Giving Birth in Doha - The Cuban Experience - Part 2 - When, Where & How in Doha
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Giving Birth in Doha – The Cuban Experience – Part 2

Dilray birth in Qatar

Giving Birth in Doha – The Cuban Experience – Part 2


The Big Day

I was meant to be induced on 24 February 2016, but luckily (errr…) for me the pains started the night before. We had gone out for a walk in the evening when the pains started – at around 9.30pm. I didn’t realize these were contractions, because they were on my lower back – around the tail bone.

I was told that contraction pains would be a much more severe version of period pains. Now considering I didn’t usually suffer from too much pain anyway. What I feeling was like a lot of pressure on my back – a mix of extreme discomfort and mild pain.

Later that night, there was a bloody show. Not too much, but just enough to scare me. I spoke to the absolutely wonderful Denise, the admin of the Positive Birth Group, who convinced me there was no need to rush to the hospital, as I was due to go there anyway in the morning. She told me to rest up and try to get some sleep, which turned out to be great advice.

I wish I could have slept, I was tossing and turning about and finally around 3am, tried to check the contraction timings. Used the contraction timer app, and the most absurd thing was it never became rhythmic. It was erratic – some were longer than the others, some were sharper pain, sometimes it got closer together, and at others I went 15minutes without anything.

Finally, by 4.30am, we decided to go to the hospital. Got ready and left, and reached the Cuban Hospital by 6am. Unfortunately, there were no rooms available and the doctor on duty that day was busy in another emergency.

But the wonderful Ms. Laila, the receptionist took it on herself to ensure that we were comfortable, especially considering we had driven in from Doha, and that I had family with me, and given a place to rest and relax and we were taken to what I think were the VIP waiting rooms. And they called my doctor, Dr Maria Loretto.

Soon, I couldn’t even keep water down, and whatever I ate/drank was being expelled either through my mouth or in the other direction.

When the doctor arrived, they took me in to check me, and found that I had dilated 4cm. They then quickly moved me into the delivery ward. And the doc checked me and told me I’d take time to dilate further.

Also, since the baby had the cord around his neck, and because meconium had passed, I was told I would have to be on continuous foetal monitoring. I was also given the oxygen mask.

I asked for pain relief and they gave me gas n air and injection – both because I asked. The gas and air was not really doing it for me, and I asked for the injection – mind you, this was not epidural. From the get go, they discouraged me from epidural.

Even though I was on continuous monitoring, I could still move to be on my sides, and was allowed to get up and stretch my legs and squat a few times when I really felt I needed to move.

The doctor advised that if there is no change within two hours, they would suggest doing a C-section. They checked me at 10.30, and 12, and at 2.30pm, and by then doctor was more or less sure I could do this. At 4.30, they made the call to go natural, and when that that happened, the happiness in the air was palpable. The doctor and the nurses sort of whooped in the air, and that was unbelievable. It was as if I had my very own cheering squad.

Throughout the time I was there, I was very well taken care of. If there was anything I needed, the nurse would be right at my side.

But my bub’s a stubborn chap who wanted to stay inside as long as he could and it took the longest time for him to get out. He took a good 22 hours from the moment the contractions started to come out into this world.

I hadn’t had breakfast, and I hadn’t slept well, so I was beyond exhausted. At several times during the 22 hours I was ready to give up, and opt for the other options such as the C-section or even epidural. It was Dr Loretto, her team and my absolutely brilliant husband who kept me going.

They knew exactly what they were doing. And they knew how to keep me going. From pressing my back to assisting my husband while he was taking care of me, to holding my hand, and even getting glycerine when they saw my lips were chapped to getting wet towels for my face, and was giving me faith and confidence every step of the way.

I would be screaming in pain and would ask my husband to ask them to give me something for the pain. The nurse would explain that she could but it would increase the time by at least four hours, and that she and the team believed I could do it. After the 21st hour, I was beyond drained, and that is when the Doctor decided to assist with the birth and used the vacuum or forceps (not sure!) to bring the baby out. I obviously needed episiotomy, but no complaints whatsoever. It was either that or rushing me into C-section as I absolutely could not budge much more.

The team was incredible. I have no words to express how grateful I am to the team at the Cuban Hospital. At any point in that 22 hours, if they had even remotely suggested a C, I would have jumped at the chance.

So encouraging and empowering. Their faith in me gave my husband and me courage to keep going. It was so beautiful and such a relief to know that they had my best interests at heart – mine and the baby’s.

And my husband is my hero. He stood by my side through it all, continuously telling me how I could do it. In fact, the nurses asked him if he had any medical training seeing the way he was supporting me. I am beyond lucky to have him, and that day made me realize that even more.

Once the baby was out, he was wheeled over to be weighed and vaccinated while I delivered the placenta naturally and they collected the blood for cord banking. They brought the baby back in about 8-10minutes and he went directly on me for skin to skin.

I didn’t have time to show anyone my birth plan but it was like they already knew – no formula, no pacifier, only breastfeeding, all examinations and tests in front of my husband. And as far as I know, they don’t do the eye drops anymore. They didn’t bathe him either.

And while we were doing skin to skin, it was miraculous to see the baby do the breast crawl and look for milk. The baby nurse helped me breastfeed and helped the baby get a good latch on.
After we moved to the room, the nurses come routinely to check if me or the baby need anything. Even if it’s just to put baby in the cradle, they came and helped.

The next day, he was circumcised. The paediatrician came and explained the procedure and took my consent and baby was back in 20mins. Meanwhile I was helped by the nurse to have a shower.

My husband could spend the night with me as well, and since we got the double room, with no extra person, he had a bed all to himself. The rooms get really cold but the nurses got us extra blankets. The food was great and it was huge portions as well.

Both mom and baby were checked by the doctor several times till we left on 26 February 2016. And the bill? Came up to a whopping 200QR! Ha!

I have nothing but great things to say about the Cuban. I am so glad that I picked this hospital. And I highly recommend it to all.

Dilraz Kunnummal


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