Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Newborn baby, Badr!
I'm really impressed with this young mother's determination and research into birth. She really took time to educate herself and knew what she wanted, masha'Allah. However, I'm a little surprised at her doula's active role, as usually a doula only supports the mother emotionally during the birth and doesn't perform any physical examinations.
I hope you enjoy this birth story and would love if you share yours! Now on to the story...Research Pays Off in a Lotus Birth!...
I found out by surprise that I was pregnant when I went into the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. I had thought I had the stomach flu. After some blood tests and an ultrasound it was determined that I was a already month along!
I had just turned 19. I was very excited, but also very nervous, as I had no idea what to expect.
We were living in Bahrain and I was a bit uneasy about delivering there. To top it off, I didn't have any family or friends for support.
One of my good friends suggested I have a home birth. She said that she had one and had really a positive experience. I had never really given my birth place much thought as I always assumed that it automatically had to be in a hospital. After talking with her I decided to look into it.
I went on CafeMom and talked with many women who had home births. Some also shared their traumatic hospital birth experiences. I told my obstetrician that I clearly wanted a natural birth. Unfortunately, I got the impression that birth is a disease and that they would need to constantly poke and prod to deliver safe babies.
From my research, I discovered that hospital births often come with unnecessary interventions. Some of which may lead to further complications. I especially wanted to avoid a Cesarean section; it just seemed insane to allow someone to cut open my body for their own financial gains!
I decided to order natural birthing books to do a deeper study on the subject. I found that home birth with a qualified midwife was a safe alternative, without all the intervention risks. I searched for many months but couldn't find a midwife.
Then I began looking into unassisted birth stories on Laura Shanley's Bornfree website. At that point I was seriously considering a home birth. My husband didn't mind being my birth assistant but I also wanted a female companion who had the experience delivering babies at home. I felt I may need her to be my support during contractions and to help me cope with my fear of labor and birth.
At 36 weeks pregnant I hadn't totally decided. I finally went ahead to American Mission Hospital to sign my labor paperwork. During this visit I felt hopeless because no one respected my wishes for a calm, relaxing, welcoming birth experience.
As a first time mother, the coming birth experience really meant a lot to me. I looked online some more to see if I could find anyone who would support me during my birth. Finally, at 39 weeks pregnant I found a mom who had unassisted childbirths and she had posted her story on BornFree. I was thrilled to find that she was also in Bahrain!
I was ecstatic and immediately emailed her to see if she was still in Bahrain! To my luck...she was! I was so happy when she agreed to support me as a doula in a planned home birth...YAY!
I really wanted to look good after birth so she and I planned a fun day out to the salon to get henna done on our feet. That morning my early labor started but I felt very energetic. I tried to count my contractions but they weren't very stable - they varied from 5-15 minutes apart. My doula assured me that everything was fine and suggested that it could be because it was my first birth and my body getting used to the contractions. We decided to go ahead to the salon as planned. I felt really relaxed there but I was also excited knowing that my baby was going to be in my arms soon, insh'Allah! It was a really nice treat.
The day passed and by 3 am the next day I had trouble sleeping. The pain from the contractions was becoming more intense and I don't think I slept very well, neither did my husband. He had to do back massages and hip squeezes to ease some of the pain.
In the early morning we went to get some breakfast and then we slept a bit. When I was in the car the pain was really bad I couldn't stand sitting while I was having contractions! The doula offered to come stay in her guest bedroom and to use her bathtub for the birth. I was very grateful for the offer.
At 9 pm I decided to take a long walk with my husband at the park near the airport. During our walk I felt like screaming because the contractions were really intense. I also didn't feel very comfortable as the place was crowded. When I visited the washroom I found my mucous plug, a sign that my long and painful back labor was progressing.
We decided to stay over night at my doula's home. I really hoped to have the baby there but by morning my labor had slowed down a bit. My husband and I decided to head back home. A few hours later, I was having hard labor so I called the doula to come in and help. I knew it was near time to deliver my baby and I had no idea what to do!
She guided my pushing because by that time I was exhausted from my long labor. I pushed for many hours and was surprised when she checked me and I could feel the skull high up; it was so surreal! My husband decided we take a break and get some fresh air, so we took a walk on the beach in my area and got some lunch.
At one point, as my doula checked me, my water broke. She was a bit worried as there was meconium in my waters, which can be a sign of fetal distress. I figured I would push for a bit and see if the baby would come out. It had already been a little over three days of labor. At this point I was very exhausted. We gave in and decided we should go to the hospital to deliver.
Before we were out the door, I wanted to have a hot shower as a last resort since I hadn't been in water all day. I had always thought that being in hot water would slow down the labor, but I was wrong! My husband went in with me and I suddenly felt some strange sensations. I knew something was coming down pretty fast!
I was afraid to push so I called out for my doula. She rushed in and quickly guided my pushing. After lots of pushing and hard work, we could see the baby's hair. There was a head full of very beautiful, long, soft, black hair, masha'Allah!
I focused so hard on my pushing to get the baby out. Finally, I felt the head come out, followed by the body with another contraction or two. I'm really not sure if my husband or doula caught him but whoever it was handed him directly to me! He was immediately red and crying, masha'Allah. I couldn't believe it! A baby came out of me! All that hard work paid off! We guestimated he weighed about seven pounds.
During my pregnancy I had read a lot about lotus births (not cutting the cord and just keeping the placenta along side the baby until it naturally detaches). After the birth we weren't sure whether to cut the cord or not. I really wanted the most gentle, welcoming for baby Bader so we decided to delay cutting the cord for at least 24 hours to see if it is still convenient for us, otherwise we would cut it without clamping.
I had read about using herbs to keep the placenta from smelling but we couldn't find all the suggested herbs. We decided to try dried rosemary and it seemed fine. On the third or fourth day the cord dried up and separated from Bader, masha'Allah. After it was detached we just threw away the placenta.
If anyone were to ask, I think I would just suggest sprinkling the dried ground up rosemary on the placenta, insha'Allah. As for the home birth, I would do it again, but hopefully the labor won't be as long, insha'Allah!