I wrote half this post two weeks ago, thought I'd go ahead and finish it.
I was not at all concerned about traveling with an infant when I made my reservation. I always under-pack. Whereas most people are afraid they are going to forget something they need, I am usually afraid of carrying something I might not need. I’m usually also afraid of getting to the airport too early. If I can walk up to the gate as they are boarding my section, I consider the venture a success. Things were a bit different this time.
I did manage to pack pretty lightly. I had a baby, a bjorn, a diaper bag, and a rolling carry-on bag. The de-bjorning and re-bjorning to get through security was a bit tricky. Everybody’s advice before the trip was to nurse through take-off and landing and to bring a change of clothes for myself. Many people told me to bring a change of shirt for myself because apparently blow-outs are very common . My baby doesn’t poop though, so that was not a problem.
The journey to DC was fairly uneventful. Security was predictably difficult but people were uber understanding and several let me cut and lifted and pushed my bags without even asking. We had a 30 minute delay once we got on the plane, but Eli thought that would just be an awesome time to take a nap. He thought most of the flight was an awesome time to take a nap in fact. My cheapness led me to choose a flight into one of the less convenient airports. We took a bus to a train to get into the city and went straight to happy hour to meet up with friends. Though Eli has been to bars before, this was his first happy hour experience and he didn't totally catch on to the "happy" part.
I volunteered Megan and I to get the wine for Molly's party. A task that I thought would take about 2 hours. Between stopping to feed us, feed the babies, and a series of other seemingly minor tasks the outing lasted more like 4 or 5 hours. Oops! Oh, and Eli was pretty much just pissed off throughout because I was just not managing to get him his naps and eatings at the right times. I was used to the delays that a baby causes. Much like we were surprised to find out that having two dogs is actually twice the work of having one dog, I was surprised to find that two babies meant twice the delays of one baby. Who knew? The image of Megan and I trekking around DC with babies strapped to our chests, umbrellas, and heavy shopping bags will stay with me for quite some time though.
The shower and bachelorette party were a huge success. We hosted the shower in our hotel room. Everybody fit, the babies obliged, games were played, many bottles of wine were consumed, and it was hard to get people out of the room and onto the bar for the next segment of the night. Two friends were kind enough to babysit because nothing makes a bachelorette party more lame than when two of the hostesses bring their babies to the bars.
Some really awesome friends managed to borrow a car seat so that they could drive Eli and I to the airport on Sunday. Eli slept most of the way there. Things were looking good. And then. I got to the airport check-in counter. The nice man there was unable to find my ticket with my ID. He asked for my itinerary thingy, and it was then that he pointed out my ticket back to Chicago was for the day before. Straight out of an anxiety dream. I just stood there in disbelief. What? No. What? There, written clear as day on my itinerary it said Saturday. Massive fail. He said there were only two more flights to Chicago that night and they both said they were oversold. He got me on standby and told me that if I did not get on one of those tonight he would see me in the morning as he would be the one working then too. I told him I sincerely hoped I would not see him tomorrow. He took pity on me and waived the fee because Southwest is nice. In a state of shock I sort of ran through security too frazzled to figure out if I had a lot or little time to get to the gate. Eli started screaming as if on cue and the airport lady let us go ahead to the front of the line. I called Kenny on the verge of tears and told him we might not make it home that night. I got to the gate and realized we had almost two hours until our first chance at a flight. Eli stepped up and decided to be in an excellent mood while we waited. He ate, he slept, he made adorable sounds. Predictably, we did not make it onto the first flight. I called Molly and started figuring out how I'd get to her house and get to the airport the next morning. When they began boarding for the second flight I got cautiously optimistic when he described the flight as "full" and not "completely full" as he had the previous flight. I changed Eli's diaper and packed us up for the 3rd or 4th time that evening. We headed to the ticket counter and Eli growled and grunted (but in a happy way) as we waited for the guy to figure out if we could get on. He handed me a boarding pass, and I nearly jumped over the counter to kiss him. I couldn't stop smiling as I boarded, and was not at all unhappy to get one of the few remaining seats which was of course a middle seat. Eli rested his feet on the nice man to our left for the majority of the flight. He only screamed during the descent--probably because his little ears hurt.
After we landed a lady in the row behind asked if she could help by holding the baby while I gathered our things. I gladly handed Eli over to the stranger because I am an awesome mom like that. She did assure me she didn't have a cold or anything. It's just really hard to safely pack up a diaper bag and put on a Bjorn while holding a baby.
Kenny picked us up at the airport. He made me drive home because he missed his little man and wanted to sit in the back seat with him.