Travelling while pregnant; the Big Reveal. The time of year finally came to make my way to the USA for Christmas and New Year and to make the big reveal to my family.
New York City, Work & dealing with the early stages of pregnancy
Early December there was a conference in NYC that was full of executives working on a telecom deal that I was reporting on. Always looking to save on travel costs I asked my company if I could attend the conference and they booked my passage to NYC. I was hyped for the conference and ready to go… or at least I thought I was.
By now I was 8 weeks pregnant (the embryo was implanted at the beginning of November but actual conception went back to October in the IVF process). Overnight nausea and tiredness set in as soon as I began my conference. Working and being pregnant started to be really horrible and I began to regret my decision to go to the conference.
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, often known as morning sickness is the worst, but particularly bad if you have to travel. What can you do if you are pregnant and in the morning sickness stage? I would advise staying home.
It can affect you at any time of the day or night and even in the first day of the conference I felt I had to lie down by the afternoon. I would eat crackers and sit in a side chair outside the convention hall. I managed to cope but it did significantly affect my day-to-day life. I got through it and still managed to enjoy a walk through Times Square and a huge breakfast of blueberry pancakes at Pershing Square, a well known restaurant near Grand Central station, before taking the train to my company headquarters after the Telecoms conference.
Being pregnant and feeling like I couldn’t tell anyone-was hard and “travelling while pregnant “in this case was really the worst. This is thought by many women to be the hardest of the 3 trimesters, simply because the symptoms can be so draining.
Desiring to take a quick nap while the boss was out, I had to confide in my co-worker of my condition. She was super excited but also sympathetic and rushed out to get me crackers. I will be eternally thankful for this as I was able to participate in the rest of the group activities pretty well after having a sneaky nap and snacks that afternoon.
I didn’t want to tell the boss I was pregnant because it was still the early days of pregnancy. I also perceived he wouldn’t take the news well since it was a small company depending on all hands on deck.
Off for a Christmas visit to see Grandma in Upstate New York
Surviving the cold and the long work hours I then set off to see my grandmother in Upstate New York. I got the train back from my office to Grand Central station and then headed out for the 8 hour journey on Amtrack to Rochester, New York. Some people might argue this is a strange way to travel given that flying only takes one hour, but I figured by the time I got to the airport which can take an hour to JFK (John F Kennedy airport) and have a two hours wait before the flight with all the security check ins it almost amounted to the same amount of time. Going by train was going to be a lot less stressful and a lost cheaper.
There was no hassle with security checks for my suitcase and I managed to roll it on board, helped by the very hard working controller on the platform. Even though it was winter I could watch the beautiful scenery of Upstate New York as the train passed through National Parks and lakes. It was a work day so I made calls from the train and started on some articles on my laptop. I arrived in Rochester well rested, having enjoyed some pizza in the restaurant car and a donut. It was nice to indulge in all the poor quality food that was available as there no other options available and I was eating for two wasn’t I?
My grandmother was there on the platform to pick me up in a taxi that her nursing home had called for us. Seeing her always gave me a sense of home and calm and happiness. The time with her was always enjoyable. I often came to visit and stay with her at her assisted living centre, so this was not the first time. We had been close my whole life and I was so appreciative that the assisted living centre let me stay with her in her one bed apartment.
I debated about telling her the situation, but refrained. Instead we went shopping and enjoyed the Christmas spirit as we normally would. My parents live in Myrtle Beach so it was just my grandma and I celebrating Christmas that year. Residents who lived in the area hang hundreds of Christmas lights and decorations on their houses. It became such a tradition that the old folks home would organise a van to take their elderly residents around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights on display. Some of them reach crazy levels with the entire garden filled with Christmas themes such as reindeer on a sleigh and Santa Claus, standing in the snow, lit up as bright statues.
I was delaying telling my grandma about the Big Reveal of the pregnancy because I wanted to have my scan first. I was nine weeks pregnant so it was time for my first scan. However no fertility clinic that I called in Rochester would take me unless I was a regular patient. It was an eye watering USD 800 even if they would give me a scan.
The very first scan is meant between six and eight weeks in order to check that the baby is growing. By complete fluke a childhood friend of mine lived nearby and I went to stay with her for a couple of days. She specialised in Ultrasound scans for elderly patients and managed to take her machine home one night to give me a sneak peak of my baby! Everything was on track, the baby was growing and she said and it looked like I might have a little boy. I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl. I was just thrilled and felt much better to proceed with baby announcements knowing this.
That night we went to celebrate at the Olive Garden nearby, a popular chain in Rochester. It was my treat after-all my friend had saved me USD 800!
Later when I returned to my grandmothers home I finally got the courage to tell her that I pregnant the day before I left. She was surprised but happy but had a lot of questions about the babies father and how IVF works and I know the answers must have been hard for her to understand. She was over ninety years old and they didn’t have IVF and modern fertility methods back then like they do today!
There isn’t much to do in Rochester in the winter, it’s too cold to enjoy Durand Eastman or the lovely Seneca falls. The Niagara falls is open but it’s a two hour drive each way from Rochester. In the summer one can visit the 1000 islands and swim in the great lakes and even go wine tasting along the Eire canal, but in winter it’s too cold to enjoy most things so I didn’t want to stay too long.
Off to Myrtle Beach with the ominous task of my Big Reveal!
From there I headed to Myrtle Beach to see my family and immediately gravitated to my brothers daughter Kayla. She had been my inspiration to have a baby because seeing her and spending time with her was so special. We cuddled and I couldn’t help but think that I had a baby coming too and I hoped it would be sweet like her! I hadn’t told anyone so it seemed strange that I was keeping such a big secret – now only my grandma knew and had kept her word at holding back the secret from the rest of the family.
I felt I could relax from week 10, since the likelihood of miscarrying was reduced. My excitement started to creep in as my morning sickness subsided. This was really going to happen! Before New Years eve I tested the water and told my brother. He was excited but said that I didn’t realise what I let myself in for but was happy for me nevertheless!
The Big Reveal!
So on New Year’s eve he prompted me to tell the whole family.
I was going to avoid it and had decided not to bother with the Big New Year reveal. But he said loudly as the clock got closer to midnight, “Don’t you have an announcement to make?”
Sadly my mothers face showed more shock and horror than happiness. After all these years of single travel and work my parents couldn’t see how I would manage the burden of work and having a child on my own. I told her not to worry about it and the subject was ignored for the rest of my trip.
We went for long refreshing walks in long winter jackets on the empty beaches, with the cold wind blowing our hair in all directions. Multi coloured jelly fish lay at the waters edge in the sand, washed up on to the shore and glowing like magic mystically glowing balls from the matrix.
My parents had just moved there so it was my first time to explore the area. There is a large ferris wheel called the SkyWheel in the centre of town that gives you a stunning view all over the town and sea so my parents took me there to start with.
After the SkyWheel we walked to Seafood World for dinner. I had the snow crab legs which is a treat that I find difficult to find in Europe. Myrtle beach has a wide array of local sea food on offer.
The next day we went to Broadway at the Beach. With 350 acres of shopping, dining and entertainment, Broadway at the Beach is the largest entertainment complex in South Carolina. It’s conveniently placed at the centre of Myrtle Beach, has a huge car park, and lots of entertainment for kids, in addition to the huge selection of restaurants and bars.
Craving the sun, I head off to Key West
After this I decided to leave Myrtle beach to head to Key West to try get my positive feeling about the pregnancy back. My Big Reveal mission to tell everyone was accomplished and I wanted to get some sunshine. Myrtle Beach is cold in winter and I was done with bad weather. I got an air ticket one way straight to Key West.