Reconciling potential pregnancy with school trips is awkward. J and I knew we wanted to start trying for kids after my surgery, so I knew I could potentially be five months pregnant come April and typical school trip time, but I also knew that it could take ages longer. So there was no reason to bring it up or withdraw from the trip, but I had to be discrete in my travel plans.
For example, last year I took thirty kids to Warsaw, Poland with a stop in Prague on the drive back. We went by private coach which involved three nights in the bus (not in a row) and at the longest, a 27-hour trip on the way there. While the time in Warsaw itself was pleasant and easy enough, the trips there and back, as well as the night at the hostel in Prague, were very stressful. See this article in French for all the random crap that you can have to handle on a school trip. For example, I was not particularly happy with our hostel in Prague. I won’t go into detail, but we basically had to manage one problem after another, and there were only two of us because one of my colleagues was incapacitated by a migraine. I was frankly surprised I had time to take a shower that evening and was at one point concerned about even having time to pee.
So I vowed to make some modifications for my own sanity for the following year. For one thing, I knew that if I was pregnant, I would not want to spend 27 hours and try to sleep in a bus. So I limited the radius of potential destinations, and was relieved when the small number of participants on the Slovenian side made a bus too expensive, and forced us to travel by plane. Travel by plane meant no sight-seeing stop-over, though we did have a night at the Formula 1 hotel in Roissy on the way back, which went much better than the night in the Prague hostel.
Though we didn’t tell anyone else until after our first ultrasound, I told my colleague who was traveling with me at week 8. I was feeling particularly terrible at school in the mornings, and not only needed someone to vent to, but also realized I would need help on the trip. I also told the Slovenian teacher so that she could tell the other teacher who was hosting us. I didn’t want her to be too surprised at my picky appetite.
Telling these few people helped a lot. The first full day in Slovenia was very long and I skipped out on the last activity in order to go rest. While Slovenian hospitality made it repeatedly necessary to turn down food that I couldn’t stand the idea of eating, at least people knew why. The bell tower at Lake Bled and the Skocjan caves definitely had me winded but my colleagues trailed the rest of the group with me without wondering why (and the students, if they even noticed, chalked it up to my recovering knee). Also, people understood why I had to pee all the time, which wasn’t too difficult in Slovenia, especially in Ljubljana. Once I just blatantly ignored a “toilets reserved for clients” sign at Lake Bled. Next time I might at least learn the words for “but I’m pregnant” in the local language. My colleague also offered to do little things instead of me, like take the students out to the burger truck at the F1 hotel.
All in all though, I felt much better in Slovenia than I had felt for weeks in France. I think adrenaline kicked in, because I wasn’t nearly as tired and wasn’t nauseous or light-headed that week (except for once on the bus). The symptoms came back with a vengeance my first morning back at school but hey, at least they didn’t bother me on the trip.
So that’s how traveling went during my first trimester, which is not generally recommended as the best time to travel during a pregnancy. I was and still am not showing and haven’t gained any weight, but the physical effects are very real, as well as the frequent peeing, since baby is already the size of a lime and pressing against my bladder, and also, I’m constantly thirsty. And my bladder has always been the size of a peanut in the first place.
Our next trip will be to South Africa in the middle of my second trimester, and I’m sure things will be very different, so I’ll be sure to write about it.