Lucy’s early pregnancy was probably one of the worst kept secrets in Dubai; ordering a cranberry juice at a brunch one Friday raised everyone’s eyebrows and Sally caught her mooching around the top floor of Dubai Mall with traces of Cinnabon decorating her top, muttering excuses about ‘looking for that bookshop that sounds like a sushi bar…’ Fortunately for Lucy, no one caught on at work too soon. However she was a bit put out that no one thought it abnormal for her to eat a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes in one sitting and the cleaner no longer gave her a cheery ‘morning ma’am’ after she was forced to vomit into the bottom drawer of her desk.
She didn’t waste any time however in getting herself on the books of Dubai’s most popular gynaecologist, Dr Schmidt; a terrifying Austrian woman who often got her name wrong and regularly gave her a hard time about putting on weight. “Pregnancy izz a state not a sickness daahlink” she purred, while slapping Lucy’s behind and smiling in a way that reminded Lucy of that scary lady with the Dalmatians from her youth. Nevertheless, the doctor seemed happy to go along with Lucy’s very precise Zen birth plan. She also felt justified in her selection when she saw Dr Schmidt at a particularly high-society baby shower but was a touch concerned to witness the good doctor down two glasses of bubbly and then dash off to complete “another blaaady C-section”.
Lucy’s ante-natal classes did nothing to soothe the nerves regarding the fast-approaching labour. They were led by a forthright young midwife, who mumbled under her breath that she had never given birth before confidently telling the group that labour was ‘an entirely natural experience’ and that pain relief should only be considered as a last resort for those who couldn’t cope. The group were then shown a ‘birth-movie’ in which a woman who, given her personal grooming, looked like a regular at Glastonbury in the 70s, puffed and squeaked a few times before a baby appeared. Lucy’s heart sank as her husband, who had appeared an hour late and spent most of the session reading his blackberry, turned to her and laughed, “Well that looks like a walk in the park babe!” They fell out in the car on the way home when she pointed out that one of the husbands had been taking notes.
Now it’s June, the heat is intolerable and Lucy is so large she’s struggling to get in and out of her 4x4 without using the steering wheel as an anchor. She’s sick and tired of every shop assistant asking ‘Boyorguurl?’ while pointing at her ever-increasing bump and one unfortunate coffee barista nearly had his head slammed on the counter when he suggested to Lucy that caffeine was ‘bad for baby’. She’s been scanned more times than a bar code and, as a result, beginning to feel like she’s invading her baby’s privacy. The only thing she is able to do now is wallow in an overly warm swimming pool (she gave up on Prenatal Yoga when the instructor, who was 8 months pregnant herself, managed to tuck her ankle behind her head… show-off) and waddle around the malls. However, this usually makes her depressed as she’s constantly reminded how much cheaper all the baby gear is back in her own country. So keen is she to be on the other side of pregnancy, that she’s beginning to wonder whether she should have ordered the Caesarean option after all.
Dedicated to B