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Sailing the World (Pregnant)

On the first leg of their journey, the Kaufman family never expected such a bumpy ride (with one bump being particularly surprising). A chronicle in three parts. Hold on tight!


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(page 2 of 4)

Cora and mom Charlotte Kaufman
Two-year-old Cora and mom Charlotte battle seasickness on a shakedown cruise from San Diego to Catalina in preparation for a trip around the world.

On our second date, Eric told me he wanted to sail around the world. He was tall, dark, and handsome with striking green eyes and an all-American smile that promised a world of adventure ahead of me should I dare to join him. Ten months after that date we bought our boat together, the Rebel Heart. Two years later we got married, and in another two years, our first daughter was born. We moved aboard the boat as a family of three, and announced to our friends and family how we’d been saving and preparing to sail around the world. They smiled indulgently and disbelievingly. At each stage of this journey, most people did not believe we were going to go.

Our trajectory for a circumnavigation would take us from Mexico to the South Pacific, and then on a circuitous route from New Zealand, through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean, and the canals of Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal, and then back up the coast of Mexico to return to San Diego.

We only had one small problem. Six weeks after setting our departure date for this shakedown cruise, I found out I was pregnant with our second child. When I told Eric, the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m pregnant.” And, staring into his dumbfounded eyes, the next words were, “And we’re still going sailing.”

Fast-forward to August 16, 2012, our boat pulled away from the marina and motored out of America’s Cup Harbor for our shakedown cruise to Catalina. I had just entered my second trimester of pregnancy, and nausea was just the beginning.

On that first day, Cora and I tried lying out in the cockpit, but we both continued to be sick even in the fresh air. We have no sun cover when we are out sailing, and eventually I just got too hot to be outside. I hobbled down to the salon cushion and made camp there. Eric came by periodically to pick up my puke bucket and dump it out for me.

I tried unsuccessfully three times to take a Zofran to prevent the vomiting, and threw up three of the precious pills (I only had 10). Finally, on the fourth attempt, I was able to keep it down and that began the slow process of getting un-seasick. Once I was stable enough to be lying on my side in the cockpit again, we moved Cora to a cushion beside me. Eric, who had been blissfully seasick-free, was exhausted from caring for both of us, and he went down to get some sleep while I feebly stood watch. I set a timer that went off every 15 minutes, so I could stand up and look in a complete circle around our boat to make sure we weren’t going to hit any vessels.

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