Hello. I'm a newbie on these boards, seeking advice for coping with stress and trauma during pregnancy. I'm in a very complicated situation, and would be interested to hear stories from people who have gone through some of these issues when pregnant.
I'm Australian, currently 21 weeks pregnant, and have been living in Japan for the past few years and I planned to have my baby there (I am covered by the Japanese national health insurance, I do not have PHI). I came to Adelaide to get married this November with my Japanese fiancé, and the day before I arrived in Australia, my father was rushed to hospital with a sudden serious illness. At first, it appeared to be a stomach and liver infection. He was so ill he was unable to attend our wedding. We have recently found out he has stomach cancer that has spread to the liver, which I understand is Stage 4 cancer. We meet the doctors this week to be told his full prognosis and treatment options, but apparently treatment is limited as the docs say he cannot have chemo due to an abscess, and stomach surgery will be a major, high-risk op for him with a long recovery period.
My father is the primary caregiver for my disabled mother. Since I have been here for my wedding, I have been caring for my mother while he was in hospital, and now I am looking after both parents (although my dad is doing fairly well right now and can do most things by himself). My husband has had to return to Japan for work (and does not have the visa to live here), and I am currently taking unpaid leave from my job indefinitely. I am an only child, and the only family support we have is from an elderly relative, so I do not want to ask her for help, although she has been very kind and is helping where she can.
I am dreading finding out the doctors' full prognosis this week. From what I have read about stage 4 stomach cancer, many people die within 6 months. As my baby is due in April 2016, I am quite torn apart knowing that there is a high chance my dad could be seriously ill and dying at that time and may not get to meet his grandchild.
I am also stressed about practical considerations, such as care for my father when his health starts to decline, and care for my mother, while I am pregnant/caring for a newborn. My mother has been cared for at home for the past 20 years and I would like to help care for her, but I think temporary respite care at a nursing home will be necessary in the coming months. Due to the timing of delivery and the fact that my dad could be seriously ill at that time, I will likely have to give birth in Australia rather than in Japan. However, in my current situation I am not covered by Medicare even though I am an Australian citizen -- this is because I have been resident in another country for some years. I phoned Medicare and apparently in order to get coverage, I have to show them proof that I have left Japan permanently (such as resignation confirmation from my Japanese employer, termination of my rental lease, etc). If I quit my job and permanently leave Japan now, I will lose my 3 months paid maternity leave and government payments for the baby, as well as my income generally.
My husband and I plan to apply for an Oz spouse visa asap. This can take anywhere from 6-12 months to process, so this means I could be apart from my husband for up to a year. He can come here on a tourist visa, but he is unable to take long periods of leave from work and he wants to keep working in Japan to save money for our family.
So in a nutshell: I am 21 weeks pregnant, and major life events/crises are colliding: marriage, terminal illness, pregnancy, caring for sick and disabled parents, immigration issues, lack of health coverage. I am going to seek out a counsellor in my area this week, but I would be really grateful to hear stories of anyone else who has been affected by any of these issues during pregnancy, and how you coped.
Thank you for reading.