Afidah's quick and easy homebirth
Bismillahirrahmaninrrahim..In the name of Allah the Most Gracious...
Before I start, I hope that those who chose to read this are open minded and be able to read it without being judgmental. Those who read this story are hoped to have a positive attitude and know how to respect the choice I have made. This story is written to remind myself in the future of how I am blessed to have a better in fact the best experience so far in my life.
To begin with, my first birth wasn’t something I would like to go through again ( and again...) . It was not that bad but I promised myself that I refused to have the same experience in the future (if I got pregnant again). I even asked my husband not to have another baby due to the “not so beautiful” experience. But my husband’s simple answer “Why don’t you ask me in 3 years time?”. I thought I read enough information about Childbirth before I walked into the Labour Room , but unfortunately I did not. Looking back at the experience, my first childbirth experience was full of unnecessary medical interventions ( Foleys tube, lots of VE, Artificial Rupture of Membrane, Episiotomy and stitches) and I think I was lucky enough that I did not end up with C-section.
As a result, I was so afraid to get pregnant again. I have read before about Hypnobirthing but I didn't know that here in Malaysia, we already have it. After I ventured into Motherhood, I always chat with one of my TESL friend, Najwa. I always consult her about breastfeeding, I remembered once asked her about Hypnobirthing , if she has any information about it. One fine day, she posted a link on my wall about Hypnobirthing class that will be conducted by one of her friends. Eventhough I was not pregnant, I was very interested to join the class. When I asked my husband if he could join me to the class, he said ok. So, I signed up. That is how I came to know my Hypnobirthing instructor, Nadine Ghows.
I was still not pregnant but at that moment I was so hopeful that I could get pregnant soon. I guess the classes had made me overcome my fear of childbirth. It helped me understand my own anatomy and physiology better. I understand the power of human mind, mind setting, determination and faith.
A few months later, I found out I have bun in the oven! I was quite excited. The moment I found out about the pregnancy, I set my mind to have a homebirth. My husband was not so keen to the idea at first but towards the end of my pregnancy, he showed his support by joining me to the Birth Buddies Meet Up, surveyed and bought a pool for the event ( because at first I wanted to have a waterbirth), and pumped the pool once the baby was in head down position ( in week 35 or so) . That was enough for me to know that he’s into the plan.
Baby Ifwan's Birth Chronology
I experienced mild surges ever since I was in week 34 - 35. The surges were not really noticable as I could still ignore it and do my work as usual. On 29th April 2012, I started to feel the some of the surges when they came as they came with sensations. But my instict told me that it is still not time yet. In the next 3 days I experienced Prodromal Labor (to my assumption as there was no show nor mucous plug). So, on 2nd May, 2012 I went to work as usual because if I were left alone in the house, there will be nobody to accompany me and I will have to look after my first born while handling the surges at the same time. During lunch time, there was quite a long surge that I have to stop talking when it came. After the surge, I felt something came out so I decided to check what it was. It was the mucous plug. So, I informed my husband, and my sister, and Najwa. I called my mother asking how long did she have to wait until the baby came out after she had her birth show. Reason why I asked was because mine might be like hers. I informed my colleagues about the show and I told them even if I dont give birth the next day, I will start to take leave. They started to panic asking if I wanted them to send me to the hospital. But, I still feel I could handle it.
My sister fetched me and took me home. Upon arrival, I cleaned up my kitchen, the living room and took all the necessary things to my bedroom upstairs, in case I birth before I could come down again. I took hot shower and it felt nice. But, after that I can hardly feel the surges. The surges were not as intense as the one I had in the afternoon. My husband came home at about 4.30 p.m. My parents arrived around 5 p.m. My husband rearranged the room so that the pool can be put right in front of the bathroom, so it would be easier for him later to fill up the pool, since the pool was quite big ( 2 mtr x 1.5 mtr more or less).
After dinner, I started to feel the surges again. Still not that intense, I started to wonder if the thing that I saw in the afternoon was " the show". So, after I got my daughter to sleep, I got another strong surge and I went to the toilet to check. This time around I knew it was the show. I wore the maternity pad in case there'll be amniotic fluid or any other discharge. Then I informed Nadine about it. Najwa also keep on sending me messages asking me how am I doing (Thank you, darling!). I decided to get some sleep as I want to conserve my energy in case the the baby decided to come out the next morning.
At 4.00 a.m, I was awaken by a strong surge. I woke up and I went downstairs to get myself a mug of hot milo and oats. While sipping the hot Milo, I thought of timing my surges. So, I timed. They were like 7 - 8 minutes apart. After that, I started to sit and bounce on my ball. I bounced and bounced as I felt very comfortable. At around 4.45 am, I went to toilet, my body was cleansing itself. After that, the surges came and the interval between the surges shortened. The intensity of each surges became stronger. I made some noise while bouncing on the ball. It felt really good. I tried to distract my mind from the sensation thinking of something pleasurable and it worked!! The sensation became the thought that I was thinking. My 3rd sister, Anisah whom was in Malacca started to send me SMS asking how am I doing. She could not sleep that night. She asked me to visualise.
At approximately 6.30 a.m. , as the intensity became a lot stronger that I could hardly distract my mind, I woke my husband up. I asked him to sit in front of my birth ball. Being himself, he didn't really know what to do eventhough he went to the Hypnobirthing class with me. He just listened to my instructions and at that time that was good enough for me. As long as he was there with me. My daughter also woke up for her feeding. Since the lights was on, she did not continue her beauty sleep. Each time the surge came, I hugged my husband while bouncing on the ball. At least the smell of him did lessen the sensation this time. That trick worked for me. At times, my daughter (who loves attention) was crying to get my attention. I was so focused on the surges and when it came I could not give her the attention she needed. When I felt like I could walk, I decided to take a hot shower. So I went to take hot shower. It was 7.00 a.m. I adjusted the temperature to the hottest I could manage and I put the hot shower on my back and at my lower abdomen, back and forth. It was a relief!! One more thing that I noticed, my water broke while I was having the hot shower. The colour did not worry me.
At 7.40 a.m ( yes, I took a 40-minute shower) , I came out and a few minutes after that, my husband took my daughter downstairs to my parents, and since my daughter was not around, I climbed on the bed trying to get some sleep. But, as soon as I put myself on the bed, a really strong surge came and I felt I needed to get out of the bed. With the same surge, I felt like my cervix has fully dilated as I felt the baby descended into my cervix. I knew the baby was about to came out. But my husband was downstairs. I got panicked for a while. A few seconds later, my husband came in, and I told him that the baby was about to came out. He thought he could still fill up the pool with water and I said there's no more time to fill up the pool.
I asked him to hug me and he lead me into the dry pool. The time was about 8.00 a.m. and I tried to be on all four, but it did not do me any good. I kneeled widely and it felt right. In front of me, my husband who was waiting , ready to be instructed. I did not give out any instructions. I just need him to be there to be hugged (he is my bantal busuk after all :)). So, I hugged him. With the next surges, I felt like pushing the baby out, but I focused on my breathing and wasted my energy else where with vocalisation. I told myself many times "my aim is no tear!! DON'T PUSH!!!". I made a lot of sounds. I just did not care how funny it sounded. I made sure to let my jaw loose. My poo came out first. "Poo is a good sign!!" I said to myself. But, at the same time I was like "Alamak!! terberak!! nasib baik takde air.." . So, my hubby really has to succumb with it. At the same time, I tracked where my baby and suddenly I felt the baby was crowning. I changed my location as I did not want my baby to land on the poop, of course. I did not use any mirror, I did not touch "the area". Everything was told by my instinct. I was talking to myself " So, this is how the " ring of fire" feels like...If this is it, I can handle it..". At the same time, I encouraged my baby too. " OK. Good job, baby!!" "Good boy!!" "OK, Pandai!!", "sikit je lagi, baby", things like that. Suddenly my hubby and I heard something just dropped and IT WAS THE BABY. I was not sure which position he came out, be it anterior or posterior, because at that moment, it really didn't matter to me anymore. He landed safely on the dry pool and I know it, there was NO TEAR!! It was 8.10 a.m.
As soon as the baby was out, my husband got out of the pool and went downstairs informing everyone that the baby has been born safely. My 5th sister, Pip, whom stay with me in the same house came into the room ( her room was just next door!!), followed by my mother with my daughter. My father was out to buy some breakfast. The moment my sister came in, I was about to pick my precious boy. As I picked him up he cried. It was music to my ears. My sister helped me arranging the pillows for me to lay my back. I put the baby on my chest and now I am just waiting for the placenta to come out.
The Birth of the Placenta
Meanwhile, I just relaxed after the hard work I just did. In my heart, I felt accomplished, happy, tired, grateful, blessed and sleepy all at the same time. My sister started to inform my other siblings. For the first 10 - 15 minutes the baby rested on my chest before he started to look for FOOD!! He must be hungry after all the hardwork too! So, I did some circular massage on my breast until I saw something came out. He latched on successfully and started to breastfeed for the first time in his life. Once, he started to suck, I started to feel some surges. While, the baby was breastfeeding, my husband recited the Azan and Iqamah to his ears.
And the surges came back to birth the placenta. I tried to breath it out with each surge. Maybe it was due to the position I was in. I tried to do some circular massage on my lower abdomen, the same way I remembered the Housemen Officer did to me 2 years ago. I traced the umbilical cord to my VJJ, there was something at the end of the cord. I asked my sister what did it look like?? Does it look like blood or meat?? She said it looked like meat. OK. I knew it was the placenta. I tried to breath it out again. Not successful. I decided to change position to the position I birthed the baby. I put the baby on the pillow and I kneeled again . I called my husband to be my teddy bear again. With the next surge, I successfully breathed the plassi out!! And immediately I praised Allah "Alhamdulillah!". It was about 1 hour after the baby was out.
Immediately after that, I asked my sister and my husband to help me take bath. As soon as I got out of the pool, I passed out less than 1 minute and my sister lead me to the bathroom and held me, and my husband washed away all the blood. The umbilical cord was cut by my Dear Husband, when he wanted to clean the baby because the baby has passed out the meconium. After that, the baby was given to me again and I breastfed him to sleep.
This journey has completely changed my view towards childbirth. I embrace the fact that birth is a natural process not a medical event. This is the childbirth that I always imagined in my mind. A private birth with only the persons who really support me and no unnecessary medical interventions. To those who think I had blindly jump into this matter, you are wrong. I made my effort attending classes even before I conceived, I did my research, I know the possible consequences ( all the "what ifs", the worst case scenario ) and ways to overcome it and I do have my back up plan. I went to my regular check up especially towards the end of my pregnancy. I did my own assessment whether I am fit/ able to handle the situation. I learned how to trust my own body and I listened to the signals it sent me. Above all, I learn how to completely surrender myself and have faith to what has been written for me by Allah The Almighty. It doesn't matter where I chose to birth my baby, hospital or at home :- if He wants me to live, I shall live, vice versa. I believe that Allah won't burden me with things that I cannot handle. All in all, this experience taught me to be more humble.