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Baby on board?

February 4, 2009

It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I was en route to Chicago for a bff birthday rendezvous. I was just eight months pregnant, big and happy. (My husband and mother were less so. We had icy weather, and I had to leave a day early to get to Tulsa. On the other, snowier end of the trip, I also ended up stuck in Chicago for an extra day, which was a hidden gem of the weather-related ordeals that was fun for me but further proof for my husband that I should not make it a habit to travel alone AND pregnant.)

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This week, this year, I broke a three-year tradition in staying home for her birthday, and 28 had to be great (28 is great! = this year’s bday jingle) without me. Have baby? Will [not always be able to] travel.

So what if you’re only about to have a baby?

It didn’t occur to me to consider my third-trimester travel plans, you know, medically. But when I and my belly started cruising aiport concourses and security checkpoints, we also started accumulating stares and other surprised expressions. It’s true that some colleagues had expressed confusion and disbelief at my itninerary, but some of them were probably also surprised to see me still up and walking (as opposed to sporting a motorized scooter, for example), so I chalked it up to the pregnancy-as-a-disability perspective and moved on. I assumed that the no-fly zone over pregnancy was outdated, like banning husbands from the delivery room, recommending formula over breastmilk or warning against holding your arms over your head. I didn’t have a high-risk pregnancy, high blood pressure or any signs of early labor, so I didn’t ask or even inform the midwife at the hospital of my trip. When incredulous strangers wondered aloud how late in the game it might be safe for me to fly and how nervous my husband must be, I reassured them that I was only 32 weeks along – not even in my last month.

In observance of this important anniversary, I did some Googling and learned that the too-pregnant woman is indeed at risk of being hassled about her due date or even kept off the plane. To avoid that embarrassment, one would be wise to:

  • Check the airline for its policies for pregnant travelers. (Who knew? Maybe you did. Apparently most of them don’t want you on board after 34 weeks.)
  • Get a note or, if you’re flying American, a “medical certificate” from the doctor’s office recommending you for air travel

In the event that these precautions turn out to be less than fruitful, you could always try wearing something slimming.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2009 10:52 pm

    You realize your post title totally makes it seem like you might be announcing that you are pregnant, right?!? I am betting that you do… You are one tricky lady!

  2. Alleen permalink
    February 5, 2009 4:03 pm

    In regards to those strangers – I’ve always heard it’s rude to ask if a woman is pregnant (no matter how obvious you might think her situation is). So how funny would it be if you took a third approach: Act shocked that they would assume that your 32-week belly was in fact an indication of being pregnant. How dare you! I’m just having a Jessica Simpson style reaction to being in love. (Please tell me you get this. Pop-culture references are no fun when John just stares at me blankly. Sorry John.)

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