Pregnancy in Dubai

Emma Milner’s tummy is so large it no longer fits in her apartment

‘I’ve put it somewhere safe.’ That’s what I’ve been telling my husband for the past few weeks, anyway. The ‘it’ in question could be anything from passports and birth certificates to biscuit barrels and remote controls. Unfortunately, I am still being met with looks of scorn and despair as I can’t actually remember where all these safe places are.

The reason that everything is lost or, as I like to say, ‘safe’, is, at eight months pregnant, we’ve decided to move house. As our little family of three is about to become a foursome, we’ve shifted all of our belongings to a bigger apartment on the other side of Dubai. When we first moved to the UAE four or five years ago everything we owned fitted into three suitcases and a carrier bag. Now, a child and a half later, it has taken a small army to move us. And, like in any army, there were casualties; banged heads, stubbed toes and scratched hands. And that was just from my 18-month-old who was directing proceedings from the relative safety of his pushchair.

Moving with a toddler in tow is not easy, particularly when the moving firm calls you on the day to say it’s over-booked and has only two staff available to do everything. ‘You need to pack boxes yourself, madam’ was met with the pregnancy card. ‘That’s not what we are paying for! I can’t pack boxes! I’m eight months pregnant!’

A small space, two movers clearly not used to a grumpy, hormonal pregnant woman and a toddler shouting orders was not very conducive to getting the job done quickly. A near miss with a Stanley knife and a fast-moving fridge – both heading straight for Sam – and my nerves were in tatters. When one of the men foolishly uttered, ‘You need more help madam. Don’t you have a nanny?’ – bruises nearly turned to bloodshed.

I almost managed to keep my cool, until I was told there was no time for them to unpack at the end of the (12-hour) day and to ‘call when you’ve finished with the boxes’. A supportive squeeze on the shoulder and a call for deep breaths from my husband was swiftly followed by a sharp shove into another room, the door slamming shut behind me.

But, we were in. We were home. Following our move it took us two days to find Sam’s toys, four days to find the kettle and a week to track down our bedding. But, as time goes on, we are getting there and, despite the boxes and some understandable temper tantrums (usually) from Sam, we are all enjoying our new home. Sam has room to run about and we, for the first time in 18 months, have our bedroom back to ourselves – for a couple of weeks, at least.

But with our new, bigger home, Sam can get into even more trouble. The last couple of months we’ve discovered that with increased mobility comes a greater potential for injury. And, in this area, Sam is a boy who shows great potential. That said, he has only been walking a few weeks so he can’t be expected to master it just yet. I’ve got more than 30 years’ experience on him and I still totter over in car parks and on escalators.

In a new place with a new layout, poor Sam has fallen victim to ‘moved’ doors, extra rooms and so many toilets he just can’t contain his excitement. His love for the loo and everything that can go down it has unfortunately moved with him, but, with an abundance of boxes to climb and new furniture to explore, his interest may be waning. Running into coffee tables, trapping fingers in doors and diving off chairs are becoming his greatest passion, and with that comes a whole host of new bruises, bumps and grazes.

When we’re not giving these pesky obstacles a royal ticking off, rubbing sore bits and making soothing noises, we continue to search for our dearest possessions. Far from being safe, it seems our passports may have been put into witness protection, but who cares? Now we’re in our new home, we’re not going anywhere in a hurry, and at least we have the important things. The kettle is right where it should be, and the remote control was finally found in the biscuit barrel.

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