pocoapocowithsmile

Baby was born. 赤ちゃん誕生

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Sosuke. September 7, 2014 at 10:26AM, 2,965 gram. At that moment, I was driving the Hwy 99 toward Lions Bay. It was the evening of Saturday the 6th in Vancouver.

When Tomoka’s pain started, Ikkei(her younger brother) was at Tomoka’s house visiting from Vancouver, and was able to take care of Sumire (her 5 year old daughter). While Tomoka was in the hospital, her husband Tomo-kun took some time off from work, and Sumire even slept at the hospital for some nights. I arrived Tokyo the night before they came home from the hospital… So-chan has made his world debut in such a perfect way, timing-wise. He’s got a face with big eyes, big nose, big mouth, and yes… he is pretty handsome. Very tiny. I’ve forgotten how small new-born babies were….

However, I was shocked to see how baby birth has become a big business in Japan. Amazing, indeed.
First, I stepped in the hospital and totally shocked. Vaulted ceiling, huge windows, luxurious couches… it looked like a hotel lobby. Nurses were not wearing white robes, and the hospital admission desk looked like a hotel front reception. I took the elevator to the patient rooms and was surprised that each room had some fancy French name. The room had a queen size bed, couches & table, refrigerator, TV, deck… It really was like a deluxe hotel room. Meals were all prepared professionally at the premise. Babies were taken care of by doctors, midwives, and nurses. They got some memoir including photos, card with personal messages from the midwife, CD of the baby’s first cry…. 80% of the cost was covered by medical insurance, and the out of pocket fee was not much more than that of public hospital. Customer service was so impressive. A staff actually came to the room to settle, and three staff came to say good-bye and wish them good luck at the door… Tomoka has really been treated like a princess. She was so happy and said, “I want to come back here for another baby.”

When I gave birth to this Tomoka 32 years ago, on the other hand, it was at the house of a midwife named Mrs. Mimori. She was at the time a person of controversy. She believed in “natural birth”. Since there was another woman giving birth at almost the same time as me, I was in a tatami-room working on my breathing “hee, hee, hoooo” As soon as the person finished her delivery, I went on the delivery table. After the baby birth, I was placed with four other mothers & babies with futon placed at the four corners of the tatami-room. Mrs. Mimori cooked for us her homemade meals… The whole thing was a completely different experience from Tomoka’s. I got to know this person, Mrs. Mimori, how she lived and what she believed. She taught me some valuable lessons. Being with other mothers was an interesting experience as well. We talked a lot about all kinds of things and saw different ways of being and interacting as a couple. However, it must have been very hard for Mrs. Mimori physically. She died some time after she delivered Ikkei at probably in her late 50s. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of her that she sacrificed her health in order to give babies the most natural way of starting their lives. I feel grateful that I met her. I really respect and admire her.

奏佑君。9月7日午前10時26分、2965グラム。 私はちょうどそのときハイウエイ99をライオンズベイに向かってドライブ中。バンクーバーでは6日土曜日の夕方だった。

お産が始まったとき、弟の一敬がちょうどバンクーバーから知香の家に来ていてスミレの世話ができたみたい。入院中は夫のトモ君も休みが取れて、スミレも病院にお泊まりできて、退院の前日に私が東京に着いて。。。と完璧なタイミングでこの世にデビューしてくれたソーちゃん。はっきりした顔立ちでお口が大きくてなかなかハンサムよ。それにしてもちっちゃい。新生児ってこんなにちっちゃかったっけ、って思っちゃった。

それにしても日本のお産はもう産業だなあって思った。すごいビジネス。まず産院に入ってびっくり。吹き抜けの天井に大きな窓、素敵なソファが並び、まるでホテルのロビーのようなの。受付も病院の受付というより、ホテルのフロントという感じ。エレベーターで病室に行くと各個室には何やらファンシーなフランス語の名前がついてて、クイーンサイズのベッドに応接セットにテレビに冷蔵庫にテラスにと、本当にホテルみたいなの。お食事もちゃんとシェフが色々栄養価を考えて用意してくれて、赤ちゃんも至れり尽くせりで、記念撮影をしてくれて、助産婦さんのメッセージを書いたカードをくれて、赤ちゃんの産声のCDをくれて。。。それでも80%は健康保険でカバーされるから自費は、市立病院などでお産するのとほとんど変わらないんだって。精算も全部職員がお部屋に来てくれて、帰りには玄関まで職員が3人も送ってくれて、とまるでプリンセス。すっかり気を良くした知香は「またここで産みたい」と。。。

私がその知香を産んだのは自然分娩の三森助産院、32年前。三森さんのお宅の畳の部屋で「ヒッヒッフー」とラマーズ法の呼吸を必死でやって、同時進行してたお産の人が終わったらすぐ私が分娩台に上って。。。産まれたあとも、畳の部屋の4隅に布団を敷いて四人のお母さん+赤ちゃんと同室。お食事も産婆さんの三森さんが手作りした家庭料理が出て。。。全然違うね。でもおかげで三森さんという人物の人柄とか生き方とかが私にとって強烈な印象となって残ったし、他のお母さん達と入院中に話したことや他の夫婦のあり方とかをみていろんなことを感じたことも確か。でも激務の三森さんは健康を害して多分50代後半くらいで、一敬をとりあげてくださったすぐあとに亡くなられた。赤ちゃん達に素敵な人生のスタートを提供してくださって、いわばご自分の健康を犠牲にされたんだなあ、と今でも思うと涙が出る。感謝の気持ちでいっぱい。本当に尊敬する人物の一人です。

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Baby was born. 赤ちゃん誕生

  1. You always make me feel I am with you. Happy times for you and the family. Say hello to”the princess”for me. I look forward to your next instalment. When do you start your book?

    Like

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