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First comment. Thank you for sharing this story. The midwife clinic sounds so ughhh... they made 1 grand a day...not sure what for! It reminds me of the worn down place my grandmother stayed at for a month to rehabilitate after a knee injury. The nurse aids only came by to give medicine or poorly made meals. My heart aches for how you felt so alone at the midwife clinic. In the future, I will definitely reach out more to my grandmother's hospital roommates in the future.

Maria J. Cepa

Happy Birthday Shuma James from Seattle!


This story makes me both happy and sad, for various reasons. I wish I could have been there to offer a bit of moral support. Also, reading what you went through--which I'm sure isn't terribly unusual in terms of the pain and exhaustion--makes me even more shocked that hospitals here send women home the next day.

Also, out of curiosity--how is sugar water a better option than formula?


Oh, and happy belated birthday, Shuma :)


Wow, your stay does not sound good, but at least the final result looks OK - Hey Shuma!!


Wow, and there was I thinking I had a difficult birth experience- 4 hours pushing, triple episiotomy, ventouse assisted birth, about 15 stitches, and a day of fainting every time I tried to sit up, but really that pales in experience to what you went through! I honestly don't know how you managed to take a taxi to a hospital and back to be sewn up and then commute to the NICU every day with a tear, I really don't think I would have been able to do it!

Sorry to hear Shuma had a rough start, but he seems like a very happy healthy boy now, and is one of the few newborns I have seen who was actually cute from birth-other than my son of course ;)


Thank you for writing this :)
I haven't written out my son's birth story as it was quite traumatic (Emergency C-Section where I stopped breathing 12 times). Your story made me cry several times as I could feel your frustrations, your sorrow and your love. I've been reading along long before Shuma arrived in the world and I appreciate your story-telling skills. I'm grateful I wasn't pregnant during the three years I lived in Japan. I had enough problems with the language barrier day-to-day; I can't imagine giving birth there! Despite how you felt at the time, you did a great job! With the tools you had and the challenges you faced, you were successful. And look at Shuma today! Good job Mom!


A, I think the midwife clinic would have been great had Shuma been able to stay (and the place itself is quite nice and new, but I've been to old run-down hospitals in Japan and know exactly what you mean. Nasty). And the whole thing might have been just as awful in a big hospital. I'll never know. Although I have so many bad memories of that time, I am comforted and grateful that both my son and I made it through OK. I'm very lucky in that Japan is one of the safest places to have a baby.

Thanks Maria!

Aspasia, I know! I don't know how those moms do it. Of course they are much more likely to have a partner at home to help, and to have gotten an epidural (so may not be so completely wiped out). But still. And there is definitely a correlation between infant mortality and length of post-partum hospital stay.

Some babies get used to the taste of formula and that can cause problems with establishing breastfeeding, so we really wanted to avoid it. Sugar water is pretty standard here and it would have been impossible to refuse- as far as the docs and nurses were concerned, he needed *something* in his tummy. So I guess we just figured the sugar water was the lesser of two evils.

Joe, I know! I think it all worked out pretty well :)

JH, no no no, let's not compare! I'm probably just a bigger whiner than you. Triple episiotomy? I don't even. I mean. Good lord. Your son better be worth it!

Kim, I know I just said let's not compare birth stories, but scrap that- you win. I'm glad you started breathing again (12 times!). Yes it was hard for me, but I really do think I was lucky to give birth in Japan- one of the safest places in the world to give birth, for mother and baby. A lot of the stuff that went wrong could have been prevented if I'd researched a bit more, chosen a place more carefully, had a proper birth plan written out etc. But thanks!


Thanks for sharing your story! My husband and I have talked about having a baby while we're in Japan, and I'm curious about the midwife houses. Looks like I'll have to take a hard look at my options! Can I just say though that Shuma is about the cutest newborn ever?? Congrats!

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