Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Faris' Birth Story
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
April 9, 2009
Had I realized that I was going to have the baby that morning, I wouldn't have gone to meet the doctor. I really wanted a home birth this time. Not only didn't I get it, but my husband missed the birth (again) as he was busy filling out hospital forms.
I hope you enjoy reading these birth stories. Please let me know if you'd like to share yours. Now on to the story...Baby number seven...Almost a home birth!...
When I was seven months pregnant with Faris, we traveled to Saudi Arabia. My doctor in Egypt had given me the phone number of her best friend who was an obstetrician in Jeddah. Although I took the number, I was determined to have an unassisted home birth this time.
Once in Saudi, my husband visited the birth records department to ask about the procedures for obtaining a birth certificate in the case of an unassisted home birth. The worker there told him not to let me do it. He said there is a procedure for such cases, as they occasionally happen, but it was a long and tedious process. He said it would take months to get the paperwork done. He advised him to take me to the hospital. In a
hospital birth you receive certified documentation of the birth and your birth certificate will be issued within a few days.
The documentation became more of a concern to me than the birth itself. My visa for Saudi was only temporary and I feared being deported before my baby’s paperwork was done. The thought of being separated from my newborn baby due to slow paperwork consumed me.
I decided to contact my doctor’s friend. I planned to ask her if she would issue the documentation from the hospital if I came to her immediately following the birth. When we tried to visit her, the hospital receptionist said there was no doctor of that name. Since her hospital was about an hour across town from our home, we decided we would visit a clinic closer to home.
In the meantime my husband ran all around Jeddah searching for the supplies I had listed for the birth. Amongst them were umbilical scissors and clamps. It was no easy feat, but he finally got everything on my list.
About two weeks before my due date, my husband took me to the local clinic. We asked the doctor if she would issue the certified documentation of birth if we came to her immediately after delivery. She referred us to the hospital administration. It took several visits to the clinic to finally speak to the man in charge. He refused to help us and said that he could not issue the documentation if the doctor did not witness the birth in the facility.
I wasn’t sure what I should do, but I was still determined to have an unassisted home birth. My husband was concerned about the paperwork, but otherwise very supportive. My due date came and went. I was six days past due when I decided to call my Egyptian doctor’s friend again. She remembered my previous call and told me to come to her office in the morning. Although I did not tell her my plan, I was hopeful that she might help me with the paperwork.
The next morning I awoke with mild contractions. I didn’t think much of it as I had been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks with this baby for the past month. At 9:00 a.m. my husband and I finally decided to make the long drive to meet the doctor. During the hour-long drive, my contractions became steadier and harder. I began to think that I might actually be in labor.
When we arrived at the hospital, my husband left me in the car to make sure the doctor was in. Once again he was told that there was no doctor of that name working there. He came back to the car and I called the doctor. It seems we were at the wrong facility! As we left the parking lot I felt that he was speeding over the speed bumps. Déjà vu, it must be labor!
It was 10:10 when we arrived at the right hospital, my husband dropped me at the door. He went to park the car. Since I don’t speak Arabic, I took a seat in the lobby and waited for him. When he came in, he registered me for my appointment with the doctor. They told him she was on the delivery floor, but we could wait for her in her office and she would be down shortly.
I told my husband that maybe we should meet her on the delivery floor. When we arrived
at the nurses’ station the receptionist looked at our file and instructed us to go wait for her
in her office. My husband told her that maybe we should stay there. By this time I was
having very regular and steady contractions.
A nurse came and took me to a room. She checked me and announced that I was dilated
to “seven.” I immediately started to get up, saying, “No, no, I am going home.”
“Not until you deliver,” she replied.
Before I could respond, the doctor came in. She checked me and said that I was at “nine.”
She told my husband, who was waiting in the hall, to go back downstairs and register me
for delivery. I began calling for him, “Mohammed, Mohammed! Where’s Mohammed? I
want to go home!”
He had already disappeared in the elevator and didn’t hear my pleas. In the meantime my
water broke and I could immediately feel the baby moving down. They brought a gurney
to my bedside. I had a difficult time moving up the 1/8 inch from the bed to the gurney.
Once I was completely on the gurney, they threw a blanket over my body and face and
began running to the delivery room. I couldn’t see anything, but it was a wild ride and we
were crashing into walls! Suddenly, the baby’s head came out. “Okay, the head’s out!” I
yelled from under the blanket. Without a single push the rest of the baby came out. “This
baby is born!” I shouted.
We were still running and no one was responding to me. The baby wasn’t crying. I sat up
and threw the blanket off. I was more concerned with my baby’s health than my modesty
at this point. By this time we were in a back corridor. We had not arrived in the delivery
room yet, but we were out of public view.
“Your baby’s fine,” someone reassured.
In the meantime, another man who had been waiting for his wife to deliver had heard me
screaming through the halls. He went down and found my husband in line at the reception
counter. “You better come; your wife is having a baby.”
“I know,” he said as he finished the registration.
When he got upstairs the nurses’ station receptionist congratulated him on having a boy.
He was confused. He was only gone about ten minutes. He still didn’t comprehend that I
had already delivered the baby.
By 10:25 a.m. the baby was cleaned up and dressed. I was still in the hallway on the
gurney. My recovery room was not prepared yet. The doctor asked if it was okay to let
my husband come back to see me. “Of course,” I replied.
When he walked back he was astonished to find me sitting up, nursing our son. It all
happened so fast that he was a bit dazed.
I refused to allow the baby to go to the nursery. The doctor was very understanding and
complied with my request. After eating lunch I insisted on cleaning myself up. I got
dressed and insisted on being discharged. By noon we were on our way home with our
Although I didn’t have the home birth I wanted, I was glad that he had been born without
any real “interference.” My husband was relieved to have the certified documentation that
was needed to get his birth certificate and passport issued.
We returned to Egypt, but I kept all the home birth supplies that we had purchased in Saudi. I was determined that next time, I’ll have the home birth I’ve always wanted! Faris nursed for fourteen months, by then I was about five months pregnant with Amani...and on to the next birth story...