Friday, February 10, 2017

Introducing Raden Isabel Asiya

So I've been busy lately. I haven't been able to update my blog due to me having shifted my priorities and making my PhD my number one priority these days. Any other events, have to take a backseat, unless of course, it involves birth and labor, which, like it or not, have to be the number one priority when the time comes.

Us in Sri Lanka, June 2016.

Anyway, we (me and hubs, obviously) discovered that I was pregnant after we came home from our trip to Sri Lanka in June. Alhamdulillah we've always wanted another child and we are extremely grateful to be granted another opportunity. Fast forward months later, just like my pregnancy with Alexa, the baby is 40 weeks overdue and there is a high chance of me undergoing a caesarian as not only the baby is overdue, but I also have gestational diabetes, which poses a risk to the baby.

Since I was overdue, and although the baby was already engaged, my cervix wasn't dilated as yet. My doctor suggested that I go for a balloon catheter induction which is available at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) which would give me a chance to proceed with normal delivery. Otherwise, the alternative would be a caesarian delivery.

Because we were rooting for a normal delivery, we decided to try the balloon induction and my ob-gyn proceeded with a referral letter for SGH. On Thursday, 28th January I packed my stuff and then proceeded to SGH for the induction, and prayed for a normal delivery. Registered at the labor ward (Level 4) at 9 pm and my condition was examined by a doctor a few minutes later. She reported the results of her examination to a senior doctor about an hour later. The senior doctor conducted a vaginal examination and declared that my cervix was 3 cm dilated and that I did not need an induction. She even declared that I would deliver the following morning. Little did I know that she was right in her prediction.

The tiny person who's hijacked my sleep (for now).

At 12 midnight, I was wheeled to Level 5, given a bed and a change of clothes and was informed that if I felt any contraction or feel that I am nearing labor, I could request for a vaginal examination. If (based on the examination) my cervix was dilated to 4 cm, I would be brought to the delivery room at Level 4. By 2 am I was ready for bed; I had performed my prayers and there were some Braxton Hicks, but nothing to be alarmed about. By 4 am, the pain started to get more intense, so I asked the nurse for a vaginal exam. The nurse said that I had already dilated to 5 cm and would be wheeled to the delivery room once they had an available bed. 20 minutes later, I was in the delivery room, strapped with to a fetal monitor and by that time, the contractions were quite intense that I actually had asked the doctor for epidural.

The nurses proceeded to fill in some forms, asked me a couple of questions which (in my dazed state) some I was able to answer while the rest, I mumbled incoherent words. With almost zero sleep, an empty stomach and parched throat, I wasn't exactly on cloud nine. At 6.30 am, the anaesthetist came and proceeded to warn me the risks of an epidural. I insisted that I wanted an epidural. She then told me to sit up (I was lying down all this while), to which I tried to do with much difficulty. I then told her that I can't sit up properly because I felt a strong urge to poop. She told me to lie down and then informed another doctor to perform a vaginal exam to check if my cervix was fully dilated. Surprise, surprise, it was fully dilated to 10 cm and I (apparently) was in labor. Obviously, I did not get the epidural (much to the relief of the anaesthetist).

All of a sudden the delivery room was filled with nurses and they proceeded to cheer me to push when I feel a contraction coming. As a newbie (my first born was delivered via c-section), I wasn't able to push well, and the lack of sleep and lack of food obviously did not help my condition. The baby came out after three or four pushes later at 7.16 am, weighing 3.47 kg. Alhamdulillah, I only suffered a second degree tear and did not require any episiotomy. But I do need some stitches.

Raden Isabel Asiya, three hours after birth. Hubs liked the name Bella so we decided on Isabel which means devoted to God and Asiya is the wife of the Pharaoh and one of those who is promised Jannah (refer to the Quran, 66:11) or you can also read a Facebook post about her (click here).

Hubs came in to the delivery room a few minutes later. He wasn't allowed to come in during the delivery because at 7 am, nurses and doctors would change shifts and while they hand over their tasks to the incoming medical team, no visitors are allowed until the new shift has settled in. Post birth, the nurses proceeded with allowing me to breastfeed Isabel right after the stitches were done.

Our first selfie, Day 1 of Raden Isabel Asiya.

So all praise be to Allah for granting me the VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) which I so desperately wanted, granting my wish of a vaginal delivery without episiotomy (which I kept praying for as well) and allowing me to breastfeed Isabel after birth as well.

And for those who are preparing for birth, here are some of the things that I did to prepare myself for birth:

1. Exercise - Towards the 9th month, I'd walk a couple of kilometres (almost) every day to ensure that my body is in optimum condition. Exercising not only helps during birth (we need our muscles to push), but also helps us to recover faster. Other than walking, in the final month, I did squats 100 times a day and also kegel exercises to ensure that my pelvic muscles are strong.

2. Educate myself - I have attended a hypnobirthing class before with Sister Nadine Ghows, and proceeded with a short refresher with Cikgu Chris in December. This really helped me to practice deep breathing (during the initial Braxton Hicks and in between contractions). The visualisation technique from the class also helped and without it, I do think I would be in a different state during birth.

3. Make dua'a - I made a LOT of dua'as during my pregnancy and even the night before delivery. I am a firm believer that Allah will grant you what you ask for (unless it is not the best for you, of course) and Alhamdulillah, I got what I asked for and more.

4. Perineal Massage - Unfortunately I did not do this enough. I only managed to attempt a perineal massage a couple of times before delivery. I personally think that if done consistently, you could avoid (or minimise) the tear in your perineum during delivery.

5. Aromatherapy oils - I am extremely grateful to Cikgu Chris for providing me with aromatherapy oils a couple of weeks before the delivery. I used them everyday and I do think they helped to quicken the labor as well as help me to be in a calmer state of mind during delivery.

6. Proper diet - I read somewhere that pregnant women who eat (at least six) dates everyday have shorter labor than those who didn't. So I included dates in my daily breakfast and although I am not sure how short is a short labour, mine was a little over 3 hours so to me I suppose the dates did help.

And that is my birth story with Raden Isabel Asiya. Those who would like to know more about hypnobirthing, you can check out Nadine's class at Gentle Beginnings (click here) or Cikgu Chris's class at Borneo Bellies, Birth and Babies (click here). Inshaa Allah once I have the time, I'll update my review on giving birth at SGH soon (I hope).

xoxo Mrs Fashionista