Confessions of a Pregnant Outdoor Mom

Pregnancy.  The Outdoors.  Being a Mom.  Can the three all mix?

If you followed me on social media over my recent pregnancy, you know I stayed active outdoors throughout my entire pregnancy. I loved all the encouragement from everyone from the social media world and people on the trail but....

Rock scrambling anyone? 20 weeks pregnant
I'm not going to lie, it was difficult at times to even get out the door.  With two kids in tow already, an ever growing pregnant belly and the fact that I just wanted to sleep, heading outdoors didn't seem as enticing.  As usual the rewards of heading outdoors, especially during pregnancy always made me better and I can honestly say I never came back saying "Well I wish I hadn't gone outdoors!".  Yet here are a few pregnancy confessions this outdoor mom would love to share with you.

NOTE: I am not a medical health professional but these are my own personal observations and suggestions based on my three HEALTHY pregnancies with the approval of my personal doctor.

Confession #1: Staying Active Outdoors ~ I Don't Want To

Before I became pregnant I was hiking, running, biking and lifting weights, but as my pregnancy progressed I slowly had to stop doing certain activities or reduce the intensity of these activities.  By the end of my pregnancy I was left with light hiking and walking but I vowed that I was going to stay active, especially in the outdoors.

In my first trimester biking with the kids.
My confession is that once the pregnancy hormones hit the fan, I just wanted to take a nap but there was always a force driving outdoors.  Most of the time it was my kids needing to go outside so they could run around like wild animals or the fact that I needed fresh air because every smell in my house made me want to vomit.  Whatever the reason even though I just wanted to nap, staying active outdoors was one of the best things I did in this pregnancy.

I had stopped hiking around 36 weeks but I continued walking EVERY day between 1-2 miles.  For more details about hiking while pregnant, please visit my post on Backpacker Magazine, "Bun in the Oven: Pregnant Hiking".

Confession #2: The Aches and Pain ~ Everything Hurts!

Everything hurts more when you are pregnant, so when you mix an outdoor activity it is hard to admit but every little joint hurts more than normal! Plus it takes longer to recover even from short  hikes due to the "wonderful" ligament laxity that is produced during pregnancy.  Whether I stayed home or headed outdoors everything still hurt, so Tylenol was my best friend.

36 weeks ~ I was trying to hike the baby out. [Photo by Daniel Barrantes]
Early in my pregnancy I continued road biking, but as my belly got larger different areas of my body started hurting more than I could take and sadly I had to stop biking in my second trimester.  Oddly enough, hiking and walking helped minimize the swelling in my hands, feet and other areas of my body.  Even though it took me longer to recover, I felt the "good" soreness of a workout and swelling was almost a non-issue in my last pregnancy.

Confession #3: Emotional "Stuff" ~ I Just Want to Cry

I'm not a really emotional person, but pregnancy changes everything.  It's those pregnancy hormones that make you worse than a Bridezilla.  Just kidding.  But only sort of.  I just wanted to cry some days, whether it was because of a stupid sappy commercial, my kids driving me insane, or simply the fact I couldn't see my feet anymore.

The outdoors helped regain my emotional stability on days when pregnancy, motherhood, and just plain life seemed like a big blur.  Personally, the outdoors is my time I spend talking with God, my husband and kids.  It sets the scene so my emotional status can get in check.  So on days when I felt like crying, I headed outdoors to get perspective on things and I always came back with a smile on my face.

Confession #4: Labor & Delivery Day ~ It Was Easy, Sort of...

I gave birth outdoors...just kidding!  But have you seen those ladies who do? It's a little much for me but there's a movement out there.  I can't directly say the outdoors made my labor easy, but I was active in the outdoors much longer than in  my previous pregnancies and the labor compared to my others were "easy".  Anyways, for those who are interested here's my "Labor Story":

5 minutes before birth!
Giving birth for the third time was easy, like to the point where the baby practically fell out of my body.   Waiting for the labor to actually start on the other hand was not easy.  I was 38 weeks pregnant and just miserable, everything took four times as long to do and I was constantly scared of peeing my pants in public.  Whether because I was actually going to pee my pants or afraid that water was going to break.  I was to the point where people just stared at my huge belly...I was "scary" pregnant.

My husband had decided that it was too much for me already to deal with our two kids and life so he decided to stay home until after I gave birth.  I remember a few hours before I went into labor, we were driving home from my son's preschool, I cried and prayed to God that I'd go into labor that night.

As usual, I had fake contractions the rest of the afternoon, but I distracted myself with housework due to the ferocious "nesting" stage I was in.  I was cleaning the house....I even had this urge to clean the windows on the outside of the house.  I just needed to do something, I wanted to go for a run but I just physically could not.

The "fake contractions" continued even through a video conference call I had for Latino Outdoors and we joked about that I might be in labor.

Later that night, after the kids went to bed, my husband and I were watching TV re-runs, when I finally admitted to my husband I thought I was in labor because things were getting a little painful.  I stretched, laid down a towel on the couch (thank goodness) before I decided to spend the rest of the night on the couch. I sat down on the couch and immediately my water broke.

After that it was kind of a blur, but the women from my familia came over (and my dad) and we headed over to the hospital.  Our beautiful baby boy was born before sunrise!

But for those who want to know....
  1. Medicine: I went into labor naturally but I didn't want to feel ANY pain so I had an epidural and the lowest amount of pitocin to get things rolling.
  2. Labor: I pushed the baby out in ONE push.  It took longer to prepare the room than to get the baby out.
  3. Recovery: My recovery has been amazing.  More to come on this but I was released early from the hospital and it's been a faster and better recovery than my previous births.
I confess, I'm so glad I'm done being pregnant but I will always cherish the lovely outdoor memories and adventures I had with this pregnancy.  The love of the outdoors starts from the womb and I know this little guy already loves it.

Confessions are good for the soul, especially pregnancy confessions! Leave a comment below with your pregnancy outdoor confession.

Related Posts and Links:
  1. Confessions of an Outdoor Mom
  2. The Family of Four Hikers is Growing to FIVE!
  3. Backpacker Magazine ~ Bun in the Oven: Pregnant Hiking
  4. "Sleeping Under the Stars" Family Project Completed!

Check out these other outdoor parents and their tips on staying active during pregnancy:

  1. Staying active outside: Pregnancy by Rockies Girl

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Family Backpacking Series: How to Deal with Diapers and Potty Issues

Backpacking with toddlers isn't impossible!  We have had multiple successful backpacking trips with our toddlers since our youngest was in diapers.  Don't worry there will NOT be any pictures of my children on the toilet or any gross bathroom pictures.  The most common question I get from my readers about family backpacking is the bathroom issue with diapers and potty training.

"What do you do with diapers in the backcountry?

What about potty training on the trail?

What about accidents?"

Thankfully my children are almost fully potty trained and my days of diapers are almost over so I would love to impart my "Diaper and Potty Training" backpacking wisdom with anyone who is willing to go backpacking with little ones.

Diaper and Potty Training Equipment

  1. Disposable Diapers
  2. Baby Wipes and Toilet Paper
  3. Sanitation Trowel AKA "Poop Shovel"
  4. Extra Clothes for Accidents
  5. Freezer Gallon Bags and Sandwich Bags
  6. Hand Sanitizer

Diaper and Extra Clothing Calculation

I have a boy and a girl so as a mom of both genders, I have learned that boys and girls are different in the manner they go to the bathroom, especially in the angle of pee. Usually as parents, especially those with diaper wearing little ones, tend to OVERPACK especially when traveling, I am one of those! But when it comes with backpacking with little ones that is the worst thing you can do.

  • Diaper Wearing Babies/Toddlers ~ In the few days/week before going on your backpacking trip count how many diapers your child uses in a day.  Our first backpacking trip was when my daughter was 19 months old and was still in diapers.  Her diaper calculation was 3-4 diapers during the day and 1 diaper at night = 5-6 diapers in a 24 hour period.


Change your child's diaper



 you hit the trail and leave extras (not the calculation extras)

in your vehicle. Hence the reduction of one diaper in the average use of daily diapers on Day 1 & 3.  

  • Clean Diapers ~ Keep all clean diapers with all your toiletries at night.  Keep one diaper in your tent at night in case your child leaks.  One clean diaper won't have a bear tearing into your tent, well I hope, I'm still alive!
  • Clothing for Accidents ~ Whether you have a diaper wearing baby/toddler or in-process potty training toddler, you need to bring extra clothing in case of accidents.  For this reason, I HIGHLY suggest purchasing quick drying, wicking clothes for babies and toddlers.  Why you may ask? You only want to bring ONE extra set of clothing, so the wet/soiled clothing can be washed and dried in case you need to use it again during the rest of the trek.  I'm not one of those who say "Cotton Kills" but if you don't have "Hiking Clothes" for your children bring clothes that are light and could dry quicker than jeans.
  • Underwear Calculation ~ This really doesn't need a chart but one underwear a day plus one extra.  You can always wash a urinated underwear to wear the next day.

The Diaper Disposal

Sorry to burst your bubble but those dirty diapers just have to come along until your trek is done.  As part of Leave No Trace, you MUST pack out the soiled diapers.  Though there are somethings you can do to minimize the fact you are carrying human waste:

Do kids go in bear boxes?!

  • Backcountry Sites with Trash Cans ~ What?! There are hike-in or backcountry locations with trash cans as in our first family backpacking trip at Point Reyes National Seashore.  Of course you still want to minimize trash in these campsites, but it was really nice to be able to throw away diapers.
  • Bear Boxes, Canisters and Ziplock Bags ~  Let's start with what to do immediately after a dirty diaper is changed:
    • Stuff the diaper in a sandwich bag along with the baby wipes if it fits.
    • Put the diaper stuffed bag into a large freezer storage Ziplock, preferable with freezer bag with the zipper top.
    • Bear Country: Designate one bear canister as the trash canister and use that one to put the dirty diapers along with your other trash.  Proceed with normal bear canister procedures for your area (hanging, canisters at safe distance etc).  If your location provides bear boxes then keep the dirty diapers (in the freezer bags) in the bear box.  Even if you are not in bear country, like Point Reyes, still keep the dirty diapers in the bear boxes because there are other pesky wildlife around that would love to eat your child's diaper. Gross.
    • Poop Disposal ~ If the poop is solid (sorry...) and easily falls out of the diaper, dig a hole and bury it so you have less weight and smelliness on your trek.  Follow Leave No Trace, Principle No.3 Dispose of Waste Properly.  

Going "Potty" Outdoors

This section can be applied to day hiking as well, which I highly suggest can be used as an opportunity to practice for backpacking trips!  Obviously boys and girls go to bathroom differently and even though I believe we are equal, boys just have it easier when having to pee than girls.  So I will start with the how to go #2 outdoors since that is the same for boys and girls.

  1. Pull their pants and underwear ALL the way down to ankles.
  2. Hold their hands and have them "Sit down" on the invisible toilet, pretty much squat with their bottom sticking out as far as they can without falling over.
  3. Clean their bottom! Make sure you have baby wipes/toilet paper. poop shovel, hand sanitizer near by, before this point.  Baby wipes/toilet paper should be put in your sandwich bag or trash bag.
  4. Dig the hole with the poop shovel (Leave No Trace, Principle No.3), push the poop in with a STICK NOT THE POOP SHOVEL!! Cover it up.
  • Peeing for Girls ~ The same as going #2, except you don't need to dig a hole and have them spread their feet more so the urine doesn't dribble down her legs.
  • Peeing for Boys ~ Same as peeing in a toilet.  Just make sure their pants are pulled down far enough.
  • Ask every 15 mins if they have to pee, especially before putting them in the kid carrier!

You can also have them practice in your backyard, so its not so traumatic when you are backpacking or hiking.  Remember going "potty" outdoors might be scary for toddlers so make sure a parent is always with them when they have to go.  Diapers and potty training is part of parenthood and learning how to deal with this issue can be frustrating just at home.  But I can testify that backpacking with toddlers in diapers and in-process potty training trainees can be done!

Do you have any tips in dealing with diapers and going "potty" while backpacking?

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Related Posts and Links:

  1. Toddler Hiking Cycle
  2. Backpacking in Point Reyes National Seashore

It's Not All Sunshine and Roses When Traveling with Kids

I had a rough week. Granted this might be a whiny post, "get it off my chest" type writing but that is how I like to express myself.  Feel free to scour the rest of my blog and ignore this post.

My family loves the outdoors and sometimes we like extend my husband's business trips to mini outdoor vacations. I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom to our two toddlers so we occasionally tag along on business trips.  My kids love traveling and if they are home for more than a week they ask to "go to their new house" aka hotel or "go build a tent."  This week we decided to extend a business trip and explore Orange County, Southern California - aka The OC.  My kids are normally champs when it comes to traveling but this trip was a little rough on everyone.  More details on our actual outdoor adventures later but first I need to get stuff off my chest about my traveling debacles this week.

  • Transitions:  Transitions were a constant battle during our Orange County  trip. When we had to say goodbye to daddy so he could work, getting our car rental and checking in at the hotel was just awful. I was alone with two cranky toddlers, a large suitcase, a backpack, two car seats and had to walk all over the airport and hotel.  A stranger at the airport saw how much I was struggling and felt so bad he helped me carry all my gear.  Why didn't I get a cart? Well I just didn't think about it until after I had lugged all my stuff into our rental.
  • Meltdowns: Constant meltdowns.  I think my daughter had the worst meltdown ever this week. Why you may ask? Because she fell down on the grass and got her pants slightly wet.  This is the girl who loves to rub dirt and mud ALL OVER herself whenever she can...45 minutes of blood curling screaming because I would not pick her up.  Hotel employees were looking at my all crazy, I didn't care.  My son is growing out of meltdowns but he cried more than normal for any little reason like an dropped item, a stick that broke, etc.  Someone was always crying even me... 

  • Sickness/Migraine: My kids had a little cold, I mean really weak cold but throw in travel and probably not sleeping enough exasperates everything which probably perpetuated meltdowns.  I'm prone to migraines and the perfect migraine storm occurred, so I spent a portion of a day in "migraine mode."  If you are a parent and have migraines screaming little ones don't really help alleviate your migraine pain.  Thankfully, my doctor has prescribed me a migraine medication that 99% of the time helps my migraines disappear.
  • Theft: Someone in a coffee shop stole my Nexus 10 tablet. Seriously. I doctored my coffee, sat my kids down outside with 10 things in my arms, realized I had left my tablet inside, ran in and it was gone. There was only one person gone after I ran outside so I'm assuming it was him.  I tried to keep my tears in but ended up crying like a baby when I got to my car.  My kids haven't really seen me cry and were very worried that I had injured myself.  I explained that Mommy was sad and they showered me with hugs and "I love you."  I just needed to vent and get over the fact that it was just a thing.
  • Hotels:  I love hotels but they stress me out as a mother.  It resembles too much like a home where my kids know they can watch whatever show they want. Unlike our home, hotels have regular TVs with a weird thing my kids don't understand: commercials, that don't always show their favorite shows... Also so many sharp edges and shiny things for my kids to break. I share many of the same views on Camping vs. Hotels that Mae of Mommy Loves Trees talks about!
O'Neill Regional Park, Trabuco Canyon, California
I love traveling and fancy hotels but by the time we left Newport Beach I was ready to be outdoors, on the foothills of  Saddleback (Orange County).  It's not always sunshine and roses when traveling with kids, but we do it because we always like to have our family together.  My husband has been told on many occasions by his co-workers that they are jealous that we are able to join him on business trips.  We love traveling but that doesn't mean it is easy because the matter of fact its not, even for an "experienced family travelers."

What do you dislike the most about family travel? Especially traveling to get outdoors with the family?

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Related Posts and Links:
  1. Confessions of an Outdoor Mom
  2. "Camping vs. Hotels: Why you should camp for your next family vacation!" by Mommy Loves Trees

Celebrating Children's Birthdays Outdoors

As you probably figured out the outdoors is a large part of our lives, so when milestones come around like celebrating our little ones birthday's we like to indulge our children in the outdoors.  This last year we tried something new, we asked our little ones where they wanted to go for their birthdays.  I already knew the answers before they even said where they wanted to go:  the beach and the snow!

Sandy Venice Beach ~ My Daughter's Wonderland

During the last days of summer, my little girl turned two years old and even though we celebrated my little "Tinkerbell" with pizza and family we wanted to give my daughter want she loves the most, the beach.  We headed over to a special beach (the one my husband proposed to me), Venice Beach one of four beaches at Half Moon State Beach.  I was happy to celebrate my special girl at a place that I have fond memories of.

My daughter loves the outdoors and in particular the sand at the beach, so why not let her enjoy her favorite place on the day she entered into this world.  We packed a little picnic, played in the sand, ran away from the waves but it didn't last too long because it was one of those cold summer Northern California beach day.

Snowy Yosemite Valley ~ My Son's Birthday Wish

Ever since our road trip to Rocky Mountain National Park over the summer, my son had been dying to go play in the snow.  When he saw white glaciers on the tops of the Colorado mountains, he yelled with glee "Mommy!! That is SNOW!! Let's go get our snowboards and go down the mountain!".  Almost every day since he had been asking to go to the snow, so a few days before his birthday California had one of the very few storms that turned Yosemite Valley into a white winter park.  After a few days after his bowling birthday party, my son's birthday wish came true!

The excitement was almost unbearable for him, we sang Happy Birthday all day long and he kept on saying that it was "Christmas time now".  He had a lot of firsts on his 4th birthday like building a snowman, snowshoeing, sledding, and snowball fight.  Yosemite National Park was a magical snowy birthday for our little mountain man.

An Outdoor Tradition We Will Continue

I love loud birthday parties with all my extended family but at the same time I love the quietness of celebrating my kids birthdays outdoors, just the four of us.  Watching my kids enjoy and explore the outdoors with wonder is one of the great aspects of parenthood.  Thank you God for entrusting me with my beautiful babies!

Love you my children.

Do you have any outdoor family traditions? For birthdays, anniversaries, etc?

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!