I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Repeat Cesareans

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

As I read a sister’s blog I came across a sweet post listing the top ten reasons she loves her husband.  It was number ten that struck me most:

10. He gets sad when he thinks about children whose mothers work, are not breastfed, do not co-sleep, are left to cry it out, and who go to kafir schools.

Masha’Allah, he sounds like a really caring man.  I began to wonder about her birth experiences.  Of course I expected to find gushing stories about the compassion of her husband during her labors.  But what I read was fitting for a different topic.

Instead of finding a story about the husband’s role in her birth, I found one of pregnancy complications and repeat Cesareans. 

I am always honored to share birth stories from around the globe.  Please let me know if you’d like to share yours.  Now on to the story…Repeat Cesareans…

The History of My First Three Cesareans

All four of my children have been born via Cesarean. My first two were without incident, alhamdulelah.  The first was in America, at full term, due to gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.  The second was an emergency surgery in Bahrain, a few weeks early, due to high blood pressure and severe abdominal pains.  It turns out the pains were caused by gallstones.  I ended up having surgery for that, just two months after the C-section!

My third cesarean was also an emergency surgery.  But this time I was in Saudi and the surgery turned out to be very complicated. When they opened me up, they could not get to the baby.  It turns out that my abdominal wall, uterus, and bladder were all stuck together due to adhesion (scar tissue) from the two previous Cesareans.

The Memory of the Trauma

The fourth was to be a planned C-section.  When I arrived at the hospital to be admitted, the morning before the operation, I was nervous.  But I was trying really hard to put my trust and reliance in Allah. Even so, the memory of my really bad previous Cesarean was looming in my memory.

For the first three deliveries, I was given a local anesthesia (spinal).  However, the doctors for the third delivery were opposed to this.  I had to get special permission as it is hospital policy to use a general anesthesia for Cesareans.

As lay waiting for my fourth section, I replayed the last in my head.  There had been so much commotion in the room.  I was awake, however, no one informed me of what was going on. I remember watching the monitors…and the staff’s reaction.

My body was shivering as I told them how cold I was. Looking back, it must have been from blood loss; at some point I had to have a blood transfusion. After they took the baby out, not much was happening.  I remember thinking it was strange; usually, after the baby is out, they close me up and I’m sent to recovery within about fifteen minutes.

A while later, the head of obstetrics came in. I was later informed by a nurse that my doctor was not supposed to perform the operation without him present.  But it seems he was in another operation.  My doctor had just decided to do it with out him.

Once he came in, I heard whispering and then I heard him say, “Put her to sleep!” and the gas mask came down.  I was out for the next four hours.

The Scheduled Cesarean

Needless to say, he was not pleased when he saw me in the hospital a few weeks before my fourth Cesarean.  (It’s typical of me to spend a great part of my last trimester in and out the hospital regulating my blood pressure.)

Didn’t I advise you not to get pregnant again?” he scolded.

I was like, “No, you did not, and I specifically asked you if I could have more children!”

I remember him looking at me like, “Why the heck would you want more?!?”  But regardless, his answer had still been, “Yes.”  Of course, he had not advised me to not have more.  But in reality, I figured it wasn’t the best option.

So after the scheduled delivery, the head obstetrician my personal obstetrician came to visit me.  “It took over four hours to do a twenty minute procedure,” they lectured.  “This delivery was the worst and most extremely complicated we have done,” they went on.  “Not only were yours and your baby’s lives at risk, but we were not sure, once we opened you up and found the mess, how they we could avoid causing damage to your organs!”

It seems, this time my bowels were stuck together with the bladder, uterus, and abdominal wall! They went on to tell me how difficult it was to get to my baby and even more difficult to get to my tubes; because, “The doctor determined that a tubal ligation was in order!”

Bed Rest

I was told to not to do ANYTHING once I was released to go home.  Even though my incision wound may appear to heal normally, they said that my insides were raw from all the scraping away of the scar tissues.
I don’t ‘do nothing’ well; especially when I have so many people depending on me!  However, my husband does ‘nothing’ very well, astagfirullah!

After this birth I was drained, exhausted, and in a state of confusion that I don’t recall ever being in before. To top it off, I had a bad reaction to some meds in the hospital. I was also sick with a sore throat and dry cough for two weeks after the surgery.  As you can imagine, it was extremely painful to cough!  

I was given a number of drugs, including a cough suppressant and antihistamine and just didn’t feel quite right in the mind or body during my recovery.

The Traumatic Recovery

Things started going from bad to worse. I suffered from intense bladder trauma. I went to the ER had a blood and urine investigation done. Nothing was conclusive, but I think the doctor was not well qualified, astagfirullah.  Some protein showed up in my urine so he gave me a referral to the urologist. He said it could be my kidneys, but I doubt that. I believe it was the bladder or urinary tract.

I went from using the bathroom every hour, to every thirty minutes, to every fifteen minutes. I no longer had pain upon urinating, but I had extreme bladder spasms and what seems like crazy nerve damage for the first minute after using it.

I don’t know how I stayed sane!  I had to go through this every fifteen minutes.  To top it off, I could only sleep in fifteen minute intervals (in between frequent nursing and diaper changes)!
I felt like my insides must have looked like a failed attempt at putting Humpty Dumpty together! I would say the pain was unbearable, but Allah never gives us more than we can bear – alhamduillah!

Allah says:

“We shall surely test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to those who have fortitude. Who when struck by misfortune, say: ‘We belong to Allah, and surely to Him we shall return.’ “ [Al-Qur'an 2:155-156]

As if that is not enough, I had resumed the five daily prayers (Muslim women are excused for up to forty days postpartum from the daily prayers due to postnatal bleeding). I feel awful to say this, but I felt cheated of my forty days!  I thought that I would not be able to handle returning to prayers, but I was up most of the time anyway – I might as well pray! I know… still sounds bad, astagfirullah!

Allah also says previous to these two ayat:
“O Believers, seek help in patience and in the ritual prayer. Allah is with those that are patient.” [Al-Qur'an 2:154]

The Baby

Masha’allah! I don’t think I could have had a better baby, especially under these circumstances. He was a sweetie pie. I had two nicknames for him (Red Man and Sharwama). He was my smallest baby at 2.7kg (about 6lbs) at birth.

I remember praying for my growing family in those difficult days after his birth, “May he, his parents, siblings, and offspring be able to enter Jannah though any gate we please…aameen.”

My Family Back Home

This last pregnancy was lonely for me because I did not have the support of my family. I did not tell my siblings, mother, father, Aunts, Uncles or cousins. I did not want my mother to find out because she worries a lot.

When I was pregnant with my third child I called my mother a lot.  She was like, “Are you pregnant?” She would say it in that irritated, I-can’t-believe-my-teenage-daughter-is-pregnant kind of way (even though I was a grown, married woman). 

After I delivered him, she begged me not to get pregnant again. So this last time I avoided calling her for fear she would detect it in my voice (you know how mamas are!).  I also did not tell any of my other family members back home.

I called my sister the night of the delivery.  I was all drugged-out sounding and told her to tell ma. She was like, “I can’t believe you are thirty-something and hiding your pregnancies!”

All I could do was cry on the phone; I was so out of it.  But I was glad my sister was there for me in my drugged-out state.

My Duas

With this experience came a lot of duas, alhamdulelah.

“Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’lta sahlan wa anta taj’alu al-hazna idha shi’ta sahlan.”

“O Allah, there is no ease except by that which you have made easy; and you are able to make to change difficulty into ease if you wish.” [Sahih ibn Hibban]

“Qaddar Allahu masha’a fa’ala.”

“Allah has decreed and He does what He wills.” [Sahih Muslim]

“Hasbi Allahu wa ne’mal wakil.”

“Allah is sufficient for me and is the best trustee of affairs.” [Recorded by Abu Dawud and authenticated by Shaykh al-Albani]

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.”

“We belong to Allah, and surely to Him we shall return.” [Al-Qur'an 2:156]
The Sister

Intisar, Umm Adam, is an American Muslim who has been residing in KSA for nine years, with her husband and four children.  She enjoys sharing knowledge, inspiring success and motivating entrepreneurs.

Umm Adam is considered as the “innovator” of niche, home-based and mobile businesses, in Saudi Arabia which focuses on providing customers with a variety of treatments/services.

She also helps small business owners and those looking to create a business to build niche businesses that fit their desired life goals through her niche business coaching.

For more information on Intisar, Umm Adam, visit:  www.ummadam.com


  1. Subhannallah your story is amazing maashallah. May Allah make it easy for all of us ameen. We must remember that Allah will never give us more than we can bear.

    I do want to say that I hate when people tell me not to have more children as if it is up to them!

    May allah protect you and your family.ameen

  2. Assalaam aleikoem

    Thank you for sharing this story. I love your blog.
    @ Umm Wafiyah, sister I don't like it either when people say not to have more kids. I love kids!! But (yes there is a but) for some women having more kids could mean they have a high risk of death. In that case it is even haram to get pregnant. (life of the mother is more important then that of the fetus)

  3. Great story although you went through so much! Subhanallah! Alhumdilalah ,you are alive. It's amazing how much women can endure...It is only by the will of Allaah. I don't know if you're family is Muslim but there are Muslim women who always look at other muslim women with many children strange.

  4. Ahh burden mother earth with more load... consume our limited resources and procreate till we all go extinct... 1 mother - 1 child folks, keep the ratio sane, we're not rabbits !!!