They say “It takes a village to raise a kid”. I say “It also takes a village to deliver a baby”.
It was Saturday, 3rd of October when I sort of had a feeling that Aira was nearly there. Yes, I had a feeling she was about to arrive in this world just when both of her grandmothers were present in Leiden. My mother came two weeks before that particular Saturday. And, my mother in law arrived that Saturday morning.
We had a huge festival in Leiden called Leiden Ontzet (again) on that particular Saturday. Streets were filled with food trucks, games, and attractions. Me and my husband were there at 10 pm, enjoying our Poffertjes and Warme Chocolademelk while I thought ‘This might become the last day of just the two of us.’ (And, yes I was 39 weeks 3 days and I still enjoyed a huge festival with my super big belly).
Afterwards, we decided to go back home since I got tired and thought I needed a rest. When we arrived home, I took a little exercise that could trigger the contraction to happen. My husband helped me with the exercise with the hope that Aira would come real soon.
Around midnight, I felt like I was having a mild contraction. I woke my mother up and told her what I felt, but then she said “I am sure it’s a false contraction.” (Yes, infact, a real contraction was waaaaay worse than that). I then woke my husband up and he accompanied me till I went back to sleep.
Around 7 in the morning, I woke up and tried to sit on my bed. Suddenly, i felt a running water went down there. It was super warm and I was pretty sure I was not wet my pants. It turned out my water broke and I had to call my midwife to make sure what to do afterwards. My midwife told me to count on the gap between the contractions, take a shower, and prepare my hospital bag as well as the car seat for the baby. She sad if the gap was 3-4 minutes, she would come immediately. Otherwise, she would come around 10. I then took a shower and counted on the contractions gap. It truly was between 3-5 minutes. I called her again immediately and she came to my house to check on my dilation.
Apparently I was only 1 cm dilated at that time. My midwife told me to have some rest and not to waste so much energy, and she would come again around 1pm. I was in bed the whole time while counting on the contractions. Surprisingly, it was 8-10 minutes apart. It went backwards from 3-5 minutes to 8-10 minutes apart. My midwife was also confused when I explained her this.
Around 1, she came again and checked on my dilation. I was still 1 cm dilated. She then decided to give a massage from the inside to provoke the contraction and the dilation (and, it hurts like craaaazyyyyyy btw). She hoped that the massage would trigger more dilation before she had to decide to put me an IV (intravenous therapy) at the hospital. At that time, she said she would come again at 5.30 pm and checked again on the dilation. However, whatever happened, we all had to go to the hospital at that time since the water already broke and the labor would have already gone for almost 12 hours by that time.
Yes, as I would guess, nothing has progressed until 5.30. The dilation was nearly 2 cm. But, 2 cm for 12 hours was not a good sign. I was already tired as well. My midwife then decided that I needed to go the hospital immediately and the midwife in the hospital would take over me instead of her. Everybody was super busy. Both of my mothers were busy checking on all the preparation to bring to the hospital. My midwife called Alrijne hospital, a hospital that I wanted to give birth at. And, my husband went outside to order a cab. I just sat there and enjoyed my contraction.
At the hospital, my midwife took us directly to the delivery room and we were greeted by the midwife at the hospital. She was super nice (well, all the midwives are supposed to be nice, I think). She explained thoroughly what she was going to do and how the delivery was going to be conducted. I thought it was really nice to have things explained at the first place. I would know what to imagine, whether it was gonna hurt or not, and what if it were not work. She then put a thing for the heartbeat of the baby and the contraction on my belly for45 minutes before she put an IV to my vein (before everything was started.😉 haha)
The midwife came back again after 45 minutes and she explained about something. She discovered that I had been through the labor for 12 hours without any progress. She stated that it was a medical necessity to have an epidural as I was already tired and I still had more to go (well yes, with the IV, hormones, contractions, and the push push push). I remember I clearly explained to my husband that for my first labor, I would not take the epidural. I wanted to feel ‘the real pain‘ of labor without having to omit the pain itself during the labor. However, reality did not go as well as I thought it would be. I was in pain for 12 hours already and with 1 cm dilation was not a good sign to keep up with the rest of another 12 hours. I then agreed to take epidural. Around 8.30, the midwife and nurse brought me to a quiet room with a lot of medical equipment and two anaesthesiologists to put me the epidural. The midwife told me that it would not hurt to put the epidural. No, it hurt a little bit. I felt like something stung my spine simultaneously every time the doctors put the thing in my back. After a while, I could feel that the contraction pain went lower for the left side of my body. But, not for my right side of my body. Apparently, the epidural was only working for my left side, but not my right side. Later on, the doctors increased the epidural dosage so that I would not feel the pain on the right side as well. They then asked me, “Now, do you feel any pain?”. I then said, “No pain. But I can feel my rectum is sore. It’s like something is pushing there.” They then smiled and said, “Good then. You will need that feeling to push later on.” Well, they had me unexplained as I did not understand what they meant to say to me.
After spending two hours inserting the epidural, I came back to the delivery room. It was around 11 pm and my husband and both of my mothers were there waiting in the delivery room. My body was shaking so hard and my husband was worried. Though, the midwife told him that it was normal because it was a sign of a delivery. After a while, I started to feel the push toward my anus was getting harder and harder. There was a point that I could not handle it any longer and I felt like pushing. Though, my mother kept on saying ‘Keep praying. Do not scream. Keep praying.’ I kept on praying but I still wanted to push. A few minutes later, the nurse and the midwife came in and checked on my dilation. Good Lord, I was 8 cm dilated around midnight. That explained why I felt like pushing already. The nurse and midwife asked me to wait until I was fully dilated. I was super happy when they said I was 8 cm dilated. Even the contraction went harder, I was so excited that it meant my beautiful baby was gonna be there really soon in my arm. The nurse then said that the epidural effect was already expired that I needed to keep on struggling by myself. I kept my pray inside my head while reciting it once in a while with my mouth to shift my attention. I realised that it was not only me who struggled there, it was the baby as well. She must have put a lot of efforts to be out of the birth canal to see the world and her family. So I needed to stay strong and stronger.
At one point, I knew that I was fully dilated as I could not hold my need to push any longer. But, I stayed there, trying to hold and waiting for the nurse and midwife to come in the room again. My mother kept on praying while my mother in law kept stroking my back and said “Sabar ya Nak..”. A few minutes later, I realised that both of my mothers were not in the room anymore. It was only me and my husband (whom his hands had been squeezed continuously by his wife). Then, I said to my husband, “Please call the nurse. I can’t wait any longer.” He pressed the button and the nurse with the midwife and the intern ( I forgot to mention there was an intern as well) came in the room. The nurse checked on my dilation and yes, I was fully dilated. They then said, “You can push whenever you want, Mam. Three pushes in one contraction. And, do not lift your bottom up.”
I then tried to push and push for almost two hours. I tell ya, I defecated a few times I was pushing. I did not care. Hahaha. Well, I could not control it anyway. The feeling was the same :p I also fell asleep between the contractions and the pushes. I just felt a huge desire to sleep, like supeeeer huge. They let me though. I heard it was not allowed to sleep during the pushes. But, I did anyway. And, I was okay. I tried so hard to push again and again. The only thing they said was “Yes, we can see her hair already. Keep pushing. Harder and harder.” It’s almost 20 hours already and I got really tired. A few minutes after that, I saw a gynaecologist came in the room and explained why she was there. Apparently, Aira’s heartbeat went faster and it was not a good sign for the labor so I needed to make my push faster and faster. However, they realised I was really tired that I could not push any harder. Suddenly, when I gave another push, I felt like they cut me down there. Then my husband said, “Darling, the head is there already” ( I did not really hear this and I wanted to keep pushing). Suddenly the nurse and midwife said, ” Do not push anymore” (And yes, I kept pushing that this might resulted in a lot of stitches I got to my bottom. Oh well.. I could not really differentiate between ‘push’ and ‘do not push’ anymore).
There she was. Born in October the 5th, 2015. Crying. Only a little cry. I was worried because it was not a loud cry. But, the midwife said it was normal. So, I was okay. The midwife gave Aira to me. And, she was in my chest. Skin to skin contact. The first thing I said to her, “Assalamualaikum Mahira Shaliha Agahari. Semoga menjadi anak sebaik dan seindah namamu. Tiada Tuhan selain Allah ya Nak.” My husband kissed me and hugged me. Then, he was asked to cut the umbilical cord before he was given the baby to perform the Adzan and Iqamah.
This is truly a new beginning for us, our little family, and our big family. We promise to shower Aira with love, kisses, and hugs everyday. We promise to teach her to be strong and capable even if the world will turn her life upside down later in her life. We promise to teach her the faith that will bring us together again in Jannah, that will always pray for us when me and my husband are not in this world anymore.
We love you Nak, more and more everyday.