crowning by this stage. They had me sit behind, supporting her. Within what seemed like a few minutes his head came out! At this stage our daughter said, "Mama, Mama, let's go to the bath now", but with quite a walk to the bath this wasn't going to happen - I smiled whilst Yuko pushed one last time. He came out and without any prompting let out a cry before going to his mum's bussom & settling down.
Mark, Faith and their three youngest arrived about an hour after the birth and of course they'd prayed that all would go smoothly. In less than 2 1/2 hours of labour Yuko had given birth. With labour not having taken so long she was still had energy to feed our new boy and enjoy these irreplacable moments of life. Faith and the kids stayed for the next couple of days to help look after us. I'd volunteered to wash nappies, cook, shop, clean and look after things as best I could. I soon begun to understand what it is to be a housewife. Tough work! - But so worth doing to appreciate what our wives do all the time including baby sitting. Faith needed to return home, so two of the kids stayed to continue helping look after our little girl. Our friends were a godsend when we needed them and over the next few days we had lots of visitors. We were given two large bags of baby boy clothes from Arnie's family, which was a great help!
After two weeks I was going to take the family to Shodoshima so I needed to convert our trusty Hiace back into being a family car. I spent a day vacuuming & washing the entire interior. Next I re-fitted the stored original seats and made sure it was ready for the 650km trip. Amazing it cleaned up so well! It was as if the car had never been used to carry tools & materials for almost a year in Arnie's hands! The very futon our baby had been born on now fitted perfectly in the back. Being freezing outside overnight, I put an electric blanket on maximum ready for our set-off at 5.30am the next morning. Loved ones slept in the back, whilst I drove the 650km trip.
Our little girl enjoyed playing with her cousins. This shot was taken the night we arrived. They were all having a slumber party on our way to enjoy an evening onsen. Mother & baby stayed behind.
It's been a very fast paced 4 months and our little boy has grown lots. He's at almost 8kg at 4 months! He smiles and giggles. Usually watches where Yuko is!
I'm hoping he likes cars and bikes as much as I do. It does appear he already has driving aspirations.
My uncle Carlos was the first relative from my mother's side to hold our boy for the first time when he was about 1 month old just after Yuko had returned from her parent's place in Shodoshima.
Hoping for his photos sometime, as I always used his camera during his visit! :)