37.5 weeks down and the wife is still pregnant. Thank God it has been relatively pain free. There was that one week where I felt a little bloated, but I’m pretty sure that was because I was drinking too much milk. I’m fine now though. Don’t worry. Oh, and the wife’s fine too.
When we tell people here in Abu Dhabi that we are expecting most people ask us what hospital. A few experienced parents even ask which doctor. It’s a small community. Good doctors get passed around like Pringles.
However, when we tell people back in the states, their reaction has been a bit different. Upon telling them we are expecting, most people’s first question is ‘Are you having it there?!?’
Yes. We’re having the baby in the UAE.
Oh, they’d say.
Did you catch it? It was subtle, but behind that ‘Oh’ was a myriad of meaning.
The main image in people’s minds, with childbirth in the Middle East, is one of me and our Bedouin doctor, perched over my wife, who is being attended by a couple of women wearing burkas and abayas, all of us sweating heavily, trying to ignore the moans of a camel standing just outside our woven desert tent.
It’s brief, but I see it in their eyes. And as much as I’d love to indulge the fairytale, the truth is rather unimaginative.
We’ll have our baby in a hospital. Like much of our western counterparts. And although I have heard stories of women’s headscarves and men’s ghutras needing to be whooshed aside as a baby entered the world, most stories are quite common. Midwives. Sonograms. Regular check ups. Dietary supplements. Something tells me these are a part of many birth stories. The selfish side of me sometimes wants that story. But then I realize that the toughest part of this process isn’t happening to me. It’s happening to my blessed wife. Who by the way is amazing. All women who give birth are amazing. If I didn’t think women were stronger than men beforehand… I do now.
Well done, women!
I’ve learned a lot in these last months about preparation and the need for prayer and faith. Even more so in times such as these where there is so much out of your control. And as much as I’ve wished that my friends and family back home could be a part of it all, I appreciate the new friends and extended family here in the UAE which has helped us through this process.
Making a baby in a foreign country is the easy part. Bringing it healthily into that world is a completely different story. But it’s not impossible.
I for one can’t wait to meet it. We don’t know the gender yet. People joke that as long as it is healthy and doesn’t have a tail you’ll be happy. I don’t know though.
There’s something to be said about hatching a baby horntail. Then I would have good reason to call my wife Daenarys, mother of dragons.
Bring it on!