Nov 9

Surviving in Japan: Giving Birth in Japan, My Experience – Part 2

Posted by Ashley Thompson (Shizuoka-ken, 2008-2010) of Surviving in Japan: without much Japanese and Lifelines columnist for The Japan Times.

I wrote Part 1 of this “Giving Birth in Japan” series last week, so if you haven’t read that already, you may want to before reading Part 2 below.


Ashley Thompson is "Surviving in Japan (Without Much Japanese)"

As I was being stitched up, I started shivering uncontrollably. Of course, the temperature in the room had been pretty low as I was sweating and hot throughout the labor and delivery. My husband changed the temp while the nurses helped me change out of my sweaty long t-shirt. (Note: this particular clinic, and probably many others, provide hospital gowns that women typically wear throughout their stay. However, the gowns at this clinic were really uncomfortable and stiff-feeling, so I brought my own clothes to wear for the birth and for the stay. We discussed this with one of the midwives at the clinic beforehand so it wasn’t an issue.)

The nurses also had to put these giant pads on me that were sort of like a diaper as all of the blood came out (sorry, graphic I know), which they changed several times right after I had given birth.

After all this, baby was cleaned up and I got to hold her, and also try nursing her. One important thing I should point out is that depending on where you deliver, the midwives or nurses may have different ideas on the best way to breastfeed. We had been warned beforehand that this clinic wasn’t that great with breastfeeding support, and it seemed like almost every nurse/midwife had a different idea about how it should be done. Initially, they only had the baby feed for a few minutes on each side, and then took her away for some tests. One of the nurses explained that the baby should only eat for 5 minutes on each side and then switch, and many of the others nurses also reemphasized this, but some of them didn’t care about the length of time. And everyone had different ideas of how to manually express milk as well, but a pump was frowned upon).

I was still exhausted and a little out of it for that part, but if I went through this process again I probably would have requested to let her feed longer if she was willing to, instead of just pulling her off after less than 10 minutes. I also would have wanted more skin-to-skin time with the baby, since I was fully clothed again (like I mentioned in the previous post, modesty is preferred) and baby was bundled up as well.

I had to go to the bathroom around this time (it had been a while since I last peed), so asked if I could go. The nurse gave me some cleansing wipes, a pad, etc., and walked with me to the bathroom. I have to tell you, I was so weak at this point, and sore, that it was difficult just getting there. As I was going about my business, I became really faint and lightheaded. My head felt heavy and I had to lean over between my knees.

I should make a brief note that I’ve had various instances happen in my life when I’ve become very lightheaded and faint, and I either nearly pass out or actually do. Usually I try to lay down before I pass out completely, but sometimes it’s been hard to avoid.

So I told the nurse I was lightheaded, and she said we should walk back to the room. I tried standing up, but I found it difficult to stay standing and fell over the sink, grabbing the counter. I willed myself to stay conscious enough to walk back so I could lay down.

That didn’t happen. The nurse called another nurse and they both held onto me as I stumbled my way down the hall. I ended up falling to the floor since I completely lost strength and neither of them could hold me up. There I was laying on the floor in the hallway, just outside the LDR room as one of the nurses called for my husband. The last thing I remember before I blacked out was my husband wrapping his arms around me to pull me up. –CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post.

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