A love letter for my midwife

Written in the style of http://www.mothering.com/articles/love-letter-midwife/ (Thank you Kristen Tea for the inspiration!)


Dear Red,

Firstly I thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to engage you as my midwife!

Thank you for attending the birth of my third born, Honeystar.

Thank you for your continuous support throughout my pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period.

Thank you for your wisdom, guidance and knowledge.

Thank you for showing great respect to my pregnant, birthing and post-birth body.

Thank you for being gentle, patient and kind.

Thank you for the monthly (and then weekly) prenatal visits to my home and spending an hour patiently discussing my concerns or just chatting.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to all my phone and whatsapp queries.

Thank you for including Raizan in as many meetings as possible even if this meant having to come to my home after office hours.

Thank you for giving me evidence-based information for my decision-making and then respecting me in my choices.

Thank you for guiding and preparing me on the possible scenarios and necessary backup plans.

Thank you for trusting in ‘nature and the divine’ which happen to be aligned to my Islamic beliefs.
*note: the thing that struck me most about Red was her ‘setting an intention’ to everything that we want to do. That is in essence the basis of our Muslim practice, as the hadeeth goes – Innamal a’maalu binniyyaat (meaning: Actions are dependant upon their intentions).

Thank you for being respectful of my ‘labour space’ and allowing me to freely move and choose my positions.

Thank you for the sacral massage during labour which magically reduced the intensity (not kidding!).

Thank you for not doing any unnecessary interventions.

Thank you for ensuring that the environment was safe for Honeystar to come in to.

Thank you for not rushing the baby or me and allowing me to take a one-sec breather before letting me pick up Honeystar myself.

Thank you for the newborn checks done after we had time to bond as a family.

Thank you for the postnatal visits.

Thank you for the constant reminder to respect my post-birth body and let it heal properly (Indeed! Recovery has been quickest for this birth).

Thank you for doing what you do! Thank you for giving women like me the option to birth safely and comfortably at home with family.

Thank you Allah, for choosing Red to be my midwife!

(And not forgetting my other midwives: AbangH’s – Jacqui, Rosebud’s – Amelie and Honeystar’s assistant midwife – Amy. Thank you for all the love!)

IMG_4376.JPG With Rosebud & Honeystar’s midwives

IMG_4234.JPG Freshly birthed

IMG_4290.JPG Weighing Honeystar


Yesterday’s random fb post

Random pregnancy post tonight:

1) Several days ago, when I picked and chose AbangH and Rosebud’s newborn clothes to be washed for baby Honeystar, I seem to subconciously pick out more of the blue-coloured outfits and wraps! Confident ke Honeystar will be a boy?

2) Also several days ago, I told my midwife that I am “…confident Honeystar’s head is still high”, only to be met with her wide-eyed response of “…nooo!! She is just *this close* (makes small gap indication with thumb and forefinger) to the middle of the pubis” from her after palpating the belly. Similarly the next day, I confidently told Cik Nor, my pre/postnatal massage lady, that baby is “…still high!” only to be met with the same response as my midwife. “Baby is already in a ‘prostrating’ position (ie occiput anterior), ready to come out! Be sure to stay more at home ok”, she said. Allahhh…. 😅 Whenever you’re ready, baby… 💕

3) I am 37+6 weeks today, Alhamdulillah Mohon doa semua~ And I seek your forgiveness for my wrongdoings! Please keep me in your prayers ok 😘

Home birth story of my little Rosebud

What took me so long to write the birth story of Rosebud? Frankly I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. If you all know me by now, you’d know I love to insert learning points in my writings. I imagine that if I were to write the story properly, it would turn out to be a 10 page article and risk boring you all to death, lol!

Here is the (hopefully) brief version:
(Some other things happened before this, like how I walked for 3 hours at Giant Supermarket the day before and later had the ‘show’ etc, but I shall cut to the chase and get to the point):

3am of that Sat, 22 June: Woken up by a ‘familiar’ sensation – a mild energy surge that vibrated through the whole body.

3.30am: Woke Mr DH up and told him this may be it, but still not quite sure. Sensations were very mild and random. It could still take days, I thought. Alerted Amelie (my midwife) anyway but told her not to come yet. Went back to bed to try and sleep it out. The surges of energy continued to come in irregular waves.

5am: The surges didn’t dissipate with rest, in fact I could feel ‘more’ of it (stronger, longer and more frequent) so decided to let Amelie know that she should probably come soon.

I was off the bed at this point. Mr DH moved the sleeping Abang H up from the mattress to our bed as I needed as much floor space as I could have. I moved everywhere in the room. I leaned standing on the edge of my dresser, leaned sitting on the edge of my bed, went on all 4s on propped pillows on the floor, leaned against Mr DH etc. I was also very aware of my deep and long breathings which relaxed me a lot (thanks to all the breathing practice sessions I did, Alhamdulillah). Intermittently, I visited the loo every once in a while as I felt this tremendous pressure akin to wanting to do a bowel movement – but it was not. Mostly I just sat on the toilet bowl for comfort.

5.40am: Amelie reached my house and brought her birth stool which I was initially confident I wouldn’t need. With Abang H’s labour, I was contented just being on my hands and knees; but with Rosebud, the feeling was all pelvic floor pressure. I couldn’t even sit on the birth ball as the pressure was too much. So the birth stool with the hole was just perfect!

6am: Even though the surges began to get closer and more frequent, the intensity was still pretty low. At one point, I remember thinking “Oh dear, at this rate, I’m going to make everybody wait the whole day!” My mum came in the room to ask me if everything was okay at one point and I confidently replied that it will still be some time (“Lama lagi, Mak”). My sister asked me if I wanted her to take pictures, but I shook my head confident that there was nothing interesting to capture at that point, lol! (Yes, am regretting that decision very much now ;p)

For all this while, my wonderful midwife provided amazing support simply by just watching over us from the sideline. She respectfully left Mr DH and me alone (my choice) while giving us the energy and confidence without having to say so much. Mr DH is deeply grateful for her confidence boosters which empowered him so. He was a superb birth partner!! Even though he had zero experience having missed Abang H’s birth, he was a natural. He knew where to massage, what to say and what to support and constantly reminded me to zikir. He was always there at the right time and the right place.

7.45am: That feeling of wanting to clear ‘something’ out came more intensely. I told Mr DH and Amelie that I would be more comfortable sitting on the toilet bowl for a while. Amelie said go ahead. Again, nothing came out of course, but the feeling suddenly got more and more intense, taking my breath away.

8am – 8.12am: A period of primal intensity which I would never forget. Time warped at that point. A second felt like an hour. I was so inwardly focused I could remember every bit of what happened within me but not around me. I remember clinging on to Mr DH for life and gripping his shoulders (we were both standing). He told me I could do it. I sensed his confidence, and could feel the energy that passed through me passed through him too. At that moment, I let go (Bismillahi tawakkaltu ‘alaAllah), and let my instincts take over. I breathed Rosebud down in about 3 big (and loud) breaths. I remember simultaneously thinking “I could really feel her slide downwards with every breath!” Then I somehow ended sitting on the birth stool which Amelie had brought into the toilet (did not consciously do this – time/space warp! Lol) while pausing (as noted by Amelie) my breath as Rosebud’s head crowned (again, this is an instinctive reflex to minimize perineal trauma, so I did not have a tear but just a graze). She came so quickly after that, before I could gather myself to catch her. She slid pass the birth stool into Amelie’s hands and was immediately placed on me. It was most surreal!

(Waterbag broke a few moments before the head crowned. Mr DH was surprised that there was very little blood involved throughout)

After 8.12am: This deserves another long entry on its own really. In short, Amelie helped me to transfer myself to the mattress and I birthed the placenta about half an hour after that (8.50am). Rosebud’s cord was left unclamped for a good hour to let all the nutrients get to her. Amelie checked me for tears and retained membranes, then checked Rosebud, weighed her and made sure that her reflexes were in order. Alhamdulillah, everything was. Amelie left several hours later after feeling assured that both baby and I were doing well (upon Amelie’s advice, we brought Rosebud to have a proper check up with the peadiatrician only 2 days later, but that’s another lovely story I shall save for another day).

Oh, did I mention that Abang H slept throughout the whole experience and woke up to a happy Ibu cradling his new baby sister? As much as I had wanted him to share the experience, I was also glad that he missed it while still being near to us (same room). Amelie said that nature always has an explanation for when things happen, and I couldn’t agree more. Verily, Allah is indeed the Best of Planners!

So there you go, the not-so-brief version of Rosebud’s birth story. I’ve said so much, yet explained so little, really. I will continue to write learning points of my birth story to share, so keep reading this page! Meanwhile, here is a picture of my fantastic birth stool (picture courtesy of midwife Amelie – I totally forgot to take this photo when it was at home!)


Where’s my waterbag?

I got a very interesting question in my inbox today:
“Hanani, normally for us whose waterbag has burst first before giving birth, where’s the bag when baby comes out?”

Have you every thought about this? For most mothers who give birth in hospitals, they are usually not aware of their placenta or how it looks like. I asked about this in my class, and 90% of my students did not take note of their placenta after birth.

In a birth setting with a midwife though, the midwife will check the placenta *together* with the mother and explain what all the parts are (or if there are any missing parts). I remember after the birth of Husainy, my midwife checked my placenta and excitedly declared: “All intact! Would you like to see it??” At that time, I wasn’t very wise and I thought it very strange to be asked if I wanted to see it.

With Rosebud, my midwife went a step further and asked me if I wanted to touch/feel how strong the membranes are (the amniotic sac). Of course I wanted to touch it! SubhanaAllah, that bags of water that held my child safe for 9 months felt very tough! Its very thin, like plastic, but very tough, like rubber. SubhanaAllah SubhanaAllah SubhanaAllah…

Here’s a photo of the placenta with a burst amniotic sac (aka waterbag) without the baby. *warning – bloody photo* It’s not mine though 🙂

As you can see, the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby is attached to the placenta, so when it breaks , it will look like part of the placenta unless you stretch it as in the photo in the link below. Hope that answers your question, my friend! 😀