Home Birth Testimonial

You might remember that I had my first home birth experience as a doula back in April.  My client has very kindly given me a testimonial and I’m sharing it with everyone 🙂  You can find more testimonials here!

“Stephanie attended the birth of our third child (first one to be born in Japan) and she was a vital part of the team. Prior to delivery, she was available to answer questions about the different birthing options in Japan and provide examples from some of her experiences at different hospital settings. We chose a planned home-birth with midwives from Matsugaoka and together, I was able to have a happy and healthy birth. While the midwives did checks throughout labour and provided massage, Stephanie recommended different positions to labour in for comfort and to help move things along. Though she is not a translator, she did explain to my husband and I what was going on as the midwives spoke among themselves. She was also a positive voice when the day became long and I became tired. I highly recommend Stephanie as she was very professional and provided peace of mind throughout my pregnancy, labour and delivery.”

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January Births Done!

January ended up being one of my busiest months birth-wise!  I was at 5 births overall – which I think is the most I’ve done in one month before!  All of the babies were delivered at Aiiku hospital with either Dr Sakamoto or Dr Sen, and, as expected each labour was very different.

Dr Sen continues to impress me with each labour I’m at with her.  She is definitely natural-labour-minded, allowing the woman to labour at her own pace and it seems to me that less women who have her as a doctor end up with an epidural – partly because she has to call Dr Sakamoto or another back up to administer it if a patient wants one, which puts a barrier in front of getting an epidural in the first place, but mostly because of her encouragement and approach to labour in general.  While she can’t spend all labour with her patients (that’s my job as doula when I’m there), she is hands on when she can be.  She often gives massages, stimulates pressure points and so on during labours which is a really nice thing and comforting thing for an OB to do.   She is also great at making sure women don’t have episiotomies.  I think I’ve only seen her do one once in the various labours I’ve been in with her.

My next labour so far will be a home birth, all being well.  My client will be using So san from Matsugaoka Birth House as her home-birth midwife.   I met her today and she’s lovely.  She can speak English well-enough and is very reassuring.  With Matsugaoka Birth House, you can choose to give birth there (with a midwife), at Nisseki in Hiroo with So san, or in your own home with So san.  Of course, conditions apply and they can’t take on women with any complications, but for those who are looking for a very natural labour, this is a great choice – an experienced English-speaking midwife with the back up if needed of an extremely well-respected hospital.  I’m looking forward to this labour very much!

 

Recent Birth Doula Experiences

I’ve had a really fun couple of weeks with births and private birth preparation classes!

On Wednesday, March 15th I supported a birth at Keiyu hospital in Minato Mirai (Yokohama) and then on Sunday, March 19th I was at a birth in Kosei hospital in Suginami ku (near Koenji).  They were, of course, 2 very different birth experiences and both went well for the mother, father and baby in each case.  They were also 2 new hospitals for me to attend.  Bringing my grand total of different hospitals I’ve been at now to 10 if my counting is correct, with over 20 birth doula clients!

Keiyu hospital had a more clinical feel to it with the LDR room (which was all one room for labour and delivery), although the doctor on call – Matsuo sensei – was able to speak quite good English.  The midwives were very attentive and this hospital offered the option of an epidural which was on my client’s birth plan.  There wasn’t much opportunity to be fully active and walk around too much as my client was on a monitor for most of the labour, even prior to the epidural.   I was able to explain what was happening when necessary, translate a little between the hospital staff and my client, and offer a lot of reassurance.

Kosei hospital was quieter and less hospital-like in the LDR area.  My client was able to labour in one room using things like a birth ball and active chair, as well as being free to walk around outside in the hallway.  They don’t offer an epidural at this hospital, so it was great for me to get really stuck in to supporting my client physically with positions and breathing.

If anyone would like a more detailed account of my experiences at either of these 2 hospitals, please let me know!

VBAC Success

A week ago today, I was at my first VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section).  Dr Sakamoto was the doctor, so the birth itself was at Aiiku hospital.   The mother didn’t have the best experience with the C-section she needed to have with her first child (overall stress of the experience, reaction to medication, and the long recovery time afterwards), so she was very determined to at least be able to try for a VBAC with this pregnancy.

As it was my first VBAC, I was very “excited”to be asked by the mother to be her doula 🙂 Throughout her pregnancy, as is the case with all my clients, we had regular meetings where we discussed things related to her pregnancy, the labour, what had happened at hospital appointments and so on.  I really hoped that she’d be able to get her wish of trying for her VBAC and that nothing unexpected would come up to change things.  Dr Sakamoto was willing to let her try but was cautious about the chance of success (I think this goes with his character and his role as doctor and main care-provider).

The mum went into labour the day before her due date.  A c-section had been booked already for the next week if labour didn’t start naturally because in a VBAC situation inductions are not done.  She was very very glad her labour started naturally and I got to the hospital as contractions were very close together and pretty intense.  Without going in to the full details of her labour (as that is the mum’s story to tell), her sheer will and determination to have a successful VBAC were what got her through.  There was a time where it looked like a c-section was going to be needed as the labour wasn’t progressing…but then literally in less than an hour she was ready to push and her baby was born beautifully.  It was fantastic and I was so thrilled for her!

For anyone who is considering a VBAC, I’d love to hear from you!

Doula Cafe

The next Doula Cafe will be Tuesday Nov 22nd and it’s free to join!  It will be at the Tokyu Plaza Starbucks (6th floor) in Harajuku, from 11:00-12:30.  The Tokyu Plaza is on the Meiji Dori/Omotesando crossing.

If you are due next year and are considering using a doula for your birth, it’s a great chance to find out how one can support you.  If you have never heard of what a doula is, come along to find out🙂  If you are due in the next few weeks/months and want to be around other women to talk about birth and baby stuff – perfect!

We’ll talk about hospitals and birth clinics and experiences in them.  We’ll also talk about ways to manage labour – thinking about breathing , relaxation and visualisation techniques.

If you’d like to come, let me know if you can.  My email address is here.  Simply turning up on the day is also fine, too🙂

Doula Cafe

The next Doula Cafe will be on Tuesday 8th Nov and it’s free to join!  It will be at the Tokyu Plaza Starbucks (6th floor) in Harajuku, from 10:30-12:00.  The Tokyu Plaza is on the Meiji Dori/Omotesando crossing.

If you are due next year and are considering using a doula for your birth, it’s a great chance to find out how one can support you.  If you have never heard of what a doula is, come along to find out🙂  If you are due in the next few weeks/months and want to be around other women to talk about birth and baby stuff – perfect!

We’ll talk about hospitals and birth clinics and experiences in them.  We’ll also talk about what labour can be like, signs to look out for, and the real nitty-gritty of birth!

If you’d like to come, let me know if you can.  My email address is here.  Simply turning up on the day is also fine, too🙂

Next Doula Cafe

The next Doula Cafe will be on Monday 24th October and it’s free to join!  It will be at the Tokyu Plaza Starbucks (6th floor) in Harajuku, from 10:30-12:00.  The Tokyu Plaza is on the Meiji Dori/Omotesando crossing.

If you are due next year and are considering using a doula for your birth, it’s a great chance to find out how one can support you.  If you have never heard of what a doula is, come along to find out🙂  If you are due in the next few weeks/months and want to be around other women to talk about birth and baby stuff – perfect!

If you’d like to come, let me know if you can.  My email address is here.  Simply turning up on the day is also fine, too🙂