Jack’s first plane ride and first beach vacation. I, for one, couldn’t wait. Life has been a little stressful this past year and I was ready to go to the beach and drown my frustrations with waves and umbrella drinks. Matt and I started planning a vacation since Jack’s last High Risk clinic appointment when Dr. Cahill gave us the amazing news that Jack was healthy enough to go on vacation and healthy enough to fly there. After a couple weeks of planning medications and (hastily) planning oxygen options that are aircraft approved (evidently there is a waiver for the physician which we have yet to use…), we are in Siesta Key. Matt and I are watching the Notre Dame v. Navy game on tv which is playing in Ireland. Jack is taking his usual morning nap and my parents just got back with donuts. YUM!
After the plans were set into motion, I got working on some goodie bags for the other passengers on the planes that we would be traveling. I wasn’t sure how Jack would react to a change in cabin pressure during take-off and landing. One man gave me a great compliment, “You’re sitting in couch but you came up with a first class idea”. His wife suggested I make these and sell them but I know how long it took me to make them…
The plane ride was a certain mix of emotions. After running around to get the previously mentioned physicians release (which again, nobody has asked for), we were finally on our way to the CVG airport. Checking in and security was a pleasantly easy process. None of Jack’s liquids or medications were held up for extended checks and we were on our way to find our gate and an airport bar. Vacation can’t start without a beer. The beer was delicious and our plane took off on time.
We were on a little puddle jumper so most of our carry-on luggage was checked at the jet way (my preference). The take-off was smooth and with a little help from a pacifier, Jack was calm, cool and collected. I was really getting high hopes that the whole plane trip, the lay over in Miami and the final flight would follow suit. The beer cart came down the aisle and the four of us enjoyed an in-flight beer. Jack played with some toys, read a book and entertained us with his stories. There was a little turbulence but great storm clouds out on the west side of the plane. Jack was enjoying looking out the window as the plane carried us to paradise. It didn’t take long into out 2 hour flight for the excitement to fade to sleepiness. I started playing solitaire while Jack and Matt took a little plane nap.
They both slept through the turbulence which got pretty rough at one point. The girl in the row behind me was sobbing, my dad and I were playing solitaire and my mom kept it together pretty well. She just looked wide eyed while her husband and the Roettgers Family was completely unfazed by the bumpy ride. After the turbulence, our first plane ride was almost over and we were preparing for descent. I took this time to make a break for the lavatory (ha) before I had to buckle my safety belt and put my chair and tray table in the upright and locked position. As I walked back from the tiny bathroom, I could hear it. Jack was beside himself. We were going into crisis mode with a baby on a landing plane. When I approached my seat, Matt was holding a red-faced baby that refused to keep a pacifier in his mouth. He was completely inconsolable. We tried to pass him on to Grandma but the flight attendant said he can’t sit in her seat because there was no infant oxygen mask on that side of the plane. I didn’t feel like explaining that we brought our own oxygen. I’m pretty sure it’s just an airline rule, so I took Jack back over the aisle and he sat with me, screaming and crying until we landed.
Once we landed, he was finally able to collect himself and take a look around the plane. I did the same. I caught the dirty eyeball of a college aged girl a couple rows ahead of me and gave the look right back. I was in no mood to sympathize with somebody who had no clue of the difficulties of settling an upset baby. We filed off the plane, collected our luggage and stroller and headed to the next gate for some airport dinner. Jack sat quietly in his stroller with my iPhone while we ate dinner and waited for our flight to board.
On the short flight from Miami to Tampa, Jack slept off his previous flight experience. Grandma held him the entire time with fear of moving him just the slightest, so her legs fell asleep. But Jack was happy. I passed out candy mid-flight as an insurance policy that he would not be completely distraught during landing. 30 seconds after handing out candy, the cabin was filled with the sounds of plastic bags and candy wrappers. The landing was smooth and Jack gave a little whimper but kept his cool. The flight was so short, I couldn’t even get my camera out for photos.
Once we got all our luggage together and started waiting for the shuttle to take us to the rental car, I had a chance to snap a photo of his red eyes. Jack had made our early evening flights into red-eyes. But we would soon be in a car carrying us from Tampa to Siesta Key. And he surely took that chance to take a nap in the car seat. We arrived at my Aunt Linda’s condo by just short of 1am and started unpacking the items we would need for the night. Jack’s pack and play was put in the second bedroom and he was off to bed. My mom wasn’t feeling well from a seafood dinner she ‘enjoyed’ in an airport restaurant and went to bed. My dad, Matt and I stayed up until about 4am to help on a attempt to get the AC running. That was promptly fixed the following day.
Now we are well into our vacation so lots of stories and photos will follow. Stay tuned for the rest of the adventures.