Alert and Calm, even right after birth

Stella’s Natural Birth in Tokyo, VBAC

Stella was born on Sept. 20th here in Tokyo at the Japan Red Cross Hospital. She was a 9 days late and the doctors were beginning to get nervous about her size. So I went

out and actively sought out an acupuncturist to help bring about labor. I went into labor just in time as they did not want to let me go much further because of my previous C-section. She’s perfect and the birth was a joyous occasion as I was able to labor uninhibited and actively- and do all the things that I was never allowed to do for my two son’s births in US.

I was not able to give birth at home for Japan has very strict rules about home birth and since I had had a cesarean it was just not even a possibility. But thankfully Nisseki Hospital exists and all went really well. They have a very strong natural birth philosophy and the midwives are fantastic. I was able to get in the tub and move around as much as I wanted without ever being hooked to any sort of device or IV. I was able to eat

and jump and laugh and kiss my husband – all the things that were utterly absent from my experiences in US. And I was able to push while squatting on top of the bed and no episiotomy and no drugs- actually they do not even offer the epidural there unless you have to have a C-section. I labored for 12 hours and pushed for about 20 minutes. And when she was born she never left us- no shots or bath or apgar what have you- she just lay on my chest and we delighted in each other. The whole experience was so elating, intense of course too. And our daughter has been so alert and calm – I firmly believe her sense of calmness is due to her birth without drugs and intervention. My two sons were so uncomfortable after their birth, it took them months to settle in and finally breath a sigh of relief. Both of them came out long before they were ready, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now they are healthy and happy kids but it would have been so much nicer for them to have those early moments of joy. Our 7# 5oz baby girl was born At 8:04 pm and 51 cm long.

I highly recommend child birth in Japan, especially if one is seeking a natural approach. I did tons of research and made a lot of friends in the birthing community here, so if you ever have an inquiry about birth here in Tokyo just let me know. Thanks for all your help and encouragement. I hope to cross paths with you again. Warmest regards, Becky Burrows

Although it took awhile for labour to be established, the contractions I had this time around were different and more painful than the ones I had had in my previous deliveries. So even though they were erratic, they were quite painful from the beginning. If I had been in the hospital- even in the birth centre, I would have requested to be taken to a place for an epidural! If that had happened I would have been on my back trying to push out a nearly 10lb baby, which wouldn’t have worked and would have required at the very least an episiotomy and vontuse- or worse. All my worst fears multiplied! The water made all the difference. It was still intense, but the mobility I had made it possible to cope right until the end when some gas and air did the rest! Being in water took all the pressure off my back and pelvis and made it 10 times easier for the midwives to examine and help me. I finally delivered a beautiful baby boy on my knees. And the best bit? I didn’t tear! Not even a scratch! My husband and I also decided that he would get in the pool at the very end to catch the baby. What a magical thing for him to have been able to do! He loved every minute of it. What a difference in my son as well.

When I think of the measures it could have taken to get him out and yet he came out in the most natural and peaceful way- it shows in his demeanour as well. He is so peaceful and relaxed. So after the euphoria and relief of finally having the baby out, there I was at home, in one piece, with a peaceful, huge baby boy and I can’t imagine it gets better than that! I am more grateful than I can say for having had access to a pool for labour. I know that it is a blessing that we live in a time were medicine can save the lives of babies and mothers- and offer pain relief when the mother wouldn’t otherwise cope, but if I didn’t believe in births with the least amount of intervention possible before, I am a full-on convert now. If you had told me that I would be able to give birth to a nearly 10lb baby without tearing and without any intervention, I wouldn’t have believed it- but it just shows that given the right support and encouragement, and the right environment, women really can do what they were wonderfully designed to do!

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