Safe and sound! Everyone survived and had a fabulous time, including the wee monkey inside my belly.
I now feel confident providing a list of suggested advice for other pregnant women thinking about taking a trip, especially one that will require long flights and lots of walking at the destination. I wish someone had told me this before we left.
1. Forget the cute shoes. Seriously, just forget them. Within 2 hours of arrival your feet will hurt more than they've ever hurt before, and cute shoes will just make it worse. Trust me on this one.
2. Bring your most comfortable shoes, even if they are hideous. And bring more than one pair of ugly shoes, because if you try to wear just the one pair over consecutive days, your feet will start to hurt in certain specific spots that you never knew existed (my pinky toe is still a little numb).
3. Pack layering clothes. Your thermostat is a bit out of whack these days and can swing wildly from freezing to sweat running down your legs in the span of two minutes. It isn't pleasant.
4. Bring prunes, or stop at a grocery store and pick up something else resembling prunes. This can greatly impede your ability to walk around, and when I say GREATLY IMPEDE, I mean greatly. 'Nuff said.
5. Protect your belly when on a bus or subway or in crowds. Maybe some of you feel a natural urge to cover your belly with your hands in crowds, but I didn't. And then when someone accidentally falls into you on the subway and punches your belly, you won't dissolve into uncontrollable heaving sobs because they might have hurt your bayyyyybeeeeee.
6. Anticipate some crazy hormonal changes because of jet lag and exhaustion. Expect to have some trouble sleeping. Expect to start crying over something silly, in public, when you least expect it.
7. Make intelligent decisions about where to take your pregnant hormonal self. Perhaps visiting the Anne Frank House is not the best idea when you are incredibly sensitive. You should also avoid that exhibit at the Dutch Resistance Museum showing the babies abandoned in basements and churches and empty buildings by Jewish families sent to concentration camps, in the hopes that someone would save their children. Impending motherhood is not the best time for you to read and see these images. But if you do, bring buttloads of kleenex, and wear your most obviously pregnant shirt so that people are sympathetic.
8. Rest at every opportunity, especially when your body tells you it is tired. This may sometimes be less than an hour since your last rest stop, but who cares? Do it anyway. Take advantage of these stops to have a decaf latte, or a hot chocolate, or that delicious cheesy melted sandwich that guy is having over there, whatever it is. I'm still having dreams about my pain au chocolate from Brussels and my croque madame from Amsterdam. Mmmm.
9. Use every bathroom you find, even when you don't think you have to go. Go twice if you can, because if not, you'll get half a block down the street and have to pee. You might still get half a block down the street and discover you have to pee, but then your partner won't roll his or her eyes nearly as much.
10. Take tons of pictures, even if you feel huge in all of them! You'll love seeing your belly in pictures later, and you'll probably love how relaxed you looked before the baby was actually born.
11. Ignore random advice of strangers, including that person who sprinted across the restaurant to tell you not to eat that cheese.
12. Sleep a lot and shop a lot!
13. ENJOY YOUR BABYMOON! Even when you're tired and sore and your feet hurt and you have to pee and you're hormonal and cranky. You are still having a wonderful time, and you'll still look back on it fondly and wish you were back there!