It all started in India. Two months into my pregnancy, I happened to come across a book by Giuditta Tornetta called Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Birth. That book has since made me a believer in painless natural birthing.
Seven months into my pregnancy, I met a friend who told me about an interesting hypnobirthing course and her water birth plan. I wanted to attend a hypnobirthing course by a lady named Wai Han, but my husband was busy traveling for work so we couldn’t commit to classes. I read HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method instead, which left me feeling more confident and relaxed about having a painless childbirth. The book also helped me master the art of taming my fear.
At 36 weeks, I signed up for a pregnancy yoga teacher’s training course conducted by Dr. Jacqueline Koay, where I learned so much about pregnancy, yoga and childbirth. I also made friends with a hypnobirthing practitioner, Wai Han, who happened to be the same lady I wanted to meet a month ago. What a funny coincidence! My husband and I eventually attended a sharing lesson with her, but we were still undecided about giving birth at home or at the hospital. We surrendered it to our last minute instinct. Om…
On 22 August, which was my due date, we were at the doctor’s with no signs of labor. I asked my ob-gyn whether it was possible for me to give birth at home. He said, “Sure, why not!” without any hesitation. We started making necessary preparation to bring on labour: climbing to the peak of Kiara Hill, having a yummy Japanese dinner and making love – it worked!
My first sign of labour started on just before midnight and I was unaware of it, but the contractions got stronger three hours later. I kept on breathing deeply – imagining I was surfing waves in the ocean. Fortunately, Wai Han was able to be with me, so she sat next to me on the bed and held me close. We went through the contractions together – it was amazing how soothing her presence was. Wai Han would tell you that I slept on my bed and actually snored through my labour!
Suddenly, I had a strong urge to pass motion, so I sat on the toilet bowl and felt the sensation in my stomach getting stronger. After my water bag broke, I moved to the bathtub to be in the best position to give birth. My husband woke up to quickly fill up the bathtub with warm water. I was waiting impatiently for the bathtub to be ready because I could feel baby was coming!
I tried squatting, being on all fours and finally assumed a semi-reclining position with my legs hanging out of the water (the bathtub was pretty narrow). Strange but that was the most comfortable birthing position.
Patiently, breathing with each of my surges, my baby finally crowned. I promised my baby that I wouldn’t push her. Slowly, her head and shoulder popped out, but she stopped at around her waist and her legs were still inside my belly. When my husband tried to assist her, he realised her neck was tangled up with the umbilical cord.
Fortunately, everyone was calm and efficient. After the cord was untangled, the baby was placed on my chest. She was so quiet, still and pink. The cord wasn’t cut. We kept on pouring water and gently stroking her back for almost five minutes before she gave her first cry at 5.50am, just as the fajr call to prayer was heard. I could hear her daddy’s laughter of relief.
Then, Wai Han laid next to my baby and I, and gently whispered to my baby’s ear. She was consoling my baby about the cord experience, which was so thoughtful; it was a special, personal touch, filled with so much love.
There was not much to clean except for draining the water from the bathtub. According to Wai Han, it was the cleanest birth she had ever seen – just what my husband and I had been praying for. After the cord stopped pulsing, he had the honor of cutting it.
There’s nothing about this birth that we would change. The experience with the tangled cord was meant to be.
When I shared my experience with others, some would say it was dangerous and risky. But for me, life is full of risks but nothing is impossible. We took the risk with an open mind, an open heart and a deep faith in what God had in store for us. It taught us to trust ourselves and to have faith in God!
From the beginning of my pregnancy, I was determined to have a gentle birth but I wasn’t sure what was the plan. Most nights before I went to bed, I would talk to my baby and communicate with my body about my dream birth. I believe my baby guided me onto the path and my dream birth came true.
Munirah is a full-time housewife and a mother to little Kathriena and two cats. She is on a mission to create love, magic and beauty. She enjoys teaching prenatal yoga at Atilia’s YogatheonethatIwant Studios three times a week.
Image credit: Gianinna Salas