Travelling…

Are you travelling soon? Are you going through Heathrow T 5? Are you travelling with your little one? Are you travelling on your own?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, carry on reading!

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Recently – say  a week  ago – I went through Heathrow T 5 on my own with my little one (6 months) to South America.  No need to explain that I was extremely anxious about the whole experience, the whole idea of a 14 hour flight was giving me the creeps, and for the two days prior to departure I was daunted by the task at hand and several times I thought about pulling out and changing the dates to a later stage when my partner could come with us.

Since I was travelling on my own with my little one, I decided to make my life easier, so I had  thought about  everything from the minute I arrived at the airport to the minute I sat on the plane.

So.

I prepared the bag for my little one, with nappies, wipes, bottles, muslins, spoons (for his breakfast) and a change of clothing. And some toys for the journey, a blanket from home and another of his blankets. You may wonder why a blanket from home? Simple, because the cradles the airline provide are a bit flimsy and not very warm. Also my concerns were that on planes, normally they lower the temperature, and also I wanted my little one to have something that smelled like home.

Then, I prepared my bag: Laptop, camera, passports, a book, reading glasses, hairbrush, toothbrush, and a warm pair of socks, tissues and purse. Finito.

On a separate bag (a third bag) I put all the liquids that have less than a 100 ml (make-up, hand gel, hand cream, the small 90 ml milk bottle for my little one and a small bottle of baby lotion) all in a transparent bag, so when I got through security everything was ready to go, without the hassle of taking everything out of the bag, messing around with the stuff, you know how it goes.

You may wonder, on a 14 hour flight, will a 90 ml bottle of milk be enough?  Nah, I’m not that careless. Thing is, you can buy (it is called reserve and collect) all the baby stuff you may need for your journey online via Boots,  and pay and collect all the stuff once you went through security at the airport. Isn’t it wonderful? So, one worry less, I bought the 200 ml. milk cartons and a jar of fruit.

Well, the day came, all set to go, we arrived at the airport, after doing the check in (boarding passes were printed at home, so I only had to drop off the luggage and that’s it)  and after enjoying my last decent cup of tea until my return, I started my journey. Rivers of tears when I had to leave my other half, my little one was completely asleep so he didn’t realise what was going on.

Went through customs. Passports were handy, together with boarding passes. Check.

Went through security. Pulled the transparent bags from the bag, and the laptop. Check.

Went to Boots, to collect and pay for the stuff. The milk and the baby food were ready, paid for the stuff. Check.

My little one was asleep. I had a wander through the Duty Free Shop, then a quick stop at Smiths to buy something light for me to read. Or at least to distract me for a while.

Finally the gate was announced. We got on the plane; I gathered up all the stuff and slowly, gently woke up my little one. I prepared everything so that when the plane takes off, my little one would be having some milk and would “forget” about the annoyance of the ears going “pop”.

He was so distracted by the lights that I would love to think he never realised what was going on. As soon as the plane got to a certain altitude, the cabin crew gave me the moses basket for my little one, I put the blanket from home inside and he sat there, until slowly but surely he fell asleep.  Believe it or not he slept for 6 hours and then I woke him up for a change and a feed; he fell asleep again for another 5 hours, until the first rays of sun appeared.

It was then when he became a bit agitated. I think he realised something was not  “normal” and that same thought probably left him exhausted, because he fell asleep whilst landing, and was asleep through the ordeal of customs and luggage collection.

Conclusion:

The people at T5 were very kind and understanding. The people from security was very patient, I have to say the whole T5 was helpful through and through.

It *did* help big time that I prepared the bags and separated everything beforehand at home.

It *did* help to use the “reserve and collect” system at Boots.

I want to think that the blanket from home did the trick for my little one to sleep more comfortably.

As for me…well, exhausted.

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The first Daffodil

The first Daffodil

Grey sky. Doesn’t seem to stop raining. Cold. But here it is, the first Daffodil of the year. A sure sign that spring definitely is on it’s way.
Happy Sunday. Happy week!

About the Club

Hello! And welcome! Perhaps you are wondering about the name of the blog.  Well, the “Club” was born as a collateral.

The story goes more or less like this.

I was scheduled by one midwife to go to my antenatal course. The first day of the course I was running late (as usual; I will be late for my own funeral, like Liz Taylor used to say (and she did!). To be bluntly honest I did not want to go; it was raining cats and dogs to say the least and I was tired, very tired. Thanks to my partner who dragged me to the car and dropped me at the midwife’s clinic I (finally) arrived.

I took a deep breath, it was taking me quite a while to get my head around about what was going to happen, and I did not feel like going around listening to people that I did not know, never mind talking about the zillions of doubts I had in my brain.

As I walked towards the room where they were, I heard some giggles, and soon after, laughter. As I walked into the room thinking how I was going to apologise, I saw a midwife on the floor, pretending to be in labour, and she was making the whole situation so hilarious that I couldn’t help but giggle.

The midwife spotted me and she stood up, I apologised for being late to which she couldn’t care less, she was happy I was there, and carried on explaining more about labour.

I sat, in silence listening to the midwife and looking around to my fellow companions, and listening to their questions, their opinions. Different ages, different paths of life, and that we were all in the same boat. It was there were I met “the girls”. The feeling when I came back home was an odd one; I did learn a lot, things that my mother wouldn’t tell me (neither would I ask!), things that the internet doesn’t explain, things that I never ever thought about. This thing about being pregnant was complicated. More complicated than what I thought. I wasn’t happy or upset but for once, being in this fellowship with complete strangers was somehow a relief.

I did go back to the following meeting and I kept learning more, preparing myself for what today I can say with confidence is “the unexpected” because it does not matter how many antenatal classes you have, how many books you read, how many websites you read and subscribe to, nothing can prepare you for what it is to come.

Soon the complete strangers became “the girls” and I don’t want to think about how could things would be now if I didn’t go to that antenatal class.

One Thursday I came back from the antenatal meeting, and my partner asked how it was. I explained to him that the topic that day was breast feeding, and how to stimulate “happy hormones” in order to produce milk. I shortened the whole two hours class in one phrase : “How to make your boobs happy”. My partner looked at me like I was mental, but that was the best short explanation I could come up with in a language that he would understand about the class that day.

Finally the moment came, my son was born and the world turned upside down forever. During our first month of life everything I have learnt during the antenatal classes was useful but somehow not enough. I wondered how the girls were doing; one of the girls was “the messenger” keeping all the group informed on how everybody was doing. One day, a text message came, asking me if I was going to the “breast feeding cafe” where the girls from the ante-natal classes were meeting. I decided to go, and this time my partner did not have to drag me. He just dropped me at the midwife clinic with my little one.

After the meeting, with the girls we all agreed to meet the following Wednesday. And so we kept meeting every Wednesday, but not at the clinic. Now we decided to meet in a Coffee Shop. Needless to say we still do it, and when my partner asks what I’m doing on a Wednesday afternoon, I simply say “Happy boob club” and that’s it. With the girls we share the sunny sides of our little ones, questions the dark corners of motherhood and the lack of sleep.

The idea of this blog is a collection of all the conversations we had with the girls, and the realisation that perhaps there are so many new mums on the same boat but they don’t dare to ask, or perhaps they don’t dare to talk or to share their experiences, not only about their babies but about the day to day we have to face our new reality.

So here it is, the Happy Boob Club, a blog about motherhood, and everything in between.

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.