Umm Abdullah shares her birth story for the first time about her strong desire to have a vaginal birth after having had one by the knife. Was her trial successful and will she choose vaginal birth again? Let us find out.
“My pregnancies have always been easy to carry, alhamduliLlaah. But for births, I can’t say the same”
I gave birth to my first child at 38 weeks of pregnancy by C-section due to obstruction. The baby was having caput while I was 6cm dilated after 12 hours of labour.
I think there’s a strong desire that we experience when we are unable to or believe we are unable to achieve a thing. After that delivery, I developed a strong will for my next birth to be vaginal. So, after I informed my doctor of my wish to try labour after having had a previous caesarean section delivery, she made to understand that qualifying to try is dependent on some factors. Factors such as indication for the previous C-section, estimated birth weight, foetal presentation and more.
As the days went by, I had mixed feelings of fear and hope for the best. My husband will tell me after reading and listening to different birth stories, the awful and the sweet ones, that there are different fates decreed by Allaah, we should ask and hope for the best of fates.
At 38 weeks 6 days of my second pregnancy, after much expectation and waiting, I felt something like a menstrual cramp at the dawn of October 26 and I know the time has finally come. I revised pages on ‘coping with labour’ that I had saved on my phone from natural birth enthusiasts’ websites and tried to round off my preparations for the new baby.
“Define labour”. That was the question my doc posed to me at 4cm dilatation, I was quizzed just as you probably are now.
How It Began
The latent phase of my labour started around 12 noon October 26 and I was determined to bear the pains better this time around compared to my first time.
When it was about 4 am, the pain had increased so much such that I thought I must have contracted enough to start going to the hospital, as I preferred to spend much of that critical period in my comfort zone. We got to the hospital around 5 am and to my utter surprise, I was just about 2cm dilated. Just 2cm. Aarrrgh! All this while just 2cm?!
After sunrise, the doc came in and ruptured the membranes. It was a bit more painful and my labour progressed more. I got to 6cm and remembered I got stuck at this stage the last time, so I told myself I can do this.
Then the urge to poo increased and with every yell, the contraction ended in a grunt. It was uncontrollable even as I was trying to breathe out, it always ended in a grunt. Reflex pushing when the cervix is yet to fully dilate can cause the cervix to tear. So, I was checked once again and the doc announced 10cm. Eyes popping oh, finally! I couldn’t believe I made it so far, it felt so unreal. Then I moved to the delivery room slowly feeling like it was over, reaching 10cm was such a feat.
Inside the Delivery Room
On getting onto the half-stumped bed in a prop position, then came the next contraction. I didn’t resist the urge to push and I grunted with freedom and no inhibition whatsoever. Then I heard a bursting sound. I thought what! What was that? Hopefully, not my baby’s head bursting, it really sounded like that.
Alas, it was poo, the nurses were not ready, it caught them off guard. They were shifting duties when I came into the delivery room. And just after a few short seconds, my baby came out all at once, without another push, without any restriction. My second son out all at once. You can imagine the amount of tearing that could cause. Then the afterbirth came too. And he was placed bare on my chest for a moment before being taken for a clean and dress-up.
Some mothers usually say they feel an enormous amount of relief, peace and excitement after the child comes out, yes at first, I felt it all too, but not for long, as there came an argument, the excruciatingly painful stitching, the fainting and the fever.
The Tears, Lying-In and Everything In Between
There was a lot of argument over who would stitch me up, the doc-on-duty or the nurse, and that short drama was the least a newly delivered mother needs psychologically. In the end, my consultant gynaecologist who was not supposed to be in the ward at that time, but out of her benevolence was, did the stitching. I was given some pain relief. But need I say, it was more painful than labour itself, even with the pain relief. I was shivering all through even with 3 layers of drape clothes.
Due to the bit disorder caused by the argument at a duty-shifting time, the news of the arrival of the baby didn’t get to my hubby waiting just outside the room. With the shouts from the pricking needles, he thought I was still yet to deliver. It took us about two and a half hours in that room stitching cervix and vagina walls, yes, the cervix did tear at the end.
Then I was cleaned. Of all the blood and poo. Sorry if you didn’t know labour could be that messy. That brings us back to the question, define labour. According to my doc, “Labour is that which takes away the “tushness” of a woman”. And true it is, isn’t it?
Now, Back to the Delivery Scene.
Then the nurses checked me and asked if I was feeling dizzy, to which I replied no. Then I was told to get up and the next thing I heard was my first name being shouted multiple times. I was on the bare floor, someone raising my back up. I had lost consciousness.
“But she didn’t lose so much blood. She wasn’t feeling dizzy” exclaimed and wondered the nurses.
So, I was cleaned again and wheeled out of the room. Still shivering in bed and feeling feverish, I took some blood-forming remedies and had my PCV (a blood test that shows the volume of red blood cells in the body) done which came out fine.
By nightfall, I was stable and okay, alhamdulillaah. Baby and I moved into the lying-in-room where I saw two ladies who gave birth after me literally jumping up. One saying to her sister on the other side of the phone that, “Ara mìí le, kò sí nkankan tó semí”
I kept wondering “and we just passed through the same thing?!” See how labour could be so different from person to person, and baby to baby.
I forgot to say I had a catheter inserted into me, the tear was that much, the catheter was removed and I was discharged after a couple of days and mother and child have been healthy since then, alhamdulillah.
Four months later, my sister gave birth to her second child by VBAC too. But, that’s a story for another day 😁
If Asked How I Felt and Whether I Would Prefer Vaginal Delivery or CS for My Next Delivery Adventure, if I have the chance to choose?
I felt happy and content, just how you feel when you experience something you previously thought impossible. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and joy. But if asked if I would do it again; My answer immediately and many months after the delivery was, I may opt for an elective CS in my next delivery.
I’ve done it once and I know I can do it again by Allah’s permission. Once I’ve been able to unwrap the mystery behind a beautiful thing, I’m not impressed to do it again, I prefer easy way outs. Who doesn’t?
On the other hand, when I think of CS, the thought of having the same previous scar cut open with ‘knives’ irks me. My neighbour who has had two CS deliveries and then three vaginal births still landed in the hospital because the scar was unbearably itching and swelling 10 years after her last CS. She had to clean with methylated spirit and take antibiotics like someone who just had the surgery.
So, two years on now, considering the fact that CS is not less risky than vaginal birth, I prefer vaginal delivery over CS again.
And more importantly, I ask Allah for ease and safety for myself, you reading this and all women and babies in every delivery. And to also grant all ladies trying to conceive, righteous offspring and make our precious sprouts the epitome of piety, who will bring back sanity to this world before the final spiritual meltdown that will precede the end time. I ask Allah to grant us Jannah and save us from the punishment of the Fire of Hell.
Our Lord, grant us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes and make us leaders for the righteous. My Lord, have mercy upon them both as they brought me up (when I was) small! Aameen.