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