Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Baby News!

1440 minutes! This is how long Aki was in labor, yes one full day! I have even more respect for mothers after having witnessed what they go through. After checking in around 7pm on Monday, Feb. 8, he finally came out around 7pm on Tuesday, February 9. It was a sleepless night & day spent mainly rubbing Aki's lower back. :)

About 18 hours into it, the doctors told us they may have to deliver by C-section. This is done in less than 10% of births here in Japan (compared to over 20% in the USA). Fortunately, we were able to avoid this. But in the end, they did have to bring out the forceps (coincidentally, they were needed in my delivery as well, my mom thinks this may have lead to my crooked head).

This was a slow day at Odawara City Hospital and at times there were around 10 doctors/nurses assisting with or observing the delivery. On a busy day, they deliver a half a dozen babies. We were so happy with all of them. But I noticed one interesting thing. Whenever Aki made a loud noise (I didn't think it was loud), one doctor would sternly say, "Don't make any loud noises". I wanted to say, "Go ahead Aki, scream", but I kept my mouth shut. During one of those slow moments, I did attempt an "oyaji gag" (old man's joke). I said, "You need patience (patients) to do your job". No one laughed.

Taiga Calvin Matsumoto
Height: 18.7 inches (47.5 cms)
Weight: 6.7 lbs (3040 grams)
History behind his name: This Year, 2010, is the Year of the Tiger. Taiga (pronounced like Tiger) is easy for people to pronounce whether we are in Japan or the states, and it's a little bit different (like his dad's). Coincidentally, February is also the month of the Tiger and the 9th of February is also the day of the Tiger (according to the Chinese zodiac). So our boy was born on a very STRONG "Tiger" day! BTW, "Tiger" people are said to be sensitive, deep thinkers and capable of great sympathy. Many Japanese ask about the kanji (Chinese characters) for Taiga. "Tai" means big or strong. "Ga" means noble or right. We gave him his middle name, Calvin, after his grandfather in California. In Japan, it is not a custom to be named after a family member. You don't meet any Jr's here. So when Aki brought up my dad's name as a possible choice for our "English" name, I jumped at it. It's not possible to have a middle name here, so actually his name will read TaigaCalvin (one long name) on his official documents in Japan. For his American passport, the names will be separated.

One more interesting thing happened on this day. The days before Taiga's birth were quite cold, average highs around 10 degrees celsius (50 F). But February 9th was an unusually warm and sunny 20 degrees celsius (almost 70 F). His birth brought warmth, relief and tears of joy to us. We waited 5 long years, but he was all worth it! :)

Aki will spend the next week in the hospital. This is normal here as it gives the mom & baby time to bond. Nurses and doctors are always right there to answer questions, give "How to..." lessons, and in case of any emergencies. Aki's genki. She only gained 17.6 lbs. (8 kgs). The doctors were very strict about weight; I think she was allowed to gain a max. of 2 lbs/week. Thank you Aki for taking such good care of yourself and being so strong during the delivery. Yes, our new life has just begun!

Top left picture - Just 30 minutes after birth!
Top right picture - Day 2!
Bottom left picture - Day 4!
Bottom right picture - One week!