Yes, we are having a baby. Yes, we are having a baby in Japan.

Posted by in Mary's blog

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Our family of 3 is about to become a family of 4. We are very excited to announce that we have a little one on the way!

Our second child will be born in the blazing heat of Fukui’s summer. I have decided to renew my contract and stay in Japan a third year, so this child will be born in Japan. There is no doubt that having a baby in a foreign country will be full of all kinds of new and exciting adventures. You can look forward to more posts as I blog about being pregnant and having a baby in Japan.

We confirmed the pregnancy with a home pregnancy test when I was about 4 weeks along. It wasn’t a big surprise because we have been trying for some time now. We were both very excited to finally see those two pink lines! The first few times buying a test in Japan were done far from our home.  There is always a risk of running into people we know at the pharmacy, or worse, people that know us who we don’t recognize.  This time around I went to the closest pharmacy because after a while I stopped caring about that risk.  Japan doesn’t seem to have any early detection tests (that we could find), so I had to be patient.  Also, Mike insisted that I be patient to avoid wasting tests.  It was worth the wait.

I had very little morning sickness with the Bunny, but for some reason my uterus didn’t adjust to our new time zone and I ended up with evening sickness! Luckily, crackers and water kept the nauseous feelings at bay.

At 7 1/2 weeks we went to a “ladies’ clinic” to get the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. In Canada we were well accustomed to waiting a very, very long time to see health care professionals – especially obstetricians. The clinic we went to in Fukui took us inside right away, much to the Bunny’s satisfaction. We didn’t even have to make an appointment!  Another difference from Canada is that pregnancy isn’t confirmed by a urine test or a blood test, but by an ultrasound. The obstetrician had me sit in a very interesting chair that raised itself, rotated me and spoke Japanese to me. Sure enough there was a baby inside, but it was too early to confirm a due date.

The doctor wanted me to come back for another visit, so I went through the quick and painless process of getting an ultrasound in robo-chair for a 2nd time at 10 1/2 weeks.  We got to take home our first picture of the new baby and the pregnancy was confirmed for REAL. The obstetrician gave us an official-looking paper with the baby’s due date to be taken to Fukui city hall to be registered. Yes, we had to register my pregnancy at city hall, but in exchange we got a giant pile of coupons for (almost) free prenatal care visits.  We also got a bilingual copy of the “Maternal and Child Health Handbook”. Everything relating to the pregnancy and first 6 years of our child’s life can be recorded in this book. It’s both a keepsake and a full, detailed medical history that we can carry with us wherever we go.

Our first “official” prenatal visit took place at 12 1/2 weeks. We paid ¥640 for a cup to pee in, a weight/blood pressure check, an ultrasound, a consultation, a pap smear and a blood test – in that order. All of these things took place in under 40 minutes (we had to wait for 10 minutes because there was someone ahead of us, otherwise it would have been 30).  Mike and the Bunny got to see the baby on the ultrasound monitor for the first time!  The Bunny seems to think that the baby is on TV.  Our next appointment is in 3 weeks, we might be able to convince her that the baby doesn’t live on TV by that point.

One thing we haven’t had to worry about is finding an English speaking doctor because we continue to use Japan Healthcare Info. They have been an incredible help to us. We don’t have to make appointments, do any research for local health care providers, or do anything to access health care other than calling JHI and saying “I want to see a doctor for ________”.

With the end of first trimester our fears of miscarriage are behind us, and my baby bump is slowly starting to appear. I might be the only one who notices at this point, but I see the beginning of something taking shape.