“I hope so!” This is not the answer that a pregnant woman wants to hear when she asks her doctor if he thinks her baby is doing all right. Unfortunately, “I hope so” seems to be my Japanese obstetrician’s favorite way of reassuring all my various anxious queries. “Do you think that the baby will start moving soon?” “I hope so!” “Is the baby’s heart beating?” “I hope so!” “Will the delivery wing construction be done in time for my baby’s birth?” “I hope so!” I think that he must think that “I hope so” sounds a lot more reassuring than it actually does. I want to explain this to him and suggest possible alternatives (i.e. “You bet it will!”) but there never seems to be enough time during my visits. The one ultrasound video that Mr. D and I have taken so far pretty much sums up the scenario. In it, you can see a blurry black and white screen with a bloblike object swimming around on it, while echoing in the background, all that can be heard are the words “I hope so!”
At my last ultrasound the doctor started off by smacking his hands together and announcing “Now we will check your baby’s abnolali…abnormer…aborn…abmoralities!” I reacted by abruptly sitting up and practically screaming out, “What do you mean?? You can see that he has abmoralities, um… I mean abnormalities!??” “Oh no no!” chuckled the good doctor of reassurance, “I mean, I just want to see if he has any ab.. abromal…alolbalities. I hope he is fine.” Right. Terrific.
A few minutes later…
“Aha!” (said my doctor while pointing at the screen) “Now see, this is your baby’s blain. It is a very small blain you see? Children with chromosomal abroralities also have very small blains.”
Me: (with horrified look on my face) “What are you saying?! Is something wrong with his brain?”
Dr: “Oh chuckle chuckle ha ha ha…No your baby’s blain is not so small as that. Your baby will be very clever. I hope.”
So you see people. It’s not so easy to be pregnant in a foreign country. Here I am, 5 months pregnant with a doctor who says that he hopes my baby has no “blain abmoralities” and a delivery room that as far as I can see, has not even been built yet.