Childbirth in KSA

Almost 7 months ago I had my second baby here in Saudi Arabia. She was born on the 16th of June (the second day of Eid Al-Fitr) at 5:18 AM at Suliman Al-Habib Takhussusi in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. The same doctor that delivered my first, also delivered my second. This time I also had a doula present (I’ll write about my experiences with my wonderful AMANI doula, Luthfa from Empower Birth soon).

I was 38 weeks and about 5 days when baby decided to arrive. After nearly three weeks of hourly contractions, I found myself used to those waves of discomfort coming and going. That night we had gone for a ride to see some fireworks around 9 pm and then to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. I remember a particularly painful contraction that came while I was sitting in the restaurant booth waiting for my spaghetti to come. It came and went. We ate, I ordered gelato to go and we went home. It was after 11 pm at that time.

When we got home, I put our daughter to sleep and after sitting in bed for awhile I decided to take a warm bath and try to relax. After soaking for a long while it I stood up from my bath and felt a lot of pain and pressure on my pelvis. I dried off and went to bed. Something felt different, but it was 1 am and I decided to just try and sleep for a bit.

At around 3 am a contraction woke me up. It was strong and I was still feeling a lot of pressure, so I decided to start timing the contractions just to see what was going on. Something made me post this picture below on my social media as well, which must be that in the back of my head I knew what was happening.

At 3:50 am I messaged my doula. She was supposed to be leaving that morning to go to Makkah and I wanted to check in with her because the contractions were getting closer and closer together. Just within those 50 minutes I went from 20 to 15 to 8 to 7 to 6 minutes apart. She asked me to continue timing for the next 10 minutes and I had 3 contractions within that time with the last one at 2 mins from the previous.

I woke up my husband, who went for a quick shower. I got out of bed and added a few last minute things to my hospital bag. I continued having contractions. My husband started calling to see if anyone could take our toddler. His cousin said she could and so we headed for the car and I let Luthfa know we were leaving. This was around 4:30 am.

I moaned and groaned through my contractions, which were made worse by the seat of the car and my husband’s neglect to break before an unseen speed bump. I wanted to cry, but we also both laughed. We dropped off our daughter with the cousin and continued to the hospital.

At 4:45 am we reached the hospital and Luthfa was there waiting for us. I walked myself through the doors and down the hall to the OB ER. When we entered no one came quickly. Even after Luthfa called out that there was a woman in labor they came nonchalantly to ask me questions and take my weight. The doctor came to check me after I had a contraction on the table. She said that I was 10 cm and the mood changed. Luthfa called my husband who was taking care of the insurance and they began to move me to the delivery room.

I moved myself from the ER bed to the delivery bed. I got through contractions as Luthfa calmly reminded me to breathe. She also got me off of the bed and standing. I remember the doctor scolding one of the nurses for trying to hook up an IV (my birth plan requested none unless necessary).

I remember standing, going through contractions, Luthfa massaging my back (back labor sucks!) and holding the bed rail. At some point I flatly stated that I really needed to push and that I wanted back on the bed.

The doctor checked me and said that she would break my water as the baby was “right there”. After the gush of amniotic fluids, I felt baby’s head. The doctor told me not to push and without thinking I puffed out short breaths of air in an attempt to stop my body from doing what it was trying to do in order to let baby’s head stretch me a bit. But I couldn’t hold it any longer and as I let out a breath I felt my body push and baby was out.

My second little daughter was born just shy of two and a half hours after I felt like I was in labor and only a bit over a half hour after my arrival to the hospital.

The doctor immediately gave her to me for skin to skin. We delayed cutting the cord, but when the time came my husband did it without a second thought.

I delivered the placenta and then the doctor gave me a few stitches. Her and my doula chatted about Eid, which was such a nice way to keep my mind off of what was going on below.

When everything was said and done, my doctor gave me a hug and a warm congratulations before leaving and Luthfa the same before returning to her husband and son to travel to Makkah for Umrah.

So there we were, my husband, my new baby and I. The only thing that was missing was our other little one.

I felt so blessed that the labor and delivery went so well and even more so that we had a healthy little baby girl.




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