Howdy y’all! I’m writing from Texas, where we just relocated, which we thought was a splendid idea whilst in the third trimester of our first pregnancy. In case you were worried, I have already purchased a Texas size bottle of Aquanet and I took a bath in straight White Rain this morning while eating ribs and listening to Merle Haggard, so I’ll fit in just fine.
Now that we are settled (read: I literally hurdled over seven boxes in a row this morning on my way to the bathroom. I was the pregnant version of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, only whiter and sweatier), I thought it appropriate to relay to you all a few lessons learned from our travels. This way you will know what not to do should you ever decide to move your pregnant butt across the country two months before a child springs forth from your nether-region. Or you can just laugh at me: I’m cool with both options.
I should start by explaining to you our chosen method of travel, emphasis on the fact that we knowingly and willingly made a decision to travel in the manner I’m about to tell you about… oh the things we will do to save $300. Afterall, what could be more enjoyable than driving a 24-foot Budget rental truck (which leaked through the cab when it rained) with all our belongings heaped inside, followed by a crew cab Silverado containing our wolf-like-squirrel-loving-stressed-out-wildebeest, towing a Jeep unlimited, 1,500 miles from DC to Dallas? Yep. You read that right. We were the coolest (most dangerous) caravan ever.
Here’s the set up: Lonnie was our fearless leader and pace-setter in the gigantimous Budget truck and blazed a trail down route 40 at a top speed of 50mph. Behind him was the extended cab Silverado driven by Momma Weingart and co-piloted by our dog who decided periodically to unleash a barrage of nervous farts. I was in the front seat with my contribution to the trip going as far as trying not to squish my unborn child and/or pee on the seat when we hit a big bump. I was successful at one of the two, so I wouldn’t sit in that passenger seat just yet…
Being towed behind the Silverado, up on a U-Haul trailer, was my beautiful Jeep. I thought it was a good idea to put all the nursery stuff we had acquired in the Jeep so I could keep an eye on these precious possessions at all times from my position in the passenger seat. What this ended up meaning was that when BOTH Jeep tires came unstrapped from the U-Fail trailer, I almost got a front row seat to watch as all our nursery stuff, lovingly loaded with care in the Jeep, nearly became fun obstacles for anyone dumb enough to drive behind a Budget truck followed by a Silverado with a dog’s head flapping out the window, towing a Jeep at 50mph. It would have been just like real-life Frogger.
By the grace of Bob, the Jeep, with all our future child’s essentials (remember the Kitten Mittens? Those were in the Jeep) did not fly off the trailer, even with both wheels coming out of the tire restraints. We pulled over; Lonnie did a quick assessment of our options (involving some words I’m sure even in Yiddish weren’t appropriate in front of polite company) while I took inventory of all the Kitten Mittens. We decided to split the caravan into three separate vehicles. This now meant yours truly, previously only concerned about the amount of urine leaking from her body each time we hit a pothole, was now in charge of driving a car the next 1,300 miles. Yippee! What could go wrong?
Lonnie got the car off the trailer, returned it to some lovely country bumpkins at a shop in Radford, Virginia who “reckin’d” the e-brake alone was likely an insufficient way to keep the car on the trailer for the duration of the trip, and we called it the end of Day 1.
Day 2: Prepared to drive, I waddled myself over to the Jeep-mobile, got a good grip on the “oh-shit” handle at the top of the door, and hoisted my pregnant self on in to the driver’s seat. I was wedged in tighter than the last stubborn Jenga block, but in good spirits. Off we chugged down the highway toward our new lives as red-blooded, Amurica-loving Texans. But then I had to pee. And when I have to pee it goes from a moderate desire to tinkle to a Class 1 System Failure Emergency in about the span of, oh, two minutes. Whole caravan gets off the road, I use a little WD-40 to wriggle my belly free from the car, waddle-jog in to pee at the closest gas station, and get back on the interstate. Off we go, bumpity-bump; then twenty-ish minutes later, repeat emergency peeing process. This pattern continued much to everyone’s chagrin for the rest of the journey, and though thoroughly annoyed (no one more than me, I assure you), it’s hard to be pissed at a pregnant lady who just has to piss, so no one said anything. What should have been two eight hour days of driving quickly turned in to 12 hour days. I also ran out of WD-40 after about hour six.
We did eventually make it, dog, Kitten Mittens, and leaky Budget truck, to Dallas. It’s good to be settled even though I’m writing from within a fort made of boxes and bungee cords. I’m pretty sure I have successfully barricaded myself in… I may be stuck in here until Lonnie gets home from work. At least I have pretzels.
Though the trip tried our patience, my bladder, and the Jeep’s e-brake, I ultimately learned a few things:
1. Pregnant people should not be allowed to drive for more than 15 minutes at a time. There are days when I cannot handle crossing the street on foot without nearly dismembering myself, let alone operating a motorized Barbie Jeep on a highway when the only thing that runs through my head is “OMGIhavetopeeIhavetopeeIhavetopee”. Or “where can I buy Depends” and “Would the truckers at Denny’s be able to tell I was wearing a pair?” FYI: once your spouse has heard you seriously debate out loud the pros and cons of wearing Depends, it changes your relationship a smidge.
2. Driving with a giant baby inside your uterus makes your legs go numb. Driving when your gas pedal leg goes numb isn’t the best idea. To combat the numbness that set in after sitting for five minutes like a normal human, I tried moving around to a new position where I was still able to keep my foot at least in striking distance of the gas pedal (while assisted by the greatest invention ever: cruise-control). I freaked out at least a dozen truckers who looked in and observed my most creative driving-while-pregnant-positions.
First there was The Levitator: this was an attempt to pick myself up off the seat a little bit by keeping one hand on the wheel and lifting myself up ever so slightly by rolling down the window and grabbing the top of the roof. My left bicep is the better for it. Then there was Lowrider: I reclined the seat as far as possible so I could still see over the steering wheel and slide my butt as far forward as nature would allow while bending my legs at the knee and shoving them outwards. If you know yoga, it looked like I was trying to do a pregnant version of Happy Baby pose in the front seat at 50mph on the highway. Then lastly, my favorite numb-leg combatant driving pose, The Sideways Plank: I turned ninety degrees on to my side so my hips and shoulders were nearly square with the door. I craned my neck to see the road and rested my big old belly on the seat facing the window. It looked like I was practicing for a fiercely competitive jet-ski tournament there on the interstate. That was the one that most alarmed my fellow highway travelers. Betcha weren’t expecting to look over and see that Mister Trucker! And you thought you had seen it all.
3. Denny’s pancake poppers are overrated. Don’t order them. And it’s also hard to dip fried dough in syrup while driving in the pregnant Happy Baby pose.
So here we are in the suburbs of Dallas about to start this new chapter of our lives. Our baby girl will be born a Texan in just two short months. It’s hard to believe she’s going to be here so soon and I’m actually going to be in charge of this new life (thank goodness I hear those things are resilient and bounce a little if dropped). I still think there should have been something more rigorous than drinking wine on a Saturday night and seeing what happens to serve as a screening process of our parenting abilities. Ready or not, she’s a’comin soon! Ok, I’m going to go pee. Happy trails!