Sunday, 23 August 2009
08:12:56 PM (GMT)
Hey guys. I started this weeks ago after watching TLC's A Baby Story, and of
course you won't see it for weeks after I've written it. I realized that my spin off
was one chapter behind the original story, and discovered that while Mana had the
mysterious tale of how she arrived at the orphanage, Naono had nothing. I can't
remember if I did that on purpose, but I don't like it. Speaking of things I don't
like, I don't like swearing, but there's some in here anyway. Not much, and there's
good reason for it, but it's there. You have been warned.
Unfortunately, just as I was getting into some serious writing, I noticed that I was
a five star member, at last, randomly. You could say it broke my concentration. But
to be clear, this was written after the next two chapters. I was very glad to find
that I could explain things in detail here. A couple things now seem like clever
surprises that were actually just there, which make me happy.
Greg’s family said I was crazy. My mother-in-law was especially disapproving. But
they were New York City people; I didn't really expect them to respect traditions.
The Koisuki's have lived in Japan for centuries, and we've all lived under that
name. Even though Greg took it hard I didn't give in when I said that I wasn't
changing my last name, and I wasn’t giving in now. Being a Koisuki is part of who I
am- I couldn't suddenly become a Shale. I will do whatever it takes to live honorably
under my name, and that includes going through my pregnancy naturally.
Even if we are in New York, New York instead of Japan.
My mother-in-law, whose name always escapes me, horrible though that is, phoned once
a week for five months asking me to please get an ultrasound. "You don't have
to know the gender," she said, "get one and have the doctor send the results to me.
Just let me know something about my first grandchild!" You had to give the woman
marks for determination, but she missed the point. This was Kaneko's first pregnancy,
and she was going to do it as her ancestors had. She would know her babies gender
when the midwife handed her the bundle of blankets.
That aside, times were tough. Money was going to be tight to the point of
suffication as was, medical bills were the last thing they needed. Greg had told her
that she should stop working, but the two of them needed the joint incomes. Now,
after working as a secretary for eight months, four weeks of my pregnancy, I was
sweating and gasping, and doing my best to break my husband’s hand for doing this
to me while I waited for the midwife.
Misao-san had gone beyond scolding and firmly into the realms of insults when she
found out that I had only been resting for the final six weeks of pregnancy. Greg
asked me multiple times over the course of twenty minutes if I was sure the midwife
was coming, and would I like to go to a hospital? I love him, but he can be a bit
thick. I was going to do this the right way. I'd gone too far to stop now,
After what could only be viewed as a century Misao burst through the door and
began bustling about. Greg shouted something at her when she came in, and she said
something that involved the word traffic. She hurried to my bedside with a thermos of
hot tea. I released Greg’s hand to grip her forearm. Greg shook his hand and tried
to massage it back into a usable shape, but didn't complain. He had offered to let
me hold his hand after all.
"Misao-san... Remember when I first found out I was pregnant, and I asked you what
childbirth was like?" Misao-san pulled on her arm once, then left it in my grip and
gave me the tea with the other hand. "Yes dear," she said soothingly, "of course I
remember that." I wasn't in the mood to be soothed, or comforted in anyway. I was
irritable and scared.
"You said... You said it was best that you didn't go into detail, until I was
in-" Pain exploded in my back, "-in labor!"
"The contractions have begun, have they?" "Answer me!" I screamed. This is one of
those times when a woman is allowed to lose her temper and shout and curse and throw
things all she likes. I was perfectly ready to act like a completely different person
until I had my baby in my arms. So far, I was being a bitch. Oh fucking well.
"Child birth has been described as taking you lower lip," began Misao-san. I
reached a hand to my lip. "And then trying to pull it over your head."
"Who ever said that was a fool of course- Childbirth is like sticking three pins
through your lower lip while it has third degree burns, then using the pins to pull
it over your head. Meanwhile, someone is repeatedly hitting your back with a sledge
hammer. Ah, the contractions are getting stronger I see. This might only take a
Hours went by. Hours filled with sweating, and screaming, and crying until finally
Misao-san said that something had gone wrong and I would have to be brought to a
hospital or else both I and the baby were at risk. Traditions be damned, this baby
was going to come out alive. I had to be carried out to the car, and I had to
try not to scream until we were driving to avoid anyone stopping us thinking I was
I remember Greg running into the hospital first, I remember a cart, then I was
laying on the cart for awhile longer before someone moved me to the front of the line
to at least stop my screaming, and then I faded out for awhile. I was still in loads
of pain, but I couldn't see or hear, which made it worse.
When my vision stopped being so black, I saw a man who was clearly not my husband
reaching between my legs. With scissors no less. Of all the bloody things I don't
need, a episiotomy ranks pretty high on the list. Except, of course, that I
did need one, and that made me furious. Something about episiotomy echoed down
into my memory from a free new-mothers workshop I'd attended.
Oh. Yes. Oh, yes! Episiotomies only happen after crowning! It was almost over!
Soon I'll be a- Ow, ow contraction!
I screamed some more, and while pretending to be completely incoherent with pain (as
opposed to just about two thirds) I looked around for my husband. Nowhere to be seen.
Misao was slouched against a wall rubbing her temples, and she rushed to my side as I
tried to reach a hand towards her. Just then, in a rush of fluids of more than
questionable quality, the baby came at last. With a wrinkled purple skin and a
distinctly pointed head, it looked like an alien. I'd never seen anything so
wonderful in my life.
... Why was the doctor slapping it? Misao looked stricken. "Cry... Cry for the
love of all...!" She murmured. It hit me then- my baby isn't crying. My baby isn't
breathing. Then something else hit me. It felt like a sledge hammer to the back.
I was still having contractions.
I cried out and the doctor got angry. "Breath will you!" "Cry for the pain you've
caused you're mother!" Just then my husband ran in, just in time to see his first
born son take his first breath. Unfortunately he saw his daughters head squeezing out
a moment later, and flopped to the ground.
"Another one? Twins? Oh my God... Push!" Said the doctor. As if I had a
choice. Nine minutes later I had two blanket wrapped babies in my arms. Identical
twins, both healthy. Four days later, our family of four was leaving the hospital,
accompanied by Misao-san. Beaming adults, sleeping children, we headed home. One day
after that came the medical bill that shattered our happiness.
"What do you mean we can't afford to keep them? These are our kids!"
Said Greg, trying not to raise his voice while changing Jane's diaper.
"That's just-" "Shhh!" "that is just not an option Misao-san!" I whispered
furiously. But the midwife shook her head. She had already refused to be paid for her
services, saying that she was a family friend, and had been with us since we left the
hospital to help out.
"Kaneko-chan, Greg, you were a couple thousand dollars in debt to start with.
Before, it was the average amount of debt. You could handle it. But when you add an
extra twenty thousand of medical costs, we'll say fifteen thousand assuming your
insurance takes pity on you, then you have to buy a second set of everything
you'd already gotten for your hypotheticle single child, then you factor in that you
had only budgeted for one child’s diapers and food... And tax season is here to
top it all off."
"Well there must be something we can do, some way to cheat the system. People
do it for taxes all the time! A divorce, we'll file a divorce, we'll be secretly
married and then Kaneko can get the returns she'd earn as a single mother." Said
Greg, speaking wildly. He laid his fingers protectively on his sons chest- Naono
"A divorce would cost more than we'd save dear." I said, gathering Jane into
my arms. Misao was right. We simply didn’t have as much money as we needed.
"What can we do?" I asked quietly. "Honestly, until you get this financial mess
sorted out, at least one of them will have to be sent away." Misao-san sighed.
"I'm not splitting our children up!" Exclaimed Greg, "Well, I'm
not giving up both our babies after less than a week!" I countered.
"And I won't let those things happen." Interjected Misao. "Foster care. One of
them will go and be with a second family for a few months while we find a way to get
some money together, then you have them returned to you." "Months..." Greg said, deep
voice rumbling over emotion.
"My babies..." I said, then stopped. "How are we supposed to decide which to
give up?" I asked sharply. The midwife drew a breath that said she already knew what
she was going to say. Who is she, I wondered, and why do we keep taking her advice?
"You each named one child to please your families, so only one of them has a
common name in America. If, no, when you go to get your baby back from the
foster parents, it'll be easier to sort out if you're looking for with the baby
called 'Naono'. There aren't many suitable foster families in New York; people in
this city are too self centered, or else just plain crazy. The foster parents will
most likely have other children to care for, and they'll always feel hectic. We don't
need someone asking 'Which Jane?' thrown into that chaos."
We debated and put it off for days, but Misao was right. So on the day that Naono and
Jane Koisuki turned ten days old, Naono was left crying in the arms of the elderly
social security’s agent at Family Future's Foster Care. With Naono was a formal
letter, written with a shaky hand.
To whom it may concern,
Due to financial circumstances currently beyond our control, my husband, Gregory
Shale, and I, Kaneko Koisuki, have been forced to temporarily leave our son, Naono
Koisuki in your care. We know you will take good care of him, but want you to know,
in turn, that we love him very much and plan to reunite him and his sister as soon
as possible. My husband and I ask only that his foster family be within New York
City, as he can get car sick, and we don't want a long drive home to upset him.
This letter did, in fact reach young Naono's caretakers. But the letter those
caretakers sent back never reached the Koisuki-Shale household. The lost letter was
typed, and said this.
To the parent/ former guardians of Naono Koisuki,
We apologize, but we have been unable to find a foster family that can take on
another infant within New York City at this time. Your son/ daughter was transferred
to an orphanage on East forty second street, lower Manhattan. As is the policy with
our foster program, he/she will be put up for adoption if you do not return for
him/her within a year. We apologize if this is an inconvenience.
Furthermore, it is a policy at this particular orphanage not to inform children if
their parents claim that they will return for them. This is done to keep from
disappointing the child in question. To that end, we must inform you that we have
altered the name on his/her files so that if he/she does find out about your letter,
he/she cannot disturb you by trying to contact you, if you are still unable to take
up responsibility for him/her at that time. When you are able to fetch him/her, ask
for "Naono Tushigara". This name was chosen at random to protect you, the parents. If
you have any further concerns, please write back.
"Aunt" Sybil Clint, East forty second Orphanage director.
Without this crucil letter, the boys parents had no way of knowing he had been
transfered, or that his name had been changed. For sixth months, across continents,
the Koisuki's and the Shale's were getting together all the money they could in the
hopes that the the sole male heir to their family name could be returned for his
rightful parents. This caused many arguements later about whether the twins would
bear the name "Shale" or "Koisuki", and the harsh emails weren't helped by the fact
that both families were sending letters using free online translators. After all was
said and done though, no one knew what had become of Naono Koisuki. All that was left
was Naono Tushigara, one of thousands of orphans in New York city, seemingly without
a past, and always hoping for the future.