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!


  1. ah somehow I missed that it was a boy! congratulations! how fun. and thailand sounds perfect -- banana smoothies and massages? what more does a pregnant lady need?

  2. Good luck! I flew at 34 weeks (my doctor insisted) and she surprised us by being born at 34 weeks, before Daddy had flown in. I hope all goes smoothly for you.

  3. Congratulations! Thailand has fantastic healthcare (I had be admitted to a hospital in Bangkok and found it to be better than some of the ones in London!) so I think you've made the right decision :-)

  4. good luck! We weighed the pros and cons of returning to the states to have our next baby (due in January) but it would have meant 2-3 months as a single mom, not in my own home (staying with family in the USA) and overall not a good fit for our family. Thankfully, I'm in China, close enough to Shanghai (2.5 hr drive) to have my delivery at an international hospital.