Jillian R.
I was in the shower when I thought of this story and thought I would share. Yeah, I don't know why the shower, I guess I'm always thinking about things in the shower because I always do everything in the same order so I use the time to reflect on y'know, things...

I was kept in the hospital for 24 hours after giving birth to the baby. I gave birth late in the evening so I was all pumped up with adrenaline (or excitement or happiness, I don't know) and didn't sleep a wink that night. Eric paid for a cot and slept in our room, he slept like a baby, along with the real baby; Scarlett. Hence, I spent the whole night reading articles online on my slow mobile internet and oh, Facebook. Thank God for good ol' Facebook, there's always someone around.

The next morning however, the adrenaline wore off and I was finally feeling drowsy. Eric had to drive home to pick up some items for me and the baby because I was admitted so suddenly that we forgot a lot of things - like a baby blanket, poor Scarlett spent the night wrapped in a terry cloth towel.

So I was dozing off when the nurse came in to give the baby a bath. I was more than happy to let her bathe Scarlett because I didn't know how to bathe babies and was relying on my post-natal; doula to show me when we all got home. Anyway, getting to watch and learn right there in the hospital was great.

However, the nurse turned out to be really nosy, and I wished I had just stayed in bed and pretended to be asleep!

First of all, it's almost a daily occurrence that Filipinos here just assume that I am one of them and start speaking rapid Tagalog to me. Since moving here three years ago, "Are you Filipino?" has quickly become one of the most popular questions Filipinos ask me. I don't get it though, why do Filipinos assume that every Asian is one of them. Asian friends in other countries tell me the same thing, we all share the same feelings about the phrase "Are you Filipino?". There's nothing wrong with being Filipino, I just can't understand why they never ask "Where are you from?" instead of just assuming. There are even some who ARGUE with me where I come from (why does it even matter?!).

The Other Person: Are you Filipino?
Me: No, I'm Malaysian
Person: But you look Filipino

No, I don't.

Anyway, the nurse came in and the first thing out of her was "You Filipina?"
Me: No, I'm Malaysian

So she tells me she was there to bathe the baby, I said okay and as she was setting up the bath;

Nurse: You look like Filipino
Me: Yeah, I've been told (I don't. Not even a little)
Nurse: Your husband is Malaysian?
Me: *Thinks "Omg, really?" * No
Nurse: Where is he from?
Me: The States
Nurse: Do you work?
Me: *REALLY??* No
Nurse: Housewife?
Me: Yeah
Nurse: Your husband work?
Me: Yeah
Nurse: What is his work?
Me: Is the water warm?
Nurse: Yes, where do you stay?
Me: *I told her the area where we live* (I don't know why I told her, she wore me down!)
Nurse: Is it near *quotes a random place on the other end of Abu Dhabi*?
Me: No, it's on the other side
Nurse: I don't know it

I walked back to my bed, if I hadn't her next question would probably be when do I get my periods!

See! So annoying, I felt like I was being interrogated! Some people have no boundaries! The interrogation (and probably judging) continues after the bath.

Nurse: Do you have clean clothes for baby?
Me: No, her father went home to get some (we brought only one onesie thinking babies don't get dirty within 24 hours - they don't). The one she wore is still clean, just put her in it.
Nurse: How come you don't bring clean clothes?
Me: ...because her father is bringing some now!

She then reluctantly dressed Scarlett and left us alone. The same nurse tended to me a few more times but Eric was there and strangely she never asked me any more questions. 

Probably scared off by the sight of a bald, scruffy guy who hadn't had enough sleep in two days!
Jillian R.
I thought the Maid from Hell (MFH) chapter has been concluded, but I was wrong. Here's another "gem" of a story.

First though, we now live in a community. It is no longer city living where it's every apartment for themselves and people suffering in silence should anything go wrong until the problem goes away (although it hardly ever does). No, we are now in a large community with a closely moderated Facebook group where people here rant about anything from parking problems, to reporting nannies with unattended children, asking about where to buy organic artisan bread to classifieds.

So after my ordeal with MFH, I posted on the group warning people that there was a very unreliable housemaid/nanny working within the community and should anyone need or be interested in more information to message me directly and I would release her name. I must have had at least 20-30 requests within the 12 hour period that I had the post up until one woman (who probably is a maid herself) had to ruin it for everyone - I won't get into that, I don't want to offend.

To the people, mostly women who were interested, I sent MFH's name and only that she was late every day the first week, two hours late throughout the second and third week and not even showing up sometimes without so much as a courtesy call. No, I didn't say anything about her folding my glossy cookbook nor her below-standard cleaning methods.

Apparently, that was enough.

Two days after the group post I got a call from her - so her phone works after all!! She sounded like she was crying on the phone, otherwise that was some pathetic voice she made up to get sympathy.

Then the lies started.

At first, she asked if I complained about her on the group, because several of the households she was working for asked her what she did, and one of them apparently wanted their key back (I never gave her our key, thank heavens!). I said I did, and then launched into a long-ish lecture about how she can't treat people this way, all I wanted from her was a courtesy call if she was to be late or can't show up for work.

She apologized and said everything was her fault - which was nice of her I suppose, instead of arguing. It was the lies that I couldn't forgive! Here are some of the things she said to get me to remove the post (which was already removed at that point)

- Cited personal problems; "It's all my fault, I have a lot of personal problems
(Then she shouldn't have bitten off more than she can chew, I think she was working for at least eight households in our community)

- "My phone dropped into the toilet on Thursday (yes, just mentioned a random day!) so I couldn't call you"
(I didn't know what Thursday she was talking about, but she got all my messages fine and still had my phone number so that was an obvious lie, like I said, this girl isn't very smart!)

- I was saying she was late every time and sometimes not even showing up. She said "...but I thought you didn't want me to come"
(WHAT? Then why did I tell her time and time again that I waited for her without her turning up? Another desperate lie)

- After all that, here was the cherry on the cake! "If you need help, I have friends that I can recommend to help you, madam"
(To which I replied "NO! I don't want any more help from you!)

- Then seeing that I wasn't buying her lies, she tried to turn it on me; "but you told me not to come"
(Yes, yes I did, but that was the day she was already an hour late and got herself fired)

She went on with a few more lies but I was no longer listening. I did hear that she was barred from coming into our community (we have guard houses at all the entrances). I felt bad for a second before I reminded myself that someone could possibly waited for her to babysit and having her not turn up and consequently miss an important meeting.

At that point, Scarlett started crying so I told her I hoped she learnt her lesson, good luck and hung up. 

I think she has effectively put me off all maids. Well done!
Jillian R.
As promised, here's my account, or at least what I thought (everything happened so fast and sudden, it still feels quite surreal to me) was baby Scarlett's journey into the world.

Scarlett Sarai R. 

In my previous entry, I wrote that two weeks or so before I gave birth, I went to my OB/GYN who told me that my baby might come that night itself or within the next couple of days as I was 2.5 cm dilated. I immediately panicked as our baby shopping wasn't completed just yet. So, we went home, grabbed my already packed bags (mine and the baby's), threw them in the car and waited for the labor pains to start - and as you all know, nothing happened. Every other day after that, we went and see my OB/GYN who checked me and said "few more days habibi (which means darling, I think), go home and wait!".

The days leading to October 1st rolled by normally, well sort of. I would feel a mild contraction now and then which I dismissed as another Braxton Hicks. It was uncomfortable, but not to the extend that I was immobile or anything. I was still vacuuming, mopping, washing the balcony with buckets of water, cooking and walking my dogs. Little did I know that I was in labor the whole time! Yes, I was in labor for two weeks! A very slow, gradual, painless labor!

On the day of delivery, we went to the OB/GYN for what I thought was another routine check up and would be sent home, again. In fact, I had a pot of fresh, homemade soy milk cooling on the stove. When we got to the doctor's, she told me that I was already 4 cm dilated and I needed to go to the hospital immediately. The fear and shock on my face was apparently quite obvious because she called the head of the anesthesiology department to prep me for my epidural. Yeah, I've been quite a baby about pain my entire life (and always will be) and had been bugging her with lots of questions (some quite unnecessary, I know now) about pain management throughout my pregnancy.

So I got to the hospital at about 5.45 pm and was immediately sent into the delivery room. By the time I saw the anesthesiologist, I was shaking (again, unnecessarily) and I remember asking him what if I moved as he was injecting the epidural needle and become paralyzed. He was a very cheerful chap and told me not to worry. I still worried though, until he said that the first needle is only as thin as an insulin needle, that was KEY! I relaxed considerably because I watch Eric, a diabetic, inject insulin everyday!

After that, I don't really remember what happened; besides shaking violently like I was having a seizure (effects of the epidural), watching "My Cousin Vinny" - which happens to be one of my all time favorites, and texting my family on Whatsapp. At about 6.30 pm; I remember craning my neck to look at the clock which was behind me because I made them put my phone away because I was afraid that the signal would interfere with the baby monitor (I was in labor, nothing I did or say needed to make sense), my OB/GYN came in and told me I was 10 cm dilated and that I was ready, the baby was coming!

I felt nothing! No pain! The relief I felt was enough to get me through the last bit of it all!

Then came the difficult part. Pushing the baby out. I guess because English is not their first language, my midwife and doctor didn't use key words such as "hold your breath then push" so I wasn't pushing right. This was when Eric started guiding me. He was such an amazing birthing coach and by 7.45 pm, baby Scarlett was born!

The pain? Honestly I thought it would be a thousand times worse but it wasn't. I always knew I wasn't brave enough to ever attempt a natural birth without drugs, and I was right, thank god for the epidural! I never felt any pain from the contractions and the baby popping hurt just a second.

After what seemed like the longest time, they cleaned the baby up and placed her in my arms. I did feel all euphoric but not for the reasons that people often tell me about or show on TV, I felt euphoric because I did it, I gave birth, I never thought I could do it.


More to come on how the baby has (or hasn't) changed our lives soon!

Oh yeah, the soy milk had to be thrown out because it sat out for two days and was curdled when we got home :(

Jillian R.
After posting my last entry, I went to my OB/GYN for a check up and was subsequently sent to the hospital to give birth. Baby Scarlett was born on October 1st, a happy, healthy baby. I will post a separate entry about her incredible journey into the world very soon.

For now, here's the conclusion (I know, many of you don't want the saga to end!) to my Maid from Hell (MFH) entries.

In my last entry, I mentioned that I was getting ready to wait for MFH to come clean the house. Well, guess what? She never showed up! We left for the doctor's office about three hours after she was scheduled to show up.

Fast forward two days later, while I was recovering from childbirth, I got a text from her saying she was sorry for not turning up and the reason was, surprise surprise! She was not feeling well! Every time she hasn't turned up so far was because she has a cold, or has severe backache, or hip ache. I don't know, maybe she isn't fit for physical work or something, but let me just say that this girl is 24 years old! I'm 28 this year and I've been cleaning after not one but two furry dogs every day and I don't see myself having such severe back or hip aches!

Anyway, from my hospital cot, with stitches from popping out a human being, I texted her back telling her the baby was born and asked why she didn't even call or text to inform us that she wasn't coming. In the same text I also said that was very unreliable of her. Her response? I'm going to write what she replied verbatim because it's hilarious!

"Congradulation madam. If you think like that its up to u madam. I was on bed all the day yday and didn't get energy to even text to u. Was really sick. When do u need me to come? sory for didn't come yesterday. Thanks. Take care!"

Funny, right? I mean, I just gave birth, and I had no trouble texting. Was her ailment so bad that her fingers were too weak to type a few words?

Anyway, I thought the house had not been cleaned for a few days and we were bringing the baby home, so we might as well have her come in, clean then quickly look for a replacement if necessary. So I told her to come today, 9 am. She agreed. However, she later texted back saying she had another appointment that she had forgotten about (see, she FORGETS appointments!) and could not make it at 9 am, and was 11.30 am alright? See, again, it's like she's the boss, she dictates whatever time she wants to come and work!

Well, in the end I told she could come today at 2.45 pm. She never showed. No text. No call. She got fired via a text message from me. The end.

I think I've had it. I've been running up and down the stairs already anyway, I think I am going to save myself and everyone around me the trouble by just cleaning my own house like I always have. I kind of like to clean anyway.
Jillian R.
This is it, the final entry for the month of September. I'm actually quite proud of myself. In the midst of all the moving, unpacking, pregnancy and maid drama, I managed to squeeze in five entries this month. 

Here's just a quick update on the baby.

My actual due date is in 10 days. Yes, 10 days!! I'm going through a roller coaster of emotions that I can't even begin to describe. Besides fearing the pain of childbirth - which I STILL don't know why every mother tells me that I will forget once the baby is in my arms; I mean, how can you forget the pain of another human being coming out of you when it's not easy to forget the pain of the morning after a very spicy meal (you know what I mean?)?

Anyway, yes, besides fearing the pain of giving birth, I'm afraid of all the usual things, will my baby be allergic to my dogs? Because there's no way we're giving up our dogs. It's not even a thought that should enter anyone's heads that they should give up a pet, whose basically family just because they are having a baby. You find ways around it. There's the fear of not knowing what to do with the baby (although we have engaged a post natal doula) and a myriad of other concerns, some crazier than others...

A week ago, we went to my OBGYN who told us that the baby was coming either that night itself, or within the next couple of days - 19 days early. Now, I honestly don't know why she would say that and get our hopes up and not to mention sending me into a panicky frenzy. So we came home and got prepared for the birth. So that was a week ago, up till today, no baby! It's been getting a bit tiresome driving in the city every other day, and like I said before the doctor just sends me home to wait some more.

This is it for today. I have to go shower and get ready for the Maid from Hell's arrival. I have some heavy household chores for her to do today which I really shouldn't be doing myself in my condition. And yes, do not worry, any incompetence shall be well documented in my next entry!
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