Month: March 2015

On Being 30

Me, less than a month old .

I celebrated my 30th birthday two days ago, Alhamdulillah. 

Turning 30 certainly makes me think about a lot of things. Over my morning coffee that day, I had the time to reflect about my life – on the worldly aspects to be specific.

When I was 19 and doing my International Baccalaureate, I remember telling myself that I would only get married when I am 30. I also found written in my journal (one I wrote during the first year in university) the then life plan, which consist of something along the line of ‘get a job in environmental/sustainability field, pursue an MBA on the third year of working, achieve certain position at 30 and then get married’.

And here I am, thirty and unemployed, by choice if I have to add.

Thirty and married to a wonderful man nearly four years ago. 

Thirty and blessed with two beautiful children.

Thirty and pursuing a higher degree which has little commercial value, if any. 

And yet, despite deviating from my original plan, I am content and at peace with myself more than ever, Alhamdulillah. My old self would have a hard time believing how I came to make these decisions, but that is life. The only thing that is constant is change itself they say, and it is true.

People change, and there is no point in mourning about that. I’ve taken up new roles upon new roles over the years. With those roles that I CHOSE to commit to come responsibilities, and I have my own ideals on how I should fulfil these responsibilities. Hence all decisions made along the way – life-changing decisions some of them – which basically is me staying true to what I think and feel is right.

So that’s it. A rambling on my birthday.

30th.

May Allah bless.

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And So She Arrived

Monday 23 February 2015

I was already 3 days overdue, and though in the morning the bloody show – blood-tinged mucous – was observed, I felt okay. My mom reassured that bloody show means that the labour could still be far away. I had my husband on alert mode anyway, just in case, since he has a long meeting ahead at work. No contractions felt, except that night when I felt the baby started to headbutt my pelvic bones more frequently. I didn’t lose my sleep though.

Tuesday 24 Feb 2015

I requested for my husband to take a leave from work today, because today felt like The Day, and the mucous that came out was no more tinged with blood, there was already dark red blood. At 9 we found ourselves on the way to Tawakkal Specialist Hospital where I planned to give birth.

9.30 AM – I was asked upon arrival to undergo CTG monitoring. No strong contractions detected, but upon checking I was found to be 4cm dilated, hence needed to be admitted. My husband, my – soft-hearted husband – upon leaving me to deal with the admission reminded me : ‘If you need the epidural, just ask, and you better ask for it now before it is too late’. I laughed. Amidst the hype of having natural birth here I have my husband who would do whatever possible to ease the pain off me (I remember last time when I opted for epidural and complained about the pain, and he was like ‘We paid for it and you still feel the pain of childbirth?!’)

10:30 AM– I was given Labour Room 2, the same room in which I gave birth to Isa. I was given enema. The pain came, but it felt nothing like the one I experienced when I was in labour with Isa. With Isa, I was already down on my knees in pain with 4cm dilation, but this time at 4cm I am still at ease. I refused to lie down, and try to keep moving when the pain came. Being on all fours and moving my hip forward and backward especially  helped a lot. Only after the cannula was inserted that my movement became a bit limited. The doctor came, and applauded my choice of not getting epidural. The nurse too, for me seeming to go for all-natural childbirth. I told her I don’t care whether my labour could be termed ‘natural’ or not, it was just that this labour is different from the previous one, and at 4cm I think I could do without pain relief.

11:30 AM – The nurse came and got my contraction monitored by the CTG. The pain was felt more often on my hip – it felt like the baby was moving and hitting my bones, but the machine could only detect weak contractions. The nurses expected that I’d be given Pitocin in no time by the doctor. My husband stayed on my side, trying to find ways to distract me from the pain whenever it came. He offered to share some points from the lectures I knew he was listening to for the past few days, on the tafseer of Surah al Kahfi. I agreed.

12:30 PM – The nurse came and checked – I was already 8cm dilated, hence there’s no need for Pitocin. I requested for the catheter to not be inserted until later because I still wanted to move around, and my doctor agreed to insert that a bit later when I was closer to labour.

My husband went downstairs to grab his lunch (which was a loaf of bread and energy drinks). I was left alone in the labour room, and I remember looking straight at the ceiling – praying and crying. I didn’t wish to go through the pain, and now there was no way out and Allah is the only one I could hold on to. It is something I have long known, but it came like an epiphany at that time.

The pain was still tolerable up until around the time the doctor came and broke the water, and I think between 1:30 PM to 2:15 PM I had the worst time in my life. The pain was excruciating when it was there, but during the interval I could manage to smile and talk calmly. I remember grabbing my husband violently, screaming in pain and my husband most often was left clueless on what to do – massaging didn’t even help! I remember looking at the clock before me and putting a secret aim of delivering this precious baby by 2.30 PM, because the reality hits me – the only way I could get rid of the pain is by pushing the baby out, and fight the intolerable pain. The nurse offered Entonox but I vomited before I could try it properly, and decided to ditch that. I had the catheter inserted around this time.

Around 1:45 I surrendered, agreeing to the morphine injection offered, but of course it didn’t work. The pain was still there – it just gave me an extra ounce of calmness during the intervals. I remember hearing my husband kept reciting Selawat Syifa’, and surely that gave me the comfort I very much needed

2:00 PM – The nurse suggested that I lie on my left side and push gently whenever I feel like bearing down. She gently tried to calm me down whenever I started to scream in pain, and reminded me Allah has made my labour of much ease, as she thought that I was progressing very quickly. Should I push correctly now, she said, it would not be long before I could see my baby. I did so, and the nurses quickly made the arrangement for the final push with the doctor’s presence. Unfortunately, when everything was ready the doctor was still away offering her Zuhur prayer.

2:15 PM – I had to skip two contractions before the doctor arrived, and by the time she was ready in her scrubs the head was already showing. The nurse offered if I’d like to touch it – I said no. I was keener to push and get that little human out, which I did Alhamdulillah after that one long push, one that I made with my eyes shut, taking a few short breath along the way, and screamed ‘I could not push anymore’ just when I felt there was no more muscle left that I can control – and that’s when I knew it was over.

The baby was out.

My dear Khadijah was out, at 2:29 PM weighing 2.88 kg – warm and wet on my chest, breathing heavily. She has made her entrance into this world, the much awaited one. Alhamdulillah.

I opted for the Entonox throughout the process of getting the placenta out and stitching (though both took less than 15 minutes).

So that’s it – Khadijah’s birth story.

P.s. It feels great to be able to lie on my back comfortably again.