Sunday, November 29

Sebastian's Big Day

This was recorded on my little camera trying to keep Nico from running off while Colette slept in the sling. I know, excuses, excuses. But the sound is good even though you can't see Sebastian. He's in the middle playing the keyboard. They've been practicing for weeks now and it really paid off. We're very proud of Sebastian.

Saturday, November 28

Hello World

it's true, colette and i are finally free. jason's been posting the pictures this past week and now i'm here to fill in the story. but i am a little tired still. this might be permanent, i'm afraid. but i will give you an abridged version: long slow labor, quick delivery. i did most of the laboring at home then arrived at the hospital to find that i was fully open and ready to push. the days that followed were very calm and quiet. i was well-fed (i made a flickr set of all the meals that jason managed to photograph), the doctor's mother made all my meals and was very impressed with my ability to eat everything, no grains of rice left in my bowl.
but now i am back and i have about two weeks of school work until my break. tomorrow is sebastian's big music festival, wednesday he'll be making mochi with his class and it is possible that after that i may keep him home with me until the next term. i'm ready to get into the stride of being a five person family but i do know it will take a while. but we are all good. thank you so much for your comments over the past week. i would read them on jason's ipod when he visited and it made me feel all sunny. i hope everyone had a good holiday week. nico was born the day before thanksgiving and colette was born on the japanese thanksgiving (no pilgrims involved though). we definitely have a lot to be grateful for. take care.

p.s. pictures are on flickr

Thursday, November 19

Aki-chan 明紀ちゃん

So my darling little girl has not made her appearance yet. I am okay with it as I know that she is on her way. Labors that start naturally are better for both the baby and the mama. That being said, the cut-off day is the 30th so let's hope she decides it is her birthday before then.

I am just returning from the doctor but I don't have a belly shot today as the sun is shy these days. I do have a picture of kaki drying, an image that is now imprinted in my mind in association with fall. I do love autumn, a season that I rarely met before moving to Japan. Of course, we don't have the grand maples on Gotou that we loved so much in Nara and Kyoto but the mountains are beginning to blush all around us.

I am a child of autumn (albeit early autumn) and now will have two children embedded in the season. And, if she is not careful, they might possibly have the same birthday as Nico's is creeping up on us. Three years old this Sunday and he is already really good at acting his age.
The nice thing about having multiple children is that you are more seasoned as a parent. You know what to expect and are more accepting of the various stages children progress through. I feel sorry for Sebastian, the pioneer of our children, having to fight through his parents' constant confusion about his acts and intentions. We are definitely more understanding with Nico due to Sebastian's trailblazing ways. Though he does stump us (including Sebastian) more often than we expect.

But back to Colette, or Aki-chan. We haven't decided if we are going to let the locals know that her middle name is Japanese because they would probably just call her that. We'll wait and see who she is before we decide. In katakana (the script used for foreign words and names- along with an assortment of other purposes) her name will be コレット (スダックデェル コレット 明紀 is her full name in Japanese)which phonetically sounds like Koretto. So in Japanese, we actually think Aki is much prettier. Perhaps that is because we know a レット, who happens to be very much a man. Also, the ending of a name in "o" is more commonly with masculine names compared to the "a" that is used in Romance languages to distinguish it feminine. Jason was thinking maybe we could change the katakana 'spelling' to コレッタ which would be Korreta but I think it sounds too much like Carlotta, and would be confusing later.
If you noticed, we changed the first part of the kanji with Aki. Now the 'A' part means bright or clear so the named combined means a bright era. I liked the other one with the meaning of a peaceful era but I didn't like that the other meaning was cheap. Jason suggested amending it to this. I like it and have practiced writing it over and over like a woman in love does with her intended's name.

Anyway, so when I was hooked up the heartrate monitor, I was having regular moderate contractions so hopefully they'll pick up and we can meet the girl who has had so much attention to her name. Colette Aki, all is ready. We just need you.

I will continue to post regularly until the time comes as I know it is hard for those of you anticipating the arrival. And because I hope that when certain friends of mine whom are expecting on the other side of the world are at this stage, they will keep me updated. (You know who you are!)

Hope you are all well. Take care.

Tuesday, November 17


i realize that you would prefer a picture of a baby to that of a persimmon (kaki) tree but i did want to offer something today.

i am feeling very grateful this morning. it is a feeling that comes and goes but today it is very strong. yesterday, maybe not so much. or last week, when i wrote that post. but today, yes, i am grateful.

i am grateful that i can experience this period of the birth of my daughter in mindfulness and that it is teaching me how to cultivate patience.

i am grateful that i live in a situation where the practical circumstances of birth are safe and certain. my doctor speaks english, very well. my insurance will cover the cost. the hospital is a five minute walk from my house. my husband and elder son are at a school that is also only five minutes away from the hospital. we have an accumulation of paid holidays that my husband can use to cover the days i will be in the hospital.

i am grateful that next week is thanksgiving holiday for my grad school and thus i won't have to worry about missing homework for an entire week.

i am grateful that my son can go to school and that i am healthy enough to walk there when the day is finished to collect him. i am grateful that he is such a good big brother and truly wants to help and asks me for ways that he can be of use.

i am grateful for all the support i have received from you, my friends and family. it always does wonders for me when i hear from you. the distance is much shorter with you in my thoughts.

i am grateful for this opportunity to be a mother to three children. i would have never believed it if you had told me pre-motherhood that i would have three kids by the time i was thirty. it may not be the conventional way these days for a well-educated woman but i definitely feel that it is an honor.

i am grateful for the chance to mother a daughter. it is going to be a change but a welcome one.

i am grateful for my contract and for a caring soon-to-be supervisor who is going out of her way to help my family make the transition from gotou to nagoya as easy as possible.

most of all, i am simply grateful. to be alive, to be here, to be aware of both of those facts.

thank you for giving me the space to reflect on these thoughts, in the final hours before colette arrives. she'll be here soon, my friends, so i am going to use this time to practice mindfulness and patience in anticipation of the big event.

i hope you are all doing wonderfully. take care.

Thursday, November 12

okay colette, let's get going

So I am there.
I am at the point when I am starting to feel too big,too full of baby.
I am tired of having to say "mo sugu"(very soon) when strangers and friends ask about the baby.
I am tired of having them put their hands on my belly and say "ookii!" (big) in surprise. Like they couldn't believe their eyes so they resort to touch. I have an infant inside of me, it is supposed to be big.

I hate that pregnancies last for so long then at the end the baby is suddenly supposed to just arrive. Suddenly I am in a container, and after two and a half weeks, I will be pressed against the wall. All sorts of worst-case scenerios begin to be discussed. Here they do heartbeat monitoring once you reach full-term and every visit I lay down with discs strapped to my belly so that I can listen to Colette's galloping horses. It is not a big deal but the nurse always thinks that the heartbeat is too slow (which it is not, I checked) so she tries to wake up the baby by shaking my belly. I don't like this. I don't like being shaken, or that my baby who is a night owl is being shaken, or the implication that something is wrong. Expectant mothers already imagine the worst. I don't need the nurse to furrow her eyebrows when she looks at the monitor. I would also like certain things taken into account. Like how my own blood pressure is registering as being low (they had to take it five times today to get a good reading). There is nothing wrong but if doubt starts to creep into the minds of health professionals, then they start to take preventative action that might not be necessary. I don't like that.

So, yes, I am at the end. It has been a lovely pregnancy, very calm and healthy. But I am ready to move on. I have a bundle of clothes and blankets and I want my baby in them, not in me.

I have been nesting so that is a good sign. My nesting comes in the form of getting as much homework completed as possible. The homework cycle will not end until mid-December so I can only do my best to keep on top of it now. I worry that I am delaying her birth because of homework. Then I worry that I worry too much.

So come on Colette, it is time to get this show on the road.

Let's hope that next week, you will not see a belly up there but a baby.
Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for letting me vent a bit. I feel better.
Take care.

Thursday, November 5


so now that we are on the threshold of bringing another human into this world, we are allowing ourselves to get excited about it. pregnancy is an anxious period and arriving successfully at the end of the many weeks is nothing to take lightly. i have grown so accustomed to my large belly that it seems strange to think it is a temporary state. that soon i will have a squirming little babe next to me instead of inside me. that nico will become a big brother. and sebastian will soon be known as the eldest. and we'll probably shortcut our references to the kids to either the kids or the boys and colette (which would be an awesome band name).
our stockpile is growing and the boxes on our list are being checked. all systems are go.
part of preparing for a natural childbirth involves dealing with my attitude towards pain and labor, and how i approach concepts like contractions. besides for watching birth videos and reading birth stories, i also find that pictures like this remind me what all the trouble is for. that expression on my face you see as i hold a minute-old nico, pure golden bliss.

and as for the weekly doctor's check-up, everything is still good. her head is engaged and i was reminded that i can call my doctor anytime, day or night. now we just wait for colette to chose her birthday.