Hearing a good birth story is extremely powerful. I used to read through dozens when I was pregnant. Listening to other women’s stories empowers and educates you for your own, it inspires courage. This was my third baby and second V-Bac and I hope that it gives comfort to any of you out there, wondering if you can do it. Our bodies are absolutely incredible, listen to your body, listen to your gut, you can do whatever you set your mind too.
Here is Raya’s story:
To our beautiful baby girl, at just over 3 months old I think its time you had your first little letter dedicated to you and your birth story. I’ve written about your brothers and before it starts to get all hazy and memories fade I thought let me put yours down.
Your pregnancy was by far the most trying one I have had. Not that it was awful, it just felt like I was pregnant forever. I also had every single pregnancy “ailment” one could think of which made me so uncomfortable. But, Alhumdullilah, both you and I managed to stay healthy and strong throughout it.
I was determined to have a second V-Bac; having had an emergency c-section with your brother and a V-bac the second time, I knew the natural recovery was a waaaay easier option. I knew my body could do it and I wanted you to come on your own accord. I even contemplated a home birth with you and considered an all natural option.
You kept me waiting right until the end, like both of your brothers. At 41 weeks, I was due to go in to have either an induction or a c section on the Thursday morning. Wednesday was spent dropping and fetching your brothers from school, eating dates, drinking Raspberry Tea and walking to try and get you here. Thankfully, you heard my prayers and just before Midnight on Wednesday night, as I was doing some last minute cupboard organisation (and climbing up and down off a chair), my waters broke. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I went downstairs to tell your dad, double checked everything was all packed and tried to get some sleep. I was in no rush to head to hospital just yet, and I wanted to stay comfortable at home for as long as possible. Your big brother woke up at about 1h30 and I took him back to his room and lay with him, timing the contractions as they came. It only took about an hour until they were 3 or 4 minutes apart and started to get a “little” sore. The warm waters of a hot shower helped to ease the pain and I got dressed, did my make up (of course I did) and at about 3h30 am woke your dad up to tell him it was time to get to the hospital. He woke up, had a cigarette and was taking his time in the shower! You’ll soon realise that I don’t swear much at all, but at this point, as I was trying to breathe through the pain, I “politely” told your dad that now was not the best moment to take his sweet time.
4 am seems to be our “go to the hospital” time, its the same time we went to the hospital with your brother too. I held onto the crash bar and lifted my bum off the seat the whole way to the hospital (the bumps on the road were so uncomfortable). We walked into the hospital just before 4h30 and did all the pre-checks and paperwork. I had to hold on to the counter for support and couldn’t talk while the contractions happened, so I knew you wouldn’t be too far off. All the normal labour rooms were full so they put us into the examining room and drew the curtains. I can safely say at this point there was about a minute or two between the contractions and they were more than a little painful. We had the coolest mid-wife who was chilled and calm about everything and was rushing between our room and another. She was hip and told me to “do your thing mama” and didn’t keep me strapped down to the monitors, which I was grateful for. She joked we would end up delivering at the same time as next door and I estimated you would make your appearance at 6h30 am. By 5h30 am, I still hadn’t received my requested shot of pethidine (I think the midwife was trying to get me to go natural) but at this point my tiredness was taking over, and I craved relief from the pain. She finally came back with it but I’m convinced she didn’t give me a full dose because it didn’t really “take the edge off”, or it could have been because I was too tired. Your daddy was there supporting me as always, but when it comes to labouring I am super frigid. I don’t want to be touched or talked to, I want your presence next to me but don’t freaking touch me 🙂
The doc arrived just before 6am and at that stage I was pretty much 9 or 10 cm and she just told me to call her when I felt that “urge to push” – (mama’s reading this, you know what I mean). At 7am I still hadn’t had the overwhelming urge (I mean it was there, but not really strong like it was with your brother) and was starting to worry as the lady next door had already delivered. Being a V-Bac I knew time and progression was of the essence and I sure as hell didn’t want you to be an emergency C-section. So I told a little white lie and told my doc I was ready (in hindsight maybe not the best option). I had 2 or 3 pushes and then it seemed like my contractions weren’t strong anymore, I couldn’t feel them as much and it felt like they were taking too long (could have also been the pethidine). I was pushing and bearing all the weight down in my neck (I felt it the next day) and not enough into my legs. They pulled out the stirrups and on push 3 Doc told me if your head didn’t drop down more she was going to have to use the vacuum (I had no objections), but if the vacuum didn’t help pull your head down she was going to operate… Push 4 and what seemed like a never ending push (I ran out of breath, have you ever tried taking another deep breath whilst still pushing down?? Its freaking impossible); you finally entered the world.
At 7h24 am on the 18th April 2019 you were placed on my chest for the first time, I will never forget the feeling of holding your warm, slippery body on my chest. You were so so warm and my body temperature by then was so so low. The first thing I noticed was how big you were and what an incredible amount of hair you had (explains the 2 solid weeks of agonizing heart burn I had). You weighed 3.68 kgs and opened your eyes immediately. Your daddy cut your cord and whispered Azaan in your ear. I almost gave up. I said to my doctor in that last push that I couldn’t push anymore and “I give up”, but the moment you were placed on my chest everything was forgotten about. Everyone else disappeared and in that moment it was just you and I.
I hadn’t had a drip or anything while I was in labour so they put that in afterwards while they cleaned up a bit and waited for my blood pressure to stabilize before wheeling us to our ward at 9 am (I lost a decent amount of blood with you). The first thing I did was order a giant bowl of hot oats and a pot of tea 🙂 Your daddy went home to get some sleep and you slept on my chest the whole morning, skin to skin. Of course I didn’t sleep a wink yet because every 30 minutes in hospital there is a knock on the door, checking blood pressure, changing dustbins etc. I realised at about 10am that I hadn’t even tried to “feed you yet” (it shocked me because Id done that immediately with your brothers, but you hadn’t even cried!) and you latched with ease and strong force. By noon I begged the nurses to let me go and bath and get cleaned up, I didn’t want your brothers seeing any “mess” when the came to meet you. They came in awe to meet their baby sister at about 2pm and were so unsure and cautious. It was so precious and I’m so glad your auntie was there to capture the moment.
Your narnie spent the night with us in the room and once the doc came around the next morning to do her rounds she gave us the all clear to go home if we wanted to! So you came home and completed our family of 5 on your very second day.
Raya Maryam you have always been with us, it’s like you have always been a part of the family and are the sweetest baby ever. You are happy, smiley, patient and you hardly ever fuss. Your brothers are obsessed with you and you are your dad’s baby love. I cant wait to adventure with you and watch you discover the world. We are so in love with you and will always be by your side, lifting you up.
all newborn shoot photos were done by Slumberlings Photography and all photographs are subject to copyright.