ASIYA'S BIRTH STORY | LABOUR + BIRTH PART 2
If you haven't read Part One of Asiya's birth story (or just want a refresh, cause ya know, it's been 6 months since I wrote it, oops!) read it here.
Friday 23rd February 2018
After one of the most agonising car rides i've been on, we finalllyyyy arrived to the hospital. I jumped out of the car faster than I ever have and we walked inside. I remember seeing a couple of families with young children inside and my first thought was "keep it cool Naeema, you don't want to scare these girls and give them negative views of labour" lol! So I played it cool, hugged F and tried to go back into my zone. As I was already registered at the hospital Sonya just went up to the counter and let them know we were there, they said a midwife, Bonnie, was waiting for us upstairs so Sonya grabbed a wheelchair, I hopped in and off we went to the birthing suite.
It was 10am now and we settled into the room, I took off my hijab etc and got comfortable on the birth ball and started getting to know Bonnie. I was still trying to keep my cool, but boyyy, I was nervous. You see, I wasn't/I'm not scared of natural birth. But I am scared of Syntocin. Being a synthetic form of Oxytocin (the love hormone + the hormone needed for birth to progress) it hits you. Hard. Like, 0-100 hard. I was scared guys. And I also knew that part of being admitted to hospital meant they had to perform a cervical exam. Lord, do I hate those.
A few minutes went by before a doctor knocked on the door and asked to come in. She came in and immediately asked me to get on my back on the bed so she could do an exam. I was realllyyyy annoyed at this, she was rude and I could already feel my body tensing up and just being like "nope, yeah, nah, can you not" and then I felt a surge coming, and I wanted to get off the bed but she wouldn't let me (???!?!?) so I remember just holding onto my mum and screaming through it. Being on your back is the WORST position to be in anytime during labour but especially when you're going through a back labour. Bonnie offered me gas, I asked Meg the side effects and she said there aren't any (still not sure about that but anyway) so I was like yep, okay, give it to me. It took her a while to set it up and the doc goes to perform the exam in the mean time. She was soo rough with me, so I was trying to be nice and asked her to be a little gentler but nope, she told me to just "calm down" and continued the exam and I wanted to punch her (call me crazy haha). Anyway, she goes to say that I'm 7cm and she starts talking to Bonnie about giving me synto and an epidural.
I freaked out and turned to Sonya. WHAT? Epi???? We talked it out and they all agreed it was necessary for me to get the epidural as my body really needed to relax for labour to progress and it wasn't going to happen naturally. I turned to Sonya "do I really have to get it?" and I so vividly remember her looking at me with the saddest eyes saying "yes, i'm so sorry hun." I cried. I felt like everything was falling apart. I'm in hospital. I have to get syntocin. I have to get an epidural. I'll probably end up with a c-section. Yep, not the best state of mind.
They also wanted to administer antibiotics as my water had been broken for over 18 hours at this point, but I politely refused. Just because you are in labour doesn't mean whatever drugs you get will bypass the placenta and not go to your baby. Antibiotics are the worst as once they get to your baby they will damage their gut flora immediately which can/will have life long effects (if you don't already know, i'm crazy about gut health!). I want to mention here too that there haven't really been any studies on the affects of the epidural on your baby, but some side effects do include drowsiness and consequently the inability to latch straight away which can in turn have an effect on your milk coming in and possibly effect your supply.
And then guys, and then, someone knocks on the door and walks in (bear in mind, at this point i'm still on my back on the bed with my legs up and open) AND IT'S A MALE DOCTOR. No one gave him permission to enter but in he walks. And then, HE SAYS SALAAM TO US. Oh Ya Rabb, was I dying. We were all in a bit of shock because of everything that was happening that no one responded, so he asked if we speak English. And man, I was like you gotta be kidding, mate. I tried to maintain a bit of my modesty while dying inside and just wanted to be back at home in the pool.
He finally leaves and I decided to get back my mindset. The gas was ready and I started using it and it was amaazzzinggggg. I had found my chill again and was feeling calm and happy and ready to meet my baby girl. I was also high on the gas and I remember talking to Bonnie and being like "Hey Bonnie, can I call you BonBon" hahah I don't even know but we became good friends at that point lol.
In my head I started telling myself, I have to get synto and an epi, so i'm going to play it to my advantage. While waiting for the anaesthetist they wanted to administer the synto but I refused and said i'd like the epidural before anything else so I just chilled out and kept inhaling that gas and feeling like I was on a total high hahaha.
The anaesthetist came at 11am and she was soooo nice, I was nervous to get the epi so I used my hypnobirthing breathing and calmed myself and it was a breeze. The epi ended up not working on my right side so after half an hour they got me to turn on my right side to help it flow down but that didn't work either. They offered to up the dose but I refused and decided to just use the gas if I needed it to get through the surges. It was at this time that they administered the synto too and guys, it hit HARD and it hit FAST.
I focused on finding my calm and going back into my happy place in my mind. I used my breathing and I breathed in that gas. Half an hour later the doctor came in again and he wanted to do a cervical exam and I was like HELLL NO mate, if anyone is going to give me a check it will be BonBon, and so she did and I was still 7-8cm, he said he'll come back in an hour for another check but my good friend BonBon told him to give me 2 hours, he agreed. And she turns to me and goes, "I'm pretty sure baby is going to be out before then ;)" Yeah, I love BonBon.
I'm pretty sure it was the synto but Asiya's heart rate dropped or didn't pick up fast enough during a few surges. I already had a fetal heart rate monitor around my belly but it was losing her heart rate so that wanted to use the wire that attaches to her scalp and provides a more accurate reading. We had discussed this intervention during pregnancy and all agreed we would avoid it unless absolutely necessary, so we relayed this to the doctors. Alhamdulilah her heart rate picked back up and was okay over the next few surges so they agreed to let us be.
I started to reallyyyy relax at this point, the room was back to being calm with no one walking in and out and it was just me + by birthing team. We were cracking jokes and all just relaxing while I got through my surges. The time flew by at this point and at 2pm BonBon decided to do a check and was like "yo, baby is ready, it's time" and I said "oh but I was just getting relaxed can I relax for a little longer" LOL! But nope, baby is ready so let's get pushing.
Now, I was like "OMG I AM ABOUT TO MEET MY DAUGHTER I AM SO EXCITED" now you see, for my entire pregnancy I practiced 'breathing baby down' as I was planning to follow the lead of my body and just breathe my baby down my birth canal with no forced pushing. A lot of that practice was physically practicing your breathing while you're doing a poo (sorry if TMI but you use the same muscles sooo good practice haha). After months of doing that, your girl had no idea how to actually push. Add an epidural and not being able to fully feel my body, yeah I was like "how. do. I. push."
And then. The doctor walks in. Yep, that Muslim doctor. No knock again, he just enters and again I want to die. He has zero regard or respect for me. And he looks at me and goes "looks like we're going to need an episiotomy, I need to be in theatre now, should I stay?" and no one said anything so I looked at him and said "no. you can leave. thanks." and the midwives all laughed and I was like yo you guys didn't say anything to him and turns out no one likes him but they're all too afraid to speak up to him. He's the head OB and quite the jerk (I feel a little bad saying this but I still will never understand why men become OBs especially muslim men, it's just creepy). Anywayyyyy.
You have to push when a surge hits and as I could still feel it I new when one was coming on and when to get pushing, but I still couldn't push. Not to mention, I was so excited that I had the biggest smile on my face. After a few surges of trying to push and not much happening. I was like, you guys, someone help me and guide me through this cause I just can't do it. So Sonya gets up next to me and she pushes with me (yeah, it was a sight) and I'm there with the craziest smile on my face pushing and it was so incredible guys. And then Sonya and BonBon both asked me to stop pushing.
They noticed a small 'button hole' tear appear, something I had no idea of prior but essentially it's a tear that occurs in the middle of your perineum that if baby continues to descend and put pressure on your perineum can lead to tear that will split from the middle to the front and to the back. There's not gauging of how bad the tear will be, and so they recommended an episiotomy. Yep, that doctor was right. Another intervention I so badly did not want. But it was a tiny cut or a tear we had no idea how bad. BonBon performed the episiotomy and then it was back to pushing.
(At some point around here Asiya's heart rate got completely lost on the monitor and so we discussed and decided to attach the wire on her scalp. As her head was visible it was very easy to attach and alhamdulilah caused no damage to her scalp.)
I don't even know how many pushes I had to do, but with each push her head started to become more and more visible and my SIL and hubby were watching and kept saying "omg this is amazing" and what more of a cheer squad does a girl need haha so I kept pushing and then our sweet baby girl's head came out...and she opened her eyes, and she turned her head to the left and looked around...then she turned her head to the right and looked around hahahah I know!! It was sooo crazy subhanAllah.
And then her heart rate dropped and BonBon looked at her and she had her cord wrapped around her neck twice (something soooo common and really not as scary as it's made out to be in majority of cases) but BonBon was like "ok this baby needs to come out" and she pulled the rest of her body out and so, our sweet angel was born at 3:23pm on Friday the 23rd February 2018.
BonBon placed her on my chest and ohhh ya Allah the feeling of meeting your baby for the first time is unbelievable and unexplainable. My husband and I were crying and we looked at her, she was staring right back at us with this alert expression like "damn it's you two" haha and we both looked at each other and said "Asiya" our brave, strong and courageous girl.
And while we were there soaking her up, I heard Sonya say "you have to ask her you have to ask her you have to ask her....oh you already did it" and I looked over and BonBon had clamped the cord. We had planned to do delayed cord clamping and wait until her cord was completely drained and all the goodness had transferred from the placenta to her. But that didn't happen, so my husband proceeded to cut the cord in what was probably the most disappointing cord cutting ever. With her cord cut though I could bring her further up on my chest and she latched and we were all so high on oxytocin and so happy that she was finally here alhamdulilah.
And that is the very long story of how Asiya made her grand entrance into this world. Looking back on it brings back so many emotions. The entire experience, though not being what I wanted, was all kinds of amazing. It was intense, it was beautiful, it was heart shattering at times. I don't think I've fully accepted all the interventions that had to take place but I know that they happened for a reason. We plan and He plans and His plans are the best. I am also grateful for the hospital and the midwives and doctors, while I prefer to stay away from interventions, they are there for when they are required alhamdulilah. After all that happened, will we be attempting a homebirth for our next baby? You bet, inshAllah.
Due to having an epidural I had to stay overnight at the hospital, there is a lot that happened during this stay that I want to talk about so I guess there's going to be a part three to this story!
If you've made it all this way, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to read this. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learnt something or found a new perspective on birth.