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Giving Birth in Japan (A Birth Story – Sandra)

My labor and delivery this time was completely different from my first labor and delivery–27 hours, an epidural that wore out as the baby was descending, 3 blackouts, 2 episiotomies and an emergency vacuum extraction. I can`t remember how many times I told my husband that would be our one-and-only child and here I am the second time around.

Giving Birth in Japan (A Birth Story – Sandra)

Monday, June 24th was a typical morning. It was 8am and I was preparing breakfast for my husband and 2 yr old son. It was overcast and there was a nice cool breeze flowing through our condo. I felt slight cramping through breakfast and while I was getting my son ready for nursery school. My due date was June 28th, but at my last check up my doctor said the baby would probably come out a bit earlier–Tuesday or Wednesday that week. The cramps weren`t subsiding so I told my husband “I think we`re going to have the baby today.” He dropped our son off at nursery school, called the office and worked from home. I started to pack my hospital bag, cleaned the house a bit then went for a walk (everyone told me long walks and squats help speed up contractions). I got home around 11am and found that I lost my mucus plug. The contractions were stronger, but not painful, so my husband and I decided to have lunch before we called the hospital (I wanted to go to the hospital early to ensure I would meet the epidural window–it`s only given during business hours 9-5pm).

We got to Sanno Hospital around 2pm. My doctor said I was 3cm dilated, that my water will probably break today as “it`s bulging” and estimated that I`ll deliver around midnight; so we checked-in and I got prepped for the epidural.

3:30pm: The epidural and picotin were in my system, but I still felt the contractions which were getting stronger and were coming closer together. I was still only 3cm dilated so the doctor broke my water. Later I asked the nurse why I was still feeling contractions if I had the epidural and she said “Here at Sanno, we lightly numb the pain.” wth!? My husband started cracking up. I didn`t want to exhaust all my energy on contractions from now till I delivered so I asked to speak to my doctor. She granted permission to up-my-dose. My feet got cool and tingly and I was pain free.

4:45pm: 5cm dilated, a couple more hours till delivery. They reduce the epidural feed to speed up labor. I have my husband run to the konbini (convenient store) to get me some food as I`m getting hungry and I`ll need energy to push.

5:30pm: 8cm dilated. Contractions are coming more frequently and are Very Strong. They increase the epidural feed.

5:45pm: They decide to move me to the delivery room. I have a hard time moving from bed to cart to delivery room as the contractions are severe and are coming every couple minutes. The nurses prep the delivery room.

6pm: The doctor tells me the next time I feel a contraction to push. I wait for the next painful contraction–nothing. Then I feel a bit of pressure. I think to myself “is that a contraction?” I push anyway. The doctor says “I see the head, she has a lot of hair. Do you want to touch it?” My shocked an initial response was “What?!? But I didn`t wash my hands.” I hear my husband chuckling behind me which makes me laugh. After about a minute, I tell him to stop then I feel a little pressure and push again. Olivia Anri Takada was born on the 5th push at 6:10pm.

This experience was so different compared to my last delivery. I still had a lot of energy and it was pain-free; it was surreal. The epidural kicked-in at the perfect time and my doctor and midwives were great. If only all deliveries could be this way.

** This content was originally published on Tokyo Stroller which has now merged with Best Living Japan. We hope you enjoy the new combined site. **

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Giving Birth in Japan (A Birth Story – Sandra)

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One comment

  1. Congrats on your new little one! Hope you post some “to do in Tokyo with an infant” once you’re feeling better and start getting out again. Love your blog!!

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