After my kids went to bed the other night husband gave me the idea to write a post about camping when pregnant. He turned on the computer and opened up the folder ‘Twin Islands’ that contained pictures from one of our camping trips when I was pregnant. To be exact it was the canoe camping trip we took one week before I had our our first baby girl. It was unbearable as tears of laughter streamed down my face after I looked at each picture. I then decided that a post dedicated to pregnancy camping was needed. For the record I was sick for most of the 9 months of my pregnancy and the weeks leading up to her birth were not pretty. I did work out and even did the occasional hike as I did all this before I was pregnant. However pregnancy and I did not do well. My kids and I do! So read on with an open mind and maybe a glass of wine.
Preamble: This post is based on our canoe camping experience. We did go on a car camping trip two weekends before our first daughter was born on the sunshine coast in our “glamping” tent and it went very smooth. The tips are predominantly from our canoe camping trip where we canoed to a campsite one weekend before she was born. Here we camped in our 2 person ‘roughing it’ tent.
Bring a good friend
Don’t just bring any friend but make sure it is a good friend. In those last few weeks when your feeling bloated, swollen, grumpy and achy you don’t just want any friend to be around. The friend does not need to understand what your going through but you want that person to stay being your friend following the trip.
Anyways my husband really wanted to do the canoe trip before our first daughter was born. At that point I was not so sure if I could muster up the strength as I really just wanted to lay on my couch and sleep. However I do love the outdoors ALOT and I did not want to waste the summer not having gone camping.
Bringing our good friend, well, that was key. This was key for a couple of reasons:
1. You don’t have to paddle if you don’t want to.
When we went canoeing it was a beautiful sunny day. The boys paddled for the hour or so and I got to lay in the middle soaking up the sun. Perfect resting time for someone nearing their due date.
2. Should you go into labour on the island you won’t need to paddle yourself to the hospital.
The plan was that if I went into labour the boys would have to paddle like crazy to get us back to shore. In the event that I had the baby on the canoe, well, at least we would have my husband to help me deliver and our friend would have to row us into shore.
Tell friend not to cook spicy food
This is more of a lesson for the dad and is somewhat of an inside joke that was not funny at the time. Spicy food and I were not mixing well during pregnancy. Although I love spicy food, I dreaded the thought of eating spicy food around others throughout my pregnancy. The twisting and turning in my stomach that would occur along with the heart burn would not be how I would want to feel being away from civilization.
Before going on the trip I thought I had planned for everything. Since we were all contributing to the meals I told my husband to make sure that he tells his friend not to cook anything too spicy. Dinner time on the island came around and I was hungry. In fact filling my stomach was always a great way to ease the ‘all day sickness’ that was frequent throughout my pregnancy. As our friend is serving up dinner he says “I hope you like spicy food.” Immediately I look at my husband with the look of death. Without trying to hide the smoke boiling out of my ears our friend instantly feels really bad. My husband looks afraid. “You forgot to tell him didn’t you?” I say to my husband and he nods his head sheepishly. In that moment I feel a tinge of regret that our friend feels bad for making spicy food. I say “Don’t worry about it, its not your fault. It’s his!”
Pack Carefully and Thoughtfully
My husband and I have been back country camping a few times and even on some back country canoe trips. We are not ones to mess up and forget important items. We are thorough in our planning and preparation. I will talk about a few things that I wish we would have packed and items that I am very glad that we remembered to pack.
I love water. Water is and always will be my drink of choice before every other beverages. It is refreshing, quenches your thirst, nourishes and is life giving. Since I love water I made sure that my husband made sure there was water available on the island. With only a half bottle left of water I turn to the boys and tell them its time that they search for the water on the island. The island is actually really small and I’m sure that anyone who has been to twin islands is shaking there heads at what I call an adventure. Anyways the boys returned swiftly from the search without water. We wrestled with the idea of rationing the water and leave the next morning. This was not going to work as I was growing a baby in my belly. The boys then had to go searching nearby islands to see if they could find water. Since I was exhausted, from doing nothing but walking to our campsite, I slept for the two hours they were away finding water. In this instance we avoided the possibility that I might go into labour.
2. Bring toilet paper
Thank goodness we did this correctly. While the outhouse occasionally may have toilet paper where we were staying I am really glad that we brought some. What was left of the toilet paper looked second hand.
3. Get the Donuts or the Treats
We did the easy canoe from Deep Cove to the campsite on Twin Island. In Deep Cove there is a really good Donut Shop. Being pregnant, one of the things that motivated me to go on the trip was that we would get these donuts. We almost did not get them because we were running behind and my husband thought maybe we should just get them when we were heading home. Seeing as pregnancy turned me into a sweet craving monster husband lost that battle and we got the donuts.
Swimming spot to cool off
We went camping during the summer when Vancouver was going through a really nice hot streak. It was 30 degrees C and just beautiful. Usually I love the heat as I am typically a cold person. With a baby in my belly I had my own personal furnace that I could not turn off. I was hot all the time. To cool off I went to the beach frequently and would lay in the water like a beached whale. Needless to say it was very attractive….. Anyways at Twin Islands there are many spots to head into the water and cool off.
Bring pregnancy medication
Tums, tums, tums. In my 3rd trimester I had really bad heart burn. Before pregnancy I hardly even understood what heart burn was. When I was deciding what to pack I immediately thought tums. The last thing we needed was a grouchy pregnant women with heart burn.
Let others help
I have always been a strong headed women. In fact when my husband does nice things like open the door for me its because I care about him so much that I let him do that for me. Its his way of showing that he cares about me not that he thinks that I cannot open the door for him. Likewise, I sometimes show him that I care by opening the door for him.
If you choose to go camping so close to your due date remember that you can let others do the work during this time. Do not feel guilty about this. When the boys decided to get water I was so exhausted from not canoeing to the island. Does this make sense? Maybe only to someone who has already been pregnant. Anyways. When the boys decided to go get the water I let them go without me while they made a little area outside for me to rest. I went on to sleep the whole rest of the day which was about 4 hours.
Also do not feel obligated to set up the tent or pump up your mattress. I like setting up and taking down the tent so I helped out. Pumping the mattress is a whole other ball game. I love our mattresses but I hate self pumping it. I definitely pulled the pregnancy card and allowed my husband to pump it up for me.
I was always very active pre-pregnancy. I used to play rugby at a pretty high level, I would go snowboarding during the winter and had recently taken up surfing. I would go to the gym and work out often. During my pregnancy I got really bad morning sickness. In fact it was all day sickness. Needless to say I would go work out but it was not the kind of work outs I used to do. This ramble does have a point and that is that on the island you could go cliff jumping at about 30 ft high. I love the rush of cliff jumping and would have done it in a heart beat…… but I was pregnant. My husband and his friend are not so inclined to go cliff jumping. They battled with the notion and were leaning against going cliff jumping. That is when I jumped in and said ‘I would go if I was not pregnant.’ Having said that my husband and his friend both looked at me with a look of fear. She would go if she were able to and we are able to but do not want to go. Needless to say this brought me alot of entertainment as the boys decided to jump the cliff. Jumping off the cliff took about another hour as the boys wrestled wondering if there lives were at stake.
Stay close to civilization
Before going on our trip we had no idea that Twin Islands was such a close canoe ride. This brought alot of peace to my mind when I found out we were so close to Deep Cove. There are literally vacation homes directly across from the island. Many people do day trips via motor boat or canoe to the island. Help would have been very easy to get. We also made sure that we would have cell reception where we were going beforehand. This is very important even if you think that you still have a month before the baby arrives. If we had gone the following weekend, which was still almost 3 weeks before I was due, I would have had a Twin Island baby or a baby in the canoe. I am sure our good friend would have loved that!