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Before I jump right into my tours of the Japanese clinics, I should probably start with the day I left for Japan. I had been avoiding the emotions of that day much like I did when I dropped my husband off at the airport. The week prior to leaving, I flew three of my cats, with my mother-in-law, to Omaha so that they could stay there until we get back from Japan. Saying goodbye to three of my fur babies was harder than I thought it would ever be! I know they are in good hands and will be well loved with my in-laws, and I can’t thank them enough for taking on three animals! If you’re not a cat person or animal lover, you may not understand. They have been with me for ten years, through the good times and bad…through so many hectic baseball seasons. So, to not have them through the toughest one yet was going to be hard. So, I said goodbye to them and two days later would be saying goodbye to my mom, brother, and my fourth cat that would be making the journey to Japan with my mom and brother in June.
The morning of leaving I don’t think I stopped crying. (As I write this I’m crying again.) All of the emotions running through me, plus being pregnant, made for a lot of crying! 🙂 So I said goodbye to my last cat, brother and mom. Seeing my 18 year old brother cry was really hard…I guess living with your family for over two months makes it hard to part. You get used to having each other around. You have to understand my mom is my best friend. We talk and text several times a day. So this goodbye was definitely the hardest. I was leaving a piece of my heart half way around the world! I finally made it to my flight, swollen eyes and all.
The flight wasn’t too bad, even being 7 months pregnant. I landed in Narita, Japan where my husband was actually on a road trip nearby, so he was able to meet me at the airport but not without a translator. The first thing he said to me after not seeing me for two months was “wow, you aren’t as big as I thought you we’re going to be”! Haha. I took that as a compliment. I had adapted to being away from him so I forgot how good it was to see him and hold him. After arriving, we had to take a two hour bus trip to where his team was in Osaka. He had three games there and then it was off to Nagoya by bullet train for two games. Finally I arrived to where we would be living, in Hiroshima. It is a nice three-bedroom apartment. It is going to take some time to get used to being in Japan, far away from home and family, but I was with my best friend again!
Right after we arrived in Hiroshima I had three appointments set up with clinics to tour and speak with the doctors, to decide where to have my baby. The team has a girl that goes with me to every appointment, to translate and help me, which is so nice. The first hospital was called the Masaoka Clinic. It was a beautiful place. It felt like we were walking into a hotel. The rooms were nice. A little outdated for my taste, but I wasn’t going to say “no” just because the rooms. Next, I saw the room where you wait until you have the baby. It was a mattress on the ground. Nothing else in the room. I wish I would have taken a photo but I was in shock. Very prehistoric. I wanted to crawl out of the clinic right back onto a plane and to the U.S. After speaking with the doctor, it didn’t get much better. They do no epidural of any kind. Just grin and bear it! I, at least, am looking for the comfort of the option of an epidural. Doesn’t mean I will have one, but I want the option and it was not happening there! So, I politely said “thank you” and was on my way out the door very quickly. I went home later and cried…second guessing the decision I had made to give birth in Japan.
The second day we visited the Fujitou Clinic. It was in a great location, close to the stadium. Walking in I felt like we were walking into a modern hotel. I liked the vibe right off the bat. After taking a tour of their facilities and seeing their state-of-the-art equipment I was put at ease, I didn’t feel like I needed to turn around and run. I met with the doctor, who spoke English, and he gave me a 4D ultrasound just to check on my baby! That was very reassuring. He told me my due date was looking like May 28th instead of June 6th! I made sure that he could do epidurals, and he can, which is a double bonus. He also told me in Japan you stay in the hospital anywhere from 5-7 days, because they want you totally comfortable when you leave. I asked if I could stay a month then! He laughed. At their clinic you get chef-prepared meals and can send your baby down to the nursery at night so that you can sleep. They really, truly, want you healthy when you leave. I also met a nurse midwife who speaks perfect English. I am hoping I can schedule her to be with me when I deliver. I felt a hundred times better about my decision to have my baby in Japan after visiting this clinic.
Feeling so good about the second clinic, I didn’t really want to go on the third tour but my husband thought we should. The third clinic was the Hisamatsu Clinic. It was about a 40 minute cab ride. So that alone, already, put it behind the second clinic. Walking it, you could tell the place was brand new, modern style. It was like the second one but more minimalistic. This time we met with the doctor first. He showed us a PowerPoint, in English, about the epidural procedure! Big score. He speaks English AND does epidurals. Turns out he was the teacher of the second doctor I visited. So, both do the same procedures. This doctor has another clinic in Tokyo where he has many English speaking nurses and said he would fly one in for the birth of I chose this clinic. So nice! After taking the tour, it was comparable to the second clinic, only differences being the food and the rooms weren’t as nice. After seeing this clinic I was confused as to which one to choose, so it was time to sit down with my husband and make a decision and get appointments set up. In Japan they like to see you every two weeks, then every week from 35 weeks up until the birth. At every appointment you get 3D ultrasounds. Much different than the U.S., where I went once a month and only had two ultrasounds the entire time.
After much discussion about the pros and cons of all of the clinics, we decided to go with the Fujitou Clinic. The location was the biggest factor for us. Since I will be going to the doctor every two weeks, then every week, it would get expensive in cabs, and time consuming. Also, hopefully my husband can come some since it close to the field. My next appointment with the doctor is Friday. I can’t wait to see what he has to say about baby Z!
Look forward to my next entry about my upcoming appointments!
Click below for previous posts in this series:
Our Adventure in Japanese Baseball #1