The Birth of Ahmad Ali

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Syariati and her son, Ahmad Ali

 

I have known this beautiful lady since we were children tagging along our parents to religious/arabic class. She was fondly known as ‘Sherry’ then. We lost touch after that, till 2013 when Allah chanced for us to be yoga-mates at Kak Ella’s prenatal class. We immediately clicked again and the rest is history. This lovely lady has a special interest in essential oils for kids and is now training to become a doula, InshaAllah. I am truly excited for her! Read her gentle birth story below – Nur Hanani

Pregnancy, Labour and Birth of Ahmad Ali.

Every time I recall this birth story, I feel so much love, so blessed, so full of happiness. It was an empowering and humbling experience. I really felt Allah was with me through my labour and birth. It was beautiful.

Ahmad was not a planned baby. He was gifted when we least expected it. I had planned to space out my pregnancies (3-4yrs) after my first child. It took me a while to embrace the fact that I was pregnant but I eventually did. My husband and I decided that we would wait to go for a prenatal checkup at the hospital. I was fine and didn’t have any morning sickness whatsoever.

At week 12 into my pregnancy, I experienced bleeding. We decided to get a slot with Dr Citra (NUH). I called her office and managed to speak to her. She advised me to go to A&E to make sure that baby was ok. Alhamdulillah, that same week, we went to get checked and everything was ok, I had a polyp that might have caused the bleeding. It was harmless. We proceeded with routine checks with Dr Citra and discovered that she was friendly, supportive and open to discussions. She was ok with me having a birth plan and each visit was pleasant.

A little later into the pregnancy, my husband and I decided to go for a birthing class with a doula. we focused and I had a clearer image of what my birth should be, how I wanted it. This time, I did not want any interventions at all. I wanted to let baby come at his own time. I would wait it out.

The birthplan was done and submitted with minimal editing. The only thing Dr Citra negotiated with us was to have another plan of action in case I didn’t deliver by 41wks 3 days. It was hospital policy. I agreed.

I continued yoga, eating reasonably well and waited. 40 weeks came and baby didn’t show, there were on and off contractions that went away with rest or sleep. I was getting impatient but did not want to be induced. I asked baby to come out into the world. 41 weeks came, I had skipped my checks. I became more impatient because I just wanted to birth with my Dr before she went on a holiday. I also did not wish to go against her advice of exceeding the 41wks 3 days. I prayed and realised that I was being selfish. I wanted a natural, intervention free birth, yet I was expecting to give birth by a certain time. I did lunges, squats, more yoga, dance, sex, bouncing on the birthing ball and even JUMPNG JACKS. Nothing induced my labour.

25th November 2015 I just got fed up. I told baby, that it was fine to come out when he was ready. I cried and submitted to Allah to help me. That afternoon, I stayed in my room and went to sleep.

6pm I woke up and had dinner. I felt mild contractions and informed my husband. It was bearable and we decided to go out for a drive, sending my mom in law for the classes at the masjid.

9ish pm we were at East Coast Park, I bought Nuggets and a Grape Float and ate through my pain. It was romantic. I enjoyed it, bending forward and rotating my hips to manage the pain.

10.30pm we went back to the car, I felt more intense pain. I sat in the car and remember breathing through the pain. My husband was calm. He drove to the masjid again where I then stepped out of the car to speak with the ustaz that night. He was giving advice on what to read and doa to quicken labour. Nobody but my husband and I knew that I was already into labour.

We reached home and put my Muhammad to sleep. I laboured in the room. My husband helped keep timing of the contractions, we were waiting for the right time to go. Somewhere in there, my mucus plug came and I started light bleeding. I asked a dear Doula friend and she encouraged me saying that it was progress. Let my body do what it needs. I managed to lie down on my side to rest for about 20mins. My husband massaged my back and applied soothing essential oils as we worked through the pains.

I believe it was past midnight.. I got up from my rest as I felt my baby moving down. I got up and was in so much pain that I vomited all my dinner and junk food out. After that I took a hot shower and got ready. I told my husband that I wanted to go to the hospital immediately. It was 1.30am ish. He said we will go at 2am. I said, no. NOW. So we prepared to go. He told his parents that I was going to the hospital to give birth, they had no idea how far along into the labour I was.

I was having irregular contractions at 6-8mins intervals but the pain was intense that told me that I was ready. We were ready. I walked to the taxi stand a couple of blocks away. when we got to the taxi stand, a huge surge came, I could no longer talk and was in the zone.

We got a cab almost immediately, and the driver, knowing that I had labour pain drove safely. My waterbag broke in the cab just as we turned one traffic light after we boarded. I felt water gushing and stopping. I had never felt this before. Each time a contraction came, I felt my baby going down and more water gushed out. I was happy. I was meeting my baby soon.

By the time we reached the hospital, I couldn’t walk. I knew that my baby was coming really soon. my husband half ran half walked to the delivery suite and as soon I we got in, I said, “BABY IS COMINNNG!”

2.15am we reached the hospital.
The team told me to get on the bed , I just did as told, they wanted to detect my baby’s heartbeat but couldn’t find it. I just repeated, that my baby was coming. True enough, I was already crowning, subhanallah. They told me not to push, I didn’t. They guided me to breathe, and finally give a tiny push, deep. My baby slowly came out at 2.45am. Ya Allah, I could not have asked for a better labour. My Dr came in shortly and helped make sure my placenta was delivered. I had minimal tearing.

I got my birth crawl, my baby had 1hr or more of skin to skin. totally no interventions and I felt so happy, alive and excited to be with my baby. After that I asked for some food and was high that I couldn’t sleep. I saw my baby and he was beautiful. I would go through it all over again. I was humbled by the power of accepting, submitting and letting Allah handle my affairs. So, blessed, humbled and in awe. Ahmad is now close to 10 mths old as I write this. Alhamdulillah indeed.

What do I do with the placenta?

For most first-time Muslim parents, this question usually comes to mind only at the end of term or even after birth itself. Most do not know what to do with the placenta, or unsure how to clean it, or do not know if its a good idea to dispose of it instead.

Here is MUIS’ statement about the burial of the placenta:

3. In Islam, must the placenta be buried after the birth of the baby?

While some scholars are of the opinion that it is encouraged to bury the placenta, it is not compulsory.
For those who wish to bury it, it should be done properly and safely. It is also permissible to leave it at the hospital.

The same ruling goes for the Malaysian body, JAKIM. Burying the placenta is regarded as harus (ie: it is alright to do, or not to do).

A placenta that is not claimed at the hospital will be disposed of properly as medical waste. It will not be used in any clinical experiments or stored in a blood bank without your consent.

So how do I clean the placenta, and how do I bury it?

Here is a step-by-step guide with pictures on how to clean and bury the placenta (in Malay):


http://itunini.blogspot.sg/2015/01/cara-menguruskan-uri-bayi-bergambar-11.html?m=1

Why is it recommended to wash the placenta before burying? This is to reduce the ‘meaty’ smell from the placenta to prevent animals from scavenging it. It is done for the sake of hygiene, and not because it is part of a ritual. Cleanliness is part of the faith, hence the emphasis.

Make sure the hole is also dug deep enough to prevent accidental exposure when humans or animals walk over it.

Other questions:

Do I need to bury it behind a mosque?

This is not compulsory, you can bury it anywhere as long as it is a good and legitimate place. In Singapore, this is usually in the compounds of a landed house of somebody you know. Due to our land scarcity, most mosques do not allow any placenta burial. Some families I know even bring it across the causeway to bury it in a relative’s kampung compound.

Do I need to use an urn to cover the placenta before burial?

This is done for hygiene (again to reduce smell), so while it is good, it is not compulsory. A cotton cloth would suffice. Or if nothing is available, you do not need to cover it with anything as long as the hole is dug deeply.

How do I store the placenta while in transit (after cleaning and before burial)?

You can store it in the freezer part of the refrigerator just like how you would store any other frozen food. This will eliminate any smell and prevent bacteria from multiplying too quickly.

Not everyone will have the convenience of acquiring land to bury the placenta. If you find it too difficult to bury the placenta, it is highly recommended that you let the hospital dispose it for you instead.

May we all be under Allah’s guidance always, Ameen.

– Hanani, Yaqyn Birth