Welcome To The World Little Prince!

I’m so happy to announce that we were blessed with a healthy baby boy a week ago. Everything went well with the labor this time around, thank God we were able to avoid another awful birthing experience in Saudi Arabia. We were lucky and blessed to have a beautiful, all-natural birth with a midwife. Something which would be a given in my home country Finland, where most hospital births are handled by our highly educated and trusted midwives (Finland has one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world) as opposed to the greedy, cesarean section-pushing obstetrician which are the norm in Saudi Arabia, and all over the Middle East. I must say I could not have succeeded in having a VBAC without the support and presence of my husband, my own certified labor coach (for real!). It was the most amazing experience of our lives. We are so proud of our little peanut, his birth weight was 4 kg and he was 53 cm long.

welcome to world little prince

The little man is keeping us very busy.

yummy babyfeetThe 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 have the labor with a western midwife who works there as a Head Nurse, as opposed to a doctor which we would be forced to have in any other hospital. My first delivery in another large private hospital in Riyadh ended up being one of the worst experiences of my life. After 26 hours of labor we were pushed and bullied into having a C-section. So we were really hopeful to have a VBAC this time, our midwife was very supportive and encouraging, saying we had a 80-90% chance of succeeding.

I had been told by all the doctors I had seen (there were over 15 in different hospitals all over Riyadh which I went to in search for a pro-natural pro-VBAC physicians) for the entire nine months, that this would be practically impossible. These physicians only discouraged me and pushed me for another c-section. Some told me I was crazy, or stupid to even think of trying to have a natural delivery after a cesarean. They said my uterus would rupture and the baby (and maybe even myself) would DIE. Listening to this same crap for months literally had me feeling hopeless and with little trust in my abilities to birth “normally”. I had lost most of my hope to actually succeed in avoiding another c-section, and in most likelihood would have ended up having another “emergency cesarean” if it weren’t for my awesome husband. Side note, we took birthing classes for 12 weeks when we were expecting our first-born, check out AMANI birth if you’re interested in childbirth classes in KSA.  I highly recommend them.

newborn Baby handBirthing in Saudi has become such a business it’s actually sad to see how far people have gone. Many if not most of the 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 if they don’t have a medical reason for it. That said I did have a nightmarish experience. C-sections are very hard to recover from compared to normal delivery and major abdominal surgery is a huge risk both to the mothers and the babies. The c-section rate in Saudi-Arabia is sadly 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 most important service for new mothers; breast feeding support and lactation consultants? How about nutritional advice and exercise support? What about informing mothers of post partum depression symptoms and how to get help? 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. Even if parents specifically refuse formula feeding, the baby is still at high risk to be fed formula while the parents are not watching. The nurses will secretly give it in the nursery just to keep the babies quiet, or because doctors ordered it for “low blood sugar levels”. We always kept our babies in our room at all times and watched them if they were in the nursery for doctor check-ups. There is no respect for parents wishes in most Saudi hospitals, sadly.

What normally happens here is infants will spend most of their time in the nursery, where nurses change diapers and give formula feeds, then bring the tightly swaddled babies to the rooms for viewing.

We were actually told by the pediatrician that our baby was in fact starving and NEEDED formula. Unbelievable. How did the human race survive without these genius doctors, I wonder? We of course refused and they got even more upset. For the record our baby has gained 200 grams in just six days on breast milk only, despite the fact that infants normally LOSE 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 “while the sleep”. 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 personally, piercing a babies ears has always been strange, but I understand that it’s a cultural difference. But to do it on the first days..and while the baby is sleeping? As if they want to say babies will not wake up to having a piece of their earlobe chopped off?? 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! 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. It’s not Oscar night, it’s a special time with your baby.

The price of this service “Elite package” is mind-blowing. 5200 SAR for room decorations! That’s almost 1400 US dollars! For the love of God I just don’t see the point. Even if you swim in money, it’s just too much. I would like to see how the bed of mother is decorated with flowers, crystals and lights, 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 and the baby, I thought it was so sweet of him, even though I told him to please not waste money on it. I know 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 really modest!

And now I’m off to feed our little prince again!baby fingers

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  • Colleen DaleyOctober 15, 2012 - 12:14 am

    Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • DianneOctober 15, 2012 - 12:30 am

    Hi Laylah! Congrats on your new bundle of joy! I can’t wait for him to have his little adventures. May he grow into a humble, obedient, creative and loving person. :)

    xoxo

    DianneReplyCancel

  • Blackballerina TeaOctober 15, 2012 - 1:24 am

    MashaAllah!!! Mabrouk sister, may Allah SWT continue to bless your family! Ameen!ReplyCancel

  • UmmAhmadOctober 15, 2012 - 2:08 am

    Mabrook ukthi! I am glad you had the birth you wanted! I have to say, I am quite surprised with all the extra stuff they have!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Congratulations, both on your beautiful baby and your VBAC! A successful natural birth is a real blessing. And best wishes to your husband and the new big sister. From a reader all the way in California.ReplyCancel

  • dBOctober 15, 2012 - 4:47 am

    Congratulation for your price!ReplyCancel

  • JennyOctober 15, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Congratulations!!! I am thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful birth experience and successful VBAC. The services offered in that hospital book were incredibly bizzare. Thanks (as always) for sharing. May Allah bless you and your family, and I wish you as much sleep as possible in the upcoming month!ReplyCancel

  • JennyOctober 15, 2012 - 5:07 am

    Congratulations!!! I am thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful birth experience and successful VBAC. The services offered in that hospital book were incredibly bizzare. Thanks (as always) for sharing. May Allah bless you and your family, and I wish you as much sleep as possible in the upcoming month!ReplyCancel

  • ShimshimOctober 15, 2012 - 5:08 am

    Many many congratulations on becoming a mother for the second time, I hope that you and baby recover well from the whole birthing experience! Look after yourself and well done on having a natural birth, it is very sad how they have turned such a natural process into a money making venture at the cost of the mothers health.ReplyCancel

  • I'm FarsillaOctober 15, 2012 - 5:20 am

    hey laylah. congrats for having a baby boy. :D tho im not yet becoming a wife or a mother, but ive seen my mum being pregnant many years back. i was below 8 YO. for an asian, i can consider my mum petite n small. when she gave birth to my 2nd sister, she needed to undergo C section bcoz my sis was too big her position wasnt normal. her head was at the side of my mum’s tummy. n doc said my sis was too big. n indeed its tru lol. my mum weight was less than 50Kg n her height was below 155cm. so u can imagine how SMALL she was during that time.n mashaallah my sis’s weight was 4.13Kg. we were so happy that both were safe during that time.n i do believe every mom in this world are very strong bcoz they have to get tru with all sort of challenges just to bring a lil person in this world. again , congrats dear :D n plz doo upload more of ur lil prince. :D

    SillaReplyCancel

  • miolannOctober 15, 2012 - 5:40 am

    Warm congratulations on your new family member! And thanks for sharing this hospital story, very entertaining :)ReplyCancel

  • RuBearOctober 15, 2012 - 5:49 am

    Congratulations!
    from deep in my heart i wish you “both” health, power and plenty of wonderful moments together, and wish all the best to your little miracle, let this new life be full of health, love, and happiness.
    i’m very happy for you.ReplyCancel

  • PetraOctober 15, 2012 - 7:00 am

    Onnea pikku prinssista! Synnytin Turkissa ja taalla on hieman sama meininki touhussa, ei kylla ihan tuossa mittakaavassa…taalla pyritaan aina aidinmaidon antamiseen ja siita on vahva mainonta mutta myös taalla sektioita tehdaan jarjetön maara. Uuden lain myöta niita ei saa enaa tilauksesta vaan laakarin tulee perustella syy sektioon. Kaikkea hyvaa vauvailuun!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:34 pm

      Kiitos Petra! Taalla olis hyva saada samalainen laki aikaan! mutta vaikka sellainen oliskin niin silti kaikki kuninkaalliset ja muut rahakkaat sais sektio paatoksen ihan vaan pyytamalla..rahalla saa ihan mita vaan!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Hi Laylah! MashAllah & Mabrook :)
    I’m glad we was born healthy and without any problems! A children is always a blessing. May god always protect him.
    I hope when you find a little time to blog you would be telling us about his first days in the world & a little about your husband first reaction when he saw the baby for the very first time, and how haves the parenting been … Stuff like that hehe! Congratulations, I’m sincerely glad & happy for you- from: Silent readerReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:32 pm

      hi silent reader :) Actually he was born with his cord wrapped double around his neck and with meconium! But nevertheless he was fine! My husband was so excited and overwhelmed when he fist saw him and I just remember us being so shocked somehow that we were lost for words! I guess we said something like wow what just happened :) My husband is such a great father I’m so lucky to have him help with the kids!ReplyCancel

  • mizyénaOctober 15, 2012 - 7:44 am

    Mabrouk koko perheelle ja masha Allaah!!

    Olipas tosi mielenkiintoinen postaus ja suomalaisena olen tietenkin aivan yhtä yllättynyt noista palveluista kuin sinäkin. Hieman on eri systeemit kuin kotona päin ja tosiaan missäimetystuki.

    Ihania vauvantuoksuisia päiviä arkeenne ♥ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:45 am

    Congratulations, Laylah !
    God bless you and your family !ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:45 am

    Laylah, what a wonderful news. Congratulations on the birth of your second child. I hope that this child will bring as much happiness to your family and your life as your first child did. Mashaallah. Now little princess have a baby brother to play with soon.

    SirehReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 9:43 am

    Congratulations on your baby boy :) In the south african muslim community we also pierce our babies ears early but not so early, usually after a few months. My mum said its better beacause you won’t remember, and can be calmed down quickly. In hospitals here they will also only circumcise the boys after two weeks,so you usually have to go back, they also dont’t allow the mother to watch the procedure, you can bring a friend or grandparent.ReplyCancel

  • HudaOctober 15, 2012 - 10:00 am

    Congratulations Laylah! alhamdulillah everything went well and your baby is healthy and happy. I have to say, I’ve heard stories and knew a small bit about the lack of understanding surrounding childbirth in Saudi, but I had no idea it went this far! It’s unbelievable, sickening and sad all at once. I wish more women, more mothers and mothers to be, could have access to services which educate them about natural childbirth options and how to care for their newborns and children afterwards – without needing a “maid” or “helper”. Is it not enough that they already have maids at home?! And that their kids grow up calling them mum?! And this is the future generation we’re talking about… the one that’s supposed to lead the society out of the problems it already has, not add to them.ReplyCancel

  • NoorOctober 15, 2012 - 10:27 am

    Mabrook sis hes a doll mashALlah.ReplyCancel

  • HudaOctober 15, 2012 - 10:29 am

    Btw Laylah you probably know of the blog Saudi Birth Story run by sister Aisha Al Hajjar, but if you haven’t seen it it’s really worth checking out. She’s a childbirth educator and an amazing woman mashaAllah with a lot of experience and effort going into teaching women in Saudi and abroad about natural childbirth and child rearing. I hope we can have more women like her in the Saudi community inshaAllah.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:27 pm

      Huda-yes I know Aisha very well we took the Bradley birth classes with her and she’s my good friend. She really is a pioneer for natural childbirth in Saudi-Arabia!ReplyCancel

  • SoileOctober 15, 2012 - 10:36 am

    Onnittelut tätäkin kautta!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 10:52 am

    Congratulations on your new addition to your family. Just discovered your blog and hope to read more about your adventures in Riyadh.

    murgatr
    Pharm. Tech RDC’06ReplyCancel

  • sessiOctober 15, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Onnea vielä tätäkin kautta! Suloinen prinssi!

    SeikkuReplyCancel

  • swedemomOctober 15, 2012 - 11:26 am

    Congratulations! Your son is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your experience. I honestly wasn’t surprised when you wrote about the beauty/vanity services offered. You once wrote in a post that wearing the abaya frees women from vanity, unhealthy body images, and comparisons. But from what I see in the mall with the clothing and makeup offered, I just don’t think that is true. The expat market isn’t large enough to support the number of stores here that cater to women’s vanity. The obsession here for beauty and clothing seems on par with the western obsession. I don’t think either is healthy and feel sad that Saudi women seem to be so vulnerable to the same western obsession for an unhealthy body image to pursued at all costs.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:26 pm

      Swedemom you do have a point there, it seems to be an obsession here as well, I guess most of it is displayed behind closed doors and not in public, but nevertheless the women are obsessed about looks.ReplyCancel

  • NadiaOctober 15, 2012 - 11:31 am

    Salam alaykum sister,
    and congratulations on your baby boy. May Allah bless your family and dear ones. This topic of delivering is quite actual for me as well as my second baby is due in about four weeks. Alhamdulillah, we don’t have so big business around babies and delivery in our Finnish hospitals – I would feel quite unconfortable, even though I understand that is must be a lot about cultural differences. All the best for your family.ReplyCancel

  • HeliOctober 15, 2012 - 11:38 am

    Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • YaelianOctober 15, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Paljon paljon onnea pikkuisen prinssin johdosta:)ReplyCancel

  • EryahOctober 15, 2012 - 5:26 pm

    Hurjasti Onnea! On halla niin pienet katoset viela, oiii :) Nuo sektiot taitaa olla yleisia koko “arabiassa” (tahan lasken siis lahi-idan ja pohjois-afrikankin ;)) Ma juuri eilen mietiskelin, etta tunnenko taalla ketaan, joka ei olisi sektiolla synnyttanyt. En taida tietaa kuin yhden, ja hanellakin vain ensimmainen lapsi :/ Itsellani taitaa olla lapsiluku taynna, ehka ;), ja jos nyt sattuisin viela lisaantymaan, niin aikamoinen urakka olisi loytaa laakari, joka suosii luonnonmukaisuutta, niin raskaudessa kuin synnytyksessa. Tuntuu, etta joka pieneenkin vaivaan maarataan kassillinen laakkeita raskaana olevallekin… Ja Euroopassa taas niita kehoitetaan valttamaan muulloin kuin hatatilanteissa. Ja pienemmastakin tekosyysta kiidatetaan sektioon.ReplyCancel

    • mizyénaOctober 16, 2012 - 7:15 am

      Eryah, mä taas en tunne ketään täällä (ystävistä, sukulaisista, naapureista) kuka olisi synnyttänyt sektiolla vaan kaikki alateitse eli ei se taida olla kuin tietyn yhteiskuntaluokan piirissä suosittua nykyään.

      Mä olen kahden raskauden aikana ollut täällä ja ollut erittäin tyytyväinen raskaudenajan hoitoihin sekä kontrolleihin. Ollut jopa paremmat systeemit kuin Suomessa ja sairastuessa on määrätty nimenomaan vain tarpeelliset lääkkeet (joiden sopivuuden varmuuden vuoksi tarkistin suomalaiselta farmaseutilta ja olivat ok).ReplyCancel

    • EryahOctober 17, 2012 - 7:23 am

      Oot Mizyena varmaankin oikeassa, vaan aina ei voi luottaa onko kyseessa oikea pakko, vaiko laakarin/sairaalan rahanteon tarve ;) Ma olen kaynyt taalla kontrolleissa molemmissa raskauksissani eri vastaanotoilla (ja Suomessa en ollenkaan, joten siita ei kokemusta, vain kuulopuheita ;)), ja vaikka kaikki testit, 3-4D:t ja ultrat toimiikin upeasti, oli laakareiden asenteissa viela parantamista. Ja ihan perustietoakin naytti uupuvan (mm. mita pitaa valttaa ja mita ei). Lahinna pelottavaa on se, etta naiset eivat kyseenalaista ollenkaan noita leikkauksia.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:23 pm

      Joo se taitaa olla yhteiskunta luokasta kiinni, mutta Saudeissa suurimmalla osalla on medical vakuutus joka kattaa synnytykset mukaanlukien sektiot yksityis sairaaloissa ja siksi varmaan sektioiden maara senkun lisaantyy..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Masha Allah, congratulations!

    MariaReplyCancel

  • VihreatniitytOctober 15, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    Onnea koko perheelle!ReplyCancel

  • HOctober 15, 2012 - 9:19 pm

    Assalamualaikum.

    Please EVERYONE do this ….

    US govt. is holding a Public poll to initiate and implement a law against the disrespect of Prophets.
    Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam,
    Nabi Esa Alaihisalam,
    and Nabi Musa Alaihisalam.

    Kindly sign that petition, they require 25,000 signitures till 17th October.

    Link: http://links.causes.com/s/clD7RJ?r=z3ep

    FORWARD IT FAAAAAAST TO INVITE FAMILY AND FRIENDS !!!

    JazakAllahReplyCancel

    • swedemomOctober 16, 2012 - 10:48 am

      H, I understand where you are coming from. But as a American who understands how free speech laws work in the United States, it is highly unlikely that such a law is even in the works or even likely that such a law would be written. Some states have passed Hate Crimes laws which include crimes that are committed against religious groups or individuals because of their religious beliefs. I definitely support such hate crime laws because they are important.

      However, the right of freedom of speech also allows Muslims to freely speak their religion and openly practice in the United States, a freedom which not all countries allow. In fact, Saudi Arabia does not allow any other religion to freely meet or practice. Perhaps when Saudi Arabia is more willing to allow more religious freedom, other countries, like the U.S. might be more sympathetic to your petition.

      I’m a Mormon and the media frequently mocks my faith, religious beliefs, and religious leaders. In fact, our founder, Joseph Smith was murdered while in jail by an angry mob. Instead of sparking violent reactions, my people chose to withdraw and move out to the western United States, and settled in Salt Lake City. Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate for President of the United States and is also a Mormon. Because of his deeply held faith, the media has felt free to mock Mormons. There is a very popular Broadway musical which openly mocks and seeks to degrade things are precious to me and my religion. In fact, a recent documentary produced by a major U.S. news channel about Mormons was full of lies and misrepresentations and was very disappointing.

      Have you seen Mormons (and there are over 11 million Mormons around the world) taking to the streets, burning down embassies or rioting? No. Because the mocking ultimately does not harm us. I believe our God is greater than the mocking. I believe that religious leaders can handle criticism. The point is that when Muslims respond peaceably and calmly to media that mocks their religion, then the only ones shamed by the mocking are the producers of the filth themselves, not the ones mocked. In fact, responding peaceably and calmly, and even ignoring will make people respect you.

      I’m sorry to take space away from Laylah’s joyful announcement. If you wish to civilly discuss this further, you are welcome to visit my blog by clicking on my name and we can have a conversation. If you do not want to discuss civilly or rationally, then it would be best to ignore me.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousOctober 27, 2012 - 9:02 pm

      Hi Swedemom,

      Muslims do respond peacefully and amicably when our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) or religion is mocked. Below is a facebook event page where volunteers handed out roses with famous quotes from our Prophet (pbuh) to the public to enlighten them about who he really was.
      https://www.facebook.com/events/286409388145119/

      It was actually carried out in the US and many more were carried out throughout Europe and Canada. I myself as a Muslim do not agree with other Muslims responding violently when our relgion is mocked, and furthermore our Prophet did not teach us to do this. Those horrible actions are done only by a few. I think what “H” is trying to do above with her petition is fine and a very peaceful means of getting attention or trying to get people aware of a cause.
      I agree with your point that if people react peacefully then it produces better results.
      I’m also understand and am sympathetic to the disrespect and mockery that people show Mormons and the Church of Latter Day Saints, as my mother was Mormon before she reverted to Islam and my/her family are still Mormon. I think all religions need to be respected equally and I believe in freedom of speech but not to promote hate and animosity.

      Regards

      K.H.ReplyCancel

  • BigstickOctober 16, 2012 - 3:49 am

    Don’t mutilate the boy!!!! No circumcision.

    Congrats.

    Hope you will be able to drive in the Kingdom before he is allowed.

    ReplyCancel

  • pikkujututOctober 16, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Mabrouk!

    Mikä onkaan mukavampaa kuin törmätä blogiin, jossa pääsee heti onnittelemaan :).

    Tuohon sektioon liittyen, Libanonissa lähes kaikki tuntemani äidit ovat synnyttäneet sektiolla, joskus jopa tietty päivämäärä mietittynä. Mutta yhteiskuntaluokat eroavat toisistaan todella paljon-köyhemmissä perheissä synnytetään normaalisti.Sairaaloissa rahakkaimmilla on omat huoneet ja käytävälle asti näkee kumpi on tullut :). Aikoinaan, v.2002 ollessani raskaana kuopuksesta, lääkäri totesi että olen aivan liian isokokoinen ja joudun laihdutuskuurille- toki jos olisi tsekannut huolella, olisi ymmärtänyt, että kyseessä oli raskauden aikainen turvotus- kotiin mentyä tilasin samalla lentoliput Suomeen ja kuopuskin syntyi Suomessa .ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 7:34 pm

      Moi pikkujutut ja kiitos onnitteluista! Joo taalla on sama meininki eli on se tietty paivamaara mietittyna.sitten taas todella suuret erot yhteiskuntaluokkien valilla on myos taalla.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 16, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    Congratulations to you and your family on the arrival of baby boy!! I too am expecting a baby boy in about 6 weeks (I also have a daughter). The services offered at the hospital are crazy!! Wow, things sure are different in KSA. Shocking! Nevertheless, enjoy these precious moments with your new prince! Francesca from Ottawa, CanadaReplyCancel

  • QusayOctober 16, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    Congrats on the new baby, I hope he has a blessed and wonderful life.

    Hospitals in Saudi… well the whole medical profession is a big business, I guess they are like the big pharma that keep them all going. and the decorations… don’t get me started… anyhow, good luck to you and your husband and congratulations again :)ReplyCancel

  • YunnanOctober 16, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    Congratulations! And I love the balloons! They’re a very sweet touch, and not as overboard as some, I’m sure. And good that you were able to choose the birthing experience you wanted – I see the pushing of c-sections and formula by the hospitals as distinctly monetary in motive. These are services and goods that you have to pay for, despite the existing natural alternatives.
    Having said that, I’ve been told(from a family friend and gyno expert) that planned (not emergency) c-sections are statistically safer for both mother and baby if carried out well and not in emergency circumstances. However from your account, I deduce that either way, the body takes a lot of trauma. It’s very worrying, however, to hear that Saudi women elect for c-sections not for health reasons, but for aesthetic/cosmetic reasons. This shows how cheaply women value themselves, not just how their husbands value them.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 2:24 pm

      That planned c-section would be safer for the mother and babies is not true from any point of view! Remember these doctors have their own agendas and will try to justify surgeries with all sorts “statistics”. There are really not many health reason to opt for a c-section, natural is always better for mother and baby in normal circumstances :)ReplyCancel

  • Sandra-DXBOctober 16, 2012 - 7:55 pm

    Congratulations!!! Gotta say, love the balloons! :)ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarOctober 17, 2012 - 6:33 am

    Congratulations Laylah, he looks adorable. Have you had him circumcised yet? I think it is better done while he is still very young as it heals faster and he won’t possibly remember anything about it. As for ear piercing, I personally do not see what all the fuss is about as it is hardly an elaborate procedure, simply a harmless (if done correctly in a clean environment) piercing in the lobe of your ear, not the cartilage part where it hurts like hell. I had my 1 year old’s ear pierced and there was no crying at all mashallah, she was in good hands. I guess it boils down to the parents’ decisions since they are the caregiver and knows what is best for their angels. Again Mabroook alf alf mabrook and may Allah grant your beautiful boy wisdom, strong Iman to his God and huge respect for his Mommy and Daddy and not to forget his eldest sister :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 9:55 am

    Congratulations Laylah on the birth of your beautiful baby boy. may god bless him and keep him safe always. xxx i really loved your hospital story of how Saudi women are opting more for C-Sections here. As a westerner from UK i cant begin to tell you just how beautiful it is to be able to give birth naturally and for the skin to skin bonding experience that follows what a beautiful gift from god. why any mother would want to risk their babies being filled with drugs before they even take their first breath in the outside world is beyond me.and something wich i will never comprehend, but then again, this is not my culture, so sorry for them if they view vanity as being more important than the life and well being of a new born. xxxxxxxReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:44 pm

      Exactly, the moment right after the baby is born and handed to your chest, it’s something I will never forget. It was like a dream, too good to be true! It’s a short moment in our lives but so momentuos. It’s very sad that women are opting not to have that experience.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 11:00 am

    mabrook!! thank you for sharing your story of a successful vbac…I had the same first birth experience as you do and inshallah I will fight for a vbac next time :) your so is beautiful mashallah!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 2:14 pm

      Inshallah you can, please visit http://www.vbac.com and if you’re in Saudi then I can recommend a doula and natural childbirth classes for you :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Congratulations!!!))) You are the example to all the women )
    P.S. What you described looks like Mamlyaka Hospital
    All the best,
    AllaReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:45 pm

      thank you so much :) It was Dallah hospital, but my first birth was at Kingdom hospital!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahOctober 17, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    Thank you soooo much everyone I am so happy to hear from each and everyone of you :) Our little milk monster is keeping us busy but I will be back soon!ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarOctober 18, 2012 - 1:05 am

      Oooh Laylah, you’re making me miss the pleasure (and stress) of having a newborn :) Our lil angel is already a big baby, had her first birthday last week. From your point of view, is it wise, health-wise, to try for another baby? I’m asking coz I’m still breastfeeding my angel. Lots of love!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:42 pm

      Umm Gamar-congrats on her first birthday! Well I was still breastfeeding my daughter when I got pregnant with my son and what happened was the milk slowly ran out, she was about 11 months. But I know many women who manage to breastfeed the entire pregnancy, if that is what you were worried abut. Otherwise there should be no issues :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 18, 2012 - 12:49 pm

    First of all, congratulations on your new addition!! I agree with you on the whole csection issue. I had one with my first child, due to him being breach and 2 months early with a ruptured amniotic sac. So I was so excited to attempt a vbac this past August. Unfortunately I was unable to dialate past 4 cm and developed a fever so the docs said it was csection time. I was devastated, but ready to get my little girl out safely.
    I ended up havIng a successful surgery so i thought. After a week from being released I ended up in the emergency room with massive abdominal pain. As a result of the surgery I developed 5 intra abdominal
    abscess’s from 3 serious bacterias that were allowed to travel around my abdominal from the trauma of the
    surgery. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks and did not see
    my baby for those 2 weeks, and it was traumatizing. I
    am still recovering and am at risk for the bacteria to regrow, but thank Allah I am doing well now. I will never
    attempt another pregnancy again. Csections are major surgeries, so please ladies understand the risks involved. I would have loved a natural birth and think everyone should try for one especially after what happened. I am just thankful to have my baby girl here now and to be able to hold her. Allah knows best, and enjoy your little man, how fun :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:39 pm

      That sounds like a horrible experience, so sorry to hear you had to go through that! In which country are you?
      I had also complications after my c-section, two weeks afterwards I was hospitalized with endometritis. the pain from that was like being in labor again!
      I hope you get well soon and can leave this all behind! You tried your best and there was some reason this happened to you, but you might not know it now. Please never say never and don’t loose hope!

      If you are in Saudi I can direct you to my friend who teaches natural childbirth classes is a doula and a wonderful person, if you need someone to talk to about all this..and in case you ever do have another child.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 20, 2012 - 7:21 am

    Congratulations Laylah!! I love reading your blog! By the way,there’s a hospital here in Kingdom who promotes breastfeeding but its not a private hospital,they got a breastfeeding nurse and if that nurse cannot encourage the moms, she can call an Arab lady, called breastfeeding support who can really onvince moms.. ;) But, few Saudis wants to breastfeed their babies…Congrats again!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:27 pm

      Hi can you tell me which hospital that is?ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousOctober 26, 2012 - 1:46 pm

      Its King Abdul Aziz Medical City…the milk formula for newborns is a big no no there… Lol..ReplyCancel

  • Lyse bOctober 20, 2012 - 4:34 pm

    Concerns me these dial a piercing or circumcision is done just so!! It’s a crazy town! Glad he is here safely :)ReplyCancel

  • JessicaOctober 20, 2012 - 7:09 pm

    Mashallah, congratulations.. May Allah watch over your new princeReplyCancel

  • EliOctober 20, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    Hi. I just found your blog yesterday, but Have read through a lot already. Very very interesting posts… :) I hope you’ll write a whole lot more…

    Congratulations for having your son! :)

    Terveisin Eli Suomesta, mutta nyt Afrikassa :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:26 pm

      Moi Eli! Kiitos ja toivottavasti paasen taas kirjoittamaan pian!ReplyCancel

  • Satu VWOctober 21, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Congratulations, amazing news!! And yeah, this is definitely quite different to giving birth in Scandinavia… :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 22, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    Alf mabrook! May he and your daughter be a blessing to you and your husband!
    JamilaReplyCancel

  • yamaamaa.comOctober 24, 2012 - 10:24 am

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you that you had the birth you wanted. 4KG MASHALLAH! Superwoman! mine averaged 2.7 and that was a feat lol. Hope you are getting all the rest you need!

    On another note, I have been reading the comments and I totally disagree with the ones that say getting help after birth is a horrible thing to do. I think it is essential for a mothers well being to have as much help as she can get. When I had my first some I moved into my mothers house and she would take him in the morning so I could sleep. If he was hungry she’d bring him to me to feed him (half asleep) then would take him and do everything else needed (burp him, change him etc) so I can go right back to sleep. After that I had a nanny. Having help doesn’t mean you are a bad mother. A mother who is going ot neglect her child will do so with or without a help and a mother who is going to raise and love her child will also do so with or without help.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 9:40 pm

      Mama B Thank you for stopping by and your comment! You're absolutely right that mothers with newborns need help from family members! I don't think that the commenters saying mother having help is a bad thing. As I understood the "issue" is when people start hiring maids and go through all this crazy decorating and superficial mumbo jumbo in the hospital, as if they’re forgetting about the actual baby and mothers real needs. And no, they don’t need crystals and flashing lights under the beds or a maid. In fact, they absolutely should not be needing a maid because of the close family structure here should allow them the luxury of having help from their own mothers, sisters, aunts etc..
      What your mother did for you is awesome, many women in the west can only dream (myself included) of such luxury. It’s a completely different social structure as I’m sure you very well know :)ReplyCancel

  • LucyOctober 25, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    Congratulations. :-) I recently found your blog and love it.

    Re: ear piercing – I live in the USA, and this doesn’t seem even remotely strange to me. I see newborns, here, with pierced ears ALL the time. I see them getting it done at jewelry stores whenever I go in – tiny, tiny babies, definitely under one month of age. So, having it done in the hospital – eh, no real difference between that and going to the jewelry store a couple days later.

    I also had a lot of help with my children. As I mentioned, I live in the USA, but was actually in France when I gave birth to my second. They offer great services for women there, including massage and … ummm, teaching you how to exercise your vaginal muscles. No other way to say it! I actually found this super helpful. NOT because I was worried about damage or looking bad for my husband or whatever, but, for me, giving birth, pregnancy, etc., was a HUGE change in terms of my body. I felt it as more of a trauma than anything else, to be honest. So, when healing, I really wanted to give my body the best. Good, healthy food, gentle exercise, fresh air, sunlight, love, etc. I felt a need to gently love myself and care for myself as I would gently love and care for my baby. And having help for that was of immense benefit. I actually wish the US was more proactive about helping mothers. I gave birth to my first here in the hospital, and they just kicked me out with the baby within 24 hours from the hospital. My husband and I were CLUELESS. We were both only children, had never had any experience with newborns. I remember us driving home in the car, and then sitting in the living room in total shock, staring at this newborn for which we were now responsible. For weeks the overwhelming emotion was terror that we would somehow kill our baby! We couldn’t even enjoy those first few weeks. Fortunately, by our third we got over that, lol. I think it’s like with anything. Nannies can be a huge help, as can services for the mother. But, of course it can be abused.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 10:41 pm

      Hi Lucy thanks for the comment!
      I guess the piercing is more uncommon in Europe, mainly northern european countries.

      ReplyCancel

  • UMM LATIFA (in Saudi Kingdom)November 1, 2012 - 9:09 am

    Mabruk! Time is flying so fast ;) – I just read about your little princes and not – a prince ;). All the best for happy parents and for the new addition to your family :).ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 10:42 pm

      Nice to hear from you Umm Latifa! Long time no see!Hope you're well :)ReplyCancel

  • Umm SameerNovember 2, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Congratulations for your new born baby boy ! It is a blessing and I'm happy for you. Mabrook once again !!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • fatoukamounNovember 13, 2012 - 12:12 am

    Alf mabrouk dear sister. May Allah bless you and your family with joy, happiness and barrakah and may he let you enter his paradiseReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJanuary 11, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Here in the the U.S. it’s considered kind of trashy to pierce your young kid’s ears, and never a baby’s. I fought with my father throughout my teens to pierce mine, I wasn’t allowed until I turned 16! (In his Catholic school growing up, only the slutty girls had pierced ears, what a cultural difference!).

    Keep up the breastfeeding, it’s very healthy! Here in the U.S., people try to feed up to a year to try to provide as many health benefits as they can for their babies. I can’t fathom not breastfeeding at all! How else do they pass on the antibodies to their kids? Hello, not even the doctors have heard of colostrum?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 2, 2013 - 10:52 pm

    Congrats.. Also I’d like to say that with arabs its quite common to have the ears pierced as a baby.. My ears were pierced within the 1st or 2nd month I was born and my mother says I looked like a tomato but didn’t cry.. Well must be because she was breastfeeding me…ReplyCancel

  • Syed AslamOctober 7, 2015 - 11:02 pm

    Congratulations dearReplyCancel

  • FatimaOctober 9, 2015 - 7:58 pm

    I know I read this article so late since it was published already in 2012 but this was really something I was expecting before moving to Saudi. All the women I know have given birth “naturally” and for them the cisearian is definitely the last option. I don’t know if attitudes have changed that much during three years but as Muslims women here believe that natural delivery is something from God and the original way women have done it for ages. Especially elder generation have gone through natural deliveries so maybe they have encouraged younger women to do the same. Anyway from my personal experience people here think c-section is something unnatural and a bit selfish as well….:)ReplyCancel

  • MalenaApril 4, 2016 - 10:05 pm

    Hello! I read your blog from time to time, and it is really interesting – I´ve learned a lot about Saudi from your blog since we moved here in September last year. And now we have our kids at the same kindergarden (I´m the mother of Cornelia) ;) And now I hope you can enlightening me some more :)
    I just found out that I´m pregnant, really early (week 6). And since we are here for two years I will be having the baby here in KSA. Should I contact any doctor here during the pregnancy? What hospital can you recommend? Are there any specific things you can tell me about being pregnant and giving birth here in KSA? Is it even possible to have a “normal” birth here? I really don´t want a cesarean, but I really do want to have like epidural. Are there any Scandinavian nurses/midwifes working in Riaydh at the moment?
    I´ve giving birth two times already, but back home i Sweden so there I know all of these things – but here I feel like a have noooo clue at all!

    Kind regards
    MalenaReplyCancel

    • Arabian LauraApril 20, 2016 - 9:40 am

      Malena, I will gladly answer all your questions in person and give you tips on where to go for the prenatal check ups in Riyadh :) I went to all the different private hospitals in Riyadh and tried over 30 different obstetricians in my search for someone “normal” as we are used to back in Scandinavia.
      It’s possible to find a few doctors who won’t push the cesarean so don’t worry :) the good thing is you’re already experienced in childbirth so you know what to ask for.

      Congratulations on the pregnancy! ReplyCancel

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