If the first trimester felt like an extended trip to the amusement park from Hell, reaching the second trimester felt like a lovely stroll through a picturesque meadow. One filled with rainbow-colored hummingbirds, and a buffet of free cinnamon rolls and lasagna. The nausea finally relented, and when I woke up in the morning I actually felt awake. This was a welcomed change, and I whole-heartedly embraced feeling like myself again. I relished in my expanding waist line, and actually believed people when they said “You look so good!”- a pregnancy lie I caught on to deep in the third trimester when I did not, in any way, shape or form, look “so good!” It was in the second trimester we found out we were having a girl, and felt her unleash a series of violent kicks – the first of many to come. It was also when we decided to throw caution to the wind, and travel internationally.
You can imagine our surprise when we were told we were having a girl, and then this picture was handed to us .
Right around the same time we discovered we were pregnant, my husband’s parents purchased tickets for a family vacation to Ireland. To say his family is “well-travelled” would be doing them a serious injustice. They seemingly spend more time abroad than stateside, so a trip to Ireland for them was on par with going to the corner store for a jug of milk. We are, to put it simply, total travel opposites. I would classify myself more of a lounger than a doer, while they are a family of doers, from a long line of doers who at some point in time, many generations ago, invented doing. My ideal vacation would include a chair, a baker’s dozen of piña coladas, and the ocean. They, on the other hand, are more the type to cut down a tree, hand-carve a canoe, paddle said canoe to a distant, uninhabited island, and forage for mushrooms, all while singing Peter, Paul and Mary songs. Nearly 9 years later, I find this quirky trait equal parts terrifying and endearing; an intriguing combination that keeps me following them into thickets of woods, propelled by curiosity and mild panic. But with all of that said, I still had confidence I’d be able to keep up, and excitedly awaited our departure date (I should clarify that by “keep up” I mean sit in the car and eat yogurt covered rice cakes while they hiked through bogs, without anybody being able to say anything. Spoiler alert! I was right.)
Five days before we were supposed to leave, the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. We were living in Providence, Rhode Island at the time, and were supposed to fly out of Logan days later. The tragedy hit too close to home, and in my overly emotional state, I was a ball of nervous and sad energy. Fast forward to the day of travel, and I was a jittery fool. Standing in our kitchen waiting for our ride to the train, I noticed we had a little less than half a gallon of milk. Never to be one to waste something as precious as milk, I playfully said to my husband: “Milk challenge?” I poured myself a pint, and he started swigging from the jug. A few rushed gulps later, the nerves and ridiculousness of the situation hit me, causing me to laugh uncontrollably. I choked, gagged, threw-up, and then full-on peed my pants on the kitchen floor, just as our ride was pulling into the driveway. This incredible, messy feat not only reduced me to tears (of laughter), but it also brought my overall maternity pants count down to two, and reset my “We’ve had no accidents in the pants for ___ days” counter to zero.
For however rocky the trip began, the vacation itself was incredible. Ireland is a beautiful country filled with a rich history, that even in my most hangry state, I could still appreciate. The people were warm and welcoming, the food was wonderful, and the Guinness, well it looked incredible. My in-laws were very understanding of my needs, and didn’t make me feel bad when I wanted to sit and eat Quiche at the gift shop, rather than explore the Cliffs of Moher. They also turned a blind-eye to my hormone related temper tantrums, and supported my need to pee every 20 minutes by stopping anywhere and everywhere so I could cop a squat. It was truly a wonderful trip. I left Ireland with a camera full of pictures, and a new double-chin that would stick around and serve as a reminder of the obscene amount of Irish butter I consumed, for nearly 2 years.
Greeting us upon arriving back in the states was the TSA and the Third Trimester, both equally anxious to rob me of my travel high. Ready or not, our little fireball was going to be here before we knew it. But first I had to survive a New England summer in a three-story walk-up with no air conditioning.
They were sitting so far from me because they were afraid I was going to eat them.