13 May 2009

Mei's birth

I need to write about this before I forget.

Mei was born on Saturday morning at 4:47 according to her birth letter, although we think there was an error and she was actually born at 4:57. Her due date was today, so she was about five days early.

Yoko's mom came in on Friday evening at about 7 o'clock. Naomi kept saying, 'Baba kita ne!' (Grandma came, didn't she!) again and again. Yoko was feeling fine, and although she had light contractions starting on Thursday and Friday morning, they had gone away quickly. We went to bed on Friday night at about ten, hoping that the baby would be born sometime over the weekend.

Yoko woke me up at around 3:30 on Saturday morning to say that her water had broken, so I called the labour ward and asked them to contact the midwife. We woke up Yoko's mom and started setting up the living room for the birth. Naomi kept sleeping, despite us going in and out of the bedroom.

The midwife called and said it would take them about an hour to get to the house because they were at another birth. We said that was fine, and although Yoko's contractions were about five minutes apart, they weren't really that strong.

The midwives (there were two of them) came at about 4:30 and said they were just going to check Yoko and then go back to the hospital to get what they needed to deliver the baby. We said that was fine as the contractions weren't that strong yet, but when they examined her they said she needed to deliver straight away.

And then suddenly, there Mei was, less than a half an hour later. When Naomi was born, I remember being really shocked to see her face, as though all the months of waiting I hadn't actually thought there would be a baby at the end. When Mei was born, I had a much different sensation, much less shock and more competency, like I was playing a role that I had played before and knew all my lines. I held her and knew how to talk to her. It was different, very, very different.

We cleaned everything up and the midwives were just packing up when, at 5:30, the door swung open and Naomi was standing there, looking at everyone suspiciously. Yoko described the look as though Naomi has caught us having  a chocolate eating party without her. Naomi slowly woke up and eventually pointed at Mei and said, 'That's Mei' in an a-matter-of-fact way, like it all made sense to her suddenly too.

The midwives went home--I took the garbage bag full of everything from the birth outside. The sun had come up. And there we were, the five of us, eating breakfast and getting ready for a new day, like nothing had happened.