I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not So Perfect Labor

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim


Although this mother didn't get the birth she had hoped for, she did a great job coping with her labor, masha'Allah.  To my knowledge, she hadn't had any childbirth preparation classes but she had the determination and courage to "go natural!" 

I hope you enjoy reading how her "almost perfect labor" turned around in a split second.  Please let me know if you have a story idea or would like to share your birth story. Now on to the article...Not So Perfect Labor...

It was a Monday evening and I was making cupcakes in preparation for Eid. My husband came home very late that day.  Consequently, we ate late and went to bed just before midnight.  I was having trouble sleeping, when all of a sudden I felt my baby kick sooo hard!  I had never experienced such a pain.  The pain lingered, fading away slowly after 20 seconds or so.

I got up to go to the bathroom and checked the time.  It was 12:30 as I returned back to bed.  After a short while I felt it again.  I got up again and went to the bathroom.  This time I decided to stay up, in case it happened again.

It did, again and again!  By 1 am I had experienced about 6 of these painful episodes.  I wasn't sure if they were “real” contractions or not, as I had Braxton Hicks (false contractions) from my 20th week of pregnancy until now.  In fact, I had them so often that I had stopped noticing them!

But this was different; it was painful and my tummy was rock hard!  From that point I started to write down the time of each pain and how long they were lasting.  I turned my laptop on and started Google’ing, “When should I go to the hospital?,” “How to know my labor started,” etc. :D

Soon my plug went and my water broke.  By 1:30 my contractions were just 2-3 minutes apart, lasting between 45 seconds to one minute.  I remembered that my midwife had advised me that I should go to the hospital when my contractions are 2 minutes apart, so I decided to call the hospital and check whether I should go in.

I was surprised at how fast it was happening.  It was just 1 hour after my labor started and it was already time to go in!!!  I woke my husband up, got dressed, and we called a taxi.  I had planned to walk to the hospital because it's just 20 minutes by walk from my house; but I didn't want to risk it with contractions coming so fast.

After arriving at the hospital I waited for a while for the midwife to examine me.  I was in pain, but I was excited!  I started to look forward to every contraction as I was convinced I will have a fast and easy labor.  When the midwife examined me, the baby was apparently head-down and engaged and I was 4 cm open!  “Good progress,” I was thinking.

The midwife read my birth plan.  She noticed that I didn't want any male staff to look after me unless it's completely unavoidable and that I wanted to be told in advance if male staff would have to see me.  The midwife said something about a male specialist being on duty that night in case of emergency.  But she pointed out, in a joking way, that my pregnancy was smooth and my labor is absolutely fine so far, so we shouldn't be heading that way at all.

She took my notes and was about to send me to the labor ward, when suddenly, I felt 'something' coming out of me.  I looked down and it was poo.  For a split second I didn't know if I pooed myself or where it came from.  Then I remembered babies do poo while in the womb if they are in distress.

I called the midwife back to show her what happened.  She seemed surprised and told me that it means that the baby is breech and in that case I will need to have a C-section done.  My perfect labor turned around in just a couple of seconds.

Because my contractions were coming so close, they quickly did a scan that confirmed the baby was breech.  They started to prep me for the surgery.  I went to the operating theater at 3:15.  It took them a while to give me anesthesia and I was not allowed to move when they tried to stick the needle into my spine.  Not only I was scared, but I was contracting all the time, so it was quite difficult.  I could feel the needle coming in and out my spine as they made several attempts.  I lost the count but my husband counted later, 12 injection marks on my lower back!

When they finally got everything ready, they let my husband in.  I have to admit that at that point I was really scared and weepy.  When they started operating I asked my husband to tell me some stories from Quran so I wouldn't concentrate on what was being performed on me.

Even with the epidural, I could still feel all the pushing and pulling that was happening behind the screen.  But soon I could hear our baby's first cry.  I couldn't believe, at first, that it was our baby crying!

I asked the doctor who was sitting next to me, if I could have skin to skin contact (obviously nobody read my birth-plan at this point).  She arranged for it as soon as it was possible by giving our baby to my husband, who informed me that we have a girl, and then placed her on my chest.

She was looking at me like she was amazed and asking, “Who am I looking at?”  She was dirty and creased but she was sooooo beautiful to me, masha’Allah!

I gave her back to my husband who whispered the adhaan (call to prayer) in her ear.  I asked him if it's Hafsa, as we had planned.  He looked at me, saying in amazement, “Of course it is Hafsa!”

Then they both were taken away while I was being stitched up.  We were reunited about an hour later and taken to the regular maternity ward.  We had to stay in the hospital until Friday, partially because of my C- section, and partially because Hafsa was a bit jaundice.

The hospital stay was very exhausting for me and I couldn't wait to go home.  The first days were hard.  I was very emotional because I was in pain, couldn't go anywhere, and hated my wound.  Thankfully, my husband is a great support to me, doing all the housework and cooking and waking up with me at night.  Hafsa is 2 weeks old now and masha’Allah, we are slowly getting used to some sort of routine of sleeping and feeding.

Allah knows best why it all ended up this way, but I pray that I won't have to go through another c-section again.  I cannot understand why anyone would go through it deliberately, choosing a c-section, instead of natural birth.

(One final comment from me, Natural Mom:  I am so proud of this mom for her ability to remain flexible and positive when things turned around, masha'Allah.  In the end, the most important thing is that Mom and Baby are healthy and beautiful, masha'Allah.  I can't comment on the validity of needing surgery, as I'm not a doctor.  But I can say that the art of breech delivery is sadly being lost to the knife!)


  1. Hafsa is beautiful. How precious! Very fortunate indeed, this is a happy ending.

    This blog is educational, informative and well done.

  2. Asalam Alaikum,

    Isn't Hafsa a doll, masha'Allah?!?

    I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Of course you're my momma so you have to say that! :)

    Love you!

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  3. As Salaamu Alaikum, Alhamdulillah for the outcome. This is a reminder to me to always say Insha'Allah before as we make plans and that we can never know what will happen, but to be thankful in any situation.

    May Allah bless this mummy with a quick recovery from her surgery and a fulfilling motherhood, Ameen.

  4. as wr wb

    my baby is breech at 34 weeks, and I am making duaa that it will turn around soon inshaAllah, as I am fearful of the actions otherwise! Please advise on steps that helped mums to turn the baby around naturall.


    London, UK

  5. Asalam alaikum, UmmYusuf,

    Thank you for reading and commenting! How true that Allah always has the best plan. We must prepare and tie our camels, remember "insha'Allah" when planning, and trust in the wisdom of Allah!

    May Allah bless you for this reminder! Ameen to your dua!

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  6. Wa alaikum asalam wa rahmatuallh wa barakatu, Ukhty Annon,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. First of all, mabrook on you pregnancy. Dua the birth is easy and normal and the baby is healthy and pleasing to Allah and his/her parents.

    Take comfort in knowing that all but about 4% of babies turn head down by birth. Dua yours is one! There are a lot of natural ways to encourage baby to turn. However, you're a bit early to be really aggressive, in my NON-MEDICAL opinion.

    The best site I can share in regards to turning baby is http://www.spinningbabies.com/.

    Please do keep in touch and let us know how it turns out. :)

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  7. What a cute baby Hafsa is! Sorry hear about the 'perfect labor' changing that quickly and 12 injection marks show your toughness. Very glad to hear the baby and mom are doing great.

  8. Salam alaikum to all that read my article and commented.

    Hafsa is nearly 15 months old now mashaAllah, but it is still very difficult to shake the stress of her labour off. I had some hard times after Hafsa's birth and was later diagnosed with postnatal depression and PTSD for which I had to have a therapy.

    Alhamdulillah I am pregnant again now and I pray to Allah for easier labour this time. I am planning a home V-Back inshaAllah, although it can be a bit of controversial topic amongst midwifes in the UK.

    Best Regards

    Umm Hafsa