My 3rd Covid-19 Birth
When I gave birth to a deep brown eyes flower during a pandemic...Her name is Soane.
One early morning, the 16th of August 2020
Medication-Pain Killers: None
Labour: About 14hours
Where: Kings College London Hospital, Dubai
3.6g at Birth
This pregnancy was emotionally tougher. Yes - This crazy unthinkable pandemic has hit the whole world locking us into our houses, having to perform at home with homeschooling, home cooking, home working, home _ _ _ing for everything for a few months...I didn't realise until I was actually in labour that I have also been quite affected by this whole new dynamic both physically and mentally.
Since the birth of my 2nd child, I was driven by the passion to empower other women to give birth fearlessly to their babies having experienced myself a wonderful birth. I had experienced hypnobirthing myself and knew exactly what to do, how to do it and all and felt so ready and confident. Which I truly was.
I had religiously practised my breathing, listened to my positive relaxing MP3s daily, did some prenatal yoga, tried to rest whenever I could. Then the Covid-19 came with its whole new round of changes and had to work harder with little rest.
This time, I had decided to keep my baby's gender a surprise until birth. Yes! And I managed the whole surprise thing so well, it was NOT challenging at all. I really surprised myself. I was so connected to my baby anyway so it didn't matter.
My pregnancy went very well, had no issues whatsoever, kept on being active and working throughout.
Then I hit 40 weeks and my baby would not come out- no sign of labour apart from my regular Braxton Hicks contractions that I had experienced throughout my three pregnancies.
My doctor suggests doing a membrane sweep which I refused (bad souvenir). I know my baby will come on his own term. I was very patient and confident.
She respected my choice and tell me to wait another week before induction...oh God this word didn't sound good to my ear at all.
To avoid induction, I started doing all the things on the list...nothing happened. My girl was still not ready to meet us.
The last few days I consciously gave up and decided to deeply trust that things will unfold as they should. And they did.
The day before my last appointment with my doctor to set the induction...labour started after lunch. I was so grateful and so relieved! My body and my baby were working together. I was riding each wave with happiness and gratefulness. Bouncing on my yoga ball, running after my boys, cooking dinner and resting here and there.
The sunsets and I feel the surges have still pretty much the same intensity. By 10 pm they get somewhat stronger and I start packing to head to the hospital. This is when I wished I had a Doula, so she could monitor the time and take care of me etc…I decided to go to the hospital just because I could not relax at home since I knew I would have to go at some point...Which I should not have done since hospitals stress me out.
I was secretly hoping for a crazy unexpected (yet expected) birth in the car...but didn't happen. I know- it sounded crazy but my dream was to have a nice home cosy, water birth but hey we can't do that in the UAE. So, I thought a nice birth in the car, or in the elevator or wherever outside the hospital would also be good. Ahah. None of this happened-
We reached the hospital, I get checked and found out that I was 3-4 cm dilated...Oh. I thought... I was a bit disappointed. But I remembered that it did not matter. I stayed active, listened to my mp3s and to some relaxation music.
3 am - my doctor comes - I am now 4-5 cm...(5 hours after being checked). It felt like forever, what slow labour but that was how it was meant to be. I knew the hospital atmosphere was not helping me. It was such a 'medicalised' room, so cold and so not welcoming. I honestly just wanted to be in my own environment.
I felt the fatigue overtaking me and it became very challenging to keep up with the surges and breathing.
I spoke to my doctor. She asked me if I want any pain-killer I replied no obviously. I want to fully embrace and live my Labour and Birth.
After about half an hour, I still feel like my surges have the same intensity and I do know they need to get stronger so my baby can finally come out. I discuss with my husband and decide to request for my waters to be broken...It did work for me for my previous birth so I was pretty confident it will work too this time. I definitely needed a little helper being so fatigue. I wanted to keep my energy for the transition.
She breaks my water and yes- it did work again for me- my surges got very much more intense. This is where I let go and trusted my body and baby. I have faith. I transformed into a lioness and roared through the last surges. Thanks to the support of my loving husband and an amazing midwife Josephine (loved her) I got to keep on focusing on my breathing and visualising my baby's descent. My doctor had left already at this point.
I decide to stand up to get gravity to help my baby engaging further down into my pelvis. It works beautifully and I feel that 'poo-poo' pressure once again. I tell the midwife and she calls my doctor back. It is super intense I am not going to lie here.
I get offered some gas and air to relax even more. Never tried it before and was not too sure how it could help really but accepted. And I loved it, (I even remembered asking to take it home with me ahah). I felt so high... and oh yeah again so much more relaxed. It felt like smoking weed for the little analogy. Ahah (which I don't consume by the way).
Few surges later, minutes, my doctor arrives. She wants to check me and ask me to lie down on the bed- That's it- I am fully dilated...and things got moving so fast. Get the urge to push, push gently as I was very focused on avoiding tearing.
At this point I wanted to go back to my standing position as I really wanted not to give birth onto my back...but hey my baby's head was already out. I got asked to push even harder for the body to be born. I DO NOT listen purposely.
This was my birth and my body and didn't feel the need to push forcibly at this point. I take a break, breath and relax. The next and last surge comes in and I know and feel this is time to help my baby a little and push. I gather all that remaining energy and strength that I have left to give the last push. Contrary to some women I did not push like 'I never did' before. I just pushed hard, but I could have pushed harder.
I feel my baby's body coming out and my vagina stretching even more. And there it comes, my little baby girl was born!
Such a joy, such a relief, such an accomplishment. I remembered taking her onto my chest getting rid of any piece of clothing I had left so I could feel her skin against mine. I burst in tears of joy shouting thank you to everyone featured with ears in the hospital. Ahah
I then checked if I was having a girl or a boy since I didn't even care to know right away. I see it's a girl and cried even more thanking God for his magic. I would have not imagined being so happy to have a girl, to be honest since I thought I was really so deep in love with my boys.
I was so glad to only find out the gender at birth and until now I keep on discovering my feelings for her and I am loving it. I loved the uncertainty and the strong bond I had created with her from the womb. In the end, love is always love.
We wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating. I guess it took about 20min or so... My husband is so happy to get to cut the umbilical cord. Then, I feel the placenta descending right into my vagina with a last surge. I give a gentle push to help its descent. Such a beautiful placenta!
I was determined to keep it this time around and requested to save it in the fridge and brought it home.
And there we were, 2 girls and 3 boys, ready to build some more souvenirs.
I love you, my baby girl.