Zayn’s Birth Story

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Zayn’s Birth Story

By: Tanya Abiq & Kayla Zuidersma


I met Tanya early on in her pregnancy, receiving treatment at the hospital. I had the privilege of sitting in on one of Tanya’s treatments with her and she opened up to me about what life was like with HG. The more I listened to Tanya’s story, the more I realized I was listening to a warrior. A women who was fearless and brave. Her strength shocked me! This is Tanya’s birth story…the words of a warrior…


My husband and I have been together for almost 18 years and we were never supposed to have children. After 12 years together, a couple rounds of fertility meds and an emergency csection, we were finally blessed with a baby boy. 4 years later, with the help of a homeopath, a fertility specialist and a failed VBAC we were blessed with a baby girl. We thought our family was complete but every birth story is different and Zayn has been no exception…

Right from the very beginning this little boy has been full of surprises. One evening, last June while the kids were asleep my husband suggested he pop out to grab wine and pizza and we could make it a ‘stay in’ date night. I still don’t know why or what made me stop in my tracks but I told him there was something I needed to do first. I immediately went to Shoppers, grabbed a test, came home and took it. I was still breastfeeding my 14 month old and had only had 1 random period since she had been born but there they were – 2 pink lines, as clear as day.  3 days later the vomiting started….. and never stopped.

My pregnancy with Zayn was, and I have no other words except, hell on earth. It was something I would never wish on my worst enemy. It was 35 weeks of vomiting at least 10x/day, 5 months of IV infusions every other day, 34lbs lost, 88 days in the hospital, 137 litres of fluids, 3224 pills. I could go on.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum took any ounce of joy I should have had during my last pregnancy and turned it in to bitterness and anger. It’s hard to even type this but there were days that I would lay on the couch (because I couldn’t bear to get up) and tell my husband I couldn’t go on. That I didn’t want my baby anymore. He was my rock. He listened, he held me and he always reminded me of what that day in the operating room would look like. He would remind me of how beautiful it was to hear that first cry, smell that sweetest newborn smell and to hold that tiny person for the first time. By God’s grace  and an amazing OB we were able to make it to that operating room in mid January.


Sometime in late Fall I connected with Kayla. I was blessed to win a fresh 48 session with her and she featured my HG story in one of her blog posts. As my due date neared I knew that there was something I needed to do – I NEEDED to document this birth. There was no excitement or connection with my pregnancy. The only memories I feared I would have was of being sick.  With my other 2 children my csections were a bit of a blur. There are huge pieces of those days that I have absolutely no recollection of (my sons first latch, the moment my daughter was born…. ). I wanted this time to be different because I wanted to be able to look back on all those beautiful moments that, sadly, would have otherwise been clouded by Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Kayla and I discussed adding on birth photography to my fresh 48 even though c-section photography seemed to be unheard of around here. I approached by OB with the idea and she was on board! Fast forward to January 14th….

My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 8am that morning like 2 old pros. We were greeted by our nurse and taken in to the recovery area where I was prepped for surgery. Luckily, I was able to skip having an IV placed as I had kept mine in from my infusion the day before! I found out my midwife would not be able to attend the birth and that one from another team would have to take her place. At first I was a bit thrown off but after chatting with midwife for a bit I felt like I had known her my entire pregnancy. She instantly put us both at ease. 


That short walk from the bed to the operating room was so liberating because it meant I had made it. WE had made it. I prayed this would be the last time I would have to hold on to the wall to walk, or keep my head down so I didn’t throw up. I wasn’t afraid or nervous…..  In fact, I don’t think I had ever been so ready for anything in my entire life.
While I was preparing for surgery in the OR, my husband and Kayla were suiting up in what we will forever call ‘The Marshmallow Suits’ outside. Once my spinal was done and I was on the operating table they would then be allowed in. There were a few rules for Kayla to follow such as where she could and couldn’t stand, what she was allowed to photograph etc but, for the most part there is really nothing she wasn’t able to properly capture for me! 

The spinal was placed without problem. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt but it was so much easier than the epidural with my first! My doctor advised me that, because of the handful of previous abdominal surgeries I have had throughout my life, that she would have to go slower than usual. This meant I would have to get a bit more medication from the spinal than what would normally be administered. This in turn meant I experienced a very heavy feeling in my chest for most of the surgery, sometimes even making it hard to breathe in. My arms were numb and it caused my blood pressure to plummet making me very nauseous. I was given medication to bring my blood pressure back up and another to stop the nausea and this is where things get foggy….



From this point on I remember little things like having an itchy nose and not being able to scratch it (thank you husband). Feeling like I was going to throw up and having someone hold a vomit basin by my head (thank you Kayla). I remember feeling the pressure of the doctors pulling him out and being told they could not delay the cord clamping as we had planned because he was having some trouble with his breathing.  I remember waiting for what seemed like forever for them to bring him back to me. The panic setting in and hearing Kayla reassure me that everything was ok while my husband and midwife were in the other room with Zayn. I remember holding him on my chest and thinking he was going to fall. Everything else in between was a blur.


I stood by Tanya’s side as she patiently waited for her son to born. It was 11:19 am when the doctor held little Zayn up. There were smiles throughout the room. “He’s here!”, I heard her husband say. But as quickly as the doctor held sweet little Zayn up, he was taken into a side room to be monitored and checked. Zayn was awake and alert but a little slow to responses. He was just taking his time adjusting to the outside world. But as I watched this happen I seen a dad torn between his wife and his baby. I watched as he stood in the middle of the room, close enough to the door to watch over his baby but still in the room so he could stay with his wife. I watched and documented a love that is so precious and sweet. I had the privilege of going with dad into the side room to meet his son for the very first time. “Can I touch him,” he asked as he waited by his son’s side.

I don’t remember his first cry or his first latch. I don’t remember the recovery room or being moved to our room or the expressions on my other 2 children’s faces when they first met their baby brother. I don’t remember feeding Zayn or changing his diaper. Thankfully I had Kayla to capture all that for me!

The more I photographed, the more I began to realize how much mothers truly miss out when they require a cesarean birth. I couldn’t help but think, “every mother who requires a cesarean should have a birth photographer to document their story.” I felt honoured and blessed to be able to document moments for Tanya that I knew she otherwise would of never remembered. Parts of her story that would of simply faded away; lost forever. Instead, she was able to piece her story together.


My body had been dragged through the gutters for the previous 9 months… dehydrated, malnourished, pumped full of drugs… I had been nervous about my physical recovery and being able to breastfeed. Incredibly nervous about bonding with this new little human. Thankfully it all came with ease. Our hospital stay was short and after 2 days we finally got to bring our miracle baby home. Now that he’s here we can’t imagine our lives without him and we know our family is now complete.
I will never forget Tanya’s birth. The pure strength that Tanya radiated, the overcoming joy that flooded her eyes once her baby was born. It was the look of a warrior. It was victory. She made it! They made it! There was a special kind of joy in the postpartum room that day. A joy I will never forget!


If I learned anything from Tanya’s birth it’s that strength is not something you have, rather, something that reveals itself when you need it most. Strength is something from deep within you.
With love,
         Tanya & Kayla


Hey there, my name is Kayla. I am your Niagara Region Certified Doula & Birth Photographer. I live on the beautiful escarpment in Beamsville on our family owned and run farm.

I am a mama of two and absolutely love birth and babies!! I love the journey into parenthood and the transition along the way. I love how our hearts seem to quadruple in size the second we lay eyes on our baby and how we get to see the world from a whole new perspective as our kids grow and change.

As your Doula & Birth Photographer my goal is to help you have a positive birth experience. My goal is to eliminate any fears or worries going into birth and help you feel confident and empowered when birthing your baby.

Let’s talk!



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