Well, I was definitely worried about our day of travel but I have to say, what we experienced was 1,000 TIMES MORE HORRIFIC than anything I could have imagined. It just goes to show that there is no point in worrying, as you may have to deal with something far worse than you were worrying about in the first place.
And yesterday was far worse than anything I had imagined in the week prior to our trip. Yesterday was the worst travel day I’ve ever experienced.
It started with the storm hitting California and the fact that the first leg of our journey was from San Francisco to LA. We had purposefully chosen this layover as there are rarely winter weather problems in LA and we figured we’d be safe from any snow storms that might close midwestern airports. Of course we end up flying on one of three days of the year that southern California gets weather or any kind, let alone of the inclement variety.
Needless to say we realized pretty quickly we were not going to make our connecting flight. So we got booked on a much later flight to Dallas and then an early morning flight to St. Louis. The problem was that we had so little time in between when we landed in Dallas and had to be back at the airport the next morning that it made more sense to sleep in the airport.
Sleep in the airport. With a 6 month old.
Yeah, that was the plan. Lacking other options we took the new flights, requesting that our luggage go to Dallas with us so we’d have the checked car seat and baby bed with us for our overnight stay. We were told our checked bags would meet us there (anyone detect ominous foreshadowing?)
By the time we got booked on a new flight we’d already been in the airport for over three hours. We had two more until our Dallas flight was estimated to leave, but it had already been delayed several times. Isa was so overstimulated by the lights, people and announcements that she wouldn’t eat much of anything and she certainly couldn’t sleep. I kept trying to feed her but it only resulted in my milk letting down about four times and my daughter not actually eating anything, leaving me with very heavy, uncomfortable breasts.
When it had been five hours and Isa still hadn’t slep I decided to try some Benedryl which our pediatrician had said we could use to coax her into sleeping. The stuff had barely touched her lips before she vomited all over me. All the effort I’d spent trying to get some nourishment and hydration into her tiny body was totally ruined. Also, I was covered, literally covered, in vomit. I had no clothes and was about 7 hours from reaching my first destination.
Now the real fun begins.
We finally get on the plane. Isa still hasn’t slept and has barely eaten anything. It’s past her bedtime and she’s skipped her second nap entirely. Still, she’s being a great sport. On the plane though, things start to catch up with her. She’s tired but she can’t sleep. She cries a lot and blows out her diaper. The fasten seat belt sign NEVER turns off so we have to change her across Mi.Vida’s lap. Isa also throws up all over me again. The man next to us never once acknowledges our existence. I end up spending the only thirty minutes of the flight where she actually sleeps sitting sideways so her feet won’t hit his arm or rest in his lap. Mi.Vida is upset that we’re even attempting this insane overnight in Dallas. Isa cries or vocalizes loudly for much of the flight but rallies at the end and is all smiles. We wonder how in the hell she’s still standing.
We arrive in Dallas past midnight and promptly discover that our luggage was not detoured to Dallas but has checked straight through to St. Louis. The good news is it will beat us to the airport the next morning. The bad news is we don’t have a bed for Isa or a car seat to take her to the cheap motel we’ve decided to spring for. Luckily (I’m trying to find the silver lining here), airlines have car seats they loan out when the ones people check are lost (I guess this happens a lot) and they are able to wrangle one up for us if we can only walk a significant distance to another baggage claim. We do so and the cheap motel’s complimentary shuttle service picks us up. I have to speedily install this foreign car seat in time to stop the driver from speeding away with the trunk door open. It’s a scary two mile drive to the motel.
Once there we try to make the most of the 3 hours and 45 minutes we have to sleep. Isa throws up her fourth meal. Some of it lands in the bed but most of it makes it to the floor. We lay out a towel to keep from sleeping on the wet sheets. Isa sleeps between Mi.Vida and I with her Forest Rain sounds blasting from Mi.Vida’s iPod Touch at the head of the bed. It takes her about an hour to settle down and fall asleep. I make it through the entire Forest Rain track (55 minutes long) two times before I managed to put it on repeat and fall asleep. At 4:45am our alarms go off and we get back into yesterday’s clothes. I haven’t brushed my teeth and I’m still wearing the same pants and shirt that Isa has thrown up on multiple times. Throughout the trip I’m accompanied by a constant wafting of vomit smell from my shirt.
By the time we make it back to the Dallas airport Isa has only slept four of the 16 hours she’s accustomed to. She’s managed to keep only three meals down, none of them very big. She’s obviously EXHAUSTED but handling it like a real trooper. She is amazing.
Luckily our Dallas to St. Louis flight leaves right on time and is practically empty. Isa gets to lay down over two seats and sleeps for an hour of the short flight. She is also keeping down her considerably sized breakfast. Things are looking up.
At 8:40am we arrive in St. Louis. I realize that I haven’t once actually thought about making it here, I was totally focused on surviving the insane journey.
Today was very low key. Isa slept 5 hours during the day and then had a meltdown at around 6:30pm. By the time we got her home she was way too tired and it took her over an hour to get to sleep. As I’m typing this she finally seems to have nodded off. We’ll see what tonight brings.
I have to say, the almost 24 hours it took us to get here were harrowing, but we made it. I’m so tired and can’t wait to hit the sack myself. Of course, our bed is covered in luggage and clothes and we have to clean it off in the dark without waking our sleeping daughter, but after last night’s ordeal it seems very manageable.
I hope all of you have much easier travel experiences than we did this Christmas.