Profile: Shaima Ashraf, AMANI Birth Doula & CBE in-training, Calicut, Kerala, India.
"Dream births do come true!"
Disclaimer: I hereby declare, as an AMANI Birth Doula in training that I do not support/encourage/suggest/advice on performing unassisted home/car births. This was purely unintentional/accidental.
An intro before we jump into the birth story.
The "mommy" in the story and I are cousins and best friends since childhood. I happened to know about AMANI Birth and "Doulas" through her and SubhaanAllah look how amazingly Allah let her reap the fruits of the seeds that she sowed in me.
FYI: During her last consultation with her doctor, she had only one request, to have a birth without an episiotomy as she had a very bad one for her previous birth. But deep inside she did dream of a completely natural birth like the one that Maryam/Mary the mother of Isa/Jesus had (peace be upon them both).
Now here's the story:
26th June 2020
I'd called "mommy" and her sisters to come over and stay for the few days that I was to spend at our grandparent's place. This was the 4th night of their stay over. And throughout these four days she consistently ate fresh dates. It all started around 10:30 at night. "Mommy" felt like her baby was moving differently and doing weird stuff inside her, plus she had very mild backache. Though she was due on the 3rd of July as per her last scan, my cousins and I got excited, hoping to welcome her second baby soon.
Once we put all our babies to bed, "mommy" felt like she was experiencing tightness of her tummy(mild contractions). We started to time them just to guess around what time things would start to progress and when it would be time to leave to the hospital. (It was similar to her first labour, where things started off like this, but it took one whole day for her to get into active labor the first time) . We continued timing until 1:45 am, but the contractions were too far apart and were very mild, so we decided that "mommy" sleeps so she saves up energy incase things were to happen the next day(which was true!).
At 5:15 when I woke up I saw her walk around the room after she took wudu to pray fajr. She told me that contractions were a bit stronger now but that it wasn't time yet. She wanted to go home after prayer to put in the few last-minute stuff she'd bought into her hospital bag. She prayed, went upstairs to get a few other stuff, I went to check on her upstairs, and she seemed calm and was able to walk around doing her chores. She came back down and picked up her phone to call her brother to come pick her up.
Suddenly, before she could even dial the call ,at 5:34am she just screamed and got on to the bed on her knees! That was a huuuge leap from bearable mild contractions to very very intense contraction. I kept massaging her lower back and gave her counter pressure to relieve her from the pain. She was confused and so was I, as this was my first experience being a doula to a laboring momma one on one(though I'd helped a few laboring mommas virtually, things were moving extremely fast with this "mommy" , SubhaanAllah) I asked her if I could go call someone to take her to the hospital and she said that it still wasn't time and that she had to go home to get her hospital bag.
After this first contraction, she got up from her knees and sat on the bed and was moving restlessly asking me why she was finding it difficult to sit. Just in what seemed like 5 to 7 seconds after the first contraction she got up and leaned on me next to the bed and screamed a second time. Her second intense contraction and her waters broke!! A gush of water all over the floor, her legs and mine. I knew that this was it, no more packing bags we had to leave to the hospital right away! I called her sisters who were in deep sleep in the same room not aware of a thing that was going on and sent them to call our uncle. But SubhaanAllah her contractions were back to back with very little or no relaxation between them. She said she couldn't move an inch from where she was, and her screaming woke up all our babies.
She yelled at her sisters to take the babies away, and I told our uncle that there was no way we could take her to the hospital now (even though we had a maternity hopital, which would take us only 2 minutes to reach by car!), and asked him to call a doctor from the hospital.
Meanwhile at home, things were progressing super fast. Though we had nothing ready for a homebirth, I did have my daughter's large dry sheet/under pad in my bag. I moved to get it from my bag where "mommy" screamed and said, "Shaima please don't go away!"
SubhaanAllah that's when I realised how much laboring moms are in need for support and care during labor. I quickly spread the underpad under her while she was struggling to find a comfortable position. She kept yelling that the baby was coming!
Now I needed to change from doula mode and get down there to see what was going on, and Alhamdulillah in a few seconds our grandma came in and she took over the doulaing from there. "Mommy" was laboring on all fours but Grandma was super scared about her position and kept asking her to lie flat on her back. Both "mommy" and I knew that her position was totally fine and I let her stay the way she was most comfortable in. She would sometimes just stay on her knees, and hug grandma tight almost shaking her off balance. The baby's head was already crowning when I checked on her.
Seeing grandma worry so much about her position, I whispered into "mommy" 's ear and asked her if she would try to lie on the bed (side lying position). Once she did, she asked for water and she drank three full glasses of water, energizing herself for the two final contractions.
I used one of my hands as a stirrup for her while the baby's head was being born. Grandma was holding her hands, one of my aunts supporting her head and slowly as the baby's forehead, eyes, nose and mouth were out, the amniotic fluid just thrushed out of the baby's nose and mouth. As soon as the shoulders were out, the baby cried and the rest of the body just slipped into my hands. Allahu Akbar!
From the first intense contraction to the sixth and final contraction it just took around 20-30 minutes!!
All that while I was calm and confident with what I was doing alhamdulillah, but as soon as the baby was out and in my hands with the cord hanging between the little baby girl and her "mommy" I was overwhelmed and I just couldn't stop myself from breaking down! SubhaanAllah! I immediately placed the baby on "mommy's" chest and she stopped crying. Both grandma, aunt and I were all teary while "mommy" was so happy, smiling & cuddling with her baby, beaming after having such an intense, powerful and empowering birth!
15 minutes after the birth, 2 nurses came running in to see the baby cozy in her "mommy's" arms. They took the baby, clamped and cut the cord. After cleaning the baby, they let the baby stay with us at home for a while and took mommy to the hospital to birth the placenta. Baby was reunited with mom a few minutes later.
- Absolutely no induction
- No pain relief medications
- No episiotomy
- Intact perineum
- Delayed Cord Clamping
All praise is to Allah Almighty Who does make dream births come true!💎