Thursday, October 14, 2010

Traveling (and Music Festival-Going) While Pregnant

Now that I've reached the so-called honeymoon trimester, I find myself with more energy, and a whole lot less nausea. And it happened just in time, too - my husband and I had three-day passes to last weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival.

We first tried a test-run of sorts by going to Waco for a football game the weekend before. I did fine on the car ride (with the exception of declaring myself ravenously hungry and needing a drive through NOW) to the game, and aside from the score, I did well during the game, too. The heat was a bit of a factor, but knowing my limits helped me know when to high-tail it to some shade and grab a cool drink.

So we decided we could do the festival. Three days. Outside. Using Port-A-Johns that thousands of other people used to varying degrees of success. That's how much better I am about the morning sickness - I braved a very communal outhouse.
For the most part, our trip was a rousing success. It was relaxing, and we heard some great music. But it was during this trip that I also got taught a very big lesson from my own body: I'm pregnant, and it's totally different from not being pregnant.

I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but my lesson came Friday night, with what turned out to be a two and a half mile walk at the end of the night. I was tired. I was a little hungry (actually, to be fair, I'm always a little hungry right now), and the length of the walk was unexpected. At first, I was fine. But as the walk went on, I realized I was exhausted. My feet were starting to swell. I began dry heaving. I felt like I could pass out. And then I realized that my body was telling me, "Hello, remember? We're pregnant. You've been up since 6 a.m. and we're tired. You're PREGNANT." In other words, while this was something I was perfectly capable of doing normally, this wasn't normally, and I needed to concede defeat, which came in the form of telling a security guard in front of a shuttle the issue, and letting him seat me on that bus.

So I guess that's my advice for traveling when pregnant, especially if this is your first pregnancy: Listen to your body. Don't unduly limit yourself, but when you feel yourself getting tired or sore or unwell, remember there's a reason, and take it as a cue to relax for a while. If you're like me, you don't know what you can't do until you find out (generally in the middle of the activity) that you can't do it.

It also helps to plan. We sat within a reasonable distance from water and restroom facilities the whole time. When I got hot, I went to one of two locations that had already been pre-scouted and determined to be much cooler. I ate reasonable amounts of food at reasonable periods of time.

And most of all, I had fun. This was one of the last things we'll do with just the two of us, so to me, using a Port-A-John frequently was worth it.

Bethany Erickson is a Dallas writer, 13 weeks pregnant, and the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson.

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