Aug 4, 2011

March 11 birth story from Sarah

Today we have two special March 11 birth stories to share with you from our TPG members.

Sarah sent her story to us just one month after the earthquake, and she has kindly allowed us to post it on the TPG website to share with you all. 

"Here is my birth story... it's a LONG ONE!!

It all started March 11, 2011...I was 34 weeks pregnant, huge, and pretty darn happy!
As you all know, March 11 was the day the BIG earthquake hit Japan... Well, due to the earthquake and the chaos of that day, my baby suffered too much stress and almost died inside me!

Immediately after the earthquakes hit- I started to have contractions and than started to bleed very badly a few hours later.

Thank goodness at the time, I was with my dear friend (she 'was' my bump buddy - also pregnant at 21 weeks - SHE WAS OK!!). During the earthquakes, we held each other and helped to calm each other down. We were extremely lucky to be together at that time and to be in a safe building!

Well, when I saw the blood, I had no idea why I was bleeding but knew something was terribly wrong. I immediately told my bump-buddy and she calmly let me know that I needed to get to a hospital ASAP.  We contacted the security officers in the building and they brought us to their office - they called for an ambulance, but we all knew it would take hours!  We waited there and tried numerous times to contact our husbands, but it was hit or miss because most cell phones didn't work that night… so we waited, and waited...

It took HOURS for the ambulance to arrive and figure out where to take us.  I am a patient at Seibo Hospital and that was the ONLY place they were willing to take me! I was very frustrated and angry because my bump-buddy was also feeling pain and we just wanted to be seen at the closest hospital ASAP!! We found out very quickly THAT WAS NOT AN OPTION! Even in that extreme situation, they would NOT take us to a closer hospital - I was going to Seibo and my friend was going to her hospital, there was no negotiating!

We had no choice but to say goodbye and wish each other good luck - we were put into separate ambulances and headed in opposite directions. They raced me all the way across Tokyo to get to Seibol! The ride was intense - my contractions were getting worse and with all the traffic it took over an hour to drive there. I was in so much pain- I kept passing out and was in shock, confusion and constant fear for the baby!!!

Once we got to Seibo, the Doctor checked me ASAP and told me that the baby was in great danger and was going to die!!!

We had an emergency c-section within the hour. The staff, nurses and Doctors ALL worked quickly. They were very kind to me and did anything they could to keep me calm. I begged for them to call and wait for my husband or at least wait until the morning, but they all insisted that it needed to be done ASAP!  My c-section was very scary and painful and lonely. Yet, thank goodness - moments before the surgery, I managed to talk to my husband from the bathroom for a few seconds - to let him know that I was having the baby!

On the operation table, I cried - I was in such shock that my husband wasn't going to be there!! I was in shock that I was having a c-section, in shock that I was all alone! The entire surgery was very scary...That was until I heard the first cry from my son!! At that exact moment my heart became so light and I was filled with such a rush of happiness, love and pride!  They let me hold him for about 1 min on the operation table. I touched his hand and he grabbed my two fingers, so tight! It was the best moment of my entire life, meeting my son for the first time. It was the truest love that I have ever felt!

He was born safe and sound at 34 week, on March 11, 2011 at 11: 22 pm, weight 2732 grams. Together the baby and me made it just fine, just in time!!

My poor sweet husband was upset that he missed our son’s arrival. The night of his birth, as all trains, roads and buses were a mess- my husband ran home from work, jumped on his bicycle and drove all the way across Tokyo - it took over 3 hours to arrive early the next morning to meet his son for the first time! I asked him later, if it was hard getting to the hospital and he told me it was nothing. He just kept smiling the whole way and couldn't wait to meet his baby!

Immediately after his birth the baby went inside an incubator and needed lots of medical attention around the clock. It was so hard not to be able to hold him, my heart was breaking every time I saw him with tubes and cords, and wires all over his tiny body. It was hard because all I could do was touch him through a small window with my fingers.... I talked to him all the time- I told him stories, and sang songs. I told him all sorts of stories. I just wanted him to know I was there with him and he was safe. Over the next few days I was able to hold him and started to breast-feed.

After a week at Seibo, I was released and went home, alone. The baby had to stay until he was 37 weeks old-which was 2 more weeks! It was a very hard 2 weeks on me emotionally and physically after having a c-section and only a week to recover. I had to travel everyday to Seibo, which is pretty far from my house - almost 2 hours by buses and trains….but I did it everyday to feed him with great happiness and pride!!!!! I was so happy, I WAS A MOMMY!!!

We named our son Keigo Siem Yamaguchi and he is such a fighter! I know, he will grow strong and become a good man with a warm heart!  He is such a gift from heaven, a survivor from all this chaos, death and disaster.

Everyday I kiss my little baby and tell him that I am so lucky to have him!

I am still not feeling 100% recovered from the surgery yet, but I'm sure over time it will get better! One other thing that has made me smile throughout this past month is the love and support that I have felt from my friends here locally, from work, through facebook, TMG, TPG and my friends back home in the states.  Thanks ALL for the love!!

the yamaguchi family!"

Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your birth story with TPG. We wish you and your husband and baby Keigo health, safety and happiness!!