Baby on board, on board

Many people have asked me what it’s like to be pregnant, with two toddlers, and living on a boat. I’ve been asked numerous times when I would write a post on the subject. But the answer always stumped me. Being pregnant with toddlers on a boat was, to me, just like being pregnant with toddlers in a Boston condo. Except better, obviously, because I was on a boat. 

So sick, but still had enough vanity in me to recognize a good photo op 😂🙄

Well, I finally found out why, exactly, it wasn’t the norm. The final two weeks of our cruising season showed me that it is possible to long for a few modern conveniences, especially when pregnant. With toddlers. On a boat. We had two weeks to get our boat from Hope Town, in the Abaco region of the Bahamas, across to Stuart, Florida, where she would begin her summer of repairs, touch-ups and paint job. We were hoping to make a few stops along the way, specifically in Eleuthera and the Berry Islands. This route would also allow us to hit the Gulf Stream going in the optimal direction for a smooth arrival in Stuart.

Our planned route

and still on the following Monday. There was one marina store open, and they had all versions of ibuprofen (not ok for pregnancy) and DayQuil (definitely not ok) available, but no basic Tylenol. I was definitely the sickest I’ve ever been. I’ve always thought the worst cold could never rival a stomach flu, but now I know better. Because when you take the worst cold, add a sinus infection and no meds, and then you leave to sail overnight to your next destination (weather windows wait for no one!) and get massively seasick thanks to being pregnant, then you have truly the perfect storm of pregnancy complaints. Oh and did I mention the UTI?

I couldn’t sleep so I did a lot of resting on the beach

Thankfully dad was with us and was ready to pull 2 weeks of double-duty![/caption]

We arrived in Spanish Wells the Tuesday morning after Easter, a larger town with an industrial-looking waterfront on the island of Eleuthera. While our first mate was still tying up the dock lines, I hopped off and started walking, asking directions along the way to the medical clinic. I eventually got picked up by a guy who did not necessarily looked like he should have a license, in what looked like a hybrid golf cart-four wheeler and dropped off in front of a small pink building with massive construction happening all around its front. I was waved around back and entered a small hallway, with “delivery ward” written on double doors to the right and “male ward” on the doors to the left. If I knew one thing, it was that I wanted nothing to do with that delivery ward!

I added my name to the list out front, noting that every one of the 15 people waiting ahead of me had the same two last names, then went and sat in the waiting room. My relief at making it to the clinic was dampened by the brain-shattering sounds of drilling from out front, and the fact that the nurses seemed to be taking people in order of friendship and relation, not arrival time. On an island where everyone shares one of 5 last names, this did not bode well for me. Eventually, a long while later, a woman called my name and told me to go pee in a cup. I wandered into the bathroom, where I did find a stack of plastic cups next to the sink…cups I had previously assumed were for drinking out of. I dutifully peed in one. It turned out that my nurse was also the local midwife and she prescribed me some much needed antibiotics for my sinus infection and UTI. She then proceeded to tell me I looked “too small” and insisted on listening to the heart beat. Which was fine, of course. But it meant entering the delivery ward, which was slightly horrifying at this point. I took no pictures here, somehow. I blame the trauma of it all!

I did get this picture on my wall TO the clinic. Was feeling hopeful!

finally felt back to normal.

Beautiful moments like this, on our overnight from Eleuthera to Stuart, got me through

here for the six little things that kept me smiling through the first 6 months.

3 thoughts on “Baby on board, on board

  1. Greetings! You asked about my daughter Kathryn’s (Kat’s) friend who recently sailed around the world. Well, technically, she flew home at a prudent time, so as not to give birth in the middle of the ocean! Kelsey gave me a website that contains their “logbook,” a link to their business, and photos. You have to do some clicking around to find stuff. For instance, if you click on the latest log entry toward the bottom, it will take you to a list on the left, of their travel log. If you click on one photo, it will take you to others, etc. The log hasn’t been updated recently, but there is plenty to keep you interested! Here is the site: I’m sure you’ll see both some similarities to what you experience, but differences as well.

    Their new little one, born in Minneapolis, has a nordic name; she is called Metta. After all, this is where Scandinavians settled, and the church that we both attended has, at its roots, the Norwegian immigrants who founded it.
    When I spoke to Kelsey, she said that she and Peter are thinking of sailing, I believe, back to the west coast, perhaps selling their boat, and settling down; they may purchase some land near the ocean and live a frugal life, growing their own food, etc. I’m sure there is more to it than that. Kathryn and her husband Tom were out in Oregon last year, for the wedding of Tom’s best childhood friend. Where Tom and Kat are living a busy NY life, their friends Andrew and Sarah are living in the woods, growing their own food, canning, etc. I think they both do work in the social services field. New Age Hippies?? Actually, better than that! More responsible.

    Just as you have limited space on your boat, Kathryn has limited space in a Brooklyn brownstone apartment. Luckily, they have a large deck, so it’s like a small backyard, but not the same. She can’t just open the back door and let them run. But they do live near Prospect Park, which has ample room for running, but it takes some effort to get there! They feel so fortunate, though, to have found a great school for Miles. It’s called Community Roots, and they mindfully focus on helping children grow up to be thoughtful and mindful people, who know how to do critical thinking. They focus on all the issues one would hope for. You can see it in the photos on their instagram site, how they start exploring race at a young age, look at issues like stereotypes, discrimination, and so much more. Their instagram site: communityrootsnyc.
    Their website:
    Look under About Us, and watch the videos.

    I’m a parent educator, parent coach and early childhood teacher. But don’t shiver in your sandals regarding your admission that your children are too much into iPads or videos, etc. I get concerned about that too, as it can become addicting. But I see that Kathryn needs to do that sometimes as well. Tom works long hours in Manhattan, and with 2 ACTIVE children . . . if she has to help one with feeding or a bath or pottie training, she has to know that the other one is safe. Both Sage and Miles can both get out the back door onto the deck, and Miles can now open the door to the elevator that comes to their apartment. And who knows what else? So, letting them watch something has been the one thing that makes her feel like they will sit somewhere and be safe! They do get out to explore the city, and also get away some weekends to the country . . . Jenny, our other daughter lives in DC; she and Ian–with no children, get out to explore just about every weekend! They work in museum design, and Jenny will be working on a project at a museum along the coast of Georgia somewhere.

    So, I’m “just” a grandparent right now, but interested in travel, photography, writing, researching family history, doing parent coaching, etc. I love to share parenting info with people, as my ‘volunteer’ project, and have several people with whom I correspond. Kathryn keeps saying I should do a blog. I’m an infant and toddler specialist, but like to talk about children of all ages. If you have any desire to discuss something, or ask questions, feel free. You two look like amazing parents, so this isn’t about having awful problems and needing help, but about, for instance, better understanding why your child acts the way he does at a certain age, or about understanding his or her temperament, or how to deal with a particular behavior, or how to respond to a situation, etc. I’ve found that the more a parent understands a child, the more understanding a parent can be. I also like to help people see that situations that are challenging can actually be looked at as opportunities to connect and teach to the situation–which gives the child tools in the future for what to do. (There is a special program in MN–in all the school districts–where parents can come to classes with their children, have an early childhood experience together, and then a parent education session. It’s not a lecture, but a combination of support, sharing, and education. So the universities here have undergrad and grad coursework for a parent education teaching license.) OK, I’ve said enough! Thanks for putting up with so much to read.

    Oh, one more thing, I didn’t mean to offend when I jokingly made a comment about your outdoor toilet. Those are somewhat common here as well, on some lake properties! My nephew has one on the property he is developing near a lake! Thank so much for sharing your life and adventures. Joann

  2. We saw you on HGTV recently and found your story quite intriguing. I googled you just to find out more info on your place in Maine. I was stationed in Brunswick years ago when I was a Navy pilot and absolutely fell in love with Maine. Both of us grew up on St. Simons Island, GA, near the town of Brunswick, Ga. So from Brunswick to Brunswick was a bit of both weather and culture shock. Our two oldest children are forever Maine-iacs, as they were born in Brunswick. Sailing was also very important for us when we lived in Darien, CT. So we’ve enjoyed your blog . . . my wife and daughter in particular. We’re back on Saint Simons again but will keep you in mind for future vacation plans, because we’d love to visit Maine again, and your new place looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for posting and best of luck. Fair winds and following seas.

    1. Hi!! I’m so sorry I missed this! We’d love to have you up to Maine any time 🙂 Great story—reminds me of Wil Smith, whose story you may know. (Not THE will smith, but semi-famous in his own right) He thought he was going to Brunswick GA (was living in Jax when he enlisted) and was actually sent to Brunswick, ME!

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