Traveling while pregnant

I purchased our tickets to Europe back in December, still early-on in my pregnancy.  I’d already checked with my doctor and midwife about international travel while pregnant and received the green light, with advice to travel during the 2nd trimester if possible.  With that in mind, I nervously committed a large chunk of money to the trip, not knowing how I would feel, or how big I would be, or if there would be any pregnancy complications that contraindicated travel when March 22nd rolled around.

Fortunately, I felt great during the 2nd trimester and my still-small belly, while sometimes frustrating because I wanted to “look” pregnant, made for relatively easy travel, with just a few challenges.

Challenge #1 — The Bladder

In London, I could count on relatively easy restroom access when out-and-about by ducking into a Starbucks or McDonalds.  I became accustomed to walking in, quickly scoping out the place and the most likely restroom location, and making my way there, and back out, without making it too obvious that I wasn’t a paying customer.

Italy was trickier on the restroom front.  In Florence, I ducked into a small restaurant and waited an agonizing 10 hours (okay, more like 10 minutes, or less) for the father and little girl  who stepped in just before me to vacate the restroom, all the while hoping that the staff in the nearly empty place would not approach me and ask what I was doing, or call the polizia and haul me off to jail.

In Rome, we wandered for at least two hours trying to find a restroom one afternoon.  I should have just sucked it up and played the pregnancy card, but the one time I tried to do that, in a small gelato shop (where we actually PURCHASED something, by the way), the rude woman denied my request.

Now I suppose it was POSSIBLE that they really didn’t have a restroom, even for employees, in the tiny shop, but I doubt it.  There I was, a customer, obviously pregnant and in distress, and this woman wouldn’t help me.  I left the shop fuming and in tears.  When we finally found a restroom, it was at least an hour later 😦

Advice: Take full advantage of any restroom opportunities you get.  Always go before leaving a museum, restaurant, etc.  You never know how difficult it will be to find the next toilet.  Though it didn’t work so well for me, don’t be shy about playing the pregnancy card.

Challenge #2 — Lots of walking while carrying extra weight

We walked EVERYWHERE in London and Italy, which was great from a physical activity perspective, but turned out to be hard on my body.  Despite my relatively small size, I’m already carrying an extra 20 pounds — not insignificant!  That, combined with loosening ligaments due to pregnancy hormones, led to some painful times.  From the night of our second day in London, until sometime in Florence or Cinque Terre (about 6 days later), I walked around with excruciating foot pain and seriously thought I may have stress fractures in one or both feet.  Miraculously, this went away on its own, despite being on my feet constantly.

Unfortunately, about the time the foot pain resolved, I started having issues with my left knee.  Although I think that may finally be getting a bit better, it’s been at least two weeks now.  It’s been especially hard trying to be good and stay off the bike since we’ve been back.  Since I nigh upon refuse to drive anywhere within easy biking distance, I’ve felt like a prisoner in my own apartment.

Advice: Keep in mind the additional stresses that pregnancy puts on your body, even if you’re in relatively good shape.  Don’t expect that you’ll be able to do everything, and plan to scale things back a bit.  Tune in to early warning signs that you may be over doing things, and adjust as necessary.

Overall the trip was great, and I’m really thankful we had the opportunity and that it went so well.

Clothing my pregnant body

Going into this pregnancy, I hoped to avoid buying any NEW clothing.  I mean, what a ridiculous thing, right?  Why buy something brand new that I would wear for a few months at most, when there should be plenty of good condition used maternity clothes floating around out there.

The reality: finding used maternity clothing is easier said than done.  Where is all of the gently used maternity clothing?  Are there lots of mothers out there, hoarding their maternity clothes for the next potential pregnancy?

Goodwill: I struck out at my local Goodwill store — one small, disorganized rack with nothing in my size.  If I were willing to drive to some of the posher Goodwill locations, maybe I would have better luck, but it’s hard to justify the gas for a distinct “maybe.”

Kangaroo Kids: I had a bit more luck at this children’s and maternity resale shop.  I scored a pair of gray dress pants, a black knee length skirt (that I need to grow into), and two tops for about $22.  The downside is the distance — it’s out in the direction of my MIL’s, so it was easy enough to justify a stop, but I wish it were closer so I could pop in more often, since their inventory changes daily.

Scholarshop: Both Scholarshop locations have a maternity rack.  Small selection, but good condition and easy to look through.  I considered a few purchases, but at that point I was waiting to see what I would get from my sister.  Not quite as far away as Kangaroo Kids, but not super easily accessible without a car, either.

My sister’s closet: My youngest sister and I are fairly close in size, and she just happened to be about four months ahead of me in this pregnancy thing.  She is now a new mama, and done with some of the maternity clothes.  I inherited a few tops, a pair of jeans, and a nice pair of corduroy pants.   The jeans and most of the tops are currently a bit big on me, but maybe I’ll grow into them?

New purchases

Belly bands: Back in January, before acquiring any other maternity clothing, I purchased three belly bands.  I hoped to use them to extend the life of my regular pants, but they didn’t work particularly well for that.  The thin, stretchy fabric could not hide the fact that my pants were halfway unzipped.

I am using them now with my maternity pants, as many of my regular tops still fit, but aren’t quite long enough to hide the weirdness of the maternity pants’ waistbands.  Belly band to the rescue.

JCPenney: Looking for a couple of maternity pieces that would be well-suited for travel, and with a gift card that needed to be used anyway, I did some online shopping.  I ordered a pair of pants and three tops.  I wanted a pair of leggings to round things out, but they were no longer available when I went to checkout 😦  They have yet to arrive, and I’m honestly not sure if I’ll keep any of them.

I’d like to get back by Kangaroo Kids and Scholarshop, but I’m not sure when that will happen.

The fact that I can get by, pretty happily, with my limited maternity wardrobe of 2-3 pair of pants and a handful of tops proves that my pre-pregnancy wardrobe (while not huge by most standards) was significantly larger than necessary.  I look forward to whittling it down, but at this point I don’t want to get rid of too much until I see where my shape settles post-baby.