I had wanted to leave my house on Thursday at noon, but it took me a lot longer to get ready than I had anticipated. I've never traveled with a baby before, and man, do you ever need a lot of stuff to travel with a baby! We eventually got on the road at 3:00 p.m., which was actually the estimated departure time I had given to my mom, so, in a way, we actually left on time. (Although my cover will be blown as soon as my mom reads this post. Darn.)
Before this weekend, the longest trip Valerie had ever taken in the car was 45 minutes. And she was pretty good for about the first 45 minutes of this trip. Unfortunately, my mom's house is an eight-hour drive. First, she got hungry. I was completely prepared for this eventuality, having packed some pumped milk, my pump, extra bottles, and an AC adapter so that I could pump in the car. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack "not being stuck in the car seat." Valerie is normally pretty good about taking a bottle, but we just couldn't seem to get the angle right in her car seat, which led to much mess and frustration. Which led to crying. Which led to her overheating, because she was so worked up. That was the worst. When she was completely miserable, but I could do nothing to help cool her down, because I couldn't take her out of the sweaty, plastic car seat. Whenever we would finally stop, I would take her out, her back soaked with sweat, and comfort her as she tried to comprehend why it took so long for me to tend to her needs. Then I would put fresh, dry cloth diapers behind her back and we would be okay for a few minutes as we started back on the road.
By 9:00 p.m., we had only made it halfway to Ottawa. When the sun set, overheating became less of an issue, but it was replaced with fear of the dark. Remember how I made myself a mental note to bring a battery-powered light with me on this trip? Well, I didn't. My mom called my cell phone about this time, and I told her I was sure it was going to be 2 or 3 a.m. by the time we got there. I wasn't feeling optimistic.
Fortunately, Jeremy had brought a little LED book light with him, which I clipped to the baby-view mirror. Then Valerie fell asleep. Worn out, no doubt, from all the crying she had done in the past six hours. And she stayed asleep until we arrived in Ottawa at 12:20 a.m., having stopped only briefly for gas and pee breaks. I was so relieved, I almost thought we might be able to make the return trip.
To be continued...