Disclaimer

I am a 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, March 10, 2011

The Joy of Waterbirth!

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Mary, Two Days Old!
This heartwarming story is a joy to share.  It comes from a dear, sweet friend who is also a doula.  What a blessing that she choose to share her story here, masha'Allah.
Just for the record, waterbirth is next on my "to do" list too, insha'Allah!
I hope you enjoy the story and will consider sharing yours.  Now on to the story...The Joy of Waterbirth!...
The birth of my first child was not what I had planned, hoped, and dreamed for.  I had a planned a home birth, and found a midwife who I thought was suitable for me.  I was a young Mom (21 years old), and the first time I considered home birth as an option I was already half way through my pregnancy.  I found a book by Henci Goer, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.  It was full of information on different procedures that take place in hospitals, and gave all the varying options to help a woman make the best choice for her.  I eagerly read the book and was absolutely horrified at what was described as common practice in hospitals.  Around 30 weeks into my pregnancy I found a home birth midwife. 
This birth story is not about my first born, so I will be brief.  A transport to the hospital took place, and I had a birth that was a far cry from what I wanted.  I narrowly escaped a C-section (at one point I was in the operating room being prepped for surgery), and ended up with an epidural for the last hour of labor, and my son was vacuum extracted out of me.  I don’t feel that the transport was necessary, but this is a different story for a different day.  I had a beautiful son who weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was perfect in every way!  Often when I expressed my disappointment over his birth I heard the simple reply, “at least you have a healthy baby.”  This is true, and I’m very grateful for my healthy happy baby (now a three year old boy), but the bonding was not what I expected, and I had a 3rd degree tear, and lots of bad feelings about the events that transpired the day of his birth.
After what was to me a traumatizing birth experience, the pregnancy test that turned up positive when my son was 14 months old stirred up a bag of mixed emotions.  I was elated to be pregnant again, but worried about the birth.  I immediately began my phone calls to home birth midwives in the area, and set up interviews.  Some of the midwives seemed nervous to take me because of the previous transport (my heart rate was high the first time, but no other issues).  After going to prenatal care with a midwife I basically liked for the first 20 weeks, I switched my care to a midwife I liked even more because I needed lots of positive encouragement that this time things would be better.  Diane Bajus was simply the right midwife for me.  Her personality complimented mine well, she was calm, but always very happy.  She had over 30 years of midwifery experience, and had seen fast heart rates, and assured me that the outcomes were generally very good.  I remember telling my mom the day I found her on the phone, “I was so happy meeting her today that for the first time this pregnancy I’m excited about giving birth!”  The only problem was she was a CNM that delivered in the hospital.  I told Diane that ideally I’d like a home birth, but I’m so afraid of a transport maybe I should just give up my dream and go to the hospital with you for this baby.  Her face lit up, and she told me she would attend a home birth if that is what I wanted!  I was thrilled; the perfect midwife for me was going to come to my home to catch my baby!  So it was settled!  We somehow came up with the money for a home birth (as our insurance wouldn’t cover it), and Diane was very good about allowing us to come up with a payment plan. 
The month of my due date came, and my Mom came from several states away to be with me when I was 38 weeks pregnant.  We did things to keep us busy.  My Mom started teaching me how to sew, we made lots of yummy food (you know, in case the baby came that night ;), and I spent some quality time with my son.  My fears were almost gone now, and I was unimaginably excited to meet my baby.  My due date came, but no baby.  Two short days after I was “due” we went about our day as normal, and by the time the early afternoon came I said, “well today will most likely not be the day then.”  I called my midwife and I asked if she wouldn’t mind coming to check my dilation.  My Mom needed to get back to Texas soon and I was worried this baby would come after she needed to go.  Diane agreed and came by the apartment around 6:30 pm.  She found me to be 4 cm dilated.  She told me to get some rest because she thought the baby would be coming VERY soon.  Diane left, and my husband went out to get some Mediterranean food from a restaurant nearby.  We tucked my son into bed, and I ate well that night.  The food tasted delicious.  I drank plenty of herbal tea my midwife made for me, and was sipping on water all day. 
Sometime before 9pm I began having Braxton hicks like contractions.  They were dull, and not very painful, so I ignored them.  They weren’t following much of a recognizable pattern, but were coming fairly frequently, so I decided to take a warm bath to see if that made them go away.  The bath was very soothing, so soothing in fact I couldn’t even feel the contractions in the bath.  I got out of the water and toweled off and noticed that they were still coming.  I thought if the warm bath water didn’t do it (in the past they always stopped my Braxton hicks) maybe this was the start of something.  I called my Midwife and Doula, and let them know that something might be happening, but that they shouldn’t get ready to come yet as it was far too early.  I laid down for one or two contractions before I shot up and announced to my Mom and husband, “That one actually hurt.” 
I stood up and made my way to the restroom when I felt a contraction coming on.  I paused by the door and felt a rush of fluid fall between my legs.  I thought my water broke, but looked down and saw bright red blood.  I went to the toilet to clean up, and noticed there was quite a bit of it.   I immediately called my midwife to tell her what was happening.  She reassured me that the blood was probably due to quick dilation, and that she’d be on her way shortly.  I couldn’t believe I was dilating quickly as labor had really just begun!  I began helping my Mom start setting things up for the birth.  I hooked up the hose to the faucet so we could fill the birth pool later.  Every contraction that came took all my effort and energy to get through.  Soon I found myself kneeling at the foot of the couch moaning through contractions.  My Mother came to rub my back, and suddenly at the peak of a contraction I felt a release of pressure and warm fluid fall between my legs.  I told my Mom, “Ohhh, that feels SO good.”  She asked, “What feels so good?”  I answered, “My water broke, it just feels so good for some reason.”  We both had a good laugh over how wonderful that last contraction was, but the next one came and this time it was no laughing matter. 
I told my Mom to please hurry with getting the birth pool set up.  She began filling the pool with hot water, but soon the hot water ran out, and she was boiling pots of water.  All the while I was complaining at how long it was taking, and that she needed to get it up sooner rather than later.  At last the kiddie pool was inflated, and relatively warm enough to meet my standards.  With my son before the transport took place the warmth of the birth pool cut the pain of my contractions in half!  I was anticipating the same, but when I got in was sorely disappointed.  It just wasn’t good enough!  I needed to find the right position, but I just couldn’t feel comfortable.  A contraction would hit, and I went from hands and knees, to kneeling over the edge of the pool, to sitting, to on my back, to standing up!  I just couldn’t hold still!  My midwife came, and I told her, “Diane, I just can’t get comfortable, I can’t stop moving.”  She encouraged me and told me that all that movement would help bring my baby down and out.  The contractions were coming one on top of another with almost no break.  In a brief moment of desperation I asked my midwife, “Don’t you have anything for the pain?!” 
She sincerely answered, “Well I could always give you some Tylenol.”  I was so far in labor land for a brief moment I thought that would be a great idea, but quickly realized Tylenol wasn’t going to do a darn thing!  From the moment my water broke I had been feeling an urge to use the restroom, and told my midwife that I felt like I really needed to use it this time.  She encouraged me to give a gentle push, and see what happened.  The next contraction hit and I gave what I had intended to be a gentle push, but my body took over and I felt this immensely powerful unstoppable push!  I couldn’t stop my body from pushing!  Mentally I did nothing my body took over and forced me to push!  The most incredible feeling of power rushed through me.  That contraction ended, but only for a few seconds before the next contraction came, and my body took over pushing again.  I felt a slight stinging sensation that was probably dulled from being in the water.  I thought it must be crowning because I heard crowning stings, but thought it had to feel far worse than it did, and that I might have a few more contractions left. 
I yelled out to my baby, “Get out!  I need you out!”  My sweet baby listened because her head was very soon out.  I felt a tugging between my legs and it was uncomfortable.  I thought the midwife was pulling on my baby which was causing me pain so I shouted at her, “Don’t touch me Diane!”  She innocently showed me her hands which were no were near my baby’s head.  It suddenly dawned on me that my baby was also working to be born, and was kicking her way out.  I reached down between my legs and felt a squishy nose, cheek, and mouth.  The feeling surprised me, and I quickly gave one last push and pulled my baby up out of the water, and onto my chest.  At 11:42 PM on January 23rd, 2010 my daughter was born in the peaceful space of my own dining room.  The total duration of labor was less than 3 hours.   
It is difficult to put into words the feelings that come with having just given birth naturally and peacefully.  I felt relief that the hard work of birthing my baby was over, and grateful to God that this time everything went perfectly well.  My daughter immediately turned a perfect shade of pink, and gave out the most beautiful cry.  I cradled her in my arms, and told her how much I love her, and how beautiful she was.  Everyone was admiring her, and remarking at what an amazing birth she had, but the room seemed muffled to me, and for a few moments it felt as if nothing else in this world existed but me and this sweet baby that was so perfect in every way.  I was in bliss!
After about 10 minutes of admiring her beauty and perfection, the decision was made to cut her cord, and the honors were given to my Mother.  I handed my sweet girl to my husband, and my midwife asked me to get out of the birth pool and squat over a bowel for the delivery of the placenta.  The water was warm and soothing, and my after pains were still quite intense to me.  I asked to stay in the pool for a few more minutes.  I felt a weight between my legs, and knew it was the placenta.  I didn’t want the midwife to ask me to get out, so I casually reached between my legs, gave a soft tug on the cord, and lifted my placenta out of the water.  My midwife looked at me with surprise, and I asked her what I should do with it.  She grabbed the bowel, and I plopped it in! 
Everyone began cleaning up, and the midwife weighed my daughter.  She was 6 lbs. 13 oz.  Exactly the same as I weighed when I was born.  The midwife left about 2 hours after my daughter was born, and we all went to bed.
Mary is now a very happy and healthy 13 month old toddler.

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing, lovely story !

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  2. Thank you, KKatushka for reading and commenting.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

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  3. I had water birth in Germany for my first child, Bassant, now 7 years old. The best thing was the warm, light feeling inside the water during expulsion phase, but not less pain than I had during my second natural birth on a birth chair in Cairo without any pain medication. Still, water birth is great, but a vision for Egypt!
    Cairo-Doula Gertrud, Cairo Birth House

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  4. Salam alaikum, Gertrud,

    Keep praying and one day we will see the changes we are working for, isA, ya Rab!

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

    P.S. You really need to meet Dr. Hana

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  5. Oh, what a wonderful story! I wish I can see water birth in Egypt one day!

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  6. Good news for Egypt...there is an obstetrician who is researching and proposing water birth use in Alexandria! She is a natural birth advocate and if anyone can pull it off she can, insha'Allah.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

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  7. Aisha - do you have more information about this woman in Alexandria? I would very much appreciate any contact info you have. Thanks, Safi

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  8. Salam alaikum, Safi,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Please email me directly so that I can reply with the contact information. aisha_alhajjar@yahoo.com

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

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  9. I heard a rumor that home-births are illegal in Saudi. I live in Riyadh TTC and truly do not want/need to go to a hospital, Inshallah. I am searching your blog and the internet but I can\t seem to find a definitive answer. Simple put: Can I have a Home-Water-birth in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, legally?

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  10. Hi can you please provide doula contact number urgent as i am 38 weeks already.

    thanks
    sandra

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    Replies
    1. Asalam alaikum, Sandra,

      Thank you for your message. Where are you located?

      You can email me at aisha@amanibirth.com to connect and discuss further.

      Best regards,

      -Aisha, Natural Mom

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