As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I freaked out for many reasons. I was at my healthiest at this point, just started a new job and everything felt 'sorted'. And, yes, I know, falling pregnant is a blessing in Islam, Allah (swt) is the best planner and all babies are a gift from Allah (swt), however, the sheer thought of giving birth made me feel completely nauseous. I think for the duration of my pregnancy, that was the one thing that was constantly at the back of my mind. I mean, come on, the baby comes out of there...?
Every single mother that I spoke to about it would tell me that:
'You forget about the pain as soon as you see your baby',
'You should worry more about the sleepless nights',
'You have to think about the end result',
'It's one day out of your life', etc, etc.
Regardless of this, and watching every single 'One Born Every Minute' in the space of nine months, I was even more determined that I was going to projectile vomit and I would not be able to deal with the pain of labour and delivering my baby.
(Side note, do not watch 'One Born Every Minute' whilst pregnant. Not a good move on my part.)
I was adamant to myself that I was going to give birth naturally, even though I was frightened. I had to do this for my baby, for myself and for what Allah (swt) created our bodies to do. We had such a healthy pregnancy, with only one scare at the start, Alhamdulilah, I owed it to him and my body to give birth naturally.
I had to know what it felt like to go into labour, have contractions and give birth, I needed to understand why the status of a woman is so high in Islam, I wanted to appreciate my own mother more, I craved the feeling of empowerment and sense of accomplishment, I didn't want to rob my son of a birthday by not providing him a proper welcome. I understood it was going to hurt and I'd be left with a painful body, but I had to do it. To experience the one thing only a woman can do. The one thing only a woman can do in a man's world.
Don't get me wrong, I looked into all of my options of giving birth and elective caesarean seemed the most, should I say, pain-free and easy option out? However, working for the NHS and my line manager's previous role of Head of Midwifery, explained to me the long term implications of electing such a birthing method, put me off, and of course the stern look from my line manager whenever I brought it up was enough for me to disregard it as an option pretty swiftly.
I built an amazing relationship with my midwives/health professionals who were made aware about my anxieties and spoke to me about my concerns from the beginning- I really think building a good relationship helped my birthing experience in the hospital. I had a few issues with my blood tests, so was constantly in and out of the maternity ward, which is how I developed such a good relationship with the department - but everything happens for a reason, Alhamdulilah.
My birthing plan stated that I wanted to give birth naturally and to go through all the processes first linked to giving birth naturally if any complications were to arise, i.e. forceps, drugs, etc before opting for a caesarean, unless of course there was an emergency and there was a risk to myself or my baby's health. I felt it was important my midwives knew my birthing plan very well, which is why at every appointment, we would discuss it in detail. I was completely aware that my birthing plan could go straight out the window because anything could happen but I had to take control of something, if not how fat I looked!
My waters broke at 12.30am, and my contractions started hurting at 1.40am, but as I hadn't felt my baby move much that day, the hospital advised me to come in and keep me under observation. Upon arrival at 1.50am, they examined me (ugh) and I was only 2cm dilated. They said they'll keep me in for a few hours, and monitor my baby's heartbeat - and, later, the midwives told my mother-in-law that they kept me in because they knew I was a worrier - haha. The entire night, my contractions were killing me and my husband was SUCH a superstar, Alhamdulilah, he massaged my back through every contraction. He did not leave my side at all. Alhamdulilah. I slept whenever I didn't contract and apparently I was really funny according to the midwives - great *rollseyes*! As the contractions hurt so much, the midwives suggested I had a bath to ease the pain - and, ohmygoodness, was that an amazing bath!! Helped so much to relieve pain. It was so relaxing I was falling asleep and my husband had to prop me up. (I would definitely recommend getting into the bath once contractions start.)
It got to 6.50am, and it was nearly time for me to be discharged, however upon examining me, they discovered I was 7cm dilated and by this point, I couldn't sit down and I had been handling my contractions on my hands and knees - yep, ever so elegant. I was rushed into the delivery ward on a wheelchair, but as I couldn't sit down due to the pain, I was kneeling on the wheelchair facing the nurse pushing me. I must have looked a right state. To this day, my husband chuckles at me about it.
In my birthing plan, I requested a water birth, so they got the pool ready for me. However, as I was anaemic and my blood test results were not given back in time for my delivery, I had to be taken out of the water to give birth right at the final minute.
I had three outfit changes by this point. I know, right? Couldn't drop my standards just because I was giving birth! Even my midwife told me I was too glamorous to be giving birth - definitely a pick me up whilst in SO much pain!
I then finally changed into a knee length PJ T-Shirt and after 10 minutes of pushing, at 07.55am, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Alhamdulilah.
We then took a private room off the ward for privacy, and unfortunately, we were not discharged until Mini Mango was five days old due to a few complications to him :( however, our birthing experience was absolutely amazing. I felt so safe, understood, constantly provided love and attention, explained everything thoroughly, and Alhamdulilah my general experience was blessed.
Now, to do it all again? That's another thing...
How was your first birthing experience? Is there anything you would have done differently?
ALL THAT HEARTBURN!!!