Izyan's beautiful birth of her first baby boy
I had always been terrified at the thought of giving birth. How can I not? All those movies, stories from others. Not once have I heard someone giving birth easily. And I had always been determined to do a vaginal birth, and never wanted to give birth by Caesarean. Which scared me even more. A baby, coming out from my vagina? How is that possible? In fact, how does any baby come out from any vagina? Lol.
I was beyond terrified. I had such a wonderful pregnancy, but thinking about THE DAY that I'm supposed to give birth, I would just shudder and quickly try to erase the thought from my head. I thought I would just deal with it when the time comes. The reason why I never wanted a Caesarean was that I know the recovery would take so much longer, and having a scar on my tummy, well it's just not what I wanted. And it's not natural. If babies are supposed to come out from the vagina, they should come out from the vagina. Unless, well, there's some complications; for instance if the mother and/or baby are medically at risk, then that's a different story. But that's just my opinion and what I want.
I was also very determined not to take epidural, as I have scoliosis. And working as a dentist in the government, with the number of patients I see per day, has made my scoliosis even worse. I always see doctors smirking or shaking their head when we ask about epidural causing backache or causing other side effects, but I knew there was something wrong with it. Too many people I know have had bad side effects from epidural, mainly backache, pain at the injection site, bad migraine and vomiting, acute fever after administration etc. Somehow doctors always tend to say the backache is due to the after birth, as we always have to lift our babies and carry them around. Yeah.... Right (sorry to my doctor friends lol). I did my own research as well, and apparently mothers who take epidural during labour, their babies have a risk for getting some sort of respiratory failure during birth. And it's quite the norm for these babies having to be resuscitated after birth.
Anyway, when I was in my 6th month of pregnancy, my 7-months-pregnant-then friend told me she just signed up for this hypnobirthing class, and recommended me to go as well. She told me how much the fees was, and in my head I was like ,"whoaa.. what's so special about this class?". But yeah, at that time I had never heard of hypnobirthing, so it got me intrigued and I looked it up. I was so curious I kept on searching for HypnoBirthing on the Internet. And I still didn't quite get it. Gentle birth? How exactly gentle can giving birth be? I told my husband about it and after discussing, I registered for the HypnoBirthing classes. I read so many positive birth stories from their website, and it somehow gave me a little hope that I could give birth like some of those mothers.. I just needed to know how.
One of the things I liked most about HypnoBirthing before even going for class was that husbands are really encouraged to join the classes with their wives. And I was thankful my husband didn't mind at all going for these classes with me. It showed me that he was there to support me, throughout my pregnancy and he would support whatever I wanted for the birth of our first baby. 5 classes for 5 consecutive Sundays, and he was there with me.
After attending our first ever HypnoBirthing class, it really opened up our minds to how possible it is to have a gentle, calm and easy birth. I've never seen anything like it. Close up, raw videos were shown of mothers giving birth, without any hardship or even pain. Most of the mothers look like they were just sleeping, eyes closed, and yet, the babies heads were already almost coming out. My husband and I even discussed many times (half seriously) about how nice it would be to give birth at home. But I knew my mother would never have it. She would totally freak out and yeah, I would need her support.. But after some time, and after hearing Nadine mention that it would be better to give birth at the hospital for the first baby, we decided to put that thought of ours on hold. Only if the birthing of the first child went normally and smoothly, then we can consider the possibility of giving birth at home. as subsequent births should go as smoothly, or even easier.
The birth of my very first baby was a quick one. But I shall elaborate on the story of how it happened.
I gave birth at 40 weeks and 1 day, on 10th of May 2016, on a Tuesday night. A few days before my EDD, I remember how anxious I was about giving birth, especially when I had so many pregnant friends, and most had given birth at 38-39 weeks. I even felt very down and disappointed when I haven't given birth on the 6th of May, the day that I had been visualising that I would be give birth. I wasn't anxious as in scared or terrified. But I thought I would also give birth early, and by then I had tried almost all of the natural ways to induce labour. You name it; sex, walking, exercising, squatting, bouncing on birthing ball all day, taking super spicy food, raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil and some others. After finishing hypnobirthing classes with Nadine, and reading the hypnobirthing book a couple of times, I was not scared at all to be honest, of giving birth. I was confident that with the permission of Allah, I would be able to give birth smoothly. I surrendered my fate to Him, as He is the best planner of all. Almost everyday I would make du'a for Allah to give me strength and patience to endure childbirth.
10th May 2016
Early morning at 2am, I suddenly woke up and felt something trickling from my vagina. I quickly got up and saw blood stained clear liquid on my underwear. I thought nothing much of it, because exactly a week before that, my mucous plug was discharged, and.. Nothing much happened after that. I didn't want to get excited for nothing again. So I tried going back to sleep. But the mild cramps that I've been feeling have now gotten stronger. I would now classify these cramps as surges, because they were different from the mild cramps I've been feeling since my mucous plug discharge. I wasn't able to sleep through them, but still managed to sleep in between. The surges were however, irregular, lasting 30seconds to 1min, and came every hour. I timed it on the Contraction app on my phone. Same thing continued throughout morning until noon. At 2pm, the surges were getting more frequent but still irregular. Husband came home from work, we had spaghetti for lunch and watched TV together. At 3pm the surges were quite strong. I had an appointment for acupuncture at 4pm that day, that I already arranged for a few days before, and was contemplating whether to go or not as my surges were still very irregular but getting stronger.
I decided to just go for the acupuncture. I thought I might as well give it a shot as my last attempt to induce labour. The moment the needles went through my skin, my surges became stronger, lasting every minute, and came every 5-10minutes (didn't manage to time it on my contraction app as I couldn't move due to the acupuncture needles), but I roughly estimated it according to the clock on the wall in the room of torture (I'm very scared of needles. Yes, I'm a dentist). When it was over, I could barely walk to the registration counter to make payment due to the surges. But I had to 'control macho' because I didn't want everyone to make a big deal and rush me to the hospital. And the sweet Dr who did acupuncture on me told me, "I think you're going to give birth soon". Damn right!
When we got back into the car, my husband asked me if I wanted to go straight to the hospital. I wanted to go home to take a hot shower. Lol. On the way back, my surges were less than 5 minutes apart. Husband kept on reminding me to do my breathing, and remain calm. Once we reached home, on the way to the bathroom, I had to pause every 3 minutes because of the strong surges. The hot shower really helps during those strong surges by the way. Felt as if they melted under the hot water. That was, until I stepped out of the shower. Managed to add a little more last minute things into our hospital bag, and at 6pm, left our house to the hospital.
Even during after-office rush hour, we managed to reach the hospital by 6:30pm thank goodness. On the way to the hospital, I was still doing my breathing, but the surges were strong. I was moaning in discomfort while husband kept reminding me to breathe. Husband dropped me off at the emergency, I told the nurse I was going to give birth, and then I was wheeled to the second floor to one of the rooms, which at that time, I didn't even know was the labor room. It just looked like a normal cozy looking ward room. I still managed to keep my cool at this point of time. Husband arrived in my room not long after, and he gave the nurse my birth preference, already previously signed by my lovely doctor. This nurse asked for permission to perform a vaginal examination to see how far dilated my cervix was. I didn't mind because I wanted to know my progress. Turns out I was already 7cm open. The nurse told me she had to strap me up to monitor my contractions and the fetal heartbeat. "Only for about 20mins", she said. I never knew the strap was going to be very uncomfortable, especially when the surges came. Nurse confirmed that my surges were 2 minutes apart. With the strap around my belly, I couldn't move much, I could only lie down in a flat position, and I wasn't able to turn left or right or sit up. Every time the surges came, because of my lying down position, I could feel a huge amount of pressure on my lower back, and it made me even worse. At this point of time, everything was almost like a blur. Lying down, I didn't have any control. I remember after awhile, asking my husband if I can take the strap off, and my husband asked the nurse. The nurse told us that it has to be on a little longer, as the fetal heartbeat was dropping slightly. I was helpless at this time. Being strapped with those extremely strong surges that felt like one minute apart, I couldn't do much but to cry out in discomfort. I think everything started to go haywire when I was strapped down and unable to move. After one hour of being strapped, only then the nurse let me get into any position I was comfortable with. Before that she had examined my cervix again and I was already 9cm plus open. She told me not to push yet, as I wasn't fully dilated. I don't know if she was telling the truth as I felt a strong urge to bear down something huge. I had a feeling it was because my doctor hadn't arrived, so they didn't want the baby to come out just yet. When my doctor did arrive, I didn't even realise because I was almost delirious at this point. It's as though I was looking at myself from outside. As if I was dreaming. I heard the nurse's voice telling me to push downwards. And indicated I wasn't doing it correctly. I tried so hard. Felt like forever. Kept on hearing them say, " almost there, Izyan, we can see his hair already! Just have to push correctly". And I heard this over and over and over again. So I concluded that the baby wasn't progressing downwards. I didn't have the energy anymore. When the doctor asked me if I needed help, I surrendered, I just couldn't 'push' anymore, whatever that meant.
Throughout this whole time I was in labour, my eyes were shut. Maybe that's why I felt like it was a dream. I didn't see the vacuum. I couldn't recall exactly the number of people surrounding my bed, I knew there were at least 2-3 nurses with my doctor. I couldn't really hear their voices. I could only concentrate on my husband by my side, and I hung on to him for dear life. I only heard his voice, felt his presence and warmth. I remember him telling me that I was strong, that I can do this. I remembered his kisses on my face and whispers telling me he loves me. I remembered him holding my hand. Although I might have grasped too hard once or twice because I heard him say "ouch", but his hands were always there. I feel like I can cry again, thinking about how amazing he was, during my labour. I couldn't have done it without him.
So for about 20 minutes, since 9:10pm, my doctor tried to vacuum my baby out. I thought when I surrendered myself to the hands of my doctor, I didn't have to do anything anymore. To my horror, turns out it requires more of my pushing, and a little help of the vacuum. At 9:30pm, I heard the Dr saying, " الله أَكْبَر".. I think I felt the baby's head at the opening of my vagina. And she said ,"just a little more, Izyan!". I pushed with all my might.
And then I heard it. The crying. That sweet little voice.
The baby suddenly was put onto my chest. I opened my eyes. And my baby was there. My tiny little baby boy. He still had some blood stains on him, and he was covered lightly with a cloth. I was speechless, and in awe. I cried, seeing that bump on his head, the result from the vacuum. But he wasn't crying anymore. He just looked up at me silently, with his dreamy eyes, for a long time. It was magical. Words just can't describe. It's as if he knew me, and recognised my voice. It's as if looking at me calmed him down, or maybe he was trying to calm me down. Dr told me the umbilical cord is already white and stopped pulsating, and told my husband to cut it. I didn't look, I was just too focused on my tiny little baby. After about 20mins of just me and baby staring at each other, I gave the baby to my husband, and he gave the Azan to our baby's ear. After that, the baby was weighed inside the room itself, right beside my bed. 2.95kg, my perfect, healthy little baby boy.
Alhamdulillah, praises to the Almighty. It was surreal. I gave birth. At 9:30pm. Although it felt like forever, it was only 3 hours since I arrived at the hospital. My husband texted the family members. My mom wanted to kill me. I really didn't have time to text or tell anyone before going to the hospital. It all happened so fast. From the irregular surges which was very bearable, to very regular 2mins apart surges, which were very very very strong. How could I have known? Parents arrived an hour after I gave birth. My mom, with her makeup and everything, although it was10:30pm on a Friday night. I knew she wanted to take photos with the baby and show everyone hehe. At 11pm, my husband, our newborn baby and I, had our first ever picture taken, inside the labour room. And after my parents left, we continued to enjoy being with the baby a few more hours before they took him to the nursery for a few examinations and quick bath. After that, I slept with my newborn baby in my arms.
I have a huge amount of respect for all the HypnoBirthing mothers who were able to breathe their baby down without difficulty. I couldn't do it, I couldn't tolerate the surges as well as I thought I would towards the end, I was in distress. I am very proud though, that I managed a vaginal birth without painkillers. And giving birth that fast, was something I always prayed for. Although I can still recall the discomfort of giving birth, I'm glad I went through it. I wouldn't change a thing about my birthing story. Sometimes Allah doesn't give you exactly what you want, but He knows what is best for you. I take it as a test from Him, and the pain of childbirth I went through, is His way for erasing my sins, InsyaAllah.
Childbirth.. Is not easy.. But it's a wonderful memorable day I would remember for the rest of my life.
Although my story wasn't the classic HypnoBirthing story I imagined for myself, I'm so glad I was introduced to it, to Nadine, and all the other HypnoBirthing parents, who want control over how the birth of their baby should be. HypnoBirthing didn't just help me during labour. It helped me prepare myself emotionally and physically for the big day.. And also for after the big day. All the knowledge I gained from the classes, are priceless. And I wish more and more people would learn about it and see how hypnobirthing has helped so many parents anticipate the day with confidence, and calmness, instead of dreading it, and getting over with it. Childbirth is not something that should be feared, but something parents should look forward to, as the miraculous day of the arrival of their little angel.