Monday, September 30, 2013

Destination birth

You've heard of destination weddings?  We've decided to go a step beyond and have a destination birth.  And while Thailand sounds like an exotic and fun location to spend a month, it's really out of necessity that we've decided to have our second baby there. 

Planning ahead the timing for having babies is of course important for many families, but for us it has been even more crucial.  We needed to think about where our next post would be, check out their maternity leave (some don't let you take it the first year, some you have to have completed your initial 3 year contract and other varieties of policies), determine what time of year would let us still come home for summers (there are restrictions on when you can fly), look into local health care and determine what our insurance plan will cover.

Step # 1 - get new jobs - landed us in Nepal and once here we noticed there were lots of little babies in expat families.  Good.
#2 - maternity leave worked out with our timing.  Good.
#3 - figure out the right time of year and happen to get lucky and get pregnant right away.  Good.
#4 - local health care.... good for prenantal care for a normal pregnancy, not good for delivery.
#5 - insurance is world-wide so we can have the baby somewhere else.

Now, when I say local health care is not good for delivery, I'm saying this based on information from a few different folks, but nothing first hand because I haven't been to a local hospital.  My first source of information was other staff members who have gone elsewhere to have their babies, then the doctor at CIWEC told me I should go someplace else, I got an email from an expat woman who had planned to have her baby here but then changed her mind after visiting the hospital and a Nepali person I work with told me stories of moms dying because of bad saline solution.  With all of that we knew Nepal was not an option. 

The two obvious next choices where either go back home or go to Thailand (great medical facilities and are well known for their medical tourism).  With flight restrictions flying home (usually 28 weeks) would mean spending much of my maternity leave waiting to have the baby and not actually caring for the baby.  Thai airways will let you fly from KTM to BKK at 36 weeks and many folks around here have had good experiences.  This weekend we visited Sametivej Hospital - we met the doctor, saw the facilities and were given information about where we could stay nearby.  It was a great experience; everyone was very helpful and friendly. 

The plan is for me to go at 36 weeks, a month before the due date, to Bangkok by myself.  Jeremiah and Tegan will come later in the month and then we will all stay in Thailand through our school's winter break.  During that time we will apply for the baby's passport (so we can get him back to Nepal!) and other official documents - an American Born Overseas birth certificate and Social Security number.

Sometimes I tell people all that goes into this and their mouths hang open, but I guess since we've known from the beginning that this is how it will have to be it doesn't seem strange.  We're just looking forward to meeting baby boy!

Monday, September 16, 2013


2 days in Dubai for work, with most of it in the airport, hotel and mall, left me utterly overwhelmed by wealth. The contrast between Dubai and Kathmandu is so vast that it's safe to say they are quite opposite.  Tall shiny buildings, shopping complexes bigger and more extravagant than I've seen in a long time, huge multilane freeways and nice things everywhere put me in culture shock.  

The one similarity I found was that the people in both cities don't use sidewalks (Kathmandu because they aren't there or if they are people aren't used to using them, Dubai I assume because everyone prefers driving in air conditioning to walking?).

So while I appreciated the nice hotel, Starbucks and H&M, I was also ready to head out. 

(Terrible quality, but that is snow inside of the mall when it's 100 F outside!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A cow comes to call

Cows in the road is nothing new at this point.  Yesterday, however, we heard a mooing that sounded like it was in our yard so Tegan and I went to scope things out.  Sure enough there was a calf just behind the wall of our yard.  We watched it eat for a bit, Tegan asked it to come over and was rudely ignored, then we walked back to the gate.  As I turned to close it we saw the calf had decided to visit after all and was trying to come in.

We politely said no and closed the gate.  (And Tegan you can see is still loving the Teej bangles!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Last year I was gifted a number of red bangles for Teej, and this weekend I brought them out for Tegan to play with as it is again Teej season.  We went out for lunch today and saw plenty of women in beautiful red saris with lots of sparkles and rhinestones.  It's an amazing sight against the muddy colors of Kathmandu.