Daily Archives: March 20, 2010

Allah is Al Qadeer – My Birth Story!

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My Birth Story

It has been almost three weeks since I was blessed by Allah (Swt) to go through what many women experience all over the world since our mother Hawwa (AS) was placed on the earth.

Every part of this wonderful experience is still with me and it has shown me that truly the power of dua is so very strong.

I am writing up my birth story for a few reasons. It is for those who, like me, had caesareans and so badly wished to birth their baby naturally. It is for those who are being tested and feel as though they are falling into a bottomless pit. It is for those who just need to be reminded that Allah (Swt) is there ready to completely turn a situation around as long as we rely on Him and turn to Him.

So my dear sisters, let me take you back to where it all began. In 2004, I was blessed to discover I was pregnant and I planned a natural birth. I took it for granted that I would have this natural birth. I never for once thought I would end up with a caesarean. We went to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart. I was 2cms dilated and my waters broke in the hospital. I was strapped to a bed so they could monitor me and I didn’t have the opportunity to mobilise. The hospital said that I had been in ‘for too long’ (it hadn’t even been 12 hours since my waters had broken) and they induced me with pitocin. As soon as they induced me, my baby’s heartbeat dropped and then eventually stopped. The pitocin drug which is used to speed up labour with strong contractions was too much for my baby and before I knew it, I was whisked away into theatre, was put to sleep with a general anaesthetic and the caesarean was performed. Alhamdulillah, my daughter was healthy but upon awakening from the GA, I felt it very difficult to bond with her. I didn’t hear her come into the world and the first moments of her life was spent with strangers who were just doing a job! I couldn’t feel my lower body and couldn’t move due to the operation. The next few months, I suffered in silence with baby blues. I felt ashamed that I felt so down as Allah had granted me a healthy child. But I just couldn’t control how I felt. I felt that something had been taken away from me. Years later I discovered that my inclinations were right. The hospital had intervened when they shouldn’t have which led to the caesarean.

Life became busy with my own studies, work, dawah and then eventually deciding to home educate my daughter instead of putting her in school which we are still enjoying as I write this. I put the birth experience to the back of my mind until I discovered I was pregnant again in 2007. After trying to get pregnant again for a few years, I was ecstatic and over the moon. I knew that I didn’t want to be induced again and I was hopeful for a natural delivery. Looking back, I hoped for it but did not plan enough which reinforces the importance of not only hoping in Allah but actually doing something about it – basically tying down your camel!

In 2008, my pre labour started at 35 weeks and for the next few weeks I was in and out of hospital feeling like I was in labour every night, only to learn that I was not dilating. I hardly slept over those three weeks. Eventually, I dilated to 3cms and I was so happy that active labour was underway. The midwives told me that they ‘needed’ to break my waters for me. I asked them to let me progress naturally. They told me they couldn’t allow me to as I had been in pre labour for too long (!) Too tired and in too much pain to argue, I let them break my waters and the contractions intensified. Again, I was hooked up to the CTG machine which did not allow me to be mobile. I just lay there on the bed dealing with the contractions. I reached 5-6cms when my baby’s heart rate dropped. Upon hearing this, it took me back to memories of 2004 and I suffered a massive panic attack. The room began to grow dark from all corners and I felt very very weak. I thought I was going to die. I remember asking Allah to forgive me and saying my shahadah as I really thought that this was it for me. The next thing I remember was doctors flying in, giving me oxygen and a doctor had placed her hand inside me to bring the baby’s heart rate back up. By the time I had realised that my blood pressure had dropped, the doctor informed me that if my baby’s heart rate or indeed mine dropped again, then it would be an automatic caesarean. Half an hour, my baby’s heart rate dropped and once again I was whisked into theatre, told to shut up (I kept asking whether my baby was okay) and count from 10 to 1 as they put me to sleep with general anaesthetic. I awoke to my husband carrying my son. I couldn’t move again and the pain was twice as worse as the last time. The baby blues hit me straight away and I found it very difficult to heal physically and emotionally for many months after my son’s birth.

These two experiences left scars deeper than the physical scars from the actual caesareans. I didn’t feel complete. I felt like I wasn’t given the chance to birth my children. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy with the decree of Allah. I trusted that at these points in my life, Allah knew that this was what was best for me. However, I felt that the hospital had intervened when they shouldn’t have. It is very difficult to explain how one feels after an emergency caesarean. You really feel like someone has sliced you up physically and mentally. When the health visitor visited me after the birth of my son, she felt that it was her duty to inform me to ‘only have one more’ as they don’t allow for more than 3 caesareans. I asked her if it was possible to have a natural delivery after 2 previous caesareans. She laughed and said ‘No way’. My dream of birthing my child naturally seemed to slip away. That was until I discovered I was pregnant again in 2009!

2007/2008 was a difficult period for me. Allah had decided to test me with quite a few tests and I was not very positive about many things in my life during that time. I felt very negative about myself in general. In 2009, when I found out that we would be having our third child, I knew that I needed to sort out so many things. The first on the list was the way I saw myself. I knew that I wanted to try and have a natural delivery and had no idea how that was going to happen as I had been told that it wouldn’t be possible. But I just knew that I wanted it and with the help of Allah, anything is possible. So, the first thing I worked on was changing the way I felt about myself and my life. I began to switch negative thoughts into positive ones and it was during this time that I discovered that many women had had natural vaginal deliveries after not only 1 caesarean, but 2, 3, 4 and even 6 with one lady. I was amazed and my research began. I spent hours reading VBAC birth stories, watching videos, learning about the risks associated with VBACs and repeat sections. Would my scar really rupture if I attempted a VBAC etc etc. And I made up my mind. I was going to go for this VBAC even if I had to do it alone. By the mercy of Allah, I discovered an online group called ukvbachbac and I joined. Over the course of my pregnancy, the women on there – some muslim and some non-muslim supported me by answering my questions, sharing their experiences and making me feel like I could do this. Two women who lived in my local area told me that they had their VBACs at Kings College Hospital and so I transferred my care there and realised that a friend of mine, a very funny Polish revert sister worked as a midwife there on labour ward. I had known her since my eldest was born but we had lost contact. I made contact with her, explained my situation and asked her if she would help me in my quest to deliver naturally. She happily agreed.

This dear sister, midwife and friend was so very patient with me over the course of my pregnancy and I ask Allah to reward her with ease in this life and in the next. Ameen.

During the pregnancy, I wrote my birth plan which was very detailed (if anyone would like a copy as a means to developing their own, I would me more than happy to email it to you. My email address is at the end) I had to revisit my previous two labours to learn what had gone wrong. My hospital notes were ordered and it was then that I realised that certain factors contributed towards the caesareans:

-unnecessary intervention

-lack of mobility

-being hooked up to that annoying CTG machine

I declined consultant led care during my pregnancy and labour and instead opted for midwifery led care. This time I was in control of my choices. No hospital and no doctor was going to tell me what I had to do with my body even though I was advised by one doctor to have an elective caesarean. Everything was ready, the hospital were going to support my detailed birth plan (it actually caused quite a stir on labour ward when it was distributed around to the doctors as a VBA2C is not an every day occurrence!)

In February 2010, my pre labour started at 37 weeks. In my mind I began to feel a little despair as the labour seemed to be so similar to my previous one. I began to have irregular contractions that were painful and would sometimes become regular. This went on for roughly two weeks. I didn’t go near the hospital as I knew that my chance of having a VBA2C would be taken away from me if I entered hospital in pre labour. So, I dealt with the pain at home. On Saturday 27th February 2010, I heard news that a dear sister who was also attempting a VBA2C had given birth my caesarean. She had tried so hard mashaAllah, but in this instance the section was needed. I felt so happy for her that she had given it her best shot but I felt somewhat despondent as to whether I could actually do this. I was tired and the pre labour was taking a lot out of me. I remember crying and crying and I called a dear sister for support. She gave me advice which I honestly believe contributed towards the wonderful experience that I had. She told me to reconnect with Allah, to turn to Him, to really pour my heart out to Him and to remember that the outcome of this is really in His Hands. And so, after finishing the call, I made wudu, prayed 2 rakat and made a very lengthy dua. I asked Allah to make me content with His decree. I asked Him to grant me this VBA2C if it was good for me. I asked Him to make me strong. I made a lot of istighfar and I tried to use the best ways to make dua, facing the qiblah, imploring Him using His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes, repeating my requests three times, sending salawat on the Prophet (saw) etc. After I finished making dua, I felt ready for whatever He would bring my way. I felt ready for even a repeat caesarean because I knew that I had done everything I could to plan for this VBA2C, but ultimately it was in His Hands.

SubhanAllah, that night at 9pm, my contractions became more painful and they were regular all night. I couldn’t believe it. I wondered if this was the pre labour turning to active labour that I had asked so many sisters to make dua for. On Sunday morning, they were still regular at between 8-10 minutes apart. Sunday night, they were every 10 minutes apart but more painful. I hadn’t slept for two nights by Monday morning and so decided to take a bath to try and relax. I couldn’t understand what was going on, as the contractions were very painful but they were getting further apart by a minute but still regular.

After having my bath, I came downstairs to eat some lunch. All throughout my lunch, the contractions were still 10 minutes apart. Then, as I lifted a fork of food to my mouth, I felt a contraction that was 5 times more painful than the ones I had been experiencing. I groaned and moaned through it and the next one came 3 minutes later. I left the table, and fell to my knees on the floor. I couldn’t sit or stand. Every 3 minutes I had these painful contractions that were accompanied by intense pressure down below. I told my husband that ‘we need to go to the hospital NOW’ as I felt that the baby was going to come out at any moment!

My husband went into a bit of a panic, lol! And phoned a taxi company. Whilst I was having these contractions, I heard him argue with the company that it couldn’t cost £45 to take me to a hospital which was only 20 minutes away. I screamed at him to end the call and take another taxi card from the 10 cards that were on the fridge. Upon hearing me, he ran out the house and ran to a taxi firm which was at the end of the road. Poor thing, lol! When he came back, I told him to get my hospital bags and even though he knew exactly where they were, he just couldn’t remember! So, my dear daughter showed him exactly what to take and not to forget the car seat!

The taxi arrived and my mother in law and husband carried me to the taxi as I couldn’t walk due to the intense pain. I called the sister (I’ll call her L from now on) who alhamdulillah was working on labour ward and she told me she was getting ready for me (another dua that was answered!). In the taxi, I kept making silent dua that Allah would save me from the embarassment of giving birth in the taxi. The pressure below was getting worse and I really thought that I was going to give birth in the taxi. On the journey, I couldn’t help but groan and make quite loud noises with each contraction. The poor taxi driver (which we later discovered was a brother, as my husband later bumped into him in the masjid) drove over a hole in the ground as I was having a contraction. I screamed at him (may Allah forgive me) and the poor brother apologised and apologised and apologised. I think this was his first labour – lol!

We finally arrived at the hospital. To get to the labour ward, you have to go through the main entrance and into the lift which takes you to the fourth floor. I told my husband that there was no way that I could walk. So, he left me in the taxi whilst he ran to get a wheelchair. When we arrived at labour ward, L met us in reception and immediately wheeled me into the delivery room (the only delivery room with the built in birth pool!) I looked at the clock and it said 3pm.

She told me that she would need to examine me and whilst she was examining me internally, I kept making dua that I would be dilated as this had been a problem in my previous two labours. She said to me ‘Ooh, alhamdulillah, you’re 4cms dilated. Your cervix is like butter and the baby’s head is right down there. Your cervix is posterior so I need you to get on all fours so that your cervix can move to the front.’

So, I got on all fours and the contractions were so very intense. I asked for gas and air which I used for a bit, but it was so annoying as it was making me dizzy and I couldn’t concentrate on dealing with the pain. In the end, I held on to the gas and air for dear life, but didn’t actually use it very much.

The pressure was unbelievable and I kept telling L that I needed to go to the toilet. She asked me if it was for a number 1 or a number 2. I told her a number 2. She told me to do it there on the bed. I told here that there was no way that I would poo in front of her. ‘I’ve seen it all before’, she advised me. ‘There is no way that I am going to the toilet in front of you’, I complained. ‘Well, you better because I am not letting you give birth in the toilet. The head is too low.’ And so, I stayed on all fours and asked her for pain relief. She told me no (I had told her that I didn’t want an epidural etc and that she wasn’t allowed to give me this pain relief even if I begged her for it). So, instead she said I could get into the water. The allure of warm water made me calmer. She began to fill this massive tub! It seemed to take hours. Apparently, it only takes 20 minutes. I kept asking her if it was ready and she said 5 more minutes. The contractions were on top of each other at this point and I felt like I just couldn’t cope. I wasn’t having any pain relief and I couldn’t even hold myself up on the bed. My head was buried into the bed and my knees were barely holding me up. Suddenly, I felt what seemed like an explosion and my waters broke with a mighty burst. L told me that the contractions would become more painful now. In my mind, I panicked and wondered how they could get more painful than this. It was then that I remembered Maryam (AS) and knew that if she could do it alone, I could get through this. Such sweet words greeted me when L finally said that I could get into the tub. I got in and as soon as I got in, the contractions became more intense as my body started pushing on its own. With each contraction I kept slipping in the water, unable to hold myself up. So, L gave my husband one of those long foam bars used in swimming pools. My husband put the bar behind under my arms and round my back so that he could hold me up. With each contraction, he held me up and I gripped what I though was a pole, but it was in fact his arm!

L told me that I was opening up and that she could see the head. I remember her telling me to put my hand down and feel the head. I told her no! All I could think about was the pain I was experiencing. All throughout this time, she had put a mirror into the water so that we could see what was happening. I didn’t see a thing as my eyes were kept tightly shut during each contraction. I must have opened up quite a lot, as I saw L put some gloves on and get some towels ready. She then tested the water to make sure that it was the right temperature and told me to listen to her. She went through when to push, when to stop and told me that I would need to do this 3-4 times during each contraction. I began to panic as I knew the time had come. I was waiting for the contraction to begin and when it did, I began to push. This is my first natural labour and my gosh, the pain! My gosh, the pain! SubhanaAllah!

During my pushing, I felt half of the head come out and I felt fire down below. I screamed uncontrollably from the agony and told L that I couldn’t do this anymore. It was at this point that I really felt I couldn’t go on and another caesarean seemed quite a good idea! She then told me that the head was blue and that I needed to push this baby out in the next contraction. And when the next contraction came, I pushed that baby out with all of my might and energy – felt the ring of fire down below and then the body just slipped out. I remember telling my husband how scared I was when L said that his head was blue. My husband told me that his head wasn’t blue, but that L had seen that I was at the point of giving up and wanted me to have a natural delivery and so scared me into pushing the baby out which I am grateful for because perhaps I would have had an instrumental delivery or another caesarean. For a few seconds, I became dazed and confused. ‘Catch your baby’, L said! These words brought me back to reality and I lifted my son out of the water and put him immediately to my chest. To hear him cry and to immediately have that skin to skin contact was absolutely amazing. It had been hours until my other two children were brought to me.

‘You did it, you did it! MashaAllah! Alhamdulillah!’ chorused L and my husband. Upon hearing those words, I broke into tears, still holding my baby in the water. Anyone who knows me, knows how important this natural delivery was to me. Allah had answered my duas. He had granted me my VBA2C. I cannot explain how I felt. I felt and still feel like I can do anything. I feel like the scars from my previous two labours are now healed.

‘5.07pm’, Layla had pronounced when he was born. I was shocked that from entering to hospital to the birth had only taken 2 hours. It seemed like I was in there for hours on end! Another dua that was answered so Perfectly.

I had a second degree tear and as L was sticthing me up, we were talking about how Allah is so Merciful and how He had answered every dua that I had made: L working on labour ward when I went into labour, a quick labour, a natural delivery, my scar not rupturing. She then asked me if I had made dua that I would not tear as I pushed. I had completely forgot to make dua for that! We both smiled. And so subhanAllah, Allah (Swt) really did answer all of my duas.

I am ever so grateful to Allah (Swt) for granting me what the depths of my soul so ardently desired. I am also grateful to all the sisters who made dua for me. Sometimes, it is just the dua of one sincere soul for you that can make all the difference. The sincerity of the heart that makes a dua is so important and I know that there were a lot of sincere hearts making dua for me. JazakhaAllahu kharian my dear sisters. I am grateful to my husband for his support and understanding, especially as he comes from a country where men do not attend births. And finally, L (I know you will be reading this). You are a star my dear sister and I thank you for your patience, support and care. You are one special lady mashaAllah.

And to anyone reading this, whether you know me or not. Remember one thing, whether it is a VBAC that you are attempting, or something that you so badly want but wonder how it will ever happen. Know this: Allah is Al Qadeer. He is Ar Rahman. He is Al Wadood and He is Al Mujeeb. He will answer your duas if it is good for you and if you really really trust that He can do it. And know and believe that He is Capable of doing ANYTHING. Once we approach Him in this manner, wonderful wonderful things CAN and WILL happen. May Allah (Swt) answer all of your duas in the Perfect way that He answered mine.

 

Please feel free to circulate this email to anyone whom you think it will benefit. My email address is

Anyone interested in home education, you can visit

Umm Raiyaan (March 2010)

www.islamichomeeducation.co.uk which has a forum that I and a few other sisters run, or my blog www.ummihomeschoolsme.wordpress.comummraiyaan@googlemail.com. Anyone interested in the ukvbachbac group, you can find this group here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ukvbachbac/