Sunday, October 14, 2012

Welcome To The World Little Prince!

We were blessed with a healthy baby boy a week ago. Everything went well with the labor this time and we had a beautiful all natural birth experience. I could not have done it without the support of my husband! It was the most amazing experience of my life. We are so proud of our little peanut. His birth weight was 4 kg and he was 53 cm long like a Viking!
The little man is keeping us very busy and eating non-stop so I will probably not be able to blog much in the near future from this milk monsters demands :)

The hospital we went to is a large private hospital in the center of Riyadh. The reason we went there was actually to be able to do the labor with a western midwife, not a doctor and thus have a better chance for a more natural birthing experience. Because my first delivery ended up in an emergency cesarean section also here in Riyadh, we were hopeful to have a VBAC this time. I had been told by all the obgynes I had seen (there were over 15 in different hospitals) for the entire nine months that this would be practically impossible. These physicians only discouraged me and pushed me for another c-section that I had lost most hope to actually succeed in avoiding another c-section.
Birthing in Saudi has become such a business it's actually sad to see how far people have gone. Many if not most of women going to private hospitals are now opting for elective c-sections. Having experienced both a natural birth and a c-section, I cannot fathom how anyone would choose to have the surgery. It is simply a nightmare to recover from and is a huge risk as surgery always is both to the mothers and the babies. The c-section rate in Saudi-Arabia is very high, one of the highest in the world.

All this laboring business has somehow become about making the delivery most convenient for the mothers (although I still don't see how major abdominal surgery would be convenient for anyone). Nothing about child birth seems to be natural anymore, it's all about getting the baby out as "easy" as possible with least damage down there to the woman and then after the birth going overboard and showing off. Many Saudi women are so concerned that their husbands would take a second wife if they get damaged from childbirth and this is even openly discussed among women here which came as a surprise to me.
I was shocked how the hospital was offering all sorts of "vanity" services to mothers who have just delivered, as if the baby itself is secondary importance. Most important thing here seems to be looks. The hospital catalog was more like a five star hotel directory. The services on offer tell a lot about the priorities of women giving birth nowadays.

Where are the breast feeding support services and lactation consultants? How about nutrition and exercise support and advice? Which of these services actually support bonding of a healthy mother and a baby? The sad truth is breast feeding is not at all encouraged and all newborns will be offered formula from day one unless the parents specifically refuse it. Infants will spend most of their time in the nursery where nurses change diapers and give formula, then bring the tightly swaddled babies to the rooms for viewing.

We were told by the pediatrician that our baby was in fact starving and NEEDED formula. Unbelievable. How did the human race survive I wonder? And for the record our baby has gained 200 grams in just six days on breastmilk only, despite the fact that infants normally LOOSE weight for the first two weeks.

Only in Saudi? In room maids and private nurses so that mothers don't have to "lift a finger".
The most shocking service to me was the piercing of the newborn babies ears. In my country it's simply not common at all and girls get ears pierced at the around the same time they would start doing other "beautification" such as wearing make-up. So to me piercing a babies ears has always been strange but I understand that it's a cultural thing. To do it on the first days..and while the baby is sleeping? As if they want to say it will not wake up to this? Quite frankly in Finland this would be categorized as child abuse.
I'm all for women being able to look and feel beautiful after delivery and it surely makes us feel better after all those 9 months of feeling bloated and what else..But maybe this is going a bit overboard..This is not Oscar night, it's a special time with your baby..
The price of this service is mind blowing. 5200SAR for room decorations! For the love of God I don't see the point. Even if you swim in money, it's just too much. I would like to see how the beds are decorated with crystals and lights though, it must look like a spaceship.
And after they are done entertaining the guests for a good 4-6 days..How to get all this stuff out of the hospital?? Answer: Hire a TRUCK.
My husband had ordered these balloons for me. Now in Finland people would probably laugh their butts off if they saw someone bring all these balloons to the hospital, but in Saudi these are actually quite modest.
And now I'm off to feed our little prince again!

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