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.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Knowledge Heals Birth

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted a new birth story.  This post is actually three birth stories from one special mama.  She is an AMANI Birth trainee and her experiences really speak to the importance of childbirth education.  She will be a fabulous childbirth educator and doula and will work hard with her mamas to keep them informed and aware of what is happening during the most amazing times of their lives, insha’Allah.  

Her personal experience with grief and trauma will server her to be able to relate and assist to the few mothers who have such experiences themselves.  It’s no doubt that her journey will serve the Ummah well, insha’Allah.

It’s really an honor and a privilege to welcome her to the AMANI family and to share her stories with the Saudi Birth Story readers.  I truly love her for the sake of Allah.  Now on to the story...Knowledge Heals Birth...  

First Birth - Rayyan

My first birth was very tragic to say the least! It was October, 13th 2006. I was 20 weeks into the pregnancy. I was suffering from severe bleeding for about 2 weeks prior to the birth. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The bleeding was so overwhelming I had to go to the hospital and make sure the baby was okay.

I arrived at the hospital’s emergency entrance with my husband. He made sure that a nurse was attending to my needs and immediately excused himself to go and park the car. As soon as he exited the room the bleeding got out of hand and I was hysterically crying. The doctor on duty rushed in and told me to stay calm. I did not have the mental or linguistic capability of understanding what was going on at the time. The only thing I could think about mentally is that the baby was ‘gone’; and since I was in Saudi for only 4 months the language barrier added to my hysteria. I spoke only English and the medical staff continuously tried to communicate with me in Arabic.

In effort to calm me down the doctor got a Doppler to make me hear the baby’s heart beat. Hearing that heart beat at that moment meant everything! “He is still here. Alhamdulillah”, I thought to myself.

I was admitted to the hospital for observation. About an hour after admission I needed to use the restroom. My husband and a nurse were in the room to witness my attempt to use the restroom. I stood up and took one step forward and all of a sudden a heap of bloody water filled the floor beneath me. I was assisted back on to the bed. 

Shortly after the ‘bloody show’ I was given 2 injections and told to stay calm. I was told the injections will make the pain go away. A nurse brought the Doppler over and made me hear the baby’s heart beat so I can calm down.

I knew nothing about contraction. All I could say to the nurse was that there is ‘pain that comes and goes’. She did not pay any attention to what I was telling her. She exited the room. At this point my husband was lying on a couch next to my bed. I decided that I had to time these ‘contractions’. They were about 5 minutes apart. A call for prayer went off and my husband got
up to make ablution. 

As soon as he returned I felt the baby coming out. I hysterically told my husband to call someone, anyone. He walked in with a few nurses and the same doctor on duty that saw me in the emergency room. The doctor was at a loss for words! My son, Rayyan, was rushed out of the room! I was scared to lay my eyes on him at that point. Insha’Allah I will meet him one day in the hereafter!

No one spoke to me! Not a single person from the hospital staff even cared to look me in the eye and explain to me what happened. The doctor was communicating with my husband in Arabic about what they will do to me next. I saw him signing a bunch of papers. Then I was wheeled off to the operating room with a big white sheet over my entire body. I thought to myself “I must be dead!” People were talking all around me, but no one was talking to me!

I came out of the operating room to a room full of people. Once the anesthesia tapered off I started to realize what had happened. People were coming to pay their respects for my loss. I left the hospital the next morning with a prescription for birth control pills that I did not want to take and a death certificate for Rayyan. The certificate stated that he died inside my uterus; I highly disagree with this (Allah knows best)! Rayyan was buried the next day!

The day of the burial my breasts were so engorged. I unfortunately had to pay the hospital another visit to get a prescription drug to dry up the milk!
It was difficult to deal with the loss of my first born. Alhamdulillah I learned that this loss is considered a loss in our life on earth, but in the hereafter it will be a gain (Insha’Allah)!

Second Birth – Tasneem

My second birth was agonizing! I was almost 32 weeks along the pregnancy with high blood pressure. The morning of January, 2nd 2009 I rushed to the hospital because I felt unbearable pain in my chest. When I arrived at the emergency room the doctor on duty requested blood work and a urine sample; while a nurse at the hospital was adamant to send me home because she thought I was a Saudi national. The tests revealed that I had a high protein reading (500) and that my liver was ‘not doing well’. 

Of course I did not understand the severity of the results because no one cared to explain. The doctor decided that I need an emergency c-section. I requested that I try to give birth vaginally, but was turned down. I had a cervical cerclage and being induced was not an option according to the doctor because of the high blood pressure. I agreed to the c-section but requested that I stay awake so that I can hear and see my baby right away. Thankfully the doctor agreed to my request.

Before the c-section I was put on a line of potassium to keep my blood pressure down. In the operating room I was told to assume a fetal position and stay very still in order to receive an epidural. Once in this position I overheated and found it very difficult to breath. As soon as I came up for air I could not help but vomit. The anesthesiologist notified me that he will put me to sleep. I gave birth to a baby girl, Tasneem (1.31kg), at 12:59 pm. Alhamdulillah!

Tasneem was sent to NICU, and I to the recovery room. I saw her, face-to-face, 2 days after delivery. Five days after delivery the doctor told me to start pumping. I pumped and I pumped but it was useless. Meanwhile Tasneem was hocked up to all kinds of gadgets to keep her alive. I went home the evening of this day without Tasneem!

For the next 6 weeks I pumped day and night. My husband delivered a couple of bottles in the morning before work and in the evening he came to pick me up so we can visit Tasneem and deliver the second batch of bottles. I was able to start breastfeeding Tasneem 2 weeks before she was released from the hospital. 

Breastfeeding was so difficult. Tasneem couldn’t latch on. I eventually got nipple extensions so that I can mimic the nipple of a bottle. This was successful Alhamdulillah!

I was able to go home with Tasneem on February 14th 2009 because she finally reached the expected weight, 2kg, the doctors were looking for. When we were leaving the hospital we were given a few bottles of formula milk. I was not very keen on using them, but one day I decided to taste the milk before I attempted to give it to my daughter. I could not believe how horrible the formula milk smelled and tasted. That was when I decided that I will not give my daughter formula. I breastfed my daughter for 1 year and 8 months Alhamdulillah!

Third Birth – Jana

My third birth was blissful! I was a week into my 9th month of pregnancy. At around 6 a.m. April 12th 2012 I lost my mucus plug. Contractions were inconsistent in duration and were not strong at all. I contacted my doula to keep her up to date with what was going on and called my mother to tell her to come over just in case my contractions pick up and I need to go to the hospital.

I jumped in the shower to relax while mom was on her way. As soon as my mother arrived I went to sleep like a baby. I woke up a few hours later, had breakfast with my family, did my hair and fell back asleep. I woke up to the call for Asr prayer. My water broke as I was praying. I did not panic subhanAlla! I got cleaned up without telling anyone and tried to complete my prayer. Another burst of water came along and not minutes after that a few other busts of water followed. 

Contractions were about 7 minutes apart but the pain was still bearable Alhamdulillah! At this point I told my mom and husband that it may be time to go to the hospital, but I wanted to have lunch so badly. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to have lunch and everyone around me was in panic mode.

We arrived at the hospital at about 5 p.m. The doctor on duty was surprised to see that I was 6 cm. dilated and fully effaced at arrival. Upon admission to the hospital I began to hand out my birth plan to every hospital staff member that dealt with me. Of course there were a lot of weird stares, but I did not care.

Unfortunately I was not allowed to move out of my bed, not even to use the rest room. Unbelievably the nurse on duty offered to put a catheter in place so that I do not move from my bed. I refused the catheter and got my mother to assist me in using a bed pan. 

I was strapped up to a baby monitor that unfortunately shifted many times during contractions because I was moving around in order to deal with the pain, this drove the nurse crazy. I was repeatedly told to stop moving and to stay on my back. Again I did not listen to the nurse. I gave her a chance to adjust the monitor while I was on my back but as soon as she was done I got onto my sides. This frustrated her, but I did not care.

At about 7 pm the pain was unbearable. I wanted to start pushing but my doctor was not there yet. I was checked again by the doctor on duty and was told that I was 8 cm. This is when my doctor was called in. Alhamdulillah my mother was by my side the entire time. She was rubbing my back. Her presence made a world of a difference in helping me relax.

About 20 minutes later my doctor walked in and I was fully dilated. I remember the doctor was frantically putting on her gown, as the nurses were rushing to prepare me for delivery. 

Before I started pushing I told my mother to bring the bed up so that I am not laying flat on my back. 

Jana came out on the second push at 7:30 p.m. Alhamdulillah! I got to see her, hold her, and hear her cry as soon as she was born. I was laughing and crying at the same time! My doctor was so supportive throughout the delivery; she even showed me the after birth!

Jana was quickly cleaned up in the room as I was getting my stitches. I had a natural tear that needed a few stitches; which I have to say the stitching process was surprisingly a lot more painful than the actual delivery! I breastfed her right after the doctor completed the stitches. A sign that read ‘strictly breastfeeding’ was put on Jana’s bed before they took her to get her prints. She was returned to me right away Alhamdulillah! We left the hospital together 2 days after delivery. Breastfeeding has been successful thus far. Alhamdulillah! I plan breastfeeding her for 2 years, God willing!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories. I'd love to hear more about what you learned (and how you learned it) that made such a difference in your births. Alhamdulillah all guidance is from Allah.