Back in the workforce four months after a four year maternity leave and just as the daily grind was beginning get mundane I discovered great news – pregnant again! As pregnancy is really the only long-term cure for work, I was delighted; and of course I was delighted to deliver a new bundle of joy for the world to behold too.
Having had a baby in Doha before, I knew the drill when it came to Gynae appointments, organised chaos. If there is one sector that remains healthy in Doha, even with Oil and Gas is taking a nosedive, it’s baby-making. Yes Arabs procreate, and not just once for the experience and twice to provide a companion for the first, you’re taking four, five, six, seven times, the more (boys) the better, so as long as they can, they keep going for it. And expats do their share too, the decision probably comes down pretty much 50/50 for expat women of childbearing age, get a job in the school or have a baby.
The good news was, my previous ob/gyn was still in Doha, still delivering babies, the bad news was, since I had my last baby she had become even more popular (not necessarily owing to me but coincidental none the same). Based at Doha Clinic she operates a ticket system and I was happy one sunny morning to take number 59 until I realised the other six doctors in the clinic only had 2/3 women waiting. Now for many being number 59 as opposed to number 2/3 might be a deterrent but my logic was, she must be good, same logic that has me buying Tesco Finest rather than own brand and the same logic that saw me having to emigrate in the first place. So I waited and waited and waited, my ankles began to swell, the battery on my phone died, my will waned and this was only at number 17! Bear in mind that this waiting room is not exactly a hub for pregnant women where they laugh and chat share experiences and make lifelong friends, everyone except me are wearing the full Hijab and Abaya and the prayer channel is on a loop. I went home, made dinner, washed up, and came back again, 34. I went to the supermarket, picked up groceries, came back again, number 47, I went for a swim, came back again, number 53 and I waited and waited and waited and eight hours after I got the ticket, the nurse called number 59.
Next visit, I vowed I wasn’t going fall asleep on the examination table, I would get in early, beat the crowd, they’re be no more 59’s for me. So four weeks later at 6.15, I set off for the clinic that opens at seven, (Gynae shows up around 9.30). My plan was to be the first at the door and get ticket number 1.
You can imagine my shock when I arrived at 6.36a.m. and I wasn’t the first, I was the third, I couldn’t believe that there were two others as cunning, so I joined the queue, number three would have to do. By 6.50, there was quite a little gathering, and strangely no Arabs, all Filipino, which I hadn’t noticed in the waiting room before. By 6.55a.m. the atmosphere was getting tense, it was 40c degrees outside and there began a shuffle up near the door, I was losing my number three spot, but I wasn’t going to be pushed around, I had a height and girth advantage over these Filipinos, I would muscle through. 7a.m. on the dot the door opened but I proved no match for the svelte waifs, I was nearly toppled to the floor as they deftly whizzed past either side and one I’m sure went between my legs. By the time I reached the counter, I was number 17 in queue for a ticket.
And then it all came clear, as a body of buxom Arab ladies gingerly made their way over and one by one pulled their maid out of the queue and stood in themselves. I was gutted, had I know that these tiny Filipinos weren’t pregnant that they were simply standing in line for their Arab madams I would have held better defence at the door and tackled one or two to maintain my position. Roll on month next girls, I’m bringing my A game.