We've had some pretty panicky Bangkok taxi rides over the last 24 hours...

Late last night we ended up in a Bangkok Emergency Room

Drama from the start…

So I thought I was going to be able to ease you into the drama seeing as I just started DaddyBjorn two days ago.  No such luck.  Last night at midnight we ended up in the Emergency Room, petrified the baby was coming two months early.

But before we get to the scariness

Let me back up.  Yesterday started well.  We went to a play date organized by a friend with young kids who was leaving Bangkok for good to move back to the US.  Then we hit IKEA where I worked on some writing while Jammie checked out baby gear.  Bangkok’s IKEA  is in one of our favorite malls so we didn’t think much of spending several hours there and it wasn’t until we were tucking into some Japanese food (no, we weren’t eating sushi — we know raw fish don’t fly in pregnancy) that Jammie started having massive back pain.

Bangkok's IKEA... nestled in a huge mall called Mega Bangna...
Bangkok’s IKEA… nestled in a huge mall called Mega Bangna…

Change of plans…

The pain hit pretty suddenly and with ridiculous force, so we called a quick end to the evening and took a taxi home.   By the time we got home the pain was unbearable.  Jammie was almost completely hunched over by the time we got into the apartment and she went directly to bed.  We hoped that her lying down would ease the pain.  It didn’t.  It got worse.

I tried massaging her lower back (the pain was especially focused on the lower left area of her back) but the relief was only temporary.

“Signs of preterm labor”

Fearing a nightmare scenario I Googled “signs of pre-term labor” and totally freaked out when “lower back pain” was listed.  Jammie had also felt slight nausea and cramping— both of which were on the list as well.


The pain was coming in waves and was extreme so it was time to think fast.  I called my mom (a retired pediatrician) in England.  She said to head to the hospital so I called our OB (who didn’t answer), then called the ER to give them the heads up, grabbed wallets and passports and wheeled Jammie down the hall to the elevator on a little ottoman we had in the apartment.

Literal bumps in the road

When we got down to our lobby I sprinted out to the street and got another taxi.  We then headed out for the hospital.  The taxi driver must have thought Jammie was giving birth because he was panicking.  He sped as much as possible on open stretches, but took a wrong turn and took us down crowded side streets with a seemingly endless series of speed bumps that made Jammie’s pain even worse and drove our fears of premature labor through the roof.

Navigating Bangkok at night is an art unto itself...
Navigating Bangkok at night is an art unto itself…

We finally got to the hospital, the hyperventilating driver drove the wrong way up a one-way ramp and lurched to a theatrical halt in front of the ER receiving area, forcing one of the guards on duty to jump out of the way.

A daytime picture of Samitivej hospital (the ER is on the far left).
A daytime picture of Samitivej hospital (the ER is on the far left).

We were whisked in.  Luckily the staff had already pulled our file and within minutes both an orthopedic specialist and an OB had examined Jammie.  “You are feeling muscle spasms in your back but there are no contractions and this is not preterm labor,” reported the OB.  There are few times in my life that I’ve felt more relieved.


The next part was almost comedic. Because she is pregnant, Jammie only got to take Paracetamol for the pain.  Crazier still, two paracetamol tablets and 30 minutes rest were all it took before the pain was gone and we were discharged.

Our paracetamol stash from last night...
Our paracetamol stash from last night…

“I’m kind of embarrassed we barged in like the world was ending,” said Jammie as we headed for the door.  “Who goes to the ER for paracetamol?”

Prayers of relief and thanks (probably from the ER staff too, but for different reasons) went up as we exited.  “Man, it makes you wonder what actual labor will be like,” said Jammie as we settled in for a far less dramatic taxi ride home.

Jammie in a far better state today, reenacting last night's ottoman hallway transport...
Jammie in a far better state today, reenacting last night’s ottoman hallway transport…

29 thoughts on “Late last night we ended up in a Bangkok Emergency Room”

  1. Oh my goodness, my heart stopped there for a second. So glad all is well today. Did they say what might have caused the pain?

    1. You know, they didn’t, we grasped from our own research that back pain often accompanies pregnancy but the docs were focused in making sure it wasn’t preterm labor…

      1. Oczywiście, odnosiłem się do naszego podwórka – Beckham zawsze miał dobrą stuyÂoaclte;wÄ&™, prawie tak dobrą jak nasi rodzimi piłkarze

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  2. I apologize that I was laughing hysterically at your description of the taxi driver, before I even knew the outcome of the story! I have appropriately chastised myself though! Whew, I am so relieved to hear everything turned out okay.

  3. Oh my!!!! Neil was talking to me while i was reading this, and i didn’t understand a word he said the whole time because i was itching to read sooooo fast to the ending, with, ofcourse, a heart full of hope that baby and Jammie would be okay!! Oh and of course, that you’re okay too!

  4. Lei had those back-breaking pain episodes as well especially the last 3 months. Doctor told her to take it easy. Glad to know you’re fine now. You’ll be OK.

  5. Phil and I also went to the ER last weekend because of severe stomach pains… They decided I had pulled a muscle in my stomach. I felt the same as Jammie but I guess I went for a Tylenol! Glad everyone is healthy!

  6. I hope all is well with the emergency, Bjorn! Please delete my comment of 6:11 am today on B.A. (Aging Male Delegates . . .). It has a formatting problem (all bold). If you can delete, I will re-post correctly. Thanks.

    1. los briks con las latas, los papeles con los cartones y los organicos con los organicos, las peras con las peras y las manzanas con las maznanas….a ver que va a ser esto?, un sindiós, o que?…y si ademas nos acabamos de inventar un medio para recaudar fondos a base de multas, pues mejor.

  7. Oh man… that sounds super stressful! So glad things turned out okay. And I confess to snorting loudly (in public) about the taxi driver freaking out.

  8. Oh, and may I say Jammie is nailing that reenactment. That ottoman… definitely worth having by the sounds of it.

  9. Glad everything is ok!! Love the picture of Jammie at the end. Such. Cute preggers! The blog is great. Miss you three :)

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  10. We too felt so relieved about the happy outcome and thank God for answered prayers. Jammie looks great on that ottoman at the end.
    Poor taxi driver he no doubt didn’t feel confident acting as a substitute midwife! Good he made it safely through the traffic.

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