Reminiscent

It was February in Al-Khobar and temperatures were cooler making the constant humidity more bearable. See See, Foof and little Abude ran around the house playing, singing and creating memories of the special things that little ones do. The boys were enjoying their 3rd grade year and the disturbing tactics of the two Riyadh schools were now in the past. In the previous schools there were numerous problems and among them was the lack of supervision. Physical education meant a teacher throwing an old soccer ball to the children letting them tussle around in the dusty play area for the class period on their own. This westernized school had an actual P.E. class complete with instructors. It was difficult living alone and the idea of moving to a large compound was exciting but thoughts of going back to the Riyadh school system made it bittersweet.  I was almost 9 months pregnant and my 3 closest friends on the compound were about to stage an intervention that would send me straight to a Saudi Obgyn for a check up.

These dear ladies put together their own plan of action in case he was not in Al-Khobar for delivery. They had inquired for months about the doctor, hospital and my birth plan and finally they would take no more of my nods and smiles but insisted on a solid plan of action. One day while sitting with Gloria at the park, Guadalupe and Michelle approached and started discussing the need for a “plan”.  They insisted on having answers and impressed upon me the urgency of addressing the upcoming delivery. They spoke of what would be done to accommodate this birth if he was not able to make it back in time. As I listened to them planning and speaking of the upcoming delivery I felt a sick twinge inside of me. It was a feeling that did not align with my outer image as a God fearing, loyal wife. Guilt and shame rose inside of me each time these thoughts ran through my mind.  I secretly hoped that one of these three women would be forced to accompany me and he would not make it back for the delivery. He did not allow complaints about pain or discomfort nor did he see the need for medication in what he deemed a “natural” process such as this. He was always there during delivery which supported the theory that he cared deeply and would never allow me to be alone during this important time. He was calm and cool under pressure and always managed to remind me that the pain was not as bad as I thought. This created more of a panic inside of me especially given the circumstances of delivery in Saudi.

I accepted the fact that it was time to make an appointment with a doctor. Michelle told me there was a male Saudi Obgyn who had been educated in Europe. She encouraged me to make an appointment to see him and reminded me that it was indeed at this point a necessity. I called to schedule my first check up although I felt very doubtful that it would work out . A few days later Ushruf (our school driver) picked me up and dropped me off at the little office that looked more like a house. In Saudi most doctors have an office in a hospital which is sterile and unwelcoming. For my first delivery soon after arriving in Riyadh no one would speak to me or answer my questions when trying to see a doctor. I stood at the desk in the hospital lobby until I finally enlisted his help in getting someone to respond. I felt as if I were some how invisible and definitely not welcome. As I opened the door of this little house, I saw candles, plants and colorful pillows warmly placed throughout. I sat nervously filling out paper work when a lovely lady from Austria stepped out to call my name. She was the receptionist as well as medical assistant, and the doctor’s wife. She smiled and chatted as she took my blood pressure and asked me about my general health. The three little ones sat playing with toys, chattering and trying to be on their best behavior. I couldn’t imagine having a male doctor and sat holding onto the gown that was awkwardly draped over my body. The doctor finally entered the room as my anxiety reached it’s peak. He was a middle aged man dressed in pants and a casual shirt, a calm and gentle soul. He sat next to me and spoke in a soft voice asking me questions about my previous births. I felt a certain comfort knowing that he would be there for delivery.

I spent my days performing the same routine as I had for many years, contractions came and went as I made my way into the last couple of weeks. I didn’t think of delivery because that brought with it great fear and agitation, but prayed for an easy delivery and most of all a healthy baby. My friends were present each day and gave me support and comfort. Gloria and her husband offered to take me to the hospital at any hour needed and Guadalupe said she would come to my home and stay with the children. Each week passed and while contractions got stronger they didn’t bring about any results. The doctor did stress tests and as I reached the point of being two weeks over due he said he would wait no longer. A dread washed over me as I knew it would mean leaving the children at home and entering into the unknown.

When he came home that week we made our way to the hospital where they administered medication hoping to start labor. Although I was away from the children it was much different than the first experience in Riyadh. I  sat alone for hours worrying about my kids and had no contact with the outside world. This time I had friends  and family and the support of a qualified physician. Finally at nightfall light contractions started and it seemed as if labor had finally taken hold. He and I had spent the day laughing and perusing baby names. As the pain got stronger I wanted to walk as I had done when delivering in the states and so he grabbed my hand and lead me out to the hall. He guided me to the elevator and we headed down to the street below. We walked and laughed and reminisced in the moon lit night, it was as if we had returned to those happy college days. He drove the old green Vega and we parked at Spring Valley sleeping in the back after a day of fishing. We felt as if there were no one else in the universe as we lay huddled in the old green Vega gazing up at the stars and moon. A security guard hailed us as we rounded the corner of the building and we blissfully skipped to the other side of the street to continue our midnight rendezvous. As pain became too intense he helped me to the building and back up in the elevator. We were met by a Filipino nurse who smiled and said they had been looking for us. She helped me to the room and I stood against the bed breathing heavily. It was now nearing morning and a female doctor asked that I be moved to the delivery room. She broke my water and after several more pushes my beautiful daughter was born. The Saudi doctor didn’t make it in time but just knowing he was behind my care was comforting. It was once again a relief to be finished with labor. He held her in his arms and repeated the Iquama (call to prayer) gently in her ear and read from the holy book.

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134 thoughts on “Reminiscent

  1. The pain isn’t that bad?? Let’s hook him up to a machine that imitates labor pain and then you can tell him the pain isn’t that bad. I want a video of that!!!!

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  2. How fortunate for you to have your friends, and the reassurance of medical care. You really have shown such strength Lynz, in not only the experience of it, but in the writing of it for others to read. I feel privileged that you have shared this birth of your daughter.

    There is a particular kind of humor associated with men reassuring us through childbirth that the pain is not that bad! Seems a universal belief among them.

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  3. Oh my…I would have been terrified. You are so strong Lynn! I am so glad that even tough you were late there were no complications. A relatively smooth labor once it finally started…that is, if any labor can be called easy. Men have no idea what women endure. Any comfort is so appreciated and welcome. I’m sure the kindness of the hospital staff eased your mind a great deal. But how courageous you were and are in the retelling of your story. Have a gentle evening! 😊

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  4. Your strength is remarkable. I would lose it, if someone told me what my pain tolerance should be.

    On a brighter note thank goodness for your friends and the sweet moon lit walk to make this experience a better one.

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  5. I think I have already told you before but you are really a strong woman and an inspiration to many young people! My husband just asked me what I was reading with such curiosity and I told him about you and your wonderful stories on your blog. Even he said that you are a strong woman 😊👍🏼

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  6. Pain not that bad, huh? Whatta despicable human being. My hubby actually jokingly said that after giving birth to our son (Oh, that wasn’t too bad)…in a room full of women nurses and a woman doctor…and it completely flopped. Nobody thought it was funny. He kept his mouth shut when the next one came along lol

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      1. That’s terrible. I know many people decide to have natural births…but they decide. Never in a million years would I want someone else to make that choice for me. Labor pains are no joke

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  7. I was so relieved to read that your daughter’s birth was without trauma or emotional pain. When you are fearful and alone, friends are made of gold, especially those who stand with you. Thanks for sharing your incredible story, Lynz.

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  8. Another great story….and a wonderful ending with a beautiful baby girl….and HE was ever being the control freak he was and is…not giving you the choice over your own body…men can be such pigs sometimes….but at least he let you walk down stairs and stayed with you….he’s not the first man I have heard saying birth isn’t that bad, like any of them have any idea….LOL lovely story my friend…giving birth in a foreign country would leave me sobbing like a baby your truly are the most bravest, strongest woman I have ever met…..xxkat

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  9. There is really nothing like having supportive friends around us when we are going through a dry patch, they boost our confidence. I think over here, they are far too detached and stoic in their ways and these are inculcated in them right from when they are small, so it forms their characters. Thank God for your strength and his Grace.

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  10. Thank the Lord for your wonderful ladies! I’m glad at least that He was able to wear his cloak of insincerity well for the birth. This is such an honest and revealing account, I find myself speechless.

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  11. Easy for him to say that pain has to be endured. In my opinion most men dont understand what we go through every month or during child birth. Sigh.

    Felt warmer to read about the few happy hours you had. Its so hard to understand his character, though.

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  12. I’m so glad to hear of your gentle ending. The anticipation must have been agonizing. Although I must agree with some of the other comments. I despise the notion of anyone telling birthing mothers what type of routine they should or should not take. Maddening.

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    1. Yes I guess the thing was, I felt no control and every time I was panicked for most of my pregnancies. He told me when I wanted to go to child birth classes, you know how to breathe don’t you!! so I told my sons, daughters everything is up to the birth mom, support!!! My son, his wife has had 2 miscarriages and he has been and better be a great support!

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      1. As you know every birth is different, even with the same mother; let alone different mothers. No plan is the same for everyone and who could say how much pain one can tolerate? Sometimes circumstances are outside of our control. That’s the time for words of encouragement, or silence if appropriate:)

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  13. I am glad you finally went to the doctor and that it was a welcoming environment. I am sure that had a profound impact on you. What an experience. It is funny to hear a man say “the pain was not as bad as I thought.” I bet he couldn’t have done it.

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  14. I am so glad that you had such supportive friends when you needed them most. The idea of delivering a baby without a plan would scare me to death, but I am sure you did what you could to cope. Such an amazing story Lynz. I am so blessed to have met a man that truly loves me.

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  15. So beautifully written, Lynn! I’m so glad things went smoother with the doctor, etc. this time! I love the picture of you and your sweet daughter at the beginning of the post!

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  16. I’m happy to read that you had your friends to support you in that time, where you really needed them Lynn.
    I hope that you by time will find relief from your bad experiences in your past. Even it is tough to let the past out now, it will be more easy for you by time. So happy that you survived dear friend.

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  17. Having a friend is truly a blessing,especially when you don’t have anyone to turn to. I can’t imagine leaving my kids by themselves. I’m glad you had Gloria then. She sounds like a great friend to you. Great post, Lynz.

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  18. Well, I had goose-bumps reading this post, with teary eyes. I almost feel speechless….you went through so much. You are a remarkable woman Lynn, and your children are so blessed to have you as their mother.

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    1. Thanks Lynne! I have my other memoirs or whatever you want to call them at the top if you ever want to read. I started this blog because my daughter insisted!! I wanted to put recipes up and actually measure them for once!! So I did and then some how I started talking and it is scary but here it is! the first one starts when we arrived in saudi and then continues on

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  19. I definitely will be reading all of them, Lynn. I enjoy memoirs, I love true life stories and just that one read of yours, certainly has touched me. I will start from the beginning and continue from there. Your site has literally been open all day on my computer, that is how good it is. Have a great day my friend.

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  20. So many issues I could comment on in this awesome post. The first, as usual, is the callous, off-hand dismissal of your labour pains by him. Unbelievable! the second is the care and concern for you by your wonderful friends. You certainly needed them and they proved to be so kind and efficient. I was also relieved to know that the birth went smoothly and both you and your new daughter came through it all beautifully. A very different experience to your earlier ones, thank goodness. A very lovely post, Lynn.

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  21. Well, I’m glad he was kind to you during that labor and birth. But what a piece of work. I get mad at him all over again, when I read some of your posts. I just wish he’d be tried and sentenced for all the torture he put you thru!!

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    1. ugh I will be honest I went through a very bitter stage and even now I struggle because he just pops in whenever he wants to, so always on guard! I have to try to keep things level for the kids and it is tons of work! thanks for reading!

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  22. Thank goodness everything fell into place. I am happy you had 3 good friends, Lynn. You deserved love and affection! I am happy each of your babies were born healthy and you made them feel loved, too. Do they ever s poo eak of their father? (None of my business but curious.) Hugs, Robin xo

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