I was 24 weeks pregnant when I returned to my homeland Singapore from Madinah. Initially my husband wished to have me deliver our baby in Madinah. Besides the hospital cost coming close to only less than 2000 riyal, he wanted our first child to be born in the city full of barakah. I was skeptical as I have heard stories from friends like how unnecessary caesareans were performed, how they were treated badly and bullied by the nurses and of women being stitched up without anesthesia. How true are all these? I'm not sure but it really made me want to deliver in Singapore.  Fast forward, I couldn't have the doctor who can be my gynecologist because I was too late to register already and even if my name was put in the long waiting list, the gynae won't see me in any appointments until my EDD(estimated due date). So I chose to go under a subsidized package where I would see different gynae for every appointment and if I were to deliver, a midwife or any doctor on duty will attend to me. I know I need to get prepared if I want the birth the way I want it to be. Some of the things I did were: Eat ajwa dates everyday, consumed olive oil, drink zamzam water as much as possible, exercised on my gym ball, bounced , swayed, and generally got mobile. I walked a lot during my pregnancy. I performed umrah before coming back to Singapore. In Singapore I went for long walks at "gardens by the bay," window shopped ate healthy, practiced correct breathing, and read about gentle birth stories to get motivated. I started having short cramps during my 35th week but I was not that worried so I continued my routines as per normal. One week before my EDD, I couldn't sleep at night. I was hungry yet my tummy felt crampy at the same time. I chewed on some dates and forced myself to sleep. The next morning the cramps kept coming and going. I downloaded the contraction apps just to "make sure" . I timed every time I felt the cramp (I didn't know this was contraction , I thought it was just Braxton Hicks because the pain is manageable and I was like "Come on! I'm only 36 weeks!" The apps kept telling me that I was having contractions and asked me to either pack my bags and go to the hospital now. So I ignored the apps. All this while I ate dates, drank zam zam and bounce on my gym ball. Around noon I started to have diarrhea. I blamed in on the pasta my husband had brought me. But then it hit me, cramps/ diarrhea, is this early labour?? My husband wanted to go to the hospital right away but I knew if I were to go then, they might just keep me immobile on the bed. So I told him to let me rest at home and we would go to the hospital at night if I was still in pain. So every time the cramps/contraction came I laid on my side and when it was done, I'd go back on the gym ball or I went to clear my bowels. After isya prayers the pain kept coming. This time more intense and more quicker in between. We decided to go to the hospital after I saw a bloody show. We reached the hospital at around 10pm. We did all the administrative paperwork and I was on the bed at 10:30pm. By this time I was offered laughing gas. I declined it at first because I thought I could bear with it. Half and hour later, I asked for the gas. But it made me giddy. My husband managed to sneak in dates and zamzam water and I quickly sipped on it. The doctor came for awhile and told me I was 6cm already! I was quite excited by now! I couldn't believe that I labored in the comfort at my home! If I had went to the hospital earlier I might not be able to be as mobile as I want. The doctor left me to attend to another lady. My water broke and suddenly I felt like pushing. We called the midwife and she said I was crowning already. After a few pushes, my baby was out, alhamdulillah, at 11.47pm. My husband cut the cord and we did some skin to skin. However a problem ensued, my placenta was retained. I asked them to wait for awhile as I wanted it to come out naturally. After 30 mins my placenta was still stuck. A female doctor came in and tried to 'scrap it out' with her hand. I shouted in pain and told her to stop. By now I was a bit scared and sad actually. I wondered where did I go wrong. I managed to deliver my baby beautifully so why couldn't I deliver my placenta too. But who am I to question Allah's will? The doctors could not wait. They had to manually remove my placenta and gave me two options. Either give me a regional anesthetic at spinal or they put me to sleep to perform the surgery. I chose to get the regional anesthetic and my lower body felt numb soon after. They managed to extract my placenta an hour later. Alhamdulillah for everything that Allah has bestowed on me. My birth might not be as gentle as what I wished for . But it was beautiful enough for me. I delivered my baby safely and I pray that for my future pregnancies I am more prepared, more equipped to have the most natural birth that I wished for.

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