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tent firsts

While adventuring during the first trimester, I couldn’t bring myself to sleep in a tent. I was waking up five times every night to pee (at home), and the thought of doing that while camping was just too much for me to bear. Waking up and peeing once while camping is enough of a chore (at least if you don’t have a penis)… five times is simply unfathomable. So on some early spring adventures, we have opted for other accommodations, such as getting a lodge room at Capitol Reef National Park, or cutting an overnight at Dinosaur National Monument down into a day trip (that was a lot of driving!).

But once the second trimester hit, and this little fetus started growing up out of my pelvis, my bladder finally found relief. I began only peeing once a night again. HALLELUJAH! I was finally ready for the tent!

We planned a trip to Moab with our friends Rich and Reina, and their one-year-old, Leo, over Mother’s Day weekend. It would be Leo’s first camping trip and we were all anxious to see how he’d do, specifically in the tent. Unfortunately, we all forgot how absurdly ridiculous Moab gets on spring weekends, and so even though we got down there fairly early on a Friday afternoon, EVERY SINGLE CAMPSITE WITHIN A 30-MILE RADIUS WAS TAKEN (and unlike most BLM land, you can’t just camp anywhere around Moab… you MUST be in a designated campsite). Now that I think of it, every trip to Moab that isn’t during the off-season usually involves some sort of insanity that makes me vow never to return (whether it be no campsites like this trip, or hoards of European tourists clogging up Moab Brewery a couple of Octobers ago). And yet, I forget about it and we repeat the frustration. This time, it’s etched in my brain forever. OFF SEASON ONLY! Anyway, I digress. With nowhere to go in Moab, we made the only decision we could (other than heading back home)… we drove two hours to Goblin Valley. There is infinite BLM land just outside Goblin Valley State Park borders that you can camp on. It was still fairly busy over there, but we found a spot and settled in for Leo’s first night of camping, and my first time camping pregnant.

It amazed us all, but Leo did so much better than anyone expected. He LOVED camping. He played with the dirt for hours, was in awe as we swirled glow sticks around in the dark, and he slept the ENTIRE night through, in the tent, without so much as a PEEP.

The next morning, we did some wandering in Goblin Valley State Park, followed by a hike in Little Wild Horse Canyon (which was practically just as busy as Moab). But Leo wasn’t digging the day nearly as much as the day before. In truth, I don’t think any of us were. By the time the late afternoon sun began to slowly sink, it was clear that Leo was no longer enjoying the trip at all. Something was definitely wrong, but as he’s still too young to talk, we had no idea what. Our friends made the best decision possible – to head home early. Not knowing what was wrong, or how he’d handle the coming night, home was the best choice. They could be back home by 9pm. As it turns out, when they got home, Leo had a stunning (and terrifying) 104 degree fever. Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, and the fever sank and rose several times over the next couple days before he finally recovered. It appears he must have caught something before the camping trip, which ended up manifesting during the trip. But because he enjoyed himself to much the first night, he’s having another go at camping later this month, when we celebrate the hubs’ birthday in the Uinta Mountains. We’ll all keep his fingers crossed for no fevers! But as must always be with kids, there will surely be a contingency plan in case anything arises.

Meanwhile, back during Leo’s awesome first night of camping, I too was sleeping fabulously. I peed only once, and my back and belly had no problems. This really isn’t too surprising considering we camp in luxury these days… over the past couple years, we have upgraded our car camping getup to include a giant 4-person tent and a queen-sized air mattress. This came on the heels of trying to fit two dogs and two people in a two person backpacking tent… and then getting puked on (by a dog). Now we have much more space, but there are no guarantees about not getting puked on… the big, new tent got broken in from that during one of its first trips. Oh, the joys of dogs! But something tells me babies won’t be entirely all that different in that regard…

When Rich, Reina, and Leo headed home the second night, the hubs and I decided to stay. Not having to be quiet for a sleeping toddler, we sang 80s tunes a cappella into the night. We finally fell asleep and a few hours later, when I woke up to pee (at least once is inevitable), the stars were so incredible that I stayed up staring at them. With all the bugs sleeping, I unzipped the tent, and enjoyed a view of the heavens unobstructed by tent mesh. Jim joined me for a few minutes of star gazing too before he gruffed and drifted back into dreamland.

Over the next two hours, I watched the constellations rotate in the sky, and wished upon many shooting stars. The wish (the same each time) flew out of my mind before I even registered I was seeing a shooting star. I didn’t even have to think. And for probably the first time, I truly felt connected to the baby inside me. Maybe it was just the romanticism of a starry sky during a warm desert night that made me feel that way, or maybe, just maybe it was the Chickpea’s way of doing something special for me, at 3am, on our very first Mother’s Day. I think it succeeded.

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