Disclaimer : As written by the dad and shared it here.
When I heard the word ‘home birth’ for the first time, it strikes me as “RIDICULUOS”, “OLD-FASHIONED”, “HIGH RISK”, and “HELL-NO”. To us, soon-to-be-father, we had doctors who have 20 to 30 years of experience in handling birth, baby and its complications, that we can really rely on; with their tools and gadget that we know nothing about; is still a safer option than doing the home birth.
But that four little terms above has been eventually wiped out of my mind, when my wife insisted (I mean really insisted, if I’m not going she’s gonna cry out, yell, be miserable, day-in-day-out nagging, and probably enforcing close-door policy) to go to Amani Preview talk, which surprisingly was presented by the founder of Amani Birth herself. She is Aisha al-Hajar. The way she presenting the facts, the way she explaining how birthing is not necessarily a medical condition, the way she asking us as soon-to-be-father to give our wives their right to have the natural way of giving birth, with least or zero intervention, and the actual right of a father to be there, ACTUALLY there, to welcome the baby, to receive the baby, and to adzan the baby; made me think I should man up, instead of putting up the risk to doctors and prepare to blame them for whatever wrong happened to our baby, I put my faith up to Allah, the only savior, and us.
However, I was still skeptical about this, despite of everything I’ve learned from the preview talk. So my wife forked out her little saving, and signed us for full Amani Birth class with HanzJamaluddin. From there, we learned a lot about birth, birth process, complications, do’s and don’t’s, and whatnot. We spent the portion of money we saved for private hospital birth to buy all the necessity for home birth. We pray a lot for Allah’s gracious, we made ourselves firmed with our decision; in a way, we replenish our faith to Allah. We spend a lot of our free time by reading books, and gbg posts everyday, all I said to her is “if we want to do this, we must know everything thru and thru”, “this is not a trend, this is not a drill, this is real, this is us, this is Allah’s test”. I don’t want us to back out at the last minutes.
We still continue to submit ourselves to KKIA for follow up checkups, sometimes to private clinics for scans, as we need to ensure both mom and the baby are in low-risk pregnancy. Alhamdulillah, Allah listened to our pray, the baby was engaged at week 36, the placenta stayed in place, the amniotic fluid was in good amount. She still continues to watch her food intake, did a lot of pregnancy exercises, climb up and down of our apartment (level 8), she get her health at the highest state, she walked a lot, doing the house chores like a normal wife (to me: supermom). She cooked, she cleaned, she did laundry, and she prayed hard.
5th September 2013 week 38 day 6
She had leaks in the afternoon, and soon in the evening. But there’s no pain. So I told her to be calm, and drink a lot of water. She did, and I put her tobed rest, as I need to get back to work. Back to home, I gave her coconut drinks, as adviced by many people from gbg. She still leaked. From that moment I know we are nearing. She starts to consult with Hanz for updates and affirmation. I went back to office for callback works, and she explained to me she had cramps and tightening sensation around her stomach. My mind immediately says “it’s going to happened tonight, I need to fill up the air in the pool, get all those things that we simulated many times earlier, and pray hard to Allah for his kindness”
6th September 2013 week 39
12:01AM: the cramping is getting harder. I asked her to do pelvic rock on the birth ball. It’s contraction, but I know it’s mild as she still can talk, walk, think, and do stuff. I teach her about the deep breathing technique. The contractions came irregularly, so I went to sleep. I know my wife strength level so well. She can handle Braxton.
3:00AM: Someone’s jerking the bed sheet. Her face turned red as she practicing deep breathing. I asked her to chant the zikr and doa. I went to the kitchen and prepare the magic juice, raspberry leaf tea. Wait, I don’t know how many bags of the tea needed for a jug, so I threw 3 bags. She still on her ball, sitting and sometimes rocking it as I pass her the hot deep red juice.She managed to drink half of it, and the contractions came and go. So we timed the contractions, regularly irregular. I went to the storeroom, and picked up the half-inflated pool, fill it up with air, and lay around the plastic sheet all over the bedroom, like Dexter. The contractions became stronger; I can hear it in her voice. But it’s still irregular.
5:00AM: She lied on bed. I woke her up to feed her. She refused while dealing with contractions. So I prepared the room, arrange the pool, stools, towels, and light up all the candles, and turn off all lights except the bedside table lamp. The windows are shut and fan turned off. She needed the room to be in warm temperature. It felt so calm when I looked inside the room..but the pool is still empty! Ah it’s ok, it’s still Braxton.
6:00AM: I hooked up the pipe to fill up the water. It was so cold! I was like I’ll be damned…so I rushed to the kitchen, fill up two pots of water and heat it up on the stove. I cleared up all hot water we had in the kitchen and splashed it in the pool. It’s still cold! So I have to wait for another round of boiling hot water from the stove, as the water in the pool is getting colder. Anyway, it took me 5 rounds of hot water trips to make the pool lukewarm.
6:45AM: I felt hungry and decided to make French toast. I gave to my wife a slice, along with 3 dates. She chugged it down with another mug of warm red juice. The contraction shows the tendency of showing regularly.
7:04AM: She screamed for me. Her underpants soaked with water, “I think my water just broke”, as I can see her disappointment of it (she wanted it en caul). Anyway, I told her we are getting closer, do more zikr together, and doa, and throw my confident look at her. She bought it. She stripped off all her clothes and wore a pulled up long skirt.
7:15AM: she went into the pool, and told me that the water is still cold. So I had to do another rounds of boiling hot water in our godforsaken small pots (we don’t have bigger pots!) In between those rounds, I slide myself in the pool on and off, while trying to sooth her contraction pain. There, the moment we felt close to god as we chanted the zikr, praises, and doa to Allah. We made ourselves busy, in a very calm moment. Her contractions become closer and closer, but I didn’t time it. I knew her body is expanding the cervix every time she had contractions.
I remember I kissed her passionately, fore playing with her breasts, scooped the water with my hand and let it drip on her shoulder and back. I wiped her face, hold her hands, and let her squeeze my calves. It was so intimate and silent. She changed her position, from squat to all four to jakuzi-lay. Most of the time I assisted her to perfecting deep breathing techniques. It was so hard, as she leaves her abdomen to be in stiff and contracted state. So I put both my palms on her bulked stomach, and let her see if my palms getting apart while deep breathing.
8:00AM: the contractions were getting stronger, but I’m glad she didn’t feel pain on her pelvic bones (by right at this moment, the sheer pressure of contraction will make the mother scream in pain as the pelvic bones expanding. She screamed “pass me the bowl now! I need to barf!”And she did. Her face looked painfully red, and her lips chapped, “honey you need to drink”. She took big gulps of zamzam water, probably a liter of it.
I did try to sneak for the purple/black line behind her bottom for sign of effacement, it looked 5-6cm long. I knew she progress so well. But I didn’t tell her that. She thought she’s ready to push. I told her “you don’t want to push, trust me. The baby will work with you and slide out of you”.
Allah listened to our prayer. The contractions were slowly apart. She took the time to take a little nap in the pool. She needed a rest for the 2nd stage.
8:30AM: this is the peak of the contractions. It was apart by less than a minute. The pain becomes unbearable. She knew the time is nigh. She took the seconds break in between contraction to tell me “remember, when the baby is out, M before N. Clear the mouth first then move to the nose”, I was like “you are now officially a control freak” and said OK. lol
9:00AM: The baby was crowning. I saw her hair. It was so thick. I grabbed my phone to take a picture and a video, and showed them to her. She smiled and felt really glad with the result.
She found a new surge of energy!
9:10AM: “Allah..Allah..Allah..the ring of fire…baby, sakit..” The baby’s head was protruding out. Alhamdulillah, it wasn’t sunny side up. She leaned forward to my lap, and squeezed my thighs. It was so intense. She had contractions over contractions. I asked her to take a deep breath while dealing with the surges.
9:25AM: the baby was out. I saw her eyes open underneath the water. Immediately I take the baby out of the water. Her cord was tangled around her neck. I pass the baby to her mother, chest to chest, while I remove the tangled cord. The baby’s face leaned sideways, and out the water and gooey stuff offher mouth and nose. She took her first breath. Alhamdulillah..the mother greeted her with “Assalamualaikum baby”. She hugged the baby. The baby cried, but in calm way. We were laughing in total gladness.
She passed the baby to me so that she can change her position. I took the calmest time of our live to azan my baby on her right ear and iqamah on her left. The baby stared at me in the eyes the whole time. That moment is the proudest moment of my life.
I passed back to her and I grabbed a towel to cover them both, she pulled the baby up to her chest and let the baby find the tit. The blood spurted into the pool, as she’s ready for the 3rd stage. After 10 minutes, she found it uneasy the placenta wasn’t out yet. She insisted to go to the toilet bowl. I helped her out of the pool and lead her to the toilet. She sat while breastfeeding the baby. The surge came, and she pushed out the placenta. I took a close look for PPH, and pray to god that it’s not! The blood spurted out a lot! I was worried like hell! After seconds, it slowed down. I saw something still attached in between her vag and the dropped placenta. It looked like a layer of peeled membrane. I decided to pull it out slowly. So I pulled it, my hand soaked in warm blood. Slowly, inch by inch. I swear to god, it was singlehandedly the longest and scariest moment in my life. “plop! It was out entirely” Alhamdulillah. I let her sit there and watch for subsequent squirt of blood. It wasn’t heavy flow, just dripping of blood.
I washed her vag with water and asked her to wait so I can clean up the placenta. It was peeled off. No matter how hard I wash it, the blood still dripping out of it. Then I put it in a basket, lead my wife for a bed rest (I have laid a towel on the bed earlier).
She asked me to take off my shirt and take a quick shower. She handed me the baby. We did a kangaroo care for 5 minutes. Previously I wasn’t believe in that, but when I feel our heartbeat synchronized..(no word can describes how I feel)
10AM: the mom dozed off. I woke her up to tell her I decided to cut the cord. The placenta wasn’t in good shape. I’m afraid of infections. The cord looks pale and slightly flat. I knew she got all the blood she needs. The mom nodded. So I grabbed a pair of Ikea’s plastic clamps and a pair of cleaned scissor, rubbed rigorously with an alcohol swab, and clamp and cut the cord with lafaz Bismillah and selawat. I immediately washed the placenta with salt. And let it drain in the basket. I went back to the baby, replaced her muslin with a clean towel, wrapped her gently and let her sleep at her mother’s side. Then I grabbed a pillow and went to sleep.
12PM: I woke up and decided to call my mom. And all hell breaks loose! It took me 24 minutes to explain everything to her and consoled her. She freaked out and I can sense she mad at me. Then she called my sister and brothers, inlaws, uncles and aunts.
I was like, “Oh shit. I must clear everything up before anyone shows up”
It took me 2 hour to clear everything out.
I woke my wife and ask her to clean up. The blood stained badly on the bed. She took a shower, wear a pair of clean clothes, and eat the leftover of the French toast. We were ready for visitors.
6PM: We went for post-natal check up at a private hospital. The baby is healthy and well, heart rate is in excellent condition, and had a re-cut on the cord stump (I asked for it..i don’t want my mom cries over the fact that I used ikea clamp for it)
The doctor was amazed; my wife had intact perenium, no residual in uterus, and healthy blood pressure.
I thank Allah, for this beautiful rezeki, beautiful labor, and with His Gracious we had the best experience of our lifetime. Alhamdulillah.
So how do I do it? How do I manage the risks? Should all dad-to-be do the same as I do? Do all mom-to-be should endure such risks? The honest answer is NO. Unassisted home birth is not for everybody. But if you prepped yourselves with knowledge, I mean a deep information about birth, and all those unwritten past-generation word of wisdoms and advices, highest state of health, strong will, and most importantly, the highest submission to Allah that He whom control everything, the creator of living and the One we will brought back to; YES you will have a very gentle, loving, and wonderful birth experience, and perhaps the most intimate moment between you and your wife.
And, perhaps you should.
Father of Hannah Zahra
6th September 2013