Last week I was at a birth in Aiiku, with Dr Sen as the OB. It was a really wonderful experience and I quickly wanted to share some general details about it.
My client went into labour during the night and went into hospital that night where she was still very comfortable. It wasn’t till around 5am when her contractions got intense and very regular. The LDR unit was actually completely empty – she was the only patient for the whole day. This meant that we got a lot of extra hands-on support from the midwives which was great. My client was free to labour however she wanted – so we did a lot of walking, stair-climbing, she used the bath, used the balance ball, and also the active chair. It was really great at how open she was to trying different things to help her labour along. It all progressed really smoothly, although the last few centimeters of dilation did take quite a while. Finding the motivation to keep going naturally not knowing how long there is still left to go and knowing an epidural is an option is a hard thing sometimes, but she really did wonderfully. She was managing so well that I personally felt she could keep going without an epidural, and I think (I hope) having me there to reassure her that things were going well really helped 🙂
Dr Sen herself is a very laid-back and relaxed doctor when it comes to labour, letting each woman do what works for them and not over-managing anything (unless the need arises). She was hands-on during the times she was present doing some massage of foot acupressure points which was nice. All the times I’ve been in labours with her, I’ve found her to be a really gentle and positive voice.
During the actual delivery, my client was able to have baby immediately placed on her chest and have the heart-rate check and oxygen check of the baby done while on the mother. In Japan, even if doctors say a mum can have “Kangaroo care” (the term used here for immediate skin to skin contact), it’s not usually as immediate as we expect – usually the baby is quickly taken to the warmer, have the heart-rate check and oxygen checks done, wrapped in a towel and then given back to the mother for the skin to skin time. So, with Dr Sen, you really can get that immediate contact with your baby which is great!
I’ve got a couple more births coming up with Dr Sen over the next 3 weeks, so I’m looking forward to them, too.