Adilah's Birth Story - First born, home birth

This birth stories blog was created to empower and help women heal through story telling. 

Trigger warning: This birth story contains details of labour and a second degree tear.

Baby Aya arrived in this world on July 18, 2015 at 12pm on the dot. 37 weeks and two days, 7.13 lbs and 20.5″ long. 14 hours of labor from beginning to end and 30 minutes of pushing. 

Friday we celebrated Eid and we started the day by dressing in our new outfits sent from Singapore made especially for my pregnant belly by my Aunt. Dark navy blue with royal green accents, my husband even dressed in a matching outfit made for him! He is Egyptian, but wore my Malay heritage that year.

Eid prayer was at 9am and we met for brunch after with family and friends. I started to feel real tired and a little uncomfortable so I decided to leave and go take a nap, thinking it was probably because I was up early and needed to catch up on some beauty sleep. My husband came up later and we decided to go for a walk and get some dessert at a French café around 4:30pm. By 6pm we were power walking back home because my stomach started to feel upset and I really needed to go to the bathroom! By 10pm my stomach aches turned into cramps and were getting stronger. They were different from my normal Braxton Hicks, I felt nauseous which had never happened before. I called Carol our midwife to tell her what was happening and she said, with a cool calm voice, “That‘s great! I’m going to go to bed, you do the same.” She told me to get as much rest, eat some food and to call her in the morning or the emergency number if anything happens in the middle of the night. I was a little shocked but ok, told myself to take on her cool and calm persona. 

Khaled and I watched that space movie, Interstellar, and he fell asleep within 30 mins, no surprise there, so we crawled into bed. I was up 30 minutes later taking a bath because of the cramps. They just felt like really bad menstrual cramps which was normal for me. Pain in my back, stomach and thighs. But by 3:30am things got real. I text Denise, my doula, telling her I think I’m going through labor and my contractions were about 20 to 15 minutes apart. She straight away texted me back with the advice to rest and to keep in touch, she would be there in the morning. I woke up Khaled because at this point I needed his support to get through the pain. I took showers and used the heating pad on my back as he rubbed my feet and legs. I couldn’t lay down, it hurt too much for that, I was much more comfortable sitting up or walking. Khaled called Carol at 7am giving her an update. At this point I was in my zone and didn’t want to talk on the phone or answer questions for anyone. It was funny because Khaled thought it was false contractions based off what he was reading online. You can’t always trust google! 

Carol wanted to hear my contractions, which I thought was really interesting that one can tell how far along the mother is in labor by listening because I wasn’t screaming, I was definitely moaning and breathing deep but I wasn’t sure if she could hear my pain. I think I hold it in a lot and mentally meditate to keep it at bay in my mind. I would picture the ocean, and the waves coming and going on the beach through my contractions. They were 6-7 minutes apart now. I was also constantly saying Allahuakbar, God is great, which also made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my aches and true feelings.

Khaled called our folks letting them know this might be the real thing (I already knew it was) and our doula arrived around 9am which was perfect timing so Khaled could run down to the store and get toilet paper and some food since we were out.

Having a doula was another best decision we made besides having a home birth. She followed me everywhere like a mother hen, helping me in and out of the shower, bringing me water, reminding me how to breathe, giving counter pressure on my back to ease the pressure. She was my positive reinforcement.

Reminding me why I was there, reminding me that I will see my baby girl soon. When Carol and her assistant arrived at 10:30am she said I was 6cm dilated, yay! Almost there! They left to give me space which at first I was scared of, thinking, where are they going?? I need them! They just got here! But really, I didn’t need them. I needed to just meditate and let my contractions and labor continue on its path.

There was a point when I thought to myself, next time I’m doing this in the hospital, next time I’m getting the epidural. But I quickly pushed those thoughts out of my mind, knowing that if I thought of the pain and finding a drug release, it was not going to help me at all right now. Staying positive and thinking of the end result is what pushed me through. The pain and time is only temporary and so minor compared to a lifetime of being with my baby girl.

By 11:15am my contractions were 1-2 mins apart and I already felt the urge to push. I was standing in the shower when Denise called Carol to come back up. I then felt a real strong need to poo so I sat on the toilet and just started to push. I was hanging onto Khaled pulling down on him as the contractions came over me and I screamed to push! I remember Carol being on her knees with a flashlight trying to see in the toilet bowl and monitor our baby’s heart. I didn’t want this baby born on the pot but I also didn’t want to move. I remember Carol snapping me back into reality. She directly told me, I can scream as loud as I want but I am not helping my baby come out. I realized I needed to scream or moan low and deep, down into my belly as I pushed. My water broke then and right after that we moved to the bed so Carol could get a better read on the baby’s heartbeat. A move I thought was impossible but we did it.

I pushed and pushed with my husband on my left side and my doula on my right, both holding my legs up in a stirrup position, pushing back as I crunched forward with my hands pulling under my thighs. Carol asked if I wanted to feel her head! It was so soft, she was almost there. Khaled was already crying at this point. I remember feeling that “ring of fire” as she crowned it, it stung and burned like crazy and I knew at that point she had to come out. Carol coached me as I pushed, and by 12pm Khaled caught Aya as she literally slipped out into this world! The happiest moment of my life. I was so exhausted from the labor, and couldn’t believe we had all just done this. I was so happy with all the people that were there. They weren’t just my doula and my midwife. They were my friends. People I had gotten to know over the months and began to trust as one did their friends. Aya was surrounded with so much love it made everything seem perfect.

I was bleeding more than was normal and Carol gave me a shot of pitocin. I also had a second degree tear inside which she sewed up. I had no fear with any of that, I knew I was in good hands and only cared about my baby girl.

After getting Aya to latch on and drink her first meal, going through all the health checks with the baby and me, taking a hot shower, changing into fresh clothes and eating, everyone was out of our apartment in two hours and all of a sudden it was my husband and I, plus one.

A happy ending to our new beginning, alhamdulillah. 

-Written by Adilah Yelton, Ibu Doula