‘After just 2 WEEKS, he helped with medication and even cleaned after I lost control of my bladder. ‘I knew this hot mess would fit right into my life.’: Couple shares journey from ‘a Bumble swipe to baby wipes’

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“From a Bumble swipe to baby wipes:

Iena’s perspective:

I moved over to Chicago from Dubai after losing both my parents. I spent three years in Dubai grieving this loss and just living life in the moment, making decisions that perhaps in hindsight were not in my best interest, but they took the pain away and just let me get lost in the moment and feel numb. However, after years of partying and living in the Middle Eastern bubble, I decided I wanted a change. I wasn’t quite ready to return to England, London where I was born and raised, so a bigger more beautiful version in the USA sounded ideal. Little did I know it would be where life just somehow gave me everything I had been searching for.

Rob and I met on Bumble in October 2019. We began by speaking on the phone, then a face-to-face call – this was more prompted by me. I was new to the city and didn’t want to take any chances or fall in the trap of the various catfish horror stories people so often talk about. It was clear that he was a real person, and we clicked over the phone and decided to meet up. I wanted something simple as I had only been in Chicago a few weeks, so we opted for a stroll by the lake. It was the last day of summer in Chicago and we just sat and talked for ages about life, travel, family, our past and enjoyed the sun whilst doing so – it was clear from the offset that there was going to be a second date.

couple posing together
Courtesy of Iena, Rob, and Noah

There was indeed a second date and a third and a fourth. However, very early into our relationship, I was due to have a complex hip replacement due to a birth defect in my left hip that had gotten to the point of needing surgery so I could walk without a limp. Therefore, I wasn’t sure if us seeing each other would continue as I know I wasn’t going to be mobile for a fair few months. I told my friends in Chicago, I was ready to write him off as a partner and didn’t even invite him to the hospital to see me- but to my surprise he had already arranged with them to be there for me and when I woke up, he was right by my side guiding me through my recovery and helping me each step of the way as this wasn’t an ordinary operation.

woman in hospital gown with boyfriend
Courtesy of Iena, Rob, and Noah

In fact, he never left- he would go to work and return right after work to be by my side and then leave the next day and rinse and repeat. I was in such a vulnerable state and this 6’3 man squished himself on a hospital sofa bed just to show me the meaning of commitment, support, and having a truly wonderful boyfriend. After only two weeks of knowing me, he decided he wanted to stick around and made it his decision to help me through this process, from arranging my medications each day, taking me for walks to help strengthen my hip, even clean up after me as I had lost all control of my bladder. We skipped the honeymoon phase and went straight into real life!

man sleeping on a couch
Courtesy of Iena, Rob, and Noah

Rob’s perspective:

When I first met Iena on bumble, it was the British accent that got me. Our first date was actually a disaster, as Iena ditched me at the end of what seemed like a perfectly beautiful dinner, when she bumped into her friends in a bar we were at. She called, apologized for the misunderstanding, and I invited her round for lunch, and funnily enough she just fell asleep on my sofa, hung over from the night before. But as I watched her, I knew this hot mess would fit right into my life.

I asked her to be my girlfriend a month before she was due to have major surgery. It was really hard watching her go through such a painful procedure and so I wanted to offer all my support to get her through it and healthy again as I didn’t even know young people could have hip replacements and it looked very difficult indeed. I knew she was the one, even when we were stuck indoors doing mundane and boring things together, because we got along every step of the way and I never felt I wanted to be anywhere else.

couple dressed up
Courtesy of Iena, Rob, and Noah

Speaking together:

A year or so later we have not only survived the monotony of post operation surgery together, but spent the majority of the pandemic growing a little baby boy who is now 8 months old. We are officially a little Bumble family and so in love. Thinking back to a simple swipe, it seems unbelievable to think it would lead to this! The journey hasn’t been easy. Quite frankly, Noah was not planned, but so so welcome and the best surprise that life could give, and it makes our hearts so full.

couple with their baby boy
Courtesy of Iena, Rob, and Noah

I have always loved traveling, and Rob is so encouraged by all the places I have been to that I have given him the travel bug also. It isn’t easy going on big trips with a baby, but Noah makes it so worthwhile, just to see his face smile when he sees something new or to know I am exposing him to the vast beauty of this world at such a young age is what is so meaningful. Next year, we both plan to quit our jobs and go traveling around the world. I want Noah to grow free of prejudice towards others, have an open attitude and respect for different cultures, and to never stop moving and trying new things. Travel is the only thing that has taught me this. To anyone else who wants to travel with a baby, I would say go to the place you think will be the most difficult first and then you will see how babies are so resilient, they love the movement and adapt to new environments so well.  Just plan out what you need thoroughly and be kind to one another when you do make mistakes!”

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