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  • Sarah

Sarah's birth story at Red Cross (Nisseki) Hospital, Tokyo

Sharing my birth story has been tricky to articulate as it was quite a dense and elevating experience.

It was beautiful, intense, peaceful, focused, surreal and so much more.

It was Sunday August 9th- a day before our son’s due date, and a day after an acupuncture session that aimed to induce labor naturally. At around 6:30 that morning, contractions began humming their consistent rhythm. I counted for an hour, they were about 6 minutes apart, (lasting 30 seconds to a minute). Then I called the hospital who advised I take a bath and breakfast, and that if the contractions continue for 2 hours more that I can ring them again. After we reached this, my partner and I were ready and around 11am we settled at the Red Cross hospital in Hiroo. I was dilated at 2cm and slowly walked through different positions to help the process move along. Within about 3 hours, I reached 3cm. It felt like I was there with my child and that we were gently moving closer to meeting one another.

Through mindfulness, I had a tranquil mind which allowed for any arising thoughts to be gently released.

There was little room for words. I was also present but in a peculiar way, where I was highly connected to what was happening inside of me yet felt my surroundings were sometimes blurry and distant. I remained grounded in the body, aware of each arising sensation. It felt I was absorbed by the body and simultaneously transcending it. I also wouldn’t use the word pain in my experience. It was more like an intensity that demanded all of my attention, and yet worked its way without tension. A concentrated, stable breathing led the way and levelled the sensations. A hypno-birthing mindset also helped me prepare to trust the process, my body and the baby. There was no resistance. I didn’t have to tell myself these ideas, they were embodied in my being.

I later lied down to rest and asked my partner to play a hypno-birthing recording, which was part of a series I’d used during pregnancy. Although I was already meditative, it only took to hearing a few minutes of this recording, that my waters gushed and released fiercely! This led suddenly to an 8cm dilation! Ah how I burst of joy!

Looking back, I realize the music and voice of this recording had transported me instantly and more deeply into the serene universe that I’d created within myself during pregnancy with these practices.

I believe this calming wholeness that I was enveloped in, was directly linked to the waters breaking and to the body knowing it was ready to soon welcome our son’s arrival.

The meditation continued and in the last hour or so, I began to feel my son move down my pelvis, pushing very slowly his way towards the bridge, from my body into the light of day. At that time, I was also given a mask for oxygen to support my breathing, as this was becoming more demanding.

Arriving at the pushing stage, I was offered to go into the water bath since that had been part of my birth wishes. However once in the water, the heart monitor showed that my baby’s heart rate increased and it would be better to return on the bed and lie down, as I had been. I agreed, feeling I’d also be more comfortable outside the water after all. By the second push, I could feel the top of my baby’s head and after a few tries, an episiotomy was done to further support my baby’s arrival. Soon after, in the early evening at 17:55, our son Raphael was born smoothly and naturally. Meeting him was bliss and brought such awe.

Afterwards, some complications arose and the medical team promptly intervened as they noticed an instability with my son’s breathing and I’d had a high blood loss. Nevertheless, their support was successful and brief enough and after his 36 hours in the NICU, we rejoined in great health. His birth day, I will always remember with love and warmth.

I’m grateful for the practices and the people behind these, as this helped to prepare me for an unmedicated, natural and painless birth while also allowing me to give a calm environment to my son as an entry into this world.

Sarah started this painting while she was pregnant and finished it after giving birth. If you are interested in seeing more of her paintings, visit her instagram account:

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