So as from Monday this week I officially started Maternity Leave! And what a difference it makes. I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant (so around 4 weeks to go) and we have a fairly long list of things to catch up on and prepare for before Peanut enters the world, so while things have slowed down a little, there are still plenty of things to do!
So far I have bought a bag to take to the hospital, as I only had a jumbo suitcase or a backpack with nothing in between. With a normal stay of 5 days after delivery, something else was needed! I also bought a nappy bag that can hopefully double as a handbag too. During the hospital stay the hospital actually provide clothes/blankets/towels/nappies for baby (but not wipes/tissues/cup for me) and so I don’t need a lot for Peanut while in the hospital, just a going home outfit and wipes. I found a good little Second Hand shop which had loads of bags and just sorted through them all. The three bags (I bought another smaller handbag as I kept borrowing Heidi’s kids one!) would have been under Y3,000 (about $35?) So I was pretty happy with that!
I tried to get started on sorting through some of the council and hospital paperwork today too. What that means is I sat with a Kanji dictionary trying to work out what the forms said (I had a vague idea from some help I got at the hospital) and then attempt to fill them out. It wasn’t particularly productive, mostly due to trying to keep Pippa happy at the same time. Yep, not great concentration there!
Japan is a country in love with paperwork – well, that’s what I’ve decided. I have forms to fill out to take to the local council office so as to reduce the rate of “IF” I have a C-section. If I don’t do the paperwork beforehand, the cost is really high. IF I have one. But the paperwork still needs to be done. As well as hospital admission papers, which actually nearly all require just Paul’s signature, as he is the head of the household. They are just a couple of small examples of the mounds of paper we have found ourselves splashing around in over here. It was definitely worse when we first arrived, and all of this is with help – actually I think we may have lost the plot if we’d had to work it all out ourselves. Or we definitely would have missed something major and important.
Even bills here are generally paid monthly and not online. So we actually have to “pay bills” now, and you really notice it! Both the energy required to go and pay it, and also the way that the money doesn’t just disappear magically from an online account.
Oh and we crossed another thing off the list today – practice drive to the hospital. Up to this point Paul has maybe only been to the hospital once or twice, and that was in the earlier days when we didn’t have a car. While I have driven numerous times, on what is a straight forward route to the hospital, I didn’t want to have to direct Paul whilst in labour (I’m full of amazingly smart ideas, I know), and so after picking Heidi up from Yochien, a little afternoon tea, then picking Paul up from school, we drove to the hospital and back. Yay!
Our extended and random “To Do” list includes things like:
- Gluten free bread mix?
- Testimony for Prayer meeting tomorrow
- Oral Proficiency Tests
- PSOPI (another kind of oral Japanese test that I can’t remember the acronym for)
- Review Paper
- Council re payments
- Visit friend in hospital
- Invite Heidi’s kinder friends over
- Thank you cards for Partnership Development
- Bike tyre
- Buy things for hospital stay and for Baby Peanut who will be naked once we get home at this stage!
- Make slices to sell at Yochien Festival next week
So while I don’t have to do all of these things, it means that there are things to do every day and Maternity Leave hasn’t been quite as relaxing as it could be, but I’m only on day 3!!