My first real experience in Morocco happened when I went to the local hospital Muhammed Sadice when I was 9 weeks pregnant with my 4th baby. Upon entering the hospital I was ushered into some doors where my husband was told to stay outside as no men are allowed. I was greeted by a woman who grabbed my arm and dragged me to a waiting room that had 5 other women sitting in it on the floor and sharing beds.
As I looked around the room I saw syringes sticking out of bottles and bloodied cotton balls. I looked to the floor that was grimy and had spots of blood on it also. A woman asked me what I was there for, I told her that I was 9 or so weeks pregnant and have a lot of one sided pain. They sent me to do a urine sample in a toilet that had no running water and didn’t flush. Then I had to leave the hospital to the laboratory across the road for a blood test.
Upon my return I was congratulated with,’ your pregnant’ as if I didn’t already know. An extremely arrogant Dr called me into a room that had 3 tables on it and women laying on two of them. He told me to lay down pushing me backward and trying to lift my abaya, I moved away and requested a female to which he rolled his eyes and started to tell me here in Morocco all Dr’s are the same and I must accept who they give me. He then tried to educate me on the ‘policies and systems in the UK’ as if he knew anything about that.
I refused to sit on the table until a woman came, I then asked her to pull closed the make shift curtain to which she then became annoyed and said,’ everyone here is a woman or a Dr there is no one here who wants to look at you that way’ I was starting to become very annoyed at the lack of understanding and the hustle of these people like they are herding sheep.
I waited 6 hours to receive an ultra sound to which I was then told by the woman she had forgotten how to use the machine and laughed. She checked me and said, ‘oh your pregnant but not with a baby’ I was confused but before I could ask anything she just called the next woman, she didn’t offer me anything to wipe my stomach and I hadn’t even pulled my abaya back down.
I was told to wait so that me and the other heavily pregnant woman can be escorted back downstairs together. As I sat for the duration of her scan I was in a state of shock and couldn’t even cry. I turn my head to hear a door open and see the woman stumble out from the door holding the rail crying and panting. I rush to help her as she clearly was in distress. Of course walking right past us was the stupid woman who did the scan offering no help or support. ‘ Hes dead, why ya Allah why? my baby why is he dead’ she cried so uncontrollably that I didn’t know what to do but to hug her.
When I was taken back downstairs I was handed papers and told to go pay, I had no idea what was next or what happened but was told to leave. My husband wasn’t having it, when I told him what happened he totally lost it. He walked to the security and told them to bring the Dr outside now to talk to him otherwise he isn’t paying anything.
The Dr came to the door stating she isn’t allowed to leave her section. My husband asked to have everything explained to him and why they didn’t scan me thoroughly etc. The Dr just said,’ I know its hard news but there is nothing else we can do, we have other more urgent cases to deal with that you are keeping me from’ as she was saying this we see an elderly woman being pulled through the aisle with a sheet between her legs and blood dripping on the floor.
My husband just nodded his head as the Dr said to come back in 7 days if I haven’t started to miscarry they will basically give me a tablet to abort the pregnancy and we can try again.
On our way to the car, hand in hand we just walked in silence, as we sat in the car feeling the scorching heat I turned to my husband and told him that I know everything is fine and that woman was just stupid, I told him lets go to a private Dr and confirm everything before doing that abortion in 7 days. My husband in his firm belief may Allah preserve him said to me,‘ don’t be this way, this is what Allah has decreed we must accept it’
The Next Dr
On our way home we saw a private gynecologist, we walked into her busy clinic and told the reception what had happened. Dr Asma Kazouini took me in ahead of all her other patients within minutes. She did a scan and said to me,’ see that, that’s your baby’s legs and arms and this is its heartbeat’ The sweetest most beautiful thudding and galloping noise took over my ears as my eyes gushed with tears I thanked her and turned to my husband who was also in tears. I was like, I told you so! he just said,’ Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah wa Shukrillah.
Fast forwarding a few months and a house that had black mold which basically gave me pneumonia. I ended up very unwell, I had a persistent cough until 6 months pregnant that would cause me to have contractions. I had heart palpitations and dizziness when walking. If I walked just 100m I would become dizzy and feel like my heart was in my throat.
My Dr put me on bed rest which was impossible with 3 little kids and a husband working back in the UK. I started to become scared what will happen to my baby and not being able to drive or communicate with the locals very well, it put me into a bit of a panic.
My husband decided to take us on a holiday to Essouraia where we swam in the beach and enjoyed ourselves passing by Agadir on the way home. Days later my Mother contacted me with the news of my Grandfathers sudden passing due to a blood clot.
When I heard the news I broke down, I couldn’t breath and started to choke. I was gasping for air but felt like nothing was going into my body. I woke my husband up but couldn’t talk. I played him the message as I sat there crying.
My Grandfather was one of the best people I knew, he was generous, kind, happy, lived carelessly and stress free, outgoing, considerate of everyone and everything even if its a cockroach on his food. He was a second father to me and had no idea that tuna and Vegemite don’t go on a sand-which together and that its perfectly fine to believe kids when they say, ‘Mum said we can have pizza for dinner’ He was a rare kind, a gem and a very greatly missed person to not just me but everyone who knew him.
3 days later the stress had not left me and my contractions returned but caused me a lot of discomfort and distress as I was only 31 weeks pregnant. My Dr seeing my blood pressure had risen to 150/70 she referred me for a non stress test for the baby to check if she was ok.
My Baby Entering The World
I went to the Clinic only to find that my baby was not well at all. Spontaneously she was having rises and decreases in her heart beat from 170 bpm to 110bpm down to 49 bpm then totally nothing. This happened so many times the midwife did the test a second time while she called my Dr who was in surgery. She then handed me the papers and said go straight to my Dr as she couldn’t get through.
I ended up going to Clinic Oumoumah which was raved about as the best maternal clinic, the most advanced etc. My Dr told me I had to do a cesarean then and there as my baby could die at any moment. She told me that natural birth was no option as her heart wouldn’t be able to handle it. I prayed istikharah and Asr prayer then accepted the cesarean. My husband had gone home to the kids to make sure they where ok as we left them with the neighbor for what was meant to be 30 minutes but turned into 2 hours.
My baby girl was cut out of my after Asr prayer at 31 weeks gestation, she was carried away from theater to NICU where she remained until they cleared her for my husband to see. I was given medicine to make me sleep for the rest of my cesarean against my knowledge.
The day after my cesarean my husband had to return to the UK for work and now we had to pay for a clinic fee, cesarean and a Neo Natal fee. My husband explained to the clinic that he is leaving the country and our situation.
I had not been given any pain medication after my cesarean, I was not given anything until I begged the woman on the second day as I couldn’t move, sleep or even think. The pain was so severe I felt like I was dying. She brought me paracetamol, I asked for something else and she refused looking at me as if I was disgusting for asking.
No one tried to help me to get up to walk which is recommended as soon as you can feel your legs again, I was not advised of after care like holding your scar when moving or heavy breathing to clear the lungs, no one checked on me unless I was asking them about my baby to which they said she is in=NICU and only the peadiatrician can tell me how she is.
By the third day I hadn’t seen my baby I didn’t even know if she was alive and no one had come to me to ask about her treatment or my wishes for her, no reports, nothing !
The Trauma Begins
I called my husband crying and begging him to come back, I then forced myself out of the bed feeling like I was tearing in half and demanded to be taken down to the NICU. I was wheeled down into the room that was full of babies, my eyes drifted to my left to where I saw a little baby so tiny laying in a bubble with a CPAP mask on. I got up and walked to her, I knew it was my baby, I felt it in my heart.
Her lungs had collapsed as they didn’t provide her with oxygen when she was born, they said she should be fine and waited until she was in respiratory distress before offering her canula oxygen which by then was too late and she needed to be intubated
after a minute I passed out I couldn’t stand anymore and was taken back to my room which had Dr’s rushing in pulling my clothes off as my face was turning blue. My blood pressure rose to 187/109 they started to give me oxygen and turn my bed the opposite angle.
The next day my husband returned and had a right go at everyone, he brought me some IBUPROFEN which was like a life saver although I had recovered pretty well by then.
I was discharged from the clinic without my baby to go home to my 3 kids where I had to be tough and suck it all up pretending everything was fine.
I’m not able to go into too much detail about my babies NICU stay because it hurts me too much. In brief, she suffered NEC twice, basically she got an infection in her intestines that most babies die from very quickly. They wanted to operate on her but I refused and asked to delay it a few hours to think it over. She pulled through both times as many babies die before, during or after the surgery I felt it was a very hard decision to make almost like making a choice could kill her and not making a choice can kill her.
After the NEC she suffered a lung infection and was losing weight, she was anemic and her blood test just had so much wrong with them.
after 2 weeks of NICU and rude Drs who wouldn’t explain anything or treat her jaundice I was told to leave and not be there so much because its not ‘good for me’ I wasn’t allowed to hold my baby until she was 1 week old. They would shout at my husband and I for asking questions to which I became so distressed about.
Every time I left the NICU I would have a panic attack on the way home, I would cry almost the whole way home. When I would wake in the morning I would feel guilty for sleeping, or trying to sleep, what if my baby had died and I was at home sleeping. I would feel anxious and sick until I would go see her.
Suddenly I was told she can come home, we brought her home and once again my husband went to work. She couldn’t keep herself warm, she was dehydrated, jaundice and unable to drink milk from me or a bottle. I called my husband crying and distraught telling him she is going to die they just sent her home to die. As we were encouraged by the Dr when she was in NICU to just let her peacefully go, I felt they didn’t want to be responsible for her
I will add, her NICU costed us more then 750 GBP a night which we couldn’t afford, people from the UK from Masjids and friends gave us the money to pay for it. If it wasn’t for those people my baby would have been refused treatment. Rizq comes from Allah yes, Allah chose those people to be the source of goodness for our baby. I have made dua for those people every Ramadan since and every time I remember what they did for us without even knowing us. May Allah preserve them and give them all that is good in this dunya and the akhirah Ameen
My husband got the first flight home and we took her straight to the clinic. The Dr who discharged her wasn’t there but another had seen her and readmitted her as urgent, once again this means the cost of her treatment would be almost double.
She weighed 1.5kg and wouldn’t wake up her body was shutting down, she was finally treated for jaundice and other issues, she was left without food for 3 days, her veins got blown out from the drips as she was so dehydrated. She needed a blood transfusion to which the Dr who was meant to put the needle in her refused and left it to a nurse, she struggled to enter a vein even while I helped. We begged another Dr who entered the NICU to do so as he isn’t allowed to touch someone else patient. He agreed and put the IV in her neck. I was told not to expect her to live until the morning.
I went home numb, I wouldn’t have left but the NICU closes at 10pm and I was always forced to leave around 10:30pm. I would cry and ask just for 5 more minutes until they would get security.
I witnessed numerous babies die, some just too premature, some the Dr would refuse treatment and stop the nurses they would unplug the machines and let the babies die because the parents haven’t paid. They would casually walk over to babies chocking and vomiting while laying on their backs with no care at all.
Once again we got told suddenly our baby can come home after another 10 days in NICU, I started to panic and was telling my husband no I don’t trust them she cant even drink milk. The nurse, some new nurse I had never seen before got a bottle of formula although I had expressed only to give her my milk which I brought bottles of everyday although they said she wasn’t drinking any milk. She shoved it in my babys mouth while propping her up in her bed looking at me and the Dr babbling about some rubbish not even looking at what she is doing. I started to shout at her stop stop your choking her, she was like no no she is fine. Then my baby was gagging and vomiting everywhere.
I broke down in tears and walked out leaving my husband there as I paced the corridors I saw a woman carrying her baby out in a blanket crying as he had passed away, That moment I said that’s it enough is enough, I have to suck it up. I walked back in there and agreed ok she will come home whenever you want to discharge her.
They said tomorrow morning, finalize your bill and take your clearance letter and she can go home
My husband looking at me like a mad woman, I said she is cleared medically to come home? she wont suffer any difficulties? they said look she is fine. I refused to look at my own baby out of fear of changing my mind.
I went home prepared everything, returned the next day to collect my baby, when I brought her home I felt a sense of freedom. I knew though now I had the real work to do.
I was heating her blankets with hot water bottles and thermos bottles, I had to change them every hour and a half, I expressed my milk into bottles using syringes to drop feed her into her mouth, burp her after every 10 ml and continue. It would take 1 hour to feed her. My husband had to return urgently for work and I was once again alone with the weight of this situation on my head.
Once she would sleep I would wash everything do some cleaning or make food for my other kids and then I would have to feed her again. I swear I didn’t sleep for 3 weeks.
I never would have thought its possible to do what I did but it goes to show what us mothers are capable of and what we will do for our children.
I was weighing my little one without clothes before feeds and after feeds on an electric kitchen scale. After a week I noticed she was trying to suck the syringe I tried to give her a bottle of my milk as she had only gained 130gm in a week. She tried to drink the bottle but choked a little so I introduced it slowly. By the third week my bubs was breastfeeding like a champ but I started to fortify my milk in the bottle with a milk from the UK ‘NUTRI PREM’ which I found out how to do from NICU mums online… They are lifesavers
This is when she would gain about 120gm a day, I finally started to feel like a mother to my beautiful little girl. When the Dr saw her he couldn’t believe what I had done and that she looked like a perfectly healthy little girl, although all that changed a few short months later when she was diagnosed with sepsis, got staph which then a week later she got MRSA and I was being told once again that she wont make it until the morning.
The Dr said I could take her home and if she survives return in the morning for more antibiotics or I can stay in the hospital but there was nothing they could do for her as she was anemic once again, needed another blood transfusion and severely ill.
I used natural remedies for her MRSA ( feel free to ask me about it) Allah is the One who cures.
To sum things up, the medical system here in Morocco is about 40 years behind, they love antibiotics for everything even cough. They have no to very little respect for family of the sick or the sick if you ask questions they don’t want to answer as they feel they are sharing their ‘ paid education’ with you.
Not all Dr’s or clinics are so careless but more then not, I suffer PTSD from this situation that now I refuse to be spoken to a certain way, I’m their mother, I’m paying cash for a service that means that Dr or nurse or whoever is working for me at that time and there is many Dr’s to shop around for a decent one for me to find another Dr.
I sincerely pray these Drs change their ways and remove arrogance from their work as they have a duty of care and are meant to be caring for the sick as a profession not working a high paying job to live a fancy life with disregard for who they cut open, step on or overlook along the way.