Paddling and pregnant at 35 weeks

I wasn’t sure I could do it

I thought I might get stuck

I wasn’t sure I’d make it out without forceps or a forklift

I thought I might go into labor and give a whole new meaning to “water birth”

But I really wanted to try

For the last nine months Mom has been bragging about the fact that she was water skiing on the day she was due with me. Water skiing. On her due date.

I had to try or risk not having my own story to brag about to my son.

I imagined how it would sound. How I would say it.

Something like…

“I was kayaking in killer whale populated waters when I was 34-weeks pregnant with you.”

And I would say it like it was no big deal. No big whoop. I’m just awesome. That’s all. Or incredibly stupid. Either way.

So I did it.

Last week my dear friend Ellen came to visit and we went for a 3-hour kayak tour.

If you ask me, she’s the one that took the bigger risk sharing a kayak with a pregnant lady.

I did ask our guide if we could return to land if I were to go into labor. And I wondered how I would be able to tell if my water broke. Our guide said that I could just have a water birth. Hahaha. Ha.

As he told us what to do in the event of capsizing, I worried about how I would climb back into the kayak from the water.

As he informed us that the preliminary effects of hypothermia set in after only eight minutes of being in the waters of the Haro Strait, I wondered how smart of an idea this really was.

But what did I discover?

It truly wasn’t that big of a deal.

I mean, I fit in the kayak just fine.

Yeah, so it looks like the kayak was “built around me” as my friend Brian kindly pointed out when he saw this picture.

But still. I fit.

And yes, my life jacket was pushed up to my ears and rubbing against my chin like sandpaper. But I was able to zip it with no problem.

And thanks to my large belly, that kayak was not going tip. I had us centered just fine. There would be no tipping.

And sure, I might have needed a little extra help getting up off the dock…

But I got myself out of the kayak…

Nice and easy.

The Tour

I sat in the front of the kayak and was responsible for setting our pace. Ellen was in the back and had the job of steering with the foot pedals while paddling. Takes coordination and I was happy that she was willing to take that on.

The paddling was harder than I thought it would be considering we were heading into the wind and against the current for the first half of the tour. Also considering that I was limited in my mobility. But once we got into a rhythm, it was so much easier. I concentrated on timing my breathing with my paddling. I thoroughly enjoyed the sound my paddle made as it went into the water.

It was so peaceful out there. It felt amazing to be on the water. I didn’t realize it until later, but the baby didn’t move the entire time. He was asleep. Which isn’t that surprising. I’ve always slept best in a boat.

Did we see whales?

No. No whales. But we did see bald eagles, harbor seals, starfish and jelly fish. Actually, I held a jelly fish. The kind that doesn’t sting. The kind that looks like a breast implant. I also ate sea kelp. Our guide said it was full of protein and demonstrated how to eat it. I thought protein is good for pregnant ladies, so I had a bite. Salty.

My arms were completely spent by the time we got back to the docks. And I was entirely relaxed. As though I had just been rocked like a baby for hours.

I’ve clearly missed being in a boat. On the water. And I’m so glad that we went. I’m so glad that I can tell our son that he went kayaking before he was even born. That he took to the water immediately. Like his mom. And his grandma. And his grandpa. And his great-grandpa. And his great-great-grandpa who was a shipbuilder in Scotland. Or was that his great-great-great-grandpa? The point is that this love of the water comes at him from all sides. It’s in his blood. Now we just need to work on getting him out there more often.

Oh… and no. This does not mean I will be having a water birth

And, Mom… you win. I can say with the utmost certainty that there is no way I will be water skiing on my due date. You’re one tough (and/or perhaps crazy?) mama!

Thank you to Crystal Seas Kayaking for an awesome day out on the water. Johannes, you were right. I did just fine. I made it in AND out of the kayak and didn’t go into labor. Success! Our guides- Adam and Jordan- were so much fun and extremely helpful. Adam deserves a raise for pulling a 35-week pregnant lady up off that narrow dock.


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5 Responses

  1. Beautiful – both the views and the paddlin’ mama.

  2. Oh Steph you and Ellen and Malcolm are so cute in your kayak!Bravo for being an adventurous Mama.It’s no surprise that baby Mal slept through the whole thing. You were sailing at one month old and loved every minute of it.Babies love being with their parents more than anything, so do what you love and take the baby with you…just like you’re doing now!

  3. What? This wasnt a kayak marathon? Ha ha. That was a good/miserable time and I couldnt help think about that trip when I was reading this.

    And really, am I missing something? Your posts make it look like you are enormous, but you dont look enormous in these pictures at all! Quite adorable.

    • Megan! I told Ellen all about our canoeing marathon down the Des Plaines river while we were out kayaking. That canoe trip was WAY harder. And we got so much more wet in the canoe than the kayak. How many times did we fall out? We were so miserable that day. Sunburned, wet, tired. Right? Am I remembering it correctly? And so relieved to be done once we finally were.

      • Oh yes, it was miserable, but it makes for such a great story that I dont think of the whole thing as bad. And prior to finding out that we werent even half way through what was actually a marathon and not a leisurely trip down the DesPlaines, it was fun. I think we fell out twice, both times after going over a waterfall type thing. So many things we werent told about….

        And, we were totally awesome. I remember the point where we just said ‘No more talking, all we are doing now is getting this done’ and we were like a machine just rowing for the next 2 hours.

        And then I got home and something went awry in my back/shoulders/arm and my hand couldnt pick up my keys. That was probably the worst part. But it all got better. 🙂

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