As Dom has already noted, my trip began in a most inauspicious way. I was already nervous about travelling alone with Bella. And the airplane ride was by far the part that most filled me with trepidation.
Flying alone with a six month old is a daunting proposition.
That’s why when the agent at check in told me they were overbooked and asked if I wanted to accept compensation to fly at a later time I refused. Keeping a breastfeeding baby waiting at the airport is a nightmare scenario. It would take a whole lot of money to get me to even think about it.
I suppose alarm bells should have gone off when the agent then told me she didn’t have a seat assignment for me and I’d have to get it at the gate. But I was not worried. Instead, I was focused on navigating the security line. Fortunately, they waved me into the short line with the flight attendants and flight crews.
And then I was at the gate and the agent there was telling me the flight had been oversold and I didn’t have a seat and probably wouldn’t get on this flight. I pointed at Bella and said, this is going to be a big problem. This little girl is going to start wailing. She doesn’t understand how to wait patiently.
But he was unmoved. He said he’d ask for volunteers to accept compensation to take a later flight. But seemed quite unconcerned about assuaging my fears. And unfortunatly he was the guy in charge. When other agents asked me if I was ok and I told them what was going on, they tried to be reassuring but it was clear they could do nothing for me. The matter was in his hands.
Still, realizing I couldn’t do anything more, I went in search of a bottle of water. I always get dehydrated on planes. And breastfeeding would only make matters worse. I also acquired a pizza and a yogurt because the itinerary I had only said snack, not meal. I didn’t know that Continental actually does feed you a meal when you are flying at dinner time.
To make a long story shorter, we did get on the flight. But we weren’t allowed to pre-board. He wasn’t able to assign me a seat until half the plane had boarded. So I had to struggle with my bags and the pizza and Bella and the stroller in the midst of a crowd of people none of whom stopped or offered to help. Gee I love Bostonians!
Fortunately, once I got to my seat things began to look up. I was seated by an older couple from Houston. She offered to hold Bella while I emptied my bags searching for the cell phone I thought I’d lost. She even let Bella chew on her cell phone. She reminisced about flying with her three children, now all grown, the youngest currently a freshman at SMU. Thank God for this kind Samaritan because the captain then informed us the flight would be delayed an hour. If I hadn’t been sitting by kindly folk I might have despaired at that point.
But Bella was charming. We eventually got off the ground. I ate my pizza and then the salad and chicken sandwich they brought round.
We finally landed in Houston an hour and a half late.
Bella was tired. It was well past her bedtime. But she was still doing pretty well.
I got my bags and called Stephanie. She was still renting the car. I somehow managed to coordinate bags and stroller and tried to find my way to a curb where Steph could pick me up. I couldn’t find such a place but did find the shuttle to the car rental hub and a very kindly bus driver who grabbed my bags for me and helped me maneuver the stroller onto the bus. he also complimented Bella and cheered up this very tired mother. I love being in Texas!
I finally found Steph and she duly cooed over Bella and we made our way to the car. She was quite impressed that I’d had the forethought to print directions to the hotel. Thank goodness I thought of it!
Poor Bella began to howl as soon as I buckled her into the car seat and didn’t stop until we pulled up to the hotel. Steph got quite the introduction to Bella’s very fine set of lungs. And thus was the only person not under the illusion that Bella is the perfect baby. (Though of course she’s probably the closest thing to it I’m likely to ever see!)
Mental note: when travelling with baby it is ideal to arrive at your destination well in advance of baby’s bedtime. Of course, our flight was timed so as to be in close proximity with Steph’s arrival from Seattle. Not much I could do about the other factors.
All in all, though it wasn’t a bad night. I got about six hours of sleep. And if I had to share a bed all night with Bella at least we had a full size bed to ourselves so it wasn’t quite as cramped as having Bella in with Dom and I in our queen size.
We woke up at six and left Steph sleeping while we went to find breakfast. Why is it in budget motels you get a free continental breakfast; but in a fancy Courtyard Marriot it costs you $10? I think the money we saved with the wedding discount was spent on the food. But I wasn’t a driver on the car so my options were pretty limited unless I wanted to be walking the streets with Bella in seach of a cheaper option.
More about the wedding later…