The Worst (Not Really) Night Of My Life

by Courtney Sirotin on March 22, 2013

I made it to New Hampshire! Somehow, despite a huge snowstorm in New England, I arrived on Tuesday after only suffering a one hour delay at the airport. Thank goodness! Have I ever told you guys about the worst night of my life? Well, that’s an exaggeration. I can think of worse nights (the night of my father’s car accident immediately comes to mind), but it was a really, really bad one. I’ll share.

Dylan was six months old. He was exclusively breastfeeding and would not take a bottle so it was nursing or nothing. I had an early evening flight scheduled and arrived to the airport a couple of hours early just in case things took longer with a baby. I was traveling alone and had a lot of luggage. I am a notorious over packer but you also need a lot with a baby, so I was breaking new records. I checked a few bags and had to carry the rest on the plane. I decided I would carry Dylan on my body in a front carrier and use my large running stroller, which I would check at the gate, to push his diaper bag and two other very large carry-ons through the airport. You are allowed to carry on extra bags when you are traveling with a baby and I totally took advantage of that option.

After making my way through security, which was not an easy feat, I tried to feed Dylan under a nursing cover but he was way too distracted. I remember that he kept thrashing and it was all I could do to keep the important things covered, if you know what I mean.

The flight seemed to be on time. Our zone was called, I checked his stroller at the gate and then we made it onto the plane. We sat on the plane just long enough to get set up for the flight and for my stroller to get loaded into the luggage area of the plane when the announcement came that we had to get off. I strapped a crying Dylan back on my body, finagled all my giant bags and got off the plane. We were then told that for whatever reason, I think it was weather related, the flight would be delayed. I’m sure I cursed in my head. Dylan was tired and hungry but I figured if I could make it onto the plane again I’d be able to calm him down.

One delay turned into two and two turned into three. Each time the departure time was pushed back, the customer service people made vague promises that it would only be a matter of time until we left. I would have called Jay to pick us up if I knew we’d still be there suffering at midnight. I also knew that Jay was due to leave for a trip in the morning so I had the added pressure of knowing that if I bailed on my trip, and he had to come get me, he wouldn’t be able to go on his desperately needed vacation. He was on the phone with me on and off throughout the night. He was offering to pick us up but I kept holding out because I didn’t want to screw up his trip. The hours dragged on with the promises of a take off while I struggled to manage all my luggage and keep Dylan calm. Everything, from changing his diaper to getting a bottle of water, was a huge production because I had to carry three large bags and Dylan on my body.

By midnight I was a complete mess! I was physically and emotionally exhausted and very worried about Dylan. I threw in the towel. Even if the plane took off, I couldn’t imagine staying awake and alert enough to care for Dylan on the whole flight, make it through the destination airport, get my checked baggage and then survive the two hour drive to my parents’ house from there in the middle of the night/early morning.

Even though I called Jason to pick me up, I still had to deal with the fact that my luggage and stroller were on the plane. Dylan was not eating or sleeping and I felt panicked. I got in the long line for customer service and totally broke down in tears. I was ushered through to the head of the line but couldn’t even handle making arrangements for my luggage. I just wanted to get out of the airport and get Dylan somewhere safe.

Jason picked us up and we talked about my options. I could try to catch another flight early in the morning and he could go on his trip or he would cancel his trip and I just wouldn’t go anywhere. At that moment I couldn’t imagine ever flying again, let alone going back to the airport in a few short hours. Jason was spending the night at our friends’ apartment near the airport and our house at the time was far away so we had no choice but to spend the night at their house. While I appreciated their hospitality, I just felt extremely displaced and had nothing I needed to take care of Dylan. I had even run out of diapers!

While Dylan and I regrouped in the guest room of the apartment, Jason and our friends went out for diapers and made complicated arrangements for my luggage with the airline. When the moment came that I had to decide what I was going to do, I summoned every last ounce of my courage and said I would fly in the morning. I just held onto the belief that everything would be better in the morning…and it was.

And that is the story of the worst (though not really worst) night of my life.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JASON SIROTIN March 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

That story stresses me out. Love you and miss you.

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ALIX March 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

Oh Courtney. It sounds like you did amazingly well. You are brave to begin with to even be travelling with a 6 month old. No way in the world could I have done that. I’ll be taking my first flight alone with Ben and the thought of it is making me a bit anxious. Will be packing lots of sticker books and will make sure his favorite shows are on the ipad!

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COURTNEY March 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

That’s about all you can do! The other thing I do is pack special snacks he doesn’t get often…treats like chocolate or chips. Nutrition goes out the window on travel days! If I need Dylan to calm down on the plane, I bribe him with candy. Good luck! Hope you are going somewhere fun!

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