A Tokyo Homebirth

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When your birth plans change, what do you do? Do you jump to a place of self-loathing and frustration, or do you take it in stride and choose to love your experience? Hey there…

And although my first question is easier said than done, Jasmine and her husband Julian have some lessons to share with us today all about this subject and many more. From a hospital birth that turned out differently than expected to a homebirth abroad in Tokyo, get ready. This story is incredible.

And… Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you are preparing to conceive, mourning a loss, planning your first homebirth or driving around in your 12-passenger van full of offspring, I want you to know that you are so important. Mothers, no matter what stage, are just incredible. You have done and will do amazing things. And I want to celebrate you this week. So to all of the mamas who want to prepare like Jasmine does in this episode, with Happy Homebirth Academy, use the code MOM20 at checkout and get 20% off. This deal expires Friday 5/14 at midnight, so be sure to jump on it early!

Okay, before we get into Jasmine’s beautiful story, let’s take a quick moment to thank our reviewer of the week, Girl_Mom, who wrote: So encouraging! My sister just told me about this podcast and I’m so happy! I love that there’s a podcast d directly dedicated to home birth stories. I’m going to attempt my 3rd home birth in a few months after having my first baby at home with a transfer for the baby, second was a hospital transfer during pushing with vacuum delivery and now I’m hoping for my healing 3rd home birth. These stories are giving me hope and I even had a dream last night after listening to this about having a pain-free birth. It was so lovely and I love this resource as I’m preparing for another homebirth!

Girl mom, what a beautiful review. I’m praying that pain-free birth over you and hoping you continue to feel confident and empowered as you listen to this story, as well as all of the others. If you’ll send me an email at I’ll be sure to send you a happy homebirth podcast sticker.

And of course, if you are loving this show, would you go show some love on apple podcasts? It’s a free, relatively easy way to support the mission behind Happy Homebirth and get this show into the ears of the mothers who need it.

Alright, let’s jump in. Please remember the opinions of my guest, and this show is not meant to prescribe or treat- it’s an educational tool, so continue to take empowered responsibility for your health and your family.

Lives in Tokyo— moved right before Covid hit, as her husband works for the government. Jasmine now says she will definitely have all of her kids in Tokyo!

With her first child, she gave birth in the US in a hospital with midwives. They pressured her through fear tactics to have an induction at 41.3 days.

During the induction, she was at peace, but it was difficult. The contractions were back to back, and Jasmine says “It felt like an attack on my body.”

The way that a woman is supported in her decisions in her birth, and the way that we speak over a woman in her birthing situation makes all of the difference. Jasmine told her husband she wanted an epidural and that she was sorry. He said, “Don’t be sorry! This is a game time decision, and it’s amazing that you know what you need.”

As soon as she got the epidural and was able to relax, her body opened up. Just a couple of hours later she was pushing!

Because of the perspective Jasmine and Julian took, Jasmine never looked back on her birth experience feeling any amount of shame. Savannah’s birth taught her the importance of support.

“the way we frame our births has such an impact on us postpartum, how we connect with out babies, and the start we give our little ones when they enter the world.”

Sometime in the early summer Jasmine and her husband had a discussion that they wanted to start trying for another baby in the fall. Jasmine says it was a wink, wink that they were both ready—they made their baby the very next day!

She was grateful that she was planning a homebirth, because even if she had to transfer care during, she would be able to have her midwife with her in the hospital—which wasn’t allowed for anyone else in Japan at the time. Mothers were giving birth on their own.

Jasmine discusses how her midwife Sosan would have all of these rules like “don’t eat ice cream, don’t expose your joints etc…” and they would know when she didn’t follow the rules!

Her midwife also recommended “bone therapy” which Jasmine says is like chiropractic, only more gentle. She was required to nap after the adjustment, and she would feel almost out of it afterwards. She felt she was in fantastic alignment for this birth.

The morning of birth Jasmine dropped off her daughter, went to bone therapy, went to the birth house and had a full day of treatments, reflexology, checking on the baby etc. Jasmine asked her midwife about castor oil, and Sosan told her she didn’t think she needed it, but she could give her some to try that night with milk.

That evening, Jasmine began really feeling her surges, and realized that they were coming rhythmically. She texted Sosan, who texted back, “Don’t take the castor oil!”

Sosan told her to rest— Jasmine realized this was because Sosan was probably at another birth (she knew there was another mom who was about to give birth).

Jasmine was using Hybnobabies and created a beautiful “safe space”… the private beach where she and Julian got married. Savvy was there, and Nile was there already. Even when Julian went to take a nap, Jasmine said it was like he was with her.

Jasmine mentions how different the surges were this time compared to her induction. She was actually able to sleep between them, and then she would slowly wake up, experience the contraction, then relax again.

Sosan came to check her and she said, “you’re only a 3”. Jasmine let go of the number and went right back to her safe space.

All of the positions she got into during her birth felt primal and innate. She felt like her baby was guiding her positions.

One of Jasmine’s contractions woke Savvy up, which Jasmine loved. She got to have her come in the bed and snuggle with her. She felt in her heart that it was a moment where Savvy was ready

Jasmine’s midwife was down low ready to check heart tones, and Jasmine’s water broke in a massive gush— her midwife was soaked!

Once her water broke, the surges felt different.

Jasmine thought she had to poop, and while she was sitting on the toilet, she started feeling her body push on its own.

She went into the water, and absolutely loved it. She felt released and relaxed.

Jasmine wanted Julian to get in the pool, and Sosan said he just needed to go rinse off upstairs first. Julian didn’t understand that it needed to be a quick rinse— he was taking a full shower! So while he’s showering, baby’s head begins to crown. Sosan began screaming for Julian to come downstairs.

Jasmine and Julian laugh because since he had just taken a shower and hadn’t dried off, he is soaking wet in the pictures— looking like he took a swim in the birth pool!

Sosan told Jasmine to get her baby, but Jasmine is still somewhat out of it— so Sosan got the baby!

Sosan told her to turn the baby over and stand up slowly—

“So we have these pictures where he’s turned over and he’s facing down towards the pool, and we’re standing up— and it looks like something from a National Geographic, like some type of, like some animal just gave birth to her baby and it’s just… Wow. That’s how I felt, too, in the moment. That’s how I felt. So powerful.”

Episode Roundup:

  1. Your change of plans does not have to feel like a failure, it can feel like a party. Can we please talk about how amazing Jasmine’s hospital experience turned out? What I love about this is that it’s not what she had planned, but she and her husband made the decision in the moment to be positive, work together, and make the most out of their birth. They chose to make a game time decision after laboring for hours upon hours with pitocin contractions to get an epidural. And was it a failure? No. Jasmine and Julian accepted their change of plans gracefully and enjoyed their journey.
  2. A change of plans in one birth does not mean a change of plans in every birth following. Remember that each story is different, each baby is different, each labor is different. Jasmine was confident in her ability to give birth at home without pain medication, even though she opted to use it during her first birth. She knew this was absolutely not something that would hold her back in her homebirth. And here we see it again, pitocin contractions and natural oxytocin-induced contractions are two very different things. Jasmine kept wondering when the feeling from her first birth would arrive, and it never did.
  3. And finally, I love what Jasmine said about her preparation for her second birth. It felt like a full-time job. There’s no denying it, preparing our bodies and minds and spirits for birth does take some amount of work— fun work? Sure… but it’s directed attention. Just like an athlete prepares for the upcoming event, so we too as mothers can set aside time to connect to ourselves and our babies, prepare our hearts and bodies, and truly acknowledge the intensity and power that is birthing a new human.

Okay, my friends. Happy Mother’s Day! Don’t forget that Happy Homebirth Academy is on sale this week only with the coupon code MOM20 at checkout. Click the show notes for the link to the sales page, or go to myhappyhomebirth.com and click on Happy Homebirth Academy in the upper right hand corner. That’s all I’ve got for you this week. I’ll see you back here next week.

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