Wonderful baby livin’ on loveThe sandman says maybe he’ll take you above,Up where the girls fly on ribbons and bows,Where babies float by justCounting their toes.

Don McLean

“How do I look?” Susi would ask.

It was the beginning of a ritual that had existed for all the years we had been together.

“You look lovely,” I replied.  I knew this would not suffice, but to say anything less would suggest she did not look good.

“No.  I will wear the other one.”  She changed from one grey uniform into another.  This time the zip was at the back.  I helped her zip up.

“I think this uniform is getting a bit tight,” I said as I struggled to get the zip moving.

She turned around to look at me “Am I getting fat? They’re all too tight.”

“No.  You look good.  Maybe you could just try drinking more water or we could go swimming every day.”  I said.

I had been trying to cut down and give up smoking for a month or so and the reality is that at 40, I was getting a belly.  I could feel it growing on me.  I had started to make an old man noise, a groan, every time I bent over to pick something up.

She looked into the mirror, turning sideways, as is her routine.  “I think I am getting fat.  I’ll wear the other one.”

Standing behind her, I looked into the mirror.  She was getting fat; without a medical reason, a sure sign of greed and sloth.

We both will need to drink more water and go swimming, I thought.  We had no excuse.  The pool was less than 100 meters from our house.

We reverse the process, and she is now putting on the uniform skirt/Chinese top combo.

“How do I look in this?”

As always on the third change, I am over-enthusiastic.  I tell her she is beautiful, and after throwing down the mobile and giving her my undivided attention, I tell her this is my favourite.

Note:  Most people talking about their child begin to glow as they do so and all first time parents talk the most about their experience, oblivious or not even caring that the experience has been shared by every other mother and father on earth to some degree or another.

It can be tedious, even irritating, for those who are childless for any reason, either by choice or circumstance.  Oftentimes, the information heard or read is just ‘irrelevant’ and if this is how you feel about baby stories, you had best move on to another post without delay.

I had always wanted to be a father and in a former relationship which never worked out, it did not happen.  Maybe that was for the best.

Since living with Susi, we had always hoped she might fall pregnant, but despite every reasonable effort, it never happened either.

Anyway, life moved on and over time, we settled into life with four dogs.

Then in July 2016, I went to one of the Hotel tour desks we had been operating to see how we were getting on.  It was a routine visit.  Susi and I were chatting and a cleaner was mopping the lobby.

Susi retched.  “Can you smell that?” she asked.

It smelt like some innocuous scented disinfectant, probably named “Mountain Blossom” or something equally banal.  It smelt rather nice.  It smelt ‘clean’.

Susi rushed to the toilet to vomit.

When she returned, she said.  I am really sorry, they must have changed the chemical they use, normally it does not smell so bad.

The penny dropped.  I looked at her and said.  “Do you recall this morning when you could not fit into that dress?  Now you are sick because of a ‘normal’ smell. Maybe you’re pregnant?”

We look at each other and laugh at the ridiculous nature of what I had just said.  We knew we coudn’t have kids.  I smoked too much and my sperm was too lazy to swim anywhere.  Last year we even investigated IVF.

I agreed to go and get a checking kit from the pharmacy.

I left the hotel a little blown away.  We would confirm that she is not pregnant and then get on the program to just lose weight.  She is probably carrying around 15 kilos too much and that is sure to make anyone tired.  I dared not think how many kilo’s overweight I was.

It was about 2pm as I walked down a small road (Soi 6/1 in Pattaya for anyone who knows) toward the pharmacy as two 6ft-tall ladyboys of the night walked into my path.

“You want to have some fun?” said the first of the two.

“No, I need a pharmacy.” I said, as the second lady-boy opened their top and exposed her naked chest.  “I just need to go to the pharmacy.  I live here.  I am not a tourist”. I said.

The realisation that I might actually be on a mission, ‘Boob-Flasher’ gets serious and takes me by the arm, telling me ‘this pharmacy no good.  I take you very good pharmacy.”

I follow them.  ‘You sick?”

‘No.  My girlfriend wants to check to see if she is pregnant, have baby maybe.” I replied.

The flasher became very excited and we upped the pace leading onto a little road nearby and there, between two bars, like a medicinal beacon; was a pharmacy.

I thanked them and venture inside.  They were very excited for us.

I looked for a moment for ‘clear blue’ packaging.  I can see nothing.  “Hello, I am looking for a pregnancy check.” I said.

“Al-eye-na?” – Thai for ‘What?” came the reply.

“I want check baby.” I say.  “Check-check Baybee.” I try using Thingglish vernacular.

The pharmacist shows me a blue box entitled ‘Sure Test’.  “This very good.”, the pharmacist said reassuringly.

I ask “What percentage sure?”

“70%.  For sure you need buy two.  If check not same, come back and buy one more.  Sure 100%.”  I smiled at the wonder of logic being presented to me and I bought three, as instructed.

I got back to the hotel and handed the boxes over.  Off she goes to the bathroom and back after a few minutes.

“What does it mean?” Susi asked.  We both looked at the little plastic instruments of truth.  We retrieved one of the boxes out of the bin and looked at the diagram.

“Can they all be wrong?”

“I think we are pregnant.”


About Rev Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell

Rev. Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell, an Englishman deeply connected to Thailand, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th May 2023.

In addition to his religious journey, he has worked as an online English teacher and pursued a career as an artist. He has also operated a tour desk business with his wife within international brand hotels.

Lloyd has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, specifically in addressing homelessness and social welfare.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and embraces opportunities to meet new people, see new places, explore cultural similarities, and celebrate differences.