The Longest Trip of My Life

6.07.2012

Now that I've had about a week to recover, I think I can finally recap our trip to the U.S. without having nightmares. Okay, okay- I might be exaggerating just a little bit. It really wasn't that bad BUT it definitely wasn't easy.

Our 26 hour trip started with a 2:20 AM flight out of our city. We were able to put Emerson to bed at her normal time but we had to get her up at around 11:30 to head to the airport. I was hoping we would be able to just transfer her from her crib to the carseat, but that definitely didn't happen. It only took her a few minutes to go from fully asleep to raring to go.

We arrived at the airport around 12:00,we got checked in, and then hung out at a coffee shop. We let Emerson walk around a little bit but she mostly sat in her car seat until it was time for us to board. Luckily, our first airline allowed families with young children to board first. This gave us plenty of time to get onboard, get E's carseat strapped in, and get everyone situated.

Throughout the 7 hour trip, E slept a total of about 3 hours.  During her wake time, she pretty much wanted to be held. It wasn't too bad because Jesse and I switched off. We also took the opportunity to sleep when she slept. Overall, this leg of the trip wasn't too bad. She did cry a few times, but was easily consoled with milk, water, or a snack.

By the time we arrived in London, we were ALL ready to get off of that plane. I was really surprised at how happy Emerson was despite her lack of sleep. We grabbed breakfast and let Emerson walk around to get out some of her energy.

This is when things started to get a bit tough. Jesse and I were on separate flights for the second leg of our trip. He was able to help me get to our departure gate and we said our goodbyes. While E and I waited to board the flight, I made a point to ask the desk agent if they would give priority boarding to families with small children. I was assured that we would so I felt pretty confident that boarding would go smoothly. I tried to let Emerson walk around a bit more but the waiting area was incredibly crowded so she didn't have much room to roam. I was so relieved when they announced that they were going to begin boarding- until they actually started calling the boarding groups. I didn't hear them call for families with small children so I found another desk agent and asked if we would be allowed to board. He told me to head to the gate and tell the flight attendant at the gate that he had given me permission to board at that time because I was traveling alone with an infant.

I pushed my way through the crowd and told the flight attendant at the gate what the desk agent had told me. I was shocked at her reply, but I was even more shocked at her rudeness. She told me that there were "lots of babies" on the flight and that I would just have to wait to board with my group. Of course, at that very moment, Emerson decided to start crying. So here I am, standing at the front of the gate, in a huge crowd, trying to juggle a crying baby, a carseat, rolling suitcase, and purse/diaper bag. Another family saw my struggle and even told the flight attendant that I had a carseat that I needed to get strapped in but she continued to act as rudely as she did before.

Finally, after what felt like FOREVER, my group was called to board. I was able to carry Emerson, and drag the carseat and rolling suitcase behind me. When I got to my seat, I was at a loss as to how I was going to get the carseat strapped in while also holding a now inconsolable E. I was able sit her down in my seat and hand her something to play with and then set her carseat into her seat. Luckily the man seated in front of my grabbed my rolling suitcase and put it in the overhead bin for me. Of course while all of this is going on, the other people in my boarding group are trying to push past me to get to their seats. I would be lying if I said I wasn't the least bit frazzled by this time. In fact, if you want to know the truth, I was pretty much in tears.

I finally got Emerson and myself situated and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I just knew that the hardest part was over with. It was also at this time that I promised myself that I would NEVER,EVER, EVER fly American Airlines again. I've flown several international flights in the last few years and I have never been treated so rudely. In fact, the first leg of our flight (on a different airline) was 100 percent better and I felt that  they really tried their best to accommodate us. If only American companies could get a few hints from the foreign carriers we have flown with.

Remember just a minute ago when I said that the hardest part was over with? Well- I think that was just wishful thinking. The nine hour flight from London to Dallas was the longest flight of my life. Emerson fell asleep pretty quickly after takeoff but she woke up about an hour later and she was incredibly upset. She was just crying and crying and nothing I did seemed to help. I was so embarrassed because I did not want to be THAT parent that has the baby that cries nonstop. I started digging through my purse, just hoping to find something that would console her.

That's when I found the Kit Kat that came in one of the meals on our first flight. I ripped it open, broke off a piece, and stuffed it in Emerson's open mouth. I know, I know- mother of the year, right? Don't judge, okay? I was sleep deprived and desperate. And guess what? It worked. She immediately stopped crying and I was able to give her one of her snacks to hold her over.

We went through the same scenario at least 3 more times. Every time she would fall asleep, she would wake up and just cry and cry. That is not like her at all so I knew she was just as ready to get off that plane as I was. We did a lot of walking up and down the aisles, nursed in the airplane bathroom (gross!), watched a little bit of TV, and read a few books over and over. And I watched the time tick by in super, duper slow motion.

Somehow, we survived, and I was never so happy to get off of a plane in my entire life. The trip through immigration and customs was a breeze and we had no trouble with the rest of our journey to West Texas.

I've had a few people ask me for tips with flying with a toddler, and after this trip, I definitely have one:

DON'T DO IT!

Of course, I'm just kidding. Sort of. The trip home was definitely worth it but I will admit that it was much rougher than I expected it to be- especially considering what an easy baby Emerson is 99 percent of the time.

I am already dreading our flight back home. Thank goodness we have some time because I don't want to step foot in an airplane for a good, long while.



Emily Powell said...

oh my goodness! people are so rude! I wanted to cry just reading about your flight!

Megan said...

Ah man that sounds stressful!! And I probably would have lost it on the AA lady!! I don't like to fly with them either!!! This scares me if we ever get stationed overseas!!!

KellyDiane said...

My heart went out to you when I read this! I'm so sorry you guys had a rough trip!! Hopefully the one back will be better!

Blissfully Burton said...

oh honey! I'm so sorry! I can't imagine. And I have no judgement! Who knows what I would have done!!!!

Beth Ann said...

Oh girl, so glad you survived. Will you and hubs get to be together on the way home...the whole way home? I sure hope so. I can't imagine! I can't believe you think anyone would judge you for giving E a piece of kit-kat! I wouldn't judge you for that anyway...let alone in this situation! Whatever works!!!

Brittney Galloway said...

Wow, I'm so sorry, that does NOT sound pleasant!! We had a similar experience on a 2:30 am flight to Turkey when Grace was 7 or 8 months old- it was awful! Worse part was, we had a bunch of friends on that flight and NO ONE offered to help us!!!

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh!! I would have been in complete meltdown mode myself!! I would have been mad at everyone by the end of my flight!! And no judging here-i would have given my kid just about anything to end the crying!! I hope you have a much better, more relaxed, easier flight on the way back!!

Lyndsey said...

Ok I should not have read this when we are about to fly with Liam Monday morning!!! But it's only a 2 hour flight, so if you can survive 26 hours, I can survive 2. Hopefully!

AND we are flying American! Ah! My husband didn't have a choice because it's his company that arranges it. I cannot believe they were so rude to you! I will have Will give them a piece of his mind if they are rude and I will be thinking of you :)

'm glad you have a few weeks to recover. Do you have to fly alone with E on the way back? Maybe your hubby could take that leg :)

Lyndsey said...

Oh, and I'm TOTALLY packing a candy bar now that you said that! No judgement from me, I'll just take the advice!!

Stephanie said...

I feel for you! I can't imagine having such a long flight with an upset baby and nowhere to go. It sounds like you did the best you could though and pushed through. Who cares what other people think. You'll never see them again anyway. :)

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry you had such a rough trip.I can't imagine! They should be more understanding considering she's just a little baby who didn't get much sleep and you are a mama of a baby who didn't get ANY! ah!
ALso, I was on vacation but I just read about your nephew and I am so so sorry Tami :( I will continue praying for you and your family.

Gabriella said...

I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience. That just sounds terrible. I would have cried too! I can't believe how rude airline people can be. No judgement on the candy bar....I would have done the same exact thing. Keeping it in the back of my heads for when I have kids! Enjoy your time at home! :)

LLMilitaryWife said...

Please, please read what to do with infants and ear pressure/pain when flying! Shame on your pediatrician for not telling you. There are many remedies and tips you can google to soothe your baby. Get a handle on that and the way home will be a breeze. And to make you feel better, anything that happens on the flight, you will never see those people again! Enjoy your trip! Oh I've got some tips on my blog too about flying with little ones.

Kelli Kegley said...

Boo! I would have for sure cried! Girl, there is nothing wrong with giving that sweet girl a kit kat bar!!! I've given Connor things I never would had thought I would in much less extreme situations! Gotta do what you gotta do! Prayers for a better trip home!

Christine said...

so sorry to hear you had such a rough time. but you should know that i literally laughed out loud at the part about stuffing the kitkat in emerson's mouth. desperate times right? maybe the girl just needed some chocolate. ;) hope you're flight back is a bit easier!!

Christine said...

so sorry to hear you had such a rough time. but you should know that i literally laughed out loud at the part about stuffing the kitkat in emerson's mouth. desperate times right? maybe the girl just needed some chocolate. ;) hope you're flight back is a bit easier!!

Kate @ Daffodils said...

O my gosh, I FEEL you! Our trip from CA to VA was only 6 hours and I was in tears by the end. Flying with kids is so hard, especially E and Bennett's age where they simply cant sit still and be entertained for that long. Hope you are relaxing now!

Krissy said...

You poor thing. This is exactly what I fear will be in my future (someday, not any time soon). It sounds like you handled it well and I'm glad there were some good Samaritans around to help. I'll pray for your flight home.

Andrea @ Life in Dawleywood said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience! I can't even imagine how you're dreading the flight home. Don't feel bad about the kit kat, you have to do whatever works! Oh, and the nursing in the bathroom I get... I could write a book on the places I have nursed Gracie!

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