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Untold Stories With Lamia​

My First Birth Experience

In my first pregnancy, I was given too many antibiotics that lead me into having sepsis during my pregnancy and a handful more times after birth. The medications made me very weak and I could see the side effects it had caused to my son. They nearly killed us!
In my first labour, my birth plan was not read, my birth rights were violated, they didn’t let me move out of bed, I felt assaulted and my dignity was given up, they threatened me and coerced me to take interventions that I didn’t consent to or given information on. They shouted at me when I couldn’t dilate faster and forced me to go into a c section. Tricked into a cascade of drugs and interventions. My body went into protect mode, I was scared and shaking, I didn’t have control of my body, they laid me down on a cross and cut me open. It took an hour for my baby to be handed to me as they did all the measurements and wiping and dressing him. I was the last person to meet my baby, I didn’t get my golden hour. They finally gave me my baby, I offered him my breast, and he didn’t know what to do with it. It took us two months to latch properly.

Surely this can’t be birth! I wanted to escape this abuse. This is not how a mother should be treated at birth!
I wanted to birth like my grandmother when she lived in the village, she birthed her 11 kids with a “قابلة” at home. What a strong woman she was!

In this case. I decided not to engage with the midwifery system… I wanted to have a freebirth with doulas.

My Second Birth Experience

My second pregnancy I felt very relaxed. No medications that weakened my body, no one telling me the 100 ways my baby could die, it was a very healthy pregnancy.
At 35 weeks, I woke up feeling a little tightening. It was very light, like butterflies. I woke up with my toddler, went downstairs, made us some breakfast and danced to some Arabic children’s songs. Soon I realised the tightness became more frequent and stronger, but not painful though. I started squatting and sitting on my pregnancy ball, I was thinking it could just be Braxton hicks as I didn’t have them in this pregnancy. I started tidying around the house to distract myself, until it hit me.
I think I might be in labour!
It was two days before Eid. I woke up my husband and told him “I’m not sure but I might be in labour”. So I messaged my doulas telling them that I might be in “fake labour”, went to the bathroom then i had a huge urge to jump in the bath with warm water on my stomach. My husband was able to put on some hypnobirthing music for me and took care of my toddler. I soon felt something. I touched and felt something was coming out. It must be the head I thought!
I breathed through the process and roared and followed my body’s rhythm. I felt an electronic vibration and more of the baby was ejected. I felt a lump. Could the baby be deformed? I grabbed the shower head to look at the reflection. It wasn’t a head! It was a bottom and a foot! I was over the moon, the baby was breech! I did so much research about breech babies.
I started to say my affirmations “you are born to birth”, “you didn’t fail to birth but you were failed” “my job is to birth this baby, dead or alive”, “trust the process”.
I hear a knock, the doulas arrive and my husband lets them in. They came in, sat on the bathroom floor, not a word, and gave me the undisturbed birth I needed. The baby was already a 1/4 way out. I listened to my body and moved in positions that made me comfortable and waited for the contractions to come to eject my baby. And out the baby came. Everything about this felt so normal! I gave my baby a hug and looked, she was a girl! The placenta followed and slipped out with ease.
I sat down in the water and told her “alhamdulillah al salama, which means “thank god for your safety. Rubbed her gently against my chest and she coughed her water out. I offered her my breast and she instantly knew what to do! I enjoyed a few moments with her and then moved to the bedroom and we all celebrated the baby as a family and my doulas surrounded me with all the love around me.

My Cultural Practice

We tied the cord with a crochet tie our doulas made for us. And my husband got to cut the cord. The placenta was later buried in the garden because in my Muslim religion our bodies are made from soil so this is where we go back to.
We then recited a prayer in both of her ears and munching on a date and rubbing it on the lips of the baby.
We later sat down and talked about what just happened and I was very thankful to God, alhamdulillah, for the health of the baby. Because I know if I went through the hospital, birth and my daughter’s health would not be so beautiful.
I know that midwifes today are not taught how to deliver breech babies so they could have injured her. Having a previous c section, the baby is premature and beech they would not want to support my “natural birth” and push for another c section. They would cut me and separated me from my daughter and ruined her health and breastfeeding journey.

I looked at my baby, her eyes were open and observant, she was a great colour, she can breathe and she can breastfeed so very well.
All she needed was me, my smell, touch and my warmth.

Here, I saw the beauty of free birth… birth is certainly psychological and sacred. 

Arab Descent

Born in the United Kingdom