All knocked up with no place to go. That basically sums up my general disposition during the last trimester of both pregnancies. As much as I wanted to set foot on a plane and see the world, I was on house arrest by doctor’s orders, stuck at home, staring at my belly, guessing who’s coming to dinner.
It wasn’t anything serious, but both times, my OB suggested I think twice before traveling anywhere. My first pregnancy was perfect with the exception of a benign, but excruciating condition that prevented me from being in a close friend's island wedding (to this day, five years later, I still don't think the bride has forgiven me). The second, a twin pregnancy that left me looking full-term somewhere around month five, I was too huge to even take my two-year-old on a merry-go-round without the operator grilling me about my due date. A week later, when I asked my doctor what he thought of my bright idea to jet off and meet my husband who was teaching at a summer writer’s workshop, he just looked at my belly and laughed.
The only thing worse than being extremely pregnant is being extremely pregnant and exceptionally bored. Even if the nursery's not finished, there's only but so much nesting a gestating woman is capable of before losing her hormone-marinated mind. That’s why I refuse to badmouth the woman who recently boarded a Delta airplane pregnant and ended up giving birth before landing. Many criticized her for setting foot on the plane in the first place, but honestly, who can blame her? Life must go on, whether one already has kids with or just happens to be “with child”. In fact, as a parent of small children who’s terrified of flying (with them), I’m almost willing to pay someone to have a baby while my family takes our first flight as a fivesome this summer.
I actually think a parent flying with small kids would be crazy not to welcome a (non-terrorism related) mid-flight commotion that isn’t caused by their own offspring. Please, somebody distract the entire plane from listening to my youngest daughter squeal because she wants the Pirates Booty that I forgot to pack. Save the woman behind us from being distracted from her knitting because my preverbal son keeps flirting with her. Prevent the entire economy class from listening to my oldest serenade them because she's decided she's the newest member of the Cheetah Girls. Keep me from wanting to hit my husband over the head with my Skip Hop bag because he’s listening to his ipod and reading a comic book through all of this, pretending he doesn’t even know us. I'm not adverse to anyone who wants to help make sure my kids don't get our entire family thrown off the plane. To jet-setting parents of half-pints, a laboring mother on board is like a get out of jail free card.
So bring me your tired, your poor pregnant women who can’t stand the idea of putting their lives on hold while waiting for their special deliveries to arrive. We’ll make a seat for you in first class. Don’t even worry about the other passengers. In the rare event you’re your water breaks somewhere between the plastic cups being taken away and Zoolander being shown, your dignity will fly right out the passenger seat window anyway. You’ll care less about the nauseous businessman two rows in front of you, the flight attendant who’s too freaked out to serve pretzels because she’s hiding in the bathroom, or the baby boomer shouting “that’s not how I did it!” from the back.
Just know that no matter how stir-crazy you happen to be right now, or how gargantuan you insist you are, making the decision to fly in the third trimester isn’t anything to take lightly. It’s a lot different than wondering if a glass of merlot has a higher alcohol content than a glass of shiraz and if just one teeny glass of either of the two could cause fetal alcohol syndrome. It’s not like questioning the health risk of cooked sushi or wondering if the steaming hot bath you took the other night could mean your unborn child is destined to a life of pity. But if you have the nerve, I applaud you and any woman with enough gumption to laugh in the face of her OB, Mother Nature and of course her own mother to climb aboard with an almost baked bun in the oven. Let's just hope there's a doctor in the house.
On Friday my posts also appear as an online column for Time Out New York Kids. Visit them at Time Out New York Kids for more city-specific parenting tips and diversions. The regular column will be called Not the Nanny, which pretty much answers the crazy looks I sometimes receive when I'm out and about with my rosy-cheeked son.