Pregnancy · Projects

Art journal pages & pregnancy in Japan

We have been having a nice, relaxing weekend here in Tokyo, and I’m really not ready for it to end! I’ve been spending a lot of my time this weekend cleaning, reading, writing letters, and catching up on my art journal for the last week. I can’t believe I’ve nearly filled out my journal for an entire year now! Almost every time I finish a week of my journal,  I look back through pages I made before. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites with you that I hadn’t posted because we hadn’t announced baby Dykehouse yet. AND, just to make things more exciting, I thought I would intersperse some interesting things I’ve learned while being pregnant in Japan. So…I hope you enjoy it!IMG_3433I like the page above because it includes the day I found out I was pregnant. I just had a feeling, and my feeling was right!

In Japan, before you can go to a hospital or see someone to become your regular OB doctor, you have to confirm your pregnancy and get a referral letter. So, we went to a clinic one day after work and I got an ultrasound. We confirmed the pregnancy to be about 5 weeks along, but baby was too small to see. I had to wait almost an entire month until my next appointment, but in the meantime I was off to my local ward office…IMG_3434I like the “favorite ice cream color palette” on this page, as well as my zentangle practicing.

Pregnancy is not seen as an illness in Japan, and therefore it is not covered by health insurance. On the bright side, the government does give you coupons to help pay for the costs of visits and delivery, which is why I needed to go to the ward office. When I was there, they also gave me some face masks (thanks?) and a cute little maternity key chain to carry around so people will (sometimes) give up their seat on the train for me, and just be careful around me in general. IMG_3435
This is half of a week in August, with the other half pictured below. Once a month I use washi tape to add a calendar page for the month from the cute kitty calendar Chad got me for Christmas last year. I can’t wait to see our sweet kitties again!

Speaking of things not covered by insurance, there is one big thing that I’d like to point out: epidurals are not covered by insurance, and many hospitals are very reluctant to offer them at all. I really like my hospital overall, but one thing was made clear to me from the beginning: they encourage natural birth, and only give epidurals if you’re in severe pain for a prolonged amount of time. I hadn’t really thought about how I’d like to go about giving birth yet, but it’s kind of a bummer that for some things you just don’t have a choice. Other non-optional things at my hospital: The husband can’t cut the umbilical cord, the husband must stand next to his wife during labor and birth, you cannot donate cord blood, and they sometimes kancho you.
IMG_3436Here’s the other half of that week in August, including the sad day our flight was delayed for 13 hours (but at least we were on vacation!).

Yes, you read that correctly. K-A-N-C-H-O. Which means you will get everything (*ehem* poo *ehem*) out before delivery. Some hospitals in Japan are different and allow different things, according to some of my friends who’ve had babies here. I do I wish I had more of a say about some things, but my hospital has been voted to be one of the best in the country, is an international hospital, and seems to be efficient. So, I’ll go ahead and just do my best through this crazy thing called pregnancy. IMG_3437
I really enjoyed attempting to draw food from our Thailand trip on this page.

Speaking of my pregnancy specifically, it has been going really well overall. During the first trimester I was tired, was often light-headed, and felt nauseous frequently, but overall I was just thankful and happy for every doctor visit that reassured me baby was healthy and everything was okay. And during the second trimester, a lot of crummy symptoms came along according to the week they’d be listed on any pregnancy website or book (so hello occasional leg cramps and heartburn, etc.), but we also got to feel baby kicking for the first time! These days she’s moving all the time, and at our last appointment we got to see her lovely profile.IMG_3438
This week Chad got to come with me to a doctor’s appointment, and we got our first inkling that baby is a girl. We spent a really nice afternoon together after the hospital visit.

I’ve still got about a week left before I hit my third trimester (already!), but I’ve generally been feeling like a happy momma-to-be.Time flies and any discomforts so far are quickly forgotten a midst my gratitude. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments where I’m like, “Holy cow I’m actually going to eventually have this baby and it’s going to be painful and I hope everything is healthy and that we can prepare the best we can but will the doctors speak English enough on the actual delivery day and what if there are some weird things that come up that are different in Japan that I forget to ask about and and and…” BUT! We’re talking how I feel overall. And that’s good. Comforted and encouraged by my awesome husband, and thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far.

There are a lot of other things I’ve been learning about pregnancy (both in Japan and in general), but I hope you found the brief few I’ve mentioned interesting! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, whether you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing pregnancy (in or out of Japan) below. I’m sure I’ll be posting more related to this topic in the future either way 😉

Well, I’m off for now! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
xx Caitlyn

5 thoughts on “Art journal pages & pregnancy in Japan

  1. Your diary is beautiful. I love all your drawings:)
    I can’t believe you are already to your third trimester:)
    I am not going to lie, labor and delivery was hard and painful but it quickly became a fuzzy, wonderful memory the moment I saw my Len Len:)
    Good luck for your last trimester!

    1. Thank you so much!! And I’m going to try my best to remember throughout the whole thing that my reward is coming!! Can’t wait to hold her for the first time 🙂

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