My husband and I just returned home after our first trip back “down South,” and I can’t believe (sarcasm) that I am able to report that I neither exploded nor went into labour.
I guess mothers aren’t always right.
I knew when I decided to travel for a friend’s wedding about 800 kilometres away in my ninth month of pregnancy that it might be an uncomfortable experience. I knew it might be painful and tiring and anger-inducing. I opted to make the trip anyway because I had been feeling exceptionally good and also (mostly) because I’m stubborn.
Since I have never birthed a baby (or really, anything) before, I’m still a little fuzzy on how the whole thing is going to happen. I know the general course of action, of course, but I don’t really know all the warning signs or the difference between false labour and real labour or at what point I should actually go to the hospital, given that it’s an hour away.
So I took along a book that outlines all of those things.
But before I got to the chapter about all the different phases and stages of labour (yes, there are both), I leafed through the ‘Nine months and counting’ chapter, which has a small section that outlines how to properly travel while pregnant.
“Long-distance travel is not recommended in the last trimester,” it says.
And, “long car trips (lasting more than an hour) are probably too exhausting late in pregnancy, no matter who’s driving.”
Oops. We were nearly 500 km away at that point.
But if you absolutely must travel, the book says there are a few precautions you need to take.
Ask permission to go
The book says you should definitely clear your plans with your practitioner. I didn’t. I didn’t even consider it.
Have the name of a local obstetrician handy
No. Did not happen.
Carry a medical history
Do I have a medical history? I am allergic to celery and got my tonsils out when I was six. Pretty complicated stuff.
When you’ve got to go, go
The book says absolutely don’t hold your pee if you feel the need to go. It’s reasonable advice, but it doesn’t quite cover what to do if you need to pee and your husband is sleeping after working a night shift and you don’t want to wake him up by stopping. I just held it.
Get support hose
So you don’t get blood clots. I didn’t even consider this, either.
Don’t be stationary
Stop every hour – every two hours max – and walk around, or else you will get blood clots and die. That’s what the books says. Again, my husband was sleeping, so I drove four hours straight. I am alive to tell the tale.
Pack (and eat) lots of snacks
This one I definitely considered and followed. And then bought more snacks on the way.
At least I can do one thing right.