Friday, April 18, 2008

Special Delivery

You've heard the saying about the immovable object meeting the irresistible force, right? Well that plays itself out quite frequently here in the streets of Bangkok when pregnant mothers race to the hospital to deliver their newborn babies.

While the baby often provides an irresistible force to enter the world, the traffic here often acts as an immovable object, preventing the mother from getting to the hospital on time. When they meet, it often means a mother giving birth in her car while stuck in traffic.

The Thai police have a traffic division whose sole purpose is to help motorists in need. This could include the pregnant mothers, or simply motorists with car troubles. One officer has assisted in the birth of fourteen babies so far. The total for the division is eighty-one.

A lot of pregnant people of means take matter out of fate's fickle hand and exert more control over the birth day and time. Scheduled c-sections are very popular here among middle and upper class women. There are really two reasons for that. The first is the aforementioned traffic. Delivering in the back seat with a police officer helping is not quite the same as a nice hospital room with a trained staff. Besides, you could really ruin the leather that way.

The other reason for the popularity of scheduled c-sections is because of baby names. Thai's are often a very superstitious lot. They believe that the first letter of your name should be influenced by the day of the week on which you are born. For example, they might believe that if you are born on Friday, that your name should start with a "r" or "k" but certainly not a "p", while on Monday "p" is the preferred letter (this is an example, I don't know the actual days to letters combinations). So if you've decided you really want to name your little darling Petunia, you would like her to be born on Monday if possible, and certainly not Friday. Scheduled c-sections make that a lot easier. Just pick out the name, find the right day, and you are ready to go.

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