Our first birth story comes from a dear friend. It's an excellent story. I like how she clearly experiences the sensations of the contractions and really opens herself up to them. Not to say that contractions don't hurt, but resisting them only increases the pain. This story is a good example of surrendering to the contractions as they are. You can read more about her here. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview about her work entitled, "Sunna of Birth. Enjoy!
Peace & Blessings,
I was blessed to have a beautiful home/water birth on September 18, 2009.
This was a very special day for my family because it was the last Friday in our holy month, Ramadaan, and just two days before our day of celebration, Eid ul-Fitr. The last 10 days of Ramadaan are very sacred for us and Fridays are also special because they are the holy day of the week when we attend the Mosque and pray with our community. My friend Shoshanna baked Challah bread for us on that day also, on the day of my daughter's birth in 2007 she brought me fresh squeezed grapefruit juice while I was in labor, and on our son's birthday she brought us the special bread and shared that it was also the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hoshanna, which is the day of the "Birth of the World" and the bread symbolized the world. Praise our Creator, what a blessed and perfect day to give birth and to be born!
On Thursday evening a bit of my mucous plug released when I used the restroom. I texted Racha & Maura to give them a heads up...and than my Husband, Daughter, and I went on a short evening walk. I didn't necessarily expect too much, as I've learned as a Doula and Midwife Apprentice never to expect anything in birth, except the unexpected. When we returned I took a shower, relaxed, and put my daughter down to sleep. Because it was Ramadaan, and my husband was fasting during the days, he had a lot of energy at night, and we used this time to bond and do extra praying and reading of our spiritual text, the Qu'ran. That night we were up at 4am when I began feeling contractions. I joined my husband for the pre-fast meal and we waited until 5:30 to pray the dawn prayer. I was anxious to get some rest realizing that my contractions were only going to get stronger, especially because in the one-and-a-half hour I was up I had at least 5 to 7 strong contractions.
When we finally went to bed after 5:30am, I lay down, only to realize within 30minutes that I wouldn't be able to sleep because the contractions were already pretty strong. Between 6am and 8am I labored alone in our family room so I wouldn't wake my husband and toddler. By 8am I realized I should call Racha and let her know that my labor was pretty intense already. As a Doula & Midwife Apprentice I never wanted to call my midwives in the middle of the night, which is usually how we are called, I guess its a little courtesy, but by 8am I couldn't really wait any longer! I'm glad I called Racha because she suggested I wake up my husband and have him set up the birthtub. I really wanted to let him sleep until 10am because I knew once he woke we would be in full labor mode, good thing I listened to Racha, because by 10:12 am our baby boy was already born!
When I woke up my husband, my daughter also woke up, and when I told her the baby was coming she replied grumpily, "Don't come out baby, stay in there!," because she still wanted to sleep. Daoud went straight to work setting up the tub in the corner of our kitchen, it was really beautiful because we have some nice house plants and spiritual art in that corner of the kitchen, he also made a tent by staple-gunning some pretty sheets into the ceiling around the tent creating walls and a little room for me. I decided he was the best husband in the world and I tried to tell him, but was having a contraction and told him to "Go away, please," instead! During the hour or so it took my husband to set up my sacred birth space my contractions became very intense, lasting a minute-and-half to two minutes and coming on at least every 2-3 minutes. I labored on my hands and knees feeling a sharp opening of the last bit of dilating of my cervix and shaking with contractions, as Sumaiya, my two year old, played "horsey" on my back...
By 9:30am I managed to text Maura and Racha, "I think you should come soon", and I made my way to the tub getting in to the hot water. Daoud put on a recording of Surah Maryam, the chapter in the Qu'ran where Maryam gives birth to the Prophet Isa (Jesus). Its a beautiful Surah, my favorite in the Qu'ran, and I listen to it and read it often during my pregnancies because of the blessings it holds especially for Mothers and babies. As I relaxed in the tub, letting my body go to the support of the water as the last few contractions made powerful waves through me.
Racha and Maura arrived by 9:48am, and during the time my husband went to the front of our building to open the door and return with them, I followed my body in its urges to bear down with my contractions. When they came into our home I was already beginning to push. They came into my birth tent quietly, bringing some green water for me to sip on. I couldn't believe I was already pushing and didn't feel like I was ready since everything happened so fast! Racha had to help me get my underwear off because the baby was coming down pretty fast once the midwives got there and I felt I was just gonna go for it. With the next push Racha said she could see the head, it felt very close and I somehow communicated that she should let Daoud know that the baby would be here any minute. Daoud and Sumaiya came in, and Sumaiya really wanted to get in the tub with me when she saw that the baby was already coming out, she stripped off her clothes, but Daoud managed to keep her out of the water! With the next push the baby was crowning, Racha asked Daoud if he wanted to catch, and even though he did, I said no, because I wanted to catch him because I felt very relaxed and focused and in a really connected rhythm with the baby. I always feel that a mother should be able to be the first to receive her child when possible, to welcome her baby with her own hands! Within two contractions the baby crowned and his head was out, still in the water-bag, which midwives call being born in the Caul, and many say it is a very sacred event. I had to gather myself and blow because the energy and pressure was so strong and I didn't want to do it all at once. I grounded myself and gathered energy for the next contraction, blowing and breathing because I knew he would be fully into the world with the next contraction and push. I could feel his body fully rotate within me and followed the contraction and his bodies movement to push him out and kinda ride the last wave.
Our little Muhammad, named after our Prophet (Peace & Blessings be upon Him), was born at 10:12am, just 6 hours after I felt the first contractions of active labor. Most importantly, I thank Allah for the blessed gift of our new son, Muhammad, AllahuAkbar! AllahuAkbar! AllahuAkbar!