From the moment I conceived, I wanted to make the birth of my baby the most beautiful and memorable experience of my life. I’ve always thought that becoming a mother is a privilege and we women are blessed to be able to carry and nurture a little soul inside us for nine months.
It’s always amazed me how a collection of cells the size of a sesame seed can grow and take the form of beautiful human beings. I wanted to welcome my little one into an environment full of positivity and happiness. Rather than thinking of childbirth as a painful procedure, I always imagined the delivery of my baby as a celebration to welcome my child into the world.
I have always believed that mothering doesn’t start from the moment of delivery, but from the second that you conceive. I’ve also always believed what my mother used to say — that the thoughts you have while you are pregnant are what you are sending to that little one inside you, and so it’s important to protect them from negativity.
So I wanted my whole pregnancy environment to echo with positivity and happiness. I used to wake up in the morning listening to spiritual chants, to help me start my day on a positive note, and I stuck positive affirmations all around my bedroom. Even while doing something mundane like buying groceries, I would be imagining beautiful images like having my baby in my arms and, while eating, I would think of it as me feeding my baby and providing her with the right nutrition at every meal.
After my first trimester I started prenatal yoga classes and I did Hypnobirthing classes with Jasmine Collin. These entirely changed my perspective regarding delivery and birthing. The general mindset is that childbirth means a lot of pain that a woman just has to go through, but these classes gave me confidence that birthing can be the most powerful and beautiful experience of a woman’s life. They also helped me to choose the right doctor, hospital and birthing style for our baby, as well as to formulate my birth plan, which included preferences such as not to have an epidural offered to me unless I request it, to spend first stage of my labour being active and walking around, and for delayed cord clamping.
Adjusting To My Needs
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my 28th week of pregnancy. I tried to control it with my diet and routine but my glucose levels were still not coming into the desired range. My endocrinologist prescribed me a very small dose of insulin, which kept everything under control. Everything was fine with the baby’s development aswell. But my doctor told me in my 30th week that they would still need to induce me because of the guidelines they were following.
This was a bit of a shock. I desperately wanted a natural delivery with as few interventions as possible, and I had heard that if an induction has to be done on a first-time mother, there are very slim chances of it ending up as a normal delivery. I also didn’t understand why, if everything was fine with the baby, an induction was still necessary. So I met another doctor, recommended to me by Jasmine Collin, for a second opinion. This doctor advised me that there was no need to get induced as long as my baby’s growth and everything remained normal and under control. But my father, who is a surgeon, discussed my case with other doctors back in my home country and they also advised that I should go for induction.
So it was quite confusing for me and my husband to know what option to go for! But just to avoid any risk, we decided to go for an induction, although I was still hoping to have a safe a natural delivery.
Revising The Plan
The moment we decided to go for an induction, our plan of action changed a little bit. I began reading lots of articles that outlined all the things I could do to induce the birth naturally and I took their advice in earnest: I started acupuncture sessions, began drinking red raspberry leaf tea, used my birth ball regularly, did lots of walking, used clary sage oil, ate four dates per day after 36 weeks (after being cleared with my doctor that this was OK for my blood sugar), and prepared my birth board. But, although some of these things were changes I made because I had chosen to go for an induction, what they didn’t change was the fact that I stayed calm, relaxed and happy. I had also hired a doula and she really helped, supporting and guiding me through it all..
At 1am I was admitted to the hospital, and at around 1:30am the doctor on call had given me a pessary and told me that it would start working in the next 18 to 24hrs. I was quite relaxed at that moment. It might sound bit funny, but after that I did some midnightand watched a Netflix series and, in an hour, went off to sleep along with my hypnobirthing music being played in the background.
In the morning at 7am, I woke up with very acute contractions and by 8:30am I was in labour. I was using the Hypnobirthing room at Al Zahra, which was the perfect environment for what I needed at that time: dim lighting, my birth vision board in front of me, a birthing ball, which I was able to use to relax myself and to move the baby down, along with hypnobirthing music and a positive-affirmations audio, plus my rose candle for visualisations and a Tens machine to help me with the pressure during the surges.
At 10am I was 3cm dilated, and my doctor said that, as it was my first pregnancy, I would be dilating at a rate of about 1 or 2cm per hour, meaning I would probably deliver by the late evening.
For me, although I was in pain, it felt so beautiful and powerful to be in that zone. It was a heavenly, monumental feeling, which actually made me feel like a goddess. Throughout all of this there was an affirmation continuously playing on my mind: "It is said that women in labour leave their bodies, travel to the stars, collect the souls of their babies and return to Earth together."
The next thing I knew, by 12 noon, I was 10cm dilated!
Everyone in the room was shocked and started quickly arranging things for the pushing stage. All through this journey, I had my husband on one side holding my hand and Nicky (my doula) on the other. Nicky was guiding me throughout and, at the moment when I felt that I just couldn’t take the pain anymore and was willing to take an epidural, she kept encouraging and reminding me how close I was to holding my baby.
By 1:04pm my little princess was out and in my arms. She was put straight onto my chest immediately after birth, and she looked up at me with her eyes open — it was wonderful! Words will fall short to describe that feeling; I was just so complete with her.
I didn’t imagine everything would happen as quickly as it did. I had expected my labour to go on for a bit longer. I was even carrying a Bollywood songs playlist that I wanted to play and dance to during my labour. But it was all so quick! And yet it was also much more powerful and beautiful than what I had imagined. On this journey, I met a strong and powerful version of myself that I had never seen before.
Advice To Other Mums Facing Induction
Firstly ascertain whether there is a good medical reason for the induction. Discuss it with your doctor, do your own research, and take an informed decision.
If it is needed for a medical reason and you have decided to go ahead, then my most important advice would be to stay happy, calm, relaxed and positive minded. Ultimately whatever path birthing takes has to be the best for you and your baby. The point is not about a normal birth versus an induced birth; it is all about whatever is best for your baby. So don’t worry if it has to go down the induction route. And believe me, it is possible to have a beautiful delivery even with an induction!
Empower yourself with knowledge of Evidence-Based Birthing, so you feel like you can make your own decisions.
Prepare your mind with positive birth stories and positive birth affirmations to help you have a positive mindset. If you believe it is possible then it can be.
Labour often requires strength and stamina - so it’s important to prepare your body for it too. Join prenatal yoga classes, as these will help you get your baby into a good position for birth, as well as teaching you positions to help you through labour, and provide some relaxation and breathing techniques to help you stay calm.
Consider hypnobirthing too, as it really helped relax me and keep me calm even when I learnt I would need to be induced.
Put thought into your birth plan as that will make you feel much more in control of what is going to happen.
Encourage and involve your husband to be the part of the entire process. There will be times when you feel low mentally, or physically, during this journey of pregnancy, or even at the time of birthing — you may not be in a state to make any choices and at that time, husbands need to take the front seat and help you come out of it.
And most importantly, enjoy each day of the journey, as happy mamas make happy babies.