Monthly Archives: June 2015

Travelling while pregnant

Travelling while pregnant

I packed a beautiful bag for this trip. I should have taken a photo, really. I took my round-the-world backpack out of the cupboard, emptied it completely and filled it back up. I fit enough clothes for a month, an outfit for a wedding, two pairs of shoes, a laptop, Kindle and lots of wires in it. I packed my usual essentials and a few extras, because I’m pregnant, including snacks, an inflatable back support, hand sanitizer, my maternity notes and a letter from the doctor.

Red roofs of Cesme, Turkey, with the marina in the distance

The bag zipped shut and I could carry it comfortably. As long as no one weighed it, I should be fine to get on any flight in Europe.

I stood it by the door, and went to a routine antenatal appointment.

A sandy bay on Donkey Island near Cesme

The appointment showed some concerns. I put the bag in the boot of the car and drove to the hospital. The bag stayed in the boot, and I missed the flight.

I am fine.
Sprout is fine.

My trip is not fine.

Because they’re kind as well as professional, the doctors at the hospital took the time to think about whether it would be safe for me to fly at all.

They said yes.
They said yes, but.
They said yes, but you have to come back for further tests on Thursday.

I was planning on waking up in Athens on Thursday. I was going to see the Acropolis with my mum and a close friend. We were going to celebrate a number of good things.

We can still celebrate. Those things are still good. But I missed Athens, and that’s disappointing.

A small mosque in Izmir

This is one of the realities of travelling while pregnant though: everything might be fine, or it might not, and you might not be able to tell without access to a doctor or midwife.

I am really glad that the NHS schedules routine appointments and checks for worrying signs. I am really glad that my GP picked up on the worrying signs and made a referral. I am incredibly glad that the NHS is free at point of service, because if I had had to pay for this particular routine antenatal appointment, I might have skipped it. After all: I feel fine, Sprout is practicing for the first zero-G Olympics in there, and who wants to go to the doctor when the only slot available is 30 minutes before they have to leave for the airport?

I am really happy that the doctors at the hospital took the time to decide if I could fly. That they thought about keeping me and Sprout safe, while also trying to make sure I could go to my brother’s wedding.

Me in a posh pink floor length dress and professional hair

I am beyond thrilled to have made it to the wedding after all. It was a beautiful day where two very happy people were toasted and feted by people who love them. I wouldn’t have missed it for a million dollars and cake.

I really enjoyed that I got to swim in the Aegean, with Sprout doing her own back flips inside me and my mum splashing around too.

Two pasty white people swimming in the bright blue Aegean Sea

I am still pretty annoyed to have missed out on Athens, Thessaloniki and Belgrade though. But let’s face it – travel is never entirely predictable. I’ve never cancelled a trip after checking in before, but the trips we haven’t taken have been amazing and varied. There was the time we didn’t do a work/travel visa to Australia, and the time we didn’t go to Egypt. The time we didn’t go to Thailand, and the time we didn’t go to… somewhere… and went to Tunisia instead. Even if I’d gone to Athens, it still would have been the time we didn’t go to Canada, which was our original plan for this summer.

Each time we’ve changed our itinerary, it’s because something better or more important has come along. And it’s not like landmasses vanish overnight – Athens has been around for thousands of years. It can wait a little longer for me to arrive.

Travelling while pregnant, it turns out, it just like travelling while not pregnant: life still has the power to get in the way, and amazing things can happen. Even after bad ones.