18 years ago today

I was living in Saudi Arabia and the size of a house due to being pregnant with C.   I had gestational diabetes and so it had been decided that I would have a C section in week 39.

I was checked into the Royal Military Hospital, feeling like a fraud.   I was neither of those things but my boss was both so pulled the odd string and I got my own room with a view over Riyadh in what was deemed THE best hospital.    I was on a corridor with various VIPs.   I have no idea who they were but they must have been relatively important to be there.   Or married to somebody who was.   And the woman in the room next door was having number 13.   She sneezed and the baby arrived in the corridor.

This posed a huge problem.   Not for mum or baby but for the authorities.   You see in order to make sure that babies were registered the government had decided that all babies have to be born in an operating theatre or birthing room to get a birth certificate.   Many bedouins living in the desert never bothered and so there was no way of tracking statistics.    The only way to keep track was to force mums to have their babies where they could be counted.   Almost biblical.

And not a problem I would encounter but it did make me realise just how out of place I was.  I was given an Arabic birth certificate which we then took to the British Embassy to be translated.   Both documents are great for show and tell in later years.

Not so great when you go through passport control and they see “Place of Birth:  Riyadh”.

My C-section went to plan and shortly after 9am the surgeon announced “Congratulations you have a baby girl and she starts school tomorrow”.

She was over 10lbs.    A bit of a bruiser some might say.

It was mandatory that I spend a week in hospital to recover.    I was in heaven.

C was a stunner.  All I had to do was lie in a private room and stare at her.

And it was then that I realised I did fit in and I was just as much a VIP as far as the staff were concerned.   All the nurses and midwives were Irish and loved having somebody speaking English as a foreign language to chat to.   And a big happy healthy baby to cuddle!

They made me feel like royalty, popping in and sitting on the bed helping me get to grips with being in agony and feeding little Miss C.    C’s dad thanked them by always stopping at the French bakery en route in and arriving with armfuls of croissants.  And bringing n magazines from the UK that had been delivered our office.   These were rarer than gold dust on hen’s teeth so the nurses were thrilled to sneak in to my room to talk to me and have a quick read.

It seemed appropriate that C and I shared croissants then this morning.  18 years later and her birthday.

Before she went off for a driving lesson and then off to college where she is doing A levels.

I look at Little Miss C now and I am stunned by how amazing she is.   How she has turned out 18 years later.   Gorgeous, talented and confident.

With ambitions to go off to university and be a paramedic, madly in love with Mr H and making me proud every day.

The world is your oyster now C.   Go rock it.



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