The baby is well and active, but is still inside of Sue, with no further indications that s/he is coming soon. We have taken to calling the baby “Leo,” even though none of us really knows if the baby is a boy or a girl. S/he is an active presence in the room, though, as s/he is always squirming or hiccuping and making Sue’s enormous belly roll in waves.

I’d forgotten about this part of pregnancy, labor and birth: the waiting. Nothing that a baby does better than just make you slow down and BE, even when that baby isn’t even born yet. Really, there isn’t much for me to do but wander around, swim, shop, read…. Sue is at work for the rest of the week, the maid cleans the apartment three times a week (she’s about to arrive) and we’ve eaten most of our meals out. I’m not taking care of Bella, Giselle, (Chad!), my house, or even my office. It is slowly dawning on me that I am on a bit of a holiday here in steamy Bangkok.

We did visit the hospital yesterday for Sue’s weekly check-up. She admonished me that I had better ask all my questions to him, since he speaks English the best; however, I was still too jet-lagged and out of it to think of any questions. The hospital is a private one, one where as Sue says, people get dressed up to go to. No kidding. The upper floor had a food court like a mall – with Italian and Japanese restaurants, along with an Au Bon Pain and a McDonald’s. Then down a long hallway, there was a terrific cafeteria with all kinds of Thai food – it was like a street bazaar but slightly sanitized.

I took this photo surreptiously (or else I would have got more of the piles of dried fish), but Sue scoffed at my paranoia. According to her, everything is flexible in Thailand – which basically means that anything can be allowed… for the right reason or the right price. I like the looks of this place, where Joss and I will be eating for a few days once the baby is born. Apparently once the baby is born, it is customary to stay in the hospital for three days. Sue and Joss have requested a VIP suite, which we took some time to see. It is like a hotel suite with a living room and separate bedroom and two bathrooms. There are a couple different sofas that look good for sleeping on. The one we saw was named the The Rose Suite. Just down the hall there are doors leading out to a rooftop garden for the new moms.

  and where new dads can smoke celebratory cigars!

  and new aunties can stroll with the new baby!

But despite all the flash, we must keep our eye on the prize, which is a happy, healthy birth for Sue, which means one without an epidural or an episiotomy. This hospital does not have many natural births… which means that the doctor needs to be reminded every visit that Sue will be in the natural birthing room (which is nearly always vacant) and also that Joss and I will have to be vigilant about keeping the scissors away and giving Sue lots and lots of support. I’ve been rereading some passages out of a Sheila Kitzinger book, Pregnancy and Childbirth, today to refresh my memory. Joss and I also made a pinkie promise that one of us would always stay with the baby.

Some other things to keep in mind: we don’t need to go to the hospital, until the contractions are less than five minutes apart. When it seems like it’s too much, Sue has probably reached transition. And she needs to breathe that baby out… nice and slow so there is as little tearing as possible.

I am looking forward to meeting this little Joss/Sue person.