Don’t Forget The Baby

We were flying to Charleston to get married. We’d been obsessing over this wedding for over a year, the dress, the menu, the guest list, the weather, everything. But the night before my wife and I were worried about one thing and one thing alone: How are we going to fly 1300 miles with this 3 month old baby.

I’d booked with Delta as they have typically given us the best service overall when flying in the Southeast and at the time we had Gold status. Also as my wife and I were carrying Amex Platinum cards, we’d have access to one of the many SkyLounges in our stopover airport (Atlanta). We’d come back on Southwest as they had a better schedule on that leg.

I called ahead to both airlines to add my daughter as a lap infant to avoid hassle, but as this was a domestic flight there was no charge. We also used a Britax all-in-one system that allowed my daughter’s car seat to snap right onto the stroller so we roll take both right up to the gate. We arrived early but breezed through as there wasn’t much of a line and all Delta did was eyeball our little bundle of joy to make sure she was under two.

Delta allows parents to preboard, usually right after first class. We hit one hiccup as we didn’t realize we needed to gate check both the stroller and car seat before boarding. Lesson learned. We short checked them to Atlanta so we wouldn’t have to hold her the entire layover and she’d sleep better.

The gate agents in Austin actually gave us an empty row and told us we could use the extra seat for her car seat free of charge, which was a wonderful gesture. However, we elected to carry her as we had no idea how she’d react to her first flight.

We also learned last minute that we’d need to transport the wedding dress on our flight as well. The flight attendants again were gracious and hung it up in their own closet for safe keeping.

Then we unpacked. Bottles, blankets, stuffed monkeys, thermoses, pacifiers, ear protectors, you name it. Shackleton needed a tenth of our supplies to conquer the Antarctic. People piled in as we continue to arrange our little nest. We needed until the safety announcements to get totally settled. And by we I mean my wife and I. The baby was fine.

And after all the panic and preparation, what did our daughter do at takeoff? She went straight to sleep, of course. In fact she napped pretty much the whole time. I think we were the only ones on the flight that knew she was there.

The lounge helped immensely as we had a nice quiet place for mommy and baby to nurse as well as large, clean, well equipped bathrooms with changing tables. It made the layover a pleasure rather than a burden.

When we finally touched down in Charleston, we all breathed a sigh of relief. As we gathered ourselves outside the gate my wife asked if we had everything. I smiled and said, “As long as we didn’t forget the baby, everything else can be replaced.” She smiled and nodded in agreement.

And then I realized. There was actually one thing that couldn’t be replaced. I sprinted back to the gate waiving my arms like a madman before they could close the doors. In packing up every last piece of baby paraphernalia we’d forgotten the wedding dress on the plane.

Don’t worry. We got it.


When We Were Two

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Our daughter came as a surprise during our engagement. This resulted in us getting married civilly at an earlier date and also facing several planned trips with one in the oven. We learned about traveling pregnant out of necessity.

All pregnancies are different but Nicole’s followed a pretty common path: The first trimester spent nauseous, the second energetic, and the last exhausted.  Still we flew to New Orleans (twice), San Francisco, DC, NYC, Italy, Spain, Southern California, Colorado, and Charleston with limited setbacks.

A few things we learned:

  1. Airlines will let pregnant women preboard. We didn’t find this out till near the end, but you can easily go to the check-in counter. Let them know you’ll need a preboard pass (and why) and you can board with all the big shots. For most airlines this is convenient, but for airlines without assigned seats, like Southwest, it can be a life saver. Sitting near the front of the plane can reduce motion and the accompanying nausea. Note that this will prevent you from sitting in an exit row, but you’ll probably be fine with that.
  2. Aisle seats are highly recommended. Get between a woman with 5 lbs of humanity on her bladder and the toilet at your own peril.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Pregnant women need water more than a marathoner. Make sure to have plenty at hand and don’t count on the drink cart coming around. Bring an empty bottle through security and fill up at will.
  4. Your partner will need to stop to rest more often than she ever did. Be patient, loving, supportive, and make sure you both plan to take things slow meaning don’t try to see everything on the trip or cut it close with short layovers. And get access to a lounge if you can (there are multiple credit cards that can help you do so).She’s creating one of the most complex organisms in the known universe inside of her body from a collection of simple proteins and amino acids, yes she’s going to need to sit down for a second.

Just like when you later have a baby, being pregnant doesn’t have to put an end to your travels.