It was four days past my estimated due date. I was relaxed and calmed as I had already known and learned from my AMANI training to trust Allah's design for birth and equip myself with  knowledge. I'd had signs of early labor about two weeks prior where mild surges would come and go. I did intense exercises every morning, including squats and belly dance and a lot of juicing. That day was another routine day of labor preparation and I did not expect any signs until I saw bloody show on my undergarment. It was after Zuhr prayer around 2pm and I told my husband, "Its the big day!"

It was the third of Ramadhan. We packed our clothes, baby's bag, raspberry leaves tea, dates, birthing ball and essential oils. I was fully prepared, mentally and physically. We dropped by a baby store to do very last minute shopping, all the while, my surges started to pick up. We reached the hospital at 3.30pm and I was four cm dilated. I gave them my record book and a signed birth plan that was agreed upon by my OB/GYN and I. I didn't know the intervals of the surges and I didn't want to know either. I purposely did that because I wanted to focus on breathing and relaxing. The nurse started to fill the birthing tub with warm water. My husband and I smiled. It was a very relaxing and calm state for both of us.

At 5pm, my gynae came and checked and I was already five cm dilated. The baby worked hard and so did my body. I told my baby it's teamwork and we will meet so soon. I kept relaxing and rotating my hips on the birthing ball and swinging with hubby as these movements encouraged baby to move through the pelvis. I munched dates and drank red raspberry leaf tea to keep me hydrated. It was an uninterrupted moment and I enjoyed it. My OB/GYN suggested that I  enter the pool but I was comfortable with my birthing ball. It was also easier to go to the toilet after liters of red raspberry leaf tea. I knew the importance of keeping the bladder empty. I felt the pressure of bearing down with every surge but it was still bearable as I could still stand up by myself.

After maghrib prayers and breaking fast, my OB/GYN came again to check. I was still 5cm dilated but I believed I had effaced a lot since earlier in the evening. We opened the live streaming of tarawih prayer from Masjid Haram at Astro. Around 12 am, I went into the tub. Immediately the warmth of the water helped ease the surges. By this time I knew we were not far off as I could feel baby moving down the birthing canal. There was bearable pain, but it felt pretty intense. The surges were strong and on top of each other and all I could do was to close my eyes and breathe. My husband was outside of the pool right above my head and I was holding both of his hands tightly. I positioned myself in an upright position and floated in the tub.

With every surge, I said 'Allah, Allah, Allah' and kept every breath short. Almost immediately I could feel baby crowning and with two birthing breaths, our beautiful en caul baby boy was born at 12.59 am. My water bag broke inside the tub. I cried and so did my calm OB/GYN, Dr. Idora. She did her job well and observed me very calmly. I birthed the placenta naturally outside of the tub and received stitches for a first-degree tear. No episiotomy, Alhamdulillah. My baby's umbilical cord was cut 6 hours later. We thanked Dr. Idora and the nurses and they left the three of us in the birthing suite to enjoy almost four hours of skin-to-skin bonding. It was a beautiful experience, so peaceful and serene. My baby latched-on like a champ for four hours continuously. Alhamdulillah thumma alhamdulillah. It was a beautiful natural water birth in a hospital setting. Keep calm and gentle birthing!


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