So in December after waiting over 30 days to hear from my husband’s work about him quitting his job in Morocco – having heard nothing although my husband has his visa in hand. My husband and I decided that I would fly back to the USA to give birth in California without him potentially there to attend the birth.
So I started shopping around for flights and settled on Emirates Airlines because I wouldn’t have to switch flight carriers – meaning haul a ton of heavy luggage by myself heavily pregnant and recheck it at a different airline, the cost of an extra bag wasn’t crazy, I only had two flights instead of 3 – although total flight time 30+hrs including an 8 hour layover in Dubai and the price was right.
This involved us also choosing to give up the apartment I had been renting and living in long before I met my husband – that he moved into once we got married. It was sad because I had been renting that apartment for close to 3 years. My landlord/ mul d dar and his family had been really nice and respectful. A good landlord is worth their weight in gold in Morocco.
So I was also packing up an entire apartment while packing to leave Morocco – potentially forever. Which I have to say I would never recommend for anyone to do pregnant especially as pregnant as I was at that time. My husband tried to be helpful but Moroccans and Americans don’t move or pack up apartments in the same way. So I just had him move things once I packed and labelled the box the items were in over to my in laws house – who we moved in with.
Moving into my in laws was one of the most stressful things I have done in my marriage with my husband. As an introvert American – I like my space and I like people as long as I have a bolt hole from them when I desire to be alone. Moroccans are extremely social, communal and don’t mind living in extremely small spaces with many people. Ex. A three bedroom apartment that has 8 people living in it with one bathroom.
SO I spent a lot of time in my new room away from my in laws and other family because seeing everyone – everyday in such tight quarters was just overwhelming and the lack of privacy at times extremely stressful.
I also went back to the public clinic where I was being seen by midwives and nurses for one last check up before I flew home in week 35 of my pregnancy 12/19. They looked surprised to see me and asked me why I had come – apparently Moroccan women are alloted 6 visits for their entire pregnancy. SMH – I said I was traveling soon and wanted to make sure I was healthy enough to travel. So they weighed me, checked my uterus height, listened to the baby on the fetalscope and had me pee in a cup for a dip stick to check for proteins and sugars in my urine.
So the night I am traveling to Casablanca to catch my flight the next morning I am doing my final packing – and my in laws come into the room bearing – gifts they want me to bring with me – including what looks like a 5 kilo bag of siloo! I was only able to squeeze in the gifts for my sister in law and her kids – I had no room for anything else – sadly as my mother really likes siloo… on her oatmeal.
My mother in law fought not to cry – as I hugged her goodbye and my husbands grandmother reminded me to take care of the baby and travel safely. My father in law (the big softie) and sister in law were also trying not to get to emotional – focusing on getting my luggage down three flights of narrow stairs.
We all walked out to the main road to get two taxis to the train station to start the journey to the airport and ultimately for me back to the United States.
I hugged my father in law and sister in law good bye after being bundled into a taxi by my husband who followed in the second taxi to the train station. I splurged on first class tickets to Casablanca because – I did not want to worry about fighting people to get on and off the train with the amount of luggage I had.
My husband the worry wart – was very insistent that I try to sleep on the train ride.. I did my best between the train movement and the man snoring in our compartment.
Finally as the sun rose over Morocco we arrived at the main train station of Casablanca. We quickly move to the next platform to catch the train to the airport and squeeze ourselves and all my luggage in to the over crowded car. Finally after about 45 minutes we arrive at the airport.
I go to the Emirates airlines help counter to ensure the extra luggage I paid for is correct – as their website had a confusing manner of wording the weight allowances of the the third piece of luggage. Alhumdualillah everything was in order.
I then go and check in at the Emirates Airlines counter. I get one tag for my one piece of “carry on,” luggage. I later meet a luggage weigher – before passport control who tells me I can’t take my bag and my laptop backpack although the ticket agent for Emirates Airlines told me I could without a second tag. So I walk all the way back to the ticket counter with my husband and get a second ticket – in near tears – it was tough enough to go through saying goodbye once to my husband but to have to do it a second time – because of the hamar luggage weigher – made me want to sucker punch the guy.
I then head through to passport control and then wait to board my flight back to the US.
This was once of the toughest things I ever made the choice to do. However my husband and I decided it was the best choice to have a healthy birth inshaAllah.
We had hoped my husband would get authorization from the direction of the Protection Civile where he works to travel and be with me for the birth but that did not happen – despite my husband jumping through ever hoop and following procedure to do so – because the administration is corrupt and broken.
So without my husband by my side but with my mother and her spouses strong support I gave birth to our daughter on 2/9/ 2015 at 6:45am after 21 total hours of labor. Alhumdualillah we are both healthy and thriving.
Yet still we await my husband’s arrival from Morocco.