December 19, 2011

Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans

On Friday, December 16th, at 12:08pm, our son Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka Evans was born. In Japanese his name is 田中エバンス・アラン吉恭. I'll say more about the name later.

On Thursday the 15th, Lisa started to feel like the contractions were starting, and after some calls to the hospital, we caught a taxi and arrived there in the early afternoon. We went to the labor delivery room and spent some time with the nurses getting things timed and instrumented. We started to discuss what we wanted in our birth plan. The primary divergence from the standard Japanese birth plan - which is usually a natural birth with no epidurals - is that we wanted an epidural. Our hospital, Aiiku Hospital, is very accommodating and has an anesthesiologist (or multiple?) on staff. So we can get an epidural. Unfortunately, they don't really promote epidurals and prefer natural birth. So if you want an epidural, you can only do it from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Since kids aren't really known for being prompt and on time, we were very worried that we wouldn't be able to have the epidural.

Speaking with the doctors, Lisa's contractions were pre-contractions, so they wanted us to see how things went Thursday night. If things went well, Lisa would go into labor early Friday, and we would hit the epidural window. Since they wanted Lisa to stay overnight, and visiting hours (even for family members!) is only from 1pm to 8pm, they made me go home. Around 9am Friday morning, I got a call from Lisa to come into the hospital. She had been in labor since 1am. By 10am, the doctors said that if we wanted to have an epidural, Lisa would need to have stronger contractions, so they administered a labor inducing agent via her drip-feed. That worked well, so around 11am or so the anesthesiologist came by and started on Lisa's epidural. She was really in pain from the contractions and started to feel a lot better in ten minutes when the drugs started to take effect.

Things were going well, Lisa and I were talking with the nurse that was in the room. The baby heart rate monitor suddenly dropped from about 150bpm to 70, and kept going down. In an instant some alarms started to sound, and then suddenly there were ten or twelve people in the room, including the main delivery doctor. Things happened quickly; Lisa got an oxygen mask and the doctor told me that they needed to perform an emergency c-section. They rushed her out, and had me sit in the waiting room. An eternity later, a nurse came by and told me that a healthy boy was born. I was ecstatic, for a few minutes until I wondered at the peculiar wording that left out any mention of how Lisa was doing. Then I got worried again until I was able to hunt up a nurse that told me that my wife was indeed fine. The doctor later explained to me that they did not have any idea what happened, but they were concerned that with the drop in the baby's heart rate, they needed to get him out of there quickly to avoid any potential for damage to his brain. Everything turned out ok, and also, I could go see my son!

I spent about half an hour with my son, and then he was taken away to get weighed and whatever else the nurses needed to do. I went back to do some more waiting, and then was able to go see Lisa. I had a few minutes to talk with her, and then the nurse came in to check on her bandages. Again, in an instant the place was full of doctors and nurses, and I was rushed out. I caught a few snatches of conversation about how she was having massive bleeding. I had another hour or so waiting outside the room, but the doctors got everything stabilized and I was allowed back in, along with our son. Lisa was exhausted but looked extremely happy.

Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka Evans was born on Friday, 2011 December 16th at 12:08pm. He weighs in at 2884 grams, and 48.5 cm. Since Friday, mom and son have been recovering together in the hospital. She will stay there for about a week (a bit longer than normal due to the c-section, but not much.) Visiting hours are from 1pm to 8pm, so I go to the hospital and visit for a few hours. I can't wait for them to come home (just in time for Christmas as it turns out) and start my own sleepless nights.

What about the name Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka Evans?

I have always thought it was somewhat sexist that the wife should change her last name to the husband's last name, and I think the name Tanaka is really cool, has a long tradition in Japan, so we just never changed our names when we got married. We are married though. So when our son is born, we had to think a bit about the name. I like the sound of Tanaka Evans, which is what we will use as his last name on his US Passport. We'll probably have to hyphenate it, so Tanaka-Evans. For his first name, I want a connection to my family, and the name Alan works really well there - my father is Gary Alan Evans, my sister is Alana, we have a few other Alans in the family, and one of his godfathers' middle name is Alan (although I might not have the spelling right there.) On Lisa's side of the family, men often have names starting with the Chinese character 吉 (Yoshi, "good fortune".) There are many people in their family with names starting with that character, so it is very hard to choose a name that is unique to the family. Lisa had a few candidates, which we narrowed down to two, Yoshitomo ("good fortune" and "intelligence") or Yoshiyuki ("good fortune" and "courteous".) Since one of the reasons we chose Alan is in the hopes that he turns out as smart as my father Lisa didn't want to have two "smart" meanings in the name, so Yoshiyuki it is. So far, he has cried enough that I'm not sure he understands the meaning of his name, but we'll work on it.

For reference, the Japanese writing of the name is 田中エバンス・アラン吉恭.


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Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Didn't you mean to say 'as smart as my father and twin sister'...
Posted 10 years, 7 months ago by Alan a Evans • @ • • Reply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Yes. Yes, that is what I meant.
Posted 10 years, 7 months ago by FuguTabetai • @wwwReply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Oh my goodness, scary!! I wonder if a lot of birth stories have dropping heart rates and hemmorages and whatnot! I'm so relieved they are OK.
haha, no epidurals as standard, that is so Japanese to me. "gaman shimasyou!"
sounds like Alan-Yoshiyuki lived up to his courteous name to let Lisa get her painkillers within the limited window...! ;)

Posted 10 years, 7 months ago by Kyra • • wwwReply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Yes, it is honestly baffling to me that most people (it seems like!) in Japan go with completely natural drug-less births. That just sounds incredible to me coming from the US.

I think emergency c-sections are not uncommon; at least my wife's sister also had a similar situation where the child's umbilical cord was wrapped around her head. But I haven't heard enough stories to actually have anything near a reasonable sample size.

My advice: take as many drugs as possible! The babies come out cute either way, and it sure beats 我慢.
Posted 10 years, 7 months ago by FuguTabetai • @wwwReply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Well I guess I don't look in here often enough. I didn't even know Lisa was pregnant!

In any case, congratulations are in order for the three of you. Good baby; great wife.

It must be strange in a culture where the father is relegated to an almost inconsequential role. My bother's last one was a normal birth, (I have no children) but he actually went to jail in order to be with her through the whole thing! (He missed some of his scheduled community service hours, for which he was sentenced for being an idiot, not a scofflaw.) You'd think he was an old hat at it after having 12 previous kids. The hospital they were in is brand new and has nothing but single rooms for all patients, and all of them have a couch in them that can be made up for family members to sleep in. They are encouraged to do so, though no linens are provided.

So be well, and have a great first Christmas with the little guy. And eat a piece of Christmas Cake for me. What a perfect Christmas gift.



(Yes, I did say my brother has thirteen kids. He's officially crazy. 10 girls and 3 boys. Two sets of twin girls too. The oldest girl is 18.)
Posted 10 years, 6 months ago by Douglas • @wwwReply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Congratulations on the birth of your son!

And thanks for taking the time to drop by the blog and offer some advice. It's still very early in the game but, provided I can actually find something to keep me busy days, I'll definitely make the move to Tokyo.

How was The Children Garden by the way? I read Air.

Posted 10 years, 5 months ago by Joseph Mallozzi • • wwwReply
Re: Announcing the birth of Alan Yoshiyuki Tanaka-Evans
Hm, famous people aren't supposed to know about this blog. ;-)

If you have any questions about moving to Tokyo (from the point of view of an American I'm happy to answer questions.

The Children Garden was an interesting (and perhaps a bit challenging) read. The two main characters were a bit difficult to like and relate to, but it was certainly different from your standard space opera stuff (which I do like quite a bit.) Once I got into it - about a third of the way in - I had a hard time putting it down.
Posted 10 years, 5 months ago by FuguTabetai • @wwwReply

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