Some people asked why I started blogging.
"IZZIT YOU INSPIRE TO BE A DOULA BLOGGER OR DOULA INFLUENCER?"
Honestly, no. I have no desire to be an influencer. I may want to help influence your birth though!
The reason for this blog is to let you, my followers into my personal life. To let you know that I am just like you. I struggle like you and that you are not alone.
So today, I decided to blog about my first birth. Why? Because, that's what inspire me to be a Doula. To advocate for natural birth and to help women make choices during pregnancy, labour and birth.
Anas Mishary. My sweet sweet first born. He was born in November 2012. I became a Housewife as soon as I got pregnant with him. The whole 9 months was such a breeze. I did not experience any morning sickness, no cravings, no swelling, not much weight gain, I had no problems at all. I really enjoyed being pregnant. Back then, there were not many birth classes (or maybe I was ignorant la) so I didn't manage to attend one. But my husband and I managed to attend a breastfeeding workshop held at Al-Falah mosque a week before I gave birth.
38 weeks pregnant with Anas.
After that workshop, I knew deep in my heart that, there was no other way I would nourish my child. It was do or die. I was going to breastfeed him no matter what it takes. I have to give a shout out to my husband who accompanied me through out the whole 6 hours course. His support is the main reason why I successfully breastfed all my 3 children. The success of breastfeeding largely depends on the support the mother gets and I am forever grateful to my husband Abou Anas (Abou is an arabic term for father of, it is a tradition to call the father with the name of his first boy), for his unwavering faith in me. Thank you love!
This workshop also marks my first encounter with a professional Doula.
I don't remember much what she said because her session was barely 30 minutes but she said something that I will never forget.
"ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE ANY PROCEDURE"
This sentence stayed with me till this very day.
Anas's birth was pretty quick for a first timer. The average first time mom, can be in labour between 18 to 24 hours. I would say, I walked a lot when pregnant with him. My husband would bring me everywhere and we would walk for hours. I think that helped my labour greatly! I literally walked until I gave birth.
So on my 38+6days of pregnancy, I (partly think I was nesting la that's why I had so much energy!) decided to go for a walk to help induce the labour naturally. I called my husband who is at work, I told him that I would fetch him at the MRT station and maybe we could take a stroll around Tampines Mall. There was a catch though. I told him, "I'm gonna be walking all the way from home.." My husband was worried of course, I was heavily pregnant and I would be alone, the journey from home to Tampines MRT would take 10 minutes by bus and approximately 30 minutes walking. But I was adamant. My husband relented after I promised to remain contactable at all times.
After meeting him at Tampines MRT, we walked some more la guys. From Tampines One, to Tampines Mall and lastly Century Square. We then walked home! That night I swear ,if my round ligaments could talk, they would have sworn at me. I reached home, showered, solat and slept like a log until 3am when I was woken up by whatttt elseeeee.... my bladder of course.
I went to the toilet and.....
I SAW BLOOD
Instinctively, I screamed like a child! I screamed for my mother first and then for my husband.
I was sobbing because (after watching so many Malay dramas with my mom at home, I thought I had lost the baby! Omg stop being so drama Hajjar!) My mom assured me that it was "tanda beranak" or "labor signs." Mom made a cup of Milo for me and we headed to the hospital. If I had gone for a birth class, I would know what is a bloody show and I would not need to panic and hurried myself to the hospital.
I was amazed at myself. Throughout the whole journey to the hospital, I did not even feel any kind of discomfort or pain. I thought to myself, maybe I have a high threshold level (ni lah kalau orang pergi salah time, little did I know it was the calm before the storm..)
I reached the hospital, checked myself in, checked into the delivery suite and waited. The nurse came and said that she was going to perform a check on me. She did a vaginal exam and told me I was only 2cm dilated.
"Whaaaaat?! Only 2cm?! I was 2 cm a week a go when I had a check up with my Gynaecologist! This whole week, I did not dilate at all! What *&^%$%$*^!"
What did I expect eh? I came in smiling and laughing and expect to be what, 10cm?
Fat hope sister.
After the check, the Nurse called the doctor to update her. She came back to my room and said that the doctor has prescribed a pill to be inserted in me, to "help" me. I remembered what the Doula said, so I asked her "is that a drug? Because if it is, I don't want it." She looked at me, waves of doubt clouded her eyes but I was stubborn. I wanted this to be a drug free birth. She left and said that my Dr would be with me in the morning.
I slept a bit,watch TV and around 7am, my Dr came. She was furious. The gentle demeanor she had during our appointments was no more. She turned to a mean witch! She came with a whole team of Doctors and Nurses and asked me..
"Why did you reject the pill?!"
"Err because I wanted this to be as natural as possible."
"You young mothers are always like that. Want natural la what la later during the birth you all scream for EPIDURAL!"
I was shocked to hear all the nonsense she was spouting. I made a silent promise to myself that even if I were to die on the delivery bed, I will not ask for Epidural. Thank you Doctor for inspiring me. NOT!
She then proceed to do a vaginal exam on me and right after the check, my contractions came full swing. She swept my membranes without informing me.
That sneaky witch.
She then left me to tend to my contractions. She came back an hour later without checking my dilation or asking if I was ok. She just said "ok start pushing."
How do I even begin? I don't even feel like pushing. I was told I should feel like pooping, nope, zilch.
So I pushed, I broke blood vessels on my face. I had petechiae that stayed on my face for a week after I gave birth. I pushed for an hour and nothing came out. She then gave me an ultimatum.
"PUSH THIS BABY OUT WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE OR I'M GONNA HAVE TO VACUUM THIS CHILD OUT."
So I pushed like I never pushed before. She then took an instrument that looked like a scissors and told me "I am going to cut you" and "kraaaaak" the sound of the snip still lingers in my mind till today.
Anas was born a few minutes later. It was clearly the most traumatizing thing I've ever had to experience! I remembered during the transition, I made Abou Anas promised that we would never have children again. LOL. YE LA TU.
Healing was difficult because of the episiotomy. I couldn't sit on a hard surface. I can't walk without feeling pain. I was so afraid to poop that I suffered from constipation for 3 weeks. It was madness. Many times, I wanted to give up, but looking at my sweet child I pressed on and because Abou Anas believed I could. I did.
Our first outing with Baby Anas.
I am thankful for what ever that happened during his birth because it taught me so many things and because of that I learned how to do things differently with my second child. His birth made me advocate more about choices and natural birth. I would relay my experience with pregnant mothers to make sure that they don't have to go through what I did.
My husband saw that passion and how my face would lit up when talking about breastfeeding and birth. He often told me that my words would have weight if I am certified as a midwife or Doula. I could work as a nurse again and then go into midwifery but that would take a long time and that also means I have to go hijabless at work which was not an option for me.
Finally in 2016, an opportunity came for me to learn more about Doulas and certify as one.
Alhamdulillah for the rizq and opportunity to educate and empower women. I am contented.
Anas is now a thriving 8 year old with the most contagious smile.
Thank you baby for teaching me all that I need to know. You will always be my 8th world wonder.