Liveaboard Life & March in Maine (Hint: Winter is not over!)

Never one to miss an opportunity to be cliche, I’d like to just talk about how February was a giant tease…

Liveaboard life - winter at DiMillos Marina, Portland, Maine

We had a couple days with highs of 68°F (20°C!) that had us all dreaming of flowers and “early spring” and other such fantasies…

Portland harbor is pretty spectacular - DiMillos Marina - Liveaboard

Is this my good angle? Pregnant life on a sailboat - time for dock photos

Which of course makes for a good excuse to have an impromptu photo shoot… is *this* my good side?!? 🙂

Pregnant life on a sailboat - time for dock photos

But winter (that unpredictable lady) is having the last laugh…

Freaking cold day in Portland, Maine

Early morning visitors - liveaboard life

Winter 2018 in Portland, Maine

Jon’s been busy with more winter boat projects… this time replacing our old cracked companionway board holders…

Replacing the companionway board holder to be more rugged

With new aluminum-plate backed ones. These guys should never break:

Replacing the companionway board holder to be more rugged - new board with aluminum backing plates

And finishing off an epic amount of paperwork (seriously, we picked “new horizons” as our theme for 2018 but maybe we should have just called it “the year of the paperwork”).

I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a picture of the Lagun Leg table?? Jon saw these on a Sail Life video, and they work so freaking well in Brio — much more adaptable than the old fixed table! I’ll have to take some better pics at some point.

Have you seen the Lagun Leg table on sailboat?

Did I mention I officially became a US citizen?? With a passport and a team USA toque to prove it 🙂

I became an American Citizen!

My friends in Maine (side note: I have FRIENDS in MAINE. Leah of 2015 would be SO proud of this statement!) threw me an incredible baby shower, complete with these tear-wrenchingly thoughtful little candles (could also be pregnancy hormones, but I thought they were pretty special) 🙂

Baby shower candle wishes

Speaking of friends, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that DiMillos has the most liveaboards we’ve ever experienced this winter, and we love it — it’s like living in a small town (“where everybody knows your name…”) while simultaneously living downtown while simultaneously living in the world’s smallest plastic-wrapped floating bubble. We feel special 😉

Winter liveaboards at DiMillos Marina, Portland, Maine

Hiding from Nor'Easter at DiMillos

Of course that’s not to say that we don’t run away to my mom-in-law’s house for just about every serious snowstorm… as much as we love Brio, there’s something pretty amazing about being able to hide out in a house (with hot water and great storm-watching views!) for the worst of it…

Bailey Island, Maine

Bailey Island, Maine

Oh and pregnant life on a boat? It pretty much looks like this…

Pregnant on a sailboat

Except when it comes time to put real shoes on, then it looks like this:

Can't put my own shoes on anymore - pregnant on a sailboat

(I married well 😉 )



FAQs: Pregnant Life (on a boat in Portland, Maine)

31 weeks in, there are a few questions that have come up repeatedly, so I thought it’d be fun to document…

Are you STAYING on the BOAT??

Of course we are!

How have you been feeling?

I don’t think this is a unique-to-pregnant-on-a-boat question; it feels more like the default question that you ask pregnant women. I’m sure I’ve asked it myself a hundred times.

The hard part is deciding how much honesty to include in your answer. I don’t think my honest answer has ever been “I feel great!”. Because even on days that I feel physically great, I feel a low-lying level of worry about all things pregnancy / baby / parenthood. And on the days that I feel like I’ve got this, and maybe I’ll make it through pregnancy and we’ll be half-decent parents and we won’t have the world’s worst baby, I generally feel pukey or like my feet have gotten even FURTHER away or tired or emotional or weepy for no real reason.

So. I don’t have a great answer to this one, but you can keep asking and I’ll keep trying to figure out how to answer 🙂

Has your morning sickness been worse since you’re on a boat?

I don’t know! I have nothing to compare to, but in general I’d say no. I did throw up once while we were sailing in the fall, but at that point I’d been puking weekly regardless of where I was, so I don’t think it was Brio’s fault.

(Side note: trying to puke quietly in a bathroom stall at work is literally one of my least favorite life experiences and definitely way worse than tossing cookies over the side of the boat!!).

Are you feeling better / has your morning sickness passed?

At this point I’d just like to say that not enough women talk about how pregnancy is really NOT that much fun — it’s not always this glowing-wonder-filled 9 months, and it’s not the same for everyone involved! Personally, I was definitely so focused on *getting* pregnant that I forgot to actually consider the realities of *being* pregnant!

Case in point: I did not wake up at the 12-week mark and magically stop throwing up, like everyone promised me. Nope, instead I kept merrily puking through to about 24 weeks. Awesome-sauce.

And then to make matters worse and keep the worrying going, I’ve had persistent spotting through almost the entire pregnancy — finally diagnosed as a “friable cervix” which you can Google if you’re interested but the cliff notes will tell you is essentially harmless other than it causes you to freak the f* out very frequently throughout your pregnancy. Double-awesome-sauce.

So as much as third trimester pregnancy has been physically harder (literally, where did my feet go and just HOW much weight am I actually going to gain?!?), it’s also been way more fun to not puke / spot all the time, and more peaceful to feel a little human creature reassuringly digging his pointy toes into my ribs at all hours of the day.

Pregnancy is weird, I think that’s my key takeaway 😉

Do you need a crib / changing table / rocker / playpen / highchair / other baby paraphernelia?

Nope. Also, you should come over and see how well a rocking chair would fit inside Brio, just for a laugh.

The amazing thing about boats is that they’re really rather baby-friendly already — all our cupboards have doors, loose items have generally been secured, corners are rounded, and there’s only 3 stairs in the whole joint. Yes, granted, there’s a lot of ocean around to worry about — but on the inside, the boat is pretty great.

(Or at least that’s what we think, and we figure that if we’re ignorant and the baby is ignorant then we can all just live in ignorant bliss of all the things we should be worrying about / buying / doing).

That said, there are three modifications we’ve made:

1. Decluttering

I read somewhere that usually when people have babies they rush out and buy a whole bunch of stuff, but when you have a baby on a boat it means you need to rush around and GET RID of a bunch of stuff, to make room for the new babe. This feels especially true on the boat where every cupboard has a purpose and every item has a home; the only way to add some of the new (essential) stuff is to get rid of some of the old (less essential stuff).

So any time someone says “oh but you couldn’t possibly own too much stuff, you guys live such a minimalist life” …I just laugh and invite them to look inside some of our cupboards. I’m a terrible minimalist!

2. Baby Cupboard

Along the same lines as above, we’ve been looking around our cozy little space and re-evaluating how we use it all. In the process, we “found” a cupboard that we really don’t use very efficiently and Jon has been building us baby cupboards.

I’M SO EXCITED about this, it’s hard to explain — but I think it’s akin to a home-owner renoing their kitchen. Or something like that 😉 Anyways, it’s literally doubled our most useful storage space and allowed me to indulge in some nesting dreams, so I’m happy.

Before – giant open empty space behind the cushion that you could technically make into a bigger “bed” (ha!)

After! Divided cupboard space to match the Starboard side with a locking hinged cabinet door for easy but secure access

3. Baby Bed

I also made a new custom cushion for the “baby bed” — more on that below.

Baby bed in the vberth on a Nor'West 33 sailboat

Where will the baby sleep?

Nor’West 33’s have these interesting offset vberths, meaning the bed is to the left and there’s a deep sail locker to the right. This locker is super deep and can generally be a black hole of “stuff”, so we long-ago added a shelf to the top of it to divide it in half and try to keep a little more organization going.

With a little guy on the way, this shelf has taken on new importance — and with the addition of a new custom-made mattress, we’ve got a baby bed that’s literally as close to our bed as possible without actually being “in” it. Which I think will be helpful for the late night feedings and diaper changes, especially since I usually sleep on the outside so Jon will actually be closest to the source of the noise 🙂

Anyways, this is where we plan to have the baby sleep (for the beginning while at least), and eventually we’ll move him into the quarterberth.

Was this planned?

I think this one is hilarious. Like, are you REALLY asking this question?? What if I say no?!?

(Interestingly, I’ve been asked this question the most from dentists and dental hygienists. Is there something about the dental world that causes more “oopses” or are dental hygienists just especially looking for new gossip / conversation topics??)

Anyways, this baby was absolutely planned — and long hoped for, in fact.

This is another one of those “I wish people would talk about this more” topics for me, because I really never expected that it wouldn’t just be an instant thing for us. My mom has forever been telling me the story of how she was “sooo disappointed when she wasn’t preggers the first month they tried for me, but then she was pregnant the second month so it was all okay”, so I guess you could say that my expectations were maybe a tad high 😉

Anyways, we were so, so, so lucky to only need a little bit of help from the (eastern + western) medical world, and while I’ll spare the general public the full details, I just want to say that struggling with conceiving is on my list of the darkest, hardest things to go through — and that’s *with* a positive outcome and a pregnancy well underway.

I do think “the journey” makes us appreciate pregnancy a little more, and when I’m feeling especially worried about how this will all turn out I say “I am so thankful to be pregnant today” over and over and over to myself. Because I really truly am, no matter what.

Maine Liveaboard Life in the Winter - DiMillos Marina - Portland, Maine

How much longer?

Great question! If we believe the “due date”, then he should arrive in 9 weeks!

Personally I’d be very happy for this little guy to hang out well into late April, mostly in hopes of the snow melting and the warmth showing up — but I think we’re as “ready” as we’ll ever be, so we’ll leave it up to him.


A third winter living aboard (in Portland, Maine)

Our third winter living aboard at DiMillos Marina in Portland, Maine - With Brio

There’s 12″ of new snow on the ground and forecast gusts of 45+ knots. The docks have snowdrifts and the ducks are doing a funny little dance on the ice floes floating around the marina.

Ice in the marina - DiMillos, Portland, Maine - Living aboard in winter

Outside, the marina staff are busy shoveling and snow-blowing the docks (quite the sight, actually), and we’re thankful that our marina faired well at high tide and we didn’t have any issues with flooding (the neighboring wharf had a ramp underwater, so tenants couldn’t get to their boats!).

Ice in the marina - DiMillos, Portland, Maine - Living aboard in winter

The marina showers are toasty warm and there’s a flurry of friendly faces waving and laughing as the snow continues to blow.

Ice in the marina - DiMillos, Portland, Maine - Living aboard in winter

And inside? Aboard Brio, we’re cozy by the Dickinson, reading books, watching shows, listening to the gusts whistling over the shrinkwrap and enjoying the slower pace that blizzards bring.

Pregnant liveaboard on a sailboat in Maine winter

95% boredom interrupted by 5% sheer terror — a perfect description for sailing in general, but equally applicable to winter in Maine 🙂

Christmas lights in the cockpit aboard Brio

While I’m hoping this ‘bomb cyclone’ (the official weather term!) blows over quickly, so we can get back to our quieter nights, I also don’t mind the occasional blizzard to remind us that living aboard through Maine winters is still a legit adventure 🙂

Ice in the marina

Although our latest dream card (made entirely of borrowed images) features noticeably less snow and ice… 😉

– LMK 🙂

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