Birth in Saudi Arabia: Unmedicated Hospital birth vs Cesarean & Healing Diastasis Recti Postpartum

This episode is shared in two parts.

Zahra’s first birth was an unmedicated hospital birth followed by a 5 day NICU stay. Her second birth was a Cesarean birth after a prolonged labor due to weak abdominal muscles. A few days after her second birth, she explains that her tummy “fell apart”. She is now doing rehab to heal an eight finger wide diastasis recti from the navel down.

Zahra talks about how birthing practices are different in Saudi Arabia than in the United States and wanted to shed light on the issue of diastasis recti and how this serious condition can affect your quality of life to a large extent. Also, many people might be surprised to hear that there is hope for fixing your diastasis recti through physical therapy rather than surgery even when, as in her case, your doctor might say that surgery is your only option.

Zahra Alawami Bio

Zahra lives in Saudi Arabia with her husband and two children. She lived in Milwaukee, WI for five years while studying psychology at UWM. She doesn’t miss the snow or the winter even though it’s been six years since she returned home. But she would love to visit Milwaukee during the summer anytime! She is very passionate about everything relating to child rearing and raising children (A degree in psychology is to blame!. She enjoys snuggling her babies, cooking, drinking coffee, listening to podcasts, and has recently picked up Sourdough baking at home!

Connect with Zahra on Facebook or via email at zalawami1990@gmail.com.

Resources

Motif Medical

Part I of this episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Wumblekin

Part II of this episode is sponsored by Wumblekin. Life’s busy and there’s a lot of noise out there, that can be especially true during pregnancy. Wumblekin breaks down pregnancy, labor and birth with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Easily buy or gift single boxes, or subscribe to receive them throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Be informed and prepared by ordering Wumblekin pregnancy, birth and postpartum essentials, today! Get 15% off your first box by using promo code BIRTHHOUR at checkout. Visit wumblekin.com to order or subscribe, today!

Precipitous Unmedicated Hospital Birth at 36 Weeks

Daniela got pregnant very quickly after removing her IUD. She had a fairly easy pregnancy with the usual symptoms of waddling, weight gain, and a small bladder! She says that the silver lining of being pregnant during COVID was being able to work from home the whole time and in fact most of her coworkers had no idea she was pregnant.

Daniela was 36 weeks along when her water broke so it was a bit of a shock. Contractions began worsening as they ran around packing bags. They arrived at the hospital at 8:45 (just two hours after her water broke) and they admitted her into the triage room.

She felt that the nurses didn’t believe her level of pain and tried to test if her water actually broke but there was not enough fluid coming out.

They finally checked her again 45 minutes later and realized she was 6cm dilated. She was then rushed to the delivery room where she quickly got naked and on all fours and was roaring like a beast & began speaking in only Spanish for reasons unknown to her!

36 week preemie

Daniela felt the ring of fire and every single contraction and credits practicing diaphragmatic breathing during pregnancy with helping her cope. The nurses still didn’t take her seriously and her body started pushing by itself. No one had any idea she was pushing (of course that was the exact moment her husband went to go use the bathroom so he missed the birth!

The baby fell out onto the bed with no one was there to catch the baby right away. Everyone was in shock! They found out they had a baby boy, born at 10:25, just under 4 hours after water broke. Lots of tests were done since their baby was early and and he had jaundice but nothing super serious and they were able to go home after 3 days in the hospital.

Daniela’s doula told her after the birth that this was the first time in her hundreds of births that nurses had treated a couple the way they had been treated which led them to send in a complaint.

preemie at 18 months

Daniela Hoag Bio

Daniela is 29 years old and has been married for two years to her husband. They both work in the tech industry and live in downtown Seattle. They have a 7 month old baby boy and a husky fur baby. @swaggy__dannyb

Resources

  • Atlas Birth in Seattle – Louis Perez doula
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing – Hannah Bower course on breathing
  • The Birth Hour podcast

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps and maternity compression and postpartum recovery products, they take care of everything – including all paperwork, working with your insurance company, and explaining your options to get these free essentials shipped straight to your door.

Aeroflow offers all major breast pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda, Elvie, Willow and more.

All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know we sent you! Bonus — use the promo code “TBH15” in their online shop for 15% off all supplies and accessories.

Preeclampsia, Long Failed Induction and Emergency C-section

Cara and her husband, George decided they wanted to begin their family immediately after getting married in 2019. They were shocked at how quickly they fell pregnant in October. Cara is a medical student so during the beginning of her pregnancy, she was taking classes like human anatomy which involved dissecting a human cadaver all while being 10 weeks pregnant. 

Cara’s pregnancy was uneventful until around 28 weeks when her husband and parents all came down with COVID, which caused her to miss several appointments with her Ob/Gyn.

When she finally got back to the doctor, her blood pressure was high and they knew she was most likely developing preeclampsia. Cara was diagnosed with preeclampsia around 31 weeks of pregnancy. This led to her needing an induction at 37 weeks. Cara’s labor was long, and involved multiple interventions, like cytotec, a foley bulb, and epidural, until ultimately she went forward with a c-section due to suspicion of chorioamnionitis (infection of amniotic sac and placenta). Prior to the decision to go ahead with the c-section she developed a high fever which was indicative of an infection in her uterus. After 47.5 hours of labor, she and her husband welcomed their son, Lucas into the world on June 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm weighing 7 lb 10 oz and measuring 21.5 inches. 

emergency cesarean preeclampsia

Cara continued to struggle with an elevated blood pressure due to preeclampsia even after she gave birth, but was able to completely stop taking blood pressure medication at 12 weeks postpartum. 

Connect with Cara on Instagram at @caragrudziak___ .

Resource

Owlet

Today’s episode is sponsored by Owlet. Meet the Owlet Pregnancy Band, an at-home pregnancy monitor using innovative, passive technology to give you peace of mind and the reassurance you crave through daily insights into your baby’s well-being. You can listen to your baby’s heartbeat, see Baby’s trends through the night and over several days, track Mom’s sleep position, and read weekly gestational updates about your pregnancy all in the Owlet Pregnancy App. Right now get exclusive access to the Owlet Band in its beta program and save $100. Get yours now, before spots fill up, at owletcare.com/band.

Beautiful, Redeeming Birth Story After Difficult Pregnancy

At the 35 week mark, Joelle, her husband, and her birth team made the mutual decision to transfer her care away from a home birth practice to a midwife-led OB/GYN practice that her midwife also practiced through due to concerns about mental health & preparation for home birth. From that point on, she experienced some regular episodes of prodromal labor. At 38 weeks and two days on January 19th, Joelle unexpectedly went into spontaneous labor. She tried some lower pain interventions including hydrotherapy, partner support, counter pressure, and IV pain medication. In the end, due to exhaustion, Joelle opted for an epidural and went on to deliver her daughter shortly after noon on Inauguration Day.

Joelle hamilton birth story

Joelle Hamilton Bio

Joelle Hamilton lives with her husband Ben and daughter Iris in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When she’s not studying or making sure Iris gets her daily conversations with the mirror in, she loves playing video games, journaling, crafting, writing, and experimenting with tarot, astrology, and all sorts of other weird stuff. Connect with her at @hamilton.joelle on Instagram.

Resources

Babylist

Today’s episode is sponsored by Babylist. The people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry easily lets you add any item from any store. Plus, Babylist helps you each step of the way with their customized checklist, product guides and reviews, and personal registry consultants. They’ve even got group gifting! Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth over $100 while boxes last.


TTC+ Induction for Gestational Hypertension turned Unplanned Cesarean Birth

Chae gave birth at 37+2 weeks via unplanned c-section.  Chae planned on having an unmedicated birth, but gestational hypertension caused a hospital stay and an induction.  After 2 days in labor and a few interventions (Cytotec, Cervadil, water broken, Pitocin) only helping to progress to 2 centimeters dilated, it was decided a c-section would be best.  Postpartum was emotionally taxing with issues breastfeeding and her daughter not initially gaining weight. After lots of work with a trusted lactation consultant, breastfeeding and weight gain became issues of the past.  Carter is now a healthy 6-month old!

Chae Ray

Chae Ray, 33, is an Assistant Principal living in Richmond, Texas.  She lives with her husband, Cameron, her 6 month old daughter, Carter, and their two German Shepherds, Zeus and Hera. Chae and Cameron have been married for 9 years, and have been so excited to start their own family. Email her to connect at chaeray7@gmail.com.

Resources

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Read more from lactation consultant, Ashley Georgakopoulos here.


Three Births: PROM, Prodromal Labor, Irritable Uterus, and Precipitous Birth

First Birth: Oshiolema Atogwe in 2015. Age 24. 

We used the Bradley method and really wanted a water birth but knew our birth center would only allow laboring in the water but not delivering in the water since it was attached to the hospital. Incredibly easy pregnancy. Water broke at 38 weeks to the day after a cervical check that morning and my body simply wasn’t ready. I was told at the 22 hour mark that if some progress wasn’t made soon, I’d have to start considering other options. I was devastated when the team switched over to the midwife I was least fond of since it had been 12 hours but that midwife added essential oils to my belly that finally started progression. After 24 hours of labor with a plateau (natural alignment plateau) after the water, a cervical lip and two hours of pushing, I gave birth on a birthing stool and delivered him myself. My placenta fell right onto the floor, he punched his way out and I had absolutely horrible tearing. Postpartum healing and breastfeeding were incredibly challenging and it was a traumatic experience. 

using-water-in-birth

Second Birth: Keogena Atogwe in 2016. Age 26. 

I dedicated so much time and effort to making sure I learned how to push and to better prepare my body for labor through spinning babies, six dates a day, borage oil, red raspberry leaf tea and so on. I got really painful varicose veins and had placenta previa so the pregnancy was a bit more challenging, especially since my son was 11 months old when I found out I was pregnant. We moved late in my third trimester and I quickly found a midwife team and doula. I had false labor a few times and started to get so discouraged but at 39 weeks, went into labor and it was six hours start to finish. Relaxing worship music and focus were so helpful. She was born in the water and it was the most healing birth-exactly what I had prayed for. I had the teeniest tiniest tear and recovery was so much more smooth. 

Miscarriage in 2018

Third birth: Zeameh Atogwe in 2020. Age 30. 

I found out I was pregnant less than a month after my sister’s full term stillbirth. This pregnancy was filled with physical and emotional difficulty. Pregnancy after loss (my miscarriage and my sister’s stillbirth) and my first pregnancy with autoimmune disease made me really have to battle for hope and confidence. I was diagnosed with “irritable uterus” at 9 weeks which I thought was a joke, but it set the tone for the pregnancy. I had Braxton Hicks very early and contractions that would follow a pattern from 22 weeks. I kept hearing about precipitous birth at every turn and began to think it might happen for me. The pandemic hit right as I entered my third trimester and changed everything. Added so much anxiety and sleep became almost impossible. For the final couple months, I was waking up and staying up every night with Braxton Hicks and for the final three weeks, I had prodromal labor every single night. Sometimes my contractions lasted 5 minutes which I learned was my body trying to get the baby in position— the pandemic meant no chiropractor or prenatal massage which I had previously relied on. I tore my abdomen, my varicose veins were off the charts and I was just so deeply uncomfortable that I started to feel depressed and scared I wouldn’t even be excited to have the baby. The very day I expressed that thought, my water broke at 11pm. My parents came, I labored until morning and I thought I was going to give birth in the car. I went from a 4 to a 10 in about a 15 minute period. Labor from the first hard contraction to holding her in my arms was two hours. Recovery was a dream, she was a dream and I was back home three hours later. 

Postpartum: pandemic postpartum was difficult and lonely. I felt so sorry my husband was taking care of everything and everyone. We also ended up getting COVID-19 when she was 4 weeks old and that meant we needed to be even more isolated which was devastating but I’m thankful to have walked through it. 

jill atogwe birth stories

Jill Atogwe is a wife to Oshiomogho and mother to Oshiolema, Keogena and Zeameh living in Dallas, Texas. She is an artist and lifestyle blogger behind Gold & Graphite and is always searching for the beauty in every day life. 
Connect with her via her website: goldandgraphite.com, instagram.com/jillatogwe or Email: jkatogwe@gmail.com

Resources

Expectful

This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today.