Saturday, January 28, 2006

A New Addition

My brother-in-law's wife, L., had a baby! Of course it was a big production . . .

L. and I don't really have much to do with each other. Actually we pretty much ignore one another. The only time she calls me is when she goes in to labour because she knows that I will be right there to help her. I've been there for the births of all of her children. Helping her to get through the labour pains and dealing with the doctors and nurses. She feels comfortable with me because I know Llamas and help her with all the breathing and I can speak to the doctors in English, and I also know many of the doctors because they have taken English courses with me or one of my colleagues.

So last night the doorbell rang and my niece was at the door to say L. was downstairs in the car. I got dressed, went downstairs, got into the car and asked her which hospital she wanted to go to. She said Tripoli Medical Center (TMC). I borrowed my brother-in-law's mobile phone and started making calls to see if I could find out which of my doctor students was on duty. As luck would have it one of my former IELTS students said he would meet us - he wasn't on duty at the time but he's a gynecologist and worked at TMC - it's nice to have students who are so helpful.

My brother in law (F.) has this idea that his wife should only be seen by female doctors. Unfortunately this isn't always possible, especially at night because usually male doctors handle the night shift. But at TMC they had female doctors on duty and my student consulted with them about my sister in law.

Unfortunately, L. suffers from a slipped disk and the doctors said a cesarean would be necessary. But there was a problem. The hospital had no incubators available. All of them were occupied and if she wanted to give birth there her husband would have to sign a waiver saying that the hospital would not be responsible if something happened and the baby needed special care. In other words - if the baby had a problem they would just hand it to you and if it lived it lived, and if it died it died. My student checked at Jala hospital and they were having the same problem there too.

After some discussion L. said she wanted to go home - so we took her home. She still had a while to go and I thought if we got her home I could talk to her and decide with F. where we would take her. My student kept her file ready at TMC in case we came back.

Within an hour L. was really suffering excruciating back pain. I told F. we should try private clinics but that it was going to be difficult to find a female doctor. He was adamant that no male doctor would see his wife. We went to three different clinics before we found a female doctor. F. asked me 'Do you think this doctora is a good one?' I wanted to hit him! I told him 'You are being stubborn and don't have a choice!'

The doctora looked at L.'s files and I explained what had happened so far. By this time L.'s back was so bad she could barely stand it. The labour pains weren't the problem - her back was. We got F. to agree to admit her and they took her immediately to the theatre. F. and I waited upstairs and after a while they came with the baby. A boy! My brother in law was thrilled - he's got 3 girls and this was the boy he had been hoping for. The baby was fine.

Trouble began when they brought L. . . . The elevator opened and accompanying L. was the doctora and two male doctors. 'Who are these men?' my brother in law wanted to know. 'The anesthesiologist and the ward doctor.' they told him. 'I wanted only female doctors!' F. shouted. The doctora said 'I am the one that performed the surgery.' F. was pissed off. I told him to shut up and behave himself. He glared at me but did as I asked. The nurses and doctora were busy settling L. in her room and at the same time another patient was being admitted to the same room. The ward doctor went in to help with the other patient and F. chased him into the room and blew up, shouting 'My wife is in here! I don't want any men in here!' Then he started pushing the doctor and of course the doctor was pushing back. I grabbed them both just as F. raised his fist to punch the doctor and I managed to push them both outside.

I shoved F. into a chair and stood between the two of them. I told F. 'Behave yourself. The doctor has another patient he is seeing. You cannot go in there. People are sick here - this is a hospital and it's two o'clock in the morning. You cannot behave this way.' He tried to continue arguing with the doctor and I stood in between them and quietly told F. 'Shut up. I don't want to hear one more word.' I asked him to wait downstairs at the reception but he refused. He just sat there glaring at me. Every few minutes he would try to start an argument with the doctor and I would quietly tell him 'Shut up and behave yourself.' He would glare at me some more.

I told him I was going to check on L. As soon as I walked into L.'s room he started in with the doctor again. I came back out and said 'You go downstairs right now. I will make sure L. is ok and we will call you when you can come in to see her.' Finally he agreed to go downstairs. I checked on L. who was settling in. They had given her painkiller and she was drifting off to sleep. I apologized profusely to the doctor and staff for F.'s behaviour and went downstairs.

F. wanted to go see his wife and I told him she was sleeping comfortably and pushed him out the door of the clinic. 'You can see her tomorrow morning.' It was after 3:00 am by the time I got home.

Whew! I hope my sister in law doesn't have anymore kids!


  1. What a jerk! Your brother-in-law can only think of himself, while his wife is in the worst pain ever. I just hope that he has to pass a kidney stone and the only doctor or nurse around is a woman!

  2. Lo0o0o0l Khadija.

    You cracked me up! What a night you had. First congrats for the new baby!

    Man! I do understand why you don't wish your sister in law would have more kids, lo0o0ol...

    I just want to point out that what F did is not a typical attitude for a typical Libyan man! I mean he's a super-extreem case! You would find people like him. But not too much these days. Luckyly.

    I can see you're doing great with your Libyan family. Still not easy, but it can be fun though. As you have mentioned in a previous post. Life in Libya has two sides bad & good one. I like this theory.



  3. Looooool, that was a great story khadija!

    Though I am impressed you told your brother in law to shut up lool, that was pretty tough on your side. Though some people -very rare and not all of them- in Libya can act as though they are kids. Alhamdullah that the baby boy was fine and the mother didn't have any complications which is always a worry when doing a cesarean delivery.

    Sounds though like you had alot to talk about when you went home or to your friends on the phone.

    Anyhow good luck


  4. Mother and baby are doing well.

    Kristen: hehehe - very funny!

    Mohamed: I lived for a year in the house with my inlaws 17 years ago. Only one of my many brothers in law were married at that time and I just treated them as if they were my little brothers (all of them are younger than me) - which means telling them to SHUT UP if necessary! :)

  5. I'm cracking up here ...thanks for sharing reminded me of when I had to drive all those neighbours in least I did not have to deal with their hubbys but I walked in straight into the labour ward from the street with my patient in Al-khadra hospital, a nightmare that was. Put me off children for a while.

  6. Hi KhadijaTeri -

    Well, all's well that ends well!

    Oh the joy of childbirth!! (LOL) You, know, I'm GLAD I'm over 80 years old and in-between all that! My children are too old to have children and my grandchildren are not old enough! I'll leave it to you youngsters to have all the fun!

    Hope all is well with you, your children and husband!



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