Leo Masaharu Kuraoka: my birth story


Hmmm. Well, let’s start a bit before the beginning. You see, my due date was either July 9 or July 12, 2002. But, in my experience, extra time invested in preparation really pays off when it’s time to act. You’ll see what I mean.

Okay, so it was Thursday, July 18, that my Mom, Ondine, went in for a pre-natal exam. That’s nearly a week after I was due, so they thought. Ha! I was nowhere near ready to make my move: 50% effacement, less than 1 cm dilation and my head was at -3 station (which is high). Well, they scheduled a non-stress test on me for the next day.

So, Friday, July 19, I had a non-stress test. Mom had a monitor around her belly that tracked my heartbeat, and every time I’d move, Mom would press a little clicker button. Then, they’d make sure there was a matching increase in my heart rate - sort of like when you exercise your heart rate increases. I had fun playing with that, by moving around so they couldn’t hear my heartbeat any more, and they’d have to fiddle with the monitor until they found me again. Hoo, that was fun! Well, everything was fine. They even checked the amniotic fluid around me, using that ultrasound thing, and found that I had plenty of fluid to move around in.

By this time, I’d pretty much had enough of being poked and monitored and peered at. I mean, a fellow can only take so much.

That brings us to Saturday, July 20. Daddy and my brother Roy went to their swim class and spent the morning together as usual, since everyone thought that it’d be a while before anything happened. I had other plans. Remember my motto: plan slow, strike fast.

At 12:47, I managed to poke a hole in the amniotic sac, so the water broke. You’d think that’d get their attention, but Mommy played it cool for another hour and a half, laboring at home with Daddy and the help of a doula, Wendy LaFrenz.

By 2:10, they had called the hospital, and were told to go in. They were on the road by 2:30, and got to the hospital parking lot at 2:45. Gosh, Daddy is a slow driver!

I was raring to go. Mommy and Daddy and Wendy had to stop in the parking lot to work through one contraction, then again in the main lobby. The elevator ride to the maternity ward on the fourth floor gave me a little push, and I decided to just go with it.

So, right there in the hallway, on the way to the admissions station, I made my move. The midwife, Sandy, put some disposable sheets on the floor, and let everyone know that I was coming through.

I was born at 2:56 pm. I weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces, and was 20" long. Leo is my name, not my astrological sign. What sign was I born under? Click on the photo above, and you’ll see. It says "Special Care Nursery." I guess they named the hallway after me, because I am, after all, pretty special.

The picture at the very top of this page was taken at 3:16 pm, when I was exactly 15 minutes old. You can see that I’m mulling over recent events. You also can see the heart-shaped temperature monitor stuck on my tummy - boy, that hurt when they pulled it off! The picture below was taken at 6:51 pm, when I was less than four hours old. If I look a bit haggard, it’s because all these people kept poking at me, sticking needles in me, and just plain bugging me.

Finally, here I am at home the next day with the whole family: Mommy’s holding me, Daddy’s holding my big brother Roy, and Roy is holding Tiger.

Pleased to meet you!

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