Late Saturday night around 11:00pm Kiyomi started feeling pain around her lower abdomen. These pains were not regular and they seemed to be of random length. We called the Kato clinic and explained what was happening, the night nurse there informed us to time the pain (as we were unsure if it was just “normal” pain or contractions) and if the duration increases to over a minute come in.

We started to record the duration of each bout of pain, lengths varied from 5 seconds to 35 seconds. The time between each bout also varied. This timing of the bouts of pain laster from around 11:30pm to 1:30am when I fell asleep, as there was nothing I could do at this stage. I woke up at 5:00am with Kiyomi still in pain, the duration was still less than a minute, we called the clinic again (spoke to the same nurse), described what had been happening since the last call and were told to “come in right away.”

Up, clothes off, fresh clothes on, pick up the night bag we had packed three weeks ago, downstairs, quick trip to the toilet, out of the house, lock the car, get in, and drive off.

The roads at 5:20am were deserted, and of course they should be, they felt even more deserted as during the day there is a lot of traffic and the narrow roads don’t make for quick trips. This however was a quick trip, no cars, no people, a low orange moon in the eastern sky. We got to the clinic in record time, parked in the car park out the front and went up to the second floor where we were met by the night nurse.

Kiyomi was taken away and I sat down and waited in the waiting area. 15 minutes later I was allowed to see her – she had been hooked up to a machine to measure vital signs and also a graph measuring how severe and often the pain came.

A second nurse came back after about 10 minutes and gave me the key to Kiyomi’s room and told me to wait there – I left taking her bags with me. I finally found the room, unlocked the door and let myself in.

With nothing to do I sat down and tried not to worry too much. Time to go to the toilet again. Some one knocks on door. “Just a moment” – open the toilet door, and unlock the front door, it’s Kiyomi. Sorry, I had locked the front door without thinking. Kiyomi was put into bed by the nurse.

After she had left I made she was ok and then went back to the toilet.

Kiyomi was still experiencing bouts of pain; they seemed to be random in length and in time between bouts.

After about an hour we had to call for the nurse who then took Kiyomi away again. I was told to stay in her room. The same nurse then came back and took me to the waiting area.
Kiyomi’s parents arrived a bit later, time was now about 8:30pm – I told them what had happened (in the best Japanese I could muster). They found out that I hadn’t had breakfast so my father-in-law went out to a “combi” (convenience store) to get me something.

Was thinking about what I’d be having from the convenience store when the nurse came back into the waiting room and told me that it was time and I should come along. I followed her, washed my hands outside the room where Kiyomi was, and then entered.

I entered the same room where Kiyomi had been before hooked up to the machine to measure her vital statistics, only to find it a hive of activity, nurses here and there doing this and that. Lights turned on, room was quite warm. Kiyomi was lying down again and “in position” – the pain was still pretty bad.

I sat down and tried to stay out of the way. The pain got stronger and stronger, nurses all around the room at this stage, Kiyomi was gripping the side of the bed – her knuckles were turning white, the nurses kept telling her to keep on giving steady breaths, Kiyomi breathing and gripping the bed, nurses all gathered around.

I looked down and there it was; our baby had started to come out. “Oh my God” was my first thought. “This doesn’t seem real”. She (the baby was removed and shown to Kiyomi, “hora hora” (look, in Japanese), Kiyomi saw our daughter and was happy (and relieved), and then put her head back down. The baby was covered in blood (etc.) and crying. A nurse took her to the side table and started to clean her; the Doctor then entered the room and started to finish up. It seemed that the nurse had been the one doing the actual delivery! Where had he been? He then did what he had to do.

He then did what he had to do. I got my camera and managed a few pictures of our daughter, who made it into this world at after 9:30am this morning.

We were both relieved, the hard work (at this stage) has been done, now they (Mother and daughter) can rest and I can step back and marvel at it all.

“Welcome to the family Maia.”

— David

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