The Great Thai Birth Excape


Some wee updates in the world of me….

I finally got off my butt and took myself to the new hospital I was planning on attending since we graduated from the city clinic. I was quite keen to get a flu jab as small, snotty children had been sneezing and coughing on me since school started again. There’s nothing quite like the cornucopia of illness housed in an international school after everyone returns from places far and wide following a holiday.

We didn’t book an appointment as mostly it doesn’t matter if you have one or not, you will be seen approximately 1.5 hours after you arrive in a medical establishment, regardless. When WW explained to the nurses at the counter what we were looking for I could immediately see we were on to a loser. A took a few details, disappeared for a moment and returned, stating that I needed to wait until I was 4-5 months gone.

The decision to get a flu vaccination was a bit angsty for me already. I haven’t put anything but prescription vitamins, 4 tylenol and food in my body for 4 months. I’ve cut caffeine (apart from what is hiding in the occasional chocolate bar), alcohol and back pain meds completely out.  I am proud of this turnaround and would like to continue the green-hippy-yogi-completely–not-me reign.

Then several books and a few internet articles strongly advised me to get the flu jab.  Before I went I stupidly read what other women had written about it on pregnancy forums. If you have never had the horror-filled experience of a pregnancy forum I strongly advise you to stay away. For every pregnancy symptom/issue you are worried about there will be a plethora of women with awful stories of miscarriage and still birth. So I was a tad tense about deciding to get the jab already and these nurses pushed me over the edge.

I have never read anything about being advised to wait until the 4th or 5th month for this. If it’s not safe until then, is it actually safe? Why did my last doctor tell me it was fine after the 12th week?

This and the slowly building dread surrounding the birthing process in Thailand finally got me and I had a wee pregnancy hormone related cry. Oh dear, and this is very early in the Thai hospital game.

Every culture has its own way of going about the birthing process and I, of course, believe that mine is the best. The prospect of doing one of the scariest and most difficult things I’ll ever have to do in a country where I have zero faith in the medical community’s method of birthing and am faced with mega cultural disagreements and language barriers was causing panic and I’m only 3 months in.

So I had my little cry and then I got proactive. First I found some cheap(ish) direct flights from BKK to London with BA. A little research told me they allowed women to fly until 4 weeks from their due date if they had a letter from their doctor saying it is OK. A couple of consultations with my calendars showed me that 4 weeks from my due date was the first week of my summer holidays. So I fired off a few emails requesting the last week of term off and lodging from my parents. I’m still waiting on the OK from my boss but fingers crossed it should be fine. Then I just have to worry about cooking a healthy little one without any problems, and keeping them tightly in there until at least 3 weeks before I’m due.

A 12 hour flight when 8 months pregnant and dealing with London, transferring airports and flying to deepest, darkest Scotland, then trying not to drive my parents completely around the twist while we stay with them for 2 months…could be interesting but GAWD it makes me feel sooo much better that I hopefully will have an option other than staying here.

In other news I continue to be a noxious, gas filled, farting machine. I am now on a strict 2-hourly eating schedule and feel horribly nauseous if I wait much longer than that. I’m still struggling with the healthy eating a little. It’s not that I’m eating particularly unhealthily but, with the sheer quantity of food I am consuming I am quickly packing on the pounds. Also, thanks for pointing out my rapid weight gain, dear colleagues, it’s really helpful.

I read that I’m supposed to gain 12.5 kilos during my pregnancy, which made me feel a little better…until I read that I will gain most of this after the 20th week. Here I am at the 15th, having already gained 4 kilos. But then I was curious and used one of those BMI calculators on the NHS website and it would me I’m still in the ‘normal’ range, even at my current weight.  I wish I could switch off and just enjoy my changing body but after an adulthood of carefully watching my weight it’s a little difficult to deal with the rapidly expanding tummy and the boobs that just wont.quit.growing.

With my ballooning belly I have also been experiencing some twinges and twangs of discomfort. It’s not very painful but is a little concerning, even though a Dr Google assured me it is round ligament growing pains. Which is unusual for Dr Google, possibly the first time I’ve searched for something and not had 20 more sinister possibilities suggested to me.

A couple of days after the round ligament pain, my hand started bothering me. I thought it was too many hours on stumbleupon or checking for news on twitter. As it got worse I checked with Dr Google and she thinks I have carpal tunnel syndrome. She informed me that this is common during pregnancy with up 60% of women experiencing it. She told me I was at increased risk if I was pregnant (check), had a slipped disc or spinal problems (check), if I was gaining a lot of weight (check), if I was retaining fluid (check) and if my boobs had gotten a lot bigger (check).  I woke up with morning with a mangled claw hand which ‘should improve 2-3 months after pregnancy’.  On the plus side it fits with the ‘Pirates’ topic I’m doing with the 1st graders.  Arggg, walk the plank or me hook’ll get ye! (PS when I try to do pirate accents it comes out thick Glaswegian, much to my colleagues amusement)

I can’t type anymore with my hook right now so I’ll bid you good day and wave my old lady hand,

Take care and tootles


So, bra shop, we meet again…

So here I am at 13 weeks and 6 days along, into my second week at work after the holidays and the second week of ‘Bangkok Shutdown’. The reason you haven’t heard much from me is because I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to tell you… so here’s some boring stuff.

I think I am officially into the second trimester now and things do seem to be getting better. Eating small snacks/meals ALL THE TIME seems to be the only way to go. If I wait longer than two hours to put something in my pie-hole I start feeling like I want to crawl into bed and hibernate for the rest of the pregnancy. My food aversions have improved significantly. Now it’s only really the smell of cooking food and fried chicken and the taste of fried onions and garlic which have me wanting to reach for a puke bucket. I get full really quickly now though and can only manage half (or less) of a regular Thai portion (so maybe a 5th of a regular American portion 🙂 ) before I feel like I’m going to inflate my maternity trousers past the point of no return.

School was nice but knackering last week. I am out/have been outed to most of the staff, the rumor mill doing most of the telling for me. I have also gotten some hand-me-downs and pledges for more baby stuff to come- yay! I’m hoping word will spread and the mummies who don’t hate me (and are super duper rich and probably have waaaaay nicer stuff than we could ever buy) will pass us on some more things.

Reports are that the protests in the city are generally like large street parties, although recently some as yet unidentified group(s) have been chucking homemade explosive devices into the mix, so we’re avoiding the city for the moment. Not that I mind, getting up and showering were about my days’ activity limit last weekend.

I finally caved and decided to attempt to buy a new bra this weekend as the sports bra was starting to leave marks on my chest that were still present the next morning. Much like clothes shopping this is activity is always somewhat traumatic for me. It’s so depressing having to walk past all the cute and pretty combos to find the mammoth section, containing pieces with more materials than your average Thai construction site and straps thick enough to use as a harness when climbing. Add to that the fact that the average Thai woman is freaking tiny and has freaking teeny, tiny boobs and the shopping trip became more dreaded than ever (my body/boob image issues are not helped by comparison to WW, her bras juuuust about cover my areolas at this point).

We initially found the Thai department store version of the mammoth section and I had a little tizzy that even those bras didn’t fit. They were 100cms around the chest (which is far too wide for me) but the largest cup size was a D. No dice.

WW then eventually found (while I was still in the midst of my woe-is-me-maybe-I-can-just-sling-them-over-my-shoulder meltdown) one that I could fit into…although I’m not sure for how long, it’s comfy but there’s not a lot of growing room. This taps out at the largest size they have, DD. So I’m not sure what to do when I outgrow this one. I would just order one from online in the UK but, as I’m sure you ladies are aware, bras differ significantly from model to model and what fits in one style/brand doesn’t necessarily fit in another.

So does anyone have a DIY bra pintrest board or something I could get creative with? One of those Blue Peter projects? Take an empty toilet tube, some double sided tape, an empty shoe box, a few straws and voila, here’s one I made earlier! No? OK, worth a try.

I also went for my first haircut in 4 months. Before I was cutting and highlighting my hair every 6 weeks but I hated the upkeep and the 3 hours doing it so I let the color go and decided to grow it out so Thai’s will stop wondering if I’m a really crap Tom. Somehow with the way my hair is growing and perhaps not great instructions to the stylist I’ve ended up with a full on 70s mullet. Thank god I can still tie it up and hide the horror. I’m hoping in another 3 months someone will be able to undo the damage without scalping me. I am very tempted to go back to the short style but I love the irregular hairdresser appointments. At the moment laziness trumps vanity but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Hmmm, other than that…

Oh yeah, I’ve decided we don’t get away enough and now is the last chance we’re going to have to pick up and leave for the weekend without too much detritus and kerfuffle. So I want to try and have a bunch of babymoons for the next few months. This weekend we’re planning on going to the beach. Extra bonus is that WW just informed me there is a beach 1 hour and a half from us, or the same amount of time it takes us to drive into the city. Apparently it’s not the nicest beach and WW refuses to swim there (she is a total beach fascist) but hey, I’ve swum off the coast of the UK, it’s got to be better than that. Yeah, it’s nicer when the water is clearer than our cheap wine glasses but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Just so long as I’m not swimming amongst sewage or industrial waste. So yay for weekend beach holidays, I’ll post pictures of my not-so-perfect beach next time…

…if I don’t get too lazy in the meantime. Oh crap, there’s no way I’m fitting into my bikini, or finding a replacement here. I guess I’m going Thai style in shorts and t-shirt for my swimming sessions for the next 6 (9?12?24?) months then.


She’s gotten fatter.

The above was a comment from a restaurant owner to WW about me. ‘And prettier,’ was hastily added when she realized I had understood. Too little, too late lady.

A few hours earlier a 6 year old girl said ‘Miss Emz, why do you look different around here?’ signalling my tits/tummy area (the two (three?) monstrosities are merging into one, large, solid area).

The day before a 5 year old grinned at me and said, ‘You’re going to have a baby!’

So I guess I’m officially showing/looking porkier although older Thai ladies and little kids are the only ones brave enough to comment. I think most people would presume I just ate a shit load over Christmas. Which, incidentally, I did.

Ahh food. Currently a daily battle. After frightening cheese consumption and concurrent weight gain I decided to get pro active and investigate healthy pregnancy eating plans. I made WW trawl around a bunch of shops searching for everything whole grain we could lay our hands on. We bought 3 different kinds of fat free cheese. I tried to calculate my daily dozen (which I am having a hard time understanding because I can’t make the guidelines add up to 12). I even had WW whip up some joy sugar free, ridiculously healthy ginger and lemon muffins.

As it turned out the eating plan got chucked in after 3 days. I’m eating whole grain bread but drowning it in so much butter it probably defeats the point. Fat free cheese is not actually cheese, it’s a food which has less taste than water. The muffins tasted like an old washing up sponges and had a texture to match. It was the first time in my life I haven’t finished a muffin. Lesson learned: if it sounds to good to be true, aka healthy yummy muffins, it probably is. But at least now I know what I should be eating and I can have small wins every day. Every day that WW doesn’t bake brownies, that is.

I went back to work on Monday which, apparently didn’t impress my body. I had a few close call vomity moments on and off all day and a nice headache not helped by screaming Kindergartners who weren’t ready for their mothers to leave them with scary. tall teachers who didn’t speak their language. It has been nice to see the kids but I wish I could teach from a hover sofa or something which required very little movement and ascension of stairs. But at least I get to come home and veg on the non-hovering sofa at 12.

We had our 12 week scan and officially graduated from the fertility clinic on Saturday. I had a little panicky wobble at the beginning because they lazy wee tyke wasn’t dancing anymore but a quick shuffle of the wand and we could see Squirt merrily kicking away at my uterus. Can’t wait to start feeling that. Everything looked good, all limbs were accounted for. The thing at the back of the neck which can signify Downs Syndrome looked normal. Two happy mummies.

Dr W offered us some genetic screening for 500 GBP but we declined, hoping that we’re low risk and we’ll be OK. He instead did a blood test which showed our chances of Downs Syndrome were 1 in 10,000 and everything else was good. I will miss Dr W, although I can’t picture him dealing with a vaginal birth as he is unable to use words like sperm and vagina without stammering and blushing. Bit weird when the guy has had his hand inside my snatch but OK.

I have told a few people at work and used the occasion to promote maternity wear in a desperate hope that it will catch on and I will be able to continue wearing my lovely, comfy, stretchy belly trousers after all of this is over. I feel a little like I’m swimming against the tide but I’ll keep battling. Emz- Trend Setter.

TMI ALERT: Can I just give a big ‘woohoo’ and ‘good riddance’ to the progesterone bullets. No longer will my minging dog be desperately trying to overturn the laundry basket to find some suppository residue in my underwear. But the Monster will find other ways to turn my stomach. WW stuck a rather mucky looking Monster in my face earlier so I could experience the perfume of the cat shit the Monster had been dining on in the garden. Thanks for sharing that experience with your nauseous wife, WW.


On that charming note I am signing off. A slightly clearer (but I’ll forgive you if you skip it) ultrasound can be found after the jump.


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Ode to Maternity Wear

Firstly I must commend pincushiontobaby for being a total genius! You might remember one (of my many) worries was locating clothes to cover my ever expanding body without leaving us further in the red. You might also remember that I was facing additional problems being that I live among a nation of midgets who do not generally make clothes for enormous giants like me. Well this clever lady had the solution. More on that later.

A little back-story first. People who know me will attest that I am not an avid shopper. Not only because I have no real interest in fashion but also because I find shopping an upsetting and frustrating experience. From being a tween and being unable to locate trousers that weren’t ‘half-mast’ (above my ankle), to being an overweight uni student struggling to accept my current size to now, just frantically searching for something that covers my legs/belly/arms fully and doesn’t look like a decorators sheet, I have never enjoyed shopping. Wow, that was a ridiculously long sentence. Apologies.

Now watching my belly start to pop I have been dreading back aching, fruitless searching through Ban.gkok’s million malls to attempt to find clothes acceptable for work. I expected this process to take weeks and involve the usual sulking, temper tantrums and hysteria which usually punctuate my shopping expeditions.

Thankfully this was not to be. Clever pincushiontobaby suggested I check out H&M’s maternity section and I hit the freaking mother-lode! Why haven’t I checked out these clothes before? The tops are long and reasonably flattering. The jeans are 34 inches long, just like my legs! Plus they have this awesome stretchy band which is very comfortable and shields the world from my ass crack when I bend over. I had my most successful shopping trip ever, kitting myself out for an entire work pregnancy, if I can lay off the cheese. Mmm cheese. No stop it!

So, tall, not that slim pregnant ladies rejoice, there is a solution. Four tops and two pairs of jeans/trousers for under 90 GBP. I am totally going to keep using the maternity jeans after the pregnancy btw. Who knew skinny fit could actually be comfortable. Oh but if you don’t like skinny fit you’re shit out of luck because that’s pretty much the only option other than jimjams. It wont be fun in the hot season but I’ll just be a creature of air con. Looking good in my skinny fit jeans. Or looking weirdly top heavy with an enormous belly and boobs and little stick legs sticking out underneath. Or my ass will explode in the next couple of months and my lovely jeans will be for post-natal use.

Ehem, anyhoo…

Today I am 11 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I was a little hasty with my last post and was rewarded for bragging about my lack of nausea with, you guessed it, lots of nausea. I finally figured out that as long as I am continuously pushing processed, melted, bland cheese into the hole on my face I feel better. I took me a while to realize the common denominator for my lasagna, pizza, cheeseburger cravings was actually just the cheese, but I got there in the end.

I read about cravings and healthy eating before I got pregnant and I thought it would be easy. After all I crave chocolate, bread, cheese and pizza all the time but I don’t eat them during every meal. I’ll just say no to my craving, thought I. Little did I know that a first trimester craving was my body demanding something and basically having a dirty protest when it didn’t get what it wanted post haste. I hope this gets easier as time goes on. I’m concerned I am going to give birth to one of those enormous babies who quickly becomes an internet meme and talk shows use as an example of bad parenting.

Despite the fact my body wishes to survive only on American cheese (shudder, I even tried to trick it with proper cheddar and it revolted…and was revolted) I have been able to sneak more and more things under the wire in the last few days. In fact yesterday I went the whole day cheese free. OK I had a cream cheese bagel for breakfast and (pasteurized) feta in my salad for dinner but those are actual, non-plastic, has-encountered-milk-at-some-point cheeses so it doesn’t count :-).  Today I had food with actual flavour, a yummy Thai curry noodle dish called Khao Soi. I relived it through burps for about 3 hours after but it was totally worth it.

In other news my boobs are now partially obstructing my view but they aren’t threatening to implode at the slightest touch, so that’s progress. I’m struggling to find a comfortable sleeping position so I’m considering one of those mammoth pregnancy pillows I’ve seen other bloggers raving about. Um… oh and after a quiet new year the protesters in the city are gearing up again just in time for school starting back which is  crappy and stressful. I need to get a new passport with my new name but I don’t want to be here, unable to leave right now. Thankfully, all being well, next Saturday we should be graduating from the city clinic to a regular pregnant lady facility closer to home and further from all the trouble. I am anticipating more blog posts regarding this move. I’m not sure if we can be ‘out’ with the doctor. I hate the idea of lying again and I want to get clear ‘yes’ answers regarding WW’s presence at the birth, but I’m worried about hospitals refusing to treat us again. Hmm.

Righto I’m off to eat more cheese…only joking. Not. No, really. This is really what I want…

Take care everyone.