The night after the beautiful devotional baby shower we had an early supper because your daddy had to go to uncle Farzam’s place to record him playing the piano and singing some songs for his mom’s birthday. Your nani and I decided to go along and listen and so I went to get ready, and I noticed some bleeding. I became anxious and told Wals and Mum about it. He phoned our midwife and she said its normal. “Maybe your little one is on her way” she said. We made an appointment for 9 o’clock the next morning. We were very excited and a little nervous but we knew… we had faith… that everything would be ok. I started dancing with joy and then we went to Farzam’s place. They started recording while Mum and I were sitting on the couch overlooking the beautiful night lights of the city of Johannesburg and the Nelson Mandela bridge.
After they finished we came home. Walied went in studio, Mum to bed and I started straightening my hair. Both of them were surprise to see me doing my hair so late at night. Walied asked : “Why are you doing your hair now?” I said : “I’m getting ready for my baby, I must look nice for her you know!”. Somehow, I knew I was gonna see you tomorrow.
It was 3am on Tuesday morning and everybody was sleeping I was having mild contractions but nothing significant. I kept keeping track of time between my contractions. At around 4.00 I woke Walied up and told him about my contractions. He instantly knew I’m in labor and helped to soothe me to remain calm… the long wait for our daughter had come to an end.
While Walied called our family and prepared the last items for our hospital bag, I had my breakfast and Mum got ready. We had a plan of the atmosphere we would like to create and so we packed incense, candles and music cd’s in a bag with all the other stuff. I tried to steady my emotions… we had been through so much together, worked so hard, dreamed of this day and it was finally here. My contractions were getting stronger and I was overcome with a wave of emotions. Before leaving home, we all said prayers and I asked God to watch over Jasmine and I in the coming hours.
Then, Walied called our friend Hailey who is a doula for advice. Luckily she was in town for another client and so she offered to come be my doula (birthing coach and guide). We climbed in the car and in 15 minutes we were at Linkwood Clinic. It was 9:00am by the time I checked in and gotten settled in the labor and delivery room. Shai, Hussain, Zaidu and Dad (Papa) came to visit us. Rara came a little later and stayed right through till the end. Wasi, Mum (your Dadi) and Aadam were in Durban preparing for the big move. Walied kept updating everybody about what’s happening. They were all so happy and excited. Dadi was in a meeting with Aadam’s principal and she got the message and just started crying.
My contractions were getting strong, but manageable. Hailey taught us some techniques to handle the contractions. After everybody left Hailey, Walied and I went downstairs for a walk but mum stayed in the room. She showed us some more pain relieving techniques and we said some prayers in the garden.
Wals was embarrassed when he had to press my back while I pushed against a tree outside, so I always tease him about that! As my contractions grew stronger and closer together we went back to the room. Sis Phindi (midwife) told us that she will break the water in order to speed things. Hailey got me a bouncing ball. Walied helped me to sit on it, he started massaging my back, Hailey and mum were massaging my legs. As the contraction grew closer, I went to lie on the bed. Mum massaged my back and hips and Walied my legs as I breathed through them. At around 12pm I felt they were getting so intense that I couldn’t breathe through them any longer. It is hard to really understand what a contraction feels like until you are in the middle of one. It isn’t like menstrual cramps, it isn’t a head to toe ache – it’s a deep, intense, active pain that rolled from my lower belly and spread through my body. Every contraction had a steady increase in strength, a peak, and then a merciful end – giving me enough time to gather my breath and courage to prepare for the next one. Its amazing how God designed all this to gradually prepare a mother for the pain of child birth!
We all knew “ITS TIME TO PUSH”. Hailey went to call Sis Phindi and she told Walied to sit behind me and I wrapped my arms around him and tried to push but nothing was happening. Then we decided to go try the bath tub. The water really soothed my pain but then I started feeling dizzy and nauseous so we went back on the bed.
Walied was behind me, rubbing my head, looking me in the eyes and encouraging me over and over again that I was doing a good job. “You are doing so good, janu. I am so proud of you” he would say – and even those few and simple words made me even more determined. I was doing this for him as much as I was doing it for myself- I focused on the image of Jasmine in our arms and the intensity of my desire to bring his little girl into the world. There were times the contractions were so strong that I would have to chant “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this” over and over again to myself. In the last hour, the pain became so deep and active that I began to vocalize a loud, deep moan with every contraction – it wasn’t a sound of fear or even one of raw, physical pain – it was a sound of full and complete effort – a focused sound that carried me to each wave – over the peak and down again.
Hailey and my midwife kept encouraging me. I was doing as I was directed to do. In the dim light of our room, I let go of my body and let it lead me. With each contraction I felt an urge to push – I couldn’t have stopped it if I wanted to. It was as if I was hooked up to electricity and each jolt pushed my body a little more. I soon began to feel Jasmine’s head moving out a little more with every contraction. I held Walied’s shoulder as I vocalized through each contraction. I was being really loud and it felt good to let the sound go with each push. My midwife, worked to keep me focused on releasing after each contraction. I found myself not wanting to release at the end of each one. I wanted to keep moving her forward – but my body needed those small breaks between the waves.
Because I had no pain relief, whatsoever, every nerve and fiber of my body was tuned into the experience. I could feel every time her head would move forward, and then slid back as the contraction finished. I experienced her journey. I knew exactly where she was at each moment and as we approached the final pushes of my labor – I found myself consumed with the need to bring her through me and into the world. Those last moments are a bit of a blur – an intense and consuming pain, an overwhelming joy – my life changed forever in one final burst of effort.
At 14:59pm, a mere 5 hours since we’d walked into the room, she was laid, wet, shrivelled and pink on my chest. Her eyes blinked, her small hands clasped at my skin. She never screamed, but instead cried out for a few seconds then settled against my heart beating through my chest. Her eyes were open and she stared up at us with her small, dark eyes. Wals was shielding her eyes from the light and she raised her hand and held his hand. All i could say was “My baby… my baby…” The three of us laid there consumed by the new definition of who we were. New parents, a daughter, family. God, she was so beautiful. Beyond beautiful. Perfect in every way.
No one took her away for tests. No one disturbed us. We laid there in bliss while our eyes memorized her every inch. Then the midwife let Walied cut Jasmine’s umbilical cord. And eventually, when we were good and ready – they measured and weighed her. A very healthy 2.1kg, head circumference 30cm and 46.5 long.
I breastfed her for the first time as I lay there recovering and an hour after that I was out of the bed and I had a quick shower while family members held baby. My recovery has been wonderful, despite a sore body. Jasmine was drinking nicely since she was born and that has become one of my favorite times with her. We lay in the bed together, at some early hour of the morning. She coos at me and open and closes her fingers against my breast. Nothing you do in advance can prepare your heart for those moments and your body for that experience.
I’ve spent the past hour writing this experience with tears flowing down my cheeks. I’ll never be the same. Not after this. To come face to face with the most intense pain, the strongest desire, the deepest love… Motherhood is a gift unlike any other.