Field Schooling with two stowaways

This post is almost two years late, but an important one to document. Two summers ago (in a pre-Covid world) I was in a state of flux. I was wondering if I would be healthy and strong enough to go on a remote field school while being over 6-months pregnant with twins. Two weeks before our intended departure I got the green light from the doctors. It wasn’t without its risks but I was allowed to go with the understanding that I should be taking a few more precautions than normal. It was an amazing and memorable week for me and feel very grateful I was able to participate with my little kiddos coming along for the journey. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the other instructor, teaching assistant and students, for which I am very thankful. The kiddos were born healthy and happy late in 2019.

Here are some things I learned about being pregnant at remote field camp!

  1. Bring extra tights and pants! I literally grew out of two pairs of pants over the week. Halfway through the field school the snap buttons and velcro on my hiking and camp pants (that had held on all summer) had reached their maximum. During the last few days maternity tights were my only option.
  2. Bring an extender for your backpack …. same thing as above goes for your backpack waist strap.  It is not really possible to ‘suck it in’ with a belly full of babies. By day 8 it felt pretty tight down there.
  3. Slow and steady ‘wins the race’ with the bonus of being able to take in more of your stunning surroundings! I had to go slow. Not only because I was tired with decreased lung capacity but I had to keep my heart rate as low as possible for the safety of me and the kiddos.  I was never winning any races hiking up the glacier or nunatak but slow and steady got me to where I needed to be every day.  It is possible. Take breaks and look around you, the world is beautiful.
  4. Starry starry night! When you are regularly forced out of your tent in the middle of the night to visit ‘the little girls room’, you get to take in the stunning galaxy of stars above you. This was a view that I had missed in previous years at the site because I didn’t have to ‘go’ (so to speak). Ellie Gouldings version of ‘Starry starry night (Vincent) ‘ became by internal soundtrack during these outings.
  5. Rhythm of the glacier. I get to tell my kiddos that they were moving a grooving to the same rhythm of a rumbling glacier in the middle of the night. It was fun to experience natures soundtrack with them.
  6. You don’t have to be graceful. Bending over seems so simple but becomes very hard to do throughout pregnancy. Getting in and out of the main camp tent was probably one of the harder things I had to do over the week. It required an awkward bend and step over the entrance that was usually accompanied by a few grunts, groans and trips. Laughs were had by all.
  7. I needed a rest day and that is okay. After a 3 days of exploring I needed a day to take it easy. Thankfully our schedule allowed me to stay behind to do this. It was hard to watch the students head off to a place I would have loved to have seen again and spent the day but it was required and I don’t regret it. It makes me think that in life we should feel less guilty about taking ‘rest days’ to help us get through the hectancy of  life.