When my midwife first asked me whether I had thought of my birth plan? I was discombobulated at the thought of planning such an event in my life! Surely we can only hope and pray to God that he makes it easy on us. I was dead set against ‘planning’ my birth until i came across a book. This book opened my eyes to a whole new way of putting everything into context. It’s called AMANI Birth by Aisha Al Hajjar. She describes child birth as a ‘worship of Allah’. How beautiful is that?
I was in my 6-7th month when I started reading it. I suddenly became aware of how mentally unprepared I was so I made sure I read every page thoroughly and later did my own research on aspects of birth she speaks about. We certainly do need to be informed to some extent about what to expect in the labour room. Watching ‘One born every minute’ will only freak you out!
So how do you prepare yourself? What can you do to help you make the best decision for you?
First of all, having a clear and positive mind frame throughout your pregnancy is key. Thinking about all the possibilities of how your pregnancy or labour could go wrong doesn’t help anyone. Your baby feels what you feel, she feeds off of your energy that’s why it’s vital to create the best atmosphere for her, mentally and physically. Surround yourself with people who love you and will take care of you, rid yourself of any negative vibes or at least try to avoid people or places that would create a negative mindset. Once you’re able to do this, the rest will become effortless. Visualising how you want your birth to go can help your mind make better decisions at the time of labour, when all you can think of are the contractions and the pain!
In the first few weeks of pregnancy there is a risk of miscarriage as your baby is very fragile and so mothers are advised to take it slow in terms of physical activities. However, after the first few weeks your should try and incorporate a little workout in your daily routine. This will help your body slowly open up and prepare for labour. There are certain prenatal exercises available that are safe to do during your first trimester. I would recommend getting into the habit of doing prenatal yoga stretches as I found them very effective and soothing for my body! Due to morning sickness (and the tiredness!) I found I couldn’t do more then 5 minutes a day during my first trimester! I gradually built up my strength so that my body could deal with the physical trauma of child birth. I truly believe that this helped me along with pelvic floor exercises (which I think women should do on a regular basis, child or no child. Remember never to do them on a full bladder as this can cause a urine infection!).
I ‘wanted’ a natural birth: no epidurals, no pain relief and the thought of this didn’t scare me one bit. (then again I’d never experienced pain like this before, I actually believed it was as easy as a couple of pushes!!) I had decided I didn’t want any instruments (forceps etc) to be used on my baby unless of course, there was no other option. I wanted to wait until the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating before it was cut (There are vital nutrients going into your baby as long as the cord is still fat and juicy! Also helps keep baby calm and breath easier. Refer to book mentioned earlier in this post.) I wanted immediate skin to skin contact without the baby being cleaned up.
This is how my birth went. I had contractions and was finally feeling like the wait was over. I was so wrong. I started timing my contractions and managed to keep it together as they got more frequent. When I went to the hospital, the midwife did a sweep to help speed up the process (oh my goodness, was it painful!) as I was only dilated 3cm. They told me to come back after 12 hours. Contractions continued. They got more painful and more frequent (That’s what it felt like anyway) My husband drove me into the hospital 12 hours later only to find out I was still 3cm dilated! Now at this point, since my waters had broken, the only option I got was induction if my labour didn’t progress in the next 12 hours. This was due to infection, of course. Another 12 hours later and I was ready to be induced. The reason I hadn’t dilated any more then 3cm was due to the fact that baby J and flipped over so her back was lined to my back. (apparently this is more painful) That night was exhausting, with no sleep and little to eat I just wanted someone to drug me so I could get baby J out! I didn’t give gas and air a chance, I went straight to epidural! Funny how that almost didn’t happen either! I got injected three times before they got it right. After that I was knocked out and slept like a baby while my contractions came and went. I remember dozing in and out. My husband sat there with my mother in law, both staring at the computer screen examining the strength and duration of each contraction. When it was time to push, it only took thirty minutes and I had a beautiful little baby with big brown eyes staring at me. It was the most amazing moment in my life. It will be a thousand times more amazing then you ever imagined it to be.
Baby J had to have antibiotics as I had a temperature just before she was born and so she was taken away quite quickly which meant the umbilical cord was cut quite swiftly so they could tend to her. Alhamdulilah, we are both fine and it worked just the way Allah had planned. I knew what I wanted to get out of this experience and I’m happy I was able to savour these moments. It will never go the way you plan and the reasons for this are beyond our knowledge but we have to have faith that we will be taken care of by our creator.
I hope you have a memorable experience too, something you can learn and grow from. Mental and physical preparation is just 50% of the journey, the rest is pure faith.