11th May 2014 was my due date. I had been advised by the doctor to book an appointment on this day if my waters hadn’t broken by then, so I had booked an evening appointment. I had a feeling that I would be overdue but I was really praying this was not to be because I was desperate to see the baby and enter motherhood. So I took all possible measures (even the myths) to help the bun out of my oven! This included eating a whole pineapple! I also ate a handful of dates every day in the last month because of its various properties regarding to the ease of labour (It still hurt like a £&;6?! of course). Oh and I walked as if I was born to be a hitchhiker (Like Reese Witherspoon in Wild). It was far too hot outside, as if I wanted to be even more uncomfortable, so I walked the corridors like a lunatic on a marathon. But to no avail. I still had no contractions.
My husband and I went to the hospital in Sharjah (UAE) and met the doctor. She did an ultrasound which showed that everything was normal but she wanted to put me on the heart monitor in the next room.
I lay down and the nurses strapped the monitor around my stomach. After a few minutes, I started to feel some pain, but I put that down to the monitor belt being strapped too tight around my belly. After about half an hour, the doctor saw the results and exclaimed that I was in fact having contractions! “Can’t you feel anything?!” she said? However, along with every contraction, she also noticed that my baby’s heart beat would drop slightly. The doctor notified me that they could not risk his life and if it carried on like this, they would have to perform a C-section tonight! I was petrified but ready for anything she advised. After another hour of being monitored, she concluded I could still go on with a natural birth, but they would induce me the next morning. With that, I was admitted into hospital and frantic phone calls ensued to bring my hospital bag and notifying my family of what had just happened.
That night me and my husband spent our last baby free night at the hospital, cuddling each other and being so grateful that we had come into the hospital at the right time.
The next morning at 6 am I was induced and almost 5 minutes into it, I started to get quite painful contractions which seemed to be getting worse. As soon as I started to have a contraction, I would shout to my husband “Rub, rub rub!” And he would dart across the room and rub my back to ease the pain. This carried on until the afternoon, by which point I believed that I was 5 cm dilated, but was told by the midwife that I was in fact only 2 cm dilated. You can imagine the rage I felt!
Thankfully I was given some Pethidine to let me relax for a while, and after that it was a bit of a blur. I was moved to the labour room at about 4 pm and given gas and air. After that, nature took its course, rather painfully, but I must admit when it got to the pushing stage, I felt like I was able to finally do something and put my all into it. I did say sh*t once, and was quickly rebuked by my Muslim doctor, who gently then reminded me to invoke God’s name instead, which in hindsight I am very grateful for. My baby boy was born at 5:46 pm and was placed on top of me. All I remember seeing was a rather blue foot and I wondered if I had given birth to an Avatar. He was quickly taken away whilst I delivered my placenta and got a few stitches.
Now let me add one thing here. I feel like the delivery of the placenta is often left out of the birth stories. I mean I had no idea this had to be done until I was pregnant and finding out about labour. The delivery of my placenta felt … Squishy. That’s my best description. It was quick and pain free, but felt cold and squishy.
Another thing was that once I had delivered my son, I thought “OK, now there will be no more pain”. I was not prepared for the pain of being stitched up and I was shocked and drained. However, all I could think about was my baby and I asked numerous times if he was OK.
Once the stitching ordeal was over, my husband came in with our baby and the pain was replaced by euphoria. I had just given birth! Albeit he looked like an old wrinkly thing with a huge nose, but he was ours and I was so proud of myself for doing it all with only gas and air too! Thankfully, this wrinkly thing only got cuter and cuter by each passing day and I can honestly say that once the baby is here, you really do forget about the pain.
Looking down now at my 9 month old fast asleep in my lap, I can not believe what a journey it has already been. All I feel for him is an unconditional abyss of love.