Since I’ve been back from my summer holidays, I’ve been to 3 births – all at Aiiku hospital. 2 with Dr Sakamoto and 1 with Dr Sen. In all 3 cases, everything went very smoothly. For anyone looking for some perspective and information about what to expect in Aiiku with either Dr Sakamoto and Dr Sen, please get in touch (you are in good hands, though).
Towards the end of this month, or possibly early October depending on when baby decides to come, I’ll also be acting as a distance doula for a client who isn’t able to have a doula for her birth in person. I’m excited to see how that will go and hope that it will be a positive experience for my client and her partner. If anyone is in a different part of Japan or has a very strict (less progressive) hospital that flat-out refuses doula support, please get in touch if you’d like to consider distance support instead!
I’m also now working on setting up a Facebook page for Tokyo Doula Support. As I often post relevant articles, advice and so on on different Facebook groups, I though it was about time (after 5 years of running Tokyo Doula Support) that I have my own page for it all. Watch this space!!
2019 has been an amazing year so far for my doula work! I’ve had about 30 clients in the first half of this year (wonderful!) and they have been a real mix of women – from first time mothers, to those on their 4th babies, with natural births, medicated births, c-sections and VBACS included! It’s also been great to go to so many different hospitals this year so far, too. The hospitals I’ve been to this year include:
Nisseki (in Hiroo)
Tsuchiya clinic (in Fuchu)
Minato Red Cross (in Motomachichukagai, Yokohama)
Oshio Women’s Clinic (in Urayasu)
I also had the fantastic experience of a home birth, supported by midwives from Matsugaoka Birth Center.
As I’m going to be away for 6 weeks until the end of August, I plan to write up in more detail about the various different hospitals I’ve listed here, as well as others I’ve been to in previous years that I haven’t already written about.
Please feel free to email me anytime if you have questions about doula support (birth, preparation or breastfeeding). My schedule has a little room to take on a few more clients from September to December, and I have a wide open 2020 calendar too!
One of my client’s, who had a baby in April, sent me a few words to describe why she chose me as her doula and what my support meant for her. It always makes me so happy to hear what my support means to people I work with and I’m pretty sure I would have felt very similarly if I’d had a doula for my first labour.
“Going through my first pregnancy with the prospect of giving birth in Japan without any support (apart from my extremely supportive husband of course!) was a daunting feeling. As soon as I met Stephanie I knew that she had the expertise and empathy to support me through labour, which ultimately turned out to be the most challenging experience of my life. Giving birth at St Luke’s hospital I sought a natural birth with minimal interventions, however despite agreements in advance, promises were broken for no medical reason. This is when Stephanie’s support intensified, and without her calm, encouraging, caring and understanding personality it would have been considerably more stressful. She was able to converse with the staff on my behalf and negotiate compromises in what was also a difficult landscape for her to navigate as she could not tell them what to do. The comfort and confidence that Stephanie’s presence gave me was so important during my toughest times in labour, but also gave me the strength to continue to push for my natural birth plan as much as possible. I would wholeheartedly recommend Stephanie during the most special but challenging time of your life especially if you don’t have your immediate family there to support you. I am grateful for everything she had done during my 50 plus hours of labour and will always be special to me as she played a pivotal role in an experience I will never forget” – Natalie
2018 was my busiest year yet as a doula with just over 30 births, as well as some birth preparation clients and post-partum clients. I continued to go to hospitals I’m very familiar with, such as Aiiku, and also some brand new hospitals which is always interesting. How can 2019 get even better? I’m excited to see!
I’ll be adding in some new services in January and throughout the rest of this year and will also update my Breathing for Birth class schedule, and next Doula Cafe date soon.
For anyone who is interested in having a doula for their birth, please get in touch soon. Also, feel free to contact me if you’re looking for private or small group birth preparation classes, or a post-partum consultation.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated, so I thought I’d let everyone know how the past couple of months have been going! Well…in one word…”hectic”! Since getting back to Tokyo from my summer holidays, I’ve had 9 labours. Each one, of course, has been different and I also got to experience some new hospitals, too.
Of those 9 labours, 3 of them were in Aiiku hospital with either Dr Sakamoto or Dr Sen; 1 was at Higashi-Fuchu hospital; 1 was at Sanikukai hospital; 1 was at Nisseki; 1 was at the Minato Red Cross hospital in Yokohama (Minato Sekijuji byoin); 1 at Showa university Fujigaoka hospital; and 1 at Tokyo Women’s medical university hospital (Joshi idai byoin).
If anyone would like my take on these hospitals, please get in touch and I’d be happy to share my experiences!
Right now I’m getting very booked for births up to July. I am able to take on 3-4 more clients in total between now and mid-July. I’ll then be very free to take on clients from late August onwards!
Please get in touch if you’d like to have a doula support you during your labour, and/or if you’d like childbirth preparation!
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!