There’s a big difference between having a baby in Doha and having a baby at home surrounded by extended family, apart from being a fairly daunting task anyway, there’s a stark realisation that other than your husband you really have no-other interested party around to offer support. Of course friends are more than happy to help out here and there, they’ll do a school run, pop in a see if you’re doing ok and pick something up if you need it, but they have their own lives and your new arrival is not their niece, nephew, cousin, grand-daughter or grand-son.
Living with the memory of four years ago, I decided that asking men for a message when ‘inside’ was probably a bad option. Therefore I decided it was best to make sure when I landed in the delivery room to get ready for the dissension, the second coming as it were, that I should have everything I would need to carry me through.
The bag was packed for weeks and I was confident I had it all, pyjamas and two extra pairs, a nightie and two extra, underwear, slippers, hair dryer, hair brush, heat resistant spray for hair, hair treatment mask, Clinique morning eye gel, Clinique night time repair eye gel, tinted moisturiser for those first special pics, foundation and concealer for those impromptu, ‘mommy and me’ snaps, a nail file and buffer, tweezers, Babygro for the baby, refreshing foot spray, soothing leg gel, Bio Oil (and a straw), an uplifting bra, tummy suppressing knickers, neutral earrings to match all outfits, sorry pyjamas and a bottle of Chanel Allure. Entertainment I put in a separate bag, my phone, Bose Sound link mini speaker, my birthing playlist ( starting with James Taylor, Gaia, ending with Gloria Gaynor, I will survive), Ross O’Carroll Kelly, title not important, they’re all good and bobs your uncle, fanny’s your aunt, I was ready to have the baby. My appointment was for 8.30 and the doctor had called to apologise, she was going to be fifteen minutes late.
Ironically, at the same time my sister-in-law was preparing to delivery her baby too, in Cork. Her packing, varied slightly, an inflatable bed, (cos you never know if you’ll get one), ear-plugs to drown out the incessant noise and drama as much as possible. A phrasebook for Polish, Brazilian and Nigerian, (nice to be able to talk to the girls in the bed next to you, pardon me, in the room next to you, as far as I know the HSE are not requiring people to share beds – yet). Velcro and a needle and thread, the curtain never closes fully and it’s rude to stare while girl across the way and her family, extended family and a few neighbours from her village in Kerala eat their Indian take-out.
My sister-in-law’s appointment was also for 8.30, (the day before), it was now forty eight hours later and she was still fasting, still chewing and spitting out ice cubes as sustenance, still waiting for the hospitals only on-call anaesthetist, still hoping that somewhere between emergency open heart surgeries, appendectomies and broken arms, he/she would have five minutes to have a coffee to refresh before he tackled her case. For all the inefficiencies though, there’s nothing like an Irish nurse to provide encouragement and solace to both mum and dad, and when the big moment arrived, Aoife, her nurse, said, ‘everything’s ok, everything’s ok’.
My nurse, Nureshi, for my big moment asked, ‘is everything ok?’ ‘Where is your paperwork?’ I pointed to Keeping up with the Kalashnikovs but she said, ‘before baby, you need provide paper’, ‘your passport, husbands passport, mothers ID, fathers ID, your residence permit copy, husbands residence permit copy and the final nail, the Marriage Certificate’. Arrgggh, I had nothing, but my husband stepped up to his part of birth in the Middle East and produced each item. And just as the nurse stamped the last document, she glanced at the bed and shouted, ‘paperwork is all in in order, so puush madam, puush now madam. Moral of the story, when push comes to shove, Daddy played his part well.
Enter: Emer Maria, 8 lbs 4 oz. paperwork all in order