Back when I was first pregnant (like that was oh so long ago), I received an invitation to a good friend's wedding. This is a friend I have kept in touch with for many years, over many moves. Even though she was currently three thousand miles away, I was excited to make plans to attend the wedding.
I talked with Husband about it, and we agreed that I could afford to go. He would stay home with Baby since she would be almost four months old at the time and it should be no problem to be away from her. I booked a flight with a layover each way (I was planning on pumping between flights so my milk supply wouldn't diminish), and made it so that I flew in Friday night, went to the wedding on Saturday, and flew home Sunday morning. I thought it would be a quick and easy weekend away. What was I thinking?
As the wedding drew closer, I realized that leaving Baby home with Husband was probably not something that I could do. Remember the whole not-taking-a-bottle fiasco? Stubborn child of mine was still refusing a bottle. Even if I did leave for the weekend, she might wean herself, and then refuse me upon my return. Not to mention the fact that pumping is a total hassle and I really haven't done it since Baby has been refusing to drink from a bottle. I now had two choices: not go, or take Baby with me.
After agonizing over my decision, I decided to take Baby with me. That way she wouldn't starve, wouldn't wean herself, and my milk supply would remain. Plus, I didn't want to miss my good friend's wedding. This is not an event that repeats itself every year, like birthdays. This is a once in a lifetime thing.
Due to financial constraints, Husband was unable to accompany me, so my sister volunteered to come along to act as a mother's helper. I was very grateful to her for doing so. In my head I had a hard time picturing myself juggling baby and luggage at the same time. I mean, what if I had to go to the bathroom? I didn't really want to hand Baby off to any random stranger. She might not be there when I came out.
The day of departure approached and I confirmed all my reservations: flights, hotel, and rental car. I made sure to request an infant car seat in the rental car for Baby. I did not want to have to check any luggage because the airline we used charges. Therefore, I packed as light as I could and only the basic necessities I thought I would need so I could fit it all into carry on.
I was really surprised at how well Baby did. I had read previously that it is best to nurse during takeoff and landing so that the air pressure change doesn't hurt Baby's ears. Therefore, I held off on feeding Baby so I could time it just right. Unfortunately she didn't like my timing and ended up crying all the way down the ramp to load onto the plane. I hoped this wasn't foreshadowing things to come.
After we found our seats, Baby became very interested in the people around her. She had her big blue eyes wide open taking everything in. I think she forgot she was hungry for a few minutes. Another couple came in after us juggling their baby and lots of gear, such as bottles, bags, and who knows what else. Plus, their baby was also fussing. A gentleman sitting in between us, after watching this couple for a few seconds, asked me where all my gear was, since Baby was just sitting there and I only had one bag. I told him I was a minimalist, and we joked about not needing the tricycle just yet.
Baby remembered she was hungry and ended up nursing before the plane took off. I did not want to be the person with the crying baby that everyone gets annoyed with. When her ears started to bother her during the flight, she nursed again. Then she fell asleep. We had a layover a couple hours later, so when the plane landed we grabbed our things and found the next flight. I carried Baby in the Baby Bjorn (I love this thing!), and Sister grabbed our bags (we had one on wheels and one backpack).
When we arrived at our destination all the way across the country, it was almost twelve hours later than when we had first left for the airport. Baby had done so well on the flights, but now she was having a hard time holding it together.
I checked in at the rental car company and reminded them I needed a car seat. They only had two door cars available for the price I had reserved, and tried to upsell me for a four door. I declined because I didn't want to spend any more money. It wasn't a big deal to me since I only needed the car for the weekend.
I met one of the car people at the two door Chevy Cobalt, and he started to install the carseat for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't a small infant car seat like I had requested. Even though I had called in advance and told them how big she was and what I needed, when I was there they said all they had were booster seats. Great. (Note to self: Check my own car seat next time, no matter the cost.)
I should also mention that at this point we noticed the humidity. It was hot, and it was sticky, and Baby did not like this one bit. While I was helping the rental car guy install the seat in the car, Baby decided to start screaming her little head off. Sister held her and tried to calm her, but she wanted to let everyone know she was tired and cranky and did not like the humidity. Rental car guy had a hard time getting the seat in the car in the first place, then could not get the straps to work for him. He had sweat poring down his face and I could tell he did not like Baby's screaming. I didn't either, but there was no way I was going to drive off in a seat that wasn't strapped down correctly.
After at least half an hour of screaming (on Baby's part), sweating (on the rental car guy's part), texting (that would be my sister), and attempting to tighten straps (me), I jokingly suggested to rental car guy that perhaps he could attempt a free upgrade for us into a four door car. It would be much simpler that way. Sister seconded my suggestion, so rental car guy disappeared back into the airport to negotiate for us.
A few minutes later he came out successful, and we were upgraded (for free), into a four door Elantra. Rental car guy successfully installed the car seat, and after placing a screaming Baby in and out of it three, yes three, times, to properly adjust the straps, we were ready to go. Baby fell asleep on our way to the hotel (yes, I did get lost, but I eventually found it!), although since the booster seat was too big her head was set at an uncomfortable level. After that I told Sister she had to ride in the back with her so that did not happen again. We found the hotel, and after about an hour of fussing, Baby finally fell asleep.
The next day was the wedding. We spent a leisurely morning getting ready, then drove across the state line (see, two states), to the wedding which was an hour and a half away. We made it just in time to run in before the beautiful bride came down the aisle. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear the vows because Baby started fussing, so I took her away from the ceremony. She ate, then she was fine.
Baby was quite wonderful during the wedding. She didn't have any screaming episodes like the night before, thank goodness. Instead, she was passed around, then lulled to sleep a few times in my arms by the music at the reception. Thankfully the reception was indoors so the humidity didn't get to her. I must say, she was a big hit and I loved it. She was so charming that one of the guys at our table who was newly married told his wife that he wanted one. I told him she was just putting on a show. In private she is never that well behaved.
After spending as long as we possibly could at the wedding (hey, it's the reason I flew out in the first place), we drove back to the hotel and Baby decided to cry most of the way there. We were able to get about three hours of sleep, then off the airport we went. We returned the rental car and checked in to our flight. At the counter Baby flirted with a little boy whose mom was checking in next to us. Silly girl. She already has an eye out for the boys.
Baby did great on the two flights home. She nursed and slept for most of it. On the first flight we were next two three couples who had just gotten married that weekend and were headed to their honeymoons. It was quite random that three newlyweds would all be seated so close on the same plane. They were smiling at Baby and she was smiling right back. I told them that was what would come next.
On the last flight home, I had chosen seats at the very back of the plane, right next to the lavatories. Each time someone came back to use the restroom they would smile and talk to Baby. She soon discovered that if she smiled, she got attention. After that, whenever she saw anyone coming she would break into her wide toothless grin at the person, waiting to get a reaction. She's a smart cookie, she is.
When we landed, Husband met us at the airport and sat with Baby in the back while I drove us home.
Overall, it was a great trip. The rental car fiasco was not fun, but I think screaming Baby got us the free upgrade, so it worked out. I packed the perfect amount of items and was glad I didn't have to tote around bottles and formula like the one couple in front of us did. Nursing definitely has its perks, that's for sure. Having my sister around was a huge help, although I may have been able to get the flight attendants to help if I needed anything. I'm definitely glad I went and got the chance to show Baby off. She certainly showed her little personality.