September 24, 2011

Umm Yusuf on Birthing Vaginally After Two Cesareans

Umm Yusuf is an American, currently living in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. She is a happy wife and homeschooling mother of three.

Ever since I was a young girl, I always knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a "mom." I loved children and wanted a handful. I wanted a home that was full of life and a mini-van filled with kids and all their soccer gear. The dream of a home filled with laughing, loving, smiling children was beginning to seem impossible.
And here is the story of my vba2c...

My first child was born via C-section at 35 wks. It all began when I went in for the normal monitoring of contractions and fetal heartbeat, and after 4 hours of monitoring doctors declared that my child was in fetal distress. He was not handling the contractions well, and his heartbeat was dropping significantly low and on two separate occasions they lost his heartbeat completely. Doctors rushed into the room and said I had to have an emergency C-section right then. I was terrified, I asked Allah to protect him and within fifteen minutes Yusuf was delivered. A few hours later, I was wheeled out of recovery and I was able to see and hold my son. Alhamdullilah, he is a healthy handsome 6-year-old today.

At the time I wondered what was the wisdom behind it and why was Allah putting me through this. I knew that Allah puts us through trials and sometimes may give us a thing that we perceive as bad, but in truth, if we have patience that trial is a blessing.  

Almost two years later, my husband and I were getting ready to welcome our second child into this world. I had everything set for a vbac, unfortunately I went into the doctor’s office on my due date and discovered my baby had turned. He was no longer head down, but breech. I wasn't in labor or having regular contractions but the doctors said it was in my best interest and my baby's if I just had another C-section. The doctors insisted that it wasn't a good idea to wait and see if the baby would turn again, because there may not be any time and that delivering a breech baby with a prior C-section was asking for uterine rupture. I wasn't well equipped with knowledge about vbacs and a breech presentation, and I let the doctors scare me into another C-section. Adam was delivered later that day, and again I was able to see and hold him a few hours later. Alhamdullilah, he is a healthy handsome 4-year-old today.

Fast forward to the last few nights of Ramadan in 2010, early one fajr morning I found out that Allah blessed my family again, and I was expecting my third child. My husband and I wanted this delivery to be different, we didn't want it to end with another C-section. So, we read up and we researched the birthing process, vbacs, and uterine rupture. We continued with the same healthcare provider we had with our other two children, but insisted that we would not being having another C-section unless myself or the baby's lives were in jeopardy.

I had a healthy pregnancy and my midwife said that I was definitely a possible candidate for a vba2c, but she needed to send me to an Obgyn specialist, who needed to approve of it as well. Alhamdullilah, I was the perfect candidate. (I had a healthy pregnancy, my age was under 35 yrs, my last pregnancy was over 36 months ago, a tendency to deliver small-average sized babies, the placenta was attached to posterior wall, a low transverse incision, etc. etc. etc.)

At 38 wks, I went in for extended monitoring at the hospital and sure enough a doctor and med students came in saying that my child was not reacting well to the minor contractions I was experiencing. My husband and I questioned the doctor over and over. What should be happening on the monitor? How should our baby's heartbeat react? Is she in danger? Her heartbeat was low and not experiencing any accelerations during a contraction. We explained to the doctors that it was likely due to the fact that I have been hooked up to the machines all morning with nothing to eat for the past few hours. The doctors pushed that we just have another C-section while my stomach was empty. We continued to question them about the fetal heartbeat. Is it stable? Is it normal? That was very important, if she was healthy and doing well, and her life was not in jeopardy than there was no reason we would opt for a C-section. The doctors said that the baby was indeed fine, and had a stable heartbeat. We weren't going to be bullied or forced into another C-section. We said we wanted to leave the hospital and after a couple of talks with the doctor and a little paperwork, we finally were able to leave.

During my ordeal at the hospital, my husband called our nearest natural home birthing center and arranged an appointment a few days later. We knew that there was no way that the hospital was going to adhere to our wish of a vaginal birth. All the doctors saw was my previous C-section history and a chance to educate their med students on the process. So, at 38 wks we decided a home water birth with Andaluz in Portland, OR was our best option. We had appointments about twice a week to get my new midwives up to speed with my pregnancy history.  We also had all the home birthing gear ready to go at our place since this baby was coming very soon. It was during these last few days while talking with my midwives that my apprehension about a natural birth was beginning to fade, and that I was realizing this was indeed something I truly wanted. 

This natural birth would end the cycle of C-sections I was having at the hospital. It would keep me away from all the risks that come with being repeatedly cut open. With a natural delivery, there would be nothing stopping me from having more children in the future if Allah willed. It was the answer to my prayers.

On my due date, my contractions started to really pick up and I was having them every 15 minutes. The next day, the contractions were 10 minutes apart and growing stronger. The following day, with very little sleep now, the contractions started to get even closer. I was following all my midwives instructions on how to ease the pain during this prolonged stage of early labor, and it was quite painful. It was early in the morning, before fajr, that I noticed the contractions were finally 6 minutes apart, it was time to call my midwives and have them come. I called my main midwife from Andaluz, she told me to stay strong and to call back when the contractions were 4 minutes apart, since my child was in the posterior position and my progression would be slow and steady. I hung up the phone. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I was crying. I told my husband that I just couldn't do it. He encouraged me that I could do this, and that I didn't want to go back to the hospital and have them tell us some bogus reason why they would have to cut this baby out of me. I cried. I prayed. I asked Allah to help me.

In all cases we should be praying, but there are instances in life when there is nothing else you can do but pray. When Allah puts you in a difficult and painful situation, where all your trust is now in Him and all you can do is ask. And it is that asking and calling on Him that draws you nearer to Him. 

I tried to just slow down and think, but the contractions just kept coming and I was in pain. I called my mother and told her that I wasn't sure about the homebirth and that I wanted to head to the hospital because the pain was incredible. My mother understood, told me there are blessings in everything, and that maybe the hospital is a good idea. And then I told my husband that I couldn't bear the pain any longer and that I needed to go to the hospital. My husband hesitated and wanted to be sure that I understood exactly what I was saying. We both knew that if we left for the hospital now, that I would more than likely be having my last child cut out of me. I cried and thought about my dream of that home filled with tons of children, and then a contraction. The pain was so great that I asked to be taken to the hospital. On the ride to the hospital, I began to put all my trust in Allah and I prayed desperately that I'd be able to deliver this baby vaginally there. I prayed and I prayed.

We arrived at the hospital and my previous midwife was there, and she told me that there was an excellent vbac doctor and vbac staff on-call this morning. ALHAMDULILLAH!!! I was extremely happy to hear this and then thrilled when I realized it was an all female staff. ALHAMDULILLAH again!!!! My husband was also very relieved. And so I labored a few more hours at the hospital but with an epidural. The epidural worked wonders for the pain, and I was able to get some much needed rest. When I woke I began to make du'a to Allah that this delivery would go smoothly and she would come vaginally and be a healthy baby that would grow up to be a righteous beautiful muslimah inside and out. I made du'a to Allah about all the dreams I had for my family and this new little baby.

I remember reciting Surat al Mulk (Al-Qur'an: Chapter 67: The Dominion) over and over in the hospital room, it calmed my heart and helped me focus. I hold this sura very close to my heart now because I was constantly reciting it and memorizing it with my halaqa sisters while my little baby was growing in my womb and up until the day she came into this world. Inshallah, the sura will always remain there.  

"Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life, that He may test which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;  (Al-Qur'an, Surah Al Mulk, Ayahs 1-2) 

Here the verses are reminding us, that Allah is the Lord of all the creation, and that He is always in control of what happens. So regardless of what the doctors had to say, Allah is ultimately in control and that eased my worries. 

Everything was going smoothly and the vbac staff were pleased with all the progress the baby and I were making, and shortly afterwards I could feel the baby drop lower and lower. And when it was time to push, I pushed. 

I was doing it, I was having this baby vaginally. I was ending the cycle of C-sections. I will never forget the moment I pushed her out, and her being put onto my chest. I held her tightly and looked down, and all I could see was this cute little purple bottom. I kept saying "She is soo warm. She is soo warm." I will treasure that moment for the rest of my life, Sarah is my vba2c baby!!! Alhamdullilah, she is a healthy beautiful 4 month old little girl today.

I thank Allah for letting me deliver our little girl vaginally. It was such a wonderful experience. There is definitely wisdom in everything, and Allah truly is the best of planners. The fact that I did have the two C-sections prior really allows me to cherish this delivery so much more. And I feel that it was from this experience that I truly understood the concept of tawakkul. Tawakkul or putting all my trust in Allah is a concept that I feel resonates with my vba2c experience. Putting absolute trust in Allah and relying solely on Him, and realizing that the outcome (whether it is a vaginal birth or another C-section) is from Allah, and that there is always wisdom behind it.

"And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things." (Al-Qur'an, Surah At-Talaq, Verse 3)

Remember that trust in Allah must be accompanied with action. One must put sincere effort and strive to accomplish one's intentions but also trust that whatever Allah has decreed is of benefit to him or her. This baby  and my vba2c experience made me fully grasp the meaning of Tawakkul. I did all that I could to ensure that this baby was delivered vaginally by having a strict birthing plan where a C-section was not an option. I endured as much as I could, but ultimately AIlah is the best of planners.

This birth brought so many possibilities and blessings, and I discovered that I am very interested in midwifery, birthing rights, and educating mothers about asserting their rights in a modern day system that doesn't support them. If I had the time, I would definitely pursue an education in midwifery and try to help other mothers that are dealing similar situations.  

As mothers, we want the best for our children in this life and the hereafter. We will gladly give up our own freedoms and sacrifice for the sake of our children, but we also cannot neglect ourselves. We have to treat ourselves well, take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and above all spiritually. A third C-section is not a risk I wanted to take unless I knew it was the right thing to do. I encourage all pregnant women to do research and understand their rights when it comes to a C-section, and be aware of the benefits of a natural and vaginal birth over a C-section.  

Motherhood is definitely a miraculous journey. Carrying a child in one's womb for nine months and then being able to push it out and bring it into this world is a beautiful event. An event that can only reaffirm one's faith in Allah and His infinite ability/power. Motherhood also entails everything that comes afterwards, the nurturing and raising of that child in Islam and with manners and characteristics of our noble Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). I ask Allah to grant me guidance and patience to fulfill those obligations and rights to Him and my family, and to earn a place in Paradise. I cannot thank Him enough for my three children, and if Allah blesses my family with a fourth child, I pray that I will have the strength to bring that child into this world naturally.

“Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our Protector: And on Allah let the believers put their trust.”(Al-Qur'an, Surah Al-Tawbah, Verse 51)


  1. Assalamu alaikum
    Masha Allah,glad to hear such a great news.

    subhanallah..i've had 2 c- sections before. your story is not much different from me, except that we dont about our third child. i too love to have more children. Allah Plansbest for us, let us thawakkul in Him

  2. I also am really worried of being pressured into having a c-section. My due date is the end of November inshallah and I am really worried about that horrible procedure of a c-section. I believe doctors love this procedure mainly because it relieves them of late night weekend deliveries. Why be called into work during a Saturday night when you can set a date and time during the working week? I am not comfortable with this at all. Allah blessed you the third time around which encourages me to push for a natural birth :)

  3. MashaAllah what a wonderful reminder MashaAllah

    Felicidades (Congratulations) on the birth of your baby!!

  4. I pregnant with my 4th. I have had three previous c-sections. I am terrified of another c-section. I pray to Allah to keep me and this baby safe. I feel I was robbed of ever delivering naturally. I am at a loss. I am confused and do not know what to do. I do not want to do another c-section but am terrified of the risks of a vbac at this stage. I ask Allah to lead me to the right decision. Please make dua for me. And I am so glad you were able to get your vaginal birth.

  5. I pregnant with my 4th. I have had three previous c-sections. I am terrified of another c-section. I pray to Allah to keep me and this baby safe. I feel I was robbed of ever delivering naturally. I am at a loss. I am confused and do not know what to do. I do not want to do another c-section but am terrified of the risks of a vbac at this stage. I ask Allah to lead me to the right decision. Please make dua for me. And I am so glad you were able to get your vaginal birth.