Baby Aya arrived into this world on July 18, 2015 at 12pm on the dot. Welcome to this world baby girl! 38 weeks and two days, 7.13 lbs and 20.5″ long. 14 hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing.
Friday was Eid, our day of celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan, and we started it by dressing in our new outfits sent from Singapore made especially for my pregnant belly by my Aunt, dark navy blue with Royal green accents. Eid prayer was at 9am and we met for brunch after with family and friends. I started to feel real tired and a little uncomfortable so I decided to leave and go take a nap, thinking it was probably because I was up early and needed to catch up on some beauty sleep. My husband came up later and we decided to go for a walk and get some dessert at a French café around 4:30pm. By 6pm we were power walking back home because my stomach started to feel upset and I really needed to go to the bathroom! By 10pm my stomach aches turned into cramps and were getting stronger. They were different from my normal Braxton Hicks, I felt nauseous which had never happened before. I called Carol to tell her what was happening and she said, with a cool calm voice, “That was great!”
She was going to bed and for me to do the same. She told me to get as much rest, eat some food and to call her in the morning or the emergency number if anything happens in the middle of the night. Khaled and I watched that space movie, Interstellar, and he fell asleep within 30 mins, no surprise there, so we crawled into bed. I was up 30 minutes later taking a bath because of the cramps. They just felt like really bad menstrual cramps which was normal for me. Pain in my back, stomach and thighs. But by 3:30am things got real. I text Denise, my doula, telling her I think I’m going through labor and my contractions were about 20 to 15 minutes apart. She straightaway text me back with the advice to rest and to keep in touch, she would be there in the morning. I woke up Khaled because at this point I needed his support to get through the pain. I took showers and useD the heating pad on my back as he rubbed my feet and legs. I couldn’t lay down, it hurt too much for that, I was much more comfortable sitting up or walking. Khaled called Carol at 7am giving her an update. At this point I was in my zone and didn’t want to talk on the phone or answer questions for anyone. It was funny because Khaled thought it was false contractions based off what he was reading online. Just goes to show that everyone is different and feels their contractions differently!
Carol wanted to hear my contractions, which I thought was really interesting that one can tell how far along the mother is in labor by listening, because I wasn’t screaming, I was definitely moaning and breathing deep but I wasn’t sure if she could hear my pain. I think I hold it in a lot and mentally meditate to keep it at bay in my mind. I would picture the ocean, and the waves coming and going on the beach through my contractions. They were 6-7 minutes apart now. I was also constantly saying Allahuakbar, God is great, which also made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my aches and true feelings.
Khaled called our folks letting them know this might be the real thing (I already knew it was :P) and our doula arrived around 9am which was perfect timing so Khaled could run down to the store and get toilet paper and some food since we were out.
Having a doula was another best decision we made besides having a home birth. She followed me everywhere like a mother duck, helping me in and out of the shower, bringing me water, reminding me how to breath, pushing down on my back to ease the pressure. She was my positive reinforcement.
Reminding me why I was there, reminding me that I will see my baby girl soon. When Carol and her assistant arrived at 10:30am she said I was 6cm dilated, yay! Almost there! They left to give me space which at first I was scared of, thinking, where are they going?? I need them! They just got here! But really, I didn’t need them. I needed to just meditate and let my contractions and labor continue on its path.
There was a point when I thought to myself, next time I’m doing this in the hospital, next time I’m getting the epidural. But I quickly pushed those thought out of my mind, knowing that if I thought of the pain and finding a drug release for it was not going to help me at all right now. Staying positive and thinking of the end result is what pushed me through. The pain and time is only temporary and so minor compared to a lifetime of being with my baby girl.
By 11:15am my contractions were 1-2 mins apart and I already felt the urge to push. I was standing in the shower when Denise called Carol to come back up. I then felt a real strong need to poo so I sat on the toilet and just started to push. I was hanging onto Khaled pulling and hanging onto him as the contractions came over me and I screamed to push! I remember Carol being on her knees with a flashlight trying to see in the toilet bowl and monitor our baby’s heart. I didn’t want this baby born on the pot but I also didn’t want to move. I remember Carol snapping me back into reality. She directly told me, I can scream as loud as I want but I am not helping my baby come out. I realized I needed to scream or moan low and deep, down into my belly as I pushed. My water broke then and right after that we moved to the bed so Carol could get a better read on the baby’s heart beat. A move I thought was impossible but was it was possible.
I pushed and pushed with my husband on my left side and my doula on my right, both holding my legs up in a stirrup position, pushing back as I crunched forward with my hands pulling under my thighs. Carol asked if I wanted to feel her head! It was so soft, she was almost there. Khaled was already crying at this point. I remember feeling that “ring of fire” as she crowned, it stung and burned like crazy and I knew at that point she had to come out. Carol coached me as a pushed, and by 12pm Khaled caught Aya as she literally slipped out into this world! The happiest moment of my life. I was so exhausted from the labor, and couldn’t believe we had all just done this. I was so happy with all the people that were there. They weren’t just my doula and my midwife. They were my friends. People I had gotten to know over the months and began to trust as one did their friends. Aya was surrounded with so much love it made everything seem perfect.
I was bleeding more than was normal and Carol gave me a shot of pitocin. I also had a first degree tear inside which she sewed up. I had no fear with any of that, I knew I was in good hands and only cared about my baby girl.
After getting Aya to latch on and drink her first meal, going through all the health checks with baby and me, taking a hot shower, changing into fresh clothes and eating, everyone was out of our apartment in two hours and all of a sudden it was my husband and I, plus one.
A happy ending to our new beginning.
Baby Aya’s Birth — Written by Dad!
It was around three forty five in the morning when I was awoken by my wife, needless to say this time it was not an annoyance, rather the wonderful awakening. She woke me up and told me that she was experiencing contractions unlike others and that they seemed consistent with signs of early labor. The only thoughts running through my head were “we still have two weeks to reach forty weeks (must have been all that walking, thanks NYC)!”
My mind was racing between the potential of a false alarm and the reality that our daughter was finally going to be here. As first time parents, I feel its safe to say I was constantly worried; Worried I wouldn’t be prepared. Whether it was financially, emotionally, physically or mentally prepared I’m certain many other fathers to be feel the same. While men and women share many similar views on life, it is sometimes overlooked when it comes to a man’s perception of a woman. Speaking for most men, I can honestly say that we need you, in more ways than you can count. We need you to help guide us, comfort us, embrace us when we are weak and fill the missing part of our hearts.
As the moments passed, I vividly remember my wife’s contractions taking note of them as they passed. It was at 4:06 that I noticed her fist two minute contraction. She looked beautiful as she held it together, breathing and holding my hand as we sat on the couch in our five hundred-square-foot studio. With little room to move around, I began to coach my wife with the limited knowledge I learned and walk with her from the window to the door encouraging her along the way trying my best to comfort her. As the morning came in and the consistency of her contractions grew closer we knew that the internet once again misinformed us and that indeed “the time has come” (if you watched I Love Lucy that would make you laugh). As the contractions continued I had phoned Denise our doula who came as soon as she could and was now the along for the ride. Helping my wife to the tub and around the studio was done with her professionalism and motherly care.
Soon the contractions grew to five min apart from each other and after a phone call to Carol, who’s expert ear heard my wife go through a contraction on speaker phone, we knew it was go time. She was en route and within an hour the doorman downstairs called to let her up. I quickly went down to grab equipment now realizing that this was it! Our baby is here and within hours will be in our arms! It was surreal and hypnotic to think that the idea of being a parent was now in fruition and moments away. As Carol made her way upstairs, we were then joined by Maiysha, the birthing assistant. They began by getting a close up and seeing that my wife was almost fully dilated and that active labor was upon us. After setting things up and getting a run down from Denise and myself, Carol and Maiysha took control. My role had suddenly changed and I was now “riding the bench”, in other words I was just there for support and the occasional hand.
My wife was in active labor on toilet and within minutes Carol moved her over to the bed where the pushing, screaming and crying began (yes I cried)! Twenty-eight minutes later Carol reminded me that I wanted to “catch” the baby and that I needed to change positions. I moved from stirrup mannequin to being in the driver seat with Carol. With her hands under mine, two minutes later the love of our life entered the world. Slimy, slippery and crying… such a sight!
They never show you much on TV when it comes to real labor and I’m quite certain most audiences would turn away. The idea of pregnancy and labor has become stigmatized by pain, weight gain, doctors, hospitals and the endless chore of parenting. However, to me when the ring of fire is in sight and a mother is pushing for what seems to be hours there is a beauty to it. There is a beauty to watching a life begin, seeing your child for the first time and holding them as they adjust to life outside of the womb. After nine plus months of excitement, planning, and paranoia, all the trivial matters fade when you realize that they are finally here after a wonderful journey.
Our baby story was one of love, happiness and knowledge thanks to the wonderful work and professionalism of Shar La Porte and Carol Bues. You made pregnancy understandable, interesting, relaxing (for myself at least) and most importantly you made our time with you personal and intimate. Your patience in answering all my inquisitive and sometimes silly questions have brought us comfort in ways we could have only dreamed of. Prior to our decision of choosing Midwifery Care, our visits to the doctor for checkups were disappointing to say the least, well you quickly changed that! Although nine months in comparison to a lifetime is minuscule, I will never forget Shar and Carol, the two women who made pregnancy and delivery truly a wonderful experience for my wife and myself. All there visits and countless words of wisdom and knowledge are truly priceless. As a skeptic of home births and midwives initially, I can now say that I will always hope that my wife chooses a truly all natural birth in which you are our first and only option. Thank you once again for all that you have done, and most importantly thank you for bringing our daughter Aya into this world safely.