Before I start, I wanted to say thank you to my husband, who has been an awesome help! While I was sick he spent an hour on the phone with our insurance company making sure we were following their process correctly. After I did a little research online, he called and scheduled my doctor appointment with the hospital's Japanese speaking office staff. Then he accompanied me to my appointment and worked as translator. After we were home he handled all of the insurance claim forms while I took a nap. :)
After looking at our choices that our insurance company offered, suggestions from friends at church, and on the internet I decided that I wanted to deliver at Aiiku Hospital. The hospital itself is a little older, but after visiting...it's not any older than Kaiser Hayward where both of my other kids were born. The main reason I chose Aiiku was that they supposedly have a high percentage of English-speaking staff. Hopefully Kurt will be able to attend most if not all of my appointments, but if I needed to go without him in an emergency I wanted to feel comfortable.
What we found was that the lobby/information staff, billing, and some of the midwives knew very little English, but all of the forms they had us fill out were in English. I think once they knew Kurt spoke Japanese they were very relieved. Dr. Nakabayshi's English on the other hand was great, well maybe not GREAT, but I definitely understood everything he was saying. It also appears I chose the right doctor - he delivered the future Emperor of Japan. If the Royal Family trusts him, I sure do. lol
After we arrived at the hospital we first had to talk to the front desk/lobby staff. They assigned me a medical card and had us fill out some paperwork to register with the hospital. (Side note: An awesome friend from church drove us to the hospital and watched our kids for like 4 hours while we were there!)
Then they sent us upstairs to the OBGYN department. After checking in they gave us a pager that played "It's a Small World After All" and showed a number which directed us to the room we should go into.
First we met with Dr. Nakabashi. He went over the medical records we brought with us and just made notes for his file. He then told me to weigh myself and take my blood pressure (at the machines shown on the left).
Then we sat and waited for our musical pager to go off again.
This time we met with a midwife and ultrasound tech to measure me and check out the baby. Each of the doors above has its own number. These are the exam rooms. Baby looked good and is measuring about the first size.
After that exam we sat again and waited for our magical pager to go off.
Next Dr. Nakabayashi gave me one of those "fun" exams to make sure I wasn't at risk for early labor (which I'm not). This is also when we asked him about getting an epidural. Only about 20% of Japanese women request/need an epidural, while 80% of Caucasians request one. :) Well, I definitely want one! I've had to have pitocin with both of my kids which makes the contractions stronger and more painful. In my opinion, if you have pitocin you deserve an epidural! lol
The Doctor was VERY understanding. He said that the anesthesiologists are only there during weekdays. So if I want an epidural we'd schedule an induction time for a weekday between 38-39 weeks. Yippee! I honestly think I'm a week farther along than they think, so the timing should be perfect. Plus, my mom will be flying in from the States...so it will make it a lot easier to figure out the timing for her plane ticket.
Before leaving we visited with a midwife to answer any questions we had. She gave us a lot of paperwork to look through about hospital procedures, etc. It looks like I'll probably be in the hospital about 4 days. Most Japanese women stay longer, but our insurance only covers 2 days. However, if the hospital refuses to discharge me after 2 days they'll cover the expense.
I wanted to include this cute picture of my kiddos at the Tokyo Temple. The hospital is really close to the temple, so we walked around so the kids could see it. There is also a beautiful park across the street from the temple, next to the hospital. The kids had fun playing there for a little bit while we were finishing up at the hospital.