Reham Samir decided to take the all natural route with her pregnancy and have an at home birth. We sat down with her to find out all about her reasons and what the experience was like.
Reham had a horrible experience with her first child after having a normal delivery with an epidural. Back problems and other complication pursued after the epidural, and 8 years later when Reham decided to have her second child, she decided to do things much differently. Reham felt much more aware with her second pregnancy, and from the very start decided to go down the holistic route. On a mission to take care of her health and diet throughout her pregnancy and beyond, Reham worked hard during the 9 months to prepare her body for a natural, medicine-free delivery.
Because such a natural approach to delivery is difficult in Egypt, Reham decided to head to a birthing center in California to make her vision of an at home delivery come true. Being pregnant is not an illness, and so she was determined to live the real pregnancy experience and engage all her senses, all in the comfort of her own home.
Leading up to the delivery, Reham had a small team of a midwife, concierge doctor, and a doula. The midwife is the person who actually delivers your baby, while the concierge doctor is a pediatrician that facilitates the key logistics regarding the birthing process for the mother and handles things such as emergency insurance and your daily needs. A doula is not medically trained, her role is simply to support and comfort the mother; to relax, reassure, and guide her.
Reham made changes to her diet to get her body ready for delivery. She ate things like pineapples and dates daily to ripen her cervix and induce labor, and also had regular visits to the chiropractor for acupuncture sessions to condition her body and strengthen her spine and neuromuscular system to withstand the delivery.
On June 16th, two days before her due date, Reham’s water broke at 7am. She used an amucator to determine if she was actually in labor through detecting the presence of amniotic fluid, and following that she called her midwife to come. By 8am, the birthing team arrived and instructed Reham to download an application which tracks contraction strength and frequency. While in labor, Reham sucked on ice chips, fruit, and vegetables to make sure she was well hydrated and had enough energy to keep going. Although she had originally planned on hypnobirthing, when it came time to push she found this too difficult and the midwife decided that she should squat birth instead, which is exactly what Reham did.
At this point, she was crying for any painkiller (we don’t blame her!), but Reham told us that she persevered, breathed through the pain, and it turns out it was the best decision she made. Motherhood is hard work, and this magical experience is just the start of the journey.
Following birth, Reham decided to store her baby’s cord blood and also encapsulated her placenta. The placenta helps the mother to regain her hormonal balance naturally after pregnancy, and is also thought to help with milk supply. It can be stored in the freezer for years, even up to menopause, where it can then help combat menopause symptoms! Following the holistic route, she also decided to not bathe her baby for 4 days following the birth, to help boost his immunity.
“What was the most magical moment of the whole experience?”, we asked Reham. She told us breastfeeding her newborn with the cord still attached was something truly special. What truly amazed us is that only a few hours after giving birth, Reham was walking to the supermarket to do her grocery shopping!
Next, we were interested to find out whether Reham has noticed a difference in her new baby’s health compared to her first born. She confirmed that Emad, her newborn, visits the doctor less, is less grumpy as a baby, and was calmer in his first few days of life.
Reham did not take the easy way out, although doctors in Egypt had mentioned that the size of her baby was ‘too big’ for a normal delivery. She was determined to get a second opinion, and it turned out an at home birth was one of the best decisions she could have made. Is it hard work? “It felt like hell” Reham told us, but she endured the process and would do it all over again if she had the chance. We are deeply inspired by Reham’s story. There’s no reason to treat pregnancy like a disease, because a normal pregnancy can be as natural as possible if it’s what you genuinely want!
The morning after birth, with baby Emad.