Spring has never been my favorite season, but after what seemed like a LONG winter, coupled with a few months of laying on the couch feeling sick, the recent sunshine and warm weather (and cherry blossoms! pictured on header) have completely turned around my life. (A little dramatic flair in that last statement, but it feels totally true.)
Could also be that I’m entering my second trimester tomorrow (13 weeks). Already??! Yes, already. HOLY. COW. I’m going to have another babe in my arms before I know it! This pregnancy is flying by with the little dude around to keep me busy. I took my first belly pic today, since its probably the first day in three months that I put on real clothes before breakfast and washed my face before noon. I’m every woman, right? Sadly, my little pooch looks less like a pregnant belly and more like an after-thanksgiving tummy.
We went to register my pregnancy with the Japanese government on Thursday, getting the new little babe a boshiteicho. (This is typically done around 8-9 weeks, but we were a little behind in our understanding of what needed to be done.) This handy-dandy little notebook will hold all of my pregnancy records for this baby and all of his/her medical records until entrance into elementary school (at which point, it’s transferred into a school file that stays with the kid till they graduate or leave the system). I find this easy, one-place record-keeping to be extremely cool — anytime we take this baby to any doctor, this book will hold all that needs to be known. Though Renae did ask during her visit about what might happen if I lose it. (Yikes.) I don’t know the answer to that question and think I won’t ask till I need to.
Monday, we are leaving the little dude at home to visit and tour two nearby midwife clinics (10-15 mins away). I’ve got a HUGE list of questions, since I know only a few things about the baby-birthing system here. And also, Jones was born in a hospital, so giving birth in a birthing clinic will be completely different, I’m sure — not to mention it’ll be a Japanese one. 😉 Overall, I’m feeling excited to give birth here, most of what I’ve heard has been encouraging and impressive. Other missionary mom’s have said they even prefer giving birth in Japan over America.
Some factoids about birth in Japan:
- Typical hospital/clinic post-partum stays range from 5 to 7 days.
- Japan has the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. (Fourth, if you go by another list.) By comparison, the U.S. is #33 on one list and #46 on the other.
- Japan has a low rate of C-section births. (The U.S. has the third highest C-section rate in the world, behind Australia and Italy.)
- Because Japan has a low birth rate (more people are dying than are being birthed each year), there are wonderful monetary incentives to having children here, even for foreigners. 🙂
- Very few places, if any, offer an epidural. (This could be good or bad, depending on how you would like your birth to take place!)
- I hear the mother’s get fabulous meals and star-treatment during their post-partum stays, complete with massages and facials! 🙂 (We’ll see what options the two clinics we’re interested in offer.)
Looking forward to finding out more..