Monday, March 27, 2006

Meeting Nyanya and Babu

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
Nyanya and Babu (that's "grandmother" and "grandfather" in Swahili) came all the way from America, just to visit me. I guess that makes me a pretty special little boy. They arrived in Japan the day after I was born and stayed for 2 weeks. We had a lot of fun together. I can't wait to see them again at Christmas!

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
Nyanya and Babu brought over 3 pieces of luggage filled with nothing but presents for me! There was a super cool Jeep stroller, a playmat, some beautiful handmade baby blankets, some books and toys, and lots and lots of clothes! Thanks to everyone who sent gifts to Nyanya and Babu for them to bring. Mommy said it was like having another baby shower, except without the cake and punch and the silly games.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Visitors in the Hospital

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
Mommy and I had several visitors during out stay at the hospital. Here I am with Kudo-san, the midwife who helped Mommy so much during labor and delivery. Mommy says there are two people she couldn't have done without for my birth. One was Kudo-san, and the other, of course, was Daddy.

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
Here I am with my Japanese grandmother, "Oba-san" (Mrs. Saka). The Saka's were Daddy's home-stay family when he came to Japan on the Pacific Rim study abroad program in 1997. When Daddy and Mommy came to live in Japan for the first time (in 1999), they lived practically next door to the Saka's. They have always enjoyed a close relationship with them and called them "Oka-san" and "Oto-san" (mother and father in Japanese). Mommy says I am lucky to have three grandmothers since most people only have two!

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
This is my buddy, Freedom Chan, and his mom and dad, Mark and Charity Chan. I can't wait until I get just a little bigger so I can play with Freedom!

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
Here I am with Judith. She is a missionary at Taga church where Mommy and Daddy go. She has also been teaching a few of Mommy's classes while Mommy has been on maternity leave. Thanks, Judith!

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
The baby on the left in the carseat is my little friend, Sophia, who was born one day before me! Her mom, Roxanna, is in the purple shirt holding me. Roxanna and Mommy had the same midwife, so Kudo-san (on the left holding Sophia) had a busy few days taking care of all of us! On the right are Rie, a midwife-in- training, and her little girl, Hikaru, and Heather Rosser from Mito church, one of Roxanna's labor partners.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My First Bath

423477744305_0_ALB, originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.

I had my first bath on March 1st, the day after I was born. I loved the warm water and I hardly cried at all. The nurses just couldn't get over my blond hair, blue eyes, and long fingers and toes. I felt like a celebrity!

Mommy and I stayed at the hospital for 4 nights. (Usually, Japanese babies and their moms stay at the hospital for a whole week, but Dr. Suzuki agreed to let us go home a few days early.) I enjoyed a relaxing bath every morning and being able to "room-in" with Mommy. But I didn't like sleeping in my bassinet. I was much happier sleeping snuggled right next to her.

The hospital took very good care of us during our stay there. Mommy said the food was actually quite good. She especially enjoyed being served breakfast in bed and afternoon tea.

Good things come to those who wait (and wait, and wait, and wait)

Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
And he was so worth the wait. Worth waiting almost seven years of marriage for. Worth all of the discomforts of pregnancy. Worth a grueling 64 hours of labor. Yes, that's right. 64 hours. Nearly 3 full days. Labor began early Sunday morning when my water broke, and Alex was finally born on Tuesday evening. Up until a month ago, if you had asked me, "What's the hardest thing you've ever done?" I would have answered, "Climbing 18,000 foot Mt. Kenya." Well, let me tell you, climbing that mountain was NOTHING, compared to the experience of bringing our child into the world!

For those who may be wondering why I wasn't taken into the operating room and "put under the knife" by the end of the first day, Japanese doctors have more of a "watch and wait" philosophy when it comes to childbirth than their American counterparts. I am grateful for this, as a C-section was the last thing I wanted, although I will admit that by the end, I was practically begging for one just so it would be over. (I think I also begged for death at one point!)

I had what the books call a "prodromal labor," characterized by a very long and drawn out early or latent phase. In my case, because my water broke at the very beginning of labor, the baby's head, which was already engaged, started putting pressure on my cervix, causing it to swell and slowing the dialation process. An American doctor would have labeled me "failure to progress" and had me on the operating table after 24 hours. But in Japan, as long as both mother and baby are genki (healthy, strong, energetic) and seem to be tolerating the stress of labor well, nature is allowed to take its course.

My one and only disappointment in my birth experience was that I was not able to deliver at the midwife's house like we had planned on. Because of the lengthy labor and possible risk of infection, we decided on Monday (one day into the ordeal) that the hospital was the safest place for both me and the baby. Kudo-san, the midwife, stayed by my side and acted as my advocate and translator with Dr. Suzuki, the nurses, and the rest of the staff. I could not have done it without her! I was allowed to actively participate in all of the decisions regarding my care -- from taking drugs to stimulate contractions (an oral form of Pitocin) to finally agreeing to an episiotomy and the use of the vacuum extractor.

Finally, on Tuesday evening just before 7:00, Alexander John Campbell made his entrance into the world. Rusty's first words were, "It's a boy, it's a boy!" My first words were, "It's over, it's over!" While Kudo-san attended to the baby and helped Rusty cut the cord, Dr. Suzuki turned photographer and started taking pictures with his polaroid camera (standard equipment in a Japanese delivery room?)! They placed the baby on my stomach and he lay there for a few minutes before he opened his eyes and looked right at me, and then right at his father, as though he knew exactly who we were. Then he was whisked away to be weighed and measured and cleaned up a little bit.

About 45 minutes later, they brought him to me in the room and I got my first really good look at him. Fine blond hair. Scrawny legs and arms. My long fingers. His dad's big feet. Every part so tiny, yet perfectly formed. He was beautiful. I could scarcely wrap my exhausted brain around the fact that he was ours.

Have I forgotten all the pain of those excruciating 64 hours? I wouldn't say that, but holding that little 7 pound bundle in my arms was definitely worth every single minute!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Made in Mississippi, Born in Japan

DSCF2148.JPG copy
Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.

We joyfully announce
the birth of our son:

Alexander "Alex" John Campbell

born February 28th, 2006
at 6:55 p.m.
in Mito, Japan
3220 grams (7 lbs., 1 oz.)
50 cm. (20 inches) long

Monday, March 20, 2006

We're working on it!!!

For all of you that may be anxious to see pictures of little Alex, they're coming. We're having technical difficulties with our computers. The nicer of our two computers is a Mac and for some reason we're not able to post picuters to our blog using the Mac because the OS has just been outdated. The other computer is old and very slow. It's really only good for posting picutes on the blog because we can't with the Mac. The only real benifit, other than posting pictures with it is that we can use our wireless connection with it. And of course, we can't with the Mac unless we strip it, change the suspension and give it a complete overhaul. The other problem with the old computer is that the plug on the power cord is currently unusable. Meaning that there is 'No Power!' and without power there are no pictures to post on the blog.

We are currently discussing the solution to our problem. Do we purchase a $75 power cord for an old run down computer that makes noises that resemble something between an Apache helicopter and a 1991 Chevy Citation when the hard drive spins down or do we spend $120 upgrading the operating system on the Mac that is perfectly fine but since Mac has a monopoly on all its products they can do what ever they want to do all in the name of consumer driven spending. Either way, we still have to pay around $30 in shipping.

Our other option is to purchase a new computer that has all the bells and whistles that any new parents would want to share their little bundle of joy with the web world. Of course, by the time that we received it here in Japan it would be completely outdated and worth less than a micro-cent of what we paid for it.

We thank all of you for your many prayers and concerns over the last several weeks. We've received several pachages from people back in the states that have really lifted our spirites (A ton of chocolate will do that. Thanks mom!) and brightened our days. We are so blessed to have our precious little boy with us. He has been a real joy. We are looking forward to sharing pictures with you at the earliest possible moment that we can post them to the blog. Untill such time, I'll give you a short description of Alexander. He is soooooooooooooooooo cute!!!!!!!

We love you all (Even those that don't check the blog that often.) Thank you again for your support, encouragement, prayers, and gifts. May God bless you today as you have blessed us.