BEFORE I START…I need to thank Khalil for being the most amazing husband & father anyone could ever hope for! Baby, I couldn’t have done this without you, you are my rock, my back bone, my EVERYTHING. THANK YOU for believing in me, thank you for trusting me to do this, & thank you for doing everything you could possibly do to make this such a memorable experience for me & a wonderful memory of the day our baby boy was born. I would go through it a 1000 times over again with you by my side (though I’m pretty sure I’ll have a tough time getting you to do that again anytime soon :P) I love you…way more than you could ever know!
So, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, about 9 months or so but if you’re still sticking around for us, well I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s been a tough 9 months, had a difficult pregnancy, traveling to & back from home over the summer, going back to school & dealing with a toddler who also herself had to deal with all these changes, well not fun…but we made it !
After going through the first trimester of my pregnancy with extreme nausea, half of the second until the day I gave birth with something called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, on the 5th of November 2017, at 8:30AM our little Kai was born.
Almost 3 years ago, I had given birth to Kyra in Lebanon. Labor was induced, I got an epidural, morphine, the works, & came out of it feeling like a train wreck. Fast forward a couple years, I learned a lot about giving birth, the human body, hormones & how inductions & epidurals can actually slow down labor or drag it out a lot longer than it should & in many cases end up in unnecessary C-sections for the mother. This time around, I decided to give birth in Dubai & to take control of my delivery. I wanted a drug free water birth, so I attended a hypnobirthing course over the summer in Lebanon with Duna Abou Jaoude, which I think made all the difference in me being mentally prepared for this. For anyone who would want to try giving birth naturally or even to have a better experience altogether, I would highly recommend taking a hypnobirthing class, as it gives you plenty of information on what to expect before, during and after you give birth & mentally & physically prepares you to handle it.
Now being alone with hubby in Dubai, I felt we might need some professional support & so went on to look for a doula. After getting in touch with several doulas & interviewing them, hubby & I decided to go with our guts and chose Lala Langtry White, known as “The Different Doula & Wise Hippo Birth Coach” from Small and Mighty Babies, & THAT was the best decision we could have ever made! If you’re unfamiliar with the doula concept, you may think that hiring one is pointless, or maybe just pretentious, but seriously I’d say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Both hubby & I found that hiring Lala, made this experience possible & without her I’m sure we would have at one point caved out of fear & probably asked for any kind of pain relief or unnecessary medical intervention. She was a huge support the last few weeks of my pregnancy, always there to calm my fears & give me a boost of confidence when I needed it, & the night I went into labor, she was practically up all night with me over the phone & met us right away at the hospital when we asked her to. Prior to that day, we had discussed all possible scenarios & she gave us excellent tips on how to make it a comfortable drive to the hospital. When hubby was asked to go fill out some paperwork, she was there for me & was the amazing support we needed up until Kai and I were comfortably relaxing in bed. But what exactly happened that night?
Well, I had learned from my hypnobirthing course that the hormones our bodies produce in order for our cervix to open and labor to progress quickly, are better released when we are in our “safe place”. To me, home made me feel safe, the nights also made me feel safe as in my head Kyra would be sleeping & I could labor in peace. So, in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I practiced my breathing & relaxation techniques & hoped to go into labor at night. Early labor started on the 2nd of November, it was Thursday night when I started feeling some minor period-like cramps. I hadn’t experienced any Braxton Hicks and since I was induced with Kyra, I had no idea what to expect this time around. Friday morning, once Kyra was awake & we had friends over, it all stopped & slowed back down. Friday night, round 2 of mild contractions, which didn’t feel too bad either, but were slighty different than the ones I had on Thursday, a bit higher up & felt more like my stomach tightening then relaxing rather than period cramping. At 5am Saturday morning, I lost my mucus plug, but again, all slowed down as I got busy with Kyra afterwards. That afternoon though, I couldn’t feel Kai move & panicked & rushed to the hospital for them to monitor him. All was fine, he was just extra sleepy & couldn’t be bothered to move much…later that night, it hit me that this was just “the calm before the storm”.
I went to sleep with Kyra super early that night, only to be awoken by a stronger pain at 1:30am. I got up & went to the living room not to wake her up. I waited a good 45 minutes before waking hubby up, worried it would be a false alarm, but as the contractions got closer together & more intense, I knew I’d be holding my baby boy in my arms very soon. I called his cell phone as I couldn’t move & he ran to find me leaning over my birthing ball, trying to breathe properly.At this point I had been timing my contractions, which were about 7-8 minutes apart in the beginning, but were quickly picking up their pace. Barely an hour later, they were down to 4-5 minutes apart & I thought it would be a good time to wash up & get dressed. The minute I stepped in the bathroom though, contractions came back to back, barely 2 minutes apart & I couldn’t even get out before another one hit me again. That is when I knew it was go time & so we called Lala, and told her to meet us at the hospital which was about 30 minutes away. Kyra was still sleeping & in good hands, & so we scurried to the car as quickly as possible. This was really happening, and exactly the way I’d hoped for, so exciting, yet so SO scary!
At the hospital we were met by a nurse & a wheelchair who rushed me to the labor & delivery ward. Luckily the hypnobirthing room was available. We had taken a tour of Al Zahra Hospital and were blown away by their waterbirth facilities & of the 3 available rooms, the hypnobirthing room was the one I was hoping to get. I barely managed to lay down for 15 minutes for them to monitor me & baby (hospital policy), but as the midwife soon realized labor was progressing way too fast & I couldn’t lay in bed, they unstrapped me ASAP & I was free to move around again. I agreed to having only ONE cervical check done & the midwife was very respectful & sweet & said that if I didn’t want to know how dilated I was she could simply tell my doula or husband instead. Curious me however, had to know & I was 3-4 cm dilated according to her. I had expected to be a bit further along than that and was a bit bummed to be honest, but the minute I got up & moving, things got moving a lot faster. I was begging to get in the pool, but they were changing shifts at the time & the new midwife wanted to wait a little longer as getting in the water a little too soon might slow down the process. Little did she know that labor was progressing a lot faster than expected. I knew it, Lala knew it & she kept demanding they fill up that tub, which they finally did at around 7:45AM.
Again, hubby was sent to administration, during which Lala went in to check on the water. It was almost spilling over as Victoria, my midwife, forgot to check it, & was wayyy hotter than it should be & so she had to empty some of it with buckets & add cold water at the same time. Had I not been in labor, I would have definitely laughed my butt off, but Kai was pushing his way out, hard and fast & all I could think of was GET ME IN THAT WATER! Hubby arrived back in the room & when he couldn’t find me, ran in the washroom to find me in the pool, making sounds that, according to him “only an animal would make” & ran over to hold my hand. Lala got me to turn over on all fours as gravity would help me push baby out a lot better. I couldn’t do my “breathing” anymore, hypnobirthing had gone out the window by then, I could only exhale & push & grunt as I got that big boy out. It was incredibly intense, I can’t explain what it felt like, but right before his head came out, I knew what was meant by “the ring of fire”; it was literally a ring of fire around where baby’s head was pushing, but the minute his head came out, half of the work was done. The next contraction I would have to push again, & I gathered all my strength to get the rest of him out, I was almost done, just one more push, one more & out came my Kai! He literally slipped out into the water & I was too spaced out to do anything, but snapped back into it as Victoria shouted PICK YOUR BABY UP, PICK HIM UP! I looked around for him, right, left then under. He was still in the water & so I stumbled to scoop him up, as I turned around to sit & put him on my chest. I had requested delayed cord clamping in my birth plan & for daddy to cut the cord & so as this was done, Victoria got me to get out of the water & walk over to the bed to deliver the placenta. Oh did I mention, my doctor got there after we cut the cord? Haha yup, he did, which I was totally ok with though & I know that he’ll always remember me as the woman who delivered her placenta…ON THE FLOOR! Yes on the floor 🙂 & to think that I was worried about placenta delivery, turned out to be the easiest thing after getting Kai out, so easy in fact, that before I knew it, I was hit by a wave (aka contraction) & SPLAT, on the floor! I still laugh out loud every time I think about how fast it came out, & how much blood I had stuck between my toes lol. Thanks to the water, I only had minimal perineal tearing, & needed 2 stitches which I didn’t feel at all afterwards, as opposed to the episiotomy I got with Kyra & the 11 stitches that hurt forever.
Once all was over & done with, Kai was weighed & measured a couple hours later. Turns out, waiting for him to arrive at 40 weeks & 5 days did him good, & no wonder getting him out was tougher than I had thought, as the young Mr. Aswad came in at 4kgs & 52cm with a head diameter of 35.5cm…OUCH! But he was healthy & beautiful & looked like a 1 month old baby. I had done it, I couldn’t believe I did it & I felt PHENOMENAL!!! This was a high like no other, I couldn’t stop smiling, I couldn’t stop moving, or talking I just felt so light & instantly forgot about all the discomfort & pain & anything else I had been through over the past 9 months. This was by far the most EMPOWERING experience of my life, my proudest moment to date & I have chosen to write it all so I NEVER forget it, & share it with you so that more mothers & mothers to be out there believe that they can have this too. You CAN take control of your own delivery, you CAN have the birthing experience that you want, & you CAN do it all if you truly believe in yourself, trust your body & your baby to know what’s best for you both.
“YOUR BODY CAN STAND ALMOST ANYTHING, IT’S YOUR MIND THAT YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE” …AND BELIEVE ME IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT IN THE END ❤ ❤ ❤