A Pregnancy Abroad

When I found out I was pregnant, I assumed that my experience would be very similar to the one I would have had, had we been living in the UK. So it was with great surprise that I spent the following nine months often confused, sometimes amused and primarily wondering what on earth was going on. Here are some things that I learnt along the way:

Obstetricians are not Midwives

In my mind, midwives are like your Mum. They give advice, hold your hand, feed you tea and biscuits and generally make you feel like you are a normal pregnant woman. In contrast, my obstetrician was clinical, brusque and whilst efficient, certainly lacked a ‘gentle touch’ either physically or verbally. In appointments I mostly felt confused and/or violated. But she did give us a 4D scan of the baby for free, so that redeemed the situation marginally.

Hospitals are like posh hotels

The waiting rooms were plush, with free drinks, soft chairs and free Wifi. No matter that appointments regularly required a 1 hour wait, there was a Starbucks and an Au Bon Pain downstairs as well as a man playing soft jazz on a grand piano. What more could you want?

Maternity wear has not left the 1970’s

It seems that as soon as Thai women discover they are pregnant, they ditch their hot-pants and sequinned heels and don a sack-like denim smock. The like of which my mother wore in the 1970s. Despondent after searching high and low for something vaguely flattering for my expanding belly, I found a small section of maternity wear in one branch of H&M. Which was full of winter clothes.  A credit card, the internet, my mother and a Fed Ex parcel later, I finally had clothes that fitted as well as flattered.

206754_10150136266121650_1351149_n

My Mum’s maternity wear, circa 1978.

P1030478

My maternity wear, circa 2014.

Babies should not be big

I come from a family of big babies. So does The Husband. So when my bump was growing exponentially we were neither surprised not shocked. However, our maid was convinced I was having twins. The Thai office ladies at work could not stop touching my ever growing belly with the wonder of something never seen before. My obstetrician actually went into hysterical laughter of disbelief when the screen showed an expected birth weight of 4.5kg. I felt like a freak-show.

Exercise is plain weird

I was determined to stay fit and healthy, but there was not even a sniff of anything resembling a ante-natal class anywhere nearby. So I kept going to the gym. All I got was confused and slightly disapproving looks from the staff and members, which I could ignore. Until I was 37 weeks, and the manager was so entertained by my sweaty pregnant self on a cross trainer she decided to take photos. It was clearly time to stay indoors with a pre-pregnancy yoga video on You Tube.

Heat is your enemy

9 months pregnant. 79 kilos. 40 degree heat and 95 % humidity. These are not a good combination, ever. Even the swimming pools are as hot as bath water. Air con and a fan were my constant companions for at least a month.

10175633_10154033639165301_1370513319_o

Big. Hot. Only 35 weeks.

Fish Sauce makes you sick

The smells of Bangkok are overwhelming at times, and worse when pregnant. There were days when a heady scent of fish sauce, frying garlic, rotting rubbish and blocked drains had me running at full speed through our compound just so I wouldn’t throw up in a hedge. Thai food is not your friend when you are struggling to hold down a plain cracker.

Vaginal Births are for peasants

My obstetrician (here she is again!) looked like she had been slapped with a wet fish when I told her I was going to give birth naturally. I was utterly confused until a nurse said, “But no-one wants a natural birth, it is too messy”. If you have money, C-Sections are the norm here. I doggedly stuck to my British, “l am not too posh to push” guns, until a brush with gestational diabetes meant l had a C-Section anyway. Ah, the best laid plans.

IMG_3509

The Boy and I, In our “hotel” room.

Of course, all of this resulted in the most lovely little boy a mother could want, so it was worth it. However, I am sure I am not the only one to find myself in this situation, there must be more of you with tales to tell….

Happy H*OWL* oween

I love Halloween. My Facebook photos over the years stand as testament to this : a Mummy in heels, a Luche Libre in spandex , a Scooby Doo character in a red wig. You name it, l have worn it. This year, however, The Boy is too young to celebrate with me and The Husband will be enjoying some man-time in a pub. So l  have swapped lycra for an apron and baked these owl-ish cupcakes instead. Happy H*OWL*oween!

The Owl and the Witch's Pussycat

The Owl and the Witch’s Pussycat

-This is an adapted version of the Red Velvet cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, and inspired by ideas from Pinterest. I made double the quantities for 24 cupcakes-

H*owl*oween Cupcakes

Ingredients

60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
20ml orange and green colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml milk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

For the decoration:

20g cocoa powder
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
40ml black food colouring
20 ml of milk
1 packs of Oreos
1 packs of M&Ms

Method

1.) Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and cocoa powder until well mixed.IMG_5415

.2.) Add half the milk and beat until well mixed.IMG_5419

3.) Add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the milk and flour have been added and you have a smooth, even mixture.IMG_5424

4.) Mix together bicarbonate of soda, vanilla extract and vinegar (it fizzes!) and beat thoroughly into the mixture.

IMG_5436

5.) Divide the mixture in half and colour one half in orange and the other in green. Not particularly appetising, but very spooky. Fill a cupcake tin, mixing the two colours. Bake for 20 minutes at 170 Celsius.IMG_5442

6.) While the cakes cool, beat icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together.IMG_5443

7.) Add milk and beat until the mixture is smooth.IMG_5450

8.) Add the  black food colouring and smooth on top of the cooled cupcakes.IMG_5461

9.) Open the pack of Oreos (trying not to eat them!)

IMG_5467

10.) Split the Oreos in half and spread out your M&Ms so you can see the colours (trying not to let anyone else eat them!).IMG_5469

11.) Cut the Oreos in half for the eyes and use the M&Ms for the pupils and the beak. The ears are created by breaking an Oreo into quarters.

IMG_5473

 I shall be eating these whilst watching a (not too) scary film by myself this evening. Spooky!