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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

24 weeks 2 days
~ Low Stamina, Fun Anyway

The last four days have been pretty great! I was a little apprehensive going into this trip. I noticed last week that my energy was a little low, and I just didnít have the same oomph Iím used to having for walking around and exploring. I felt very uncertain about my ability to enjoy our Labor Day weekend in Yosemite with limited energy. Yes, it was a different trip pregnant than it would have been otherwise, and we still had a great time.

We planned with a mind for what comforts I might need or want that ordinarily would be unnecessary luxury on a camping trip. For starters, we packed a huge air mattress, six inches thick (obviously, we were car camping and not backpacking.) With that mattress, I ended up not really needing the pillow I had been using for under my belly and upper knee when side sleeping. With both of us on the mattress, it dipped down in the middle and raised the edges, so my belly was cradled and my knee elevated. I was able to pass the pillow on to our friends Dan and Susan, who were on the trip with us, for her to use against acid reflux.

One of the advantages of this trip was definitely having others along. Susan struggles with fibromyalgia, so I had someone to lag behind with. Plus, sheís a massage therapist/Feldenkrais bodyworker who was able to keep us all in good working order. Sheís also hypoglycemic and a great camp cook, so we ate often and well, AND she always fed me before the guys. Hee hee! It pays to be friends with the cook.

Like any vacation, we had some unexpected glitches. Oh gee, letís start with the rental car. . . We ended up with a cream-colored PT Cruiser, which Matt absolutely hated. Not exactly the best vehicle for Yosemiteís steep roads Ė the thing sounded like it was going to blow up (besides totally lacking any cool factor when placed in context of a National Park). All in all, the car has served us well; it afforded plenty of cargo space for our camping gear and reserve bags for San Francisco. I found I had enough room, too, to spread out a bit on the drive across California (about 4 hours) so that the small amount of swelling that had occurred on our flight could start to dissipate.

On arrival at the park Thursday late afternoon, we set up our tent in our Upper Pines campsite, went to the grocery store in Yosemite Village for breakfast supplies, built a fire, and ate our lunch leftovers by firelight. Ahhh. Now I remember what I like about camping. I looked up at the sky, and realized I could see the Milky Way clearly, even with the ambient light from the fire and the bathroom building. In Delaware (and most of the Northeast) there is too much light pollution to see the Milky Way at all, so this is a real treat for me. My excitement at this seemed to have stimulated Smallumus Kicksabunch, and in the middle of my starry reverie, I got a good swift kick to the bladder, which sent me on a potty trip. Well, babies need to weigh in on this stuff, too, right?

We had realized as we were packing for the trip that I had measured the tent with the not-so-smooth zipper for fitting the air mattress. This was of some concern as we turned in for the night and wrestled with the zipper. Somewhere around the second middle-of-the-night potty trip, that zipper pretty well died. Come morning, I was ready to spend the rest of the weekend using a sarong and safety pins as a makeshift door. Fortunately, Dan and Susan were arriving Friday, so we were able to leave them a message to stop at the camping store on their way in from the airport and pick up a cheap replacement. Yay! I was ok with our tropical print entryway, but I was just as glad we didnít have to go that route.

We knew Dan and Susan would be arriving around suppertime, with our new tent, so we snuggled and napped part of the morning (eliminating what was left of the swelling), wrangled some lunch, and spent Friday afternoon on the tram tour of Yosemite offered by the National Park Service. Iím all for rugged hiking, usually, but I was still wiped out from preparing for the trip, so the leisurely pace of our day was just right. We got back to the campsite with enough time to spare to make sure we were there when Dan and Susan arrived.

Our friends arrived and set up their camp stuff, we set up the new tent (whew!), and we all headed out for an easy pizza supper at Curry Village (another area in the Park). One more nice night by the campfire planning our day, and we would head off to bed. While we were milling about our campsite, one of the park rangers wandered by to let us know that there had been a bear nosing around one of the nearby sites, so we should be sure to secure all our food and scented personal care items (soap, etc.) in the bear locker. Oh, goody. Well, we knew all about using the bear locker, and weíd already packed it in for the night, but I canít say I was thrilled about the idea of a bear trying to get into the locker, especially knowing I needed a couple of nighttime potty trips!

We awoke next morning, sans bears, to take a nice hike up to Vernal Falls, which my dear husband had expressed as an easy to moderate hike. Yeah, right, if youíre NOT pregnant! As Susan and I frequently paused for water, rest, and granola bars on the way up, I felt compelled either to scowl at Matt or gently remind him that a pregnant womanís heart at rest is working as hard as his at mild to moderate exertion. I decided on the more gentle approach for the sake of our continued vacation happiness. We persevered and made it up far enough to be satisfied with our views of the falls, and even got a good belly picture with the falls as a backdrop!

The Vernal Falls hike took more out of me than I expected, and I was really dragging as we prepared lunch. I dragged enough to make us 3 minutes too late to rent a raft to float down the Merced River. Oops. Sorry! We headed to the showers, then back to camp for dinner and preparation for Glacier Point that night. (Susan and I cut a deal with Dan and Matt for the next day Ė weíd send them off rafting the next day while we would plan to rest.)

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We all drove up to Glacier Point that evening to take advantage of sunset, and later the new crescent moon and the astronomy club activities. Although we got a little behind in really catching the sunset, the stargazing was spectacular! The astronomy club which had set up on this beautiful summit brought about 20 telescopes with them of varying powers and types. Since my dad is an amateur astronomer, I grew up with my eye to a telescope optic, so this was great fun! We viewed lots of globular star clusters, binary star systems, galaxies, nebulae, and a wonderful naked eye view of more stars than Iíve seen in a long time, including a clear view of the Milky Way. We just donít get to see that in Delaware.

We spent a few minutes playing with flashlight signals from the other side of Glacier Point down into the campsites in the valley. Fatigue quickly outpaced my interest in this rudimentary communication, and by the time I got back to the car, to drive back down to the campsite area, I felt like all I could do was to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I could stop moving. I donít think Iíve ever experienced being that whipped by so little physical activity, relative to what Iíve taken on in past camping experiences. Oh well . . . I guess Iíd forgotten my pregnancy rule: Figure out how much you think you want to or can get done, and then cut that down by at least a third, preferably half, and you might come close to doing most of it.

Sunday morning, we treated ourselves to the grand brunch buffet at the Ahwanee Lodge, one of the oldest, and grandest, lodges in the park. That buffet was a pregnant ladyís dream! --full breakfast buffet, complete with homemade game sausages, cheese blintzes, cheese scrambled eggs, apple smoked bacon. Oh, right, you thought that was it, huh. Nope, full carving station, with all meats, a kids buffet with chicken strips and totally yummy homemade macaroni and cheese, a salad buffet with all kinds of cold fruit and marinated vegetable salads, shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell (which I enjoyed watching others enjoy), cheese platter, and of course, some of the most decadently rich desserts Iíve ever had. Holy cow! Freshly squeezed orange juice and rich, dark decaf finished the meal nicely. Baby, this is how to eat when youíre camping!

With overfull bellies, we sent the men off for rafting, and Susan and I took time to shop for groceries for that nightís dinner and to bring order to the total disarray which had taken over the interior of our bear locker. About this same time, we found out that you can dissuade a particularly cheeky squirrel from jumping on your picnic table just like you train a housecat; they hate being squirted with water! We only needed a few hours of consistent squirting to train this family of squirrels to stay 10 feet away from our table. Iím not sure if the rangers would consider our actions ďmolesting wildlife,Ē but it sure made it easier to comply with the rules not to feed the wildlife or allow them access to people food.

When the guys returned, we were ready to get moving again for the afternoon drive up to the high country and hike in Tuolumne Meadows. Turns out it was a good thing that we chose not to join them rafting; the waters were low enough that they had to get out and carry the raft at times, and I was definitely not up to schlepping instead of paddling!

Most of Yosemite is granite, and as we drove into the high country (8,000-10,000 feet), the landscape became starker and starker. Iím amazed by how well the cliché of rugged beauty fits these places. We arrived a bit later than planned at the trailhead in Lyell Canyon, part of which is the John Muir Trail (Sierra Club founder). Even though the light began to fail before we were able to get all the way to the areas Matt wanted to show us, we had the opportunity to hike riverside and see delicate patches of lupine and other alpine flowers. I snapped a fabulous picture of Matt holding his camera while standing on the riverbank; I love those shots of him! They capture him in some of his most creative moments, and the expressions just canít be faked. Handsome cutie!

Labor Day arrived and weíre ready to head out of Yosemite and back to San Francisco for the second part of our trip (which Iíll share about in next weekís entry.) A quick laundry stop in the village, and weíre ready to go. I guess the bottom line for this week really has been that Iím having to continually re-evaluate what I can and cannot accomplish in any given day of this pregnancy. It can be tiring, frustrating, and even darned depressing, but itís easier to accept it than to fight it. That said, Iím interested to see what kinds of things I end up doing when I start tooling around San Francisco!

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