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"As for me, I'll take one baby marinated in a dish please"

We made it





It was a hot and balmy morning.  Water was still evaporating on the ground from the previous nights rain.  Three exhausted patrons were about to make a long and strenuous flight into parts unknown.
One of the three was full of confidence, one full of anxiety and the third with a calm, already knowing about the chaos that was about to ensue.  As the plane, packed elbow to elbow, was set to take off, a wail erupted from seat 32A.  A flight attendant got on the speaker and announced a slight delay in takeoff, as the catering needs had not been met.  The crew needed more dinners to feed its hungry customers.  The wail grew into a yell and then into a full-fledged scream.  The plane was still grounded but patron three could not be consoled.  The terror in the eyes of patron two had turned into terror and patron one was no longer the confident man who had walked on.  He too had become panic-stricken with all the evil glances thrown his way.

Side note…..

It is documented that the scream of a crying baby is one of the worst noises a person can hear.  It beats such things as the sound of emergency alerts, nails on a chalkboard, and vomiting.  Yes, vomiting.
Back to the story. …

As the baby continued to scream the sound went from a high pitched sob to a choking bottom of the throat, “I’m being murdered” howl.  With head thrown back , clenched fists and all six teeth bared, the agony could not be stopped.  Not with Minnie Mouse stickers, not with animal flash cards, and not even with the iPad.  Nothing could console the baby.

Once in the air, things went from horrid to unbearable.  Nearby travelers began to yell, a K-Fed look alike began swearing, and the baby just got louder and more desperate. 
17-hours of horror later, the three arrived at their destination.  They were broken and ragged.  The beginning of their journey unknown…..

This is how I thought our flight would turn out.  Especially after our last trip to Bellingham where she was awful, I was scared.  In fact, I didn’t sleep for a week before we left just knowing how bad it would be.  My sleepless nights (aside from worrying about Ellyette falling into a canal in Venice and our IVF not working) were mostly about the airplane ride over.  And this is how she was:

Perfect.




















 No joke.  She laughed, and played with her new surprise toys and hung out with Nana and Papa.  She also slept.  On both flights.   For the majority of both flights actually.  It was really amazing considering I had awake dreams about the scenario above that usually lasted from 2:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. with me breaking out into a cold sweat about a K-fed look alike swearing at my baby and parents (both of which have virgin ears).  But to my surprise and delight, my child was top notch.  TOP NOTCH!!  And all the people around us, including the guy next to us told us so.  So for the moment, I will believe I have truly been raising the perfect child.  At least until I mention that she did kick and pull the hair of the person in the seat in front of me several times. Minor details….

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Packing List

I consider myself a pretty seasoned traveler.  But even with multiple international journey's under my belt, I have never packed for a month long IVF endeavor with a one year old.  So, of course, I consulted google for "toddler packing list ideas" to help me so I wouldn't be caught redhanded without common sense items that only I would forget.  I mean, who really needs snacks and diapers?

But the more I searched the "must haves," the more I found lists like the one below compliments of www.travelmamas.com 

Clothing/Accessories

Dressy Outfit

Casual Outfits

Jacket

Sweater

Underwear

Socks

Pajamas (2 Per Baby)

Work Out Clothes

Swimsuit (1 - 2 Per Person)

Swim Cover-Up

Sunglasses

Sunhat

Work Out/Walking Shoes

Sandals

Fancy Shoes

Boots for Cold Weather

Purse

Jewelry

Watch

Barretts/Pony Tail Holders

Umbrella

Beach Bag

Other Clothing/Accessories:

Feeding

Breast Pump & Accessories

Baby Bottles

Baby Bottle Brush

Dish Soap

Powdered Formula

Snacks

Baby Spoons

Baby Cereal

Baby Bowls for Cereal

Baby Food

Sippy Cups

Burp Cloths

Bibs

Other Feeding Items

Soap (Don't Forget Baby Soap!)

Shampoo (And Baby Shampoo!)

Conditioner

Inflatable Baby Tub

Make-Up Bag/Shaving Kit

Hair Products (Gel, Detangler, etc.)

Comb or Brush

Sunblock

Prescription Glasses

Contact Lenses & Accessories

Baby Bath Towel

Bath Toys

Lip Balm with SPF

Tooth Brush

Tooth Paste

Toilet Paper On the Go (Foreign Trips)

Tampons/Maxi-Pads

Birth Control

Hair Dryer (Often Provided)

Other Toiletries/Bath Items:

Entertainment

Magazines

Books

Book Light

Lovey/Blankie/Stuffed Animal/Doll

Toys

Coloring Book

Crayons or Washable Markers

Video Player

DVD's

Tour Guide Books

Beach Towels (Often Provided)

Cards/Travel Board Games

Notepad & Pen

Cell Phone

Cell Phone Charger

Camera

Extra Camera Battery or Charger

Video Camera

Video Camera Charger

Blank Disks for Video Camera

Walkie-Talkies (Foreign Travel/Cruises)

Small Flashlight

Batteries

Outlet Adapter (Foreign Travel)

Multi-Outlet Extension Cord

Other Technology:

Diapering (In Addition to Diaper Bag)

Disposable Changing Pads

Diaper Cream

Box of Wipes

Pull-Ups

Diapers (What You Need + More!)

Travel Potty (For Road Trips)

Sealable Plastic Bags for Diapers

Hand Sanitizer

Disposable Swim Diapers

Stroller

Baby Carrier (Baby Bjorn or Sling)

Baby Backpack

Car Seat (& Car Seat Base)

Inflatable Infant Pool (For Cruises)

Teething Ring

Pacifiers & Pacifier Hooks

Baby Monitor (Both Pieces)


Now granted, this is for the whole family, but doesn't involve the "airplane kit," which is also advised.  That includes the following items:


□   Car seat (Even if not booking a seat for baby – it can be gate checked) and/orCARES Restraint by Kids Fly Safe for children who weigh 22 – 44 pounds
□   Stroller (It can be gate-checked too)
□   Diapers (Enough to make it through the flight, plus 3 – 6 extra)
□   Diaper Cream (Tube must be smaller than 3.4 ounces due to airline regulations)
□   Diaper Wipes
□   Changing Pad (Disposable pads are great!)
□   Change of Clothes for Baby (And maybe one for you)
□   Plastic Bags for Soiled Diapers (Air sickness bags can be used for this as well)
□   Bottles (Enough to make it through the flight, plus 2 – 3 extra)
□   Nursing Cover-Up
□   Pacifiers (Plenty of ‘em stuffed in more than one bag to make retrieval easy)
□   Powdered Formula (Pre-measured into a plastic container with serving dividers)
□   Healthy Snacks
□   “Forbidden” Snacks
□   No-Spill Snack Container
□   A Sippy-Cup
□   Bib (Plastic-coated so it is easily wiped clean)
□   Baby Spoon
□   Baby Fork
□   Baby Food (In plastic containers – twice as much as you think you will need)
□   Baby Medications (Ibuprofen for sore ears and anything else baby may need)
□   Nose Aspirator (The blue booger-bulb for infants)
□   Digital Armpit Thermometer (Compact and discreet method to check for fever)
□   Travel DVD player or Smart Phone and Plenty of Kid Movies (And a couple “grown-up” movies for you in case the baby actually sleeps!)
□   3 – 9 Favorite Books (Depending on the length of the flight)
□   1 – 2 New Books
□   1 – 2 Favorite Small Toys
□   Cuddle Object (Favorite blankie or stuffed toy)
□   2 – 6 New Small Toys (You can gift wrap these for older toddlers to buy some time)
□   Pack of Fat, Triangular Crayons or Washable Markers and a Coloring Book
□   Stickers
□   Flash Cards, Lacing Cards or Other Compact Activity (For older toddlers)
All I can say is that Travel mama must have multiple house sized suitcases and multiple carry-ons to keep her kids functioning and happy.  And while I completely agree with the airplane kit idea, 9 books and six new toys seems like a little much.  
Poor Ellyette must succumb to sharing one check-in bag with her me.  So unfortunately for her, the travel pool and cold weather boots must stay at home.  And unfortunately for me, after filling up the suitcase with 2/3's baby stuff, I might have enough space to pack all my underwear.

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The Warden

A warden:

"An official charged with special supervisory duties or with the enforcement of specified laws or regulations."

Ben has officially deemed me the "vitamin warden."







I'm really not sure I deserve the title. A gentle reminder every now and again when he forgets to take his vitamins doesn't really warrant a designated identity. And while I admit that every now and again the prompting has come when I am softly nudging him out of sleep with,"Hey, did you take your vitamins today? You can't forget to take them." I really don't know why he gets annoyed by this. After all, he might forget to take them if I'm not in his ear reminding him all the time, and I KNOW he wouldn't want that....

Besides, who wouldn't be happy swallowing all that liquid gold every evening. I'm sure his boys are jumping for joy with every added bit of magnesium they get. And they might even be jumping in the right direction for once. Not entirely likely as they have a mind of their own, but you never know.

To be quite honest, our vitamin intake is the one and only thing that I can actually control in the whole IVF process. If my eggs grow stronger with vitamin E and zinc, damn strait I'm going to do everything I can to pump them full of vitamin E and zinc.

Unfortunately for Ben, I took the approach of compiling a list of every vitamin with any study improving fertility and went out and bought them all. An overkill? Not if it helps us conceive Ellyette Jr. in three weeks.

In the big scheme of things, it really hasn't been too bad on Ben. Because of all his extra vitamin intake, I have made a few dinners with zero nutritional value just for him.

So Ben, when you read this. Go take your vitamins. After all, I did make you tater tot casserole, twice. And I didn't even try to hide spinach in it.







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The Countdown


Less than two weeks until we are baby bound for Prague.  I have been asked by numerous people if I am as nervous this go-around as I was the last one.  My reply? Of course not!
Unless you include the nail biting that has suddenly occurred again in the last three weeks.  And the upset stomach I get whenever I think about the potential negative outcome of the procedure. Or the anxiety I feel whenever I think of traveling for a month with Ellyette.  Or the panic I feel about spending that kind of money when there are no guarantees. 
At least I can blame my sleepless nights on Ellyette reverting back to waking up during the night….Most of them anyway.  My awake nightmare of Ellyette falling into a canal kept me restless for hours last night until I googled “how many people drown in Venice canal’s every year.”  The good news?  Only seven since 1992.  And most of them were from being drunk.  The bad news?  I guess I have to worry more about Ben then Ellyette now.
But at least this time I have the ultimate confidence in our clinic.
Not to say that I was worried the first time around.....I had complete,  total a good amount of trust  with our research of clinics. However, there was still that little question in the back of my mind of what we were getting ourselves into.  After all, the internet can make anything look good.

Exhibit A



What you think you are
getting


                        What you are
                       actually getting
       





Exhibit B

The date you thought you had


 
                                     The date you actually had





At least we know going over there this time, that while the clinic is in a back ally, it is not the type of back ally that comes with a side effect of infection or death.

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That is going to be one "spirited girl."

That is going to be one spirited girl....

Words from a lady who had the pleasure of sitting one row back and three seats over from us on the airplane from Seattle to Phoenix.  The lady was talking to her husband while Ben was bouncing Ellyette up and down in the flight attendant’s sitting area to try to prevent her from crying.

And that wasn’t even the bad plane ride.  I got to do that one by myself.  I had a feeling when she refused to go down for a nap prior to flying that it might not be a great trip.  But I did not expect to cry.  Twice.
First off.  I hate Allegiant airlines.  DO YOU HEAR THAT ALLEGIANT?  I HATE FLYING YOUR AIRLINE!!!
I mean really. I’m 5’2’ and 120 pounds and my knees almost touch the seat in front of me.  And while I am one kid deep, my hips aren’t so huge that they should be hitting the passengers on both sides of the isle, yet they do.  However the lure of $89 from Phoenix to Bellingham made me temporarily forget how uncomfortable the airplane was.  So I booked.  And then I paid to have luggage. Because charging for luggage, even the carry-on type, seems to be the rage.  And if Ben wasn’t so smart, I would have paid for borage of other items that they try to trick you into purchasing. You know, like seat selections, trip insurance, walking into the terminal, wearing blue or purple, and breathing.....
Rant over as I know I will fly Allegiant again with their cheap airfare and direct flights into Bellingham. Sigh.
Anyway, I thought I came prepared to fly solo with E.  I even went so far as to buy Wendy’s chicken nuggets as a special treat all the while knowing that they are made of random chicken parts pieced together with who knows what and laced with flavor, color and yellow number 5.
But I knew I needed amo.  I just didn’t realize that not even Wendy’s would trick her into being good.  
 Before I knew what I was getting myself into....
I was one of the last five people on the plane.  Great for me for not having to sit forever while people loaded.  Bad for the women sitting next to me who thought she might get away with having an empty seat next to her only to have me and my baby show up at the end.  I could see the disappointment on her face when I said, “looks like you got the booby prize” or something like that.  And she didn’t even know what she was in for at that point.  
The first problem came when we sat on the runway for 20 minutes.  This came after the extra half hour we spent in the terminal due to a “lightning delay.”  Ellyette starting wiggling around, touching the lady next to me, grabbing her book and squealing.   Once we got into the air she got upset that she had no room to do anything and the crying began. 
I started with the sippy cup.  No luck.  I then went to my iced tea.  Good for 20 minutes.  Only two hours and thirty minutes left.  Once that didn’t work anymore I pulled out the big guns.  Chicken nuggest.  She ate two.  10 more minutes gone.  Two hours and twenty minutes left.  Then the bottle came out.  She threw it on the ground and cried.  We were so cramped I couldn’t pick it up.  Then out came the iPhone.  Ten minutes more before the crying started again.  Two hours left.  Walking up and down the isle while my hips hit the passengers on both sides repeatedly.  Twenty more minutes gone. One hour forty minutes left.
And so it went.
The big meltdown happened when I took her in the bathroom to play in the sink.  After about 10 minutes I knew I needed to free up the bathroom for people who really needed to use it.  Ellyette was not happy about it.  A full-fledged temper tantrum ensued complete with arched back, balled fists, head thrown back and screaming. 
There were also plenty of tears. From me. 
After finally calming her down, the airplane village got on board to help me out.  One lady lent me her child’s book, another let me use her ipad with Elmo apps. (apparently the apps on my iPad weren’t good enough). And then I cried again because I was so grateful. 
Ellyette spent the last 35 minutes behaving. 
Fortunatly the first stop after the plane ride was to Elizabeth Station for a couple strong beers and extended family fun.  A much needed band aid from the trip.
Can’t wait for the 17 hour trip to Prague in a few weeks!
 Look mom!! I just love to fly

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