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Samira Sophia Zainuddin

Samira's Birth Story

My pregnancy with Samira was a long and tough one. As in my first pregnancy with Azmina, 3 years earlier, I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Hyperemesis is a rare complication during pregnancy, and affects 1-2% of pregnant women. For me, I spent the first 5 or 6 months vomiting and heaving up to 100 times a day (seriously!). This continued throughout the pregnancy, but in the last trimester I was able to eat much more than I had in the beginning and some how gained 20 pounds (that literally disappeared the day I had the baby—one perk of HG I suppose). The disease was debilitating and left me longing for my health and personality to come back.

This pregnancy I also had the unfortunate pregnancy side effect of vulvar varicosities and such great pressure that I felt as though my baby and everything else would come bursting out at any moment. I found some relief in wearing a brace the last 4 months of the pregnancy, but it was difficult to even walk the last few months.

One bright light during my pregnancy, besides my 2 year old, of course, was going to prenatal yoga classes at Blooma several times a week as well as my excellent care at Morning Star Birth Center. When I got on my mat each class at Blooma, I would gather strength from all the mamas around me. The wallowing and struggle that I was going through was no match for the positive energy in the room. I pushed through any discomfort during class, but my favourite pose was always Shavasana where I could be still with my baby and let my body relax.

I enjoy reading birth stories, watching birth movies, and talking about birth. I feel like I am informed on the topic, which led to my desire to have natural births first in my home, and then at a birth center. Ina May is a huge inspiration to me, and I am definitely a believer in the mental connection of going into labor. With Azmina's birth, my sister-in-law had been visiting from Malaysia for an OBGYN conference, and happened to be staying with us right around my due date. We had a home birth planned that she and the rest of my husband's family weren't very familiar and comfortable with. A week after my due date, on our way to drop Bu at her hotel, I went into labor. This time around, I had my Blessing Way at Blooma on Sunday, October 21. My mom had arrived for the event and would be staying until Samira's birth and for sometime after to help out. After the Blessing Way I had no more commitments. My calendar was cleared and I gave body the mental go ahead.

I'd been having Braxton Hicks for a few months, but on Tuesday night (October 23), they became regular and stayed constant through the night. I was aware of them, but able to sleep that night. The next day, I was having menstrual like cramping and sporadic contractions all day. I spent the day near the toilet as my body cleared itself out in preparation for labor. Thankfully my mom was already at our apartment and able to pick up Azmina from preschool and play with her throughout the day. Wednesday night around 11:00 P.M. my contractions became consistent and I was in active labor. I was lying in bed with Azmina trying to sleep, but just couldn't due to the intensity of the contractions. Azmina's sleep was restless and I could tell that she knew something was up.

I woke Ari around 1:00 AM and had him sleep with Azmina. I rested in our room alone while listening to my Hypnobirthing affirmations from the class we took during our first pregnancy. I got Ari about 5 AM to let him know that we'd need to go soon. He called the midwives to let them know that we'd be on our way shortly. I took a bath, threw up a few times, and the contractions kept up. The entire time, I felt relaxed and "in the zone." I kept my eyes closed, and tried to stay in my body by going with whatever was happening.

I knew that if Azmina woke up, I would lose my concentration, so I wanted to be out of the house before she awoke. Ari woke my mom and she joined the game of musical beds and jumped in with Azmina. I put on my red Blooma hoodie as Ari pulled the car around to our elevator in the garage. We left for the birth center around 6:45 AM. I walked to the car with my eyes closed refusing to take-in anything from the outside world.

We got to Morning Star at about 7 AM. Both of the midwives, Vicky and Rachel, were already waiting for us and our room was ready. First we went into an exam room where they completed a check in. They found that I was dilated to 4 cm and they measured my contractions and Smaira's heart rate to make sure that everything was going well. It was. They asked if I wanted to go home and labor there. My thoughts were, "No way! I'm here to have this baby now." I don't think they realized that it would happen so quickly. We moved to the red room where I spent some time throwing up, and sitting on the toilet. My bloody show appeared to let me know that things were moving right along.

I labored in my favorite pregnancy yoga position, Shavasana, lying on my side completely still, breathing through each contraction and resting completely in between. I had no desire to sway, squat, dance, or move. Ari played my birthing songs and Hypnobirthing affirmations on his iPhone, and force-fed me Gatorade and frozen watermelon. I was very calm, except during one instance when he tried to make me drink Gatorade during a contraction. Whoops! He was a quiet, serene presence the entire time, leaving me to do my work, but being there whenever I needed him. He was a true supportive labor partner.

The midwives checked on us once an hour, taking my vitals and checking the baby's heartbeat. We were left alone to labor quietly. The entire time I felt completely empowered and in control. During one big contraction, when I was lying on my side, my water broke. I didn't say a word until the midwives came for the hourly check. They confirmed that my waters had broken, and filled the tub so that it would be ready for me. I tried to get up and go over, but my body told me that I needed to continue lying down.

At about 10:30, I got into the tub. I was on my knees with my head and arms resting on a towel on the side, quiet, eyes closed, completely still, and breathing through my contractions. About a week before I gave birth, I had watched a video on Baby Center ( . It was a really simple portrayal of exactly what happens during a vaginal birth and made it really easy for me to visualize what was happening in my body.

At about 11:15, I yelled to Ari, "I'm pushing! Go get them!" Transition was upon us. Both midwives quickly came running in just as I started feeling crazy and getting loud. I wanted someone to tell me what to do! Rachel and Vicky just kept calmly encouraging me. They trusted me completely and knew that I could do it by listening to my body. Suddenly, I felt an intense sensation and pressure. Her head was crowning, although I didn't realized it at the time. It was so different than my first birth where I had done hours and hours of pushing.

As her head emerged, I lifted my backside right out of the water due to the intensity of the pressure. Thankfully, Vicky was right there to grab my arm and move me into a standing position so that I didn't sit back down in the water and drown my baby who may have just taken her first breath!! Vicky carefully held me under the armpit while she walked me through exactly what she was doing. She unwrapped the cord from Samira's neck twice and once from her arm and then gently coached me on a few more pushes to birth her body. She caught her at 11:25 AM and put her right to my chest in the tub. Pure exhilaration and joy!

We moved to the bed where so we could bond while I delivered the placenta. Proud papa cut the cord as we celebrated our beautiful little Samira Sophia. We gazed into one another's eyes and she quickly latched on and nursed for the first time. It was easy and painless for both of us. What a relief! It had taken many weeks for Azmina and I to figure out how to breastfeed the first time around.

Vicky checked me for tearing, and I must say that this was the worst part of the entire labor and birth. She used some local anesthesia and stitched me up while Ari cuddled with his newest daughter. Despite my stitches and the fact that I had just birthed a baby, I felt way better than I had for 9 months. I was hungry, my nausea was gone and there was no intense pressure between my legs. I felt amazing and was back to my old self again. While I got dressed, the midwives weighed her (7lbs 2oz ), measured her length (19.5") and head circumference. She was perfect!

We called my mom and Azmina and told them to come over with lunch as soon as they could. They had slept in and had skipped preschool in favor of playing at home and waiting for a call. Good choice! Granny and Mina arrived at about 12:30 and came right into meet Samria. Azmina was well prepared, but a bit timid. My tidy little princess spotted the tiniest drop of blood on the bed and was deterred. So, Ari brought Samira out to the kitchen/ family area to meet her sister. They quickly hit it off. My lovely mom cooked lasagna, made a salad, and heated some garlic bread in the Morning Star Kitchen and we all ate a delicious meal together.

Audrey, one of the Morning Star nurses, went over some new baby information with us and continued to monitor our vitals every hour. We were cleared to head back to our home only four hours after Samira's birth. We rested and enjoyed our new darling girl in the comfort of our home. The following day, Vicky and another nurse McKenna, came to our house for our first check up. They arrived just after my dad and grandma, right in time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Samira and to enjoy a piece of her birthday cake, lovingly made by Papa. 

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