Birth in a foreign country 💗⛩️
My husband and I are civilians working for the US Navy in Japan. For delivery, we had to decide at 24weeks if we were using a local Japanese birth house or flying to Tokyo area at 37 weeks for a Navy Hospital and American birth experience. We have two dogs and leaving them for what could be a month to travel to Tokyo was not an option so the local Japanese birth house it was. Only issue there, no pain killers. The Japanese believe in an all natural birth and pain killers/epidurals/anesthesia are only offered in a CS or emergency situations.
I wasn't worried about a natural birth, I just added more meditations and breathing exercises to my labor prep.
I went to lunch on a Thursday around 1pm with a friend, I was 39w6d. After a Thai lunch, my friend and I walked the 15 minutes back to base and my tummy was feeling tight like I had ate too much. This persisted for two hours and I decided to leave work to go home and nap it off. I texted my husband that my tummy was tight and I'd keep him posted. It wasn't a rise and fall type of pain as I was expecting, it was just tight like there was no room for the food I had eaten.
When home, I decided to use the contraction timer just in case the feeling was a contraction. It wasn't getting better regardless of the position I was in and I had read that was a sign of true labor. I tracked for 10 minutes and the app said I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. I thought for sure I was doing it wrong. I texted my husband again and told him I must be doing it wrong because it said I was 3-4 minutes apart. He rushed home (10 minute drive.)
We called the birth house to let them know how I was feeling and they asked us to come in. The only English speaking nurse was on duty and took my call. She said "baby finally, finally baby!" She was so excited and it made me really excited too. We drove in (30 minutes) and contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart. During the exam, the doctor said I was still only 2 cm dilated (had been for two weeks) so I figured we would be in labor for the next 24-36 hours. They took us to have the baby monitored and still contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
They sent me to my room and said try and get some rest, maybe we'll have a baby tomorrow afternoon. This was 7pm.
For an hour, I slow danced in my room with my husband because there was no way I could sleep or sit for that matter with how often they were coming.
They checked baby's wellbeing again an hour later and said 'baby tonight!' For the next 5 hours, my husband and I were in the delivery room navigating contractions naturally as I dilated from 2cm to 10cm.
Around 4 cm, my BP rose so high they put me on an IV to regulate it. At 6cm, they checked me and said "baby come now!" Three more nurses came in and the doctor, none who speak english, and they set up for delivery. My water then broke naturally and 10 minutes later she was crowning. The contractions were so strong and I was breathing so deep and heavily my O2 dropped and I was put on oxygen. They put light pressure on her head till I was 10cm and then told me to push. I pushed for 1 minute (felt like forever minutes) then blacked out.
Next thing I remember was my husband looking at my belly saying "it's a baby, honey, we have a baby!" Not sure if he thought it was going to be a puppy but his face was just elated. I'll remember that face forever 💗
While they were cleaning the baby, I hear the doctor say "anesthesia." I then felt this intense burning between my legs and then nothing. I said "anesthesia? Why anesthesia?" My husband then came over to calm me down and tell me my 02 dropped so low during pushing, the doctor did an episiotomy to get her out. I am assuming between the relentlessness of the contractions, her crowing so quick, and my difficulty breathing, I blacked out just before the unmedicated episiotomy. I'm grateful I don't remember the pain of the cut but a bit sad I don't remember her popping out either.
She looked like the little octopus baby Will Smith delivered in the first MIB movie I thought when I first saw her 😂 I loved her so much already! Her name is Bellemy Hana. She was 6lb, 11oz, 20 inches long and born at 0135 on her due date - May 31, 2019.