I wouldn't usually have added my birth story to the plethora of such stories out there, except I thought there might be one or two things in it that might be useful to others. With my three older children the process through labour and the delivery used to last two to three hours once I had reached hospital and end in panic with the babies’ heartbeats dropping and nurses and doctors rushing around. This time the baby was born within 20 minutes of us reaching the hospital and with barely any assistance from the midwife until after the birth.
I had been having contractions, whether real, or just very strong Braxton Hicks, throughout the last month of the pregnancy and had finally reconciled myself to the fact that the baby would come on time and I would just have to be patient and get through the last month of my pregnancy one day at a time. When I woke at 1am ten days before the due date, I felt like I was having mild contractions but thought they weren't painful enough to take seriously. I managed to go back to sleep and woke up at 3am to find I was having contractions every ten minutes or so. Again I felt that they were not severe enough to be the real thing, except that the distance between them began to get shorter. I paced the house for the next hour, until the pain was every five minutes or so. When I called the hospital to let them know I was coming in, they told me to come in when the pains were three minutes apart and very regular. I had been told every five minutes by my midwife, so was a little worried and decided to get ready to go in.
Hubby woke up whilst I was on the phone, which I was pleased about, until he got the ironing board out. First he ironed his thobe whilst I looked on incredulous, and then he started looking for his pants. I told him to just come as he was. He then started to iron and fold his turban (amama). By this time the pains were getting stronger and closer, but still nowhere near as severe as with my other children. I grabbed my bags and took them downstairs and turned around to find hubby had gone to the bathroom to make wudhu. I yelled up the stairs to ask if he was coming, which woke my mum-in-law up. I told her not to worry, I was off to the hospital, which obviously got her very worried.
As I left for the hospital, I started to pray Durood Sharif (invoking Allah’s blessings on the Prophet, peace be upon him) as this is said to lead to blessings being showered on the person reciting:
He who invokes blessings upon Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) once, Allah and His Angels shower seventy blessings upon him.
Transmitted by Ahmad (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 935)
This is something which I found a reminder of in the book Heaven Under Your Feet, Pregnancy for Muslim Women by Umm Hasan bint Salim (review to follow insh’Allah). I also started to make dua (supplication) for everyone I knew, as at such times of difficulty dua’s are especially supposed to be accepted.
On reaching the hospital at 5am and explaining to the midwife on duty I was having contractions three minutes apart, I was directed to a labour room. By this time the pains were about two minutes apart and much more severe, but still not as severe as with my other children. I was hooked up to a foetal monitor and left in the labour room with hubby reading Surah Yasin from the Quran which is supposed to help in times of difficulty. I experienced four or five very painful contractions which left me begging for pethedine. The midwife explained I had dilated five centimetres and needed to dilate five centimetres more, so it could still be some time before the baby was born. As the midwife sauntered off to get the pethedine, I felt a strange pressure. With my previous three children, I was so exhausted that I had to be directed by the midwife on when to push, this being the case I didn’t quite recognise the pressure, until I had pushed the baby’s head out and hubby called the midwife back.
With half the baby out, suddenly everyone sat up and started to pay attention. The midwife asked me what I was trying to do to her as she took hold of the baby and noted the time. In all I had been at the hospital for twenty minutes.
Subhan’Allah after months and months of sickness, stomach pains, stiffness, sleeplessness, contractions, headaches and utter misery, I was delirious at the birth of my baby girl. I could not stop laughing and giggling until about midday. I was also stunned at how easy the birth had been given my past record.
A number of things come to mind when I think about why this birth experience might have been easier than previous ones. Two weeks before I had been talking to another mother at my children’s school. She recommended two things – first to recite “Ya Mujeebo” often which is one of the names of Allah and means “the One who responds to prayers”. The second thing she told me was to recite the following verse from the Quran 500 times with full belief and trust in Allah (SWT):
Thumma Ussabila Yassarahu
Then He eased the way for him
Before giving any amount of charity I could afford to the masjid. She insisted that I would give birth very quickly. I did so and I truly believe that this verse from the Quran helped me.
The other thing I think helped was reciting Durood Sharif during labour. Mum-in-law started praying Nawafil Salaah as soon as I left the house and I think this also benefitted me. I had also asked Allah (SWT) to make my labour and delivery quick and easy in every salah and I believe that Allah (SWT) is the ones who hears us and helps us.
Finally it helped having hubby there. I had psyched him beforehand so that he knew that he had to be assertive to make sure that I got good care. I think that standards in maternity care have dropped and that you need someone quite strong and savvy to keep an eye on you and hospital staff to make sure you don’t get ignored. Mash’Allah, I will never forget what good care he took of me during this period.
Alhamdulillah I feel so blessed with my little girl right now. I hope that this post is of some benefit to someone else insh’Allah, and I pray Allah (SWT) bestows ease on all sisters who are pregnant right now insh’Allah.