Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weeks 8-12 Forms and Registration of Birth in Japan

March 30th
We called our families in the states to announce the big news.  I initially wanted to wait till 12 weeks to tell anyone anything, but Jon was so excited (ok, me too), that we couldn’t wait.  My mom asked us if we had thought of any names yet.   Jokingly, I said “we’re thinking of “Door” if it’s a girl, and if it’s a boy….” Then Jon said, “If it’s a boy, we’ll name him T-Rex!”  So, we decided to use the name, T-Rex, till baby comes out.  At that point, we’ll have about a week in the hospital to decide on a name.  I’d like to have a few names picked out, but not finalize anything till we’ve had a chance to look at baby and try out calling him/her a few names. 
We went to the hospital and had our second checkup.  We got the official form to register our birth at the Ward Office.  We’ll get an official “Mother and Child Handbook” when we register the birth and we’ll get free coupons for the rest of our visits.  When we showed up, we had to go through the pain of filling out the forms all in Japanese.  We didn’t even fill out the whole thing.  After about 30 minutes the nurse came over and started asking us questions and checking the boxes herself. This was a lot of help because 99% of people (including us) learning Japanese can speak and understand a lot more Japanese than can read and write it.  The very first question they asked us was, “Do you want a baby?”  I thought this was an interesting question, but not a very surprising one once I thought about it.  About 40% of Japanese women have had at least one abortion, and they aren’t looked down upon like they are in the states.   No abortion clinic bombings at least.  We had a very preliminary exam, with only an ultrasound of the fetus (in both 2D and 3D), because they wanted to save the expensive tests for the next visit, when I would have a free coupon.  In all, the visit cost about 3,000 Yen, or $45.  And, like I mentioned before, the rest of the visits will be free with our coupons.

April 4th
We went to the Ward office today and registered the pregnancy.  We walked out with a bunch of free trash bags and about 15 books.  In Japan, the way you pay for trash pickup is to pay for trash bags, then you have to put your trash in these specific bags.  The lady registering our birth explained, “You’ll have a lot more garbage when you have a baby, so here you are!” 

  Three of the books we got are the most important books we’ve ever gotten.  The first one is the Mother and Child Handbook, where we and our doctor will record all the events of the pregnancy and birth. 
They stressed the importance of not losing this book, as it covers the child’s doctor records up through three years old.  You can see here the 3rd year check up form.

We also got two separate books which have the free coupons in them so that all our pre-natal checkups will be free and T-Rex’s first three years of checkups and vaccinations will be free too. 

The rest of the books we got were info about child-birth classes, pamphlets to keep on hand (or memorize) for what to do when you child is choking or gets hurt, and other baby related info.   I can’t read more than a few hundred Kanji so I mostly looked at the pictures.  I’d like to brush up on baby Heimlich, but I’ll do that in English.

Going to see the ultrasound of the T-Rex’s little head and butt made me really realize what we’d done in making a baby together.  I was so excited and emotional afterwards, and still feel that way when I look at the pictures. 

However, going to the ward office to get all these papers and fill out all these forms really drilled in my head how much work a baby will be, especially one in Japan.  Needing a passport, foreigner ID card, getting a Japanese Birth certificate, filling out all these “record of live birth” forms are just the beginning.  (We’ll need to do all that fairly quickly because we’re planning to visit the States when T-Rex is only two months old.)  It won’t just be playing and cooing at an adorable baby, it will be paying for baby’s supplies, washing and cleaning baby, staying up all night with baby, paying for baby’s day care, and endless, endless Japanese forms for baby.  It’s exhausting just thinking about it.  It makes me want to move to Hawaii, where I speak the language, the weather is beautiful, and I’m a citizen.  Maybe in a few years…….   

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