Zain’s Birth Story

Jul 7, 2017

birth story


Zain’s birth story didn’t unfold exactly how we had envisioned it, but in the end everyone is happy and healthy and that’s all we could ever ask for. For weeks, I had been asking everyone I knew how long they had stayed pregnant. Since I had felt very few contractions, become uncomfortably swollen and not dilated I feared being pregnant for more than 40 weeks. Most first time mom’s I knew had gone past their due date and I was having a hard time wrapping my head around that possibility. 

On that Wednesday  had my weekly check up at the doctor’s office. I asked my doctor again, ‘How many weeks will you let me stay pregnant?’ ‘ When can you sweep my membranes?’ and any other question that may give me an idea as to when she thought I would deliver. The human body is a crazy thing and since there is no real predictor of when someone may go into labor, I had to let it go and just enjoy the last few weeks. 

I had several things left to check off the to do list: our hospital tour, a pedicure (finally!), packing a hospital bag for Trevor and cooking meals to store in our freezer. I thought the next three weeks would be filled with fun preparation and some down time away from work to catch up on reading and time with friends. 

That night after I treated myself to a prenatal massage, I was sitting on the couch enjoying Indian food with Trevor. He had surprisingly gotten home at a decent hour (8pm) and we were watching Law and Order SVU, much to his demise. As I sat there, I felt an odd sensation and told Trevor ‘I think something may have just fallen out of me’

Spoiler alert: at this point in pregnancy that happens a lot so I wasn’t that concerned. 

By the time, I got up and walked into our second bathroom behind the couch a gush of water came crashing out. Despite being told by everyone ‘It’s not like in the movies’ that’s exactly how it unfolded. I had thought after that initial gush it would stop or slow down, but much to my surprise it kept pouring, and pouring, for hours.

We both panicked a bit, I immediately freaked out my massage forced this and my baby wasn’t ready and we both ran around packing our bag. Luckily, I had written this post and had everything laid out on my dresser along with a note with a list of everything I would need to grab at the last minute. We threw on our clothes and headed out the door.

Hmm, maybe I should have scheduled that hospital tour a little sooner.

After getting checked in to the hospital, the resident came in to go over the basics with me. If my water wasn’t totally broken and I wasn’t dilated more than 6cm they would send me home. If it was completely broken no matter how much I was dilated, I was there to stay. 

Let’s just say after an initial exam and my gut feeling, I knew it was totally broken. Once we got word we were going to be admitted, we called both our parents to let them know and took a long hard stare at each other.

‘We are not leaving here till we have a baby’

After all this time and anticipation, this was really happening. It was almost midnight by the time we got moved to our room and it also marked my 37th week. I guess Zain knew if he waited till midnight he would be considered full term. Although that made us feel a tiny bit better, we were still so anxious about his health. 

After being started on Pitocin at about 2am, we waited. When everyone tells you there will be no sleep for days, boy are they right. Whether it was nurses, staff, alarms or doctors—someone is always coming in your room. Not to mention, I could barely relax let alone sleep thinking about how this was all going to go. 

As time dragged on, I progressed very slowly. By about 2pm the next day I had only progressed from 2 to 3cm and remained 75% effaced. Trevor and I began to worry I would have no option but a C-section. By the afternoon, I decided to go ahead and get my epidural. I wasn’t in a lot of pain but as my nurse said ‘There’s no discount for waiting’ 

After the epidural was placed and the medicine started, I suddenly felt light headed and had blurry vision. I told the nurse I wasn’t feeling great and remember the alarms sounding. The anesthesiologist came back in and my pressure had dropped to 50/20 (normal is 120/80) They gave me some medication, fluids and turned the epidural off. I felt much better instantly and over the course of the next hour or so they would try to turn it on again, twice. However, each time I reacted the same way. At this point, I thought that medicine was going to be out of the question for me. 

Luckily, they decided to wait an hour or so and turn it back on at half capacity and that seemed to do the trick. I also had the ‘magic button’ to get more meds but sadly pushing it made me shiver so bad, I decided to pass. I had thought so much about how I would utilize medicine during delivery and at this point I was relieved to have some on board even if it was mild.

Now that my blood pressure wasn’t dropping, I thought I was out of the woods. Unfortunately, my body had other plans. Again, the alarms! This time my blood pressure was entirely too high and they decided to draw labs to check on everything. I sadly had protein in my urine and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I was scared at this point that they wouldn’t let me sit around and try to dilate on my own and was anxious for another check. They came in to go over preeclampsia with me and do another check. To my surprise, I had made it to 6cm! 

Progress!!! I turned over on my side and tried to close my eyes for a minute. Couple things here: most people vomit. I didn’t know this and before I knew it I was throwing up every ounce of chicken broth I had consumed over the past two days. After that, I felt lots of pressure on my backside. My doctor had told me if I felt like I had to go to the bathroom to tell someone because that usually means the baby is coming! Who knew!

I let my nurse know and she wanted us to wait and make sure since I had just been checked. I told her I didn’t need to waitsomething was happening. They came back in to check and it had happened! I was 10cm dilated, fully effaced and ready to go!

Once my doctor came in, I finally calmed down a bit. This was going to happen and I knew I could do it. She left the lights dim, put on our Spotify playlist and began walking me through the process. It only took 45 minutes of pushing and our little guy appeared into this world! So much of it is blurry to me now, but I replay it in my head over and over again. 

I had decided to have him on my chest for skin to skin as soon as he was delivered. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as responsive as they would have liked once he was born so they took him over to the bed and the respiratory therapists from the NICU appeared. While trying to deliver my placenta for what seemed like forever I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

‘Was he okay? Was Trevor lying to me to keep me calm?’ 

The nurse assured me if anything was really wrong there would be far more people in the room. After 13 minutes (or what seemed like three years) they removed the CPAP from him and brought him over to me. I couldn’t believe he was here and I could kiss him all over. Trevor and I both had tears streaming down our face and I can’t imagine it any other way. We are so thankful for a happy and healthy delivery! We were so lucky to have the best doctor and nurses guide us through this experience. 

Thank you for all your love, support and sweet wishes for baby Zain! We are so overwhelmed by the well wishes and can’t wait to share this next phase of our life with you all!


rush university labor and delivery

zain birth story

zains birth story


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  1. Thanks so much for sharing, Shaheen! What a beautiful story. So glad you’re both here and healthy! Every time I read a birth story now I get all teary eyed. Everyone is so different- there really are no solid expectations! Congrats again on your sweet boy!

  2. LOR says:

    Thank you so much for posting your story. I’m 31 weeks and we just started out birthing class. I’ve read a book, but it’s always nice to hear the real deal. The good and the ugly. There are so many things that people leave out.

  3. “Despite being told by everyone ‘It’s not like in the movies’ that’s exactly how it unfolded.” Both mine were like that too! My first labor started with my water breaking and my firstborn arrived 4.5 hours later. My second arrived 2.5 hours after contractions started!