We'd flown in the morning before, I was about 3 years pregnant. I imagine the staff at Air Malta took one look at me and allowed for some serious extra baggage. They may have even fired up an extra engine.
Roughly 8 months before, I'd woken up in our house in Libya with an unsettling and familiar feeling of nausea. Like most parents the choice to wake up wasn't my own. The cries of our second little traveler who was a few months old at the time, were making a crescendo, louder and louder, my time was up. As I sat propped up in bed breast-feeding, cushions strategically placed, the nausea popped by to say hello again. Was it something I ate? I felt like this yesterday.
Then it all clicked.
I found G in the kitchen and as we ate our breakfast I casually slotted in the familiar sentence we've all used "do you know how to say pregnancy test in Arabic"?
Over the next couple of days we made our way through 8 positive pregnancy tests. In the words of Tony Blair we were "shocked but delighted". I wondered if the Blairs were like friends of ours who were also a little shocked with their news, in the words of the husband "it's not bloody fair, I can't even remember having sex?" His wife replied "I think we both may have been asleep".
So here we were in Malta. It was time to have a baby. I'm sure G's parents hadn't considered when they had their own children that they would find themselves in Malta waiting for their 3rd Grandchild to be born. We couldn't have survived without them.
In my elephantiasis state we walked along the cobbled streets and up the hill to the hospital . We held hands, hormones and the situation struck me for a moment. The guilt for the other little travelers asleep in their beds, nerves about being in another country, sadness at not having my parents around. G tried to make me laugh. "Now that Mum and Dad have got the kids, do you want to book in to a hotel"?
The pace increased at the hospital, we went through the usual drill of forms and conversations with medico's. We sat grinning at each other. It was the same every time, no wonder we kept having babies? Adrenaline was zipping through my veins. Was it a boy or girl? What colour was it's hair, it's eye's? I thought about my parents back in my home town, waiting for the call. I tried not to cry.
In the delivery room I joked with my cheeky Anesthetist and G got the camera ready, this was his 3rd gig in 3 years, he was thinking of turning professional.
And then our world changed. Our family changed. Our 3rd little traveler arrived.
"What's his name?" they asked
"It's Fred" we both beamed in unison.
"Oh...hmmm" said Dr Muscat (our Obstetrician who had once been a politician) "You know that's the current Prime Ministers name, right?" He wasn't a fan. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, it's my Dads name" I said with a little tear in my eye "and my Grandfathers".
"Ahhh, well you are excused". "Welcome to Malta little Fred" he said.
Happy Birthday my little man.