Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Dr. Hana Abo Kassem, OB
I am really excited to post this story! This comes from Dr. Hana Abo Kassem, an obstetrician. I know her personally and love her dearly! She assisted me when I was teaching childbirth classes in Alexandria, Egypt at the Suzanne Mubark Centre for Women's Health and Development. Since working with me, she has learned a lot about the natural childbirth methods I teach and has began to implement them in her private medical practice.
This post isn't about her practice though. It's about her personal experience giving birth to her own two children. At that time all she knew was what she was taught in medical school and what she experienced as an obstetrician. Having her own births, however, taught her something that influenced the way she treats her own patients.
I hope you enjoy reading these birth stories. Please let me know if you'd like to share yours. Now on to the story...An Obstetrician Learns a Valuable Lesson While Giving Birth!...
My first birth story: Shady, born March 29, 1995
As an obstetrician I attend many births. I’ve observed very bad behaviors from both women and doctors. I’ve seen a lot of complications. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had many bad dreams that woke me up during the entire nine months!
Thankfully, my pregnancy was normal and my baby was fine. I followed up my pregnancy with a very good and renowned doctor in Alexandria. His name is Professor Ahmad Shams.
When it was time to deliver, my baby was breech. It was a Wednesday at about 5 am when I began to have labor pains and bloody show. I started having more powerful contractions at about 11 am. I was alone in my home as my husband had left to work. At first we thought it’s false labor pains. Realizing that this was “IT,” I called him to come home.
I remember very well how I dealt with my contractions. I was sitting on my bed. With every contraction I did deep abdominal breathing but I was tense and holding the bed sides firmly.
I was laboring alone until about 4pm when my husband came and took me to the hospital. I entered the delivery room immediately as I was fully dilated. I knew my baby was breech. I was fortunate that my husband is a doctor because he was allowed to enter the delivery room with me, but not for coaching, just because he is a doctor.
Immediately a cannula was inserted and Ketalar was given to me. This is general anesthesia and I was rendered unconscious. I don’t remember anything except very bad hallucinations and bad dreams, which is a side effect of Ketalar. I don’t really know what all was done, except that I was given an episiotomy.
I started breastfeeding my baby about an hour after birth. At that time I didn’t know anything about breastfeeding. Thankfully, my mother-in-law helped me.
For about 3 weeks I was about to have postpartum depression from the Ketalar. I called my doctor to thank him for vaginal delivery of a breech baby and I told him, “PLEASE don’t allow the anesthetist to do that to your laboring women!”
At that time I thought the problem was the Ketalar. I didn’t realize it’s a problem with any type of anesthesia. I decided I would never have general anesthesia with my next baby, nor to use it in my private medical practice.
My second birth story: Yasmina, born August 28, 1999
This time I was not as scared as the first time. As I observed labor in my private medical practice I administered only local anesthesia in indicated cases. I saw that the labor goes better so I wasn’t afraid for my own delivery.
At the end of my pregnancy I was away from my work for a summer holiday with my father. My husband wasn’t with me. I felt confident, as everything was ok with my baby and I. I wasn’t ready to come home, but five days before my due date my husband insisted and came and took me back to be close to the birth center.
We arrived home at 1 am and we all slept. At 4 am I began having strong contractions. I took a shower as the contractions got stronger. Then I woke up my husband. I shouted to him, “Now! I will have my baby in half an hour!”
When I arrived at the birth center, I was fully dilated. I was immediately taken into the delivery room. I refused to take anesthesia. My baby was born after just five minuets! I started breastfeeding her immediately .
I used to recommend pain medication and even elective cesareans to my patients. But now that I have worked with Aisha and learned about natural techniques to cope with labor and the risks associated with childbirth medications, I cannot deliver my patients any other way with a clear conscious. I can no longer bear to hear my colleagues talk about anesthesia or elective c-sections or spinals.
I tried what I learned with Aisha with my private couples (some attended Aisha's classes and some did not) and experienced great success in natural birth. So far I have had six women deliver naturally, without any pain medications; Aisha helped with the first 3.
I simply can’t keep what I’ve learned to myself. I have the facilities in my center to help women. I pray that everyone can learn about natural birth. There is so much research to prove that natural birth really works!