The Portugal Years: Rock-a-Bye-Baby, the Waiting Time

The private hospital in Lisbon.

The private hospital in Lisbon

Within two weeks I was certain that the baby was rockin’ and rollin’. Especially right around the time I should have been getting up every morning. It seemed like everyone had a cure for those queasy moments. I settled for a tin of crackers by my side of the bed where I could nibble a few before I had to stand up. By and by it passed and I had more energy. Meanwhile, I started reading all of the books I could find about the upcoming event!

We were amazed and dazed during this prenatal time. We could hardly believe it. We talked about baby names among other things. Harry magnanimously said I could name the baby if it was a girl, and he would name the baby if it was a boy. I let him think that.

Other times we discussed where we would go for prenatal care and the birth. Some of the Americans flew back to the states to have their babies. Some preferred the Red Cross Hospital where the personnel spoke English. Harry felt we would be well taken care of in the Hospital Particular de Lisboa (a privately run hospital as opposed to the national health care clinics). He had me call the hospital and make an appointment.

Doutor Purificação saw us the next week. She scheduled  an ultra sound and determined that the baby would be born around mid-August. We could see the heartbeat clearly, but not much else. Ultra sound was a relatively new diagnostic tool, and fairly primitive at the time.

Portuguese friends and Americans were excited with us. The field director’s wife made a beautifully embroidered maternity dress that was perfect for the summer weather. My parents began to make plans to fly to Portugal after the baby arrived. My Angolan neighbor was concerned that I was too thin and several times brought meals to me. I was still queasy when she brought a squid stew. The tentacles waved at me from the bowl, but I thought I needed to at least try it, and it was fabulous.

squid

Meanwhile, António Figueira was marrying his sweetheart, Ana Maria. So, on April 18th, 1981 so  we rode down to Beja to his the church there. The families had been cooking and baking for days getting read for the festivities. It was an amazing, but tiring day. The weather was warm, and we stopped at a café on the way home. It was the only coffee I drank during the waiting time.

casamento

What is the best wedding food you’ve ever eaten?

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17 comments

  1. Other than the dry meat, I can’t remember as the food wasn’t always as memorable as the drama that took place behind the scenes of a few weddings I have attended. :-)

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    1. Yes. There is always drama at weddings. Mine was the florist never showed up until five minutes before the ceremony was to begin. *sigh*

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      1. Pst. She would have magically tripped down the stairs right after the last rose went up.

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    2. How often does that happen?

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  2. Kevin Spencer · ·

    My Mom made the wedding cake for Charlotte and I, Aunt’s and cousins pitched in to make the reception goodies for the reception. But that cake, that cake was awesome. It was by far the absolute best tiered, decorative, wedding cake I’ve ever had.

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    1. Your mom must have been an amazing cook! I don’t suppose you have a picture?

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  3. :lol: They waved! :lol: Oh dear, it would have taken courage to try, but it does look tasty!

    The professor, you know, hasn’t been to too many weddings!!

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    1. It was really good. I’m a fan – though I haven’t had any since I left Portugal mostly because it’s hard to find. I also learned to make stuffed squid.

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  4. I didn’t know you were (and I guess I was too sort of) at Tia Anna’s wedding! How awesome.

    That stew. Wow. You are a brave and awesome Mommy! :D

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    1. Yes, we were. Tia Lilia was there, too.

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      1. It was a party! We should have another one!

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        1. I liked Portuguese parties.

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          1. The only one I remember is my birthday party and that is probably just because it’s on VHS!

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            1. They just didn’t seem so overwhelming.

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              1. Less pressure. Americans seems to put out a group feeling of comparison. Portuguese just seem to like you the way you are!

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  5. Beautiful photos of food! Loved this entry about your upcoming little one! As for wedding food, the times I’ve had it, it wasn’t nearly this nice-looking!

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    1. Thank you for reading. The food was great. The Portuguese have such a sense of community.

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