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.



FAQs: Pregnant Life (on a boat in Portland, Maine) — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for ‘over sharing’ it’s nice to hear some truths and get to know you more in your blog. It’s all going to be so GREAT, even when it isn’t! Lucky little boy!

    • Thanks Ruth!! It’s been so wonderful to follow your adventures and baby journeys — you’ve set a seriously inspiring example for the rest of us!

  2. HI Leah, may I first say first you look great!!! Pregnant women have an aura that is very special. And you definitely have it in your pictures! I am so happy for you. Although as a man I can not begin to imagine what a women goes through during pregnancy, it must be very special because my wife is very sad that we can not have any more children. And she too went through a difficult pregnancy, I see a lot of parents out in the world that don’t seem to enjoy their children. And to be honest, I can’t understand it. My children have filled my life with a meaning, with joy, and a love that is special and indescribable. Especially to someone who doesn’t have children of their own. My little one is now going to be 6 years old. And not a day goes by that we do not thank God for this great gift. Being as old as I am now, I am more relaxed and enjoy him so much. I have learned over the years, the only thing important to your children will be the love you have given them. My boy was what they call a fussy baby. And when he was a baby it was not always easy. And still all he has to do is smile at me and I am happy. He is now such a loving boy. So no matter what your baby is like, just love him, and you will get it back in folds. I can’t wait to see pictures!

  3. PS: We have a huge bed. I am not ashamed to say my son still sleeps with us. Although it is time for him to move on to his own bed. When he reaches out to touch me at night, I too sleep like a baby.

  4. Leah and Jon, you guys are going to be great parents. There is no doubt! It took us 3 months of not actually full-on-trying to get pregnant in a much smaller space than Brio. 😉 And I really did have awesome pregnancies and felt fabulous – so sorry for all your troubles. Keep taking care of yourself, the big day is near!

    • Thanks Ali! It’s amazing how so many women feel fabulous and then others have challenges — the whole spectrum of experience wrapped up in 9-10 months of anticipation!! We’re definitely getting excited for the ‘big day’ 🙂

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