ABOUT ME

My name is Clare Curtis I am 44 (45 in Jan), married with 1 little boy who is 3.5years old. I have been in Dubai for 13 years and in that time helped to set up over 100 financial services firms in UAE. I am currently a director of CCL limited a Compliance consultancy firm who are actively involved in the region in helping to promote Governance, Risk and Compliance in financial institutions. As a family we love socializing with our friends who like us have “grown up” in Dubai and have gone from trying every new restaurant to discussing the newest kiddie activity and without whom my experience of Dubai wouldn’t have been so fun or supportive.

WHERE IS HOME?

UK, Essex.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER? 

A lawyer.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Director of a Compliance Consultancy Firm.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ACTIVITY TO DO WITH YOUR CHILDREN?

We love going to the beach and rugby tots.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR WEEKENDS?

We live near the cycle track in Meydan so if the weather is good we go for a family cycle with Cameron in the trailer, meeting friends and rugby tots every Saturday followed by a chocolate croissant.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?

Shawshank Redemption.

IF YOU COULD EAT ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding.

WHO’S YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH?

Ryan Reynolds.

WHICH DESTINATION IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST TO VISIT?

Vietnam and Antarctica.

WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

Pizza.

IF YOU COULD HAVE A SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

To be invisible – can you imagine the fun you could have!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN DUBAI?

The outdoors life (when it’s not summer 🙃)

PLEASE TELL US HOW YOUR BOOK “SEAPLANES DON’T FLY AT NIGHT” CAME TO BE.

In 2015 after 1 miscarriage and 5 failed rounds of IVF my husband, Jeff, and I gave up on our dream of having a baby, after all at 40 we were going to be “older” parents and time seemed to have run out. Then in November the unbelievable happened I became pregnant, all by ourselves. It just happened. The pregnancy was “normal” apart from the constant morning sickness which started month 1 and didn’t stop. It was also terrifying I was so worried about losing this baby after all this might be our only chance.

Jeff and I were in high pressure jobs and decided before we had the baby we should do a last holiday just us, a babymoon. We chose an island paradise in the Maldives and at 30 weeks pregnant flew off for some R & R. The weather wasn’t the best and I had been feeling a bit uncomfortable. Then on the penultimate night the island was hit by a tropical storm and the sky’s turned thunderous. I felt slightly more uncomfortable and at 10 ish we retired to our villa. It was then that it started. First just a spot of blood on the sofa until it was flowing heavily down my legs. The Dr was called who concluded I was in labour! She insisted our best chances were to get to a nearby medical facility which was a 45 minute boat ride in treacherous waters. Several members of the hotel staff agreed to accompany us to try and get us there risking their own lives to try and save our baby. After a harrowing journey we got to the island to find a clinic style hospital with basic equipment. It was here that I had my legs strapped in to stirrups and with iodine and a pair of scissors I gave birth to my little boy. He was in the breach position and came out not breathing. I will never forget looking at those black pupils and seeing no life. The Dr did all he could with limited equipment until eventually I heard a cry, he was alive!

We then battled to keep him alive for a further 11 hours as we were unable to get to Male to a hospital until the morning because, as we found out, “Seaplanes don’t fly at night” and hence the name of the book. In the 11 days that followed we had to fight the bureaucracy of getting a passport and getting back to Dubai, which eventually resulted in the head of immigration intervening to help get us home. In the meantime we had to contend with fear of sepsis, holes in the stomach, bleeds on the brain as well as learning to produce milk and being sexually assaulted. Eventually we got back to Dubai to some of the best medical treatment in the world. Cameron is now a happy healthy 3year old but as parents we had a pretty rough start looking at your baby for a month in an incubator with tubes hanging out of him and attached to a monitor. Then on his first birthday my sister asked how I was and I realised we hadn’t really had a chance to deal with our ordeal and so we decided to write it all down. It started as pure self therapy but it was only once we started to write things down that we realised how much we went through and that we both had different emotions and dramas to deal with. Our families asked if they could read the “book” once it was written and so the first edition of “Cameron” was produced just for close friends and family. The book ended up in a publishers hand and he was very excited about its potential and so we started working with him and an editor to create the final published book; Seaplanes Don’t Fly at Night, which can be purchased on amazon in either paperback or kindle. I am so proud of this book which started as self therapy and has morphed in to something way more than we could imagine including raising awareness of premature babies as well as exposing the reader to a world where strangers and family can become one to try and save the life of one little baby boy, our son, Cameron.

PLEASE SHARE AN EXTRACT FROM YOUR BOOK “SEAPLANES DON’T FLY AT NIGHT”.

If I understood the gynecologist correctly nothing would happen tonight. Clare would be given the other injection and then get some rest and, hopefully, we would return to our hotel on Randheli Island in the morning. Perfect. That is good, I thought to myself. Back to where we were before this nightmare. From Randheli Island we could fly back to Dubai via the capital Malé and, once home in Dubai, would enjoy some of the best medical care in the world.

It was almost 1am. I was dead tired, and I wondered how Clare was feeling, just a few steps away from me as I stood in the doorway to the labour room, at the Noonu Atoll Hospital, on Manadhoo Island, Maldives. She must have been worried and, though I desperately wanted to go to her, I realised I would have to bide my time as I did not want to find myself at war with the hospital staff.

Just then, the prickly gynecologist exited the labour room and walked straight up to me. Totally deadpan, he said, ‘Your wife is three centimeters dilated. The baby will come tonight. I might be able to save your wife, but you must accept that we will lose your baby.