on tuesday, october 23, sasha woke up at 2 am. she has been waking up early in the morning, i think it's a sleep regression thing. usually she will go back to sleep if she sees me. that morning, however, she wouldn't sleep. i patted her back and softly touched her face. at about 2:30, though, i started to have 'real' contractions. they weren't painful but definitely had a bite to them that the braxton hicks did not.

at three i gave up trying to put sasha back to sleep (at that point she was taking books and toys and playing with them) so i took her into the living room. i checked my e-mail while she played. i tried to time the contractions, but every time i was upright my stomach was hard and then i was chasing sasha around trying to keep her off the table and falling off chairs.

by 3:30 i was getting impatient with sasha, so i decided to take a shower with her. my mom had arrived the night before and sasha was asleep when i got home. yoshi didn't give them a shower or bath while i was gone getting my mom. the problem with the shower, though, is that sasha didn't want to get out, and i finally lost it and told her to shut up. it was nearly four, and yoshi came and took her back to bed. the little stinker went right to sleep!

at six i told yoshi that i wanted to go to the clinic because of the contractions. we got there around seven and we went to the delivery room to be checked. i had dilated to two centimeters, but the baby's head was down (low) so the midwife told me to walk and walk and walk. i was pretty much admitted at that time, but by the time the doctor saw me at nine, i hadn't dilated any more and the baby had moved up! since i had been to the clinic twice before for false labor, i didn't want to go home. the doctor said i could be induced, but i didn't want to have an IV right away. so, for the morning i took pills to increase contractions (which it did) but i didn't dilate much (maybe 2.5 cm by noon) so i had to get the drip.

i have probably mentioned this before, but i have a fear of needles. it goes back to a spinal tap i had when i was very young. i also have small veins, so it can be hard to insert needles in me. in fact, the first IV missed. that hurt more than anything up to that point! (i still have a huge purple and yellow bruise on my left forearm, too.) after some pleading and tears (on my part--i mean, did i really need to be induced like that?? lol) an IV was inserted and contractions were meant to pick up. they did a bit, but the best part was, they weren't very painful. that's probably why i dilated so slowly, but the contractions were manageable up until nearly the end.

after i was admitted to the hospital, yoshi went back home to get the kids and my mom. they were there for most of the day, though they did go out for lunch. i had my meals in the clinic--the midwives kept encouraging me to eat a lot so i would have enough energy. after the IV, they moved my things to my room in the clinic, so that's where hiro and sasha took their naps. just before the baby was born, a nurse ran up and got them so they could be there for the birth.

it seemed to be taking forever just to dilate a centimeter. the midwife attending my birth was wonderful. tomoyuki was turned the wrong way (facing front, which causes back labor. most of my pain was in my lower back). she would massage my lower back and press against my bottom while i curved my back and pushed against her hands to encourage the baby to turn around for birth. the massaging and pushing felt great, but i'm afraid it cracked my tail bone again (you can read about that here.) after giving birth, while i was recovering on the delivery table, my back and behind hurt so much, i couldn't get into a comfortable position!

it didn't seem like i was going to dilate past seven centimeters. the midwife had checked me and could tell that part of my cervix wasn't thinning like the rest. so....she started helping my cervix during contractions. it's not the most comfortable thing having someone's fingers in your vagina, but during contractions it's horrible! i was saying, tell her to stop it! but she was actually trying to stretch the cervix over the baby's head so he could move into the birth canal. it sounds painful, and it was most unpleasant, but it wasn't so unbearable. honest. in fact, moving the baby down the birth canal was the worst part. as he was crowning, too, was a stinging pain, plus the midwife kept telling me to push slowly which i totally didn't understand, because i wasn't pushing at all!

tomoyuki was born at 5:45 pm. as he was crowning the nurse, midwife and doctor were saying, 'grandma, hiro, sasha!' and the doctor told the nurse to go fetch them. then she hesitated because my mom doesn't speak japanese so i yelled out, 'baby! baby!' and they laughed and yoshi told the nurse to just say, 'baby'. i think they got there just after the baby was born, they were all allowed into the delivery room. yoshi cut the cord and i got to hold the baby, then the nurse took some pictures. after that the delivery room was cleared and tomoyuki was taken for cleaning and measuring. i had a few tears (again) but the doctor quickly took care of them. tomoyuki had some stress and needed some oxygen, so i didn't get to hold him again for about another hour or so. i did get him latched on while i was still in the delivery room, and he's been doing fantastic with breastfeeding.

hiro stayed with me in the clinic for a few nights because he was freaking out at home without me. he loves the baby, though, and kisses him all the time. actually, he was calling him sasha at first, so i guess he remembers when sasha was born. sasha doesn't really seem to understand what is going on, but that may be a good thing. she is young enough to accept this and won't remember anything different. we are all happy and healthy, though having my mom here helps a lot!