If you have missed the past two days, then you might not have heard that my wife gave birth to our daughter, Airi, on March 3rd. Things have been quite busy since then, but I feel that now is the time to give some details.
For the past week or so, Rika, my wife, has been having Braxton Hicks Contractions (false labor. They would start, be at ten minute intervals for a while, become more sporadic, and then end. So, when this started happening on Sunday afternoon, she didn’t think much of it.
After an hour or so, it started to get more sporadic. But then it went back to regular intervals. It had been going on long enough where she decided it was time to call the midwifery. They told her that she might want to eat a little something. Generally speaking, they said, during actually labor it is hard to get food down. Plus, if it is the start of labor and since she hadn’t eaten in so long, some extra energy might help.
Also, i might be getting all of that reasoning wrong. I know they advised eating, and I was making dinner for our son so I made some extra for her. As for the why, she gave a quick explanation, but I decided that wasn’t the time to search for perfect understanding. I just did what was asked of me.
After her “false labor” had been going on for a few hours, and the contractions were in fact getting closer (something I didn’t find out till later that evening) she decided that she should go on in to the midwifery. She was still convinced that nothing was going to happen that night, and that she would be back home in an hour or two.
She asked if I wanted to go. I said “yes.” She asked our three-year-old if he wanted to go. He said “no.” She told me that she would most likely be back later in the evening. It was raining outside and there was no sense taking our son out. Plus, he was exhibiting that weird energy he gets just before getting tired. Taking him out might just wind him up, and it would be really hard to focus if he was wound up at the midwifery.
So I stayed at home, making her promise to call if anything changed.
I got our son to finish his dinner, helped him change into bedclothes, and then tucked him in. All this took about an hour. Maybe more. I know it was around 10. Then, at 10:11 my phone rang. It was my wife. She was almost fully dilated. Our girl was on her way. The estimate was that the baby would take about 3-4 hours. We decided that I would wait of our son to fall asleep enough so that he could be moved, I would put him in our baby cart and walk the 25 minutes to the birth house.
And that was what I did, letting her know my progress of text message. While i was walking up the big incline she messaged me that it hurt. She wanted me there.
I arrive. Due to the rain, I am pretty wet. Fortunately, it wasn’t a strong enough rain to soak through my raincoat. I ring the bell. Someone comes to the door. We say a hello as I move the baby cart inside, trying to be delicate and not splash everywhere. There might of been a mention of something like “You came at a good time.” I’m still trying to gently take off my jacket and shoes when the midwife is more direct.
“Your baby is being born right now.”
I strip off the rain coat and yank my shoes off, as I walk down the hall I throw off my inner jacket. I can hear the scream of my wife as she pushes. I come through the door to see Rika on the floor with her leg raised. Two midwifes are helping as she pushes. They are taking about my daughter’s head, which is already free.
I do my best to encourage my wife and daughter to do their best. I’m there for Rika to squeeze my hand as she creates life. I’m there to help her pull our daughter free and to be part of the hands that greet her into this world.
Ten more minutes and I might have missed it.
At 11:24pm on March 3rd, 2019 Airi was born weighing 2944g (6.5lbs.) Our daughter was born on Hina Matsuri (Girl’s Day) here in Japan. Its a nice day to be born.
And because it bears repeating, Rika Thomas is a warrior woman.
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