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Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Pregnancy/Birth/Childrearing: Birth Stories
Birthstories are by nature long. Please begin with the following information: Name of clinic/hospital/ or "home" if a home birth, Prefecture or City name, Type of birth (twins, single, vaginal or C-section) and Date. Then put in the story. Births in Japan only please!

If you prefer to share your birth story in a private, women's only forum, available only to members of the okasan e-list please contact us using the contact form.
By Mindy on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 6:03 pm:

Aiku Hospital, Minato-ku, Tokyo
2001 November

I had a baby 2 months ago at Aiiku hospital. Bad mistake!! The English was fine (I do not speak any Japanese) but I was very unhappy with my labour, delivery and post partum care. If I had it to do over again I would go back to the States.

Obviously my experience is just one but the moral is: do a lot of research before deciding where you want to deliver. Childbirth Education Centre is a good place to start.

By Scott Hancock on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 6:23 pm:

Sorry to hear that, Mindy. Would like to hear more specifics if not too personal.

Were the factors something you could have learned beforehand?


By Mindy on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 11:13 pm:

Aiku Hospital, Minato-ku, Tokyo
2001 November

To keep it simple, I had many issues with my L&D and post pardum stay. Specifically, I was guaranteed that I would receive pain relief but the midwife who was in charge of me made sure that I didn't in addition to making my labour as uncomfortable as possible. There was no pain relief after my delivery. I couldn't get enough formula from the nurses to satisfy my hungry baby so I had to supplement from home. My baby was given vitamin K two hours before a PKU test (I stopped the testing after 3 pricks of my baby's foot). I had an adverse reaction to a post pardum medication and was simply told 'don't worry about it'...

The list goes on but is not exactly fitting for a public board.

By mcbeckelville on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 8:15 am:

Well, our doctor told us from the get-go that painkillers were impossible and having had back surgery previously in Japan and thought I was going to jump out the window from the lack of painkiller, I believed him! Scott mentioned the lack of technology, but I had an ultra sound every week, sometimes twice a week, which I think you'll find stingy American insurance companies do not do. You also sure as hell won't be staying in the hospital for a week, which we found to be very jovial--I mean, the Japanese mothers there were obviously like, "Holiday...Celebrate...," so that was cool to experience.
As for having gotten a Big Nurse midwife, I'd say that was the luck of the draw more than anything Japanese. When I had back surgery, I had several Big Nurses who went strictly by the shot schedule (no drip, just a shot every four hours that only lasted two) and then an occasional kind one who'd take pity on the screaming gaijin. Whereas with our midwife, she was great start to finish (we still trade New Year's cards). I know about as much Japanese as LBJ knew Spanish, but in both my experiences in the hospital, I survived with a few words and a lot of charades, so it can be done. It's true Japanese hospitals are more functional than pretty, and they are death on painkillers, but then every other person I know in the States is on anti-depressants, so it is a different attitude towards drug--the ganbatte method! But I'm pain-free after my back surgery while 4 out 5 people I know in the States who have had it are seeking a lawyer (of course!) to cure theirs post-surgery, and I have to admit, a week after surgery and an hour after delivery (actually more like minutes), I felt fabulous in both cases, so maybe they have a point--let the body do its thing and grin and bear it vs. string it out and not know what the body feels except that you are happy! ;-)
As for the family having to pick up the slack at the hospital--helloo, I don't know where you're from but you wouldn't be in the hospital in the States; you'd be checked out as soon as they'd gotten their first $15,000 a day and be at home, so same difference. I had to beg them to let me out after a month when I had back surgery, though it made a great fat farm (the food stinks, but then that's universal; hospitals are not restaurants), so again, it depends on what you'r comparing. Overall, we've been well taken care of. Dana

By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 11:43 am:

Very good post, Dana. I think you made some great points.

By Caroline on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 7:51 pm:

Aiku Hospital, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Thought I should add a comment to this discussion... I gave birth at Aiiku where everyone took excellent care of me. I was given pain relief in extremely low doses even though at the time I begged for more. (The idea is to make it through not to breeze through it). Postpartum at that hospital was wonderful; meals were good (considering it's a hospital). I also miscarried at Aiiku later and had the same gentle and caring treatment as before throughout the ordeal. As for doctors there, it is a good idea to ask very specific questions as they are not used to volunteering much info. During labour though my doctor and the nurses kept me informed at all times. I would say it's all a matter of point of view...

By Luciana Gates on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 12:06 am:

St. Luke Hospital (Seiroka byoin), 3-10-1, Akashi-cho, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo Yurakucho line, Tsukiji station (6-min walk), tel: 03-3541-5151

I had my son in Japan and it was a wonderful experience. The trick is picking the right hospital. I chose Saint Luke. They only have private rooms, they have English speaking nurses and doctors, 24-7 ob-gyn and pediatrician in their maternity, 7 days of post partum recovery. They will follow your birth plan to a T. As for the pain medication I did not want pain medication and made it clear to my doctor. Unfortunatly my baby was over 4.1 kilos and I needed the pain killer, he was very happy to give it to me. An anesthesiologist (trained in the US) was called and gave me an epidural. They also circumsised my son (they had a urologist trained in the US doing the surgery and lots of doctors asked my permission to whatch it, since it is so rare in Japan). The whole thing was not cheap but I could not have gotten better care in the US, they have all state of the art equipment. IF I was to have a baby again I wish I would be back there for the birth. As for moving and having a baby... I moved to Tokyo when I was 8 months... (I had lived in Tokyo before for 2 years). If you need more info you can email me lugates1 [at]

By karen spicer on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 4:41 pm:

Toho Fujin Kurinikku (Matsumine Sensei), Koto-ku, Tokyo
I also had a very positive birth experience here in Japan. I gave birth at a small OB/GYN clinic in Koto-ku, Toho Fujin Kurinikku (Matsumine Sensei). No pain killers were available and traditional Japanese birthing styles were encouraged (you could labour on the tatami matting!). My son was 9 pounds (4+ kilos)(larger birthweight doesn't necessarily = more pain). Post-partum stays were five days, the meals were phenomenal and the midwives were super friendly. It was also significantly cheaper than the large hospitals.

Scott is right, giving birth in Japan is not really a big deal. Many have gone before you!

And birth, being as natural as things get, doesn't require anything special if you and your baby are healthy. Remind yourself that you do not need special equipment, medication and high-tech playtoys to have a positive birth experience.

Arm yourself with information and go for it!
Feel free to email me,

By Nathalie JEHANNE on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 11:11 am:

Aiku Hospital, Minato-ku, Tokyo
I also gave birth at Aiiku and overall, have positive feelings about it. It's true I didn't get the epidural I requested in my birth plan : they said I had to wait, it was too early, and when they finally checked me, I was too advanced. I had heard that they try not to give you the epidural if you don't request it very strongly so I was not so surprised. I know that epidural is not common at all in Japan (3%?)and Aiiku is still one of the very few places where you have a chance to get it (20% for foreign women?), although it's not guaranteed. But delivering a baby without epidural is not the end of the world !
Doctors do not give you much info, you have to ask for it, but again, you're in Japan, and have to accept that things might be different from your home country.
Post partum at Aiiku was great. Midwives were very caring, and did not hesitate to spend a long time with me just to comfort me or explain me things about the baby (I speak some Japanese, but I think they do their best with English). The food was very good and well balanced. There was a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit which is not so common in Japan They first ask you about what you don't like so that they won't serve it to you.
I stayed 6 days, which is similar to my home country (France),but much longer than in the US. Must be hard and scary to be home the next day with you first born !
If I'm still in Japan when my second baby comes, I would definitely have the baby in Aiiku.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

By Cornelia on Friday, February 1, 2002 - 12:48 pm:

I gave birth in a midwife clinic precisely because I wanted to completely avoid a doctor if at all possible. However, I also went to a lot of trouble to seek out a back-up doctor who I could agree with philosophically. It turned out to be the retired Director of Obstetrics from Aiku Hospital, Dr. Horiguchi. (His follower does not have exactly the same approach.)

It was my first baby, and though I did a lot of reading there were a few small surprises, plus I did need interference from a doctor at the end (episiotomy and forcepts delivery with a healthy dose of local anaesthetic right there in the midwife clinic). One of the reasons I chose this doctor was that I really felt that he had a high regard for midwifery. And after he left, the midwives all mentioned to me how impressed they were by his demeanor (not in the least critical or patronizing, etc.) Needless, to say he is not the stand-by doctor arranged for by the midwife clinic that the midwives were accustomed to.

I had a private room for an extra 2000 yen per night with a refridgerator but no TV or telephone, and the shower/bath room was communal. The birthing options included tatami mat room, western style hospital bed and water birth. Because it was a small clinic and there were only two birthing rooms, both occupied when I arrived, I was made comfortable on a futon in the laundry room after the baby's head crowned in the ofuro. So a bit of flexibility and good nature was definitely a must on both sides; I wanted to do my labor in the bath tub and then on the hospital bed, but I ended up having to wait for the bed a couple of hours. They weren't used to the idea of using the sole bathtub for this purpose but they went along with it partly because they were nice people and also because the two labor rooms were occupied.

The only person who wasn't shy about using the English she knows was the midwife I had picked out as my personal midwife. Nobody else could really squeeze out even two words in English. Even Dr. Horiguchi was not a smooth communicator, feeling more comfortable with writing things down or maybe uttering a noun or a verb as needed.

The one week total stay was not obligatory if you wanted to leave a day earlier (and save about 30,000 yen) AND you could also arrange to stay longer than a week provided space was available. I did not have to bring my own eating utensils or whatever like in some other places. The cooking was superb but Japanese style (though the cook kindly replaced my breakfast nato with a cup yoghurt).

By the way, there are some birth stories listed on this web site. If you are interested in reading them or adding yours to this reference resource, please send me an email directly, and after I have screened you via telephone, I can give you the URL and the password. Your submissions will only be viewed by women who are planning to give birth in Japan (some may or may not share with their husbands, though I encourage them to avoid doing that out of respect for those of us who have donated our stories). YES, there are some unpleasant incidents. But as I always say "knowledge is freedom".

By Jennifer Brown-Konishi on Monday, April 8, 2002 - 7:17 pm:

Kochi City
I really want to add my story! I gave birth in Kochi City and had great care throughout my pregnancy. The aftercare wasn't quite as good but was balanced out by the great prenatal care. I had no pain killers and knew they would not be given. The doctor and nurses did not speak English but I could get by in Japanese so that was okay. I had a private room and roomed in with the baby. But they were strict about scheduled and timed feeds even for breastfeeding moms which I think made my daughter's jaundice worse... anyway, here are the details of my labor and delivery.

I was in the hospital at thirty-three weeks and had to stay until I was a abut thirty-five and a half weeks along to prevent preterm labor. I was hooked up to an iv the whole time. I couldn't bathe or put on real clothes (pj's for me). But at home I was nesting so badly I couldn't sit still so I wouldn't say being there was all bad. I had terrible morning sickness right up until the last week or so of pregnancy and in the hospital lost about eight pounds (which is most of what I gained during the pg) but put it all back on in one week from the time I got until the day my water broke and Ahmee was born.

Ahmee came three weeks early. I woke up and moments later my water broke. We went to the hospital and after a twelve and a half hours of labor Ahmee was finally born. the transition was tough--about an hour and a half of really bad pain and the pushing stage was also long and tough--also about two hours. Breastfeeding took a few days to get going and she had some jaundice so I had to ff for a day but the nurses kept up my supply by hand expressing milk for me. After that breastfeeding went without a hitch.

All the staff were very kind and helpful. The hospital stay would have been more relaxing if they hadn't scheduled so much stuff though. Like formula feeding classes even though I was breastfeeding. anyway, no where is it perfect.

By Jennifer Brown on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 12:59 pm:
hi i just want to add the name of the maternity clinic in Kochi. It was Tamura Clinic. They don't speak English but offer good care.

By Natalie B on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 7:41 pm:

Seibu Hospital, Mejiro, Tokyo
Wow, everyone has provided so much information that I'm not sure my birth experience can add anything more. Both of my sons were born at Seibu Hospital in Mejiro, delivered by Dr Sakamoto (who works out of the Tokyo Surgical & Medical Clinic as well as a Japanese hospital). I chose him for a number of reasons. Too many to list but mainly his experience with difficult deliveries(which my first one was), English ability and willing to administer an epidural if requested. My labor was in a small, quiet room across from the delivery room. Not so comfortable for my husband, just a large armchair. But I could walk around or stay in the room. My husband was allowed in the delivery room. He was even taking pictures as our son was born. The doctor took a photo of me holding our son with my husband at my side. I cherish that photo. I 'demanded' an epidural even though it may have slowed the delivery. The doctor explained that clearly to me. At the time, my Japanese was minimal but I had no problem communicating with the staff. In fact, they were all wonderful. There was an American nun who was available to help out the English speaking patients. I guess the staff is quite used to the requests of the foreign patients. I had a private room with the option of having the baby stay in or out. I thought the Western food was delicious. For my first delivery, I stayed for 5 days which I really needed. I really wasn't ready for the shock of waking up every two hours to breastfeed my son. I just ate and slept. After my second delivery, I was begging to go home after the third day, and it was no problem provided my son was ready. They were very careful in monitoring for jaundice. The doctor visited me everyday for the first three days. I don't remember waiting that long to pay the hospital fee when we left. In fact, I didn't have to pay the doctor's fee until it was sent to me about a month later! After listeing to my sister's and sister-in-law's and best friend's experiences in Canada, I glad I had my children in Japan.

By Andy and Hitomi Gray on Monday, June 2, 2003 - 7:31 pm:

2002 November, twins
You can read our story of birth in a Japanese hospital on our website, at . Afterwards feel free to send your questions and/or comments.

Andy Gray

By Cornelia on Saturday, February 7, 2004 - 3:14 pm:

2003 September, Seibo Byoin
Here's an upbeat account at Seibo Hospital!
Int'l Catholic Hospital (Seibo Byoin)
2-5-1 Naka-Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 161-0032
Tel: 03-3951-1111

By Joan Billows on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 1:51 am:

I can highly recommend Seibo Byoin to anyone. Dr Sakamoto was so professional during my pregnancies and was always on hand in an emergency. Sister Barbara was always there to explain everything and even though I couldn't speak Japanese both births went smoothly and my feelings were always taken into consideration. The most important thing to me about Seibo Byoin was the aftercare and how I was given assistance with breast feeding. At first I found it very difficult, but there were specially trained nurses who gave me help and support. Both my children where ill after there birth and I was aloud to visit my babies as often as possible. The nurses gave me little pictures of my children to take home and gave my babies a little nick name.I was shown how to express my milk into special sacks and my milk was frozen and the nurses would feed my children in my absence.I will never forget giving birth in Japan and I wouldn't change things. It was very special.

By Noahmail on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 4:51 pm:

does anyone have an experience having INDUCED LABOR

My wife has chosen to get the epidural (i think) its a shot for pain called (kou kaku gai masui), the hospital Keiai in yanasegawa Saitama says only 3 women can have the epidural in a day so if you wait till the day to decide you might not get to have it so if you are positive you want one you need to schedule an appointment to have labor induced.

I told my mother and she was so upset, she is in favor of a natural birth without the epidural and especial without induction, I will support my wifes decision. Is the induction that bad?


By Thekubos on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 6:50 pm:

Hi Noahmail,

Though my wife (and I) opted for natural birth in Japan, after 40+ hours in labor, the head nurse and doctor suggested induced labor which we agreed to have administered in very small doses. After a relatively short time (1 hour) my wife began to dialate. In the end she received much less epidural drug than had she opted for a conventional birth. We felt the compromise was worth it in the end.

May I recommend that you read up on the drugs/procedures before making a decision, as I'm sure you have already. What I recall is 3 things to research for ourself & discuss w/ your wife:

a) a woman's body will naturally produce endorphins to block the pain of giving birth to some degree. On the other hand, artificial pain blockers (epidural) may effect the baby, as traces of the drug will be passed on to baby.

b) The effects of epidural can give mother false sense of comfort resulting in a tear. And worse, not feeling the tear, let alone the pain involved in giving birth.

c) Some report that having epidural/induced labor results in a weaker emotional bond between mother and baby. Whereas mothers opting for natural birth consider the pain endured worth it, wearing it like a badge of honor, and a strong feeling they have "earned" the baby the old fashioned way. (I'm maybe not wording this right, but hope you can understand.)

If you want my wife's input, let me know.

In any case, I think you're a good man to respect whatever decision your wife makes. After all, she is the main one. Nevertheless, if, in your research, you believe the adverse effects epidurals have on the child, you should voice your opinion (tactfully), because it's your child, too.

Best of luck!

By Joan_pepper on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 7:23 pm:

Hi Noah,

I would seriously try to find another hospital that allows epidurals as requested, if this is what your wife wants. I would first recommend finding a doctor or health educator who can better inform you and your wife about the choices available in Japan. I highly recommend Brett Uemura's birthing classes.

I don't know when your wife is due but perhaps you could consult with her if you won't make it to a class. I live in Saitama and choose to give birth at Aiiku. When labor came we have plenty of time to get to the hospital in Tokyo (we actually went on the train).

I was a little confused by the previous writer's response. His wife was in labor for 40 hours and then they induced? Perhaps the language is wrong. I imagine they gave her medicine to help her dialate.

Giving drugs to induce labor is different from giving drugs to help labor along which is totally different from having an epidural.

Though it is your baby too, I am not sure I agree that you have an equal right to say what your wife has to go through in order to have that child. This should be something you talk about and see what you both feel is best but ultimately she is doing the work and going through the pain. She has to feel comfortable and feel that people are caring for her.

I COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY disagree with the idea that women who have epidurals have a weaker bond with their children. I had the JOY of going through labor without any pain killers only to have a serious emergency C-section at the end. My daughter was kept in oxygen and away from me immediately after birth for a few hours.

My bond with her is fantastic and anyone suggesting that you have to go through "natural" birth to have a proper bond with your child is I imagine not a woman. It's like saying a family who adopts just can't connect because the mother didn't "earn" that baby. Your emotionally bond with your child will not is not established at the moment of birth. It is a life-long experience.

By Thekubos on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 8:14 pm:

Hi Noahmail & Joan_pepper,

Just a bit of clarification on my last posting. My mistake. My wife's labor was not 40 hours. Sorry for the confusion, Joan_pepper. It was, in fact, 84 hours! (Yes, eighty-four hours.) Another correction, she did not receive an epidural, but 'jintsusokushinzai' (labor inducing drug) in a very slow and closely monitored drip.

Noahmail, it is my (and my wife's) lay understanding that any and every drug taken during pregnancy is shared with baby. We may stand corrected, but no regrets two children later.

And for more friendly clarification, I did not suggest that a man has "an equal right" in decision making with regard to childbirth. I do believe that your interest and concern for your wife and baby will be recognized by your wife as a reflection of the love and support she deserves. Your willingness to inquire (e.g. joining this forum) is testament to that.

And, on that note, should you dig deeper into the matters you're most concerned, you will find that the ABCs listed in my previous posting are not necessarily my own, they are simply a digest of the pros/cons I read in my research regarding the same concerns I had back when I was a father-to-be. Your job is the separate the wheat from the chaff, gleaning what you may.

After all is said and done, Noahmail, you'll be the proud and happy father of a healthy child. The odds are overwhelmingly in you & your wife's favor! Please keep that in mind.

By Hwseyl on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 8:34 pm:

My babies were really big, so my last baby was induced from his due date on so he wouldn`t get any bigger. Some things I observed.
1. It doesn`t always work as planned. I was induced for 10 days before the kid came. Some inducement, eh?
2. It was a pretty bad labour compared to the other two but whether that was due to the inducement or because the kid was 4700 kg, who knows?
I did not have an epidural but tell your wife to think hard and read more. Sometimes the epidural is more painful than the labour. However, usually the pain does not last as long, you hope anyway!


By Joan_pepper on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 8:45 pm:

When I wrote "consult with her" I meant consult with Brett Uemura about birthing options in Japan (not consult with your wife which is how it sounded).

Also, I think the primary issues with epidurals is that they can make labor progress more slowly and that this sometimes is more likely to lead to a C-section.

Inducing labor at a convenient time and having an epidural are two different things each with different issues.

Have you consulted with Dr. Sakamoto at Tokyo Surgical and Medical Clinic. He is kind of famous for epidurals in this area.

By Joan_pepper on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 9:03 pm:

Here are some resources that might help you get more factual information about the reasons and risks for induction and information about epidurals.

By Wendyc on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 9:04 pm:

I had both induction and epidural when I had my first girl (who is now 5 years old) in US. I had induction because my baby was overdue and the OB doctor suggested induction at the 7th day as sometimes it took 2 days before the induction worked. My doctor also highly recommended epidural as he said with the present technology, the drug was very safe and there's no statistatics showing any passing of the drugs to the baby. I had to say there's no problem of bonding between the mom and the baby in using induction or epidural. I remembered I just couldn't wait to hold my girl when the doctor was still stitching up me. Second, I was quite confused by Hwseyl's 10 days induction !!! It's quite impossible to conduct induction for 10 days, the longest will only take 48 hours !

As for the epidural, it made me difficult to push the baby out as the sensation was much slower and subtle. I couldn't feel the wave of contraction at all after applying the epidural (I had waited until I had 5cm dilated before using it). The doctor looked at the monitor and told me when the wave of contraction was coming and then asked me to push. But it's so different from feeling it yourself (I had my second baby naturally delivered which was quick and amazingly easy). So you may want to discuss with your doctor about the effect of using epidural. Afterall, different woman reacts differently to the drugs. Some of my friends got no problem in pushing when they used the epidural.

Last, I agree with you that you have to respect your wife's decision. It's good that you two discuss and find a way that both of you feel comfortable, but remember, afterall, it's your wife facing the fear and pain physically ... which a man can never understand.

Good luck.

By Hwseyl on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 9:15 pm:

No, trust me, I was induced for 10 days at Shonan Kamakura Hospital. They tried an IV drip and also an oral drug. Sorry, don`t remember the names as it was now more than 2 years ago. I would start to have labour pains and then as soon as the drip stopped or the oral medication ran out, the contractions would stop. I do believe though that there was a day or two when they didn`t give me anything. I think three days on, one day off.

By Thekubos on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 9:58 pm:

Hi everyone,

Hwseyl, no story surprises me, especially if it originates from Shonan Kamakura Hospital! Great hospital, great staff, but the most amazing stories, like yours. Our experience at Shonan Kamakura and my wife's 80+ hour labor, gave my wife and I the confidence to enjoy a 'home birth' for our 2nd child. We thought we set the record for the longest labor at Shonan Kamakura, and for the home birth, possibly the shortest! Our daughter came out so fast the midwife's assistant made it to our home in the nick of time. My wife's labor was under 3 hours and smooth as could be, a very nice experience for everyone, my 2.5 (at the time) year old son, too. Very natural.

If at all possible, the less medical intervention the better. I think hospitals, in general, are unlikely places for one to feel at ease, for the father and especially the mother. They tend to be cold and impersonal. Given experiences at hospitals over the course of one's life, we react accordingly, cognizant of those reactions or not. Having said that, a given hospital's 'bedside manner' and delivery room atmosphere are two things you may want to inquire about, too.

By Junebug on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 10:28 pm:

hello, Iam Jen, I had 2 births in Japan. My first son was at the prefectural medical university of Kagawa, Shikouku. There was an earthquake shortly after my conractions started...then I could not call anyone for 30 minutes..I was in a state of panic since I lived in a rural area, finally I got to the hospital and the labor contued for 50 plus hours...there was no option for epidural, finally I was given a local for a forceps delivery...the doctor asked if I wanted to see the placenta and I told him tyo go to hell..or something like that...teh child who is now turning 7 is a marvelous boy.
My second son, I hunted epidural service hospitals...and boy was that the way to go for still was a suction delivery..but I was able to smile after and hold my second son.
Sadly I have recently divorced as my husband (japanese) decided to remarry a cute pharmaceutical rep in his surgery clinic. So my 2 sons and I are back in Canada starting a new life, I hear about birth stories here and it seems so different.

By Thekubos on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 10:53 pm:

child 1)
Shonan Kamakura Hospital-vaginal-April 28, 2003

child 2)
"home", Kamakura-vaginal-Aug. 2, 2005

(Sorry, I forgot to give this info in previous postings.)

While it's true a man can never experience giving birth, I should add that my experiences being by my wife's side through both births gave me the closest proximity to feeling even an ounce (gram) of the pain involved. Vicarious as the man's pain is, it's a pain perhaps a woman could never experience: seeing the one you love most, enduring a pain you, if you only could, would gladly take instead, but knowing you can't.

Fortunate for me, my wife never "pulled rank" on me, and never told me I would never understand her pain. Instead, she involved me every step of the way. Had I been the stereotypical father, pacing the hospital halls instead of being by my wife's side, I am not certain I would feel the intense bond I now feel I have with my wife and children.

Today's father needs to be engaged from conception to graduation, and beyond :-) A father will certainly never understand the pain women feel if left in the halls, pacing.

Pops Kubo

By Hwseyl on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 11:16 pm:

All of my children were born at Shonan Kamakura and all natural vaginal births.

Sorry, slight typo. My boys were big but not 4700kg. Lets try 4700 grams. And a little more about the births. My first was an easy and great birth. A little girl weighing 3600grams in 2001. Easy birth, only in labour for less than 12 hours, only about 2 hours of that spent at the hospital. I was thrilled with the choices I had and by the care. Although the labour room was occupied by my friend (our girls were born only hours apart) I was still able to get up, walk around and keep the room fairly dark and quiet. Only a regular bed. Had a little bleeding after the birth and so was assisted a lot by the nurses.
Eighteen months later I was back in the hospital having my son. The biggest natural born baby at Shonan. He weighed in at 4909 grams. He was big trouble and I ended up having the nurse I least wanted in the room with me. This really makes a difference. When you are getting your prenatal care make sure that you make it clear if you don`t click with one of the nurses. I wish I had. My boy was so big in the chest that they grabbed him under his arm pits and pulled. They broke his little finger which to this day is still bent, and he was unable to move his right arm for a month. I had lots of bleeding and couldn`t get out of bed for three days. Again, the after care was good but the labour terrible.
My third boy was 4700grams when he was born and like I said they tried to induce for 10 days so he wouldn`t get any bigger. Once he came out, he was an easier birth, just a lot longer getting to the coming out part. Again, great care but there are some things I wish I had...
1. more support mentally. They really looked after me physically but I was really depressed during the 10 days I was in the hospital. I couldn`t see my other kids because they had gone to my MILs and the one I was pregnant with just wouldn`t come out.
2. At Shonan, they need more support for breast feeding, but it sounds about the same as the other stories I read about.
3. A little "cleaner" "happier" atmosphere. No bright colours etc in the maternity ward.
Anyway, wish I was brave enough to have one more but I`m really scared of having another big boy. If I did though, I would probably go back to Shonan.

By Wendyc on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 11:48 am:

Hi Thekubos, I hope I wouldn't mislead you when I said "it's your wife facing the fear and pain physically ... which a man can never understand". I don't mean to offend the fathers. I am only saying that it's something that the man can't imagine, not that they don't try to "feel". To friendly clarify, I didn't leave my husband walking along the hallway when I was labouring. In fact, my husband was so supportive and concern about me and the babies that he slept in the same room with me from the day I stayed in the hospital until the day I left (for both babies)! He was also in the delivery room holding my hand all through way of labouring and delivering. He saw me struggling with the pain and felt just like you that his face twisted. He's the one who asked me to use epidural and not to wait any more when he saw me shaking because of the pain.

It's good that there are so many fathers like you who are so involved in the delivery !


By Zasha on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 12:40 am:


I am 5 months pregnant with our first baby who is due in April. I have been going to Dr. Bliah but as she doesn't deliver babies, I have been referred to Dr. Sakamoto. I would like to know if anyone could share their experience (good and bad) giving birth with Dr. Sakamoto. I know that he is very popular amongst foreign women in Tokyo but lately, we have heard some not very positive reviews about him e.g. his epidurals often lead to a c-section, he was not around during a postpartum complication due to hectic schedule.

Thank you.


By Hoshi on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:50 pm:

Hi, Noahmail. I have 2 children both of whom were delivered naturally and drugfree here in Japan, but my 2nd delivery was so painful that I don't think I could ever have a 3rd without some form of pain relief. Every woman is different, but if your wife wants an epidural I would support her 100%. Your mum is of another generation where woman didn't have that choice. Her concerns are only natural, but an epidural is a very common form of pain relief in western countries these days. An epidural may afford a more relaxed labour and this in its own right must be beneficial to the labouring mother, especially if she doesn't handle pain well.

By Hoshi on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 7:14 am:

Oops, didn't really answer your question. As far as an induction. goes, yes, as it is unnatural it can make the contractions stronger and faster than they might be if labour started naturally, so ideally it would be better to not have the induction. But I guess as your hospital has a 3 epidurals a day limit, that is something you are going to have to way up. Or as someone else suggested you could always look into birthing at another hospital which didn't require inductions.

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