The Evening of April 4th

The doctors at Sapporo University Hospital asked me some questions looked at all my previous ultrasound scans and then proceeded to do an ultrasound.

Doctor speak

The info sheet about my situation the doctor from the Iwamizawa hospital wrote up for the doctors in Sapporo.

They talked amongst themselves in Japanese looking at several different angles and finally taking a look at a 3D ultrasound. I was so excited, I had only heard of 3D ultrasounds, but knew I wanted to see one of our little one if I could. The doctor took it back to 2D and continued muttering in Japanese “hen”, “this is strange” I kept hearing “this is strange, this is rare, hmmmm strange”.

Finally he turned to talk to my husband and I, the other doctor just looked at us with concern.

My placenta was unusually thick. The baby measured smaller than expected, showing at 22 weeks size at it’s 25, almost 26 week gestational age, was in fetal distress and was unlikely to grow much more if at all, furthermore my pre emclampsia was getting worse at a fast rate. I had two options, to wait it out and see if the baby grows (unlikely) or emergency caesarian. The only way to cure my condition and give our baby it’s best chance was delivery of both the baby and placenta. My womb was possibly killing our baby and my condition could possibly kill us both.

He gave me the survival odds of a premature baby the size of ours at their hospital, 80%, however the chances of various complications in the baby’s future was high.

He told us the best option was emergency caesarian but that it was ultimately our choice. My husband and I were given some privacy and we finally were able to let go of all our emotions that had been building up that day. We cried and cried and cried, everything seemed surreal, it was like a distant dream or a movie that we would watch, not something that would happen to us. The doctor came back and we hadn’t made our choice yet, though in our hearts we knew what it was we just needed to confirm it with each other. He left us again and both Shelby and I agreed that we would go ahead with the emergency caesarian.

The midwife assigned to me prepped me while the rest of the team went to prepare the operating room. My midwife, Kaori, was young yet skilled and very kind. She tried to make small talk although my Japanese was lacking and her English was non existent. I felt safe and calm with her around.

In the operating room I was hooked up to the epidural, no one told me how much it hurts to get that thing set up, and then while Japanese pop music played in the background while I waited for the lower half of my body to become numb.  As soon as the anesthesia kicked in the Doctor began. I remember hearing him hum as he worked. Often I would see Kaori in my line of sight, her warm smile never wavered and she often mouthed the words “ganbare” which means “do your best” or “good luck”. I latter found out her main purpose was to keep my spirits up. I was very grateful for her presence. I wouldn’t admit I was nervous, but I really was. I felt positive that it would all turn out ok and I was excited to meet my little one. I was excited to know if we were having a girl or a boy.

As soon as my baby was born and I was told the baby was out, I asked it the baby was ok and fell asleep. I had no idea I was so exhausted!

I managed to wake up as they transferred me to my new bed before wheeling me to my room in it. I never did get my answer regarding my baby, but seeing as everyone was cheerful and joking around I assumed everything was ok. Shelby was waiting outside and somehow I managed to string a few coherent words together. Shelby told me he got to see “her” and that was when I finally found out the gender, I could name my little “bean chan”: Emi.


I pray that you find strength and don’t loose hope in this time, God has a plan for you both, I think this was meant to strengthen you, both individually and your relationship to each-other.

-messages from friends and family

Sometimes info comes a little late….

When I got pregnant I subscribed to various sites and mailing lists. I haven’t unsubscribed from some of them, either because I forgot or was busy with other things. At first I wanted nothing to do with the emails and forums because they are cruel reminders of what I no longer have. But now I appreciate the information though it still kind of hurts to know that I should be x number of weeks at this point or that my baby is developing xyz in womb.

Today I received this email from “Lucy’s Mailing List”:



Week 29 of Bun Cookingwrong date?

* I used to send this email out at 36 weeks. Then something terrible happened. For those who follow me on FB, you know that one of my subscribers died of preeclampsia 5 days before receiving this email (per her mother).

It hit me really hard.

If you’re in contact with 53k people, this type of thing is bound to happen, so please don’t be paranoid about it… but please DO read carefully. Thank you!!!

It is the most common of the gnarly pregnancy complications — and it can affect both mother and her unborn baby:


(sometimes called toxemia by the old-timers)

Preeclampsia affects about 5-8 percent of pregnancies (dang!), or an estimated 300k women per year in the United States alone. Because preeclampsia can come on very suddenly, you should be familiar with the symptoms.

Most women with preeclampsia will deliver a healthy baby and fully recover. However, some women will experience complications, several of which may be life-threatening to mother and/or baby. A woman’s condition can go from mild to severe very quickly.

Don’t want.

The causes of PE are still unknown, but the hallmarks are clear: both high blood pressureandprotein in your urine (this is why you pee in a cup at every OB visit). If protein is present, it’s a sign that the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys are leaking and spilling it into your urine (mind you, it’s normal to have a small amount of protein in your urine).

The Big Swell

The telltale symptom with pre-e is SwElLiNg — and lots of it. Swelling can occur in the face or around your eyes, it can be more than slight swelling of your hands, or excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles (not to be confused with summertime pregnancy elephant-cankles).

Some cankles.

This condition is called edema. The retention of fluid can lead to rapid weight gain, which is one of the reasons your doc checks your weight at every appointment and is concerned with sudden weight gain.

Classic preeclampsia symptoms look and feel something like this: Swelling, racing pulse, mental confusion, blurry vision (or other visual weirdness), headaches, upper-right abdominal pain, vomiting, shortness of breath or chest pain, a sense of impending doom [outside of normal feelings of impending doom, heh].

** Call you doc right away if you experience any of this. **

PE can usually be managed, but the only way to make it go away is to get that baby OUT of you! Obviously, the earlier the onset, the greater the risks for you and your babe.

Read more about how pre-e is treated here.

**Guys, I can’t underscore this enough… if you don’t feel right, CALL YOUR DOCTOR!


— What is HELLP Syndrome?

— To find support for preeclampsia or to learn more, check out the Preeclampsia Foundation.

— Can chocolate prevent PE?

Support Lucie’s List by telling a friend or pinning Lucie’s List to pinterest.Like me on Facebook for daily laughs and info. Thanks!

**This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. The author does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.”



Just goes to show you that anything can happen at any time. If possible be aware but don’t stress. (easier said than done I know). Pre enclampisa still needs a lot of research it seems because there is still a lot that we just don’t know about it, but simply being aware can save you and hopefully your child’s life as well.

I don’t think anything would have changed if I had gotten this email earlier, but I do appreciate that this mailing list sees the importance of spreading this information sooner rather than later.

April 4th, Iwamizawa Hospital to Sapporo

That morning, Shelby and I headed to the Iwamizawa hospital. The place seemed like a zoo and I was just an other animal that they had no time to care for. In hind sight, I just didn’t know how things operated. Things were very different from back home, very different from my little clinic even. I wanted nothing more than to just go back to my old doctor and the friendly nurses. Everything seemed to methodical and cold.

After filling in some forms and waiting and talking to more people I was finally sent up to the maternity area to be checked out. They just sent me up, I had no idea if I had to hand some papers in up there or what. I asked the nurse that was at the window at the maternity ward, she was super busy and didn’t want to talk to me but finally she took my little “baby and mothers book” (a book issued to you which has all your information about your pregnancy and subsequent birth) and told me to wait.

It was honestly so cold that I had to hold back the tears of frustration and loneliness. Not only was I dealing with god knows what but I was also being treated like I was not important at all. I realize that there were many other women who where waiting, but honestly a smile wouldn’t kill you.

Finally a friendly nurse came to talk to me and eventually took me in to get my blood pressure, blood and urine samples taken. Blood pressure was high. After working with me for a bit she confessed that she was very nervous working with me because she didn’t speak English, but that she was happy that I was friendly and kind to her. I almost started crying and told her that I was equally glad that she was friendly and that it was a huge relief to have her attending me.

I was given a blood pressure machine to take home so that I could check my BP regularly. It looked like I would get to go home that night. But before that, I needed to see the doctor for my ultra sound.

After some waiting I was called in for the ultra sound. I was pretty excited to see my little bean but as the ultra sound the doctor started making faces at the screen. I waited patiently as the doctors face contorted into various grimaces and frowns while my husband reassuringly patted my feet.

“Your amniotic fluid is very low”

This was the first time I had heard anything about this, I was shocked and a little bit angry, how was it that the other doctor never noticed something as crucial as my amniotic being low! Very low no less! It wasn’t like this happened overnight!

The doctor also confirmed that I had pre enclampsia, this news was no longer a shock to me. He informed me that I would need to stay in the Iwamizawa hospital for the weekend and then be transferred by ambulance to the Sapporo University Hospital on Monday where they could take care of me and Bean if Bean is born prematurely. (why ambulance, I don’t know but I didn’t fight it either.)

I was placed on a wheelchair (no more moving allowed in order to keep my blood pressure down) and taken to the maternity ward. My husband left to collect some of my personal belongings and to get some lunch.

I felt a sense of relief because I was finally being taken seriously in regards to my concerns and it also looked like I was going to be on bed rest for a while, something which I personally felt should has been prescribed to me a few weeks back. I felt ok, but I knew that bed rest would help the situation for Bean.

A new doctor came to me armed with a white board and an assistant. Using the white board and some broken English he communicated that I was going to be put on a strict diet to help with my weight and blood pressure. He also told me that they were going to monitor Bean’s heart beat.

They strapped me up to the fetal heart monitor for 40 minutes. The doctor came back to look at the report and told me I needed to be monitored for a bit longer. So another 20 minutes passed before a nurse came back and removed the monitor.

The doctor returned and informed me that Bean’s heart rate was not doing well, it would be steady and then faint or not heard at all. Honestly I didn’t think it was that bad, for the most part the heart beat sounded pretty strong and steady, but the doctor explained that when the baby’s heart is lost or goes up and down as much as Bean’s did it meant that the baby was in distress and if the heart rate dropped too much I would have to deliver through emergency c-section in order to save my little one’s life.  I needed to be transferred to the Sapporo University Hospital as soon as possible.  In preparation for my transfer the nurse put in a needle in anticipation for an IV I would get at the hospital. I was also informed that I could not eat or drink for now on. (turns out it was in anticipation for surgery)

The doctor informed me that he would contact my husband as well as my supervisor to tell them of the development and to get my husband to return to the hospital so we could go together to Sapporo.

It seemed that my husband missed the call and had no idea what was going on when he showed up. Shortly after he arrived my supervisors both arrived with extreme worry on their faces. I really wonder what the hell the doctor told them because I was no where near as worried as they where.

We barely got a few words exchanged when the ambulance showed up to pick me up. As they where strapping me on to a stretcher our friend who works as a Coordinator for International Relations at city hall arrived. Apparently my supervisor called him in to help with translations. I saw him for the whole of 5 minutes. No translations occurred.

I was loaded up into the ambulance along with my husband, a nurse and my doctor from the ultrasound. I had no idea my condition needed to have a doctor accompany me on the ambulance.

I was hooked up for monitoring and my blood pressure was taken regularly. I over heard the Doctor respond to the ambulance driver to drive “quickly”. With that the sirens were turned on and off we went. I honestly had no idea I was an emergency case.

Through out the ride the doctor kept asking me if I saw “kirakira” which basically means “are you seeing stars or bright lights”. Looking back I now know that he was checking to see if my condition was worsening.    …I did finally see the stars he was talking about…. I didn’t tell him. I probably should have.

It was a bit surreal riding in the ambulance and I had to control myself from laughing from nervousness and excitement… or was it anxiety?

We arrived at the Sapporo Hospital and I was unloaded, aside from my entourage all I could see was the ceiling. I was taken to the 6th floor and wheeled into an examination room filled with medical people. It was quite the welcome.

I was transferred onto the bed and immediately people starting working on me.