In 2019, I was stranded in Morocco due to an unexpected pregnancy. My children and I were living in Mirleft, Morocco and we had been hosting couchsurfers throughout our travels as we lived in Agadir and Taghazout. We met some really interesting people who we are still in touch with today!
Fast forward to December 2019, my baby was 2 weeks overdue. I had planned to have a home water birth with a friend of mine attending, but the baby was so late that her visa was going to run out and she had to go home the morning of December 19th. The night before, I received a request from a Sicilian couchsurfer who asked to stay with us. I told him “sure, no problem, but just so you know, I’m having a baby any day now and I am having her at home so she might come when you are here and it’s up to you if you’re cool with that”. He actually said that if the baby came while he was there, he hoped he could help. Game on! So of course, after having a lovely beach visit and dinner out on the 18th, I started having small signs of labor and the morning of the 19th, I knew she was coming soon. Our couchsurfer helped attach a hose to our shower so that when it was time to fill up the pool we could do so.
I was fine all day and the couchsurfer and I made a dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, and green beans all while I was having small contractions. I was actually in complete denial that I was in labor at that point because the contractions weren’t bad and I thought maybe it would be the next day. We ate and I was so hungry, I downed my food, never suspecting that my body was needing that energy for what was to come. By that time it was about 9 PM and contractions were starting to hurt a bit more, but not bad enough for me to say hey, she’s coming soon. My older kids went out to ride their bikes. At about 10:30pm, I put out the pool I was going to give birth in, but I didn’t have the energy to fill it. Our couchsurfer asked me if I needed help, but I told him my daughter would do it when she got home. Finally, the older kids came home and started to fill the pool but it was too late. I stood up to get in the pool and felt her head coming.
So, my daughter, Nayaira was born into my hands at about 11:10 PM. Quite a magnificent day if I do say so myself! Our couchsurfer, Saro, helped by running to get the neighbor lady who then accompanied me to the hospital to make sure everything was all good. While I was at the hospital, he must have helped my older kids clean up because everything was in order when I returned home a few hours later, although I never directly asked him about it. He put the shower back together so I could shower when I got home at like 2 AM also. So he got to witness birth and hold an hours-old newborn for the first time. A year later, he messaged me to wish Nayaira a Happy Birthday! And when she was about 18 months old, we made plans to visit him and his mother in Sicily! That was a really fun experience which brought the whole thing full circle. Nayaira loved meeting her honorary “Nonna” and we had a lovely time swimming with Saro in the Mediterranean Sea.
I would never in my life have thought that something like that would be one of my life experiences, but Couchsurfing brought that magic to life. I feel very lucky to have met so many wonderful people that I will never forget! Nayaira is now 3 years old and has met lots of Couchsurfers, been a Couchsurfer in Paris, London, and Madrid, and has traveled to 9 countries so far. I hope that when she grows up she will continue to meet other travelers through Couchsurfing.