First trimester vacations: keep your expectations low

I just got back from a glorious trip to Hawaii to visit my husband’s family. My sister in law moved to Maui a few years ago, and ever since the whole family has gone to visit every year. I know, I know, my life is rough.

alyse tree pose hawaii

I look forward to this trip every year. I’d never been to Hawaii before she moved there (thank you, S, a million times thank you!), and though I’d heard plenty about it, I had no idea just how magical a place it is. It’s home to one of my favorite beaches of all time, where the water is warm and crystal clear, the sand soft, and pretty little fishes frolic around. Swimming at that beach is about as close to heaven as I can imagine. And the place where the whole family gathers has a pool so deep I can revisit my childhood fantasies of being a mermaid, and spend plenty of time playing with my nieces and nephews.

prana digging

This year was a, ahem, different trip. Swimming is possibly one of my favorite activities, but this year in paradise, I spent more time watching Game of Thrones than I did in the ocean and pool combined. Out of the ten days I was there, I made it into the ocean exactly once, and it was pretty anticlimactic.

Here’s how it went down:

We got up nice and early (thanks, time zones!) and I actually felt almost normal. Minimal nausea, pretty good energy, so I knew I needed to take advantage. My husband drove me to my favorite beach, about 30 minutes from where we stay. Kind of a hike, but so, so worth it. We swam for about 20 minutes before I felt the familiar fatigue creeping in, and I had to go lay down on my towel. A few minutes, and most of a can of Pringles later (breakfast of champions!), I was so. hot, in a panicky, get me out of the sun kind of way. Normal Alyse is pretty sun-sensitive, but pregnant Alyse is downright pathetic.

pringles on the beach cropped

We got back in the car as I wrapped up that can of Pringles. Before we made it out of the parking lot, I was nodding off. You know that kind of falling asleep when you’re riding a train or a plane and you jerk yourself awake, over and over again, but you just can’t keep your eyes open? That happened the whole way back.

It was almost beyond me to rinse off the sand and the ocean before collapsing back into bed.

It was 8:30am.

And that was my best day. Most other days I spent doing my best to lie in the shade by the pool, then shuffling back to bed. There was at least one nap every day. Instead of fresh fish and juicy tropical fruits, I ate a lot of bread, crackers, string cheese, and chicken broth.

lap swimming hawaii

This is me pretending to swim laps, so I’d have something to post on Instagram during my trip. It’s one of two total times I actually got in the pool.

In a lot of ways, it didn’t feel like a vacation, and I told my husband I needed a tropical redo once I was back in action. But I will say, being there with family—who were so, so supportive and kind and understanding—was way better than being at home, where no one yet knew why I was so wiped out. My sister in law is a midwife, too, so I had the chance to ask all sorts of questions, and she brought me some supplements that are supposed to help with nausea. More on those in an upcoming post!

Like with everything else this trimester, vacation was all about adjusting my expectations. It’s really hard to admit that when 1pm rolls around I just need to nap, and it’s even harder to confess how I basically spent my tropical vacation, indoors, in bed, when I’d much rather be coming home a pruny, sunburned mess from too much time spent in the water.

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