Here is My Baby’s Birth Story
This is a Super Long story, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and a snack.
My experience shows that no two births are truly the same! Having had 2 med-free, vaginal births, I naturally assumed the third time would be a just as uncomplicated. However, As we all know, we plan but Allah is the best of planners.
C-section after two vaginal births
I had both of my previous deliveries in Canada and since we are temporarily residing in Saudi Arabia, we decided to have the baby there. I was very apprehensive as I previously heard the doctors in SA aren’t pro unmedicated, intervention-free births (which is why I decided to have my second in Canada). But because we were in Saudi for more than a year, I made a lot of dua and we decided to trust in Allah that all will be well. I did a lot of research and finally settled on Al Mana Khobar hospital with doctor Fahmid. The hospital was starting to allow women to birth completely unmedicated and without intervention. Out of dozens of doctors, there were only 3 who were on board with this and they had the support of one senior head doctor. They also prepared a birthing room specifically for those who wanted to have a so-called, “natural birth”. Not only that but my doctor promised she or the other 2 supportive doctors would be there for my birth, even if they weren’t on call they’d be notified when I went into labour (previously you would give birth assisted by whoever was on call). I was extremely happy with this new process and I began to relax and look forward to the birth.
My water broke at around 8 pm on March 4th. I was 39 weeks and 3 days. I had my second son at exactly 39 weeks so we were prepared in case of an early delivery. However, my water was only leaking I noticed and it wasn’t the big gush I experienced with my second birth. This time I also had no contractions whereas previously the contractions became increasingly intense when my water broke. (In my 2nd birth, the labour and delivery was only 2 hours in total, so I assumed it would be a breeze this time as well lol). Alhamdulillah, my mother-in-law arrived on August 2nd and was ready to stay with our boys. I proceeded to put both kids to bed and take a shower. I then called my doctor to let her know what was happening, she told me to keep checking my water and to go in as soon as possible. I walked around for a bit hoping contractions would begin and I kept checking my pad to see if it was clear, Alhamdulillah it was. I knew if I went in with waters broken and no contractions, inducement may be enforced. So we slept a bit and decided to go into the delivery ward around 3 am to make sure all was well with the baby.
The on call doctor came to assess me and saw in my chart that I was to deliver med-free, with as little interventions as possible. She was amused and said they will see what they can do. I really did not want any cervical checks until I felt contractions were getting intense, but she insisted she needed to do one to see how everything was progressing. At this point, my water had been broken for 9 hours and I still wasn’t having any contractions. None that were serious anyway. But Alhamdulillah I let her check me and it was then that they discovered my little sweetheart was transverse and trying to come out hand first, Superman style hehe. I was about 2-3 cm dilated. Via ultrasound they saw that the baby had several other pockets of water left, thus she wasn’t completely without water. They then insisted that I needed to get induced since my water had been broken for hours. The Risk of infection was going up the longer it remained broken without contractions/progress. I did my research and I knew it was ok to wait at least 24 hours before the risk was serious. It was hospital procedure to wait 12 hours maximum after water breaks, and then an induction would be necessary. I can’t even count how many times hospital Procedures and protocol were brought up by the doctors, in Saudi, sometimes things are done just because it’s part of the procedures and not because they are logical.
By then it was a morning and my doctor was able to come in. She told them that I would not be induced and they would wait for the 24-hour mark. That meant remaining in the hospital for another 12 hours at this point, with nothing to do but wait around. My husband and I decided to go home, spend more time with our boys and do some exercises to see if we could turn the baby fully head down.
My induction was scheduled for 8 pm March 5th, but we didn’t return until 1 am on 6th of March. I was feeling fine, the water was still clear and contractions were nonexistent. When we went back to the hospital they were super upset and frustrated. Because we left without permission, they took it personally and like we were purposefully trying to give them a hard time. They checked me again and baby’s hand was still coming out first, she wasn’t engaged and I was still 2 cm. Alhamdulillah for one particular kind and compassionate doctor who because she saw how important an intervention free birth was to me, she was willing to try going against protocol and agreed to postpone my induction to 8 am if things didn’t pick up. That would have been almost 36 hours after my water broke.😕 My doula and I did some spinning baby exercises and other manoeuvres. When she checked me again at around 10-11 am (giving us, even more, time) the baby was head down and her hand went back! Alhamdulillah! The doctor insisted that we at least insert a medical tape to soften the cervix (a type of induction not as intense or intrusive as Pitocin). I agreed to that and this time we kicked the exercises into gear.
The contractions were now picking up, but still manageable. My doctor did a cervical check in the afternoon and I was 4 cm dilated, but once again, her hand was back and she was sideways.We were all very frustrated by this. The doctor, however, was still optimistic and decided she would wait until I was about 6 cm dilated and then try to push the baby’s hand back and move her head down. This sounded like pure torture lol but I wanted to at least try. If that didn’t work, I would have to have a C-section. I was also told no eating/drinking from this point onwards and was to remain in bed. Despite all this, I decided to think positively while making lots of dua that everything will turn out great. I have checked again around 6 pm and this time her arm was out even further and trying to put it back was too risky. The doctor informed me it was now an emergency and we would need to start prepping for a C-section asap. She expressed how sorry she was that it didn’t turn out like we were hoping.
Alhamdulillah my precious little girl was born at around 6:40 pm, almost 48 hours after my water broke. It turned out that I had a fibroid which was preventing the baby from engaging head-down in the birth canal.
I was so grateful to have wonderful doctors who were willing to listen to me and work with me. Although it ended in a C-section, I felt they did their best to honour my wishes but of course paramount was the health of my daughter and me.
It is very important to know your rights, be equipped with correct information and have a dialogue with your caregivers. Have supportive people around you (your spouse, mom, a doula etc). Remember, No one can force you to do anything, regardless of bullying techniques some doctors may use (several tried to scare me). However, things don’t always pan out the way we envision, so roll with it. Especially with labour and delivery, it’s very important to have an open mind and plan for all outcomes.
Recovering from a C-section was one of the hardest things I had to go through, made even harder because I was thousands of miles away from family and close friends with 2 little kids. However, It showed me the strength of a woman and how we are able to overcome so much, with the aid of Allah.
Before my C-section, I would hear stories about others commenting that giving birth via C-section was easy. I always rolled my eyes at such nonsense, but now I would punch every single one of those people in the face if I could. I’ve had 2 vaginal births and one C-section, I’d rather give birth vaginally 10 times in the SAME day with NO epidural than having another C-section lol. It’s a major abdominal surgery, plus the added postpartum aches and pains WITH a newborn to care for, it’s no joke.
For those who have had C-sections, Don’t let anyone tell you that you had it easy. Any such statement says more about that inane person than your experience. Subhan Allah, we are ALL warriors, regardless of how we had to birth our precious bundles. Ultimately, if baby and mom came out of it healthy, that’s what’s worth celebrating.
Contributed by Hiba
Edited by Humera