“Let me tell you upfront, birthing a child is not easy, it is hard work, simple. But you will find it as easy as a pie if you have a prepared mind. Condition your mind to the gravity of the event and accept the accompanying pains, because yes, there is pain, such as you’ve not experienced before, but you will see that you will find it easy with a prepared mind.”
These were the words (translated) my mother told me and my husband when I was four months gone into my first pregnancy. She had summoned my husband and I to her abode that weekend, taking us through the rudiments of labour, delivery and sharing her experiences; she had birthed six children and each one was unique on its own.
Thank God for these valuable words, I don’t know what would have been different otherwise, but I am pretty sure these words armed me with an inner strength I could not have been capable of on the D-day.
Alhamdulillah for all His favours, I have had cause to glorify and praise my Lord for my three child birthing experiences. Needless to say, each pregnancy and delivery have its unique experience, despite these, it has always been an occasion to appreciate Al-Khaaliq, the Creator who makes things easy for His servants without them asking.
The birth of my first child was a surprise to many. I remembered the vice principal of the school where I taught gave me a phone call asking me to be present at school to teach a set of students, she was literally shocked when I told her I was at the hospital just finished with sutures, I delivered my child several minutes ago. She was stupefied, may Allaah open her womb and bless her with pious children.
She couldn’t reconcile the different scenes she witnessed the previous day. I was crying uncontrollably by the time I entered the school premises that day, the distance from the school gate to the building was a harrowing journey for me to cover despite my umbrella giving me support.
By twelve noon of that same day, I was playing football with the girls on the field and by the end of that day, I was returning from a visit to an uncle who just moved to a new house; I had to walk some distance because the area was still evolving. Then when she called 7:00 am the following morning and I told her I just delivered, she was pleasantly shocked and surprised.
How it Began
It all began when I got home from my visit to my uncle, my mother insisted I should go to the hospital that night upon setting her eyes on me. I thought she was over-reacting and tried to assure her that I was just fatigued from exerting myself during the day. All efforts to convince her didn’t work, then I asked to use the toilet first before going out.
She denied but relented when I insisted I simply wanted to pee. I had hardly finished peeing when I noticed some mucous discharges which I informed her of. She became more alarmed and agitated, she literally pushed me out of the house while she hurriedly dressed.
Surprisingly, I was not perturbed, throughout my walk from our house to the bus stop, which was quite a distance, to the rush to get a car (it was the peak of the December holiday season), I was simply cool.
My mother insisted I informed my dad and husband, but I thought otherwise. Why should I disturb a man that was thousands of miles away struggling to earn for the family? I told my dad, though, in the little Arabic I know, so that the other passengers in the car will not be privy to my situation.
The journey from my house to the hospital, which normally took some minutes shy of one hour, turned out to be a three and half hour journey! Like I said, but for Allaah, I didn’t know how I would have coped with the heavy congestion at the Iwo Road bridge, or the Okada ride to the location of the hospital, or the short walk to the hospital yard, but I concluded all these were good as they would be of immense benefit for the job ahead.
At the Hospital
The story became funny at the hospital, the nurses were teasing me while I maintained I was not there to deliver; this was two weeks to my EDD. The doctor insisted on checking me nonetheless and insisted on ‘flushing’ my digestive tract to prevent unpleasant situation should the baby decided to come.
All the while, I was sure it wasn’t yet time. I couldn’t just feel it, though there were mild contractions. It was, however, unsettling that no one was telling me anything; how many centimetre dilation, contraction, nothing. I became a bit serious when I was ushered into a room to pass the night. I intensified muttering my prayers, submitting myself wholly to whatever my Lord will decree.
My mum was there all through, like she would be for the next three years, supportive and PRESENT, alert and helpful, may my Lord grant her long life upon khayr, aamiin.
I woke up from a listless sleep around 3:00 am to use the toilet and got out as silent as I could, not to disturb my mom sleeping on the floor. It broke my heart to see her thus, but there was nothing I could have done especially when she refused to share my bed with me, my mom and her principles.
Then it happened
After using the loo, I crept back to the room and voila, the amniotic sac broke, and the water seeped out onto the floor! My mind became blank, and I stood there wondering what just happened. “but I just used the toilet”, I muttered to myself. As I made for the bed I felt a sharp piercing pain, and I let out a groan.
My mom had been silently observing me, and she immediately leapt out to summon the nurses. Then, everything started happening, very fast.
I was assisted to a hastily prepared bed, and the nurses became busy. My mum was in the other room, watching through the connecting door.
Coping with Labour
I remembered shouting for her and my parents with each wave of contraction, but would quickly seek forgiveness and call on my Rabb! I rode all the contractions with words; of praises, of thanks, of supplications, and acceptance.
At a point, I became numb to the pains, maybe my mind became so engrossed with the remembrance of my Lord, I knew I was so conscious of Him. I had immersed myself in remembrance ever since the day my mom told me of what to expect on this day.
I didn’t like to remember that I had my baby in a dark room, though, with the torches on the Nokia phone of my mom and me as illumination. You see, there was a power outage, and the hospital didn’t deem it fit to put on the alternative source of power.
Probably because the only staff around that night were the two nurses attending to me beside the doctor that was upstairs and didn’t attend to me except when it was time for stitches. My mom didn’t only help with the torch of her phone, it was her voice that helped me gave the last push that delivered my baby, the nurses (auxiliary nurses) were preoccupied to notice I was relapsing, but I kept hearing my mom’s voice, calling me and telling me to push because she could see the head. Ironically, I thought the baby had been delivered because I felt a cool sense of relief as if my load had been eased off me. She kept demonstrating and making pushing sounds, till I had no choice than to follow her instructions.
And alhamduliLlaah, my Imaam arrived at the call to Fajr, just as the Muadhin was saying ‘As-salaatu khayrun minan nawm’. Wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa biLlaah.
I later gave the doctor a piece of my mind, registering my displeasure at her ignoring me. But alas, she said to the young female doctor that accompanied her that I was delirious, hallucinating after going through the stress of labour. I told her in clear terms that I was in full control of my mind and I was aware of what I was saying.
That aside, the journey was a successful one that I will be forever grateful to Allah for. I know many have it more strenuous and stressful, and I am eternally grateful for being privileged with a smooth pregnancy and delivery journey, …and which of the favours of Ar-Rahmaan will I deny?
Umm Imaam Saalih bint Abdulkareem.