THE H FAMILY HAS A BABY…….IN QATAR!
Act 1 Scene 2
*Go to https://jaznajalil.com/2014/07/09/ma-wednesday-giving-birth-in-qatar/ to read Part 1
THE WAIT IS OVER….WELL ALMOST…..
The days leading upto delivery, J is a nervous wreck. J is used to having control. And control comes from knowledge. Information. But the information that J so desperately seeks is at a premium. In her head so many things could go wrong….
The last pre-natal scan showed a healthy but apparently fairly “large” baby.
J wondered if a C-section was a possibility. She has heard that they don’t opt for one at Hamad unless there was no other option. Was that true?
She didn’t even have a doctor there whom she could trust and give in to……
Initially J predicted the baby would come early. She just “had the feeling” she claimed. But as weeks progressed, she started “feeling” lil Z would take her time. And in her head, Z was getting bigger by the day…!
The bigger the baby, the harder the birth she was told…..
38 weeks down, and eleven days before the due date- J wakes up to a bright, new day. She has hardly slept, but that is nothing new. By now, she is thankful if she can manage a couple of hours of sleep.
She feels normal- as normal as a full-term pregnant woman can feel. No signs of impending labour. No new pains….
Has some breakfast.
Does some chores around the house.
Has an uncommonly large lunch. Lots of rice and sambhar! With tons of accompaniments. She feels stuffed, bloated.
Decides it’s best to “nap it off”.
The nap never happens. She tries to sleep. But queasiness and overall discomfort makes it hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
J credits it all to the overeating. Her entire abdomen feels bloated and achy. A dull, obscure pain seems to set in.
She wants to kick herself for eating so much.
J tries arranging pillows on the bed to make herself more comfortable, tries to watch a movie, tries to read, tries music- all to no avail.
By 4 PM, she gives up on sleep. Tries to walk around, to ease the discomfort. She is anxious and there is an escalating sense foreboding.
Calls Mr H to find out when he would come home. Mr H enquires if there is something wrong. She says no and asks him to not be late.
J had read about contractions, watched YouTube videos, spoken to friends’ with kids…… But nothing seems to have prepared her for labour. She still does not know how/what it is supposed to feel like. She is constantly told “she would know when the real thing hit!” –
A nice way of saying that it would be @#$%%^ painful…..
Mr H arrives home. J can neither sit nor stand by now. Walking does not help either. But she is not in any sort of screaming fit like they show in the movies. Not yet anyway!
Mr H asks if they should go to the hospital. J says there is no point. They will just check her and then send her back.
They decide to have some tea…
J drags herself out of bed, waddles to the closet and gets the hospital bags from storage. They have been packed and ready for weeks now. Places them at the door.
She needs something more to do…
Something to take her mind off….
She makes the bed. The pain is building….
She washes the dishes in the sink. The pain is intensifying in intervals. …
She decides to change her clothes. She can barely walk by…..
She does her hair…tries to look presentable…. Are these contractions…..?
Starts looking for socks to wear (not sure why, someone told her to wear socks- apparently it gets cold during the whole birthing process)!
J is all ready….still waiting for the “contractions” to hit…..
Mr H is all ready……. waiting for the screams….
There is a weird sense of calm and sanity at the H household…..
Mr H asks J if she wants to go for a walk….. to the Corniche?
J knows he is just trying to help…. But…
He ends up making her step up and down a stool….to take her mind off the “discomfort”….
J is not sure what to do. She is sure it’s not painful enough to be “active-labour”, but she’s had enough. Tells Mr H to head to the car. They throw the lone bag into the car and leave for Hamad Women’s Hospital.
J has the feeling she is leaving to write an important exam. An exam with no syllabus, no mock tests, and with no idea what the questions will be like or for how long…….
After preparing for it for months……now there is nothing more to do….just take things as they come….
They are still in their car. Stuck in traffic; at a very unlikely spot. Just the luck….
The trip to the hospital should not have been more than 15 mins long…..
By now, J knows that she must be labour. This has to be “it”….
She is holding on to the edges of her seat…digging into them every time the pain hits…….and trying her best to just breathe…..
They finally reach the hospital. J is in no position to walk. A nurse takes one look at a staggering J, getting out the car and she runs out with a wheel chair. J is taken to the emergency room and immediately hooked up to a CTG monitor. Someone comes in and examines her (she barely registers her face let alone what she was telling her)……
She is to be shifted to a labour room immediately.
The labour rooms are all busy. So J has to wait….
Lil Z is is no mood to wait, though….
Finally wheeled into a labour room. J looks around, seems more than adequate. A smidgeon of relief during scary times…..
A barrage of nurses swoop in on her.
J is trying very hard to not scream her head off.
Getting an IV line in takes some time.
Contractions are well and truly on their way.
All the monitors are hooked up…. All the gadgetry is prepped.
A doctor comes in and tries to educate J on the types of pain management options that they offer. J cuts her off, nothing was registering anyway. States she is a doctor herself and that she knows what exactly she wants. An EPIDURAL….
J is informed an anaesthetist is on his/her way to administer the epidural. J gives a curt, sweaty nod. Teeth clenched….
The anaesthetist is in the next room apparently…
J knows she cannot hold on any further. Just then, the nurse/ mid-wife tells her something she absolutely does not want to hear ….. She is too far along and can no longer be given an epidural….
It pushes her over the edge….
She wails like she had never before….
It’s all a blur from then on…..
The pressure valve is released…..
The pain suddenly disappears…..
An eerie calm descends…..
Every second in the past ten months was to culminate in this one moment…
A magical being enters the chaotic labour room and sees light for the first time. The little one’s cries ring like a million musical bells in J’s head. She is delirious with pain and pleasure and joy. An indescribable feeling takes over and spreads warmth and affection into every pore of her.
The gooey, blue mass of humanness is placed on J. The wrinkly hands and feet are waiflike and fragile looking, almost too delicate to touch. Everything is perfect and in miniature. A pair of tiny brown-hazel-green eyes look right at J and into her very core. They stare at each other for what seems like an eternity, oblivious to the mess and chaos rife in the room. They continue to stare as J is cleaned up, sewn up and made to look human again.
If J remembers right, there were about 4 or 5 nurses/ mid-wives in there. And she has a few words for them. EFFICIENT. ENCOURAGING. AND BLOODY DARN BRILLIANT! They soothed J when she voiced anxiety, chided J when she whined, consoled J when she almost cried, scolded her when she screamed “I CAN’T DO IT”, and finally congratulated her with endearing genuineness when the time came!
The room, J and lil Z are all tidied up. Though she’d heard otherwise, Mr H was able to come in for a couple of mins before J was taken into recovery. Mr H has an utterly bewildered countenance as he gazes at the little being who is due to become the centre of his world. He stares. With an almost too wide, to the point of being comical smile. He finally asks J…”All over fast pretty quickly, no?”. J is just way too tired to counter that!
J is wheeled into recovery while Mr H has to wait downstairs. They both are in a relieved, tired, blissful state.
This state doesn’t last for long though…..
Surprises are in store…
And they aren’t blissful at all…..
(To be continued….)
Note on actualities- for to-be- Mommas in Doha (entirely based on my experience)-
- Hamad admits you only if you are in active labour
- If it is low-risk/normal pregnancy, you will most likely have a good experience- the facilities are top notch and the nursing staff excellent
- If any complications or emergencies arise, not sure how promptly they will be managed as doctors seemed hard to come by
- Men are not allowed in certain areas of the hospital, but they can see the baby immediately (for a few minutes at most) and can later visit you in your room. Men are not allowed to stay overnight.
- If you want your husband to witness the actual birth, better seek the services of a private hospital here in Qatar.
- Also, if you want a doctor to stay with you the whole time and hold your hand through the whole ordeal (which seems to the trend everywhere now), then go elsewhere. Ain’t going to happen at Hamad.
- Unlike back home, the paediatrician does not see the baby as soon as it is born. They usually come by next morning. If the nurses find something amiss at birth, they would probably get a pediatric/neo-natal consult immediately.
- For the labour part- there is no need to carry any belongings. Everything is provided for. You might require some essentials during your stay. (Will talk about all that in the next “Mommy” post).
- For admission to the hospital- you would need your ID, health card. Also, keep a copy of your marriage certificate and your pre-natal record with you. Those “stickers” come in super handy. Just scanning their barcode does the trick- so keep some with you!
- Your husband will need his ID with him at all times. He might need to show it to the security guards, especially to enter the “labour” sections.
- There are separate/ individual labour rooms. They seemed well- equipped, clean and functional.
- As far as pain management goes (during labor) – I was offered an opioid, nitrous oxide, NSAID and an epidural. I didn’t get any sadly. (Did not care much for the nitrous and did not want the pethidine).
- You can keep all your birthing plans to yourself- they tend to do things their way, as per their protocol.
Till next time….