I just want to tell you it is possible to have a positive birth. I was pregnant with my second child and so nervous and scared of labour. With the first one I didn’t know what to expect, but with the second I was dreading the inevitable contractions.
Positive pregnancy WhatsApp group helped me so much to make informed decisions and to find out about my rights.
At the end of my pregnancy I was told that ‘I should be induced’ as in a scan the baby was not growing ‘at the rate they would expect’.
I was worried but asked if everything else was OK – blood flow and baby’s heart rate was fine. I told them that I could feel regular movements, however they were still persistent. I was already scared of birth and the thought of induction made me stressed, but I declined it.
I made dua (prayer) and waited… I was now one week ‘overdue’ and at 41 weeks pregnant I was considering hijama (cupping) as a natural method of induction as I was adamant that I did not want to be ‘pumped up’ with synthetic medicine.
I know for some this is necessary, but I did not feel there was a medical reason for me to be induced.
I had an appointment with my midwife a few days later and was offered a membrane sweep and, of course, I was told that ‘I would be induced’ a few days later. As I sat with the midwife I was feeling some mild pains that she could see on my face. She told me that I should have a sweep, if the pains meant labour starting then sweep would help it to progress, as the contractions I was having now could stop. I declined the sweep and decided to do lots of walking.
I went home and decided to get on with my chores – putting washing out and taking care of my 18 month old. The contractions continued and I stayed calm and stopped to breathe through a contraction and then continued to to play with my eldest. When contractions became too strong I asked some family members to keep him while I retreated to the comfort of my bedroom. I lied down and the contractions kept coming, I breathed deeply through each contraction as my husband came in and out of the room. I was so surprised that when a contraction passed, I was able to speak to my husband, and then another one would come again. I did not want to see anyone else so asked my husband to get a bucket for me to wee in so I didn’t have to leave my room.
By the evening my contractions were six minutes apart so I told my husband that I needed to go to the hospital. He didn’t think I was really ready to go as I was still able to voice my opinion and with my first I didn’t even look at him, let alone speak to him. Every time I had a contraction I would sit on my bed and rock my hips while breathing. My husband decided to pray first and then we left.
On arrival at the hospital I had to argue that I was eligible for the Newham birthing centre as I had no complications during my pregnancy.
A nice midwife from the back office must have heard me arguing with the front desk staff and took me to a room. She checked me and to everyone’s surprise I was already almost 7cm!
She left the room to get the birthing pool ready, and I was so ecstatic that my duas had been answered as none of this was possible, if Allah had not made it happen. I remember even laughing at a joke my husband made before the next contraction.
I did not have a water birth with my first child and asked for epidural many times during that labour. But this time as soon as I got in the pool I felt relieved! I can’t explain that but I didn’t even need gas and air.
The contractions were strong now but the midwives kept reminding me to breathe. There was a time near the end where I felt exhausted and voiced that I could not do it any more but my body continued to push the baby downwards.
Alhamdulillah (thank God) after 2.5 hours of being in the pool I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. No tears, no stitches, no grazes.
My sincere advice to everyone who is pregnant: try your best to stay calm in labour, our bodies are designed to do this! Breathe…in whatever way you can, breathe deeply, and make lots of dua.
Zaynab lives in East Ham, London and is a stay at home mum to two children. This birth story relates to her baby boy, born in May 2018.